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Keep Your Eye on the Target

Target practice can result in a successful hunt.
 
Like all sports or hobbies, it takes practice to become proficient and hunting is no different. Chances are, ardent bow hunters have already started tuning in their bows and aligning their sights by the time this issue of Get In The Game arrives at your local Dunham’s Sports store. To sharpen your skills (and keep them sharp year round), Dunham’s Sports offers a variety of targets that can help improve your chances of a successful hunt this year.
 
Portable Targets
 
The most affordable targets and the most convenient ones are portable targets. They can be set up in seconds and weigh next to nothing. One popular option is the new Block Black line from Field Logic. This square, cube-style archery target features a black background with white bull’s-eye graphics for optimal visibility.
 
“The targets on the Block Black line are offset to increase target life and enable hunters to practice on four sides,” said Field Logic’s Mike Weinkauf.
 
Further prolonging the targets’ function is the company’s use of a layered core; it stops the arrow with friction, rather than force. The Block Black line allows hunters to practice with any field tip or broadhead all year long without the fear of wearing down the target.
 
“We’ve put over 20,000 shots in this type of target and it was still good,” Weinkauf added.
 
Dunham’s Sports also carries Field Logic’s Hurricane Bag Targets that are specifically designed for steel points.
 
“Most other bag targets are hand-packed. Ours use compressed materials at 1,000 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure. That eliminates arrow pass-through. These are bright green targets with orange dots on them for exceptional visibility,” Weinkauf said.
 
Field Logic also offers the Gen Z Block Black line that is specifically designed for kids. It’s intended for bows of 40 pounds of draw or less.
 
Another option for portable targets is the Yellow Jacket line from Morrell Manufacturing. It also features patented technology to make arrow extraction easy, thereby increasing product life. As the name implies, it features a bright yellow background with red and black bull’s-eye graphics.
 
“Our Yellow Jacket targets are great for those who love to hunt or practice. They are durable, affordable and the yellow color makes them really easy to see,” said Butch Thomas, Morrell Manufacturing. “For the money, it’s a hard target to beat.”
 
Thomas also recommends the Yellow Jacket Discharge target. It’s designed for hunters to discharge their bow into the bag and features super easy arrow removal.
 
3D Targets
 
As the season approaches, most hunters will switch their practice to more realistic targets. That’s where 3D targets come into play.
 
“Our GlenDel line is by far the leading 3D archery target. Available in sizes that simulate 200-, 250-, and 300-lb. deer, they feature a removable, four-sided core, allowing you to shoot at all four sides,” Weinkauf said.
 
“You get four times the life that you would with some other targets. The core is also bigger, so it’s going to last a really long time. It will stop any arrow you can shoot at it,” Weinkauf added.
 
As Weinkauf explained, the core on the GlenDel line of products uses PolyFusion technology, which creates a more uniform layered compression. This allows for easier arrow removal and promotes longer target life. This 3D target stops field points, fixed and expandable broadheads.
 
Choosing The Right Target
 
With so many targets to choose from, it may be difficult to decide which is right for you. Here’s what our experts recommend.
 
“The Hurricane Bag is a great choice for the novice hunter. From there, the Block Black and the GlenDel are pretty even step points. Choosing the proper size of the GlenDel depends on where you live. You also get more target life out of the bigger ones versus the smaller ones,” Weinkauf said.
 
He recommends practicing with the Hurricane Bag year-round, starting to shoot the Block Black in July or so, then transitioning to the GlenDel in August or so to get your eyes focused on the target.
 
For more information about hunting targets, please consult with a knowledgeable Dunham’s Sports hunting consultant. Here’s to a successful hunting season!
 
-Deer Abby
 
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Practice Gun Safe Safety

Any responsible gun owner knows the importance of practicing proper safety techniques and precautions. One of the best and most responsible things you can do is purchase a reliable gun safe.
 
A gun safe can protect you and your family and ensure that your firearms do not end up in the wrong hands. That can mean protecting them from theft or even people in your home who should not be handling guns, like children. The National Institutes of Health suggests keeping a gun in a rack or safe to prevent children from gaining access to them.
 
