Trophies don’t always come in the form of a record animal. Sometimes its that first buck for your child or a special experience that makes a particular harvest memorable. Whatever the occasion, many hunters choose to have their animals taxidermied as a way to preserve those memories. But choosing a taxidermist isn’t necessarily as straight forward as it may sound. Anyone who has had a bad taxidermist experience will tell you that is true! So here are a few things to think about when you go to choose someone to preserve that special moment…
Taxidermy is an art form: If you are not a taxidermist you may not realize it, but serious taxidermist view what they do as art. There are even state, national, and international competitions where professional taxidermist compete with their work. So it’s a good idea to find someone who understands the art aspect of taxidermy as they tend to take more care and time in their work.
You get what you pay for: The price for a typical deer shoulder mount can range anywhere from $250 for your neighbor to do it in his garage up to $850 from a taxidermist that’s in demand. As with most things in life, the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. In most areas of the country you can find someone who charges $375-500 that can provide a very high quality mount that will last for a lifetime.
The components matter: The only parts of a deer that go into a mount are the hide and the antlers. Everything else on the mount is plastic or some other material and those components make a difference in how a deer mount will turn out. There are now many more choices and most hunters don’t realize that they can work with there taxidermist to pick these options. Ask you taxidermist if you can look at his taxidermy supply catalog to find the options you want!
At Whitetail Edge we are a big fan of preserving those special hunts via taxidermy. If you haven’t tried it yet, make this year the year you do!
Summer is gear time.
It’s hot and humid and fall is still a long time off however many hunters are still dreaming of hunting season and those dreams often center around gear this time of year. Whether it is maintaining your gear or upgrading to the latest and greatest now is the time to think about it- not a week before opening day. At Whitetail Edge we are serious about our gear but still don’t want to break the bank with every purchase. So we have partnered with some great sponsors that bring quality, affordable hunting gear to the general public. Check out a few of the categories below and our recommendations for each if you are in the market for gear this summer…..
Mossy Oak does a little bit of everything, but what made them famous is there camo patterns and that’s why we love them. Summer is a great time to shop for those new hunting clothes and Mossy Oak has all the patterns you need no matter what part of the country you hunt. https://www.mossyoak.com/
Sometimes boots are a second thought for hunters, but what’s on your feet can make or break your hunt. We have all been sitting in a stand on a freezing day with ice cold feet and it’s no fun. Or had our feet get wet on the way to our hunting spot and had to deal with that all day long. Rocky boots set the standard for hunting footwear, here is there link: https://www.rockyboots.com/
Strings are an under-appreciated element of your bow setup. Rogue makes some of the highest quality strings on the market right in the heartland of Ohio. https://www.roguebowstrings.com/
Unique designs and unsurpassed quality is why we love Redneck Blinds. They have bale blinds and elevated blinds for the heartland as well as blinds designed for the woods. https://redneckblinds.com/
It doesn’t matter how good a shot you make if you have a broadhead that doesn’t work your hunt is likely to end in disappointment. G5 has a full line of fixed and expandable broadheads that offer options for every hunters preference and setup. http://shop.g5outdoors.com/
Spartan specializes in cellular and wireless cameras. These offer two main advantages. First is time saving as you don’t have to travel to your site to collect cards, etc. Second is that it allows you to leave your hunting spot undisturbed until you are ready to hunt! https://spartancamera.com/products
So now that you have some suggestions, check out these sites and start your gear wish list!
As the doldrums of summer crawl along, many hunters find themselves taking advantage of this time of year to participate in other outdoor activities and one of the favorites for many outdoorsman is fishing. At Whitetail Edge we love to fish and if you haven’t tried it yet, here are a few reasons to give it a shot….
Low entry cost
Relatively speaking, fishing has a very low cost to get started. You can buy a pole that is ready to go at Walmart for less than $30. Grab some hooks and nightcrawlers for a few more bucks and you are all set. So for less than $50 you can be fishing within an hour.
Public access is plentiful
Just like with hunting, private waters are often the most productive, but fishing has a much greater access to public areas. Whether fresh water or salt water public fishing access is pretty much available within driving distance of most Americans. One spot people away from the coasts often overlook is small waterways. By law in the US, if a waterway is “navigable” (meaning a stream big enough for a kayak or canoe) it is public property and therefore open for fishing to the public.
Fun of the whole family
Young kids often struggle to sit quietly for hours on end in the deer woods, so fishing can often provide a better intro to the outdoors for the young. They don’t have to be as quiet or still, there is often more action as you catch fish, and at the least they like playing with the bait! (at least my boys always did)
So head out this summer and give fishing a try. Just remember to check your local regulations and buy a fishing license where its required.
