Saturday, October 10, 2015

First Coyote Bowkill

Although I wasn't able to connect with an elk this year, I did accomplish one goal on my trip to Wyoming, and that was taking my first archery coyote. Well, two of them actually.  

I was set up watching a wallow one afternoon when 6 coyotes came right through the clearing. Being an equal opportunity kind of guy, I flung a few arrows and was able to put down two of these fawn killers before the pack got nervous and moved on. They never saw or smelled me. 

This was also the first blood for the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro that I'll be posting a review of soon. 

I also took an afternoon off to do a little trout fishing. Although I didn't catch much, it was good to shift focus a little bit and recharge for the rest of the hunt. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It Gets in Your Blood

As I rode back to my parents' house with my dad after another unsuccessful elk hunt a few weeks ago, we began to wax philosophical about the wapiti and the pursuit thereof. 

"It gets in your blood," he said about hearing your first bugle. I don't think there's any phrase that so perfectly and succinctly describes what happens the first time you hear that throaty, growling, then ascending squeal echoing from a distant ridge or meadow at daybreak. The only other moment that can come close is the first time you hear a turkey gobble on a cool morning before he flies down off the roost. 

When I first heard an elk bugle, I wasn't serious about hunting. I hunted, but it was more about spending time with my dad than the actual hunting part. "If I had my 'druthers'" as he would say, I would have chosen fishing over hunting. In fact, the last couple of years I lived in Wyoming, I barely hunted because my bass boat kept calling me to the great smallmouth bass fishing action that fall could bring. Truth be told, I think many times I enjoyed the time spent in the truck with the heater cranked up in between morning and evening hunts listening to Wyoming Cowboys football than the hunting itself. Still, that bugle worked its way into my veins somehow and would resurface later as one of my greatest passions. 

I think what piqued my interest in chasing elk was discovering the sport of archery after moving to Georgia. When I hunted elk before, it was usually in October rifle season when the weather was usually cold. I had yet to learn the benefits of layering and usually bundled up so well that by the time we got out of the truck and walked into where we were hunting, I was pretty sweaty. Of course then I would get chilled and could be in for a long morning waiting for the sun to rise. It was also post rut, and there wasn't much bugling or other activity to really excite a young hunter. Archery hunting meant getting in the mountains a little earlier. Rifle shots hadn't made the game spooky and the activity involved with the rut that happens in mid-to-late September made elk hunting a whole new ball game. 

This year's elk season served me another tag sandwich, but ya know what? I'll be back at it next year. My non-hunting friends remark that I spent a lot of money to go out west and chase elk and come back with nothing but a water-resistant piece of paper issued from the state of Wyoming to show for it. But those friends might spend the same amount of money on a condo at the beach in Destin and come home with nothing more than sand all over the floorboards of their car. If nothing else, I got to spend a week in beautiful country with my dad. 

You can't put a price tag on that kind of memory. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Wyoming Elk Scouting

As I write this, I'm preparing to head to elk camp in the Bridger National Forest in Wyoming with my dad. I was here about 2 weeks ago doing some scouting as this would be the first time I've hunted this area. My hopes are high because Wyoming elk have kicked my butt the last few years and I'm ready to turn the tables on them!

While scouting I did find some sign, but my main goal was to break down some general areas that I could really work over  once I was back here to hunt. This is the first weekend of the season so I'm expecting some company on the trails, but hopefully the somewhat difficult access and lack of roads will keep the crowds away, or at least concentrate them on the roads.

I'm not what I would consider a lucky hunter, so I've become accustomed to covering ground and working hard. Usually to no avail, but not for lack of effort. Hopefully I'll be posting a success story in a week or less and have something to show for all the tag soup I've eaten the past few years!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Old Hunting Grounds

I'm an adventurer and I love going new places and seeing new things. I like hunting new spots and putting the pieces of the puzzle together to find the game I'm pursuing. I like wading new streams and finding out what makes the fish there tick. But there's something about going back to old hunting grounds that is good for the soul. 

