Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Final Countdown

Well, this is it, the final three days of hunting season. I’m hoping to get to hunt these next three days and I’m hoping to bring home a doe or two for the freezer. This season has not been what I wanted it to be but it has been a good one! I can’t complain one bit, unless it’s about some of the bonehead things I’ve done. I hope any of you Virginia hunters out there that are trying to get a final hunt or two in have the best of luck! I also hope you all have a happy and safe New Years Eve, and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hunting Journal 12-26-08

When the 5:00 AM alarm went off on 12/26/08 I did not want to get up. I turned off the alarm and lay there for several minutes trying to justify staying in bed. I used every excuse in the book, including the fact that I would probably not be successful. The only thing that got me up that morning was thinking that I would hate myself the rest of the weekend if I didn’t go. It was to be the last day I had free to hunt that weekend and if I didn’t go I know I would regret it. I finally crawled out of bed, had a scent-free shower, a little breakfast and then headed out to hunt. I had decided to return to a buddy’s farm that had recently come available for me to hunt. I had only been there twice before and I didn’t know the territory very well. I had explored it a little bit and knew that at this point in the year catching a buck there with my limited knowledge would be slim. I decided that this would probably be more of an exploration than a hunting trip but with time running down on the season anything was better than nothing.

I arrived at my spot a little before light would be coming up. I got dressed quickly and started on my hike. I had decided to take an old logging trail that led up to a power line clear-cut. I had walked about half a mile and the sun started coming up. As I neared the top I jumped two does that I believe I had seen a day or two before. I settled the crosshairs of my Traditions Pursuit II on the bigger doe and the perfect broadside shot she presented was very tempting but unfortunately it wasn’t a “doe day” so I had to lower the gun and watch her walk cautiously away. I calmed myself down a little and forged on up the trail. When I reached the top I was greeted by some of the most beautiful views I’ve seen in a while. It looked like the “sheep country” you see on TV. It was spectacular, huge, tough, rocky, and I loved it! The wind was blowing a strong, cold wind against me but it couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. I continued on along the path until it eased over in to the forest that run along the left side of the ridgeline I was traveling. It didn’t take long to realize that this was prime deer territory and my thoughts were soon justified when I jumped a decent group of does. I continued down the path for around a mile and the deer sign just kept getting better and better. I saw several more groups of does and located several spots to set up treestands. I finally realized that I had learned most of what I needed to see on this initial exploration and realized that I was accomplishing nothing more than spooking the deer at this point. At that point I turned around and eased my way quietly and happily out of the woods. I spent the rest of the day enjoying hanging out with my family and knowing that I had found a great hunting area for the future.

I was so happy that I had gotten out of bed that morning because I located a prime hunting spot! I could have lain in bed all day and accomplished nothing. Every time entering the woods will not produce a kill, but if you pay attention you can normally accomplish something. I knew starting the day that I was most likely going to leave the woods empty handed. However my initial negativity of the morning evaporated and I had a great day! I hope to hunt the area I found soon but I will have to wait for the right wind. I could have pressed further on and explored the area more but I found out enough to hunt it when I have the opportunity. After the season I’ll go back and explore it further but as of now I’m just happy that I overcame my laziness and negativity and got out there and had a great time exploring and scouting the woods! I’ve always heard that you can’t take an animal if you’re not in the woods but you also can’t learn much about your hunting area if you aren’t out there either. It’s really tempting to stay in bed some days but most of the time it’s worth getting up and getting going!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Blog Format

I’ve decided to change the format of my blog a little. I’ve been thinking about what my goals for this were and I don’t think I’ve quite been accomplishing them. I started this as a way to not only track myself as I grew as a hunter, outdoorsman, father, and person, but also to help others learn some things along the way as well. Too often we, myself included, get caught up in all we see on TV and think that we should all be experts and trophy hunters. While I’m sure some of you are, most of us are not. It takes a long time, and a lot of work, to get to “expert level” for most people. Despite my wishes, it’s certainly looking like it’s going to take me a long time to reach that level as well. However, the thing to remember is there is no shame in that. Most of us don’t live in prime trophy habitat anyway and to get caught up in that and not enjoy hunting should be a crime. If you don’t hunt because you enjoy it then maybe it’s time to find a new hobby. No one will enjoy every hunt, and part of why a lot of us love it is for the challenge, but my biggest message to anyone would be to go in to the woods and have a good time enjoying God’s great creation!

I’ve gotten caught up in trying to go from amateur to professional myself and have not been to forthcoming with my shortcomings! From now on though I’m going “TO TRY” to start posting all of my hunts, scouting trips, and everything associated with my efforts. I’m going to give everyone a backstage pass to the effort that goes in to trying to become the best hunter that you can be. I’m going to post all of my blunders and my successes. If the hunts go well there will be more details but when they don’t, unless I learn an important lesson, then they will only be long enough to give out the pertinent information. I hope all of you enjoy what I have upcoming and learn along with me! Please let me know how you like this as things progress!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Quick Late Season Tips, and Happy Holidays!

Sorry I haven’t been writing much but this has been a super busy time for me. I was sitting here thinking about Christmas and I really hope that all of you have a great one, and a happy holiday season in general! I’m working on a story about late season hunting but it’s going to take a little bit to get finished. So, until my whole story is done here are a few tips for those of us still out there hunting hard in the late season!

1. Food – Look for good quality food sources, the deer are recovering from the rut and battling the cold. Green fields, corn, winter wheat, trees with active acorns, soybeans etc are great food sources.
2. Cover – The deer are still nervous from the firearms season and they need protection from the cold, look for the thickest nastiest cover you can find.
3. Pressure – If the area you’re hunting has had really heavy hunting pressure then food and cover may not be enough to find, you may have to go further back in the area away from where other hunters have ventured or find a small spot that other hunters have overlooked.

I hope these quick tips may give you some ideas! If you have any questions contact me at tnunley@gmail.com. Take care, happy hunting, and happy holidays!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lessons Learned: Things have to go really well when bowhunting!

As someone fairly new to bowhunting I know it is tough, and that things have to go really well to close the deal. Well, recently I had a lesson taught to me about how truly easy it is for even a sure thing to go wrong when you have a bow in your hand.

I started off the morning by getting up nice and early. I knew the basics of the area I was going to be hunting but I didn’t know exactly where I was going to hang my stand. I wanted to get to the spot at least 30 minutes before sunrise so that I could find a tree and be up in it before the sun came up. Everything went well that morning except for the sky started getting light 30 minutes before it was supposed to. For some reason it always works that way when I’m hunting by myself, however if I’m hunting with others the sun always seems to come up later than it is supposed to. As soon as I got up in the tree and had my bow and pack hung up, the woods came alive! I quietly stood up and grabbed my bow while trying to see if I could see what was causing the noises. There were different areas of movement all around me and every pocket of noise seemed to be coming from the thick cover areas that surrounded me. I was really excited as I was hoping it was deer returning to bed down. I felt pretty sure that even if I didn’t get a view of them first thing. then I certainly would as they did a little late morning browsing later on. The longer I sat there though the more I started to think it was probably squirrels instead of deer. After a while I finally started seeing squirrels and my fears were realized. I knew though that I was in a good spot and I was going to sit there until I had to go pick up my son later in the morning. The spot was surrounded by trails and bedding areas and I was very confident that, given the time, a hunter would see something there. My only worry was that I would have to leave the woods too early that day, but there was no way I was leaving any earlier than I had to! I stood up most of the morning because I was so cold and so anxious about getting ready in case some of the noise turned out to be deer. Around 9AM I sat down to rest my legs for a bit, but I started hearing some noise around one of the many laurel thickets surrounding me. I looked up and I finally saw what I was waiting for, deer moving my way! I eased my hand back and grabbed my bow. I brought it to me as slowly and quietly as I could but I caught my broadhead on a leaf by my tree. I was able to extract it without too much noise or movement but my heart started racing even faster due to the near error. Looking back toward the trail, the deer were coming down, I was able to verify that it was two nice size does. The first was the biggest, and they were heading down a trail that would pass right by me at around 12yds. By now my heart was thundering and my blood was pumping but I was still shivering from the bitter cold. The deer continued casually toward me and I waited until they got their heads behind a tree and I tried to draw my bow. To my surprise I couldn’t draw it straight back the way I wanted to because I was just to cold and to be honest hadn’t been practicing as much as I should have been. As disappointed as I was in myself I knew I still had a great chance and I decided to wait until the first doe went by and then draw the bow by pointing it up and bringing it down on the second animal. I would still have a great shot on the second doe and it may have been the safer choice from the start. However when the lead deer got about 20yds away from me, she was behind a tree and I had no shot, she smelled something on the ground and jumped up in the air. She landed back a few feet from whatever she smelled and she eyed the spot for a few moments. She then looked up the trail like she was considering going ahead, but after a bit she started heading back the way she came.

