It was a cold November morning in South Georgia. I pulled up to the woods and got out of my truck, eagerly anticipating a great hunt ahead. Mid November in Georgia means the rut and the rut was wide open. I gathered all my gear together and got prepped to head to the stand. After getting all my gear in order, I sprayed down with Lethal before heading to my stand. I walked in and climbed into my set well before daylight. I watched as the woods awoke around me. Each passing moment could be the second that a shooter buck could appear from the hardwood bottom in front of me.
The mornings calm was shattered by the sounds of a buck chasing a doe. The doe darted and dashed through the thick woods with a huge 10 point right on her heals. The doe ran right up to the stand and paused in a small thicket, just to the right of my stand. With my heart pounding, I watched in amazement at this massive buck ran straight to me. Nose to the ground, he made his way down the drain trailing his doe. At 30 yards I couldn’t wait any longer. I steadied my 30-.06 and squeezed the trigger.
The huge buck hit the ground, never knowing what hit him. Once on the ground, I knew that this monster buck was the deer that we had given the name “Ghost”. This great deer had winded me a year earlier during a bow season hunt and had eluded us for the remainder of the season. This was not to be the case this morning. Lethal had done its job. This 150 class buck never knew that I was in the world.
You have enough to worry about when the moment of truth comes; don’t let scent control be one of them. That’s why the Backwoods Life crew is always certain and always Lethal!
Check them out at www.LethalProducts.com
To kick off the Georgia archery season, cameraman Shawn Sumrall and I made a trip over to hunt with my good friend Gary Smith at Trophy Georgia Hunts. He has a nice place with over 5,000 acres of managed free range property that borders some state land that allows very limited hunting. This helps Gary have a great crop of deer and turkeys each season.
As normal for September in Georgia we were prepared for hot weather with our light weight Realtree on and our LaCrosse Alpha Mudlite snake boots. The first afternoon we settled in a ladder stand setup on a large oak flat. Just before last light a couple of small bucks came in passing through. It’s a good start for the next couple of days. With a zero the next morning, we decided to hang a couple of climbers in another oak flat close to an unpicked peanut field. We were in a perfect travel route and with acorns falling that helped even more.
The second afternoon it was pushing 87-90 degrees so we knew we would be sweating when we climbed. Before leaving the truck we sprayed down with Lethal Field Spray and made our way in. After getting settled in it’s nice to have the Lethal Field Wipes to cool down a bit and eliminate odor from sweat on your skin. It’s a great one – two punch!
Not much was happening until thirty minutes before dark when Shawn spotted a buck coming in. From the body size we could tell it was a mature buck. Looking at his antlers I knew this was one that we needed to put in the freezer. The buck made his way into bow range to about 25 yards where I drew back my Elite Answer and settled my Spot-Hogg top pin. After a touch on my Scott release, my Muzzy found its mark right behind the shoulder. The buck bolted, ran about 50 yards, stopped, and then fell over right there in sight. My first buck tag of the young 2012 Georgia season was filled!
It’s always great to get the pressure off early and fill a tag, especially when you get to share the experience with good friends in camp. The people at Trophy Georgia Hunts work hard to do their best to help you have a good time while hunting with them. Check them out at www.TrophyGeorgiaHunts.com
Michael’s Gear List:
Bow: Elite Answer #70 30 inch draw Ninja black
Arrows: Easton Injexion 330
Broad heads: Muzzy DX3 100 grain
Release: Scott Shark
Arrow Rest: QAD Ultra Rest HDX (red)
Binoculars: Hawke Frontier HD
Safety Vest: Hunter Safety System Hybrid in Realtree
Camouflage: Realtree AP
Scent Control: Lethal Field Spray and Wipes
Boots: LaCrosse Alpha Mudlite Snake Boots
Pack: Gameplan Gear Over N Under pack
Utility Box: Concealed Outdoors
Conditioning: Hunt Strong
Your personal improvement of becoming more fit for the hunt is about creating or losing a habit. Your mindset is everything. It’s not solely about obtaining your goal then just stopping at that. It’s about reaching further and making more challenging, obtainable goals after you have successfully conquered one goal. You want your change to be permanent, good habits need to stick around for the long hunt. In order to build a strong foundation, it all starts with one prominent step, the first one.
Focus on excellence and sweat the small steps! For every major accomplishment you see in your performance, don’t forget about all the hundreds of baby steps you completed for that to take place. Focus on where you are climbing on the mountain instead of feeling overwhelmed by sitting at the base staring at the top. Habits are the basis of improvement, but are not created overnight. I don’t believe in a “quick fix” type mentality or product, I believe in hard work utilized in the proper formula.
