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Illinois hunting and fishing

A review of deer hunting gear

February 15, 2010 at 04:16 PM

There’s always lots of talk about new hunting products and gear, so I felt it was time to re-evaluated what I use:


Scent control: For the first 37 years of my deer-hunting career Marlboro Lights seemed to work good, but probably cut down on total years to hunt in my lifetime. And I noticed deer feeding under my stands like to eat unlighted cigarette’s! It helped pass the time and smokes were a lot cheaper than!  Got caught by the deer while digging in my pockets for Nichorette gum, a lot this year!

Scent control clothing: None, other than Rubber boots with a 3-inch leaky cut in them.

Hunting clothes: Nothing I wear matches! A couple items I still wear were bought for me by my mother. She died in 1986!Illinois hunting and fishing

Jacket: My favorite hunting coat has duct-taped sleeves and ironed-on patches on the pockets so my binocs don’t fall out. The patches are pitch black; kind of breaks up the bleached-out camo pattern on the 20-year-old beauty! But boy is she comfy!

Hats: Just old sweat-stained, stinking baseball caps people gave me. And a wool stocking hat I found in a park when I was 26 years old. I’m 51 now.

Gloves: Military issue green wool gloves. Cost $3 per pair. I can afford to go through two pairs a season.

Deer Stands: The cheapest thing I can find. They can’t cost more than $100 bucks. Some might squeak a bit. And sometimes just boards and nails.

Steps: I will buy screw-in steps only if I can’t find giant spike nails in someone’s barn!

Bow: I have only owned four in 38 years of bowhunting. Up till 5 years ago, I hunted with the same one for 17 years. I only had to stop using it when it started patterning arrows about two feet apart! But it still had all the original cables. Let’s see the new bows beat that.

My first bow, which was given to me, only blew up when I got to drinking beer and told the bow-shop manager it was unbreakable, right before I threw it down the shooting range. I picked it up, pulled it back as proof, and It delaminated! He turned around and handed me a new bow with a smile and a billing invoice. Can’t remember what happened to that one!

Grunt call: No name left on it to tell you who made it. I think maybe it was an N&H, sold when both those guys were still teenagers! It’s probably a collector’s item worth a fortune! It works even with frozen spit in it!

Binoculars: Only on the third pair of my life. The first two still work, but you can’t see through them because of clearing the lens fog off with my wool gloves that work like sandpaper!

Bow Sight: A pendulum, the first and only site I’ve ever hunted with. It still works even after dropping my bow from a 20-foot tall tree stand/board, more than once. And falling on my bow and bending the site backwards. I just put the whole bow in a vice and bend it back with a pipe wrench! Other than deep gouge marks from the teeth on the vice, it’s always good to go again.

Release: The first and only one I’ve owned since I quit shooting fingers after 32 years of telling myself I was a good instinctive shooter. (I wasn’t- I SUCKED! It was hard to guess where the arrow was going to hit. I’m pretty sure I closed my eyes when I released!) All it needs every year is to spray some stinking WD-40 in it. By the way WD-40 works on bass lures and as a deer-scent attractant.

Broadheads: After 30 years of shooting the original Bear’s 145 grain, I made the switch to a 3-blade replaceable. The chance I’ll ever try a third brand like a mechanical broadhead in what’s left of my lifetime? None!

Arrows: What ever is middle-of-the-pack-priced. I have been using the same dozen for 5 years now, even after they took a few deer and coyotes. I got a new dozen given to me a year ago, but probably won’t need them for 2 more years seeing that I have two left from the first dozen. The fletchings are all krinkled up, but they shoot good!

Arrow rest: Some round bristly thing. I like it because it saves a lot of trips up and down the tree for when I’d knock the arrow off my bow!

Knife: I’ve owned three and never bought one of them. Someone gave them to me because they didn’t like them for whatever reason! I gave one away because I didn’t like it!

Bow Hanger: 40 D common nails

Flashlight: What ever has batteries in it that works early in the morning in my kitchen!

Deer camera: Bought one around 7 years ago and still don’t know how to set it up. The wife has to. But it doesn’t matter, since I don’t use it anyway. I got tired of buying 4-C batteries and 35 mm rolls of film all the time. And going to Wal-mart to get my pictures only to have them tell me to come back tomorrow. Mostly only got pictures of grass swaying back and forth anyway!

