Take a Hunting Road Trip

If you’re a hunter, you probably have your favorite spots to camp out. Or maybe you are new to the sport and you’re not sure where to start. Either way, it’s always fun to go out and explore new ground. So where are the best places in the country to go for a hunt?

 Midwest

The Midwest has some great spots for hunting deer. Game and Fish magazine names Kansas, Iowa, Ohio, Nebraska and Indiana as the best midwestern states for hunting deer. The article looks at both hunting license regulations and deer populations to determine the best of the best.

Kansas was at the top of the list with its large public land space where hunting is available.

Wide Open Spaces, however, named Kentucky as its best state in the Midwest for deer hunting. That’s thanks to its accommodating regulations, public land and a large, healthy deer population.

 West

Want your pick of several kinds of game? Head out west. Moose, deer, elk and bears are just some of the options.

If you want elk, Wyoming is the place to go according to Brad Fitzpatrick from Outdoor Life magazine.

“The plains in the east-central and northeastern portions of the state are prime antelope hunting areas,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

California is a great spot for waterfowl hunting according to Tripping.com. Both the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge and the Delevan National Wild Refuge will provide the opportunity for ducks, geese, coots and pheasant.

 Northeast

Field and Stream lists several specific places in the northeast United States on its list of 100 great hunting and fishing spots. Included in that list is Region B in Maine where turkey populations are high. If turkey isn’t your cup of tea, bears are in abundance in the Charleston-Beckley Corridor in West Virginia.

Outdoor Life also names Sebago, Maine, as a great fishing town where salmon can be found in the state’s deepest lake, Sebago Lake.

 South

There are several cities in the south that made Outdoor Life’s list of the best hunting and fishing towns. Included in the list Toccoa, Georgia, which is just 15 minutes from the Lake Russell Wildlife Management Area. There you can find deer, turkeys, bears, squirrels, rabbits and hogs. There is also a stocked lake for fishing.

There are a great hunting and fishing spots all over the United States, and probably closer than you think! Do your research to find the best game and license regulations in your state. Grab your gear and your best hunting buddies for a trip this fall!

Barringer, Bernie. “Best Trophy Deer Hunting States in the Midwest,” Game & Fishhttp://www.gameandfishmag.com/deer-zone/mw/best-trophy-deer-hunting-states-in-the-midwest/

Bond, Chris. “10 Best States to Hunt Whitetail Deer,” Wide Open Spaces. https://www.wideopenspaces.com/top-10-places-hunt-whitetail-u-s-pics/

Chan, Pamela. “The Top 7 Places To Go Hunting In The West,” Tripping.comhttps://www.tripping.com/explore/the-top-7-places-to-go-hunting-in-the-west

Fitzpatrick, Brad. “Where to Hunt: Guide to the 8 Best Big-Game Hunts in the West,” Outdoor Lifehttps://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/hunting/2013/08/where-hunt-guide-8-best-big-game-hunts-west

“The 35 Best Hunting and Fishing Towns in the US,” Outdoor Life. https://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/newshound/2012/04/35-best-hunting-and-fishing-towns-us

“The Official 100 Next Best Places to Hunt and Fish in the US,” Field & Streamhttps://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/hunting/2014/05/official-100-next-best-places-hunt-and-fish-us

-Deer Abby

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The Buck Stops Here

Great Tales About Whitetails.

After a long but satisfying day in the field, three hunters share their personal deer stories around the campfire.

Lucky Shot

Seven years ago, Mike Bay received permission from his son-in-law’s family to hunt their property near Charlevoix, Mich. A blind was already set up about 200 yards from the house, which was convenient – perhaps too convenient – since he fell asleep in it.

“I was awakened by a herd of deer. I searched around and couldn’t find my pistol. The deer heard me desperately looking for the gun and ran away. I finally found the pistol and managed to shoot a deer as the herd ran toward the house,” Bay said.

He searched the area, looking for signs that his shot had been true. He was about to give up when he found the deer about 30 feet from the house.

