Archive for January, 2010

Bowhunting Gear – New Hoyt Bow – Maxxis 31

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Bowhunting Gear is always fun to talk about, review, and more importantly use!

This year Team OO (Outback Outdoors) is shooting the new Hoyt Maxxis 31.  This 3.9 lb beauty is a little speed demon with a bit of a kick. I had the pleasure of getting mine a little early and last November I took a whitetail and turkey in Kansas with the new bow. It is definitely a great new offering and after a little “getting to know me” time I have grown to like this bow more and more.

The problem I have is I still LOVE my Alpha Max 32! Oh well, I guess that is a good problem to have, both the Alpha Max and Maxxis 31 are shooting identical speeds coming in at 291 fps at 28″ draw and around 70 lb draw weight. With 3D season just around the corner and turkey season not far off, the difficult decision will be which one to shoot….. I guess I’ll just shoot them both.

Rivers West Promo Clip

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

 

Rivers West Promotional clip.

Just like most of you we at Outback Outdoors have gone through the trial and error with our equipment and have been fortunate enough to partner up with some of the Manufacturers that made it through are hardcore in-the-field-tests. Rivers West gear is one company that came through the testing with flying colors. Here is a clip that I videoed on my Eastern CO mule deer hunt. The stuff ROCKS!!

The Art of Layering

Saturday, January 30th, 2010


In cold weather layering is essential, and in this video clip I explain my method of layering in Kansas on a whitetail hunt that had some really cold and windy conditions. While everyone is a little different, I think you will like relate with this if you have ever been in a treestand shivering and unsure if you can even draw your bow back when the moment of truth (or a bomber buck) comes in.

This “tongue in cheek” clip also gives you a glimpse of the goofiness and fun Team OO has in camp and on every hunting trip!

Life on the Mountain: More snow and lions

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Just a quick update from the Mountain.  Last few days I have been fighting a flu bug but getting better now.  More snow here the last couple days, about another foot to foot and a half.  This last snow was very wet and heavy, I worry it will form a hard crust and hurt the elk and deer wintering nearby.  But once we hit about Feb 15, the snow starts to melt off the south facing slopes and winter is about half over.  I feel the elk and deer will fair ok here this year.  The snow level is about average this year and the brutal cold is about over.  It is nice to feel the days getting longer, I am sure the elk and deer are liking it too.

More lions, had one walk through my horses last night, we turned the dogs out on it this morning and put a female up a tree.  The guys with the dogs, Andy Julius Outfitters, have a hunter in that is wanting a Tom. I hope the experience for her getting chased will be enough to keep her away from the horses.  We found a good Tom track this afternoon, but all the new snow that has fallen and blown in the track was making it very difficult for the dogs to trail.

Large snow fall and being sick are never a good combination, had the truck stuck today for about 3 hours. It was all I could do to dig the tires out for chains and walking to get another truck to help tug.  I sure could use some help up here from time to time.  Its all good, part of living my dream up here in the Rockies.

Deer hunting videos – New Whitetail Webisode Preview is LIVE

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Deer Hunting Videos are what we at Outback Outdoors love to watch and produce, during the rut Team OO went to Kansas and crawled up some trees to capture some great archery Whitetail hunting action. You will even notice a couple of surprises and bonus hunts thrown into the mix, like teaming up with our good buddy JT Harden of Hardcore Hunting TV (airs on the Pursuit Channel)  and here is a preview of our upcoming Whitetail webisode that will be going live soon!

THE SCRAPE LINE

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Welcome to The Scrape Line, a new segment on Outback Outdoors where I will be covering topics related to deer hunting. The Scrape Line will be a bi-monthly segment on the OO webisodes (and more frequent blog posts) and I will address different tips, topics, tactics, and other things I have learned over my deer hunting career.
Everything from late season hunting, cold weather gear, scouting cameras, tree stand placement and more.
Please feel free to blog with me and if you have questions or topics that you would like me to cover feel free to send them in. I look forward to bringing this to our web fans.

Whitetail Hunting…..New Outback Outdoors webisode coming soon…..

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Whitetail hunting is probably the most popular of all big game animals to hunt in the lower 48 states, and at Outback Outdoors we are not a team to miss an opportunity. Especially in Kansas!

With the busyness of Christmas, New Years, and the ATA (Archery Trade Association) Show behind us, the OO team has now switched their focus to new webisodes and the upcoming 2010 season. Even with the follow up to all the exciting meetings with our sponsors at ATA, I have found some time to finish up our Whitetail deer webisode and it will be going live soon. We have some exciting action from Adam Wells (Team OO member), JT Harden (good friend and Hardcore Hunting TV co-host), and even a little something from me.

As always keep checking back for new and fresh content and be sure to sign up for the Outback Outdoors Bowhunting Gear Giveaway (1st Quarter it is a new Hoyt bow), and feel free to shoot us an email and tell us what you think (info@outbackoutdoors.net)

Thanks, Trev

Elk and Deer Body Condition on the Winter Range

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Late season cow harvests are a good way to monitor body condtions going into the winter

Another factor in Wildlife Habitat to take into account when looking at the winter range quality is just how well are the elk and deer fairing.  How well the elk and deer are wintering, has a direct correlation to the quality of antler growth for the next growing season and the health and survivability of the fawns/calves for the upcoming spring. (more on why fawn/calf recruitment is key when looking at where to plan your future hunts)  Several of the factors that I look at when determining the condition of wintering elk and deer are: Body Fat measurements from Late Season cow harvests; Feild Judging body condition; and the how the animals behave.

