Thursday, August 27, 2015

Confessions Of A New Archer

Our newest prostaff member Lora Gene Young is no stranger to the world of hunting, as you can see in her blogs about hunting internationallyBut archery is something totally new to her. I was so excited when she told me that she was going to give archery a try this year and I'm excited to share with everyone what she learns along the way. Here's what she has to say about her first 2 days of shooting:

"OMG am I loving this! I was a bit apprehensive to start. Felt like I had waited too long to start a new discipline. That feeling is all craziness, never too late to start a new hobby. Sure, I won't be ready to use archery in hunting season this year, but I hope improving my archery skills will lead to improvement in other areas as well. In the future, I look forward to longer hunting seasons and more opportunity to finally get that big buck. 

Tips for first timers, don't overdo it. Start slow, just a few arrows at a time. You don't want to tire yourself out the first day, it will deter you from continuing the next day. 

Go for good grouping. Don't worry about where the first shot hits, maintain the same aim and evaluate your grouping.

Have fun! Archery should be something you enjoy, don't stress."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Preparing Your Dog for Hunting Season

Photo by Wildside Images

Hunting season is almost upon us and one of the most common questions Scott and Beth Ward of Over the Top Retrievers are asked is “what should I do to get my dog ready to go for the season? “I recently had the privilege of training with them and got to pick their brains for few tips for your four legged hunting buddy. 

Conditioning. Humans don’t run a marathon without training so ease your dog into activity. Starting with a walk, jog, run get that heart rate up.  Throwing a bumper, a ball.  Swimming is always a great cardio exercise for dogs making sure you are watching your dog and realizing they have limits, a dog can get hot fast once they get out there doing what they love to do.  Avoid high jumping, and sharp sudden turns because out of shape joints, muscles and ligaments do not need additional stress. Short reps with bumpers or Avery® birds still gets them excited but hopefully prevents injury prior to the opener. 

Remember to keep your dog wanting more, stop retrieves on the upswing where you know they are crazy to get that bird again!  Water retrieves are always good but be mindful, dogs can over heat in water, in late summer water temperatures can be high mixed with the muscle fatigue your dog could get into trouble.

Photo by Wildside Images
If you are lucky to have some property to get out on a run with a 4 wheeler or a long horse ride gets the heart pumping.  Planting birds/bummers and working on hunt it up drills helps reintroduce the dog to the mindset of the hunt.  

General health must always be a priority. Short nails, healthy pads and checking eyes, ears and nose to make sure they are clear of debris and signs of infection.  Proper gear for your dog, I know I may have packed on some pounds since last hunting season, has your dog? Ill-fitting skid plates or vests can lead to nasty skin issues from chaffing/rubbing.

Diet. Proper nutrition can build the energy and fuel your dog needs to plow through icy waters or keep quartering to get the rush of the flush.  Sometimes a decrease in calorie intake is needed to get some extra pounds off prior to hitting the fields. Keep in mind that you couldn't run a marathon after big plate of grandma's chicken Alfredo, you shouldn’t ask your dog to do this.  Get them on a healthy diet with appropriate servings. 

Photo by Wildside Images
Stand Alone marks (drills). Put your dog on a sit, walk away a good distance 30-50 yards, (farther than you could throw a dummy/bird/bumper while standing next to your dog).  Once the mark is thrown, release your dog to retrieve.  Although this is a hand thrown mark, you are working on your dog sitting, waiting/honoring the mark, the dog should not be sitting in the heal position next to you, you need distance between you and the dog.

Must haves for your dog hunting first aid kit:
Nail trimmer: cuts nails, barb wire, small sticks

Leash: restrains dog, helps with trap removal, works as a tourniquet or muzzle

Saline: to flush eyes, nose, ears, wounds

Water: Don’t forget to hydrate!

If you have more questions or concerns about getting your dog ready for the hunt feel free to contact us at Over the Top Retriever,763-244-0819.

Check out Over the Top Retrievers at We offer all breed obedience, pre-season/refresher hunting course, gun dog, and hunt test training.  Private lessons available upon request.

Because if you are going to go...Go Over The Top!

-Samantha Andrews-

Monday, August 17, 2015

Evin's Hunting Tips

By ProStaff Evin Damuth

Over the last year I have had the opportunity to Pro-Staff for several outdoor companies. Through this experience I have become friends with countless women who share such a strong passion for the outdoors. It is because of this that led me to become interested in Huntress View.  

Huntress View is a community of women who are passionate about hunting and wildlife, are outdoors any chance they get and share their experiences. This community of women is coming together for each other essentially. Founded by Andrea Haas, Huntress View tests outdoor products designed for women, shares stories of successful and unsuccessful hunts, recipes, and tips for women. This website is for anyone who is new to hunting or who is a seasoned hunter. Since I’ve had the opportunity to be part of their Pro-Staff I have made friends with wonderful ladies and learned things myself. It is so wonderful to be able to create a network of women who want to genuinely help other women get started!   