Breaking a bad habit and creating a good habit is not always easy, but remember, habits are built one action at a time. Put your blinders on and master one repetition at a time. Will there be setbacks? Absolutely, but with a consistent action plan and mindset, you will prosper. Sometimes you may feel like you are taking two steps back before taking one step forward, but in the end you are still moving forward. It’s not just a mental game, it’s a physical challenge.
So, when your alarm clock goes off in the morning for you to get up and go to the gym, remember-the wild athlete you are after never hits the snooze button. They are “fight or flight” mentality at all times. Give it your best each training session, each meal, each day, and I promise you success in the Backwoods this fall. Never give up! Hunt Strong
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle
Thessalonians 5:17- PREY WITHOUT CEASING.
Davie “Crockett” Ferraro
The last morning of the hunt in Kansas was a crisp and beautiful morning, Kevin and I had gone out a couple days prior to hunting this area to scout. We found an area where the deer were traveling between two larges fields and decided to hang our stands.
While preparing to climb the tree that morning, about 30 to 45 yards to my right we heard some deer activity. We heard deer fighting and snort wheezing. This lasted for about three/four minutes and then the one dominant buck broke off, and headed though the tree’s to where I was standing. He was within twenty yards of me and snort wheezed at me. I’m standing at the bottom of the tree going “whoa!” Kevin is up in the tree laughing and thinking I’m about to get attacked. The buck was so close you could see the outline of him in the pre-dawn light. After a few minutes the buck walked off in the same direction he came from.
So we had a pretty eventful start to our morning! We finally get set up in the tree and as the sun starts to rise, a number of smaller bucks and does walked through the area. This was our last morning hunting in Kansas as we were heading to Nebraska that evening hunting with TDT Outfitters. As the morning progressed on things slowed down. It was close to nine o’clock as I got a phone call about a problem at work which distracted me from the hunt. I needed to make several phone calls, which you know while hunting it’s not productive to be talking on the cell phone in the tree. I was more worried about getting out the tree, and solving the problem so I looked over to Kevin and said “if you are ready to get out of here, I’m ready to roll, let’s get packed up and head to Nebraska, so I can make a couple phone calls.” Kevin looked down at me and said “Look dude, lets just wait until 9:15” at the time it was 9:08AM. “If nothing’s happening at 9:15, we will start easing out of here, pack up and lower our gear, and break our stands down, to get out of here.”
As I was standing there, talking to Kevin, I already took my face mask and gloves off. Kevin and I have this agreement that we never joke about seeing a shooter buck, and next thing I knew, Kevin is pointing behind me, saying “Shooter buck, shooter buck, shooter buck!” And as I’m turning around, I pick my bow up off the hanger. Then clipped my release, drew back the bow, and sure enough there was a buck coming in. He had already been working his way in, by this time he was really in close. We had just enough time to turn the camera and Kevin told me, he was on it and recording. I already had the buck in my sights as he was already right under the tree. It was a straight down shot and I was fortunate enough to hit him right in the spine. The buck dropped in his tracks! I couldn’t believe it! I had shot the buck at 9:15AM so only seven minutes had passed! This is how we named it the seven-minute buck.
So many times you hear about the last day, the last minute of the hunt, and you harvest your animal, that seems to be mine and Kevin’s trend this year. The same thing happened in Nebraska with his Mule Deer on the last evening!
Getting back to the seven-minute buck, he scored a bit over 125 inches, and he was the largest buck I had killed to date with my bow and it was the first buck that I was able to harvest on camera as a new host and owner of Backwoods Life TV. I really appreciate Kevin telling me to take a couple extra minutes in the stand, if we got out of the stand when I wanted to I would have never had the chance. The moral of this story is to always take that few extra minutes to look around and relax. When you don’t think it’s going to happen. It very well could!
Elite Archery Pulse
Gameplan Gear Sling Shot
X Factor stabilizer and silencing system
Spot Hogg Sight
Bohning Blazer Vanes and Quiver
Hunter Safety System in Realtree
Lethal Scent Elimination
Muzzy Bowhunter Setup Attractant
Your Hunt Starts Now
“It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.” – Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Hot, Humid, Sticky, Sweaty……just a taste of what opening day of bow season will feel like. I know a lot of hunters who skip out on the first part of bow season simply because they don’t want to endure the suffering. Fact: these weather conditions will be prevalent and out of your control. What you can control is your overall physique to lessen the degree of difficulty. Will you be ready to take on the elements in the backwoods?