As I watched the two of them slowly make their way out of there I was thoroughly disappointed. I was excited to have a chance to be so close to them, and be able to watch them, but I had really wanted to put some meat in the freezer that day. The one thing I wondered about is what did she smell? The land I was hunting was private so no one should have crossed the path they were on and I hadn’t been up that far in the woods for weeks. The only thing I could figure out is that someone had trespassed or a predatory animal had been through recently, either way I was eating tag soup that day. I sat there for about 45 more minutes and then I slowly climbed down and made my way back out of the woods. As I climbed back in to my truck I realized I was smiling and thinking about what a great morning I had been a part of!

Bowhunting is an incredibly rewarding experience and I thoroughly enjoy doing it, however you have to be willing to go in to the woods knowing that if things don’t go right you will not be bringing any animals out of the woods with you. There are great challenges with any type of hunting, anyone who thinks otherwise should try it, but bowhunting certainly provides challenges like nothing else. I have heard it said before that anything killed with a bow is a trophy, and I for one agree!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Traditions Pursuit II Review by Cody Altizer

Check out the great Traditions Pursuit 2 Review by fellow Mossy Oak ProStaffer Cody Altizer over at ShowMeYourBuck.com! I'm even quoted in it a time or two!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Deer can truly be dangerous!

Deer gets revenge after hunter shoots him
The animal appeared dead but rose up and attacked the man
Associated Press
updated 9:02 p.m. ET, Mon., Dec. 1, 2008

SEDALIA, Mo. - A hunter bagged a big buck on the second day of firearms season, but the kill caused him a lot of pain. Randy Goodman, 49, said he thought two well-placed shots with his .270-caliber rifle had killed the buck on Nov. 19. Goodman said the deer looked dead to him, but seconds later the nine-point, 240-pound animal came to life.

The buck rose up, knocked Goodman down and attacked him with his antlers in what the veteran hunter called "15 seconds of hell." The deer ran a short distance and went down, and died after Goodman fired two more shots.

Soon Goodman started feeling dizzy and noticed his vest was soaked in blood.
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

So he reached his truck and drove to a hospital, where he received seven staples in his scalp and was treated for a slight concussion and bruises.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

November 26, 2008 Update

I’ve been hunting hard every chance I get this month but I just haven’t been seeing much deer action. I’ve saw a spike and my dad saw three does and a very small 4 pointer. Dad would have gladly taken a doe but it wasn’t a doe day. Where I’ve been hunting I’ve just saw very little rut sign and most of my friends have not noticed much either. I’m not sure what’s going on around here but it’s been a slow year so far for me. Oh well the tide can change any time and I’ll be in the woods Thursday morning, and all day Friday, at the least, this weekend. Regardless of the slow hunting season I’ve had so far I have a lot to give thanks for and I plan on doing so! I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and a great weekend! Happy hunting!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chinese Democracy!!!!!!!

Wow! I know this album comes out Sunday, and mine has been preordered since the day it became available, but I found it leaked today and couldn’t resist giving it a listen. This CD is freakin’ awesome! Was it worth the 350,000-year wait that Axl put us through? No. Is it as good as Appetite? No. Is it a brilliant and enjoyable album in its own right? YES! It is not what traditionalists will expect from GNR but if you give it a listen with an open mind I think you’ll find that you love and will be rocking it out for a long while! Well done Axl!

PS

Next time you really don’t have to wait so long, we’ll all be dead by the time a new one comes out if you do.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bastian VA Rifle Season Opener 11/15/08

Today was an odd day in the woods, I didn’t see the first deer, but I came away feeling very successful anyway. I checked the weather all week and although I knew the best-case scenario for today involved bad weather I decided to be in the woods anyway. I was setting off of a trail, way back in the woods, when the sun came up and the day started off pretty promising. I heard two shots in the distance as soon as legal shooting hours began and I felt a great since of optimism! It wasn’t long after that though and the rain came in. It started off fairly light but ended up pouring for a long while. A lot of people were leaving but I decided to tough it out. My hunting pants and jacket were supposed to be waterproof and I wanted to see if they truly were. Luckily for me, my gear did the job and I barely felt the rain at all! The one piece of clothing that failed me though was my gloves. Other than having to switch to my back up pair, I was dry and toasty the whole time! After I survived the downpour, I thought that the deer would start moving and it would to turn in to a great day to be in the woods. However, I was disappointed when the wind started blowing like crazy and showed no signs of stopping. After I decided that this was not going to be much of a day for deer movement I decided to take advantage of that situation and do some scouting. I looked around for quite a while and finally found some positive sign! I don’t think that I’ve figured this property out very well but I feel much better about my chances. Hopefully I’ll have more time over in Bastian to get a better feel for the property but at least things are headed in the right direction! I hope you all had a great and dry opening day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Deer Hunting Weight Loss Plan

Since September 6th of this year I have lost 20+ pounds! I’ll grant you that until about a month ago I was running, hiking, and generally trying to lose weight, but that was mostly to get ready for this hunting season. However since October 19th I’ve did little for exercise with the exception of hunting and I’ve lost over 5 pounds. I haven’t been trying to eat well or get exercise but the sport of hunting is still whipping my out of shape body in to hardened steel! I won’t have time to pick my exercise regiment up too much until hunting season is over but I know that, lord willing, by the time hunting season ’09 rolls around I’m going to be in incredible shape! There is no motivation like the unforgiving mountains of deer country to get you pumped up to get in shape!


Updates:
1. I did purchase another Fieldline Glenwoods Canyon backpack for hunting and it actually works much better than I thought it would! I’ve been really happy with it so far!
2. How disappointing was the WEC event last week? I for one didn’t really enjoy much of it at all. They normally have some of the best matchups anywhere but I was disappointed in that last show for sure.
3. I continue to be extremely pleased with my Pursuit 2 XLT!
4. My family and I are doing very well! Harry is happy and healthy as are Jessica and I! Jess and I are both really busy so I don’t have as much time to hunt or post as I normally do but I’m “gettin’ r done” as best as I can!
5. I hope you and yours are doing well!
6. God Bless all of the Veterans out there, thank you all for what you have done for us!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Traditions Pursuit II XLT

I don't know how I forgot to post this but I received in my Pursuit II and I love it! It's such a great gun and it's so easy to load, shoot, and clean! I'll post more on it soon!

WEC 36 tonight at 8:00PM

I had no idea that it was tonight, how did I miss this? Anyway be sure to catch Faber vs. Brown. Faber is a beast!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

West Virginia Leads Deer Hit Parade

From MossyOak.com

November 03, 2008

If you’re not into bows, rifles, slug-guns or muzzleloaders, your best chances of dispatching a whitetail another way--via the motorized method--can be found in the hills of West Virginia. There, one in every 45 drivers will become more closely acquainted with their insurance agents this year following deer encounters on the roadway.



Results of a study by the State Farm Insurance Company released last week show that—for the second year in a row—West Virginians have the best chance among all U.S. motorists of hitting a deer with their vehicles. In fact, since last year it’s become even more likely for folks in The Mountain State to harvest a whitetail with their Buick or F-150.



Last year, West Virginian’s odd were one-in-57.

The “Good Neighbor” folks from Bloomington, Illinois put the data into perspective for Mossy Oak News readers, noting that the probability of a vehicle hitting a deer in West Virginia sometime in the next year is roughly two times greater than the possibility that you will be audited by the Internal Revenue Service in 2009 and 1,100 times greater than your chance of winning a state lottery grand prize if you buy one ticket per day for the next year.



Which begs the question: Which would be more painful, a smashed front bumper or an IRS audit?



Anyhow, for those drivers keeping score, whitetail-rich Michigan came in second in the deer hit parade again this year with 1 in 78 odds. It was followed by Pennsylvania (1 in 97), Iowa (1 in 105) and Arkansas (1 in 108).



South Dakota is sixth. Wisconsin dropped from third to seventh. Montana, North Dakota and Virginia round out the top 10.



The least likely state to smack a deer on the highway remains Hawaii, where the chances are only one in 10,962.



Oh yes, State Farm also reports that the average property damage cost of deer/vehicle accidents in the U.S. is $2,950, up 2.5 percent from a year ago.



