Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Aaron Bennett - Fall Is Here

Well summer is over and it flew by so amazingly fast. Deer season has started here in Missouri and the Reconyx cameras are starting to light up with bucks coming out of their velvet! This year I have several bucks that I recognize from last year on my property that I lease from the Hunting Lease Network. Despite the severe drought we experienced here in the Midwest, the antler growth has been very good! Hopefully I will be able to put a Rage in the side of one of these big boys! Besides, it would only be justice after all the time spent this summer filling feeders, hanging stands, and putting up blinds in 100 degree weather….


Even though it is almost October, I have talked to several people that still don't have a hunting spot lined up yet for this fall. If that describes your situation, I highly recommend checking out the Hunting Lease Network! They have many quality farms still available for this fall. The Hunting Lease Network has a wide variety of property sizes and prices to fit your needs whether you are hunting alone, or with a group of friends. If you ever wanted to have your own personal place to hunt now is the time!

Safe Hunting


Monday, October 1, 2012

Tom Ware - EHD Update

EHD UPDATE: September 28th, 2012

My buddy and I decided to walk the major creek that travels through my Iowa farm in Decatur County!  We have an east wind that will prevent all of our scent from blowing into the major timber on my farm.

We were hoping to find nothing but somehow I knew that we were going to find something when we parked the truck and on top of the bridge sat a Turkey Vulture!  

We actually made it over a mile and near the end before we saw the dead buck from about 50 yards. I had no idea of the size of him until I walked up on him and pulled his rack up out of the water and moss around it. He was a GIANT!  Probably close to 190 inches.

My emotions were overflowing. To be honest part of me wanted to cry. We spend countless hours and way too much money trying to grow these giant deer and then Mother Nature harvests them shortly before our season even opens. It is a sad day. All I can hope is that he is the only one...but I know we will find many more...especially come spring!  I'm praying for a strong frost to help these deer.  They don't deserve this terrible disease!

Tom Ware

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dave Reisner - Getting Started

He collects his arrows and grabs his bow and heads down to the Glen Del Buck target to put in some quality practice time.  He positions himself at just the right distance lets all but one of his arrows fall to the turf and knocks his first arrow.  With an almost effortless pull of his string he is poised and ready to let his first arrow fly.  With flawless form he settles in on his pin and with no hesitation lets it rip.  The arrow slices through the air on the way to his intended target where it hits it squarely in the neck.  This is followed by "Dad, I got em."  As the rest of his arrows are released one by one with most of them hitting the target the eager 6 year old can't wait to show Dad of his success.
As I explain to him once again that he really wants to aim for the heart and lungs he innocently confesses that he knows that and that is where he was trying to aim.  With Dads blessing and approval he quickly collects all his arrows and lines back up for another round.
As any father would do, a big smile overcomes my face as I watch my son's unbridled enthusiasm as he releases each arrow.  After twenty minutes or so he is tuckered out and puts his bow and arrows back and moves on to his next adventure of the day. 
So far with my sons I have been overly passive with regard to hunting, shooting or anything related.  I always invite them along and try to make it as fun for them as possible, but I let them decide how much participation they want to have and when they are ready to take the next step.  As any parent would know it's not hard to figure out when they really want something as they can be relentlessly persistent in bugging their parents in these times. 
My son recently attended a NWTF Jakes Day where he won his new bow and this has started a real enthusiasm for shooting.  It is not like this was the first bow he had, more like the third or fourth, but this one may have come at the right time as he is ready for it this time.  I've already had to get an additional half dozen arrows as the knocks or fletchings had been worn off.
Weather this is his start into a lifetime of shooting a bow and the evolution that would ensue or just another monthly phase that he'll be into and out of is yet to be determined, but as father who loves the sport I can only hope that he has been bitten by the same bug that still affects me today!  -Dave Reisner

Kyle Lamore - Summertime Scouting!!