Pasquale Murena of Cannon Safe suggests that gun owners take the eventual location of the safe into consideration when shopping for one. If you are putting the safe in the basement, for instance, it can be larger than one you plan to keep in your closet. Many gun owners choose to keep their safe in a closet or attached to a nightstand so that it is safely away from children but nearby if needed. The weight and size will be important considerations if you know where you want to keep the safe.
 
When looking for a gun safe, consider the hinges as well. Safes with exterior hinges can be easier to crack into. The safe you select should have interior hinges and a bolt length of at least four inches.
 
Another important tip Murena offers is to bolt your gun safe to the ground.
 
“You should always bolt your safe to the ground,” he said. “Cannon Safe gives you four predrilled holes for securing your safe to the ground. Safes are harder to get into when they are upright. Laying them on their backs are easier targets.”
 
A quality gun safe can also protect your valuable firearm collection from the elements, such as fire. Cannon Safes are tested with the “True Fire Test,” which involves testing the safe at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit to insure durability. The Cannon Safe warranty offers customers freight, locksmiths and a new safe at no cost should your safe be in a fire, burglary or natural flood.
 
Dunham’s Sports offers a wide range of Cannon Safes from the Safari, Armory and Scout Series. The Armory Series safes feature the EMP lock, which offers a mechanical lock as a backup to the electronic lock. The safes are available in an array of sizes and styles to fit any gun owner’s needs.
 
Hunting season wouldn’t be much fun if your firearms were stolen or damaged. So head to your local Dunham’s Sports to find the Cannon Safe that works best for you!
 
-Deer Abby
 
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To the Hunt! Safety.

With the arrival of fall, hunters have a lot to consider. Firearm safety should be first on the list.
 
Gun safety should be top of mind for every hunter. And statistics indicate it is. According to the National Safety Council, accidents involving firearms in the home have decreased significantly over the last twenty years. Data indicates that we’re being cautious in the field as well, as hunting is now ranked among the safest activities in America. But while we’re doing well, the beginning of hunting season is an excellent time to reinforce good habits and remind ourselves about the common-sense precautions that helped build that excellent safety record.
 
In the home
 
Safety considerations in the home are most critical, because home is where your family will be exposed to danger if firearms aren’t handled properly. As a firearm owner, you’re responsible. You have to know how to take care of guns and how to store them safely. If you’re not willing to assume that responsibility, you shouldn’t purchase a firearm.
 
Do unload outside. Don’t load inside. Before taking a sporting firearm into the home, make sure that it is unloaded. When unloading, point the firearm in a safe direction. Never load the firearm in the home. The best way to protect your family is to make absolutely certain that a loaded sporting firearm is never allowed in the home.
 
Store unloaded firearms out of the reach of children. A gun safe is the best alternative for this. See “Practice Gun Safe Safety” on page 24 for more information on the gun safes you’ll find at Dunham’s. Store ammunition in a different location, such as a locked cabinet or a second safe. When you remove a firearm from storage, check to make sure it is unloaded, even if you’re absolutely certain it’s unloaded.
 
A firearm-locking device can render a weapon unusable. Dunham’s carries both Remington cable locks that prevent a round from being chambered and Remington trigger blocks that make the trigger inoperable. Use a lock any time your weapon is in the home or otherwise not in use. A lock is additional security that comes at a small price.
 
Do it now. You might be tired when you return home from a hunting trip, but you must store your unloaded weapons and ammunition before you do anything else.
 
A contract with your kids. The National Shooting Sports Foundation suggests you have your children sign a firearms responsibility contract. A suggested format can be found on this page. Basically, it helps ensure that if your child does encounter a firearm, he or she won’t touch it.
 
In the Field
 
That first day of the season is thrilling, and enthusiastic hunters can’t wait to get out in the field. But before you grab your gun and go, take a few minutes to reflect on some standard precautions.
 
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot—or in any other body part. Self-inflicted gunshot wounds are common. Make sure the safety is on when you’re walking and keep your finger off the trigger. Keep the gun pointed at the ground or sky. If you tuck the gun under your arm and point it straight ahead, you could shoot your partner in the back. And check the safety over and over again. If you’re new to hunting or have just purchased a firearm, study its operation thoroughly before taking it out in the field.
 