So there you have the truth. I probably forgot a few things, but they weren’t worth mentioning anyway. I won’t replace anything until I’ve lost it or it just can’t be taped or Jimmy rigged! All in all, I’ve still managed to kill a few decent bucks over the years with this equipment.

Guess I’m not worth all the money today’s manufacturers spend on promoting their products. I don’t even look at their ads—unless they have a neat picture in them. Blonde girls work good!

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

tim, my father is 64 and you pretty much described his whole setup and stands.  The saddest i ever seen him was when he ran out of old bear heads.  Not the new bears the old original bear heads.  He still uses a bear bow that geronimo gave him smile I catch a hard time because i use a bow made in the LATE 90s.  I have three high grade bows i bought just out of Highschool and wonder if that will last me a lifetime.  I wanted my release to last a lifetime but it locked up on me costing me a 150s ten pointer.  Bow was i mad… if i throw my bow out of the tree anymore ill be using bow two i think smile

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/15 at 06:25 PM

My grandfather shot a Fred Bear Polar which he purchased in the 60’s.  He shot that bow until he couldn’t physically pull it back any longer which was 3 years ago.  He always wore a one piece brown Carhartt suit and still managed to kill some absolute giants. We bought him a new Mathews in the mid 1990’s which he proceeded to donate to a church auction.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/15 at 07:37 PM

i have a great uncle that higgins did an article on a few years ago that went from compound to long bow a few years ago.  I also must admit that i shot my biggest buck ever wearing brown coveralls.  I dont think all the stuff i use is needed.  Thats why im not buying new stuff, other than trail cameras.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/15 at 07:55 PM

Great point made Tim! I shot with the first compound bow I ever bought for decades. In fact, I just retired it 2 years ago along with my aluminum arrows. Had some great hunts with all of that old equipment. Now as far as scent control…..can’t say I’ve used the Marlboro method recently, especially on the ground :-0

Posted by Marc Anthony on 02/15 at 08:13 PM

tim, my father also has a pattent on a thing you put on your treestand to put your cigs instantly when you see a deer.  (not joking) Do you need one smile

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/15 at 08:15 PM

i think deer prefer menthol’s,good to know theres still a few of us that don’t spend a fortune on every new gimmick that comes out.just bought my 2nd bow in 25 years used off ebay, its 1 for 1…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 01:12 AM

Perfect, Tim!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 06:07 AM

I’m still shooting the same bow I bought new in 1992[martin firecat]..I enjoyed the article Tim..more of a real life bowhunter than some of these so called pro’s…I do spend a little more on tree stands and safety harness now ...after falling 24 feet 2 years ago ..the cheap harness I was wearing had the main D ring failed…good article Tim…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 06:36 AM

Oh No!  The scent companys will try to market a tobacco smelling “cover” emulsion..the whole outdoors will soon smell like the Butt Hut at work…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 07:02 AM

Tim. Atta boy did you bring back memories thats how we did in the old days. Thanks for the chuckle!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 07:38 AM

Finally, somebody I can relate to.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 08:58 AM

Great reading! I’m so cheap my ground blind is an old chest freezer that was dumped on me. Left it right where it was dumped,and didn’t even camo it and shot a 154” ten point out of this year.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 09:05 AM

TIMMY BABY!!!!!! Great read! Are you still measuring deer by laying your thumbs side by side and considering each one an even inch??? or maybe doing like some hunters and just taking the highest guess you get from your buddies and then adding 10-25%!!!!!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 09:22 AM

Tim my son who is a die hard bow hunter who would spend 365 days a year in he woods if he did’nt have to work. He swears by this scent( maybe had’nt say it for fear of price going up) but he puts Deisel fuel on his boots and for him it seems to work quit well,he says it’s because they are use to it, every farm has it. Maybe something to it. Don’t hurt to try yhe next time you fella’s are out.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 09:26 AM

In case you ever pick up smoking again, Tim, here’s a piece of usfull information.  I usually get out of my stand early, around 9:ooam.  One a morning hunt back in 1995 I told myself that if I stay an extra hour I’d treat myself to a treestand cig (Marlboro Lights of course).  Right at about 10am, I lit that smoke…the wind was perfect for smoking that day.  Half way through the smoke, I saw a nice buck, nose to the ground, headed my way fast.  I didn’t know what to do with the cigarette.  If I threw it down, he’d find it.  If I dropped it on my stand, it would probably fall through the steel mesh grating…what to do?  I quickly realized that a Marlboro Light fit perfectly in the open arrow slot in my Quicky Quiver.  I shot my second Poper at 17 yards with a Marlboro Light, still lit and smoking, perfectly held by my quiver.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 09:53 AM

hmmmm ......... at one time I thought wearing knee high rubber boots and squirting fox pee on em was hitech !!!!! ......... LOL

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 10:27 AM

all your comments are funnier than my story!! The bow I got handed in the archery shop was a Bear- And I too did by a Mathews once, “I just remembered”- didn’t like it-never hunted with it- sold too cheap!