With summer vacation in the rear view mirror and fall quickly approaching it's that time to start putting our game plan together for this hunting season!   For the first time in a long time, we will actually be hunting the same lease that we bowhunted last year. The good news is the  same property means that a lot of the legwork is already done such as hanging sets, food plots, trimming lanes etc.  The bad is the landowner does not allow any gun hunting on the farm so we have  had to focus our attention elsewhere for those three Illinois gun  weekends. We started hanging Reconyx cameras a few months ago and were pleasantly surprised to see alot of familiar faces as well as a few new ones. One deer in particular that stands out is a deer by the name of "niner". Although "niner" doesnt really seem to fit anymore because he is now a "tenner"; he still remains very high on our hitlist. However, the problem is that last year we found this deer almost un-killable. Despite being one of the most photogenic deer on the property getting pics of him on literally almost every camera, we never saw him one time from the stand. His pattern proved very unpredictable and for the most part was a nighttime mover. So...the question we have to ask ourselves this year is:

How much time should we spend trying to kill this deer? ?  ? ?

What would you do?

On one hand I feel since this deer was almost impossible last year, being a year older at 5.5 now he will be even elusive and nocturnal. However, it is very difficult to just ingore a 160" deer that is living right on your farm. 

Do we just mount our efforts on another hit-lister?? Mabye just wait until the rut?  I still am unsure on what we will decide, hopefully the Reconyx can help us with this decision in the next month before season opens. 


We also had the opportunity to take care of the missing piece of the puzzle (no gun hunting our farm) by meeting up with Shawn Lucky at Illinois Extreme Whitetails in Pike, Adams and Brown county recently. From the looks of the lodge and farms so far, we are going to be in for a treat with  the accommodations and hunting.  I have been fortunate enough to stay at alot of nice places, however this lodge without a doubt is the king of all. Shawn took us around for the weekend giving us some different options and had the opportunity to see some great deer while we were out scouting. Both quality and quantity of deer seemed evident and I cannot wait for November to get here to head north and try our luck! Good luck to all this fall!

Kyle Lamore
JJ Kolesar

Bart Goins - No Longer Rookies

August is finally wrapping up and I could not be more relieved. Its been a long and hot summer for us! I work hard all spring and summer with my business, and then I take off for deer season. I am definitely starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! Not to mention, Alabama football kicks off this weekend!!! Roll TIDE!

In the next few weeks, our second whitetail season for Dream Season The Journey will begin. Last year we had so much fun despite having the toughest season we have ever had. We learned so much from all the Drury teams last year and I truly feel like I will be better prepared and equipped for this season. We have some amazing hunts lined up for this fall and our southern farms are looking promising.
After last years season, Blair and I began searching leasing opportunities in Illinois. We have great farms in our home state, but we wanted a farm that would really give us an edge to compete with the other teams on the Journey. So what better state, then in Illinois? We finally found the farm that we wanted in Brown County, IL.
Throughout the summer we have spent three different weekends up there preparing the farm for the upcoming season. We leased from one heck of a guy who has done everything he can to help us. This summer we have put together box blinds, put up Big Game lock ons, cleared off brush and planted Biologic, and set up several Reconyx cameras. The first batch of Reconyx pictures absolutely blew me away. We have got some true giants to hunt this year and I absolutely cannot wait for the game to begin.The biggest problem we have been faced with this summer is the drought. Our new farm has been so dry, literally only receiving four-tenths of an inch of rain since middle of June. Our food plots were planted last week, and I have never prayed for rain so hard! I even went to church on Wednesday! God answered our prayers with sending over two inches of rain on the farm this past Sunday night.
Good luck to all my fellow hunters out there this fall. Blair and I are going to do our very best to bring all of you the best footage that Dream Season can offer. Over the next few months we will hunt over five states and put tons of miles on our trucks. Definitely going to be a busy fall, and on top of that, Im building a house and getting married right after the season! Stay safe and good luck. College football is back and if ya'll want to watch a team that WINS, watch the TIDE! Number 15, here we come!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dave Reisner - Tough Summer