Commit to the Preparation
Make a plan and take charge. Start by getting active. Set aside 45 minutes a day out of your busy schedule for exercise six days a week. Give yourself a day off for relaxation and recovery. If exercise were a prescription medicine, we could all buy stock and retire tomorrow, because it treats everything.
Train to Gain
Combine both aerobic conditioning (elevating your heart rate over a sustained period of time) and strength training (building lean muscle) to be most beneficial for your preparation. Focus on strength training (lifting weights, training the whole body) three days a week, with your aerobic conditioning (run, bike, elliptical, etc.), in between your lifting days. Learn to love to sweat.
Intensity is everything. Buy a heart rate monitor and train between 70%-85% of your max heart rate for the entire training session.
· 220 minus your age ____= Max. Heart Rate
· Max. HR X 0.70 = Low Zone
· Max. HR X 0.85 = High Zone
Take It Outside
Instead of shooting your bow in the ice cold A/C, take it outside and get used to the weather conditions. Practice on a 3D target from multiple angles to mimic the exact form of hunting method you will be hunting, i.e. ground blind, tree stand, spot & stalk, etc.
Consume one ingredient products. In other words, your food should have a mother or come from the ground or tree. Eat smaller more frequent meals and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Take these helpful tips to heart and I promise you will increase your chances at success in the heart of the backwoods. Get a head start and take the pressure off yourself by harvesting that Pope and Young buck early on in the season. For this is when they are eating machines, making them easier to pattern typically traveling in bachelor groups.
Train Hard and Hunt Strong!
Davie “Crockett” Ferraro
There’s nothing like a spot-n-stalk method on hunting turkeys, especially if you want to challenge your skills as a stealthy hunter. The movements are slow, controlling every inch of your muscles, and relying on your camouflage. Turkeys have the best eyes, in my opinion, than any other North American Game Animal hunted. The only advantage you have over turkeys is their no sense of smell, but what they lack in sense of smell, they make up in their vision.
It’s getting late in the afternoon and I am hunting with my good friend JD. We both know the lay of the land very well, mainly palmetto flats, Oak hammocks, pastures, and cypress swamps. We made the decision to get aggressive and move in on where we have consistently seen turkeys in the afternoons prior to them heading to the roost.
We quickly get dressed in Realtree, with only our eyes being visible, throw a 12 gauge 31/2 inch Winchester Heavy Shot #5 in the chamber, our Straight Creek Call Diaphragm’s in our mouths, turn on the Thermacells, and off we stalk. We only have about a 250 yard walk to where we can take a sneak peek and see if the turkeys were out in the field just beyond a Cypress strand. As we are walking quietly just inside the swamp, a hen who must have had a nest, comes flying off a huge dirt mound right over the top of us. We both look at each other, grit our teethe and keep on, hoping she didn’t spook any others that may have been in the field.
I am just behind JD when all of a sudden he jumps back at me. Less than 3 ft from us was a cotton mouth (water moccasin) along a palmetto bush where we would usually enter the the swamp. We both instantly had intentions to kill the poisonous snake, but if we did, everything in the field would be gone. As he slivered off, we just kept on hugging the edge, now even more cautious. I am not afraid of too many things in the backwoods, but snakes just send chills down my spine. With less than 10 yards left before we can look out, we were now forced to crawl and yes, right over the slivering track of the aggressive snake. As JD, who is still leading, takes a look through the palmettos, an Osceola gobbler is in full strut facing us, just 25 yards away.
We quickly switch places and I make my way to get in position for a shot. Since he was the only bird in the field, and he was not alongside multiple birds with wandering eyes, I knew I it was going to happen. We have yet to even make a call and he gobbles. Since he was facing my direction I didn’t want to move my gun just above the palmettos causing him to be alert and run or fly off. I took the safety off and aimed the gun at the tip of the palmetto head. I knew if I just made a simple purr he would raise his head up leaving me a clear shot. Man, I love it when a good plan comes together. Just as he raised his head, I squeezed and feathers went flopping. What a hunt, which was only about 8 minutes long.
There’s nothing like that feeling of adrenaline just before success takes place. Almost every hunt has obstacles, but if adversity is on your side, success is not much further away. We were both aggressive and patient at the same time, leaving me with one Osceola tag filled and yet another one for my trophy room. Did I mention how awesome wild turkey breast tastes, mm mm GOOD! Hunt Strong & Never Give Up.
Camouflage: Realtree AP Green
Turkey Call: Straight Creek Calls (Diaphragm)
Gun: Remington 870 Express 12 Gauge
Choke: Primos Jelly Head
Boots: LaCrosse Alpha Lite 3.5
Conditioning: Hunt Strong, LLC.
