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Category Archives: 2012

Back in the saddle

Fear and the observation that my nimbleness has lost some of its vigor in recent years led me to drop a little extra change before this hunting season started. And unlike that slumped over walk of shame you sometimes present around your wife after a hunting purchase, this one came with nothing but support.

HSS Lifeline

After doing research, I purchased the multi-pack of Hunter Safety System Lifeline in order to maximize my safety over the duration of my ascension into a treestand, and the subsequent climb down following. I’ve always worn a safety harness of some kind the last 20 years, but have zero reason why I haven’t completed my safety repertoire by having a climbing system in place.

Why now? Well it started with an innocent fall out of the back of my truck a couple weeks ago after my foot got hung up between the wheel well and 4-wheeler. A few days later, I slipped while adding corn to a feeder that led to a ‘(bleep) over tea kettle’ moment that knocked the wind out me. Simply put, I’m just not as nimble as I used to be. Call it age, lack of concentration or added weight to new places on my body (I don’t quite weigh the 150 lbs. I did as a young hunter), it’s just different.

I purchased the HSS Lifeline instead of opting to make my own for a couple reasons – none more significant than the fact that the cost was not significantly higher to purchase the sets already made.

I was able to put the Lifeline to the test already this season. The NC opener was Sept. 8 and my hunting buddy Jason and I were able to hit the woods for a few hours.

Jason Shell and me during a beautiful NC morning hunt. No shots fired.

Our hunting team is planning to do a lot more videoing this year after Jason’s resilience led to the purchase of a full set of HD equipment (all the top stuff). I’m looking forward to being part of both the hunting and videoing of several hunts throughout the season.

Where did all the posts go? Posts have been a little bit ‘off the radar’ for much of the year. Good news – the hunting season is upon us and I have a sleeve full of ideas to write about. The frequency of posts is likely to start climbing soon. There are a few AHT8 posts coming up too (8 questions from people you’ve heard of in the outdoors).

We’ll also be hearing more from our AHT Northern Field Editor Greg Johnston over the next several months. Please keep checking back for that.

Whether your season has started or not, here’s hoping the 2012-2013 season is the one where your outdoor dreams come true.

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AHT “Shoot 25” Archery Training Program

It was a shot I took with the same confidence as a two-foot par putt – that’s the only reason I let that arrow fly. The 46-yard shot ended up true to its mark and helped me arrow my biggest buck to date.

Never before has archery equipment provided such capabilities to effectively shoot big game animals at distances once scowled upon by archery purists. And the only way to become more proficient at shooting those distances is to practice until your comfortable with them.

I wanted to create a way to practice, and track my progress, at shooting shots longer than normal. Headed into this year’s hunting season, I wanted to feel comfortable shooting well beyond my normal “comfort zone.”

I feel confident in that being the case before September 15 rolls around.

After a few modications, it’s my pleasure to share with you AHuntersTales.com Shoot 25 archery training program. The video blog entry will help explain the program too (nevermind the bald guy shooting so poorly).

The 25-shot program is simple. You shoot five arrows at 60 yards and measure the total number of inches away from the target you’re aiming at (for all five arrows).

[AHT Shoot 25 Program Scoring Sheet]

Then, you shoot five arrows at 50 yards and measure again. Next, shoot your five arrows at 40 yards, etc. You end up following the routine at 30 yards and 20 yards for a total of 25 arrows.

The downloadable scoring sheet shows how you take each of the cumulative inches away you are at each 10-yard increment, and multiply it by the respective number on the sheet (x1 at 60, x2 at 50, x3 at 40, x4 at 30 and x5 at 20).

Simply put, the program is much easier to shoot than it is to explain!

The primary goal of the program is to have fun, but it’s also designed to track progress over the time you shoot the program. My goal is to shoot it a minimum of three times a week over the next three months. Ultimately, I’d like to feel extremely comfortable shooting distances out to 60 yards.

Give it a try – and let us know how you’re progressing.


Lady Luck Nets First Bird Memories

It’s a little ironic that it took Lady Luck to close out an otherwise picture-perfect turkey hunt, which netted my hunting buddy Jason Shell’s first gobbler. The irony stems from the fact it was a small group of ladies who nearly botched it too!

