Finding a Spot to Camp without any Headaches

To those of you that have $100K RVs, this blog probably won’t provide many useful insights. But, if you’re like me, and your outdoor trips are run on a tight (borderline nonexistent) budget, then this blog will help you out. I have spent six months living in my car traveling around the west. I have found certain strategies work well to avoid having to pay camp fees every night. Here are a few tips for camping out in your car without any headaches. Continue reading “Finding a Spot to Camp without any Headaches”

A Green River Experience

Why do I do this to myself? I’ve been casting on the Green River for eight hours and haven’t caught a thing. Feelings of frustration, impatience and inadequacy have crept in to my mind and are gnawing away. Nali, my two year old lab who can find endless satisfaction with almost any stick, sits on the bank behind me, bored out of her gourd. I think of other fisherman who would have caught their limit hours ago, and I consider the number of times I have struggled to effectively fish for trout. The day started off with thoughts of grandeur then slowly my brain wandered towards life’s other elements, at first glossing over the negatives then returning to them and eventually honing in on the decisions that led to this point and why I continue to find myself beating my head against a wall while trying to discover the keys to successful trout fishing. Continue reading “A Green River Experience”

Who’s Training Who? Reflections after a year and a half of dog training

I find myself congratulating my dog on the smallest victories, a command understood correctly for the first time or a sequence repeated without a flaw for a few days in a row. But, this morning my temper flares up and Nali’s ears fall back. She stares timidly at me waiting for the next command. I spend the rest of the morning kicking myself for my lapse in patience as I try to focus on my work. Continue reading “Who’s Training Who? Reflections after a year and a half of dog training”

Transient Hunter: Stuart heads to Utah to hunt coyotes

As harvest wound down, I hunted daily for deer. I focused on completing one good hunt per day while getting a few hours of work in for my dad where I could. My plan was to leave Iowa Dec. 1 and head west. My brother Max told me the state of Utah pays for the removal of coyotes in order to protect their mule deer populations. I decided on Utah. Continue reading “Transient Hunter: Stuart heads to Utah to hunt coyotes”

Stuart’s 2017 Buck

I hear sticks cracking and the grunting sound of a buck that always reminds me of a pig waiting to be fed. I have been “resting my eyes,” as my grandma calls it. It is still only 3:30 in the afternoon, and I didn’t expect to see any deer for at least another hour. I reach over and turn on my camera, which sits atop a bipod several feet to my right. I think the sounds are coming from behind me, across a fence and an impenetrable downed tree. Instead, I see a doe streaking across the top of the ridge, her focus entirely on finding a hiding spot somewhere in the sparse timber. Thirty yards behind her follows a buck focused entirely on not letting that happen. The doe disappears into the cover a hundred yards away and I soon lose sight of the buck as well. Continue reading “Stuart’s 2017 Buck”

Hell of a Season: Max tells the story of his whitetail success

On the 13th hunt of my whitetail season, I finally saw a buck worth shooting. It was October 20th and I was now on a steady streak of two a day hunts. I was leaving for New Zealand on the 23rd, so hell or high water I was hunting. It wasn’t by my choice…Harrison and Stuart were making me. Earlier that afternoon I had told Stuart that we shouldn’t hunt considering it was a gale outside. He said, “Nope we’re still hunting.” Continue reading “Hell of a Season: Max tells the story of his whitetail success”

Iowa Slam Goes West: Wyoming Antelope

Driving down the canyon leading into town I stared anxiously at the clock. I had to get to the hardware store before six to pick up my habitat stamp. It was August 14th, the day before the antelope opener. With five minutes to spare I pulled into the parking lot where Alec was waiting on a bench in front of his motorcycle. An hour later Harrison and Jared met up with us, and we tore out of town towards our campground 20 minutes away. Continue reading “Iowa Slam Goes West: Wyoming Antelope”

Three Months in a Tree

By Stuart Hoegh

Three months in a tree. On January 8th I felt that I had spent three months in a tree watching squirrels. Slowly waiting for the sun to go down had become monotonous. There had been exciting moments when several bucks walked passed or a group of deer emerged out of nowhere, and the season had been a success on several levels. I had shot my first coyote with a bow and filmed my first kill, a doe, but the grind of hunting in January had begun to get to me. I hadn’t had a deer in range in three hunts and hadn’t seen a shooter in over a month. I always have a feeling of excited optimism for deer hunting, yet at that point it was beginning to feel a little hopeless.

I had been in the stand for thirty minutes when a coyote came up the trail towards me, then skirted to the other side of the creek and out of sight. An hour passed, nothing showed. The transition from being alone in the woods to watching a deer is always somewhat abrupt. My thoughts are wondering as I stare at the trees, then suddenly a deer is in sight. I can never remember what I was thinking about prior to the deer’s arrival. All I know is a buck stood sixty yards away. Slowly he began moving up the trail in my direction. The wind was crossing slightly towards him. He stopped abruptly, turned and walked in the opposite direction. “That was it,” I thought to myself. “I have waited all this time to have a marginal wind ruin my opportunity.” He walked ten yards then broke from the trail and began to slowly circle back towards my stand. Using no particular trail he picked his way into thick cover and out of sight. I snapped into my d-loop and prepared for the buck to arrive. He appeared at thirty yards, still in thick cover. The buck plodded along through the brush focused on crossing the creek. I realized he would pass through a small shooting lane at around thirty yards before entering into thick cover again and there would be no remaining opportunity for a shot. He walked quickly forward. As his body filled the clearing I grunted twice. For a brief moment nothing moved, then the arrow connected halfway up and slightly back. He turned and ran up the hill. His gait seemed normal until I saw him wobble near the top of the hill, I realized later that he collapsed several steps later. The shot had missed his lungs but severed the liver, leaving only a small blood trail but killing the deer within 200 yards. As I stared into the camera all I could think to say was “We did it, we did it, we did it.”

My brother Harrison and my buddy Jared run a website with blogs and videos on hunting every species in Iowa. Bowhunting in January is unusual for our group. Most seasons we are able to tag out by late November, then focus on muzzleloader season. Yet, this season had been more challenging than most. The rut had been warm, and we constantly felt we were one step behind the bucks. Harrison and Jared had each shot deer that we were unable to recover. It is frustrating to miss deer, but to hit them non-lethally is something that we feel is unacceptable. Thus, to complete a hunt as a member of a team was truly special. Those guys were as excited as I was and I was happy to end our season on a high note.

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