“I had shot it through the heart with a pistol from 50 yards. That’s impressive. A couple months later I went with a buddy and set up a target 50 yards away to recreate my marksmanship. He hit the target with all six shots with a rifle and I missed with all six. The deer I shot in 2010 was the first and only one I ever harvested. I have done a lot of deer hunting and that was the only time I was successful. I guess that day was my lucky day,” he said.

The Eyes Have It

Albin Campbell has been hunting in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula since he can remember. Out of all his hunting excursions, last year’s stands out.

“It was the second day of deer season and I had a group of guys with me. After not seeing anything in the morning, we decided to get out again shortly after noon. I had set up a deer camera near my blind to see what kind of deer was coming through. As I set my gun down to check the camera, I saw the head of a buck about 70 yards. I grabbed my gun as the deer stood up and looked at me. He was beautiful. I’m new to having glasses and realized I didn’t have them on. I put the gun up, squinted my eyes, squeezed the trigger and boom, got him. The way I look at it, it was my first deer kill without wearing proper eyewear.

The Call of the Wild

In 2009, Steve Batory was hunting with his nine-year-old grandson, Carter. It was Carter’s first hunting trip.

“We had hunted all morning when we saw a big doe. Carter said, ‘Take her, Pa.’ I shot her with a bow and decided this was a great opportunity to teach Carter how to track deer. We found it in a briar patch and as we’re dressing her, another deer stood out of the patch, staring at us. Soon, other deer started making noises. Eventually, this big buck came over and soon there were four bucks within 10 yards of us. Suddenly, we heard a loud grunt and a roar. In all the years I had been hunting, I had never heard a deer make a noise like that. The dominant buck was chasing all other bucks away from the doe.I explained to my grandson that he’ll likely never see or experience anything like that ever again,” Batory said.

-Deer Abby

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A New Day for Midwest Hunters

New Limited Firearm Zones change the game for many Midwest deer hunters.

Thanks to action by the Michigan legislature, the state’s Southern Shotgun Deer Zone is now the Limited Firearm Deer Zone, and to say that lower peninsula hunters are extremely pleased is an understatement. Prior to 2014, hunters were restricted to using shotguns and slugs to hunt deer anywhere south of an irregular line that ran from the middle of Muskegon County through upper Kent County and east to approximately Bay City. It was thought that rifles were a safety risk in these heavily populated areas due to the long range of some rifle ammo.

After much debate, the issue was settled by creating new regulations that allow hunting with a rifle as long as the cartridge is .35 caliber or larger and is straight walled. That means rifles chambered for the powerful .450 Bushmaster cartridge can now be used in the lower peninsula. While Michigan led the way on this issue, these cartridges and firearms are also newly legal in other Midwestern states, including Ohio, Indiana and Iowa, for the 2017 firearm season. Various qualifiers apply, check your local regulations.

The Limited Firearm Zone is the dawn of a new day for Midwest hunters, and Dunham’s is answering the call with excellent firearms and ammo that meet the requirements of the new regulations.

A shotgun firing slugs was never an adequate replacement for a hunting rifle. The shotgun’s recoil discouraged young and less physically able hunters from taking part in the firearm season. What’s more, a shotgun can never match the minute of angle accuracy that a rifle can achieve. For the hunter, that can mean the difference between an empty freezer or one full of meat.

Let’s take a look at some of the .450 Bushmaster products available at Dunham’s.

The Ruger .450 Bushmaster American Rifle

From Sturm, Ruger and Company comes the Ruger .450 Bushmaster American Rifle. This bolt-action centerfire rifle features a single-column, detachable three-round magazine and the Ruger Marksman Adjustable™ trigger. The crisp-release trigger is user adjustable to provide between 3- and 5-pounds resistance. Thus, hunters can tailor the feel of the firearm to their personal preference, allowing for a more predictable, more accurate shot.