This hunt started with a scouting trip to the area a week prior, where a tom strutting in a field piqued the interest of these hunters. Limited time afield this Spring left the final day of the North Carolina turkey season as the last call to try and get Jason connected with turkey numero uno.

We stationed a ground blind in the back corner of a freshly cut alfalfa field, plunked a tom and hen decoy in front of us and waited cautiously for day to break before making the first yelp of the morning.

Our excitement grew long before the first stroke on my David Halloran Sugartown Sweetness pot call as a tom presented a familiar, hair-raising shock gobble less than a football field from where we sat.

“Here we go,” I muttered.

A few series of yelps were met not only by the early-rising gobbler, but also by no fewer than two other birds within shouting distance from our setup.

We were in the game!

The closest bird seemed lazy not wanting to leave his overnight perch in the tree. As such, we started to focus on another bird that had clearly set foot aground and made his way our direction.

He was getting closer.

After a game of flirting back and forth, we knew the interested tom was just in the woods to the left of our blind, although we were not-yet able to see him. He seemed to be strutting back and forth along the hedgerow before making his commitment to enter the field.

That’s when he caught a glimpse of our decoys.

The bird entered our field just 25 yards away. Because we had a small handheld video camera in tow, I told Jason to wait on my call before pulling the trigger. He was going to be to our decoys soon and our picture-perfect hunt would be in the books.

Like most successful hunts, a small audible needed called in our game plan.

Just when everything was going too well, the turkey started veering away from our setup on a slow walk. Little did I know until afterwards, but a group of ladies were making their morning walk on the old road some 400-500 yards away from our setup. The ol’ tom had seen them and seemed to be heading toward safer woods.

It was time for Jason to shoot.

He dropped the hammer on the bird to end a great hunt that nearly turned sour. And his first turkey was on the board. I think it’s safe to assume he’ll be chasing more birds in years to come after this successful hunt and a number of close calls over the last couple seasons.


At the Tip of the Sword.

By Kenny Roberts
AHT Contributor

Each year, as we approach the Memorial Day holiday, my thoughts turn to those who have served in the military for our country and those who gave the “last full measure of devotion” (as delivered by Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 1863, Gettysburg, Penn.).

The Red, White and Blue

There may be more sacred holidays – I certainly will not question that. However, I truly believe that the Memorial Day holiday is a special time and that we as Americans should take some of it to reflect on the true meaning.

As outdoorsman and hunters, I think we as a whole hold a great appreciation for our military and those who make the sacrifice to preserve our freedom. Maybe it is the camouflage clothing, the weapons that our military personnel carry, the utilization of cover in military tactics or event the weather elements that they endure; whatever the reasoning is – we generally hold our military personnel in great regard.

Many years ago my brother-in-law, Richard Fasnacht, and me took my nephew Kevin Green to my hunt club for an afternoon of target shooting with my Marlin .22. Kevin was probably 7- or 8-years old at the time. After discussing the importance of gun safety and getting Kevin familiar with the rifle, we placed a couple of aluminum cans 15 yards from our shooting location and gave Kevin the o.k. to “fire-at-will.”

Kevin settled the stock against his shoulder, acquired the target in the scope and deliberately and safely released the safety mechanism.

He focused his attention and the crosshairs of the scope on the aluminum can and after numerous seconds of concentration, he pulled the trigger. The can rattled as the bullet passed through it. We placed another cartridge in the chamber of the rifle and the same sequence occurred over-and-over again.

Kevin never once pulled the trigger until he was fully confident that the target was centered in the crosshairs. The delay between acquiring the target and the report of the rifle seemed like an eternity to us veteran shooters who were standing behind him. Can after can fell to the ground as the bullets ripped through them.

The next fall Kevin joined my duck-hunting mentor, Bill Valentine, and me on a morning duck hunt in Richmond Hill, Ga.

Kevin was still too young to handle a shotgun and he had yet completed his hunter safety course, so he simply hid along the creek bank while Bill and I scratched out a few wood ducks. Although he was not “hunting” with us, he was there and seemed to enjoy the camaraderie and watching the sun come up over our little duck-hole.

Several years later, Richard and I accompanied Kevin on his first deer hunt in eastern North Carolina. No deer were harvested, but several were spotted and I recall one in particular that ran by fairly close to our position. As the small buck passed by, Richard instructed Kevin to not take the shot due to the distance and the probability of not making a humane kill. Even though extremely excited, Kevin did not question the advice or decision.