Clint, the little plastic bottle that my 35 mm film came in for my junk camera was my secret Smoke dispencer! I should have pattented it for that use-I would have made a fortune!

The Chest Freezer ground blind is a Great idea! As long as the door doesn’t lock!

Don, I’ve got a Rubber Measuring cable for scoring certain deer! Really Stretches!

I’m off to the gas station to get some Deisel fuel! I’ll test it out on the house deer and see what happens!

Treehugger- I always wondered why those quivers had that many slots in them! I never did carry half the arrows it would take to fill it up!! Now I know!

Thanks to all!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 12:52 PM

The only thing more awesome than popping a “Poper” with a lit butt in the quiver - is dropping the term delaminated while reviewing bow gear.  Tim - you got everything but the pee bottle!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 01:06 PM

tim, his deal is basically a solid metal square with sticky tape on the side of it with a hole drilled in the middle.  It sticks to the stand where if you see a deer coming y ou just set it in that thing and it puts it out within 3 seconds so you can relite it when the deer is gone.  I would bring one to the state show and give you but your trying to quit it seems like and i would hate for my dads invention to be your highest tech piece of equipment. smile

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 01:41 PM

Smoking while hunting.  That would be a great subject here.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 02:47 PM

my honest opinion, general whitetail knowledge is far above equipment.  i think stand placement and hard work such as keeping up with the latest whitetail habits ie which oaks are hot, which trails certain bucks are rutting, which late season area is currently holding a shooter is more of an indicator of success than scent control and wind direction.  JMO.  I know higgins will disagree with alot of that.  I shot my first 5 record book deer with 0 attention to wind.  And hunting big woods the way i do on many hunts, the wind direction is impossible to use.  If your mature bucks do to property line hunters are sitting in the center thicket of your 120 acre woods and are NEVER seen on the edges.  The wind direction cant be used since you are forced to hunt the interior or never see the better bucks.  Other locations the wind is a must now.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 03:33 PM

“I shot my first 5 record book deer with 0 attention to wind.”

Clint, it is in YOUR best interest to not repeat this in front of veteran deer hunters if you want to be taken seriously. Seriously! JMO

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 04:21 PM

Higgins, its the truth though.  I do pay attention to the wind now and it is a good thing.  When im hunting certain areas where deer hunting is predictable its a must.  With your style of hunting, its a must.  But with some bigger woods hunting such as one particular place i have.  Its impossible to guess where the deer may come from and i cant avoid the place all together and just never hunt it.  Currently i do feel there are a few exceptions but those locations need to be hunted rarely and more of a bale in and hope for the best type thing.  ofcourse i use the wind to my face on entry so i dont screw up the whole woods but thats about it. Me and my few hunting buddies dont get 40 p and ys on the wall by just being lucky smile

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 04:54 PM

If you cant play the wind then your hunting in the wrong spot. I cant imagine going hunting and not knowing or caring which way the wind is blowing. Come on now Clint, I’m tryin to help you out here.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 06:36 PM

i know you are… but i still do believe there are some places that i have where the wind is very difficult to play.  For instance imagine this.  120 acres of cut over timber that no one ever enters with a dense thicket right in the middle.  All the way around this area there is a hunter nearly every day on all sides.  The mature bucks have learned to NEVER go near the edges.  I have stands on the edges where i can hunt the wind and NEVER see the mature bucks.  EVER.  The only time i see them is when i bail to the middle of this woods. In 15 years of hunting this place i have not encountered a mature buck outside of the center of this property.  But if i access the center of this property, i get shots at mature bucks regularly.  This year we waited till late novemeber to bail into the center an we got two shots at 4.5 year old bucks.  One died the other missed.  I would say currently 95 percent of our hunts, the wind dictates which stand we hunt.  The other 5 percent are simply wait till after first gun season and bail in and hope it works out.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/16 at 09:43 PM

