By Andy May
Since I started writing these DIY profile articles many people have came forward suggesting hunters they know that fit the bill as an “extremely successful DIY hunter.” Logan was one such hunter that was suggested to me. I checked out some photos of Logan’s kills and was impressed. And after we chatted a bit, I sent him some questions. Reading through his answers you’ll be able to tell that this guy gets it. Not only is he busting his butt scouting in the off-season and hunting hard in-season, but he’s achieving high levels of success with a traditional bow. Logan comes off super humble but has put down a couple of absolute monsters and has tons of information the average guy can learn from. Enjoy our Q&A below.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about the places that you hunt?
A: I like to find places that have some terrain features but I also hunt a lot of stuff that’s just flat farm land. I hunt some heavily pressured public ground and some good private property. I’ve had good luck on both. I focus on the big woods and don’t really hunt field edges all that much for mature bucks. I hunt in my home state of Ohio but might try some out of state DIY hunts in the near future.
Q: Looking through your pictures, you have shot some mega-giants. Can you give me the short version of your hunting journey? Where it began and where it is now?
A: I killed my first deer in West Virginia when I was 7 years old and have been hooked ever since. When I was younger I hunted with a rifle in WV and in Ohio I used a shotgun and muzzleloader. Once I was able to draw 40 pounds I started bow hunting, and I don’t gun hunt anymore. I’m a diehard bow hunter. I’ve been hunting with traditional gear for the last 10-11 years on and off. Even though I hadn’t killed too many deer with a compound I liked the challenge of trad gear and jumped head first. I’ve got a few good bucks under my belt now and have been learning new things every year. I will pick up a compound every so often and you might catch me hunting with one sometimes. Traditional archery isn’t the easiest and there are a handful of great bucks that should be on my wall that were just out of range of my recurve but well inside my effective range with a compound. My goal every year with my traditional gear is a 130” or bigger buck that’s 3.5 years old or older and at least one or two does.
Q: Many of your bucks have come from traditional gear. What has the traditional hunting experience been like?
A: My traditional archery journey has been a very bumpy road with a lot of lows but some very great highs. I missed a lot of deer in my early stages of my trad journey but I’ve figured out what I was doing wrong and started connecting with a lot more of my shots out in the woods. Now I’ve had a few great bucks out at 40 yards that I didn’t feel comfortable with the shot, with a compound I would have had a very good chance of killing those bucks. That’s the challenge of traditional gear, you need the deer close. I do feel that hunting with a recurve or longbow will make you think about your tree stand setups more. Trying to get the deer as close as possible without getting busted is the key. The traditional world is great and full with a lot of awesome people. If you’re looking to get into traditional archery I highly suggest checking out The Push traditional archery videos on Youtube. Those guys put out some great info in their videos and will help you understand just about anything to do with a recurve or longbow.
Q: How would you describe your hunting style? Aggressive? Patient? Mobile?
A: My hunting style is very mobile. I hunt with a Lone Wolf Alpha hang-on and Muddy climbing sticks or a Lone Wolf hand climber. With my hang-on and sticks I can get in any tree my ropes fit around which is a great feeling walking into the woods. A lot of times you can’t get a climber in the perfect tree so if I’m hunting a new area I always take the hang-on and sticks. When it comes to the type of hunting I do I would say it’s more towards the aggressive side. I like to find bedding areas and hunt the downwind side of them in a funnel during the rut, a lot of times I like to be 50 yards or less from the edge of the bedding area I’m hunting. Pinch points or funnels are other areas I key in on and they can be deadly certain times of the year. Early season I like to find a hot white oak tree that the deer are on or a staging area that they use before they hit the fields for the evening. I do a lot of blind calling while I’m in the stand. My last two bucks I’ve shot I called in while blind calling. Some guys will not call unless they see a buck. I’ve probably spooked off a few bucks and didn’t know it by blind calling, but with the luck I’ve had with it I’m going to continue doing it.
Q: How much time do you devote in the off-season to be able to consistently shoot big bucks in season?
A: Most of my scouting is done in February-March, I try to run mineral sites on private ground through the summer to help the deer herd out and to keep a list of what deer are around the area. When the oaks start getting acorns I like to take a few trips with my binos checking all the oak tree’s to see what kind of acorn crop I’m dealing with that fall. Early season I focus on acorns and try to take a few does out to get my confidence up. There is no better practice than shooting at live game.
The area I killed my buck last year I had never hunted before until that season. I didn’t have plans on hunting that area until a week before season. I went in there the weekend before opening day and did some quick scouting. I walked until I found THE area. It was a hardwoods bottom that had bedding to the north, west and some to the south. This was the only good hardwoods in the area that was surrounded by thick nasty stuff and it butted up to a CRP field. I found a lot of deer sign in there and had some oaks loaded with acorns. I also found a lot of buck sign in that area like rubs, scrapes and buck poop. With that one day of scouting and some in-season scouting I saw three bucks 135” or better in that area and killed my biggest buck to date at 191 1/8” B&C!