The American Rifle’s stock is synthetic and finished in dark earth tones. It’s designed for quick, easy handling, yet its classic look will please the traditionalist hunter. A one-piece three-lug bolt is engineered with a full 70° throw, so it provides ample clearance for the 3x9x40 Weaver scope that comes with the rifle as an exclusive plus when purchased at Dunham’s. The full diameter bolt body and dual cocking cams enable smooth, easy cycling. The visible, accessible and easy to actuate tang safety provides optimum security. A cold hammer-forged barrel enables precise rifling for exceptional longevity and easy cleaning. Ruger’s integral bedding block system positively locates the receiver and free floats the barrel for outstanding accuracy.

Ruger CEO, Christopher J. Killoy said, “When Michigan created the new Limited Firearm Zone, Ruger immediately went to work developing a firearm that would prove ideal for this use. I believe we have achieved that in full.”

The CVA Hunter

The Hunter, a center-fire single-shot rifle from CVA features a 25-inch barrel with a 1:24 twist rate, when chambered for the .450 Bushmaster cartridge. A black synthetic stock combines with the blued-steel barrel to make this a handsome firearm. A reversible hammer spur, easy one-finger breaching and Durasight integral scope rail mount are standard features. The firearm is perfectly balanced in a 100% ambidextrous composite stock, making it very quick to aim and shoot. A CrushZone® recoil pad and the rifle’s 6-pound weight, make it ideal for long days in the field.

Dudley McGarity, CEO of BPI, CVA’s parent company said, “We recognized that Michigan’s Limited Firearm Zone would attract a new breed of hunter, so we wanted to be ready with an affordable firearm. I firmly believe we have met that challenge with the Hunter — an excellent first hunting rifle.”

Ammunition

The cartridge of choice in rifles chambered for .450 Bushmaster comes from Hornady and is available at Dunham’s. This 250 grain FTX bullet boasts a velocity of 2200 fps at the muzzle, 1835 fps at 100 yards and 1255 fps at 300 yards. In combination with energy ratings of 2687 lb.ft. at muzzle, 1868 lb.ft. at 100 yards and 874 lb.ft. at 300 yards, this load has enough energy to harvest deer at an extended range. Traditional shotgun slugs have considerably less energy at 200 yards. Neal Emery, marketing operations manager for Hornady said, “The .450 Bushmaster cartridge increases the range by more than 100 yards for the average shooter as compared to a shotgun slug.”

Dunham’s is well equipped to provide everything you need to hung in the new Limited Firearm Zone, while meeting all your other hunting needs as well. Stop in today and let our knowledgeable consultants help you choose the gear that’s best for you.

-Deer Abby

*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail program at www.dunhamsrewards.com

The Hunt For Knowledge

How new tools and trades can help in the field.

Once the green from summer turns into the spectrum of oranges, reds and yellows of fall, it means that one of America’s favorite seasons – hunting season – is right around the corner. If hunters have struggled in the past, they shouldn’t worry. What they should do is research what products are available to turn what could feel like time wasted into a thrilling adventure, creating memories that will last forever.

It can certainly be overwhelming to know where to start when looking for hunting products. There are so many, and there are different variations of each. Where should you begin?

 

Crossbows In Your Crosshairs

The first thing to do is to choose your weapon. If you’re looking for something that presents more of a challenge than a firearm, a bow is the next logical choice. But those can be difficult to use. Combining the ease of use of a firearm with the challenge of a bow, the Crosman line of crossbows is a happy medium for a hunter looking for something new to try out this season.

“One such line of crossbows available at Dunham’s is the CenterPoint, which includes the CenterPoint Sniper 370, the Gladiator Whisper 405, the Tormentor Whisper 380 and the XR175 Recurve Crossbow,” explained Jason Reid of Crosman. “All crossbows come with a rope cocker and three bolts.”

When shopping for crossbows and testing them out, one thing to keep in mind is comfort – how the butt feels against your shoulder. Also, make sure the trigger pull feels right so it doesn’t affect accuracy in the field. Safety-wise, always keep your fingers below the rail, and never strain to load, which can cause injury.