The next year, Richard and I once again took Kevin deer hunting on property in Alamance County, NC. I placed Kevin in a ladder stand at the base of my feet on a cold November morning prior to sunrise.

As the sun peaked over the horizon and the anticipation of primetime deer movement approached, Kevin turned over his shoulder to me and informed me that he felt as if he was going to be sick. Seconds later, his premonition came true and we exited the stand and went back to the truck for a little heat and an hour-long nap. Apparently the excitement of the moment, in the deer stand – one of the most productive deer stands I have hunted from, his two uncles with him and the anticipation of harvesting his first deer were more than his young nerves could handle.

You simply cannot put a price tag on that type of excitement and enthusiasm that he showed that morning.

Kevin (third from left) joined Kurt, Dave and his Uncle Kenny on Ossabaw Island for wild hog hunts


Our next great hunting adventure with Kevin was our hog hunting trip to Ossabaw Island, Ga. My brother, Ronny, my good buddies Kurt Culbert and Dave Casey “allowed” Kevin to join our fraternity of hog hunters on the island (a.k.a. the Hat Creek Pig Company). This is a high-intensity, powder-burning hunt!

Hogs are numerous and around each bend or in each slough you encounter, hogs that are found are met by a large number of gun reports!

Obviously, safety is of utmost importance and that point was stressed over-and-over again with Kevin. Throughout the trip, though, Kevin handled himself as if he was a seasoned hunter. And at no time did he violate any of the golden rules of hunting gun safety! Around the evening campfire, he was just another one of the guys and he fit right into our little band of brothers.

Kevin participating in PT as part of the Jr. ROTC


Hunting, and the outdoor lifestyle in general, afford us an excellent opportunity to mentor our youth and teach them many life skills. My hunting and fishing companions are not randomly selected, nor is it based on what opportunities they may provide me in the field. They are role models – people I trust and people that I would allow my own child to be under their supervision. They are people that I knew would have a positive impact on my nephew.

Now I would like to clarify something very important: My hunting companions or I will not take any credit for the man that Kevin has grown to become. That credit goes to his most important mentors, his mother and father.

Kevin, along with his parents Jeanie and Randy (and niece), at his recent graduation


I would simply like to say “thank you” to Randy and Jeannie for allowing us (and I think I can speak for Richard, Bill, Ronny, Kurt and Dave) the opportunity to expose Kevin to the lifestyle that we so dearly appreciate. It was our honor and privilege to have Kevin join us on these hunting trips and adventures. We look forward to them continuing for many years in the future.

I am extremely proud as both an uncle, and an American, to report that our hunting buddy Kevin Green graduated from Army basic training at Fort Benning, Ga. on March 2, 2012.

Kevin Green, 101st Airborne Div., 1st Brigade Combat Team (1 BCT “Bastogne”), 327th Inf. Regiment


Kevin is now stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with the 101st Airborne Div., 1st Brigade Combat Team (1 BCT “Bastogne”), 327th Inf. Regiment.

Allow me to quote a passage from the Soldier’s Creed: “I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I AM AN AMERICAN SOLDIER.”

It is comforting to know that at the tip of the sword of our country’s military forces are fine young men and women like Kevin Green!


Season Recap – Antler Discovery

Four antlers, two deer and one lucky hunter. That pretty much sums up my 2011 hunting season. As documented here on AHT I killed a deer dubbed ‘The Ghost Buck’ on Nov. 19 with archery tackle in hand.

'The Ghost Buck' Mount

The only history I had with the deer was a single trail camera photo – or so I thought.

On Nov. 23 I tagged another hit list deer I had dubbed ‘The Shed Buck.’ I had both sets of sheds from the deer from the previous year. I was thrilled with the outcome of my season – one that I deem my best in my nearly quarter century hunting career.

'The Shed Buck' - And The Sheds


The story however got even better in early April when I picked up ‘The Ghost Buck’ from my taxidermist. After securing the buck in the trophy room and admiring him I recalled a set of sheds my then 3-year-old son and I had retrieved the previous year. We had found the sheds just a stone throw away where I arrowed the buck.