Awesome read.  For those of you talking about wind direction….  You can throw out wind direction on the property I hunt.  I’ve never been anywhere where the wind swirls so much.  My guess is the lay of the land.  Anyway, last November 6, I wanted to get a quick hunt in after work so I decided on a stand less than 100yds from the truck.  The stand faces the corner of a field to my North with the wind to my back (I’m actually eye level with the field because of the draw).  Not ideal, but I was hoping to catch something coming out into the field from behind me.  I have a scent wick on the ground in front of me and one in the stand with me.  About a half hour later, I see rack coming from my right headed for the field.  I’m guessing this will be a short visit due to the wind.  When he hit the field, his nose went straight in the air, looked directly at me, put his nose in the air again and then immediately walked to a scrape (about 50 yds away) and did his buisness.  I hit the bleat call and he came in on a string.  As he was coming in, he looked right at me 3 times.  Now he’s directly in front of me at about 2-3 yds walking from my right to left.  While I’m drawing, he stops and looks right at me again for 1-2 seconds and then puts his nose back to the ground.  I shot him at 5 yds.  He was a 3 yr old 8 point and could have cared less that I was there.  I guess he was thinking with the wrong head.
——————
I do use estrus scent, a grunt call, and bleat call.  The only cover scent I use is a spray that makes me smell like leaves (I’ve never owned and never will own scent blocker clothing… waste of $ in my opinion and I’ve been extremely successful without it).

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/17 at 09:15 AM

I forgot to mention concerning wind direction.  The field mentioned is only about 30 acres in the middle of a huge block of timber.  So for the most part, playing the wind doesn’t matter.  The deer come from almost any direction (not to mention the swirling wind).

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/17 at 09:24 AM

I DONT KNOW IF HUNTING THE CORRECT WIND IS ALL ITS CRACKED UP TO BE.IF YOU SMOKE ON STAND IT DOESNT MATTER WHICH WAY THE WIND IS BLOWING,THE DEER WILL SMELL IT.I GOT A BUDDY THAT SMOKES ALL THE TIME WHILE HUNTING HOMEMADE GROUND BLINDS AND HAS DEER EVERY YEAR COME WITHIN A FEW FEET OF HIM,SO HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT.WHAT I DO KNOW IS, YOU CAN GUESS WHICH WAY YOU THINK THE DEER WILL COME IN BUT YOU CANT PREDICT WHAT WILDLIFE WILL ACTUALLY DO,IF IT HAPPENS THE WAY YOU GUESSED YOUR LUCKY.I KILLED A 191’‘TWO YEARS AGO THAT WALKED WITHIN 10 FEET OF ME AND MY SON SITTING IN A HOMEMADE GROUND BLIND THAT CAME IN WITH THE WIND DIRECTLY AT HIS BACK,WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OLDER WISER DEER THAT ALWAYS WALK INTO THE WIND OR QUARTERING WITH IT I GUESS HE DIDNT READ THE WAY HE WAS SUPPOSETO DO IT.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/17 at 10:07 AM

The more I hunt the more I play the wind and the more successful I’ve been.  I too had a place where wind constantly changed and the deer came from all directions.  When I hunted that stand, I just hoped the deer would come in from the right direction.  I shot three popers out of that stand in three years.  Lucky I guess.  Now I always play the wind…ALWAYS.  I hate spooking deer because they winded me.  Worst thing a hunter can do I think.  Even playing the wind on each and every hunt, I still get winded every year by deer coming in from the wrong direction, but I get winded far less now.  Just as important, and maybe more so, is how you get to your stand and how you leave.  I used to be lazy about it and take the short cuts.  Not any more.  I’ve ruined too many of my own hunts that way.  Now I’ll walk circles around my property in order to enter a stand correctly.  I also make my kids do this.  They both understand why and never ask to take the shortcut.  Wind is everything to a deer.  That being said though, I had five does and fawns right outside my window last night eating grass in the exact spot where my dog does his business….go figure.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/17 at 12:04 PM

On another note, I am a smoker but rarely smoke from my stand…rarely.  But I did use smoke to my advantage last season.  I had two does and two fawns come to my stand in the timber on a morning hunt.  I shot one of the does.  Perfect, right in the pocket.  She ran about 40 yards and bedded down…for an hour!  Apparently my perfect shot was only a single lunger, though I did recover her.  While she was bedded, the other three deer stayed in the area and would not leave.  I didn’t want to give up my spot so I lit a cigarette on purpose.  Though they couldn’t smell me, I figured they’d get a whif of the smoke and leave without knowing a human was there.  It worked.  For me anyway.  When they left, the went to my son’s stand.  Big mistake!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/17 at 12:09 PM