For a hunter looking for elite weapon performance with all the convenient features needed for a successful hunt, the Sniper 370 offers features like a fully adjustable stock and pass-through fore-grip to accommodate any shooting style, ensuring accuracy with every shot. Also included is a 4x32mm scope, three 20-inch carbon blots, a quiver, rope cocker and shoulder sling. It’s ready to rock out of the box!

“Quad limbs fitted with a precision CNC-machined cam system delivers mind-blowing speeds up to 370 FPS,” said Reid. “The Sniper is easily maneuverable thanks to the lightweight and durable CNC-machined rail with shoot-through riser and the narrow 18-inch axle-to-axle width (when cocked; 21 inches when relaxed).”

 

Time to Take a (Tree) Stand

Perspective can be the difference between a missed shot and a “what if” scenario and a kill shot that leads to a memorable moment. By utilizing a tree stand, hunters are able to get up above the ground level and be more effective in the field; they gain a much more comprehensive view and minimize disturbances to natural movement patterns of game.

Like any other piece of hunting equipment, there are tons of features to keep an eye on when it comes to tree stands. Style, weight, material – the list goes on and on. But thanks to Big Game/Muddy tree stands, the decision becomes a little bit easier. First, decide what type of tree stand fits your hunting style and needs. Big Game tree stands and Muddy Outdoors offer a wide variety of choices.

The first type of stand to consider is a ladder stand. According to Tayler Riggen of Big Game/Muddy, these are typically set up in advance.

“Ladder stands are one of the more universal options for gun, bow and crossbow hunters,” said Riggen. “Oftentimes these stands maximize comfort for longer sits but are less easily moved around a property. Ladder stands are great options for locations that you want to hunt a lot. With a full ladder, climbing into the stand is very easy.”

Next up, the hang-on style stand, like the ladder stand, can be set up by the hunter in advance or moved in on particular pattern or movement trend. The difference is that this style utilizes climbing sticks/steps to get up to the necessary elevation to hang the stand. This style is often lightweight and easily moved, offering the hunter some versatility when selecting and changing positions.

A tripod option is available, which is used primarily in gun or crossbow hunting. Tripods often come with a 360-degree swivel seat to ensure a full range of view, depending on where the target presents itself. These are often used in scenarios where trees are not available or a hunter would like a little more flexibility on where to set up and not be confined to where the perfect tree is located.

“Climbing stands would typically be carried in with the hunter during the hunt and with the cable system be used to climb the tree itself with no climbing sticks,” explained Riggen. These are great for pack-in hunts, public areas that do not allow stands to be hung in advance of a hunt, or for moving in on a hot spot.

And always hunt with a safety harness and a safe-line. Any time you leave the ground, you should be securely attached to the tree.

 

Scent Success

A hunter could seem to have everything set up perfectly – the top-of-the-line weapon, tree stand in the perfect spot, camo from head to toe – but none of that matters if that big buck catches a whiff of your scent. In fact, the hunter probably won’t even know that he or she gave themselves up. Covering human scent needs to be a priority.

Wildlife Research offers two lines of scent-elimination products: Super Charged Scent Killer and Ultra-Premium Scent Killer Gold.

“Both lines feature a full assortment of clothing sprays, laundry/clothing wash products, soaps and other personal care products,” explained Sam Burgeson of Wildlife Research. “Super Charged Scent Killer clothing sprays attack a wide range of odors – the most important one: human odor. It works when you first apply it and continues to work for days after drying. It has been found to be 99 percent effective at stopping replicated human odor in testing.”

Conversely, Scent Killer Gold is Wildlife’s best scent-elimination formula to date. Using proprietary Hunt Dry technology, hunters can apply it to clothing, let it dry and have all of the features of a top-of-the-line scent-elimination suit.

“Our latest formula with Hunt Dry Technology Plus has been found to be 99 percent effective at stopping replicated human odor in testing at Rutgers University 20 days after drying,” explained Burgeson. “That is some serious performance.”