Do you look like a deer? If you’re not wearing hunter orange, another hunter might very well mistake you for game. If you want to live to hunt another day, you have to make yourself visible while on the move. According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, in states where hunter orange is mandatory there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of vision-related shooting incidents. In many states, firearm hunters are required to wear an orange hat, cap, vest, jacket or rain gear. Camouflage outer garments are legal if 50% or more of the surface is hunter orange.
 
That firearm is loaded. Or at least you should treat it as though it is. Never assume that a firearm is unloaded, even if you know it’s unloaded or think you know it’s unloaded. Many hunters and innocent bystanders have been shot with “unloaded” guns.
 
Look beyond the target. If deer are moving toward you it could well be that other hunters are driving them in that direction. Before you pull the trigger be certain that no one is behind the prey, lest they become the prey. If someone is driving the deer, let’s hope they’re wearing hunter orange.
 
A dirty barrel is deadly. If you fall in the field and the barrel of your firearm strikes the ground, you have to make sure that it is clear. A fouled barrel can cause the firearm to explode in your hands. But before checking the barrel, make sure the firearm is unloaded and, if possible, that the safety is on.
 
It’s hunting season, and that’s cause for both joy and reflection. A little thought can go a long way toward keeping our loved ones and us safe in the home and in the field. There is no subject more important to the hunting community than firearm safety. Don’t ever forget that.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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The Simple Pleasures of a Silent Hunt

There’s no greater joy for hunters than that first day in the field, when they escape the rigors of modern life and return to their roots. At one Michigan company where I worked, the first day of deer season was a holiday. As it should be.
 
Now, thanks to an expanded crossbow season that includes much or all of the weeks allotted to archery and firearm hunting, that special day can come a bit sooner for many of us.
 
But the advantages of crossbow hunting go well beyond a longer hunting season. Rob Bluthardt, a Michigan hunter who has been harvesting bucks since he was a kid with both firearms and conventional bows, has been shooting with a crossbow for several years. “The main reason I love crossbow hunting is you get the challenge of bow hunting but the reliability and accuracy of hunting with a rifle,” says Rob.
 
Hunters haven’t always held crossbows in high regard. Bow hunters thought them to be a cheat, and complained that the archery season was no longer theirs alone. Firearm shooters considered crossbows inefficient. But most have come around. Many bow hunters have seen that a crossbow enables accurate shooting while preserving the silence and challenges that distinguish archery season. And firearm shooters now recognize that today’s crossbows are accurate weapons that can both extend the season and fill the freezer.
 
Upside, Downside
 
Crossbows offer advantages over conventional bows. A crossbow can be armed in advance, so you’re ready to shoot when opportunity presents itself. Pre-arming also enables shooting from a relaxed position, allowing accuracy at close range. A safety device helps prevent accidental discharge.
 
The downside is limited range. While a firearm can bring down a distant deer, crossbows are restricted to about 40 yards. That means no yapping in the deer stand, and factors like wind direction become critical. Plus you get only one shot. Second shots are usually not part of the program. But accuracy and stealth are skills every hunter should develop, so hunting with a crossbow can make us better.
 
The Modern Crossbow
 
While state regulations that encourage crossbow hunting are new, the weapon is an ancient one that was used by Chinese and Mediterranean civilizations prior to the first century. Early crossbows were conventional bows fitted with a trigger device. Today’s recurve crossbows are similar in concept. They’re quiet and light, but power and range are limited.
 
The majority of current crossbows are of a compound design. The draw is shorter than that of a conventional bow or recurve crossbow, so a cam system is used to enable plenty of draw weight and optimize delivery velocity.
 
Cocking devices are available for most crossbows. The mechanism pulls the string into a loaded position and can enable those with strength limitations to join the hunt. However, many able hunters employ a cocking device, as it makes loading more precise.
 
The Barnett Ghost 410, which is available at Dunham’s, is a great example of a modern compound crossbow. With a draw weight of 185 lbs., it can generate 149 ft. lbs. of energy and deliver a 22-inch arrow at a velocity of 410 feet per second. Yet it weighs only 7.2 lbs. That minimal weight is the result of a design that employs advanced carbon construction.
 