The Sheds

I dug through the shed pile and located the antlers in question. I held them up to the mounted animal and was amazed to see that they were a near perfect match. The deer had grown significantly, but carried the same characteristic – sweeping beams with small times, and more of them on his left side. There’s no doubt in my mind that indeed the antlers I found in 2010 are a match set to ‘The Ghost Buck.’ This discovery means I have matching sheds to both bucks I killed in 2011. You can’t ask for a more satisfying feeling in the deer hunting woods.

Proof that passing young deer grows bigger deer.

To say I’m tickled would be an understatement. We’ve put a lot of effort, time and money into growing deer on our properties.

My accomplishments in 2011 are the result of this effort. Taxidermy photos of ‘The Shed Buck’ expected in early May.


AHT 8 Questions: Eddie Salter

Waking up Spring mornings with the return call of a tom turkey is among the greatest thrills an outdoorsman gets to experience. And who knows how many pre-sunrise mornings were welcomed by that unforgettable sound for Eddie Salter. He’s called The Turkey Man, and the Evergreen, Ala., native is among the sport’s most recognizable when it comes to tackling turkeys.

He’s done pretty well mimicking them in turkey-calling contests too. Salter has won more than 60 times during his decorated calling career and is a two-time World Champion. He knows his turkeys. Salter will be hosting a “Talkin Turkey” marathon this Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET on The Sportsman Channel.

We caught up with Eddie recently to talk a little gobble, deer hunting and to find out what he’s been working on recently. He was more than willing to share some of that with you, the AHT readers.

1) Where did the passion for hunting come from?
My passion came from my daddy and seeing and hearing turkeys in the pasture behind my house. I started hunting with small game squirrels and rabbits – then came turkeys around 9-years old.

2) Why did you start turkey calling competitions? And do you still compete at all?
I felt like all the practice for the competitions and just the being around other callers and picking up on different ways to call and tricks of the game would help me in the woods. I do not compete anymore and stopped around 10 years ago.

3) What has been one of the best things/products you’ve seen come to the market lately for turkey hunting?
One of best products lately has got to be the squealing hen call or The Haint Gobble Call from Down N Dirty Outdoors.

4) You’ve completed multiple Grand Slams – what’s your favorite bird to hunt? Why?
I’d have to say it’s the Eastern turkey, simply because it’s the hardest turkey to kill due to all the hunting pressure it gets.

5) What are some of the projects you’re working on right now? New shows?
Well, I’m working with a new job that I enjoy – designing and working on new products for Down N Dirty Outdoors. I’m also starting a new television show that will air soon on The Sportsman Channel called “The Turkey Man Series” which starts airing April 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

6) What’s your favorite hunt over the years, either hunting yourself or calling for someone else?

This is an easy one for me. Without question, it’s taking my daughter when she killed her first turkey. She was around 14 at the time. Another one that is special is when she called me in a Rio in Texas last year. She is now 28.

7) Let’s set up the situation. You aren’t allowed to call the turkey, who would you want working the calls when you HAVE to talk a bird in?
If I couldn’t work the call and had to have somebody else calling … For me, it would have to be my brother, Dewan Salter.

8) We know you’re a successful deer hunter too. Ok, if the whitetail rut (and the deer season) happened during Spring turkey season, how would you be spending your days?
Another easy one. I would pick turkey hunting 10 to 1 over deer hunting any day!

Cat Tales: We got a chance to check out The Haint Gobble call in action when we met up with Eddie. What a neat call! Definitely worth learning more about.


He Got the Cover (Twice)!

In honor of this week’s release of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, which includes Kate Upton as its cover model, I thought I’d share something I stumbled upon by pure coincidence a few weeks ago.

Alsheimer's Buck Is a Cover Boy ... Twice (click photo to enlarge)


As I sat in my recliner, the magazine rack next to me had a pair of hunting magazines resting next to each other. The magazines were the October Outdoor Life and December Deer & Deer Hunting. As I glanced at them, likely pondering if I should pick one up, I noticed how much alike the massive buck pictured on their respective front covers was.

Then I looked closer.

I realized that it was actually the same deer, in almost the exact pose, possibly over the same log, at a completely different time (the D&DH photo includes a snow-covered ground beneath the buck).

I thought that was interesting.

And as I suspected, each cover was shot by renowned deer photographer (and fellow Southern Tier of New York native) Charlie Alsheimer.

That buck has done well for Charlie! I’m really surprised that both photos ran so closely to each other (within a matter of a few weeks). I wonder if either publication had any issue with that.