This summer has been tough!  The lack of rain has really taken its toll on the food plots and my sanity. To understand where I am coming from let me digress. I have made it through the massive floods of 2008 and then reoccurring floods the next few years after to now the past two years being in drought circumstances.  Through all this I have gained much more empathy for the farmers that rely on crops and the all powerful Mother Nature for their livelihood.  I used to think farmers just liked to hear themselves complain and that they were never happy no matter what weather was doing. 
The story hits a little closer to home when you have some sweat equity invested in even "small" scale food plots as well as money invested for fertilizer, seed, and roundup. Not to mention the tractors, implements, diesel fuel and all the miscellaneous costs I spend each year.  Do I sound like a farmer yet? 

So back to the present!  I have been checking on my corn fields every week to see what I can expect for corn production and make decisions on whether or not I need to mow it down and start fresh with fall green food sources. 
Of my 3 main areas planted all within 3 weeks I have all ends of the spectrum covered.
The first area planted I will actually make corn and although the field did show signs of serious stress it got just enough moisture late to fill out the ears and I am confident that it would yield 150 bushel or better per acre if it was to be harvested.

The second field planted, probably 10 to 12 acres, I will be considering a total loss and have already mowed some of it down to plant fall greens. It turned yellow earlier and never got taller than 6'.  Even this field after a couple late rains shows signs of trying to still produce an ear of corn, but realistically it is too late for this corn. 
The last field planted which is about a 5 acre corn field has a mixture of both good areas and some areas that look like it burned up.  All in all I think it would average 80 bushel per acre. 
My conclusion is that I do not completely understand the corn plant and its needs at variable times of growth, but overall I'm amazed at its resourcefulness to at any cost try to produce an ear of corn.    
….Now I'm just praying for rain for my fall green plots!!!! -Dave Reisner

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dave Kramer - Summer Vacation

Everyone reading this has probably been experiencing the same brutally hot and dry Summer that we here in Iowa have had.  That said, my family and I couldn't wait for August 3rd to get here so we could jump in the truck and head north to Ontario, Canada for a much needed vacation.  Good friends Kris and Annette Lenz had invited us to crash their annual Zehr family fishing trip.  It just so happened to be Annette's father Gerald's 50th trip to Press Lake and they were celebrating by filling camp with over 50 family and friends.  This resort is also where I harvested my first black bear nearly ten years ago. 
    When we arrived at Press lake Saturday the 4th around 12:30 and the temps were twenty some degrees lower than home, I knew we were going to have a great week, regardless how good the fishing was.  We  quickly got things unloaded and were in the boat by 3:00 in hopes of catching some fish for supper that night.  Our first afternoon was a bit slow as far as the bite but we made it back to camp by 5:00 to meet up with the rest of the crew and filled our bellies with fried Canadian walleyes that some of the better fishermen in our group had caught.
    As the week flew by the fishing got better and better.  My kids Darby, Daltyn, And Dru were all able to catch numerous walleye and pike.  My wife Anita caught the biggest pike of the week (33") on an ultralite rod and Daltyn boated the biggest Walleye (20-1/2").  I however landed the most fish of the family for the week including a pair of 19" walleyes and a 29" pike.  We had numerous "ones that got away" that were undoubtedly way bigger than anything we actually caught.  All in all we had a great family trip, ate more fish than we should have and made many new friendships as well as memories.  I feel fortunate to have a family that enjoys the outdoors enough to take this type of vacation.  I've been warned that next year my wife gets to decide where we go but I've got my fingers crossed that she makes the right decision.  For now it's time to concentrate on work, food plots and getting ready October 1st.  Good luck to all of you this fall and keep an eye on the journal. 
Dave Kramer 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Doug Hampton - Not Just A Hunt For A Doe

 How could just a hunt for a doe be responsible for such an emotional moment in a lifetime of hunting whitetails?  I will admit, it didn't make the most since to me either.  I was notnecessarily prepared or expecting it by any means.  I was simply sitting in my tree-stand waiting on the first light of a late October morning.  My mission was simple...  I needed to harvest a doe with a recurve bow, as part of the challenge for the first group hunt for Dream Season 'The Journey'.  I had no clue that months later I would not be able to talk to anyone about the hunt without tears coming to my eyes.

