Tuesday, February 16, 2010

John O'Dell - Trade Show Time

Dave and I were fortunate to be at ATA in Columbus OH on the 14th and 15th of January this year. It was great to be able to hang out with all of our wonderful sponsors and to see some of the new exciting products that are coming out this year. Here are a couple of pictures from ATA.

This past weekend the weather warmed up just enough for the kids to talk me into doing some winter bass/bluegill fishing. I was convinced we would not have much luck catching any fish but I figured time spent with them fishing was way better than hanging around the house watching TV. I have to admit I am glad that they talked me into taking them to the lake as we caught 12 bass over 2.5 lbs with the biggest being a 5.5lb beauty that my daughter Madison caught on her last cast of the day. We also caught countless numbers of bluegills. Being from Iowa it was pretty incredible to be able to go fishing without first having to drill a hole in the ice this time of year. It was also the single best day by far I have ever had on the water (ice or no ice) in January!

Here in February from the 19th – 21st 2010 I will be at the NWTF convention in Nashville TN with a bunch of other Drury Team Members. If you are there please stop by and say hello.

Doug Hampton - Killin' Em With The Cameras!

What is the number one tool in your bag of tricks for hunting trophy whitetails? If you asked this question to ten different hunters, well you would probably get ten different answers. As for my teammate Rod Owen and myself, It would be hands down, "Reconyx cameras". Every now and then we'll see and even kill a buck that we do not have any pictures of. But like I said, "every now and then". For the most part, almost every single deer that we see while in the field, has already been named and documented. Of course, the rut can bring deer from miles and miles so you always stand the chance of getting that 'big surprise' buck. For the most part, by the time we lay eyes on a particular buck, we've got him rough scored and labeled as a shooter, or not a shooter.

Rod and I use these cameras as early as June, and leave them out until we start to get pictures of bucks on the food plots without their headgear. This lets us know when to begin to hunt for sheds.. We usually face the cameras where if a deer trips the camera, It will take a picture of the whole plot, giving us an idea of how many deer are using the plot at that particular time. We try to run enough cameras on my Kansas farm to give us a good indication of what these deer are doing at different times of the day. But if you only have one, your still ahead of the game.

Saving the pictures until the deer is either harvested or old enough to have been hunted by the Flintstones is also a must. I however, learned this the hard way. Rod harvested a 181" buck that we named "The Jolly Bean Giant" on my farm November the 12th. (see journal entry) We stood over that deer for 30 minutes trying to figure what deer this could possibly be. Oh, don't get me wrong, we did have pictures of the buck from this year. But we could not figure out how a deer that we presumed to be at least four years old, could just show up with such regularity, and we didn't know him from Adam. That is, until I noticed the white stockings that ran almost completely up his legs. " I know exactly what deer this is!", I told Rod after we had racked our brains. "It's the white stocking buck from three seasons ago!" A friend of mine, that was hunting with me at the time, kept telling me that he was passing on a 3 year-old buck that had white-stockings up past his knee's. He said the buck was in the mid 130's. At the time, I didn't think it was a great necessity to keep the photo's. And with absolutely no photo's of him last season, he was not even a thought in my mind, until Rod harvested the buck this November. It would have been neat to have had the photo's to go along with the story. Oh well, lesson learned!

And then there's "Curly". Curly is a five year old buck that we have thousands of pictures of. He would totally disappear during the rut. We could not see him, or even get a picture of him from the first day of October to late December. And this was par for the course for three years running. But the one thing that would always pull him back to the property was the abundance of food. He usually would show up with a broken rack and super hungry. The last place that I got a picture of the buck was in a bean field the last day of September. With the frigid temperatures in Kansas and the rut a distant memory, I stuck a ground blind on that same field that I had gotten pictures of Curly in September. My wife Brandy still had a tag, and I was just hoping for at least one mature buck to be using the field. Guess who made an appearance? (see journal entry on Dec. 7th)

The last 5 out of 6 bucks that I have personally harvested, I owe strictly to the camera's. But the best example of using the Reconyx to harvest a buck, would have to be "Big Red". Big Red was a buck that we had also chased for the last few season's. He seemed to be one step ahead of us every time. He got his name from the color that he usually turned my face every time I would have daylight pictures of him where I had just previously hunted. I've never had a deer make me so mad! But on the evening of December 9th, Big Red showed up to the food plot and was caught on camera. By checking the cameras on a daily basis and locating the buck, we would now have the upper hand and a crucial piece of the puzzle for tracking down Big Red . Referring to the pictures from the past, we noticed that when the temperatures dropped below 20 degree's, the mature bucks visited the plot during legal shooting hours almost daily. That next afternoon my son and I crawled into a ground blind overlooking Biologic Maximum. The afternoon of December tenth was the day that my face turned from red to relieved! ( see journal entry on Dec. 10)