Be careful out there.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Leupold RX2 Update

Now that I’ve had a fair amount of time in the woods with my Leupold RX2 I wanted to give a quick update to my original review. Spending time in the field with a product will usually highlight things that you do and don’t like about it and the RXII is certainly not an exception to that. Some things that I’ve now noticed about the RXII are that it fits really nicely in your hand, the rubberized top helps keep you from dropping it and it truly does a great job at giving you the correct range of the game you are ranging. I’ve had no problems whatsoever out of the rangefinder and the battery life has been outstanding. I’ve yet to use it in the rain but I have used it in various other conditions and I have nothing but good things to say about it! The only negative thing I could possibly say about it is not a complaint against the actual rangefinder but about myself, the rangefinder sometimes bumps up against my binoculars. A simple solution to that problem is to lower the binoculars and raise the rangefinder but I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. I hope this review gives you the information you need to make a purchase, if you need more please let me know!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Benefits of Hunting (From the VDGIF)

News Release
For Immediate Release
10/16/2008

Contact
Julia Dixon, 804-367-0991

Fall Hunting Underway, Benefits All Virginians


Five things that hunting has been doing, and can do, for you

Richmond, VA — Recent economic downturns have many people thinking about how to simplify their lives, how to stretch their dollars, put food on the table, let go of stress, and still somehow give to others. Reports on obesity, concerns about what food quality and the footprint we are leaving on the planet, has people wondering what to do. An activity that addresses all that and more is hunting.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, hundreds of thousands of sportsmen and women are gearing up for the hunting season. Many are already afield archery hunting. The general firearms season for deer opens on November 15. What benefits do all those hunters enjoy and what benefits do we all get from their activity? What benefits can you expect when you take up the tradition of hunting?

TOP 5 BENEFITS OF HUNTING

1) Boost the Economy

Affordable for the Hunter — One deer can yield approximately 50 pounds of nutritious venison. Virginia's abundant wildlife provides opportunities for hunters to dine on venison, duck, goose, rabbit, turkey and more — the ultimate in organic, free-range food. For a small fee of $18, a Virginia resident can purchase a Hunting License good for one year from the day of purchase (or the ultimate investment, purchase a lifetime license with the cost depending on the age of the purchaser). This allows the individual to hunt a variety of small game such as rabbits and squirrels. For another $18, that resident can purchase a Bear, Deer and Turkey License, good from July 1 through June 30, and good for cutting the food bill.

Putting dollars into Virginia's Economy — Each year in Virginia, hunters spend more than $480 million in trip-related and equipment expenditures, according to the U.S. Fish &; Wildlife Service 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. It is estimated that hunting and fishing generate $128 million in state and local taxes and directly support more than 24,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. Hunters contribute to the Virginia economy in the form of food, lodging, gasoline, dog food, kennel supplies, veterinarian care for hunting dogs, and equipment purchases. Hunting attracts visitors from out-of-state eager to experience the great hunting the Old Dominion has to offer and those visitors spend a lot of money here in that pursuit.

2) Contribute to Conservation

Hunters are proud of their conservation heritage — More than 50 years ago, the Pittman-Robertson Act designated federal funding for wildlife conservation by establishing a special excise tax on firearms and ammunition, and hunters were all for it. By purchasing hunting licenses and paying special taxes on equipment, hunters have largely funded wildlife conservation in North America. Hunters are acutely aware that their dollars fund wildlife conservation in Virginia and they pride themselves on supporting valuable habitat and population management work. Contributions to and membership in sportsmen's groups like Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and others provide hunters another opportunity to support states' wildlife management efforts.

We all gain from conserved land — Hunting license dollars contributed significantly to funding the acquisition of thousands of acres of land for hunting and habitat. Over the years, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has acquired more than 200,000 acres of land available to the public for hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, hiking and other recreation. The Department manages habitat on its property not only to support game species such as bear, deer, turkey, rabbits, and waterfowl, but also to support a variety of non-game species such as eagles, songbirds, butterflies, snakes, and turtles that benefit from the same habitat improvements. Ultimately, conservation of land due to hunting license dollars is protecting precious habitat and watersheds and giving everyone a cleaner environment.

3) Wildlife Population Management

Abundant population equals ample opportunity — Hunting is an important wildlife management tool. This time of year in Virginia the deer population is up around one million animals. Hunters harvest about 250,000 each year, but deer are a renewable resource and the population rebounds. Hunters enjoy liberal seasons and abundant game here in the Commonwealth: archery, muzzleloader, general firearms seasons, fall turkey hunting, waterfowl hunting, hound hunting, mounted fox hunting, special late seasons and urban programs. There's good hunting in Virginia!

When deer are not dear — Farmers, landowners, drivers, and outdoor recreationists all benefit from hunters harvesting the white-tailed deer population in Virginia. Hunting reduces pressure on crops, protects expensive landscaping, cuts down on deer in the roadways, and prevents deer overgrazing an area and destroying habitat needed by other wildlife such as songbirds. Hunters help maintain that balance for Virginians.

4) Healthy Minds, Spirits and Bodies

Hunters get huge rewards from time spent in the outdoors — Spending a day afield, whether still hunting alone or following a pack of hounds in pursuit of their quarry, releases hunters from their day-to-day stress. Being outdoors and active builds strength and improves your overall health. Nothing clears the mind and brings on a better sense of feeling alive and part of the environment than a day in the woods. Hunting builds self-esteem as you gain outdoor skills and the satisfaction of being able to participate in the age-old need to pursue and to provide food.

Anyone can learn — The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offers outdoor skills training for beginners to learn safe firearms handling, game identification, hunting techniques and more. The Department also offers special hunts designed for youth, women, and people with disabilities. The Apprentice Hunting License allows someone who has never had a hunting license before to "test drive" hunting. The apprentice license holder can go afield with a licensed hunter age 18 or older immediately upon purchasing their license and has up to two years to complete the Hunter Education requirement. To learn more about hunting licenses, license requirements, seasons, game species, etc., visit www.HuntFishVA.com or call 1-866-721-6911 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

5) Sharing the Bounty

A tradition of stewardship — Hunting is a tradition that is often passed on from one generation to the next creating a special bond between family members and friends. Many hunters enjoy mentoring others in the pleasure of and importance of being good stewards of our natural resources. For most hunters it's not the killing of game that's key to hunting, but the experiences and life lessons they gain. People who hunt have a special connection with the outdoors and an awareness of the relationships between wildlife, habitat, and humans. With that awareness comes an understanding of the role humans play in being caretakers of the environment.

Helping others by putting food on their tables — Food banks need donations now more than ever. Hunters are providing much needed protein to Virginia's needy families by donating a deer or a portion of it to Hunters for the Hungry (www.h4hungry.org). Last hunting season, more than 363,000 pounds of venison was distributed in the Commonwealth through this program. Since Hunters for the Hungry was founded in 1991, more than 3.5 million pounds, equal to 13.5 million servings, of venison have been distributed in Virginia. In tough times, hunters continue to share the wealth of their harvest. Hunters can also contribute by donating $2 to Hunters for the Hungry when they purchase their hunting licenses. The non-hunting public can donate money to Hunters for the Hungry to off-set the cost of processing that donated meat.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Poaching Makes Me Angry

Why do people poach? It’s a question I too often find myself asking and it makes me angry that I have to do it. Poaching is never “right” to me but if a person has a legitimate reason for it such as they are starving and truly need the food to eat then that I can understand. However, when people spotlight, or otherwise hunt illegally for no real reason, it just stuns me. How can you take pleasure in killing a trophy buck when you cheated to get it? Not only do you cheat the deer, you cheated other sportsmen, and you cheated yourself. Part of the fun of hunting is challenging yourself against an animal that is smart and cautious and to take your prey down you have to be on top of your game. When you cheat you take the fun out of it. Anyone can take a spotlight out in to a field and kill a nice deer or any deer for that matter. For me, when you cheat, it stops being hunting and becomes shooting or killing. If I want to shoot I’ll go to the range, and the killing part of hunting is not what gives me my greatest satisfaction. To me the kill is just the finality of all that came before it. Anyway, this rant came about because I found out that on the property I’ve been hunting the most, one of the neighbors has been spotlighting deer at night and to make matters worse he’s not even taking the meat. He’s killing these deer and just letting them lie. If the deer were bothering his crops or something I could have a little more sympathy for the situation but he has nothing like that and as far as I can see he has no justification for shooting the deer aside from just target practice. It’s some family owned land and he better be glad it’s not my family because if I owned the land he would not like what I would have to say to him. It’s people like him who the anti-hunters use to try to make real hunters look bad but anyone who would do something like he is doing is not a real hunter.