      What is hunting to most folks?  What does it mean to the average hunter?  How can just a doe hunt be so rewarding?   After having my personal best year of killing bucks, how can a doe with a recurve be what I think of the most?  I can't explain it, but I can tell you it's the truth.

      Hunting is so much to so many of us.  It truly becomes our way of life.  The people that influence us through hunting and sharing great memories are among our closest friends and relatives.  Hunting is a bond that can be felt  quicker than explained.  Two of my most influential people in my life were my brother and my grandfather, or 'Pappaw' to anyone in my family.  My brother was my hunting & fishing buddy.   He showed me the ropes of life and even led me to the Lord.

Pappaw saw to it that we became responsible ethical hunters.  He as well as my uncles really spent a lot of their valued time fooling with us.  Pappaw took my brother to kill his first deer when I was 4 years old.  I remember hearing the shot from 'behind the field'.  I ran out of the camp to wait for them coming down the old muddy road.  It wasn't long before I could see the blue Bronco creeping slowly with a small spike laying up on the hood.   I was so excited!  It was the first deer that I can ever remember seeing.  It also was the first moment that I knew I wanted to be a hunter.  A few years later, Pappaw pulled out an old recurve bow.  I believe I was 9 or 10 at the time, but after watching that first arrow hit the paper plate that I was shooting at, I knew I wanted to be a bowhunter.  Later that evening I crawled into an old box-stand about 10 feet off the ground.  Pappaw handed me that recurve and 2 arrows with broadheads.  He instructed me to be safe and he would be back later.  After about an hour, I saw him returning to pick me up.  I quickly waived him back so that I could keep hunting.  Now I had not seen hide nor hair, but I knew I was bowhunting, and I knew I liked it!

         As life flew past me, my brother was killed when I was 13 years old.  He was a few months shy of graduating high school when he was taken from us.  Pappaw would drive from Arkansas to Texas to pick me up and take me back, just so I could hunt.  He knew it was my therapy for dealing with the loss.  He did that for the next few years until I could drive there on my own.  In the year 2000, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer.  After months of fighting, he went to be with my brother.

         As I sat waiting for the daylight to overtake the darkness, I looked at the recurve that I was going to attempt to take a doe with.  I don't consider myself to be an overly emotional guy.  Passionate maybe, but not emotional.  But something about looking down at that recurve began to take me back to that first time I bowhunted.  The memories of  Pappaw handing me the bow and the memories of waiving him back began to hit me.  I thought of my brother and how he had told me that one day he'd be watching me shoot deer on television.  It was just all too much to take in at one time.  The tears began to role down my face & their was no stopping them.  I was glad it was still dark.  T.J., one of the Drury production staff, was along to video for the hunt.  Rod was busy filming one of the contest winners from facebook.  I had only met T.J. just recently, and was hoping he didn't notice the moment that I unexpectedly having.  As soon as it was light enough to see, a doe was headed our way. She never offered me a good shot, so the opportunity to fill my tag had come, and then slipped by. The guide text me after a few hours and said he was on his way. After a minute or two, I text him back & "waived him off", the way I had Pappaw so many years before.  I was just enjoying the hunt.  Not long after, I caught movement of a huge doe coming my way feeding on acorns.  After a few minutes she was heading straight at our tree.  She would cross in front at 15 yards.  I drew the recurve and let the arrow fly.  There was blood immediately and by the way she was running, I knew she wasn't gonna last long. At about 70 yards, she went down on camera. I was once again overcome with emotion. I was so excited that I had accomplished what I had set out to do. I thought about Pappaw telling me to "enjoy your life, hunt all you can son".  Nobody ever said on their deathbed that they wish they had worked more. I can't remember a hunt of my own that meant quite as much as this one. Moments in my life that laid dormant, were suddenly brought back as if they had happened the day before.