Since our little girl came around two and a half years ago, my wife and I haven’t been able to hunt together near as much as we used to so when we do hunt together we try to make the most of it. January 7 2012 was no exception to that rule. We went out that morning and climbed up into the box on the famous “Trash Pile Field” and settled in all bundled up ready for action. We had been sitting there about an hour and had seen a few does when all of a sudden Lizzy said “Hogs” and got her gun up ready for a shot. Now those of you that know Elizabeth already know that when she sees hogs you better get out of the way cause she is about to shoot something. When she went for her gun, I quickly got the camera turned on and recording ready for the shot. It ended up being a big sow with five smaller, good eating sized pigs with her. When they got out in the field and stopped, Lizzy dropped the hammer on the big sow putting her down in her tracks. After some laughing and a hug we noticed that the other smaller pigs were still out in the field, so naturally Lizzy turns to me and says I think I’m gonna shoot another one. Well as much as the pigs have torn up everything on our farm I was fine with that idea. The more pigs we try to take off the property the better. Well she got on one of the other pigs and let him have it too and much to our amazement the rest of the pigs didn’t go very far. So after a couple of shots, Lizzy had successfully taken six pigs out of the population. So now we were really laughing and hugging and doing high fives cause we couldn’t believe she had gotten all six of them!
A few minutes passed, we settled down and did some cutaway stuff on camera, I happened to look down towards the end of the field and there was a pretty good buck just standing there surveying the field. I instantly recognized the buck from our hit list that we ironically called “Lizzy’s Buck” cause she had a close encounter with him during bow season but couldn’t get a shot off. I told her it’s your buck so get your gun up and shoot him. She quickly got in position and proceeded to let him have it also. He bucked up and ran into the woods as we sat there in amazement that she had just shot six pigs and a good buck all within 15 minutes of each other.
After a short tracking job we found her 8pt and then went to gather up all the hogs. It was a crazy sight taking pictures with all that pork and back-straps. If you have seen her on the show before you know her history of having some bad luck with her shooting, but on this day she had no problems at all connecting on everything she shot at. It was a cool fun day that we’ll remember for a long time.
On Jan 22, I went and sat in the box on the field we call “Traspile Field” , which has been a really good field over the years that has produced many different bucks for a lot of different people who have hunted there. I sprayed down with some Lethal scent killer and then climbed into the box right before daylight and settled in for the morning hunt. Right after daylight I started seeing does and some little bucks so I could tell it was going to be a promising morning. About 7:30 I heard a shot over where another buddy of mine was sitting. Jeff soon text me and said he got a pretty tall racked buck that had a messed up side. He ended up being another hit-list buck that we called “Dagger”. So with the bucks on their feet I was starting to get a little more serious with my scanning of the field.
Thirty minutes after Jeff shot, I saw a doe in the edge of the woods across the field from me and she was acting very nervous. I started scanning the edge of the woods with my Hawke binoculars and when I looked over to the left of the doe, there he stood in all his glory. It was The King right there in the edge of the field and I was gonna get my shot at him. When I saw him I instantly started shaking because of all the history with him. I quickly got my gun up and got the camera on him and steadied for the shot. When I shot, he bolted into the woods and I lost where he went. I couldn’t believe he ran off and started second guessing my shot. After a short wait I couldn’t stand it anymore and had to go check for blood. When I got over there I started getting worried cause I couldn’t find any blood or sign of a hit. I started looking around and walked in the direction he ran. Much to my delight he had only ran about 20 yards and piled up. I was very excited and started calling and texting everybody about it. Soon after I found him, my buddy Jeff came over and we drug him out and took some pictures in between all the high fives we were doing that morning.
The King is definitely not the biggest buck out on the farm but the quest to shoot him was one of my favorites chases that I’ve been on trying to shoot a certain deer that we got pictures of before season.
Jeremy’s Gear List:
Scent Control: Lethal Products
Optics: Hawke binos and scope
Pack: GamePlan Gear Spot N Stalk
Boots: LaCrosse Alpha Series
Before I was born, I was destined to be a hunter. That’s right! My mom and dad hunted together way before I was even a gleam in their eyes. Matter of fact, when my mother was pregnant with me, she would often go out with my dad to the backwoods in search of wild game.
To this very day, I am thankful for my dad introducing me to what I believe is the best sport on earth, hunting. Dad never had anyone introduce him to the outdoors, I guess you can say he introduced himself. He was curious and enjoyed being in the outdoors, so why not try hunting. Dad is a professional land surveyor by trade. He chose this profession because it was not an everyday “trapped in by four walls and a door” type setting. He was out on the job walking properties in the woods, laying out building foundations, along with drainage, entrances, and roadways.
