Archive for the ‘Hunting’ Category


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
 
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail or text message programs (or both). Sign Up Now

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
 
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail or text message programs (or both). Sign Up Now

The Proper Apparel Makes The Hunt Comfortable and More Productive

Most of us would not golf wearing a parka or trout fish in Montana wearing only a bathing suit. Each sport has specific apparel and gear suited to keep us comfortable during our endeavor. The more comfortable we are, the better our chances for success. This definitely applies to hunting and its diverse terrain and weather conditions. Especially during the early hunting season in the Midwest, dressing in layers is important, as fall mornings start off cool and gradually warm up by mid-day. Unlike other sports, there’s an additional aspect to hunting: we must not let the prey become aware of our presence. That’s why today’s hunting gear, from apparel to footwear, features camouflage and scent control, enabling us to blend into the environment.
 
Apparel Isn’t Just for Appearance
 
“The most popular hunting prey throughout the world is the white-tailed deer and its best defense is its nose. To give hunters a fair advantage, our company makes superior, scent-control apparel featuring Carbon Alloy Technology,” said Alex Gyllstrom of ScentLok.
 
ScentLok products found at your local Dunham’s include the Savanna Classic jacket, Savanna Classic pants and the Classic Cotton insulated jackets. To make it easier for hunters to choose the proper equipment based on climate conditions, ScentLok created weather icons (warm, cool, cold) for its apparel.
 
“Our Savanna products feature incredible price points that deliver superior results to Dunham’s customers. They’re designed to keep hunters cool while controlling odor,” Gyllstrom added.
 
ScentLok’s Classic Cotton jacket and pants, meanwhile, can be worn during the entire hunting season in our surroundings. Their design helps keep the moisture and wind away and can be layered underneath for added warmth.
 
Taking a different approach to odor control is Under Armour, the company synonymous with athletic apparel.
 
“Our exclusive UA Scent Control technology, found in products such as our Ridge Reaper line, features a blend of Zeolite fused with antimicrobial silver that lasts 10 times longer than traditional carbon scent blockers. It’s also lighter and quieter, giving hunters a big competitive advantage,” said Kevin Perry, Under Armour.
 
The Ridge Reaper line of hunting apparel features the company’s Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish to repel water without sacrificing breathability. It’s wind-resistant, wicks sweat away from the body and features a secure front kangaroo pocket with an internal ammo pouch.
 
For colder mornings, Perry recommends the company’s Ayton line of hoody, jacket and pants with their 300-weight fleece construction. They include many of the same attributes found in the Ridge Reaper line.
 
“The Ayton line delivers exceptional performance value for Dunham’s customers, allowing them to get into the Under Armour brand at an affordable price,” Perry said.
 
Apparel Care Takes Little Effort
 
The great thing about today’s hunting apparel is that it requires little care. The ScentLok products, for example, are meant to be washed only once or twice a year unless they get visibly dirty, such as getting muddy or bloody. The items have to be washed with unscented detergent or activated carbon detergent.
 
Reactivating the carbon process requires placing the apparel in a household dryer for 40-50 minutes on high heat. The carbon can be reactivated at any time, though ScentLok recommends doing so after 30 hours. The company also recommends storing the items in an airtight container or bag to ensure the apparel doesn’t pick up environmental odors.
 
According to Under Armour’s Perry, taking care of his company’s hunting apparel is even easier.
 
“Thanks to our Zeolite technology, there’s no need to place the items in the dryer to reactivate the scent control, since it’s good for the life of the garment. Simply wash and wear them,” he said.
 
Footwear to Boot
 
Dunham’s truly has hunters covered from head to toe, with specialized footwear uniquely suited to the weather and hunt location. As with the rest of the apparel, the footwear features camo and odor-neutralizing technology.
 
“Our Swamp Walker 2000 boot features 2,000 grams of Thinsulate, which is 10 times the minimum required amount. That makes these boots much warmer during the fall hunting season,” said Marty Lynch of Itasca Footwear.
 
As Lynch explained, the Swamp Walker 2000 are 17-inches tall, waterproof and feature an ankle-fit design, meaning they will stay on your foot if you have step through mud. The boots are made of print rubber, so they’re scent free. They also feature a slip-resistant outsole and a removable insole.
 