With that being said, I have read numerous articles from both men and women’s perspective of getting young girls and women introduced to the outdoors. While the content of these articles are spot-on, I wanted to share from my own perspective. Even though I have spent a few years in the woods and have learned much, there are times when I need to remind my fiancĂ© or even my dad that I’m not as seasoned as they are. Here are my tips for women who are interested in hunting this season:

1.    Don’t have a pre-conceived idea of what it will be like. I think a lot of women have a bad taste in their mouth for hunting because of what they think they know about it. Who wants to smell like doe urine, sit immobile for hours, and get eaten alive by mosquitos? Throw out all pre-conceived thoughts you have about hunting and just go for it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

2.    You don’t have to have the most expensive gear when you are just starting out. I can’t lie, I love Bass Pro as much as anyone else does, and I’m always willing to splurge a little on hunting. That’s because I know what I need and I may be hunting in frigid temperatures all bow season long. If you’re getting started and are accompanying your husband in a deer blind 150 yards from the feeder, don’t feel the need to spend $100 on a pair of scent-proof gloves. Get the essentials and build from there.

3.    Be patient. Be patient in every area of hunting. Whether that means you’ve been sitting under the same tree for three hours or you’re trying to learn archery. Be patient. It won’t come easy, it requires work, patience, patience, and a lot of patience.

4.    Hunting isn’t a beauty contest. I’m a little guilty in this area! I still want to feel and look good when I go hunting. But the reality is, the animals don’t care. Outdoor Channel may have warped our thinking on this because who doesn’t want to look like Tiffany or Eva posing next to their harvest? The reality is though, that we’re going hunting, we’ll get dirty, sweaty, and hopefully draw some blood. Leave the lipstick at home.

5.    Try to be ‘present’ during the hunt. For me, hunting is all about being away from stress, the phone and just spending time with whoever I’m hunting with. Take time to enjoy the beauty of the nature around you.

6.    You don’t have to be as strong as the men. I can’t pull back a 70 pound bow, load a buck in the back of my truck by myself or move feeders. I need help, and that’s ok. That isn’t to say that as women we are completely helpless or unable to hunt alone. I hope each year to be able to do things I couldn’t the year before. Just know that we can take our own pace, and that’s completely fine. 

7.    Don’t shoot out of your comfort zone because you feel pressured to. There have been numerous times when dad and Cody have whispered, “Shoot it, shoot it, shoot it now,” and I haven’t. What is a good distance or enough light for them might not be for me. I won’t shoot unless I feel confident about the shot. Cody target shoots his bow at 100 yards; I haven’t even attempted that. Know your limits and comfort zone and stick to it.

8.    You may get criticized for trying a ‘manly’ sport. People always look at me surprised when I say I hunt. Then when they find out I bow hunt suddenly I’m on a whole new level. Hey, girls hunt. I know a lot of girls who hunt a lot better than some guys I know. Hunting is easily a women’s sport just as much as a man’s sport now.

9.    Be open to teaching moments. When I first started hunting, there were a lot of tears. Frustration would get the best of me. If you want to be serious about chasing game then you have to be open to teachable moments. I’ll never know everything, and I will always have something new to learn. If you’ve made a mistake just remember it and next time improve from it.

10. Have fun, make memories. For me, hunting is where I make my best memories. I have moments where I feel so defeated, and moments where I feel I can accomplish anything. The best part is that I get to have those moments beside my dad and my fiancĂ©. I can’t adequately describe the feeling of walking down a blood trail with those who are the most special to you and see what you were able to harvest. The hugs, the laughs, the happy tears, it’s a complete package.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Markie's Bowhunting Tips

Bowhunting Tips from Huntress View team member Markie Tormoen

-Always be ready!

-Know what way the wind is blowing and if it's right for what stand your sitting in.

-I put my release on at the truck just in case I bump something on the way in. Once your in the tree knock an arrow right away. A deer can move through at anytime. 

-Pick out your shooting lanes and pick out spots in those lanes that are a good place to kill a deer. Always be ready when you hear anything, snap of a stick or crunch of leaves. Stand up and get ready. You don't want to miss your chance on a big buck because you weren't up and ready. A lot of the time they come in silent and you don't know they're there till they're right under you. 

-One of the most important things to know is that deer are herbivores which means their eyes are on the sides of their heads so they can keep a look out for predators while they are grassing. You might not be able to see the deer but they can see you, so be still! Get in the habit of moving your eyes more than your head. When you do move your head, move it slowly. 

-Once a deer moves in wait for its head to go behind a tree or bush to draw back. He should be moving in one of the shooting lanes we had talked about earlier. But you're already ready because that should have been one of the first things you scoped out once you got in to your stand! 

-If the deer is moving, stop the deer with a vocal grunt before you shoot to make a good ethical kill! 

-When the deer is running away after the shot look at the tail to see if it's up or down! If it's up you probably missed, if it's down you probably made a good shot! That way you will also know which way the deer is headed so you can track it easier. 

Good luck this season ladies! I hope these tips helped!