“When you look good you feel good” someone once said, and for many hunters it is true. We love to wear hunting and outdoor related apparel and look good doing it. At Whitetail Edge we have been working with and developing some new offerings in the apparel market for hunters. We have 3 lines of outdoor apparel and gear we are excited to share with everyone!
Whitetail themed apparel that features Mossy Oak camo.
HK’D Fishing apparel:
Performance fishing apparel and accessories for the serious fisherman!
For the die hard turkey hunter. This turkey themed line has something for you!
Head on over to https://www.spurbrand.com/ to see our full line up, find retail locations, or place your order online today!
May is upon us and with it comes the warmer weather and brighter days that most welcome after a long winter. But for whitetail fanatics that welcoming of Spring is tempered by the sobering realization that May is farthest away on the calendar that one can get from November! It is literally the 180 degree opposite (being 6 months since the last November and still 6 months till the next) from the magic time most whitetail hunters associate with prime deer hunting. So what is a hunter to do? Here are 5 things to do RIGHT NOW to become a better hunter when November finally rolls around…..
- Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more
Effective shooting (whether archery or firearm) is a matter of repetition. No tricks or shortcuts will change that fact. Spending time simply shooting (which is easier when the weather is nice) is the only sure way to make sure you get better at this essential skill. This should be number one on every hunters off season to do list.
Knowledge is a powerful weapon that many “less serious” hunters overlook. The off season is a time to go over trail camera pictures, scout out changing travel corridors, and beef up on your deer knowledge. By understanding how deer are operating in and using the land you hunt you will be better equipped to place stands and identify blind locations for a higher likelihood for success in the fall.
- Work the land
Once you have identified stand locations and deficiencies in your land, its time to go to work. Moving stands, cutting shooting lanes, brushing in blinds, setting up new cameras, planting food sources, and setting out minerals are just a few things to keep you busy.
- Focus on nutrition
One of the best things you can do for the deer you manage during this time of year is to evaluate and improve the nutritional resources they have access to. Each hunting plot will be different as some come full of natural nutrition sources and others less so. But at a minimum a food plot (even if its just a shooting plot) and mineral sites are must haves for effective management.
- Knock down some predators
Where once they were rare east of the Mississippi River, coyotes now pose a real threat to whitetail deer in almost every state. Aside from humans, they are the whitetail deers number one predator. While you may not think you have coyotes in your neighborhood you will want to confirm this by regular scouting and checking trail cameras. And if you happen to identify coyotes inhabiting your hunting spot most states have open seasons ‘and now is a great time to target them.
Just like with professional athletes of all kinds, when you are a serious deer hunter like the WhitetailEdge team members the reality is that there is really no off season. It’s just different tasks and jobs at different times of the year to give you the best chance at encountering a trophy buck in season. So if you are looking to make that jump to the next level of deer hunting success head outside this off season and apply a few of these recommendations, we know you won’t be disappointed!
Shed Hunting Tips
Finding buried treasure… That must be the closest feeling to finding a shed antler in the woods.
Or perhaps at the least finding a forgotten $20 in your jeans pocket on laundry day! That unexpected and exciting rush if familiar to every shed hunter. While there are surely practical benefits of shed hunting like the role it plays (when combined with trail cameras and other tactics) in conducting a post hunting season census of your deer population and of course stretching the legs after a winter of confinement. But it’s that rush of excitement of finding something left by nature just for you that gets the blood of true shed hunters pumping and is something everyone who loves the outdoors should experience.
Whether you are a hard core shed head or just looking to see which of your bucks made it through the winter-shed hunting can be a useful tool for the hunter. So if you want to try your luck in the woods this spring, here are a few quick things to keep in mind.
Think like a hunter, sort of….
When hunting sheds the focus needs to be on where deer spend the most time. You probably have a good idea of where that is at the spot you hunt and while you most likely steer clear of certain areas (like bedding areas, etc) during hunting season these will be prime spots to check for sheds. So a good plan is to start there and work you way outwards along travel corridors.
Take your time
The biggest mistake shed hunters make is moving too fast. The woods may be clearer due to the winter months but sheds bear a striking resemblance to sticks and twigs and are a natural color that blends in to the forest floor. So taking your time (about the pace of a spot and stalk hunt) can help you pocket more sheds.
Consider a dog
Shed hunting dogs have gained popularity in the last few years. Really any breed will do and many say that older dogs can even be taught the skill. One thing is certain, a dog will cover more ground than you can and provide some company for you in the woods.
