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Vintage crossbows such as this Horton model remain effective for hunting after many years.

Vintage crossbows such as this Horton model remain effective for hunting after many years.

Firearms are usually a much better investment than a compound bow.

Where as rifles and pistols maintain or even appreciate in value, the resale price of most modern bows drop 50% the minute it leaves the store.

Crossbows are the exception, and the Shifler family is living proof. Steve Shifler received a Horton Legend SL from his now-deceased wife 15 years ago and had the valued present “re-tuned” at a local sporting good shop.

“After all that time, all it needed was a new string and it shoots like new,” he said enthusiastically after bagging the 6-point buck shown above.

Crossbows greatly reduce the learning curve to become an effective shot.

Crossbows greatly reduce the learning curve and help you become an effective shot.

Alex, Shifler’s nephew, killed a coyote at 35 yards with an Excalibur nearly as old, not far from where uncle Steve bagged his buck. The Excalibur accounted for a Canadian moose earlier in its use, quite a feat considering all the other hunters in camp carried Magnum rifles.

Crossbows are becoming increasingly popular among hunters of all ages, as they allow a person to avoid the huge learning curve of using a compound, recurve, or longbow to hunt effectively.

Importantly, crossbows hold their value. Buying a used one is a good way to get started and see if you enjoy the sport.

Once accomplished at the basics, you can re-sell or trade up to a newer model with the anticipation that it will last for decades and maintain much of its original value.

More importantly, a crossbow will allow you to multiply your hunting days afield in many states, by ten times in some cases.

Bowhunting is exciting, whether with a vertical or horizontal format, and you can be assured that the latter will help preserve your investment.

When a deer dies of natural causes in the wild, what happens to the carcass?

As an experiment, a Texas hunter placed a trail camera by a freshly-found eight-point buck that seemed to die of natural causes.

This post by Conor Harrison in the Lone Star Outdoor News summarizes the results and then shows a time lapse video of the carnage.

Warning, this video is graphic and shows nature in it unfiltered reality. If you’re a fan of those gory forensic TV shows, it may be appealing, but be forewarned.

coyote_troy_duff_al_1_574_307_s[1]Nobody ever likes to find a buck dead.

Years of watching and waiting for the buck to become a trophy while feeding corn and tending food plots is a lot of time and effort spent.

When a buck dies of natural causes, even though it is nature’s way, it is still a tough loss for any hunter or ranch manager. So it was when a buck was found dead last season on a lease in North Texas. A nice 8-point with good potential was gone, but we thought he could still be useful.

So LSON’s David J. Sams pulled the buck to an open area and placed a trail camera pointed at the carcass to see what kind of predators would visit the buffet of rotting venison that draws coyotes, ravens, birds of prey and other animals like a moth to a flame.

The results were great — lots of activity on the game camera night and day. First, the ravens came as the buck bloated in the heat. Then, at night, the coyotes came — starting at the hind quarters and working their way forward. The hawks followed, and the trail camera pictures gave us a good picture of how many predators were in the area — good information for anyone on a deer lease.

It was interesting to note the coyotes only came at night for the first few days the buck was there. They also drug the carcass around as it got lighter.

It was also interesting that only after the deer was badly decomposed, other bucks began showing up in the pictures.

Watch the short video below for the two-month time lapse.

Whadjaget can be the antithesis of deer hunting success, as it only focuses on the end result.

Put another way, one might assume that every empty tag is a failed hunt. Experienced hunters know that nothing is further from the truth. America’s gizmo society has crept into deer hunting to the point that we carry enough gear to outduel a sasquatch.

Plus, the more expensive camo, optics, rifles, and crossbows we carry, the more we expect success. This can lead to great disappointment, despite an enjoyable encounter in which nature won.

Richard Bernier takes an in-depth look at this phenomenon in a thought-provoking post on the Whitetail Institute blog.

This doe provided Boone & Crockett excitement for this young hunter.

This doe provided Boone & Crockett excitement for this young hunter.

“Success can be measured in many ways, a fallen buck you’ll not always find. The true blessing is being nature’s invited guest… the solitude and peace of mind.” — Hart L. Daley

How would you define deer hunting success? Would you feel successful when kneeling next to a fat fork horn? What about a doe? Is your entire hunting season viewed as a miserable disaster if you come home empty handed? Or, does your success hinge entirely upon wrapping your fingers around the gnarly bases of a huge buck’s antlers, one which is sure to attract plenty of attention? For some, it seems accomplishments come effortlessly and regularly, so much so that they find themselves in a rather enviable position… or do they?

Much like entertainers, sports stars and television personalities, some deer hunters of the 21st century have become household icons within the whitetail culture.


Sometimes you just need a little rum in your apple cider.

This apple cider with rum recipe is perfect for a party to help warm up your hunting or fishing buddies. ‘Tis the season to have apple cider with a kick.

Total Time: 15 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 2 quarts, about 8 servings
Level: Easy

1 apple
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 orange, thinly sliced
2 quarts apple cider
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 cup dark rum
Cinnamon sticks, garnish

Stud the apple with the cloves. In a medium pot, combine the studded apple and remaining ingredients except the rum. Slowly bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the rum. Discard the apple. Ladle into mugs and garnish each with a cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.

Enjoy while talking about your outdoor trip or maybe even bring it with you to the treestand or on the boat!

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse.


A developing storm doesn’t have to end your outdoor adventures. Know how to assess a storm as it develops with these steps.

When a storm is developing there are three stages to look out for: the cumulus stage, the mature stage and the dissipating stage. Whether you’re out camping, hitting the woods or fishing, knowing the stages to look out for in a developing storm can make a huge difference as to whether you get caught out or are able to retreat to safety.

bigstock-Cumulonimbus-71055340Keep an eye on the developing appearance of the fluffy, cottonball-shape cumulus clouds as it is during this baby stage that strong updrafts act to create the storm. Look out for the cumulus clouds that are taller than those that are broad, which are the result of strong updrafts that elongate the clouds over time. If the head of the cumulus begins to look slightly darker compared to the bright cloud underneath, a thunderstorm is imminent – and it could strike in a matter of minutes.

During the mature stage of a thunderstorm the cumulus becomes large as the water in it becomes heavy. Rain will begin to fall through the cloud at this stage as the rising air stops holding the water up. At the same time cool air will enter the cloud and as cool air is heavier than warm air, the cloud will start its downdraft. This downdraft pulls the water down making rain.

This cloud is now known as a cumulonimbus cloud as it has three things to it: an updraft, a downdraft and rain. Thunder and lightning occur with a cumulonimbus cloud, which is a good time to take heed of lightning as soon as you start to see rain falling from the cloud.

Determine how close the storm is by counting the seconds that separate a lightning bolt from a thunderclap. Five seconds, for example, indicates that the lightning struck one mile away while a ten second gap indicates that the lightning struck two miles away. If the intervals between a lightning flash and a thunderclap are shortening then the storm is getting closer. It is during this stage of a storm that you want to remove yourself from heights that may make you a likely lightning-prone subject.

The dissipating stage of a storm is when it is at its weakest and after about 30 minutes it begins to dissipate; however, as the cloud collapses in on itself and evaporates from bottom to top, light precipitation will follow signaling the end of the storm.


Trail cameras are great for turkey hunting, and great for some amusing shots, too.

Trail cameras have revolutionized the way we scout, and as a bonus, we get some pretty entertaining pictures of our natural world.

Check out these eight photos from trail cams of some turkeys doing their thing.

I see you too! 


Lining up for the ladies


Robert De Niro style?


Duck, duck, turkey? 


This gang is definitely up to no good…




Bad feather day…


Family outing