       Now I'm just a southern country boy that God has granted some great wishes to.  He's given me an awesome family, great friends, and  made me lucky enough to close the deal on some great bucks over the past few years.  Dream Season 'The Journey' will begin airing in the coming weeks.  Most folks will watch this hunt and never know the significance to me of this particular hunt.  The raw emotion that I felt through that entire day may never be matched again.  The bonds that have been made with my loved ones and friends through hunting areirreplaceable.  I can't wait to re-live this hunt when it airs.  I'll probably have tears in my eye's yet again.  It's my most anticipated hunt to watch, and it's not even a buck.  With my heart and soul I can honestly say, this was not just a hunt for a doe. I still can't explain it, but it sure was special.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

J.J. Kolesar - Bittersweet Find!

Well, it was opening day (Oct. 1st) for Illinois, and everything was going according to plan! Kyle and I hunted that morning and saw a 140" 10 point working a bean field until 830 into the morning. We guessed him to be the same deer we were getting daylight pics of on our Reconyx cameras largely because of his bleach white rack. He quickly became public enemy #1 due to his risky movements. We watched the deer enter into the northern side of the same block of timber we were sitting. We made a quick decision to "Turkey Hunt" this deer and try to put him to bed. We knew that the evening may produce a repeat occurrence, so we decided to hang a set in hopes to catch the daylight mover on his way back out to the bean field.

We crawled into our new set and I had just finished hanging my bow up when Kyle said "there he is", and sure enough he was on his way out to stage up before dusk. So much so, that the big boy decided to bed down in some CRP about 40 yards from our set. One problem, once he sat down in the grass, no shots were available. So it became a waiting game. As sunset rapidly approached our opening day dream was about to become reality. We watched him stand up and offer the only shot he was going to give us. At 40 yds., I picked a spot just above a piece of grass in front of him and let the arrow fly. The deer quickly lifted his head and started his turn when my 2-blade Rage found its mark, however, the penetration of the arrow wasn't much to be desired. I felt I hit the front shoulder and was immediately questioning whether or not we would find the buck considering we watched him saunter away. However, Kyle still felt strongly that I might have hit high off shoulder.

Well, fast forward to a below-average blood trail, a crazy un-trained blood dog, and 6 hours of diligent grid walking and we were staring at Buck Sadness. However, each haunting day that passed our most visible buck never crossed the path of one of our numerous Reconyx cameras. This was our best clue that quite possibly I had killed the buck. Kyle proved his theory correct when we were shed hunting on Feb. 19th and found my buck 20 yards from where we had ended our grid search through the thick briars and autumn olive. I can officially say I owe my partner big time on this one and am thankful that he stumbled across his final bed in the middle of a timber thicket. After some crucial phone calls to the IDNR I was able to claim my harvest. Not exactly how I envisioned laying my hands on this deer, but it is one I will humbly accept…Bittersweet moment to say the least! Below I have posted steps to help you if you run into this situation shed hunting.

Good Luck Everyone!


1) Leave carcass/remains in tact at location discovered, if possible take a picture of this undisturbed setting, as this will quicken your overall tagging process

2) Call the State Police; they will put you in contact with the appropriate Conservation Office or Officer in your region/If possible Fill out Salvage Tag or Road Kill Form online provided by your state's DNR

3) Meet with or formally speak with your local Conservation Officer to discuss proper protocol for your state, and also to receive a Salvage Tag if necessary. In Illinois, more than likely this will be the case.

4) Receive Salvage tag issued by your state, and claim your deer

5) This would be the correct process for a road kill or skull find as well, whether you shot the deer or not.

6) Enjoy the Confidence of maintaining the integrity of your state's conservation, as they are always looking in the best interest of the animal.