While the deer’s nose can pick up human scent and give a hunter’s presence away, it can also be used to lure deer into the hunter’s range of sight. Through the use of deer lures and baits, hunters, while covering up their own scent, can use different products to create the illusion of food or other deer nearby.

“In addition to being as scent free as possible, a good attractor scent can really boost your odds as well,” said Burgeson. “Dunham’s carries a variety of hunting scents from Wildlife Research Center. A few of our most popular ones are Golden Estrus, Active-Scrape and Golden Scrape, and Trail’s End 307.”

While the thrill of the kill can sometimes be elusive, the bevy of hunting products available to assist hunters couldn’t be more plentiful than it is today. With so much technological research that goes into these products, there’s never been a better time to branch out and try some of them. Through the use of weaponry like a crossbow, the ability to find new views and perspectives with tree stands and the art of covering up human scent while luring deer with others, there’s never been a better time to pack up the truck and head out into the field this fall.

-Deer Abby

*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail program at www.dunhamsrewards.com

On The Hunt With Dunham’s

Introducing a wide range of gear to help the challenges of the season.
 
Soon the trees will have turned, the leaves will have fallen, and the deer will be rutting. Big bucks will be up and about, and hunters will take to the field.
 
We look at some things one should consider before heading out in the field. And because it’s timely, we’ll also review the concealed-carry handguns that are available at Dunham’s.
 
A gun safe is a great investment for every hunter. Before you even think about getting ready for the hunt, protect your weapons and family with a secure safe.
 
A safe provides peace of mind. And today’s safes are not only fire and water resistant, they’re also high tech. Biometric locks open with a touch, but are as secure as a combination lock.
 
Dunham’s offers tree stands for every hunting situation. Elevation makes you less visible and masks your scent.
 
Don’t forget the rest of your gear. Dunham’s offers an extensive range of equipment that no hunter should be without.
 
Among these is a fire starter that can help ensure you’ll be able to generate a flame when you need it. It’s a great tool for the hunter. Every hunter needs a knife suitable for field dressing game. Dunham’s offers numerous models. Keeping meat cool until you can get it home is essential. That’s why Dunham’s stocks YETI coolers.
 
Don’t forget your underwear! And outerwear. Dunham’s features Under Armour apparel for the hunt. Camo gear makes you less detectable as do scent-control base pants.
 
Attractants bring game to where you are. Dunham’s stocks attractants from Wildgame Innovations that mimic the smell and taste of things deer find delectable. Stock up and be ready for the hunt.
 
Since hunters understand firearms, concealed carry is a relevant topic. Today’s handguns are not only powerful, they can be concealed in your pocket. With offerings from both Ruger and Smith & Wesson, Dunham’s has a firearm that will meet your needs.
 
-Deer Abby
 
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail program at www.dunhamsrewards.com

Making Your Luck

Today’s most successful hunters use attractants to bring the deer to their stand…
 
“No luck today,” says a novice returning empty handed from the hunt. Seasoned hunters aren’t likely to say that, because they know deer hunting is a science, and they make their own luck through careful analysis and the application of proven techniques. That means knowing the animal’s habits, predicting its movement and attracting it to a location where a kill can be made. Those first two factors require study of both animal and habitat. For the third — attracting it to a location — help is available in the form of natural attractants, products you’ll find at Dunham’s.
 
Something Good to Eat
 
I know from experience that deer will return to a spot where they can find something to fill the tummy. That’s why they keep coming back to my yard to eat my lilies. And they can locate goodies by sniffing the air and honing in on the scent.
 
That’s why the most effective attractants exaggerate the smell and taste of something deer find delectable. Dunham’s stocks products from Wildgame Innovations that do just that, using real natural ingredients. All are available in powder, liquid, and mineral block form. All have been proven effective.
 