Dunham’s also offers less expensive crossbows. For example, the best-selling Barnett Wildcat C5 is a reasonably priced weapon with a draw weight of 150 lbs. That’s sufficient to deliver a 20-inch arrow at a speed of 310 feet-per-second. The SA Sports Ambush Crossbow is very affordable and is a good entry-level weapon. The Titan Extreme by Ten Point is a medium-priced alternative. With 180 lbs. of draw weight it can deliver an arrow at 333 feet- per-second. A built-in crank cocker reduces the cocking tension to a mere 5 lbs. Dunham’s sales consultants are well educated in crossbow technology and can help you choose a bow that’s right for you.
 
Getting to the Point
 
Crossbows fire arrows, called “bolts,”are similar to those used in conventional bows but shorter and heavier. Extra heft means they hit the target with plenty of force. The best bolts are made of carbon fiber and can retain more velocity downfield than less expensive aluminum bolts.
 
At the business end of the bolt is the penetrating broadhead. Available in various configurations and weights, it must be matched to the game to achieve a quick, humane kill. A lighter broadhead can achieve greater speed but won’t hit with as much force as a heavier one.
 
Fixed-blade broadheads require some preparation before going out in the field. Because broadheads differ in flight characteristics, scope adjustment and bow tuning should be worked out on the target range. Retractable blade broadheads, which expand only on impact, fly true and are a good solution for hunters who can’t put in time on the range. The blades of all broadheads should be sharpened every time the arrow is fired to ensure maximum effectiveness.
 
Deer season is upon us. See you in the field.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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Priceless Peace of Mind

When it comes to gun safety, there is no such thing as overly cautious. And a modern, secure gun safe is the most certain way to protect your home and loved ones. While you may have confidence in your ability to maintain control over weapons without locking them up, many disaster examples say otherwise. A quality gun safe can protect your weapons while keeping them out of the hands of curious children – or hardcore criminals who could turn your weapons on you and your family.
 
To many, the words “gun safe” suggest a hulking box that takes up a lot of real estate. And while there are safes large enough to contain a substantial collection of long guns, small safes meant to protect a single handgun are also available. The small safes do a good job of keeping weapons and children separated, but since they can easily be carted off and opened later, they don’t offer much in terms of protecting your gun investment or keeping your weapon out of the hands of criminals.
 
From models that can fit in a desk drawer to those that can fill a room, safes are now available in a wide range of sizes and shapes. Most have shelves and racks that can be positioned in a variety of ways to accommodate a range of equipment. In choosing one that’s right for your weapons, consider the length of your long guns, the number of guns that will be stored, and space requirements for ammunition and accessories. You might also want to devote part of your safe to documents or valuable storage, so don’t scrimp when it comes to size. And if you’re a firearm enthusiast, remember that your collection will likely grow larger over the years. Nothing says, “plan ahead” like two small safes standing side-by-side
 
A Premium Product
 
But while size matters, it’s not the only consideration. Equally important are locking security, fire resistance and waterproofing. Not all locking systems are created equal, and while most of today’s better safes offer protection from the elements, the quality and level of temperature resistance and moisture sealing varies.
 
The best safes offer extensive protection from fire and water, along with multiple locking points. For example, one of the most popular gun safes available at Dunham’s is the Total Defense 28-gun fire resistant/waterproof safe from Stack-On, The safe is approved by the California Department of Justice for firearm safety and features four-way locking with eight 1.5-inch locking bolts. A durable combination lock opens the safe and a hardened steel plate behind the lock resists drilling. The safe can resist fire for up to 30 minutes at 1400° F. It’s built with insulation inside the doors and walls and a fire seal at the door’s closure point. The seal expands when heated and can keep out smoke and soot.
 
The safe is also water resistant and can keep your guns and valuables dry for up to 72 hours in as much as 2 feet of standing water. Both the fire resistance and waterproof ratings are not just the opinion of the manufacturer. The safe was tested by ETL, an independent testing lab. Look for ETL ratings when purchasing any safe that is said to be waterproof or fire resistant.
 