Q: Do you recommend using calls, scents or any other similar hunting product?
A: I always have a grunt call with me when I go in the woods, if I forget it I feel naked! I’ve had great luck calling in bucks to within bow range. I’ve used doe-in-estrous calls before, but a lot of times I’m fine without using any scents. I started smoking my clothes two or three years ago and have had great luck doing this. I hardly ever have a deer wind me and blow out of the area. Most times if deer come in downwind you can tell when they get into your wind. They will throw their head up and get a nose full of the smoke smell. 95% of the time for me they will just continue down the path. If they do trot off they don’t ever seem to blow or any of that non-sense. I like to check the wind a lot when I’m hunting and use milk weed which works awesome. If you keep your eye on the milkweed you can follow it a long ways and be able to tell what the wind is doing out around you. Sometimes I’ve had the milkweed go out 15 yards and just fall straight to the ground. Other times it might go straight up then make a 90 degree turn. With powder you would never know any of that but with this milkweed I know exactly where a deer will be in my wind and I love that.
Q: In your opinion, where do most hunters fall short when hunting big mature bucks?
A: First off you need to hunt where big mature buck live. You can’t kill what’s not there. I think a lot of people are sloppy when it comes to scent control and hunting the wind. I keep all my hunting clothes in a scent free bag, I wash my clothes in scent free detergent just like a lot of people, but I think smoking my clothes has helped a lot. Keeping the wind in your favor is key, but I also like to hunt the wind where it’s right on the edge of being bad for me and good for the buck. If you have a good idea where that buck will be coming from don’t be afraid to have the wind in the bucks favor and you hunt off to the side. My last two bucks had the wind in their favor and I shot them just before they get into my wind. This can be very productive but it can also get you busted since you never really know where exactly he’s coming from.
Q: Can describe in short detail your most successful hunting season?
A: Last season was probably my most successful season, I took two does and my biggest buck to date. I self filmed my first ever kill this year as wel. This was the 2nd time I hunted this farm and it turned into a great evening. I had a doe come in feeding on acorns. When she got to 10 yards and I was able to get to full draw. I ended up heart shooting her and she made it around 80 yards. On October 8th I hunted some public ground that I hunted once before the weekend before and I ended up shooting a doe at 19 yards. She only made it 40 yards and piled up, so I had two does in the first 3 weeks of season.
I ran into a dry spell when it came to seeing mature bucks but finally I had a mature buck 100 yards behind me right before dark on some public ground. I ended up staying in the stand for 1.5 hours after dark so I wouldn’t bump him out of the area. This was the 2nd week of November on a Saturday. During that 1.5 hours after dark I never saw any head lamps or heard anyone walking out. I hunted this area earlier in the season a few times and never saw anyone around so pressure appeared low. With not seeing anyone during the rut on a Saturday evening I knew I had a good area! I went back to this spot on November 21st which was a day after youth gun season. Before I got the truck parked I spotted a 135” 9pt with a doe. I ended up making my way to 30 yards and getting a shot off. He whirled away from me at the shot and I hit him in the shoulder blade. I looked for him for five hours and barely found any blood. I went back to the truck to grab my stand setup and went in to the area I saw the shooter 1.5 weeks earlier.
I got settled in and did some blind calling every time the wind would die down. Around 4:30pm I grunted a few times and put my call in my pocket. Before I could get my call in my pocket I heard a deer walking toward me. The buck crossed a big ditch behind me and came straight behind me at 15 yards! He lip curled three times before he turned broadside. I heart shot him at 15 yards and watched him crash 40 yards from my tree. He’s my biggest buck to date and probably ever. He had 14 points and grossed 191 1/8”. Buckmasters scored him also and he had a composite score of 197”. My last two bucks I shot on public ground and they measured 157” as a mainframe 8pt and 197”, I will have a write up about those bucks in the September issue of Buckmasters magazine.
Q: Is there any one person in particular that paved the way for your hunting skills and success?
A: I have to give all the credit to my dad. He started taking me out with him when I was too young to legally hunt on my own. Once I got my hunting license I went out with him as much as possible and it didn’t matter if it was small game or deer hunting. He bought me all my stuff I needed to get started and paved the way for me to have a great hunting future. Without him I wouldn’t be the hunter I am today. I also listen to a lot podcasta and the Wired to Hunt podcast has helped me out a lot! All of the different guests that have been on the podcast has been a great resource. Podcasts have really helped me the last three years. Much of the info you can pick up on these podcasts makes a big difference in the woods.