Carrots, Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin
 
Fall Feast Crush contains real carrot, sweet potato and pumpkin juices, treats no buck can pass up. In the field, it’s simply placed near your stand. Handle all attractants with gloves and avoid touching things in the area. Mr. Buck can recognize your smell just as readily as that of the goodies.
 
Sugar Beets Can’t be Beat
 
Wildgame Innovations’ Sugar Beet Crush contains real crushed sugar beets blended with fresh heat-processed beans to create an ultra-concentrated attractant that deer can’t resist. Try it on your next hunt, but first make room in your freezer for a load of meat.
 
The Apple of Their Eye
 
I sometimes take my granddaughter to a nature center that is packed with deer that are accustomed to seeing people. Of course familiarity only goes so far and the deer will flee when approached. Unless, of course, one is offering apple slices. Seems does and bucks can’t resist the sweet and juicy taste of an apple. That’s why they can’t resist the Wildgame Innovations’ attractant known as Apple Crush. Made from all-natural ripe apples that have been dried, crushed and mixed with proteins and fats. It’s apple power that’s easy to use in the field, and you can purchase it at Dunham’s.
 
Dunham’s carries a wide range of hunting equipment, including numerous types of attractants. Ask your Dunham’s sales consultant to show you all the available products. Then head out on the hunt and make your luck.
 
-Deer Abby
 
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail program at www.dunhamsrewards.com

Take Hunting to New Heights

A tree stand could be the perfect tool to boost your hunting success.
 
It’s time to get hunting again. A tree stand is the perfect tool to help you elevate your hunting success—literally.
 
There are many types of tree stands on the market. Ladderstands, climbers and fixed position stands all offer their own features and benefits. The best one is the stand that fits your hunting style, whatever that may be.
 
All three varieties of tree stands are available through Big Game Tree Stands and Muddy Outdoors at Dunham’s Sports. Mike Valliere of Big Game and Muddy said a hunter needs to think about what kind of hunting trips they’ll be going on before picking a treestand.
 
A ladderstand, for example, is great if you have time ahead of your hunt to set up your site. Valliere said these stands are growing in popularity because of their safety and ease of use.
 
A climbing stand is a good option if you’ll be setting up your site the same day of the hunt or, if you want to be able to easily change trees. It will be lighter than a ladderstand, so it can be carried more easily. The fixed position stands can be set up at the time of the hunt or in advance, whichever suits you best.
 
Muddy tree stands offer many of the features you’ll need for a successful hunt. They are designed for minimum noise with features including nylon washers, bolted ladder sections and sewn loop attachments, so you won’t alert nearby game to your presence. The heavy duty Fiber Guard powder coat and platform welding will keep you secure, so you can focus on the hunt. And you’ll be comfortable all day thanks to the Flex Tek, triple-layered foam seat.
 
“All are great options and that’s why we offer a wide variety,” Valliere said. “We have our preferred methods – but sometimes you have to be ready to adapt to be successful!”
 
Some of the options you can find at Dunham’s include the Muddy Partner, which is a two-man ladderstand so you can hunt with a friend. You can also find the Muddy Skybox 20-foot ladderstand which features a two-way adjustable padded shooting rail so you can steady yourself and get the best shot.
 
You’ll also find trusted Big Game models, such as the Guardian XL two-man ladderstand, the Warrior Pro and Blackhawk fixed position stand.
 
Get an edge on the game this year with a tree stand. With so many options, you’re sure to find the right one for you.
 
-Deer Abby
 
*To receive exclusive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, enroll in our e-mail program at www.dunhamsrewards.com

Looking for Mr. Whitetail

A guide to hunting hotspots in the regions Dunhams’s serves.
 
It’s obvious that your chances for a successful deer hunt increase if you hunt where there are a lot of deer. But that’s not as easy as it sounds. A lot of factors affect deer population, and they change from season to season. But historical data is a good guide. So too is scouting. For example, food availability is a good indication that deer will be present. A region that experiences an abundant apple or acorn harvest will likely become a feeding ground. Accessible rivers attract deer, and agricultural land that borders woodland is prime.
 