Sorry for the rant, I hope I’m the only one of you having a problem like this. My best to you and yours!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Virginia Hunting 2008 *Update*

Just a quick update, my hunting season still has not worked out the way I was hoping for but I'm enjoying the little time I’ve had in the woods and I know that things are going to be coming together soon! On a related note I have been talking with Kevin Renwick from Traditions Firearms and I will be ordering a new Pursuit II XLT on Monday. I'm really excited, as Traditions have really put a lot in to making some of the best firearms on the market today! I've been hearing some really great things about the new Pursuit II's and I can't wait to get mine in and try it out for myself! I think the challenge of muzzleloading is going to be something I really enjoy. I'll be sure to post a review as soon as I can. I hope you are all having successful seasons and that you and yours are doing well!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Running With the Deer

Just this evening I had my coolest running experience ever… about 1.5 miles in to my 4 mile run I spooked a deer. The deer was about 10 steps ahead of me when it spooked, and I picked up my pace when I saw it run and I tried to grunt at it and then whistled at it to try to get it to slow or stop. When I saw that it had no intention of stopping I then just tried to keep pace with it as best as I could and then proceeded to talk trash to it. I let her know that I too was out running and in the woods every chance I got and that I was coming for her and her kind. We ran together for about a ¼ mile or so before she ran in to the woods, and my legs were pumping fiercely as I matched her stride for stride. She kept sneaking peaks back in shock that some guy was running with her like I was. After she disappeared in to the woods I kept on running until I reached my workplace, which was the 2-mile mark, with a huge smile on my face! I couldn’t believe that I had just had the privilege of running with a deer. As I returned down the road, the deer had snuck back out and was nearly in the same spot I had jumped her the first time. This time we were running in different directions but I yet again let her know that I was going and going and her kin might have defeated me to this point this year but I was never going to stop and that eventually my dry streak was going to end. It was the best run I’ve ever had and I could not wipe the smile off of my face the entire run. I hope you all are having great seasons, my luck has not been to great so far but I’m enjoying every minute I have in the woods!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

All Day Bowhunting

Thirteen hours, two asian giant hornets, one squirrel, one raccoon, and two does later I got skunked yesterday. I sat on stand all day, probably a bad idea when the days are still this long, and I saw only two does, I would have been glad to take one of them but as deer sometimes do they came by me in an area I never thought they would and the cover was to thick to have a good shot. It was really nice to be back in the woods though and as of now I’m planning on hunting Monday after work. I hope you all had better luck than I did!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Virginia Bowhunting 2008

Am I ready? Did I learn all I needed to learn? Is my fitness level good enough? Am I shooting well enough? These are all questions that run through my mind every day now, and tomorrow they start getting answered. I do know for sure about one thing though, I made a commitment at the end of last season to do something every day to become a better hunter, and I did it! I committed myself to trying to get in better shape, trying to become a better archer, and trying to learn as much about deer as I could. I don’t feel like I did as much as I could have but I do feel like I made gains on every goal. I’m sure I could have done more, and I will in the future, but I know I did do something no matter how small every single day to become better. I don’t know how much this work will pay off this year but I believe if nothing else it will make my time in the woods more enjoyable! I’m really excited about kicking off archery season tomorrow and I’m sure you all are as well. I wish you all a safe and successful season!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Seven Sisters Trail Wytheville VA *Completion*


A couple of weekends ago I finally decided to go back to the Seven Sisters Trail here in Wytheville VA. I’m continuing to try to get in shape and I figured there would be no way better to prepare for the rigors of the upcoming hunting season than getting out in to the mountains. I didn’t want to soil any place that I was thinking of hunting with my scent so I figured the SST would be a great place to get some work in. The trail is listed, as being 4.8 miles but the way I went it was unofficially 5.6 miles. I started at the Seven Sisters day use area and traveled around to the campground at the other end of the trail and just took Krenning Road back to my truck. The round trip was unofficially 8.1 miles to my best estimations. Below is the official description of the trail from the DGIF website.

Elevation: 2578 ft. The 4.8-mile Seven Sisters Trail passes through a variety of terrain including mature white pine stands and rhododendron thickets. Early in the morning, the mossy forest is often cloaked in a mist, giving the area the feel of an uncharted, foreign world. As one explores the trail under the massive white pine, be on the look out for birds such as ruffed grouse, wild turkey, woodpeckers, flycatchers, warblers and other woodland passerines”



The DGIF description starts off wrong because as the picture here shows the elevation actually goes to 3310 ft. With that being said, I had a great hike/walk/run and some of the climbs were incredible work for getting hunt ready! I kept telling myself on every huge uphill “No Burn, No Earn” and it kept me going every time I wanted to stop. If I was not hurting, I would not be getting stronger, thus my “No Burn, No Earn” motto! I knew that if I quit and rested then I was not getting the kind of work I needed to conquer the hills while hunting. Along with the sheer effort of getting to your stand, you have to climb up to it, and the biggest work out of all is getting the deer out of the woods. While the hiking I was doing was no picnic I knew dragging a deer out by myself could often times be twice as demanding. While the trail was tough some of the time it was beautiful all of the time. In less than a month now I’ve lost 10lbs and I’m convinced that I lost 5 of it on this hike alone. I don’t want to sound like this is a hike for sadomasochists only, because it’s not, but someone in less than optimal shape would have to walk it slowly instead of trying to jog through as much of it as I did. Truth be known though, I certainly did more walking than jogging myself. Another great aspect of the trip was that it was a great chance for me to try out my new running shoes! I had just bought a pair of Adidas Falcons and they held up awesomely. I’ve been having a big problem with shin splints and I never had the first leg problem through the whole journey.

Seven Sisters, as stated above by the DGIF, does feature a variety of terrain. From flat ground, to shale rock pathways, to seemingly huge climbs up steep banks, you really do get to test yourself. Also, I heard a turkey, saw a snake, and had various levels of encounters with a variety of wildlife. I really want to go back next year after hunting season has wound down and take the trail slower so that I can really appreciate all of the beauty that it has to offer. However, I also plan on running it as fast as I can and really using it as a training ground as well. It’s a great area to enjoy nature and get in to hunting level shape at the same time and I hope to become a regular visitor. So, if in the future you see some bald fellow with a Mossy Oak backpack come whizzing by, don’t be offended I’m just training for my favorite sport!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fieldline Backpack Review


Glenwood Canyon Internal Frame

• Two internal removable aluminum stays included
• Top flap includes zippered compartment
• Vertical front entry opening for easy access to gear
• Two large zippered side pockets
• Equipped with Buddy-Lok™ Modular Locking System
• Articulated padded shoulder straps with adjustable chest straps
• Cool mesh padded back
• Hydration compatible (bladder sold separately)
• Four compression straps to secure your load
• Large front pocket with vertical zipper opening
• Two quick access pocket on waist belt

• 3325 cu.in. : 21in H x 15in W x 8.75in D
• 54.4 liters : 53.3cm H x 38.1cn W x 22.2cm D
• Torso fit: 15in to 18in (38.1cm to 45.7cm)
THE ABOVE IS FROM FIELDLINE'S WEBSITE.

I recently purchased a Fieldline “Glenwood Canyon Internal Frame” backpack from K-Mart. I needed a large backpack to carry extra gear in this year. I have a smaller backpack and a fanny pack but sometimes you need a larger pack to haul bulky items. In the past I haven’t always been able to pack enough clothes with me and would get cold in the treestand. The pack was around $30 and seemed ideal for me. It seemed large enough to carry extra clothes and organized enough to allow me to sort my other gear. However after I had the pack home I was a little disappointed and realized I probably should have spent a little more time with the pack in the store. There were not as many pockets as I had thought and the pockets on the outsides are not sewn enough outside of the main pack to allow them to be easily accessed when the main area is packed full. In the store the pockets seemed well made but, it would seem that way when it is empty. With that being said though, this backpack is perfect if you need to carry bulk gear more than you need quick access to gear such as calls, rattle bags, food or things of that nature. I normally keep various things in my bag with the pockets open though for quick and easy access to different items. I may be able to rearrange things though to make this pack work for me but more pockets would certainly help.

As a running/hiking backpack though this pack has been great! I have to take steel toe boots, work clothes, my lunch for the day, as well as various other things with me when I run/bike to work. I’ve had trouble in the past finding a pack big enough to hold all that comfortably at a decent price before I found this pack. Camouflage may not be the smartest thing to wear while being on the roads as a brighter pattern would help me stand out more but I like the fact that I’m showing hunting pride while working out and combating the stereotype of hunters being lazy slobs who just set in a treestand all day. Where does that image come from anyway? Anyone who’s done much hunting at all can testify to the physicality of walking hills all day, hanging treestands, and pulling out large animals. You can be out of shape and hunt but I can tell you it’s not nearly as much fun when hunting is taking your maximum hunting effort. Ok, soapbox moment over, this pack has worked out perfectly for my “commute” to work and I will be using it for that for a long while to come! If this pack goes on sale during the season I would consider buying another one for hunting because at a good enough price I would go ahead and rearrange things to make this pack work. The bulk capacity would make it worthwhile at a reduced price. If you’re considering buying a new pack I hope this review has given you enough information to decide if the Glen Canyon pack is the right one for you. If you have any additional questions feel free to leave them in the comments or to email me at tnunley@gmail.com.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

One more week!!!!!!!!

