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Tag Archives: Archery

Brock Strikes Again! Weehew!

By Brock Albaugh
AHT Contributor

Hi, my name is Brock Albaugh. I am 13-years old and the nephew of Kurt. I live in Carrollton, Ohio, which is a very small town in eastern Ohio but has lots of woods to deer hunt in. I have a giant passion for hunting. If I am not deer hunting, I am rabbit hunting with my beagle, Abbie. I am always outside doing something and I love the outdoors. My Uncle Kurt wanted me to share my story.

It all started on May 24, 2011 when I was outside and saw this deer in a hayfield across the road from my house. I got a picture of it and was ready for the Ohio Whitetail archery season to start. The deer was coming out every night that week, so my dad, Jeff, and I decided to put a corn pile out in front of a trail camera to see if we could get any good pictures and videos, and we did.

We watched the deer all summer and was able to watch it grow into the deer that I would shoot. My friend, Kory Host, and I were able to shoot a couple of good videos of the buck earlier in the year while it was eating in the hay field. The videos were very cool, but the buck was only about halfway done growing his antlers, so he was not as big. Since that day in May, the buck came out in the same field just about every night to get some food before it would disappear into the woods, but still come out the next night for the same routine.

This deer has not just been around my house this year, it was also around last year too. The first time we saw him was in the beginning of December, 2010, right before I shot my deer last year. I know it’s this deer because of the big brow tines the deer beholds.

All winter we were getting trail camera pictures of the deer eating in front of the trail cameras. I was just hoping that it would stay around until this hunting season so I could hunt it. Luckily, he did just that.

Our 2010 was a very bad winter which caused the deer to try to find food in the most unusual of places. It was so bad that the deer came out of the woods and were eating corn out of a cardboard box in our front yard. Deer would come every night to our front yard to eat the corn in front of our house. We decided to put the trail camera on a tree in our front yard to see what deer would come in the middle of the night, and I did not believe it but a few bucks were coming and eating the corn.

Then, at 12:30 a.m. on Christmas morning, this buck appeared across the road and came into our front yard to eat some corn while we were standing in the picture window watching him. He ate corn for about 15 minutes then walked back across the road and into the woods. It was a very cool experience and doubled my hopes of getting this deer the next year, and lo and behold, I did!

So you are probably wondering about the actual hunt! Well, here is the story.

On September 24, 2011, the first day of Ohio archery season, I was extremely excited to go hunting for the first time in a couple of months but did not expect that I would shoot this deer later in the day. My dad and I went hunting in the morning on some private Ohio property and saw a few small bucks, but nothing worthy of shooting. Once we came home, I decided that I wanted to go hunting across the road on the edge of the woods by the hay field in my ground blind.

So a few hours earlier in the day, my Dad and I went over to try and hide the ground blind a little better than it was and put oak branches (with the leaves still on them) in the field to show me how far away the deer are. We did that and then returned to my house until it was time for me to go hunting.

It was around 6:00 p.m. when I decided that it was time to go over and sit until dark. I put on my black clothes, since the inside of the blind is black, grabbed my crossbow and headed for the blind. It took about an hour until the action started. About 8 or 9 does and a few fawns came out of the woods and into the field about 25 yards from my blind to eat. Then about 20 minutes later, I saw this deer’s antlers peak over the hill, and come in my direction. I was excited, but not too excited because when I had to shoot, I did not want to be shaking like a leaf.

Once he came down toward my blind, I hoped that he would give me a shot. The buck came running down by my blind at a very fast pace only 20 yards away, but he was moving too fast to shoot. Then he stopped 25 yards away, but he stopped in the worst position for a hunter, and I am sure that this has happened to you. The deer came down and stopped with his rear-end facing directly in my direction. All I could do was sit there with my crossbow and watch this deer eat right in front of me. It was pretty bad, but I knew that I could not get nervous, so I stayed calm. Then the worst thing almost happened. The deer started to walk straight back up the hill with his rear-end still facing me, I thought that I would not get a shot and have to watch him walk up the hill. But all of a sudden the whole scenario changed. He turned and walked right over to the oak branches that my dad stuck in the ground and started eating the leaves while standing broadside.

This is when I knew that I had to shoot, or it could be my last chance.

So as the deer was eating my thirty-yard marker, I pulled the trigger. Once I pulled trigger the arrow went on the longest 30 yard flight I think I will ever feel. To me, that 30 yards seemed like it took the arrow and the broadhead more than a minute to hit the deer. But once the arrow hit, a loud thump was heard and the deer almost did a front flip when it kicked his feet in the air.

The deer took off running, jumped a fence, then fell only 50 yards from where I shot it. As the buck fell, which I could see it, I got a rush of adrenaline knowing that I had shot a nice trophy buck.