With more than 17 cubic feet of interior space, the safe is engineered to accommodate different storage needs. It’s fully carpeted and equipped with six interior shelves. It can be configured to hold 28 guns, converted to hold 14 guns plus storage items or set up for storage only. Barrel rests help organize and protect stored long guns. In an online review, a buyer wrote, “This safe is very flexible in how you position weapons, shelves, etc. If you have an assortment of long arms and handguns, this safe will fit your needs well.”
 
A Wealth of Choices
 
Dunham’s also carries a wide range of other Stack-On gun safes and cabinets. Among the safes are 24-, 36- and 48-gun fire-resistant safes from Stack-On’s Elite line. Gun cabinets are offered in 8-gun and 14-gun models. Also available are smaller personal and quick access safes.
 
Gun cabinets are an alternative to safes for those who aren’t looking for protection from fire, water or professional thieves, but just want to keep their weapons out of the reach of small children.
 
The 14-gun Stack-On Steel Security Cabinet can hold up to 14 guns and has a removable shelf. Foam padding on the bottom of the cabinet protects weapons. A key lock and three-point locking system provide good security. The cabinet meets the California Department of Justice standards for firearm safety.
 
Choosing a storage safe or cabinet is simply a matter of determining what’s right for you and your family. If you need premium security and protection, the Total Defense 28-gun safe is a great fit. But if flooding isn’t a concern, one of the Elite series safes can provide security. And for those who only want to restrict access to weapons in the home, a gun cabinet is a great choice.
In the final analysis, one can never be overcautious when it comes to the secure storage of weapons. Peace of mind is priceless.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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Set Your Sights on a Successful Hunt

For hunters, there’s no better time than fall and the thrill that the new hunting season brings. Crisp mornings spent stalking favorite prey are preceded by relentless preparation. Like any other sport or hobby, success is often dependent on the quality of the equipment. When it comes to hunting rifles, it’s difficult to surpass the quality and name recognition of Remington. Dunham’s Sports carries three specific Remington hunting rifles: the 700 ADL, the 770 and the newly introduced 783.
 
Remington 783
 
“Our Model 783 is a brand-new bolt-action rifle designed to deliver accuracy, shot after shot,” said Remington’s John Benjamin. (The Remington 783 is available at Dunham’s Sports.)
 
“The Remington 783 features a carbon steel magnum contour button rifled barrel that is threaded into a cylindrical receiver and tied together with a barrel nut. This is the heaviest sporter weight barrel that we make. It’s all done for accuracy and the receiver provides lot of mass and a solid platform to thread the barrel into,” added John Fink of Remington.
 
The 783 is available in a choice of four calibers: 270 Win, 30-06 Springfield, 308 Win and 7mm Remington Magnum. Features include a detachable magazine box with a steel latch. It’s durable, reliable and provides one-handed operation — either in or out of the gun. The 783 also features a new CrossFire™ trigger system set at 3.5 lbs. and consumer-adjustable from 2.5 lbs. to 5 lbs. Additional 783 features include a pillar-bedded stock and free-floated barrel for shot consistency and a SuperCell™ recoil pad for comfortable shooting.
 
Remington 770
 
“For those new to hunting, we offer our 770 model; it’s ideal as a first rifle,” Benjamin said.
 
The Remington 770 is bolt-action, center-fire rifle and is available in most deer-hunting cartridges. It features a synthetic stock with hammer forged barrel and 60 degree bolt throw and includes a pre-mounted and boresighted 3-9x40mm scope.
 
“This is a very good, functional working rifle. Dunham’s carries it in a variety of calibers, for whatever game you are pursuing,” Fink explained.
 
The 770 is available in blued with black synthetic stock and molded sling swivel studs. It’s priced below the Remington 783.
 
Remington 700 ADL
 
For more seasoned hunters, Dunham’s Sports offers the Remington 700 ADL hunting rifle. It features a black synthetic stock with swivel studs, a pre-mounted and boresighted 3-9x40mm scope and an X-Mark Pro trigger set at 3 1/2 lbs. from the factory.
 
“The Remington 700 delivers legendary action and is revered by hunters for its accuracy,” Benjamin said.
 
“We introduced the Remington 700 in 1962 and since then, it’s the standard by which all other rifles are measured. It’s going to deliver on durability, accuracy and reliability. You can hunt with this rifle for your entire life, then hand it down to the next generation,” Fink explained.
 