One more week! Wow, I’m so excited! Today is a big day for me. Today I pull out all my gear again and make sure everything is good to go, buy backup batteries, get the rest of my clothes washed and hung outside, and all the other preparations that I need to get done. I wish I had more money to spend this year as there are a lot of new things I would like to have bought and would like to have replaced on my bow but in my heart I believe everything is ready to go. I wish I had been able to work harder this off-season but I definitely feel that I’m much better prepared this year than in years past. While I may not have had the time and energy to do everything I wanted to I’ve worked much harder than I have in the past and I’m only going to get better in the future. I’m just so excited, nervous, and everything else that I dream about hunting every single night now! Oh well, one more week and I’m in the woods and on a stand!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hunting and Fishing Expo Abingdon VA Wrap-Up

What a blast! I can truly say that this was the most fun event I’ve attended as a Mossy Oak ProStaffer! My fellow ProStaffer, Travis Dalton, and I ran a youth shooting booth at the show and I never imagined the turn out we would get! Travis brought a Matthews Genesis bow and a life size deer target and nearly everyone at the show seemed to stop by to shoot a few arrows! We had everyone from knee high young ‘uns to well aged adults stop by and chat with us and fire off a few aluminum arrows! The poor deer was shot up from nose to tail and it never went down. I hope I never see that sucker in the woods, talk about a confidence killer lol! We met so many people today and I believe we made some new archers and hunters. Many women stopped by as well who were thinking about starting to shoot but weren’t able to pull their husband/boyfriend/dad’s bow back and wanted to try it out with the Genesis. Well let me tell you, from young to old, man to woman they all loved it and most came back multiple times! After today I’m truly thinking about investing in such a rig and setting up at any kind of shows I can because it brought happiness to so many people including myself… heck, we even had one boy Robin Hood an arrow while we were there.



The show itself was a huge success and was very well attended. I spent most of my day outside and not knowing that I didn’t bring sunscreen. I can truly say now, that if I wasn’t before, I am truly a redneck. A bright, bright, shiny redneck. Anyway, I did find time to go inside and they had a little bit of everything. From James Vance of Mossy Oak and X-cape Outdoors scoring deer, to QDMA, to the VDGIF, to various dealers selling items, to different games, seminars, and events there was truly something for everyone! I was really excited to be there and really proud to be representing Mossy Oak and the outdoors. I think Travis and I really opened some people up to some new things today and I couldn’t be happier about it!

After the show, despite having walked about 40 miles retrieving arrows, I went and bought myself a new pair of running shoes. I’ve been having a real problem with shin splints and I think it may have something to do with the $20 Wal-Mart shoes I’ve been wearing. I stopped by one of Abingdon’s shoe stores and tried on about every running shoe they had before settling on the Adidas Falcon M 4E. It wasn’t my favorite looking shoe, although it is pretty nice, but it was certainly the most comfortable of the shoes. I can’t wait to get out today and start putting some miles on them! After that I went and picked up Harry from my parents and didn’t wrap up my running around until after 9. After I got Harry tucked in safely and taking care of some internet business I shot my bow for a few minutes, caught up on college football, and then crashed out. It was a really great day all around, well except for Notre Dame losing.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Abingdon VA's Hunting & Fishing Expo...

Don't forget to come out this Saturday and Sunday for the Hunting & Fishing Expo! It's packed will cool things for hunters and fishers, and for young and old! See you there!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Leupold RX-II Review



For full disclosure I will admit from the start that I’ve not yet hunted with my Leupold RX-II rangefinder and I’ve only had it two weeks… however, I’m already head over heels in love with it! It came in a preset easy to use mode that just happened to be set perfectly on my speed of bow. It comes with 3 bow modes that sets to different speed ranges. It has a built in inclinometer, which is awesome for treestand hunting and/or hilly terrain. It also has modes for hunting in the rain, different rifle model’s, different crosshairs and everything else a hunter could ever ask for.


Before I bought the Leupold I read some reviews online and some of them mentioned that this model was difficult to use and complicated. However there were enough good reviews that based on its price and features I couldn’t resist taking a chance and I’m so glad I did. I will admit that the two-button model that I have does come with a slight learning curve but between reading the booklet and some hands on experimenting I feel that I can now easily do all that I need to with this model! While I haven’t had it for a long time I have had a chance to test it out on some marked range targets and it is DEAD on! I mainly bought this unit for bowhunting as my yardage guessing is not quite as good as I would like. It is already improving my overall ability with a bow as I can now practice from a variety of yardages and elevations with increased confidence! The RX-II is a fixed 6X power and that also helps view where you placed your arrows as well. I think the display screen is set up nicely and the lenses are clear and useable as well.

As I have more hands on time with this model and get to use it while hunting I will update this review but as of now I’m sold on Leupold!

Below is the official write-up from Leupold –
RX-II Digital Laser Rangefinder

The Leuopld® RX®-II digital laser rangefinder is a valuable long-range shooting tool. Accurate range in the field can mean the difference between a hit or a miss. The RX-II does more than deliver the straight line distance…you get the True Ballistic Range® to your target, based on your rifle’s ballistics.

* With a built-in inclinometer, the RX-II calculates the ballistics range to your target, then displays it as a holdover aim point, an MOA adjustment, or the equivalent horizontal distance.
* 6x magnification gives you plenty of power, with a wide field of view to track movement.
* Rugged, weatherproof construction.
* Scan mode continuously updates the range as you track a target or scan an area.
* The precision thermometer gives you digital readings in ˚C or ˚F.
* Accurate to 750 yards, with measurements in feet, yards, or meters.
* The Quick Set Rotary Menu® is easy to use, for fast customization of your RX-II. Also includes the Quick Start Mode.
* Available with Mossy Oak® Obsession® camo, Mossy Oak Treestand™ camo, or two-tone black/gray finish.
* Battery power indicator for easy battery level checks.
* The common CR2 lithium camera battery is easy to change in the field.
* Multiple Ballistics Settings…RX rangefinders with True Ballistic Range (TBR®) provide accurate aiming information matched to the performance of your rifle or bow. By calculating the incline, line of sight range to the target, and a projectile’s ballistics, your RX provides rifle hunters using Leupold Ballistics Aiming System™ reticles as well as bow hunters the correct equivalent horizontal distance for precise shooting on an incline. In other words, aim using the True Ballistic Range, not the line of sight range. Rifle hunters can also get this data as an MOA adjustment or a holdover point. With practice, long distance/steep angle shooting will become second nature. Dial in your RX to one of seven TBR ballistics settings for the rifle and three for the bow for incredible accuracy. TBR is effective to 800 yards for most rifle cartridges.
* Multiple modes…with the RX Series, you can do something you can’t do with any other rangefinder: use multiple modes at once to tailor your readings to the conditions. For example: scouting a whitetail in the rain? Use Rain Mode and 1st Target Mode at the same time to achieve the most accurate range possible. Only RX rangefinders give you the ability to adapt to changing conditions like this. Leupold’s exclusive Quick Set Rotary Menu is intuitive and easy to use, giving you fast access to all the incredible performance modes of your new RX rangefinder.
* The Match 13® Reticle System…one of the most useful customizable features of your RX rangefinder is the Match 13 Reticle System…you’ll always have fast access to each of the 13 reticles, so you always have the right reticle for any situation. Each reticle is available with the Leupold Plus Point™, for an added level of accuracy in pinpointing a target.
* Accessories included: The useful carrying case features a bungee/hook closure for silent operation in the field, a battery, a dog clip for attaching to your pack, and an internal pocket for carrying batteries, instructions and other items. Also includes a lanyard. Tripod thread included, allowing steady mounting for accurate target acquisition.

*Review updated here*

Saturday, September 13, 2008

GO IRISH!!!!!

Finally my team looked pretty good in a game!

Notre Dame 35
Michigan 17

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hunting and Fishing Expo Abingdon, VA

Be making your plans now to attend the Hunting and Fishing Expo in Abingdon VA September 20th and 21st! It's going to be a great time and I will be there along with Travis Dalton, a fellow Mossy Oak ProStaffer, running a kids archery game! If you have kids be sure to bring them out as there will be plenty for them to do and see.

Also, don't forget to be practicing and getting all of your gear ready as bow season will be here SOON!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Virginia's Hunters and Anglers Have a Significant Impact on the Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Virginia's 857,000 hunters and anglers are among the most prominent and influential of all demographic groups, spending more than $1.3 billion a year on hunting and fishing, according to a new report.

The new report, "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors," spotlights the immense impact hunters and anglers have on the economy at the national and state level.

In Virginia, spending by hunters and anglers directly supports 24,000 jobs, which puts $683 million worth of paychecks into pockets of working residents around the state. Of course, government coffers also benefit -- spending by sportsmen in pursuit of these outdoor activities generates $128 million in state and local taxes. These latest figures demonstrate that season after season hunters and anglers are driving the economy from big businesses to rural towns, through booms and recessions.

"Because sportsmen enjoy hunting or fishing alone or in small groups, they are overlooked as a constituency and as a substantial economic force," stated Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "When you compare spending by hunters and anglers to other sectors, their impact on the state's economy becomes more tangible."