Also ideal for walking through mud is the Rocky MudSox 7284 camouflage boot. According to Mark Pitts of Rocky Brands, this boot features 800 grams of Thinsulate Ultra insulation and incorporates the company’s SIQ Atomic technology, which helps control human odor on the microbial level.
 
“Our MudSox 7284 boot is ideally suited for someone moving about. It features a heel kick tab, making it easier to remove the boot,” he said.
 
Better suited for climbing or sitting in a tree stand is the Rocky MudSox 4784 camo boot. It features 1,000 grams of Thinsulate Ultra insulation for greater warmth, a neoprene liner and a rubber outer shell. It also features the company’s scent control program.
 
“One nice thing about the 4784 boot is that it features an open-cell foam foot bed that’s removable, allowing the customer to add more cushioning with time. This MudSox boot also has an EVA midsole that takes pressure off and reduces the weight you put onto your feet,” Pitts added.
 
Yet another rubber boot is Under Armour’s H.A.W (Hurry up And Wait) line. It’s lightweight, water-resistant, and breathable. It features an air-mesh lining that increases airflow and wicks sweat to keep your foot dry. It also features an internal heel lock memory foam that forms to your foot for a secure, customized fit.
 
“Our H.A.W. boots provides a superior level of comfort, along with warmth and protection. It’s a great boot for tree stands,” Perry explained.
 
For those looking for a leather camo boot that is waterproof, Dunham’s carries Itasca’s Cascade Extreme and Big Buck Hunter models.
 
The Cascade Extreme features 400 grams of Thinsulate and features a Mossy Oak camo nylon upper, a waterproof shell bottom, a removable liner, a dual-padded collar and traction rubber outsole.
 
For those looking for even warmer leather boots, Itasca offers their Big Buck Hunter model with 800 grams of Thinsulate. This waterproof boot features a Mossy Oak camo nylon upper, a removable cushion insole and a non-typical traction rubber outsole.
 
“Exclusive to Dunham’s is our 8220 Rocky Cornstalker,” Pitts added. “It features a full-grain leather upper, 1000 Denier Courdura nylon, Gore Tex waterproofing, 1,000 grams of Thinsulate Ultra, Cornstalker Bob outsole and Mossy Oak break up camo. It can be used for hunting or work, is an excellent cold-weather boot and it’s guaranteed to be waterproof for one year.”
 
Another multipurpose boot from Rocky Brands is the 7481 sport utility boot. It features a one-piece rubber outsole and, according to Pits, is popular with the construction industry. The 10” tall boot is dipped in urethane and features Thinsulate Ultra for foot warmth. It’s available Mossy Oak break up camo.
 
Caring for your hunting boots is easy and it’s a task that can be accomplished in minutes. Leather boots should be occasionally conditioned with leather oil, while rubber boots merely require hosing off any caked-on mud.
 
Having the proper gear and proper apparel can make any hunt more productive, more comfortable and more enjoyable. Especially if you are new to hunting, be sure to speak with a Dunham’s sales professional to ensure you are properly outfitted with apparel that is ideally suited to your terrain and your prey.
 
-Deer Abby
 
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail or text message programs (or both). Sign Up Now

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
 
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail or text message programs (or both). Sign Up Now

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
 
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail or text message programs (or both). Sign Up Now

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
 
*To receive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, sign up for Dunham’s Rewards.

Getting High for the Hunt

Hunting from a tree stand can put you one up on the game
 
Some successful hunters like to get above it all – in a tree stand. Hunting from on high can provide a good view of the target and a clear shot. But there’s more to it than climbing a tree. Successful tree-stand hunting requires careful planning and the right equipment.
 
Where to Take Your Stand
 
It seems obvious that you would locate your tree stand where game is active, yet too many hunters skip the preliminaries and erect a stand without scouting. So, the first rule is learn the habits of the game, then locate the stand. (For tips on scouting, see our trail cameras article on page 28.)
 
When placing a stand, don’t look for a tree that nicely suits your purpose, look for a site where deer are likely to be active, such as along a trail, near food or where bucks have left scrapes and tree rubs.
 
Once you’ve chosen your hunting ground, mount the stand on a tree that allows a good shot at the target area. Don’t locate upwind from the target site. Locate downwind and at least 30 yards away. The further away from the target you can position yourself, the better, providing you’re in range for a shot.
 