The Remington Model 700 ADL is available at Dunham’s Sports.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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Pointers on Pointers

So you’re decked out in your camo, have your weapon of choice, your tree stand or blind is set up and the truck is packed. But now what? What do you do once you get out there to ensure that you’re able to lure that trophy buck to make all your hunting buddies jealous?
 
Baiting Basics
 
In order to make sure you get as many deer in your area as possible, there is an endless array of different techniques and products designed to assist with your big hunt. Attractants, mock scrapes and rubs, mineral licks, and even deer urine have been formulated to be as effective as possible in luring deer to your desired hunting area.
 
But with all products, there are techniques that should be followed to ensure that they are used in the most effective manner possible. Ron Bice of Wildlife Research Center, Inc. offers some insight. For scrape locations, Bice explains, deer normally visit their scrapes at night. Scent drippers at scrape sites force a deer to alter his routine of visiting his scrape, bringing him right into your crosshairs.
 
Drip, Drip, Drip
 
“When using hunting scents, the method you use to set up the scent can increase the effectiveness of the product,” explains Bice. “We’ve developed several scent dispensers and methods, which we feel are the most effective ways to use hunting scents. For example Magnum Scrape-Drippers® are great for use at natural and mock scrape locations. They’re a special device that drips the scent out in a regulated manner. The important thing that makes them so different and effective is that they drip daytime only.”
 
On Your Mark-ings…
 
Another technique, as offered by Todd Weston of Wildgame Innovations/Evolved/Synergy, utilizes various markings left by deer at a given site. Using a mineral attractant in the correct manner will get the deer visiting your site over a long period of time.
 
“First, find the heavy thick cover in your area and start with mineral attractants like Deer Cain and Black Magic,” Weston said. “Mix with a small amount of water for immediate effectiveness. Look for signs like large tracks, droppings, rubs or signs of grazing on fresh growth. Once the deer locate your site, refresh the attractant every 30 to 60 days, and the deer will establish frequent visits.”
 
If you’re unsure of what products are best for you, there are some things to consider. According to Weston, if you have the ability to regularly check your site, powder forms can be beneficial. However, if you’re only able to make it to your site one or two times per month, then block-type feed and attractants will last longer. Finally, liquid or gel products that last only a short time in the elements are best if you’re on a shorter hunting trip. No matter your hunting excursion, there’s an abundance of products to make your hunt a success.
 
Staying Stealthy
 
With all of the varieties of products and techniques available to get as many deer in your hunting area as possible, hunters can’t forget that their smell will repel deer from long distances. Luckily, though, there have been many advances in the technology of blocking human scent from dispersing into the air. Consumers can look for products like Wildlife Research Center’s Scent Killer spray as one avenue to prevent a hunter’s scent from scaring away any deer.
 
“Anytime you hunt or scout for whitetails, you should be concerned about reducing human and other odors. Scent Killer® products can really help,” explains Bice. “Spraying your clothes with Scent Killer spray may be the easiest and most critical single thing you can do in the effort to eliminate human odor. It will dramatically reduce the human odor passing into the air from your body. It will also minimize the human odor being left in your stand area and your trail to it, dramatically reducing scent transfer.”
 
One of the most important things to remember when hunting is that a deer’s most powerful defense is its nose. Bice explains that thousands of deer avoid humans countless times each year, often without the hunter noticing, because the deer smelled the hunter.
 
Traverse Your Terrain
 
Spending some time in the field scouting your terrain is the best way to learn your area and find the best locations for deer. If there’s an area with markings that show deer have been there, it’s likely they’ll be back. Weston offered one more tip: “Remember to go where the deer are!”
 
Whether you’re looking for your first trophy or you’re running out of space on the walls of your hunting cabin, there are countless products and techniques to both lure deer to you and keep your scent protected. Thanks to great companies like Wildlife Research Center and Wildgame Innovations/Evolved/Synergy, it’s never been easier for hunters to find the right product to get as many deer as possible. And with the help of knowledgeable Dunham’s Sports hunting experts, you’ll have no problem bagging that buck.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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Clothes Makes the Hunter

While your choice of weapons may be the single most important factor in hunting, what you wear is also important. Not only should your clothing help disguise you from your prey, but your choice of boots and outerwear will be a big factor in how comfortable you are.
 