* Sportsmen support more jobs in Virginia than Northrop Grumman in Newport News and Virginia Tech University combined (24,000 jobs vs. 23,000).
* Annual spending by Virginia sportsmen is more than the combined revenues of Southside Oil, Uppy's Convenience Stores, Apex Systems, and Lumber Liquidators - the state's four fastest growing companies grossing over $100 million ($1.3 billion vs. $932 million).
* Sportsmen spend more in Virginia than the combined cash receipts from broilers, cattle and dairy products - the state's top three agricultural commodities ($1.3 billion vs. $1.2 billion).
* Virginia sportsmen annually spend $175 million on outboard boats and engines to get out on the water and around the marshes for fishing and hunting.
* Virginia sportsmen could fill both Richmond International Raceway and Martinsville Speedway nearly 5 times (857,000 vs. 177,000).
* The economic stimulus of hunting and fishing equates to an astounding $3.6 million a day being pumped into the state's economy.

"Spending by sportsmen benefits not only the manufacturers of hunting and fishing related products, but everything from local mom and pop businesses to wildlife conservation," noted Doug Painter, president of National Shooting Sports Foundation. "And because most hunting and fishing takes place in rural areas, much of the spending benefits less affluent parts of the state."

On the national level, 34 million sportsmen age 16 and older spent more than $76 billion in 2006, supporting 1.6 million jobs. If a single corporation grossed as much as hunters and anglers spend, it would be among America's 20 largest, ahead of Target, Costco and AT&T. And if all hunters and anglers had voted during the last presidential election, they would have equaled 31 percent of all votes cast. If all hunters and anglers living in Virginia voted, they would have equaled 38 percent of all votes cast in the state.

These statistics are impressive and, if anything, they underestimate the impact of sportsmen since they do not take into account the millions of hunters and anglers under 16 years of age or people who were not able to get out and hunt or fish in 2006. When sportsmen's spending is thought of in business terms and compared to other sectors of the economy, it is quite remarkable. From small rural towns scattered across our country's landscape to the bottom-line of Fortune 500 companies located in major cities, if you take away hunting and fishing you take away the equivalent of a multi-billion dollar corporation.

"It is a fairly simple equation – hunters and anglers mean jobs in states and local communities that have made the effort to maintain their hunting and fishing opportunities," said Crane. "The economic impacts that sportsmen have on state economies should be a wake-up call to state governments to welcome and encourage hunting and fishing in their state."

The report, "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors," was produced by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation with support from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation and SCI - First For Hunters. The report uses the results from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation and statistics provided by the American Sportfishing Association and Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.



The report: "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors" along with STATE FACTS are available on the Web at
www.sportsmenslink.org and www.nssf.org

For more information or questions contact: Melinda Gable 202-302-4794 or at Melinda@sportsmenslink.org



###

About CSF
CSF is the most respected and trusted hunting and fishing organization in the political arena. With support from every major hunting and fishing organization, CSF is the leader in promoting sportsmen's issues with elected officials. CSF works directly with the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus in the U.S. Congress, as well as affiliated state sportsmen's caucuses in state legislatures around the country.

About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the shooting, hunting and firearms industry whose purpose is to provide trusted leadership in addressing industry challenges. NSSF concentrates efforts on measurably advancing participation in and understanding of hunting and the shooting sports; reaffirming and strengthening their members' commitment to the safe and responsible use of their products; and promoting a political climate supportive of America's traditional firearms rights.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Seven Sisters Trail and Getting Ready for the Season

Sorry I haven’t written much lately but I’ve been extremely busy getting ready for the upcoming Whitetail season! Last weekend I did some scouting and hiking. The scouting was pretty unproductive but I hiked about a mile and a half back in to Seven Sisters Trail and it was a great trail that I look forward to returning to and hiking the whole way, 5 miles I think. I noticed the acorns are starting to fall as well while I was hiking.

As well as that I’ve been exercising nearly every day and shooting every day! Well, I actually didn’t get to shoot last night but it was the first night in a long while it seems! My shooting is definitely more consistent but I’m going to have to keep at it to be completely ready for the season. I’m working hard and I’m loving doing it as the big day gets closer every second! The biggest news for me is that my article in the paper actually netted me a great new place to hunt! A buddy of mine didn’t realize I had started hunting again and when he found out he offered me the chance to hunt on his family’s land! It’s a big piece of land that he and I will be the only ones hunting. I went yesterday and hung a stand and I feel really good about it! I haven’t fully had a chance to scout it out but he took me through the biggest part of it on 4-wheelers yesterday. The plan is to help take down the doe population unless a really nice buck comes through, or a bear! Yup, there are bears on the property! I’m really excited about the possibilities! I’ll just have to get in there and see how it goes though as there are no guarantees in life.

I also ordered a Leupold RX-II that should be in tomorrow. I’ll post up a review after I’ve had a chance to get used to it! I hope you all are doing well and that you are having as much fun getting ready as I am!

PS
Should have mentioned it earlier but I hung the stand about 75 yards off of a field that the deer feed in. The area is a flat spot on a slight slope leading down to the field and there are 3 or 4 trails leading in and out of it. There is decent sign in there and I really feel like I have a good shot of seeing something there in a couple of weeks!

PPS
I hope this post makes sense as I can not get my brain going this morning… well my brain isn’t 100% ever so it’s probably not a big deal lol! Anyway don’t forget about the Hunting and Fishing Expo coming up in Abingdon VA, on the 20th and 21st of this month!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Reception & Hunters For The Hungry Banquet

Here are two new events I just got emailed about. I don't think I'll be able to attend but I thought I would pass the info on to you all as they sound like a great time!

The Blue Ridge Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is holding a Conservation Reception this Friday evening at Ashley Plantation. This is a wonderful chance for you to learn about the organization and how you can help to preserve our wildlife and land. It's also a chance to meet some wonderful people who love the outdoors just like you.

The Reception will start at 6pm this Friday (9/5) at Ashley Plantation. Tickets are $30 for individuals, $50 for couples, and $10 for kids. Ashley Plantation will be catering heavy hors D'oeuvres. For more information about the RMEF or to purchase tickets to the September conservation reception, call Brandy Vassar at 556-6998 or 992-2172.


Hunters for the Hungry Banquet

A Sportsmen's banquet to benefit Hunters for the Hungry will take place on Saturday September 27, 2008 at Dave Sarmadi Mitsubishi in Salem, VA. The event will include dinner, dessert, and beverages, a variety of raffles as well as live and silent auctions of donated merchandise. Ticket prices are as follows: $20.00 Single; $35.00 Per Couple; Children 12 and under eat for FREE. For tickets or other information contact Jeff Fletcher (540)985-6523 or Fred & Phyllis Wells (540) 992-3874. Other entertainment includes trick archery by Byron Tabor, Bob Duncan of the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and a kids activity area.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hunters For The Hungry

With hunting season being so close I figured I would post a little info on the Hunters For The Hungry program. It's a great program that I hope I'm going to be able to contribute to this year. My first 2-3 are spoken for, if I get even 1, but anything over that will most likety got to Hunters For The Hungry. Here is the explanation of the program from their site...
...Hunters for the Hungry operates by solicitation of successful hunters to donate venison. The deer are accepted by professional meat cutters who process (cut, wrap, and freeze) the venison. The meat is provided at no cost and is distributed by foodbanks and other 501 (C) (3) nonprofit organizations feeding Virginia's needy. We are not supported by any state funds nor are we a United Way Agency.

...Funds are raised to cover the cost of processing, distribution, and the overhead expenses of operation (less than 20% of total expenses). Financial support is currently the limiting factor.

...The simplicity of the program makes it not only easy to understand but also practical to operate. Hunters, all volunteers, do the work of providing the food. Processors inspect, cut, wrap, and freeze the meat (most charge us a fee reduced from normal rates). The venison is distributed through agencies already equipped for and in the business of feeding the needy. The food provided is a quality high protein, low-fat item not normally available.

The Benefits
Our natural resources are used to help those in need.
Potential waste is eliminated
Hunters are involved in helping and providing for the less fortunate.
The deer population is controlled which not only benefits mankind but the deer themselves.

Among those who have worked with, assisted, and endorsed this effort are:
Ruritan National and Ruritan Clubs across Virginia
The Federation of Virginia Foodbanks
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
The Virginia Department of Meat and Poultry Inspection
The Virginia Department of Health
The Virginia Deer Hunters Association
The Virginia Wildlife Federation
The Virginia Game Warden's Association
Many civic clubs including - Rotary, Lions, Izaak Walton League, Moose, American Legion
Churches including - United Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Baptist, Episcopal
Many businesses both involved and uninvolved in the outdoor sporting world
Virginia Association of Meat Processors
Many media outlets including - radio, television, magazines, and newspapers

...We have a proven track record. We have received and distributed nearly one half million pounds of venison to the needy across Virginia. The potential exists to provide almost this quantity on an annual basis.

...Our long term goal is to make 500,000 pounds of venison available to the hungry annually. We already have in place the needed program to receive and distribute this quantity. As funds are available more meat will be accepted and distributed.