How High is High Enough
 
How far above ground you place your stand depends on some factors. If there are few obstructions to block your view, 10 to 15 feet above the ground is adequate. But if undergrowth extends above that height, you might have to mount your tree stand 20 feet up or higher. It’s all about getting to a position where you can see your target area.
 >
Covering Up
 
Deer can see, you know, so you should provide cover. One strategy is to locate your stand amidst a group of trees that can shield you. You may have to clear a few branches to open up shooting lanes, but don’t overdo it. And while a duck hunter in the field may wear orange to avoid being shot, you don’t want to do that up in your stand. Camouflage clothing is the order of the day for tree-stand shooters. But keep an orange or red jacket in your equipment bag and put it on before you walk through the woods.
 
Shut Up and Shoot
 
You and your buddy may want to talk about last night’s NFL game. Don’t do it. Deer can not only smell and see, they can hear. And if you start talking sports in their presence, they’re going to hightail it out of there.
 
Selecting a Tree Stand
 
Among the popular tree stands offered at Dunham’s are the one- and two-hunter ladder stands from Big Game Tree stands. Designed to attach simply to a tree, the steel stands consist of a platform with one or two chairs and a ladder. They can be attached to a tree in a matter of minutes, blend well with the tree trunk, and provide a comfortable place to wait out the arrival of Mr. Buck.
 
Conventional steel tree stands from Big Game are similar in design, but come without the attached ladder. They’re available in a variety of sizes. The company also makes a climbing system that can be used with a conventional stand or to help set up a ladder stand.
 
Dunham’s stocks numerous tree-stand products from Rivers Edge Tree Stands. That company’s Twoplex™ Comfort Ladder is an 18-foot, two-hunter stand offering a padded shooting rail, extra-wide ladder and a comfortable mesh seat and backrest.
 
All tree stands come unassembled, but have few parts and go together quickly with common tools.
 
-Deer Abby
 
*To receive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, sign up for Dunham’s Rewards.

Crossbow Evolution

Today’s Modern High-Tech Crossbows are Lighter, Stronger, Faster, Quieter and More Accurate!
 
Whether you are a seasoned hunter or searching for the ideal crossbow for your first hunt, you will be amazed by the selection of modern, high-tech crossbows now available at Dunham’s. Choosing the right type and model that best fits your needs and personal style will have a lasting impact on your hunting success for years to come because, with only minimal maintenance and care, most modern crossbows will last a lifetime.
 
A Recurve or Compound Crossbow
 
A recurve crossbow has tips that curve away from the archer. Solid limbs are attached to a sturdy stock. A longer draw length compared to an equivalent sized straight archery bow allows a recurve crossbow to produce tremendous power. Compound crossbows use either single or split limbs along with integrated pulleys or cam systems to capture maximum energy with a relatively short draw length. Although more complex and usually heavier than a recurve crossbow, hunters appreciate a compound crossbow’s more compact size, especially in tree stands or blinds where space is at a premium. The great news is that over the past few years’ manufacturers have pushed the technology envelope to make both recurve and compound crossbows lighter, stronger, faster and more accurate than ever before.
 
Simple Excellence
 
The Axiom SMF from Excalibur Crossbow is a powerful example of simplicity and excellence in a recurve crossbow at an affordable price.
 
“We believe that when you’re hunting, simple is better,” says Steve Scheffel of Excalibur Crossbows. “The biggest advantage of a recurve crossbow is the simplicity of it. There are very few moving parts. If you cock that string centered every time, it is going to shoot exactly the same every time. We also continually strive to improve our quality and performance each year. Hold our Axiom SMF in your hands and you’ll see that it’s an exceptionally well-designed and quality-built crossbow with a surprisingly affordable price.”
 
Lightweight construction, including a space-age composite stock, helps make the Axiom SMF one of the lightest recurve crossbows available. With a mass weight of under six pounds, it is incredibly easy to carry, easy to travel and easy to shoot. A computer-machined frame ensures precise arrow alignment and field accuracy. Capable of producing arrow speeds in excess of 305-feet-per-second, the Axiom SMF also features the same high-quality multiplex scope and trigger safety system as some Excalibur models costing hundreds of dollars more.
 
Two impressive advantages the Axiom SMF also offers is that it can be decocked safely without shooting an arrow and, if necessary, the string can be replaced in the field without using a bow press. In addition, the Excalibur Axiom SMF kit available at Dunham’s also includes a rope cocking aid and arrow quiver, plus four Firebolt arrows complete with field points.
 