My earliest memories of hunting are from back when I was just three years old, walking in my father’s footsteps as we eased through the backwoods in search of sign and game. There was no Realtree or Mossy Oak, we hunted in the old style camouflage, patches of green, brown, tan, and black. For the most part, we hunted from the ground in homemade blinds stacked full of brush and logs.
We mainly hunted Florida public land management areas, and were drawn for special quota hunts on hogs and deer every now and then. I think we saw more hunters than we actually did deer, but that was not the point. Yes, it would have been much more memorable if we saw a lot of game and dad harvested a mature buck every now and then, but he was teaching me the roles of nature and how to respect it. He taught me how to walk through the woods very quietly, not stepping on sticks and branches creating noise. He would point out rubs, scrapes, hog wallows, travel corridors, and animal tracks. We camped primitively, from the back of his 1983 Ford F-150, with a mattress we slept on under his camper top to keep us out of the elements. We cooked from a fire or used an old Coleman stove.
Every Thanksgiving, we would travel to my mom’s family’s property in North West Georgia just outside of Newnan in a small town known as Franklin. This was a trip I always looked forward to, just as I do today. Our property runs along the Chattahoochee River, now famous thanks to country music singer, Alan Jackson. We were much more successful hunting our property due to quality deer management and very little hunting pressure, not to mention, the rut was usually in full force around Thanksgiving. I can remember seeing deer most every trip, and I will never forget the first time when my father harvested a mature doe less than 5 yards right before my eyes. He taught me how to field dress the deer, along with all the rest of the work involved in cleaning animals. I was hooked! To this day, we still hunt together and continue to make many memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.
It is now my turn! My daughter Emma, who is 4 years old, is no stranger to the sport. She would kiss all my mounts good night before bedtime when she was just a year old. She watches all of daddy’s hunting shows including my favorite, The Backwoods Life, and loves my cooking, especially meats from successful hunts. She has had it all, from turkey to hogs to deer to elk. She understands how the sport of hunting is a key to survival. She respects guns and bows and knows not to touch them, but one day she will have one of her own. Of course, per her request, in her favorite color, pink.
Emma has been on multiple hunting trips with our family, riding our ATV ‘s, and sitting in a blind playing with her toys with her Grandma Juju. In her eyes, she was hunting and that’s all that mattered. This year it was going to be different! I coached her throughout the deer season on how to be quiet and not to make sudden movements. We rehearsed over and over what to do while sitting in a blind, especially if there was a deer in the vicinity. A goal of mine was to harvest a deer right before her eyes. She was pumped, saying how she wanted to pet it and take pictures with the deer.
It took a few attempts, but we finally got the job done. My wife, Robin, and Emma were set up in a Family Tradition Condo stand along an old oak bottom. I was set up in my GhostBlind tucked in along the edge about seventy yards adjacent from them. The stand they were set up in was set back off in the bottom well camouflaged with palmetto limbs so the deer could not detect any movement she might make.
It didn’t take long before deer were funneling through the bottom towards the acorns along the edge, with one of them being a 3 year old 8 point who needed another year of maturity. I could see both Robin and Emma watching the deer as they made it closer to where they were sitting. It’s our responsibility as hunters to place an ethical shot resulting in a clean humane harvest. This was especially important since Emma was watching. I took aim and gently squeezed the trigger knocking the mature doe dead in her tracks. She never knew what hit her. I quickly came out of the blind with both arms in the air with victory. Emma was just as excited as I was, eager to get out of the stand to go see her. I picked Emma up and gave her the biggest hug and told her how much it meant to me she was there to experience what I enjoy most.
I let her lead Robin and I towards the doe. She immediately started petting the doe and was eager to take pictures. She was all into watching me clean the doe asking me questions along the way. Emma, at 4 years old says to me as I was pulling the back-strap out, “Daddy, I know where my meat comes from, the deer”. That’s a statement only a small number of people in the United States can make. She has now witnessed the entire process of the hunt and all the work involved.
My job of inducting another hunter to our kingdom of hunters is one step closer for Emma. This is an experience both Robin and I will never forget. I hope Emma remembers this just like I did when I was a young boy. The Hunt Strong Lifestyle involves taking care of your body: physically, mentally, and spiritually. It’s all about living a long and prosperous life filled with many memories in the backwoods and introducing multiple hunters to the sport. I plan on doing the same thing for any other children Robin and I have, as well as my grandchildren, great grandchildren, family members, and friends. I can’t wait to experience Emma harvesting her first deer, hopefully in the near future. Hunting is the ultimate conservation, hunting is our way of Life, Amen!