Tim your mother is still proud of you today as well as Gene. As far as shooting with our fingers the more we drank the better we got as we practice so much that we would take the bow shop owner home when we were done, and it was always before the sun came up. As he opened the door to our trucks he would fall out of them, must had something to do we the height of our trucks….LOL.. All seems just like yesterday.
As for your hunting equipment I would say that it was all made in the good old USA. That is the reason it all lasted this long.
I’ll check back from time to time to see if northern frank might send a word or two in the right direction.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/17 at 01:03 PM

I got such a kick out of reading your review. Thanks to you teaching me the finer points of hunting; I haven’t had to spend much on my gear either. I am the worst dressed when I’m out hunting. Just to let you know, the secret scent does work for moose and caribou. While watching a bull moose from the ground behind a small spruce tree at about 50 yards, my buddy Larry and I were enjoying a secret scent stick when we heard noise off to our left. As we watched the bull, a cow came out of the trees and walked right toward us. We figured she would turn and run after smelling us but instead she walked to within 3 feet of us as we were now trying to hide in the grass. Honest to God, we were literally looking up at her, the smoking didn’t bother her one bit. I have the pictures to prove it. Another great article from the Long Hunter. Say hi to Bea and BPick for me.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/17 at 06:43 PM

After reading the story, at first I was thinking it was a humorous line.  But with the theme continuing and all the quips about deer not really caring what we wear or smell like, this story could be downplaying all the ‘correct ways’ of hunting.  If the newbie were reading this, he may forego all that expensive new stuff that the ‘market’ needs to sell.  Somebody got ridiculed for blue carhart comments and now its not. 

For some, the old trophy is supposed to be this wise, cagey, always on top of his environment.  These quips say the quarry doesn’t care.  If something isn’t an obvious threat the deer go on alert but still carry on.  Seems to put down the ‘excellence’ requirement a lot.

My closest encounter with a deer was arms length.  First day of gun season I had all my clothes in a bag of apples for days.  With new snow and in blaze orange, the deer shouldn’t have come near me.  The deer came in down wind and got so close I could hear it sniffing me.

Who knew all I had to do was buy a pack of lucky strikes and light one up for a shot.  Next I will read about deer coming into the sound of a pop-a-top.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/17 at 08:19 PM

personally I like to put four stands at each set ,one at all four points on the compass . Then I sit and watch my satellite linked weather channel and run back and forth from stand to stand every time the wind shifts .

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/18 at 10:42 AM

Hi BPICK-Thanks for that my friend!

and You’re too funny! That brought back great memories! Ole Bob C.!!he was a dandy huh!!! And Look who came on here!! Our Decatur Buddy from the great Far North in AK!!!Hi Franky!

That moose was looking down at ya huh!!  What kind of secret scent smoke was that exactly Franklin??????? God Love Ya!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/18 at 12:16 PM

If you dont care about the wind, You just dont get it! Deer live and die by their nose and if you dont think your game out enough to play all possble wind factors to your advantage, your sightings, “Or should I say, close Sightings” will be minimal compared to what they could or should be. There is a reason the big boys get big and its because they use that wind to their advantage each and every day of their lives just to stay alive. Most every move a big buck makes will have certain security measures figured in on his part. Learn to set up and side step his nose in the same way he is trying to side step you and the wind will turn out to be your best friend….I hunt very very heavy pressured public ground and there are 2 main things that I play off of. #1: the thickest, wooliest thickets I can find ( At times I bowhunt stuff so thick most guys wont even gun hunt it ) and #2: I always play to side step the down wind side of these thickets…...Remember a deer uses the wind to his advantage by smelling out what he cant see through and always looking to where it cant smell…........PW

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/19 at 01:41 AM

Great article Tim. Love the chest freezer! Do you wear all white?  It is funny what deer get used to. My personal favorite is to sit a buck skull on a tree stump and watch the confusion. Tim you forgot the lickin stick!

Posted by Metallicat85 on 02/19 at 08:17 AM

All good tips, thanks!  the legend Bob Mcguire taught me a good one:  “sometimes I like to urinate from my tree stand, the smell of it & the sound of it splattering on the leaves is a good deer lure”  I practice this religiously.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/20 at 08:23 AM

We should get in touch. Are you an active user on top social networking sites like Digg, Facebook, or Stumble Upon? If so, what is your username so we can get in touch to share ideas.

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