Growing up hunting with my dad, we returned to the same general hunting areas every season. Not because of our unbelievable success, because honestly we ate some tags. It was more about familiarity with the game and land. Taking in the same scenic views painted by God's paintbrush, walking the same trails through dark timber that we had seen game use in the past, going back to the "sucker blind" one more time, just to see if there were any deer there. As the years go by, clearings fill in with new growth pines, game patterns change and ice moved away. But even now, I spend a lot of time in my mind in those old hunting spots. 

On a recent hog hunt in the Cohutta Wilderness of north Georgia, I walked through the same clearing where I killed my first turkey a few years ago. I relived the the hunt like it was yesterday, down to the last detail. I had spent a couple days camping there, without much luck, and one night sitting by my campfire I read an article in a magazine about bowhunting turkeys without a blind. Thinking to myself "why not?" I set up the next morning with a plan to make it work. About 8:30, I called in a Jake who cooperated almost perfectly with my plan, save for making me hold at full draw for a minute that seemed like ten. 

The general idea was to set up your decoys so that a gobbler coming in would pass behind a tree or other cover giving you the chance to draw without him seeing you. I set up where trees would give me that window of opportunity from several directions. When he paused behind a tree I drew. He probably stayed out of sight for less than a minute, strutting a little bit, but holding my bow at full draw made it seem like a lot more. After he finally cleared, I was able to make a good shot at about 30 yards. 

I can remember every minute of that morning. Making me wonder sometimes I forget what I did yesterday. Or forget to put black socks for work in the laundry. But my point is, going back to those old hunting spots floods your mind with a lot of memories that bring you closer to good times past, family and friends, and to nature. If you're not careful, you'll find yourself standing there daydreaming instead of hunting. It doesn't matter though, because sometimes it's about reconnecting. 

Do you have old hunting or fishing spots you love to return to year after year? I'd love to hear about them. Comment here or message me on my social media accounts. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Product Spotlight: Xecute Scent Control

Xecute Scent Control is a relatively new product from Muddy Outdoors. I'll be trying it out throughout the season and I'll post a detailed review once I've had a chance to give their products a try. But for now, here's some info on the product. 

Xecute doesn't use any of the harsh metals or chemicals found in most other odor control solutions. Their products, which include laundry detergent, body wash and field spray, not only eliminate odor and human scent, but do so naturally. Xecute says there is nothing in their products that isn’t found in a deer’s environment.

Xecute helps hunters to remain odor free without skin irritation in two proprietary ways: an all-natural and potent antimicrobial destroys odor-causing bacteria while improving skin condition, and active ingredients extract, encapsulate, and absorb dirt and odor on the molecular level.

Xecute is NOT a Bicarbonate-based product and will not leave a white film on your gear or your clothing. It is extremely stable in all environments, which means you can always depend on Xecute to do its job. Unlike other products, Xecute does NOT use reflective or UV brightening materials such as Titanium Oxide and other metals. Hunters using those products can look like a white picket fence to the deer. Xecute is a hypoallergenic formula that is natural, safe, and because it leaves no residue you won’t itch and your skin feels smooth, fresh, and clean. 

Stay tuned for a full review of these products later in the season!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Product Spotlight:

If you're planning a hunting, hiking or fishing trip in Wyoming, Colorado (and soon Montana) I can't recommend enough that you check in with the folks at I ordered a few different topo maps of the area in Wyoming I'll be hunting this year, and the one from is far and away the most detailed I've seen.

The topography detail is incredible, and it shows all the trails, lakes and streams in the area, making it perfect for hunters, as well as fishermen. It's also printed on waterproof paper so taking it into the field shouldn't be a problem. 

In addition to paper maps, the site also offers digital maps for your GPS device, and is chock full of info about each states hunting regulations, draw process, and tips to help you be successful in your area. It breaks down deer, elk and antelope areas, as well as area specific statistics on each species. Needless to say, you could spend a lot of time on this site! 

Check these guys out. I can promise you won't be disappointed. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Wyoming Elk Prep

For the past few years I've been hunting the same area in Wyoming with an Area 67-68-69 Type 9 archery elk tag, usually purchased in the leftover sales. Although I've gotten closer each year, I haven't been able to seal the deal on a bull. But because of the remoteness and amount of wilderness in the area, there are always leftover tags and I felt sure I would be able to keep coming back to this area until I got it done.