And if you just like sheds, don’t forget about overlooked areas. Asking around to neighbors and farmers about the possibility of shed hunting on their land, even if they don’t allow hunting, can prove profitable as they may be less averted to you simply taking a walk. City parks and public land are also great places to shed hunt as they are they are often forgotten.
Check out this video of the Whitetail Edge team and their shed hunting adventures this spring!
Wood Haven Stinger ProFLEX Deer Grunt™ and Bleat Call Review
While in the stand, Ben covers a couple of his favorite grunt and bleat calls for the rut in this WoodHaven deer calls review. Ben is currently using the Stinger Pro deer grunt, an easy and great sounding grunt call for the price point.
Pic: The Stinger Pro is designed to be easy to use and requires very little air to operate. With the Stinger Pro Grunt you can produce a wide range of calls, varying from whisper soft to very loud.
The doe bleat call Ben uses is the WoodHaven ProFLEX Bleat™ call. This bleat can produce an appeal for both bucks and does, making for a great call to use periodically throughout the hunt.
Pic: The ProFLEX Bleat is an effective call throughout the deer season. This call is capable of producing very realistic distress bleats and bawls of a young deer that during the early season can trigger the maternal instinct of does. Many times when a mature doe hears this sound, she will immediately investigate for a closer look. The ProFLEX Bleat also produces very realistic doe estrous bleats that are highly effective at calling in mature bucks during the rut.
Interested in learning about other powerful tools for the rut? Check out which deer scents Ben is using for the rut!
Rut Hunting | Best Deer Scents for the Rut
While in the stand buried in late October rut action, Ben discusses some of the best deer scents for the rut, and how he uses them when hunting. By far the best scent to use during the pre-rut, rut, and post rut is doe estrus. This can be used for scent drags, downind scent streams, scrapes, scent wicks, and several other applications. As the rut peaks, bucks will continually be traveling during daylight through, between, and downwind of bedding areas and food sources. With this in mind, Ben likes to keep the scent up in the tree and fresh downwind of his stand. This acts as a deer attractant and a cover scent for meandering bucks.
Pic: This doe estrous scent is the finest estrus lure in the market! Hot-N-Ready XXX is only collected during the absolute peak of the estrus cycle, when the doe is ready to stand and breed. These doe’s are so hot we had to give it a triple X rating.
To keep a downwind buck from catching human odor in the mix of the doe estrus, Ben uses the new Phaze Foam system from illusion hunting systems. A quick dowse in the foam eliminates odor on the skin.
Pic: PhaZe 3 Field Treatment is your last line of defense. Field Foam outperforms field sprays in 3 ways:
- Entraps NEW Body Odors
- Prevents Loss of Skin Cells
- Non-Drifting Application
PhaZe Out your body odor in 3 simple steps and experience the next level of scent control this hunting season! For optimum results, use PhaZe 3 Field Foam in conjunction with the entire PhaZe system.
How to Create Mock Scrapes
In this episode of Booner School, Ben shows how he creates mock scrapes on the edge of a food plot. There’s a common misconception on deer scrapes and that they’re only good for just the rut. White–tailed deer communicate via there orbital gland and interdigital gland scents 365 days a year. With this in mind Ben plans to have two primary scrapes, one on each side of the field/food source for either wind that may occur.
If you can’t find the proper setup when creating a mock scrape site get creative by attaching a limb (pine, sassafras, etc.) or grapevine to an already existing branch and scrape the ground directly below. As far as deer scent choice Ben recommends Black Widow Deer Lures Matriarch Doe or Scrape Master scents.
Ben’s tree stands have already been set on both sides of the field and the combination of the new mock scrapes and camera setup will help provide intel as to what bucks are using the setup. Once that information is attained Ben will be able to make a game plan for hunting the area.
Deer Food Plot and Kill Plot Setup Strategy
On this episode of Booner School, Ben Rising discusses how he plans to set up a food plot for deer that works with his hunting strategy, access, and stand sites. This deer hunting and kill plot strategy and planning is how you make deer come to you.
Ben’s strategy is to use two fields that neck down to about 20 yards to his advantage in funneling deer. Where the fields come together and empty into a 30 acre CRP field there happens to be a couple big multiple stemmed cherry and hickory trees that make a perfect tree stand or tucked away redneck blind location. With this in mind, Ben plans to plant Antler King® Slam Dunk or Honey Hole mix with a drill to create a kill plot. The food plot species in these mixtures will pull deer into the plot during the hunting season and with Ben’s mowed access trails, should provide ample hunting opportunities.
This deer food plot and kill plot strategy will work anywhere. A nearby bedding area, CRP field, and kill plot that funnels deer movement by trees or a location where you can hunt will always be deadly.