From the Ground Up
 
Hunting boots are the obvious place to start because at some point you’re going to have to get to your prey. What to look for in a boot depends on the type of hunting you will do. “If you’re constantly moving in search of prey, then flexibility and durability will be most important to you,” says Trent Busenbark of Bushnell Boots. “But if you’re in a tree stand most of the time just waiting for deer, then insulation and warmth will be your priorities because you’ll have less circulation to keep your blood warm.”
 
Keeping water out of your boots is an important consideration if you are hunting near lakes and in marshland.  While you can always add waterproofing protection to your boots, it’s obviously better to start with designs that keep the water out.
 
Sophisticated Designs
 
High-tech engineering has long been part of the boot design business, with sophisticated polymers and foam design. For example, EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) is a compression-molded foam that combines durability with light weight design. So-called “memory foams” also emphasize comfort. These mold to the shape of the foot and provide close to a custom fit. Keeping water out of boots is obviously a priority, and technology such as neoprene rubber has greatly improved water resistance in hunting boot design.
 
Recognizing that different parts of the foot require different amounts of support, Bushnell uses varying densities for the insole, toe and heel. That kind of design takes into account how your foot actually works. Above all, the emphasis is on comfort. “You put these boots on, and you think you’re wearing tennis shoes,” Busenbark says.
 
Under Armour has come up with a specific design for tree-stand hunting. Its HAW (Hurry Up and Wait) boots use an air-mesh lining that increases airflow and also wicks sweat from the foot — a characteristic the company has become famous for in its high compression athletic wear. These boots also use heel lock memory foam that features higher viscosity and density for more support and comfort.
 
Clothes That Get the Job Done
 
Hunting clothes are a lot like work clothes — you’re more interested in them helping you get a job done than looking good (though that’s a plus, of course). Fit is very important because you’ll be doing a lot of different kind of stretching and exercising. When you raise your arms up, the whole jacket shouldn’t go up with them. And if you’re going to climb into a deer blind you want the pants to be cut plenty loose.
 
Temperatures vary greatly during hunting season and what is warm and snuggly at dawn may be stifling hot when the noontime sun arrives. The answer is layering — so you can peel back clothes as the mercury rises. It’s the same concept used in all kinds of winter activities in the Midwest, but some hunting apparel manufacturers have advanced the idea. Rocky Brands has introduced three different layers — Level I, II and III, to ensure temperature flexibility. “By the time you’ve stripped down to Level I, it’s almost like you’re in a t-shirt,” says company representative Sam Bowman.
 
While layering is a universal concept, there are specific clothing technologies designed for the hunter.  Various manufacturing techniques provide additional warmth as well as waterproofing. And there are ways clothing can make your quieter in the woods. Under Armour’s Ridge Reaper® Camo Shell Jacket uses strategically stretched four-way fabric that reduces noise from the clothing.
 
Besides clothing, there are different color and tag requirements that vary state by state. David Avila from Master Sportsman suggests asking your Dunham’s sales associate for your local information.
 
Passing the Smell Test
 
The most acute sense for most animals is smell. Thus, it is critical you mask your scent in the field, and that is much more difficult than using camouflage or staying quiet. Virtually everything we come in contact affects how we smell. You can cover up smells, but the most effective way to eliminate them is with clothing designed to trap those odors.
 
Scent-Lok has been a pioneer in this field, using activated carbon. The system uses the process of physical adsorption, similar to a sponge only with air instead of water. In the fabric of clothing the carbon creates a bond that traps odor molecules produced by the body. Activated carbon acts like microscopic Velcro. When the odor molecules come into contact with the activated carbon, they are trapped within the pores until the product is reactivated.
 
Reactivation is achieved by putting the activated carbon fabric in a dryer where the heat from the dryer will break the bond with the odor compounds. The odor compounds are released and the activated carbon is virtually as good as new. Typically, reactivation should occur after 30 to 40 hours of use, but always check the garment for washing and drying instructions.
 