...Please take a few minutes to review our materials. We are very proud of the cost-effective manner in which we operate. Contributions should be used primarily for program not for overhead.

...Your consideration of a contribution is greatly appreciated. A favorable response to our request would:

1. Help us expand our effort while we continue to build our support base
2. Provide needed food to many who otherwise will do without
3. Impact the operations and budgets of many feeding agencies around the state as all meat is provided by us at no charge
4. Enhance the cooperative program that we have begun. This cooperation clearly involves many who do not otherwise participate in charitable endeavors or who do not normally find common ground on which to pool their efforts.

...We would gladly provide any additional information that would be helpful.

...Thank you for your time and consideration. We hope you will see fit to invest in our effort to feed, educate, and cooperate.

...To contact Hunters for the Hungry e-mail(staff@4hungry.org) or write us at:
Hunters For The Hungry
P.O. Box 304
Big Island, VA 24526

Phone: 1-800-352-4868

Here is a link to their processing centers, just click and find the one closest to you! All you have to do is properly field dress the deer and deliver it to a processing center. I hope this info helps and that no one out there lets any deer go to waste, best of luck to you all this hunting season! I for one can't wait to get this hunting season started!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My future best hunting partner!




SWVA Today newspaper article

Here is the article Nate Hubbard wrote about me. I'm pleased with the article and I think that Nate did a great job! I hope I don't come across like I don't like country people because I'm a country boy myself. I just want people to know that those are not the only people who hunt. Also, I don't think of myself as a rock star, those were Nate's words lol! I'm grateful to Nate for giving me a chance to talk about hunting and a chance to help me get the word out there that the outdoors are for everyone!

From bass to bow
Mark Sage
Wytheville Enterprise: News > Bland County Messenger: News >
Wed Aug 27, 2008 - 10:48 AM

By NATE HUBBARD/Staff

Tommy Nunley was a rock star.
Now he’s often alone in the woods.
And he couldn’t be happier.
Nunley, a Hollybrook native and 1992 Bland High School graduate, grew up hunting and getting outdoors before embarking on his music career as the bass player for popular local band Drivn.
While living the “rock star lifestyle,” Nunley said he shunned his roots as much as possible.
“I just got away from my beginnings,” he said. “I never was anti-hunting, but I kind of let myself buy into the stereotypes of a hunter.”
You know, those beer-swigging, white country boys piling in pickup trucks to go shoot up the woods.
Nunley, though, has now made it his mission to correct those stereotypes and get people to share in what has become a life-changing hobby for him.
The current Wytheville resident said there wasn’t a single moment or transformative event that brought him back to the woods.
“It was actually a gradual process,” he said.
As he started to realize a few years ago that hitting the clubs wasn’t as fulfilling as it once was, Nunley said he found himself in the outdoors more and more, initially doing activities like hiking and camping.
“The more I did those things, I really enjoyed it and I was kind of looking for more ways to spend time outdoors,” Nunley explained.
Suddenly hunting didn’t sound so beneath him anymore.
Nunley went out small game hunting and the experience immediately captivated him in a way that never happened when he glumly traipsed through the woods on hunting trips as a kid.
“I didn’t think it was ever going to be my thing,” Nunley said about hunting. “It kind of just got me hooked.”
Last October, Nunley finally quit the band for good (although he said he remains good friends with its current members) and began heading to the woods at every chance he could find – after work, on weekends, even taking all his vacation time for hunting trips.
Then last spring, Nunley applied to join the pro staff of Mossy Oak, a camouflage gear company.
The former hunting skeptic is now an ambassador for the Mississippi-based company, appearing at local outdoor shows such as the Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen’s Classic in Salem last weekend to promote gear and espouse the benefits of getting outside.
Nunley also blogs about his love for hunting at tommynunley.blogspot.com and said he hopes to develop a separate Web site in the future that will be dedicated entirely to debunking negative stereotypes and helping people get started in the sport.
In the meantime, he said he welcomes any questions about hunting at tnunley@gmail.com.
Although his day job remains working for J.J. Haines and Co., a wholesale flooring company in Wytheville, the ex-rock star said he’d love to be able to turn his Mossy Oak Pro Staff position into a full-time gig.
In addition to continuing to write online, Nunley said he’s also interested in developing a hunting television show as a long-term goal.
“It’s my meditation I guess,” Nunley said about being out in the woods. “I love being out there. I love watching nature unfold in front of you. You’re sitting there wearing camouflage and you kind of just become part of it.”
While Nunley said he mostly enjoys just getting outside, he added that hunting provides an extra challenge to the experience.
He said he prefers to hunt with a compound bow, which usually requires the hunter to get within 20 to 40 yards of an animal before a shot can be made.
“To get that close to a wild animal is extremely hard,” he said. “That’s the real challenge of it.”
Nunley added that he’s reconnected with some of his old friends through getting back into hunting and has made plenty of new ones as well.
He said he’s especially enjoyed sharing the experience with his dad, Harry, who also had gotten away from the activity.
Whatever Nunley kills he eats himself or donates to a program called Hunters for the Hungry as he said he finds it “disgraceful” not to use the meat.
Being ethical and still enjoying the sporting aspect of hunting actually go hand-in-hand, Nunley said.
“You don’t ever want to just wound an animal and let it run off,” he said, explaining that you want to respect the animal and at the same time not miss out on a prize catch. “It’s very important to me that you honor that animal by making it a good shot.”
Now that Nunley spends his weekends in the woods instead of on stage, he said he can’t imagine a better place to be.
“I think people would be a lot better off if they got back in touch with where they come from and the outdoors,” he said. “It just kind of puts you in your place in the world.”
Nate Hubbard can be reached at 228-6611 or nhubbard@wythenews.com.

My preparation is finally coming together

My off-season preparation is finally coming together, although I feel it’s going to be nowhere near enough and I’m going to have to double my efforts next year. After battling bow and health problems all year long my bow is finally just about dialed in and I’m definitely in better shape than I was last year. I’ve worked hard on my shooting all year but I’ve had so many setbacks that I’m not where I wanted to be. I have my comfort zone for shooting and I got it expanded, but not by much. I have a little over a month left to get super intense with my shooting and I plan on doing it! My fitness level has improved as well but considering the fact that I’ve been exercising “somewhat” steady since February it’s not at all what I wanted it to be. I feel better about the fact that I made the effort to improve this year but it also lets me see just how difficult it is to get where you want to be. I’ll have more on this coming up but as of right now I have to get ready for work.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wythevile Enterprise

I just got back from an interview with Nate Hubbard of the Wytheville Enterprise! He was a really nice guy and I believe the interview went well! I was a little nervous, as it was my first time doing an interview by myself, and definitely the first time being interviewed about hunting. I was more nervous because I feel that my message about getting in to the outdoors and in to hunting is so important! I think that mankind would be a lot better off if they would get back in touch with nature and this was my first chance to get the message out in print. I guess I had better get used to interviews though as if things go as planned and things take off for me then a lot more people will be wanting to hear what I have to say about the outdoors and hunting. I’m really not in to this for myself but I have to go through this to get out there and fight the good fight! The article is supposed to be out in the Wythe Enterprise and maybe the Bland Messenger this Wednesday, if it doesn’t make that edition then it will be in Saturday’s paper. I hope you all are doing well! Keep on keeping on!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen's Classic *Summary*

What can I say about the Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen’s Classic? I guess if I had to sum it up in one word it would be educational… and fun! It was a real pleasure to be at the show representing Mossy Oak, I really learned a lot, met some great people, and had a good time all the while doing my job! The lady who runs the show, Waynette Anderson, and her husband were extremely nice and accommodating people and were a pleasure to work with! Dr. William C. MacCarty III, the Boone and Crockett scorer, provided me with quite an education on scoring deer and was intelligent and forthcoming with his knowledge! I would love to sit down with him some time in the future as he has hunted all over the world, mainly as a bowhunter, and has been a scorer for a long time as well! If you ever run in to the man listen to what he has to say, as he truly knows what he’s talking about! I also finally got to meet Mark Taylor in person as well; he’s the outdoor writer for "The Roanoke Times" and was also very knowledgeable and entertaining as well! Two guys who I really wanted to meet were Team Hale/Ward from Drury Outdoors, I did get to meet them but due to circumstances I really didn’t get to talk to them too much but they are just as nice in person as they seem on TV. I watched a little bit of the auction they were doing for the Catch A Dream foundation and the guys are hilarious as well! I also met more of my fellow Mossy Oak ProStaffers, and Dr. James Vance and Travis Dalton are both great guys who you will certainly be hearing more from in the future! As always my new buddy Cody Altizer and his terrific family were a pleasure to talk with as well! I love running in to them, as they seem to be a really close-knit family and truly good people! Scoring the deer also led me to meet many other quality folks as well and I unfortunately didn’t get many of their names but I’ll remember their faces if I run in to them again and I certainly hope I do! There was not one deer brought in to the show yesterday that wasn’t truly beautiful! The show offered plenty of entertainment as well but due to my work schedule I wasn’t able to catch much of it. I did see a little of the Ultimate Air Dogs show though and these dogs are incredible athletes! I hope to be involved with this show again in the future and I hope to see more of you all out there as well! Have a great rest of your weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

First Video Post

This was supposed to go up Tuesday night but I just now got it to upload.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some more reminders!