Size Does Matter
 
If you’re searching for a quality built, high-tech, dependable compound crossbow with plenty of performance, look no further that the Titan Extreme from TenPoint.
 
“We precision-engineer every detail of each crossbow we make, and that’s why TenPoint crossbows deliver the most dependable, accurate and high-performance shooting experience available today,” says Brian Osterwalder of TenPoint Crossbow Technologies. “What makes our Titan Extreme really special is that it is only 16 ½ inches wide in the cocked position. That compares to some compound bows that are up to 27 inches wide. We’ve also made the Titan Extreme lighter, quieter and easy to cock. Our patented DFI system (Dry-Fire-Inhibitor) prevents dry-firing when not loaded. And for better accuracy and shooting distance we’ve also increased speed up to 333-feet-per-second.”
 
A new longer and narrower thumb-hole stock and light-weight, quick-disconnect quiver contribute to reduced weight. A quiet operating automatic safety system reduces noise and accommodates both right and left-handed shooters. The Titan Extreme is also surprisingly easy to cock for hunters of all ages and physical abilities or limitations. In fact, TenPoint’s patented ACUdraw cocking mechanism requires only about seven pounds of pressure to turn the handle at the maximum position.
 
The Titan Extreme kit available at Dunham’s includes TenPoint aluminum arrows plus a ProView scope with a wider field of view compared to a typical rifle scope. As an added bonus, the scope is pre-sighted from zero to 50 yards at the factory. Multiple crosshairs also illuminate in low-light conditions and can be switched to either green or red, just by turning a dial.
 
Scary Fast and Quiet
 
If power is your passion and stealth is your style, the Barnett Ghost 400 with Step thru Riser in CarbonLite™ technology is the crossbow to own. The patented ultralight, super strong riser lengthens the power stroke without placing the cocking string beyond arms length. Durable CarbonLite technology removes nearly 43 percent of weight from the front end which dramatically shifts the balance point to the shoulder. The MIM (Metal Injection Molding) trigger contains the added safety precaution of an ADF (Anti Dry Fire) feature which eliminates unintentional dry firing.
 
Barnett Crosswire® strings and precision-engineered whiplash cams ensure smooth, quiet and accurate shots at up to 400-feet-per-second. The Ghost 400 also features Barnett’s high-tech, anti-vibration isolation technology (AVI) which uses a special soft-touch material molded over quad laminated limbs to help reduce noise and vibration up to 30 percent over standard limb designs. AVI also helps prevent damage from unintentional contact with objects in the field or during transit.
 
“We are devoted to quality and committed to excellence,” says Jackie Allen of Barnett Crossbows. “In the last few years we have developed our largest range of lightweight, dependable, adjustable and powerful bows based on the changing needs and desires of today’s hunters. Barnett in conjunction with Dunham’s offers a bow to fit most everyone’s needs.”
 
Only at Dunham’s
 
The Barnett GameStrike crossbow is available exclusively at Dunham’s. With high-tech features such as a patented Step thru Riser in CarbonLite technology, MIM Anti-Dry Fire trigger and AVI technology, the Game Strike produces arrow speeds up to 375-feet-per-second. An adjustable stock also includes an adjustable cheek piece. A picatinny universal rail allows accessories such as an action camera to be quickly and easily undermounted. The GameStrike is value packed, complete with a quiver, three Carbon Arrows, a 3 x 32 illuminated scope, a rope cocking device and a convenient travel sling.
 
Also available at Dunham’s, the Barnett Quad 400 Extreme features a comfortable high-tech composite stock with a contoured cheek piece and parallel limb design which produces arrow speeds over 345-feet-per-second. Ready to go out of the store and on your next hunt, the Quad Extreme kit includes a quiver, 4 x 32 scope, three arrows and an installed crank cocking device.
 
Make Sure It Feels Right
 
Even with so many choices and models available, choosing the right crossbow that matches your needs and personal style does not need to be difficult. “The more you know, the happier you’ll be,” says Allen. “Knowledgeable Dunham’s sales professionals can help you make an informed decision. Remember to also take some time to hold the crossbow in your hand. Feel it, touch it, and make sure it’s the right size and shape for you. It’s a very personal choice, and you want it to be right.”
 
-Deer Abby
 
*To receive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, sign up for Dunham’s Rewards.

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
 
*To receive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, sign up for Dunham’s Rewards.