Under Armour has introduced new scent control clothing where the reactivation occurs in the washer, not the dryer. “The advantage,” according to Under Armour’s Eddie Stevenson, “is that you don’t need to have the heat of the dryer and the product will last longer.”
 
Camouflage Underwear?
 
And if you just have to be completely ready for the hunt, how about some camouflage underwear? Under Armour makes camo-design boxer briefs, but they aren’t just for “show.” They have the Under Armour signature sweat wicking power along with anti-odor technology.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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Baiting the Big Buck

When trying to lure in that big trophy buck, it’s just as much about technique as it is about being in the right place at the right time. Through the use of various technologies, luring a buck between your crosshairs has never been easier. Food plots, attractants, mock scrapes, salt licks, and different types of deer urine give hunters a plethora of options when it comes to baiting your trophy. And thanks to brands like C’mere Deer, Wildlife Research, and Tinks, it’s never been easier.
 
The smell is a deer’s strongest sense, so it’s something hunters need to exploit. Ron Bice at Wildlife Research Center explains that a deer can smell somewhere around 1,000 times stronger than a human, and offers some great products hunters can use.
 
“When you are using hunting scents, the method that you use to set up the scent can increase the effectiveness of the product,” Bice explains. “We have developed several scent dispensers and methods, which we feel are the most effective ways to use hunting scents. Our Magnum Scrape-Dripper® is for use at natural and mock scrape locations.”
 
Bice also recommends a scent wick, which effectively disperses the scent into the air. This results in a wider range being covered, thus attracting more deer.
 
“The Key-Wick® by Wildlife Research Center® is the world’s favorite scent wick and it’s easy to see why. The economical, convenient shape, extreme absorbance, and high scent dispersion of the Key-Wick®, revolutionized the industry. Their convenient shape even allows users to dip them right into a bottle of liquid scent and hold an unbelievable quantity.”
 
There are also varying options when creating a food plot. Jedd Culler of C’mere Deer explains that using a product like 3-day Harvest is ideal for shorter-term hunts, like if you were to head up north with the boys for the weekend.
 
“…If you just have a weekend to hunt, you can use the 3-day Harvest mixed with patented C’mere Deer root extract to attract the dominant bucks,” said Culler.
 
Terry Rohm of Tinks explains that scent bombs can be an effective technique to use all around a hunter’s scope area. However, wind must be taken into consideration for them to be as effective as possible.
 
“Hunters should hang three or more scent bombs around their hunting location with Tink’s #69 in them, or if it is early season, then Tink’s #1 Doe-P would be a better choice,” Rohm explains. “The reason for three or more is because of changing wind directions. One must remember for a deer lure to work, the animal has to be downwind to smell it. The scent bombs are bright orange and can be hung in trees. Also bow hunters can use them as yardage markers.”
 
While deer use their sense of smell as an advantage, they use rubs and scrapes as ways to communicate with each other. Rohm explains that when a buck rubs his head against a tree, a gland secretes a scent on the tree. Other ways they communicate is by rub urination, in which case the buck paws the ground, then urinates down over his tarsal glands, leaving scents in the dirt.
 
This is where mock rubs and scrapes come in to play. They essentially give a buck the illusion that another is trying to take over its territory. It lures the buck back to his area, so it can investigate the foreign scent.
 
“A mock scrape is one you create to mimic the natural scrapes in the area, to fool a buck into thinking a new buck is trying to take over his territory,” Bice explains. “In the fall of the year, a scrape is made by a whitetail buck to mark breeding territory. The fall’s decreasing sunlight triggers extremely elevated amounts of testosterone released in his body. This begins to happen during the end of August and beginning of September.”
 
So you have your mock scrape. What next? Bice advises hunters find the freshest scrape that a hunter can find in the area. An item to keep in mind is the Magnum Scrape-Dripper® which can be added to a mock scrape. This will drift a scent downwind, alerting the deer of a foreign scent at or near his original scrape. Scrape drippers can also last up to three weeks, and shut off when it’s too cold or when inclement weather arises.
 
With all of the options available to hunters at Dunham’s stores this season, there’s no reason not to get that trophy buck every hunter desires. And with the help of great brands like C’mere Deer, Wildlife Research, and Tinks, you’d better clear off some wall space.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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