I like to use my late season cow hunts mainly to control the population of elk here at the ranch. But I have also started to take notes on the body fat that the harvested cows are carrying.  I measure the amount of fat on the back and rump as well as the amount of fat on or around the kidneys. It is good to see from year to year how the amount of fat on the elk varies.  Even though the fat is a result of the summer/fall range conditions, it gives me a very good idea on how well the local population should winter.  If you have the chance to hunt a late season cow in your hunting area take notes from year to year on the amount of body fat on the elk as they head into winter and see how this correlates to the quality of antler development for the following fall.

I realize that not all of us can look at 20 to 30 harvested cow elk a year and take notes on the body condition as I do, but we can all take a weekend to go on the winter range in our favorite hunting areas and field judge body condition.  When trying to determine the body condition on the winter range it is often easy to spot the animals that are not going to survive, once the ribs are clearly showing these animals will most likely not survive.  Even in mild winters there are always going to be a few individuals that are going to look to be in bad shape, don’t focus too much on the few individual animals that are going to die.  What I like to do is look at the population as a whole.  Look for the angle of the rump.  If the majority of the animals you see still have a good round shape, the population as a whole should be good. But, if the rumps have a distinctive angle, or sloping look, the herd is suffering.  Also, look at the coat conditions of the herd.  When the animals start to stress, the coats loose the oils that keep it shinny and healthy.  If the coats look “bleached out” or rough, this is a sign that the animals are losing their energy reserves and if they survive the winter, they will have a longer recovery in the spring before they can put energy into antler production and will most likely have lower birth rates/lower survivability rates on the fawn/calf crop.

One other area that I view is just how the animals behavior is affected by the stress winter brings. The basic things I look for are:  How alert are they or do they seem sluggish?  How are the animals interacting with one another? How well do they travel? How is the head and ears held?  If the animals on your winter range are alert, you see them chasing each other or having small fights, they are traveling to and from feeding/bedding areas, and when moving heads are high and ears forward and moving. These are all signs that the herd is healthy and doing well.  If the animals seem sluggish, are feeding and bedding in the same spot, are allowing people to get close, heads down and droopy ears, these are signs that the herd is starting to stress from the winter conditions, and are trying to save as much energy as possible.

I hope some of these basics on winter range will help you when planning your hunt next fall. Please remember that even in a mild winter the elk and deer are slowly starving to death until the spring green up. Do not try to approach wintering animals, leave the shed hunting until the spring green up has begun and turn in any poaching.  The winter and winter range is the main limiting factor to our elk and deer populations, so please do not add to their stress levels.

Winter Range Quaility

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Wildlife Habitat can be looked at for the quality of the forage available.  In the winter time, accessibility of forage is often what most us look at when thinking about elk and mule deer winter survival.  I feel it is also important to look at the quality of the forage available. First, I look at what plants are seeing the majority of the browsing. Second, I look to see how much browsing pressure the winter range is receiving.

When looking at the plants that are being browsed on (I could write volumes on this) I look to see what the elk and deer are browsing on: exposed grasses and forbes; or are they focusing more deciduous woody shrubs (sage brush, bitter-brush, service berry, etc); or if they are eating coniferous trees (juniper, fir, etc).  It has been my basic observation that when there is a good amount of grasses and forbes exposed or enough snow is melting to expose the ground, the elk and deer are getting through the winter in good shape, but if the winter range has been experiencing periods of drought and the exposed ground is bare, then I like to see what woody shrubs are being utilized.  What I hope to find is browsing pressure on the the more deciduous plants and I look to see if just the new growth and buds are browsed or if the elk and deer are starting to get into the stemy portions of the plant.  If the browsing pressure is getting into the old stemy growth, there could be major problems developing, not just for the current winter but for long term damage to the quality of the winter range.  If you are seeing the browsing pressure on the coniferous tress such as juniper, this is typically an indicator of a very sever winter and a good chance of high winter mortality in these areas.

It is good to run out to your hunting area if you can and check on the quality of the winter range and help plan your hunt for next fall. Also remember to use good judgment when in close proximity to wintering animals and be careful not to put any stress on the game with your presence as the winter can be hard enough on our next years bucks and bulls.

Winter Range Conditions

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

All Wildlife Habitat will have a limiting factor to a populations survival.  For much of the Rocky Mountain West that limiting factor is the winter range.  Since returning from the Archery Trade Show, I have been looking at the winter range conditions here at the ranch and getting reports on how the elk and deer are fairing in some of my other favorite hunting areas.  Please note, if you are planning on checking out the winter range conditions in your area, give the wildlife enough space that they don’t feel pressured.  The elk and deer are basically slowing starving in the winter and any unneeded energy expenditure can drastically decrease their chance for survival.

As I am getting ready to apply for limited draw licenses in many of the western states and planning my hunting calendar for the 2010 season, I like to have an idea of what the quality of the areas I am planning on hunting will most likely be.  As I am building preference points up in several states I don’t want to use them up if the area I am slating to hunt has suffered a high winter mortality.  In addition to seeing and hearing what the snow and cold are doing to the game, I like to go one step further and see what the forage base is like and what the general body condition of the elk and deer are while wintering.

For now the 2009 – 2010 winter has been very mild for the areas I am planning to hunt in this fall, conditions can change but now is the time to get the calendar set.  Please look for posts on winter range and how this can help your scouting for the up coming season.