But to get you headed in the right direction, let’s examine some historical data. Some of the following information is from gameandfishmag.com, a great resource.
 
Midwest Region: Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana
 
The western Upper Peninsula of Michigan is always one of the best regions for deer. Northernmost counties have extreme winters, so populations in those regions can be thin. But Delta, Iron, Keweenaw, Gogebic Baraga and Octonagon Counties should be home to abundant deer and fewer hunters than you’ll see in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
 
In the Lower Peninsula, the counties surrounding Saginaw Bay and south central counties are your best bet for hunting success. Jackson and Washtenaw counties have long been known for big bucks.
 
With ample farmland, Ohio offers great deer hunting. Most of the hotspots are in the east-central part of the state. Licking, Coshocton and Tuscarawas Counties have been very good in past seasons, with Guernsey and Muskingum counties also scoring well. In 2012, Licking County led the way in trophy deer harvested with 219 qualifiers.
 
Down along the Ohio River, Adams County is productive and in the northeast part of the state, Ashtabula County is tops. If you’re talking strictly trophy bucks rather than total harvest, Southwest Ohio is prime, with many record animals coming from that part of the state.
 
Field and Stream magazine has called Wisconsin’s Buffalo County the whitetail deer capital of the world, and with good reason, as the county yields more record bucks per square mile than any other hunting hot spot in the nation. But be prepared to pay an outfitter if you want to hunt here.
 
Because Wisconsin is a great natural habitat for Whitetail deer, there are many opportunities to fill that tag. Waupaca and Shawano Counties are always a good bet. The agricultural landscape is an ideal feeding ground for deer. Marquette, Green Lake and Adams Counties in the Central part of the state have good populations, according to the Wisconsin DNR’s Fall 2014 density map, as does Richland County in the southwest corner.
 
Pike County on the Mississippi River in Illinois is a hunter magnet and has historically led the way in harvest numbers. Fulton County is another great location, as are Adams, Jo Daviess, Randolph Jefferson and Jackson Counties. As is the case in many highly productive areas, access may require working with an outfitter.
 
But hunters can find productive public lands in Illinois. The Shawnee National Forest in southeastern Illinois has yielded some good deer harvests. The forest is a mix of public and private land, so make sure you’re on public land before pulling the trigger. Maps of the area are available at the Shawnee National Forest offices.
 
Steuben County in the northeast corner of Indiana is productive, with a harvest of 9.95 deer per square mile in 2012. Down near the Kentucky border, Crawford County is good hunting, as is Harrison County. A little further east, Jefferson County produces a very good harvest as does nearby Jennings County.
 
Appalachian Region: North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Kentucky
 
In terms of harvest per square mile, the most productive area of North Carolina during the 2013-2014 season was Vance County in the northeast area with Northampton close behind. Neighboring Halifax County was productive as well. In the northwest corner of the state, Alleghany County scored well, particularly in harvest per square mile, as did Mecklenberg in the southwest.
 
Pennsylvania with its large wilderness areas is among the few that haven’t seen deer population declines in recent years. The counties to the north and west of Philadelphia have produced very good harvest numbers, and the northeast corner is seeing an increase in deer population. In the southeast part of the state, Armstrong, Clarion, Butler and Jefferson counties are seeing a rise in both population and harvest numbers.
 
The Allegheny Highlands — that heavily forested wilderness area in north central Pennsylvania that one passes through when driving Interstate 80 — has a lot of public land and a substantial number of deer.
 
Outdoor Life magazine published a ranking of deer hunting states called the Whitetail Scale. It considered the proportion of each state’s harvest that made it into the Boone and Crocket record book. Other considerations included the cost a nonresident outfitted hunt, state regulations and hunter density. When the final results were tallied, Kentucky came out on top. The state averages 20 deer per square mile statewide. That’s good hunting. Most productive was Owen County, with Crittenden County not far behind. Indiana, by the way, placed third, with Illinois ranking sixth and Ohio ninth.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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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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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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