Don’t forget about the Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen’s Classic coming up August 22-24! It's going to be an awesome show with lots to do so come on out and check it out! I will be at the "Bucks That Rock" event most of the day so come by and say hello!

Also for you small game hunters rabbit and squirrel season opens up September 6th! As for me I'll probably do a little squirrel hunting but I'll mainly be practicing for archery deer season which opens up on October 4th, I can't wait! I've been practicing a lot and continuing to exercise and get in shape but I'm starting to lose sleep from excitement already, it can't get here quickly enough for me. For more info on hunting dates check out the VDGIF!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cameron Hanes

For those of you who don't know who Cameron Hanes is got to www.cameronhanes.com and watch his newest video... Dialed In. The dude shoots a better group at 100yds than I do at 20! He is an intense and dedicated hunter who will inspire you to pick up your game, I would about guarantee!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More From Mark Taylor... Virginia Outdoor Sportmen's Classic!

Be sure to check this article and more out in it's original form here.

Salem to host summer outdoor expo

By Mark Taylor


When entrepreneur promoter Waynette Anderson decided to bring a big outdoor expo to the Roanoke Valley last summer, some cynics cringed.

Previous shows hadn't gone over well, albeit those attempts came long ago. Then there was a scheduling conflict with the long-established expo in Richmond, a problem not so much with attracting attendees but for vendors who can be in only one place.

Those thinking this could be a one-and-done scenario were silenced when the Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen's Classic drew nearly 8,000 people and earned solid reviews from sportsmen and vendors.

Anderson put on a winter show this past February, and the summer show returns Aug. 22-24.

The show will be at the Salem Civic Center, whereas the previous two were at the Roanoke Civic Center.

Other than the location change, the general concept for the expo remains intact, with the show offering a mix of gear sellers and seminar speakers.

The show features a number of interesting offerings.

Among them, Virginians Eric Hale and Chris Ward, who shoot videos for the Drury Outdoors team, will conduct a special live auction to benefit the Catch a Dream Foundation.

Anyone who has seen the Drury Outdoors' "Dream Season" TV series knows that participants in the show are asked to raise money for the foundation. Hale and Ward, who also will be giving six seminars throughout the weekend, participated in the series a couple of years ago and were asked back for "Dream Season All Stars," which is being filmed this hunting season and will air starting July 2009.

The auction will be at 4 p.m. on Aug. 23. Ward says items on the block include ATVs, bows and gift certificates.

The show will also feature the Virginia Outdoor Open turkey calling contest, which is being hosted by the Franklin County Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

The contest is at 1 p.m. on Aug. 23. The entry fee is $25, and prizes range up to $500 for the winners in the top divisions.

The trophy buck contest has been tweaked. Categories will be offered for bow, muzzleloader and rifle-killed bucks taken last year, with an additional historical category for older trophies.

A number of exhibits will allow sportsmen to put their hands on gear. They include an ATV test track, a 3D archery range, a youth archery range, a youth education area and a fly-casting pond.

The popular jumping water dogs attraction -- this time from Ultimate Air Dogs -- also is back this year.

The indoor bass tank will also be back and provide a venue for fishing-related seminars from the likes of guide Teddy Carr.

Other speakers include coyote hunting expert Tom Bechdel, and Max Rowe and Buck Buchanan of the "Just Killin' Time" TV show on the Sportsman Channel.

Fred Cox of Grand Slam Turkey Calls will talk about making turkey calls; Bobby Edwards of Capture outdoors will discuss quality deer management, while J.C. Hall of Sacred Ground Outdoors will present a how-to on filming hunts. I even managed to wiggle my way on to the speaker schedule to talk about ways to get kids hooked on the outdoors.

Admission to the show is $9, with $2 discount coupons available at Roanoke-area Hardee's. For more information, visit vaoutdoorsportsmensclassic.com.

Big Game Contest in September

The 69th annual Virginia Big Game Contest will be held over two weekends in September, giving hunters a chance to show off their deer, turkey and bear trophies from the past hunting season.

This year the Western Regional will be combined with the state championship. The contest, which is hosted by the Rockingham County chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, will be Sept. 27-28 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds just south of Harrisonburg.

Entries will be accepted starting at 9 a.m. on Sept. 26, with no entries accepted after 2 p.m. on Sept. 27.

For more information on the contest, call John Ritenour at (540) 434-8028.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Turkey, Deer, and a Turtle

Scouting report 8-10-08
I finally had a couple of hours today to put shoe leather and my binoculars to good use! I took a couple of hours to scout some of the public land I’ll be hunting yesterday and it went pretty well! I checked on about 4 of my spots and found really positive sign in two of them, and I ruled out a spot or two as well. I verified some stand spots for different wind directions and I’m really excited for the season to kick in! I still have to talk to some landowners about some private property but I’m feeling good about my National Forest spots. Before I could even get in to the first area I was going to check on I was nearly busted by a flock of Turkeys. I managed to get hid before they took off though and I got to observe them for a while. The neatest thing was the little bitty dudes that were in the flock, so cool to see! Later in the day I was standing by the road and glassing a couple of fields when something told me to look over and to my surprise there was a doe standing right in the middle of the road looking right at me. I smiled at her and we checked each other out for a minute and then she cruised on up the hill. Still later in the day I was checking out another area when I looked down and saw a really neat looking yellow headed turtle that I could kick myself for not taking pictures of. All in all it was a very fun and productive day! There’s nothing like being out in nature and there’s certainly nothing like the excitement of getting ready for this upcoming season!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bass Pro Shops and Mossy Oak

I had a great time yesterday at the Charlotte NC, Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic. It was the kick off for my group of the new Mossy Oak ProStaff and it was a pleasure meeting many of my teammates! I have to say though the biggest surprise of the day was the knowledge of the Bass Pro Shops staff. I’ve been in various Bass Pro Shops before and the staff seemed to be able to do there job well, but after working closely all day long with the BPS staff these guys and gals really know what they’re doing and I was really impressed! I had a great time chatting with my fellow teammates and I learned quite a bit from them but it was also a real pleasure talking to the many customers I met! The ProStaff seems to be off to a great start and had very favorable reviews!

It was also nice to meet Kevin Renwick, the Marketing Director of Traditions Muzzleloaders. I’ve been really impressed with Traditions lately and from talking with Kevin the best is yet to come. You’re really going to be hearing more from Traditions in the future and I was already planning on buying one but after talking with Kevin and handling the guns today it will be sooner rather than later! I had to travel three hours each way to the show due to the fact that my babysitter for the day was 30 minutes in the opposite direction but it was easily worth it to do one of the things I love best, talking Mossy Oak and Hunting!

On a related note it seemed I saw more deer out yesterday in all different places than I have ever saw in a single day in my entire life. I’ll have more from my weekend coming up tomorrow but for now I hope you all are enjoying your weekend as much as I am!

PS
Don’t forget about the Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen’s Classic coming up August 22-24!

PPS
Check out my fellow Mossy Oak ProStaffers Cody and Damin Altizer at Obsessing Over The Obsession! I talked with them for a long while yesterday and they and their family are great people and their blog is really informative and well written as well!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

RIP Bernie Mac

I had a great day today at the Bass Pro Event and I'll write about it tomorrow, but today we lost a very funny man... RIP Bernie Mac.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tomorrow is the big day and I can't wait! Hope to see you there!

Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More weekend pics





Some pictures from this weekend!




Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic 2008

Don't forget the Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic 2008 kicks off on the 8th! There will be various Mossy Oak ProStaffers in attendance and I will be at the Charlotte NC store on the 9th, see you there!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Another great weekend!

What a cool day yesterday was. First of all we had Harry baptized yesterday and he behaved so well through the whole thing! He was so cute dressed up in his white satin suit that our friend Adam bought for him (pics to follow soon) and he was just an amazing little boy through the whole thing! Afterwards the church was having a homecoming and we all stuffed ourselves on some great home cooking! We then came home and washed our cars a little bit, hung out for a while, and then watched the big WEC event last night! If you don’t have VS channel you really need to get it as they have great hunting shows and the http://www.wec.tv/. The UFC owns the WEC and is the bigger promotion but somehow the WEC has the best fights of all. Almost every single fight is exciting!

Before I forget, on a hunting related note Harry and I cruised some new hunting areas Saturday night and I found what looked to be whitetail heaven! The only thing is I have to obtain some hunting permissions and I’m going to be working on that tonight! I hope you all had a great weekend!