This past season, a world record elk was killed nearby with a crossbow on a General tag. Although that's great news for hunters and speaks to the genetics of elk in the area, suddenly this area is so popular that there were no tags leftover this year. Suspecting this might be the case, I applied for the tag through the draw system back in January but was unsuccessful. Not wanting to sit the elk season out, I jumped on an area 97 tag that was available. 

So this year instead of hunting an area I'm very familiar with, I'll be starting from scratch learning new ground. And although that's a little bit intimidating, the mistakes I've made and lessons I've learned from them over the past few seasons have made me a better hunter. I'm armed with more experience than ever before and I'm ready to take on the challenge! I've begun my topo map study and research on the area, and I'll be going out to Wyoming next month to scout. I'll be spending a week scouting, camping and fishing with my family and I'm looking forward to it. 

Stay tuned for updates on my research and scouting!

Monday, July 20, 2015

2015 World Deer Expo

This past weekend I attended the World Deer Expo in Birmingham, AL. This was my second time at the event and it's a one-of-a-kind show with vendors, celebrities, displays and merchandise to rival almost any outdoor show. This year for me turned out to be a very special show. 

I attended the show with my friends Roger and Connie Flynn, and up until a few days before, I wasn't for sure I was going to go. I was originally going to be working while the show was going on but I started a new schedule and was going to be off Saturday, but working late Friday night and I knew that waking up early to make the trip could be tough. But I decided it would be a good day no matter how tired I was and I was going to make the most of it. Mine and Roger's plan was to find the best deal we could on supplies for food plots. 

Shows like this are filled with all things new. There are new products that longstanding companies come out with each year, new companies making their debut and new people trying to break into the industry. Some of the new products (and people) come off as gimmicky, but it's also cool to see new things happening and where the outdoor industry is headed. 

I got to meet a few people I previously only know through social media, and catch up with a few old friends. Joshua Carney has one of the most unique talents and is able to make almost any game call you can think of with his mouth. It's pretty awesome hearing him mimic all sorts of wildlife, and he has a big personality to match the crowds he draws every time he lets loose with an elk bugle or coyote howl. Check out his videos on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube if you want to be inspired. 

Kendall Jones attracted a lot of media attention when she completed the African Big 5. When photos of her trophy class animals appeared on social media she began receiving death threats and was called all sorts of horrible things, but she's turned all the attention around and has become one of the greatest ambassadors of our sport. Check out her show "Kendall Jones: Game On!" on YouTube. 

Speaking of Africa, let's go back to what made the show special for me. On the back of your ticket to get into the show, you filled out your information to be entered in door prize drawings. We had been at the show about two hours when I heard over the loudspeaker "Adam Brister from Canton, Georgia, you have just won an African Safari from Wild Wildebeest Safaris!" You probably could have knocked me over with a feather at that moment. A few minutes later I got a call from the show office asking me to come claim my prize. 

I have up to three years to go on the hunt so I have a lot of saving, research, planning, preparation and gear testing to do in the meantime. That should give me plenty to write about. 

I have to give a big "thank you" to my buddy Roger for making sure I was there. He went with me to this show to the first time two years ago and this year we brought Connie along. I was in their wedding a few months ago, and I'm glad they were there to be a part of it. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Roger and Connie Flynn's Wedding

Today I got to stand beside one of my best friends, Roger Flynn, as he said "I do" to his sweetheart Connie. I'm very happy for this couple! The theme of the wedding was camo. From the bride's dress to the cake, camo was king. Any time I can wear an Under Armour Realtree hunting shirt and be in a wedding is a good day in my book.

Congrats Roger and Connie!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mainstream Holdings acquires Muddy Outdoors

Here's a great article about the owner of Big Game Treestands, Mainstream Holdings, acquiring Muddy Outdoors.

Mainstream Holdings Nabs Muddy Outdoors

What this means for me since I have been a member of Big Game Treestans' Pro Staff for the last few years is that I will now be representing Muddy Outdoors treestands and their Xecute scent control products, as well as continuing to promote Big Game Treestands accessories and Eyecon Trail Cameras.

Looking forward to a great year with all of these brands!