I called my dad and told him that I got it and he was excited, and I mean very excited. We let the deer lay for about 30 minutes, then went after it. The deer was down and had holes coming out both sides of its body from the arrow and broadhead, I suppose that I double lung shot the deer since it went down so fast. I was very excited with this deer in my hands knowing that it is a trophy. My favorite characteristic is the brow tines that the deer has. I think that is very cool that they are so long and the tips almost touch each other. Once the field dressing and pictures were done it was time to go back to the house. We then put ice in the deer, covered it with a tarp and it was time to go inside so I could tell my dad the whole story. When I told him, he was very happy for me.

But my dad did ask me one question, he said, “Brock, why were you so calm when I came to get you on the four wheeler, it seemed like you were not excited about shooting the deer?” So I replied by saying, “ The deer I shot last year was a little bigger, so I was not going to get too excited over shooting a smaller deer.” He still cannot get over how calm I was when he came to pick me up.

When we went to the butcher shop to pick up the head to take to the taxidermist, one of the butchers told me that the deer weighed 200 pounds, field dressed. I could tell it because it was very hard to get the deer from the ground to the truck.

I know that you might think I am crazy, due to the fact I am a young hunter, but I actually would have let that deer grow another year or two so it could grow to become a real trophy. But due to the fact that the deer lived very close to a busy highway and had other hunters were hunting in the same general area, I knew that I should take advantage of this chance and shoot him. It was also hard to shoot it knowing that it is smaller than the buck I shot last year too because I did not want to shoot a deer smaller than that one, which scored 144 inches and made the Ohio Big Buck Club record book.

To me, watching this deer from the beginning of the season in velvet to the last time the deer will enter the
field on September 24, 2011 is very cool. Not many people, even adults, get the chance to watch a deer grow like this then shoot it in the same season, but I am one luck kid that did get that exact experience!

Editor’s Note: I’m very proud of Brock. First, for the way he’s handled taking two deer in successive years that most (yes, most) hunters never get a chance to take in their hunting careers. I’m also proud of him for taking the time to write a great story to share his experience with our readers. He’s got the hunting bug, and that makes his uncle (who happens to suffer from that same illness!) pretty darn excited! I’m lucky that I have nieces and nephews – and hopefully a couple kids when they are old enough – that enjoy the outdoors. Here’s looking forward to sharing the woods and waters with Brock, and the rest of my family, for decades to come.

To read about Brock’s 2010 144″ monster, click here.

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Motivation on the Stand

David Hinceman was looking for a little “pick me up” when he was sitting in his stand last November. We’ve all been there – that lull in activity when you start wondering if that day just might not be the day. Then something happens that gives you a boost of optimism. Your senses are on full alert and you think any moment could be the right one for Joe Nailer to come by your stand.

I’m happy to report that a text message with my 2010 Illinois deer (read all about it here) helped be that inspiration for Hinceman, the host of Pass’n It On Outdoors, last year. And it worked as shortly thereafter, David was able to close the deal on a giant Illinois deer of his own.

David was hunting a couple counties south of where I was hunting with Riverview Outfitters.

The energy-boosting moment, and David’s success, were captured in episode No. 3 of Pass’n It On Outdoors. You can watch it in its entirety below! David’s hunt starts around the 11:00 mark.


Summer Bachelor Parties

“Scotty” was my first vehicle. A 1978, the pickup was in remarkable shape in the early 1990s when I started driving it. My grandfather had purchased the truck new and it sat many years after he passed away. It was a Scottsdale model and picked up the nickname from my baseball teammate Lenny Green, who rode with me most days from school to the ballpark.

Scotty was a part of many teenage memories, including carrying one of my first archery bucks

As you might imagine, I have enough memories with Scotty to fill an armored truck. Summer nights were some of the best. We spent most evenings during the hot Western New York months looking for whitetail bucks throughout Allegany County. I loved it.

While the passengers along for the ride varied, Scotty and I were the mainstays. Some nights it was Ward Craft with us, cousins Tom and Jeff made appearances, both of my brothers Doug and Mike came along from time to time, or other nights it was just my girlfriend and I burning gallons of gas looking for big bucks.

Searching for these bucks had nothing to do with early-season scouting. I very rarely hunted anywhere other than our family land – never needed a reason to. That didn’t stop me from knowing many of the giant bucks that roamed throughout the area. Finding bucks during the summer was almost like having another hunting season.

Most evenings, my parents’ old-school video camera was in tow to document deer sighting via shaky hand-held footage. I ran across a VHS recently with a compilation of highlights from one summer in 1994. There were several great bucks that summer, but even more fantastic memories. None remain stronger in my memory than the night I videoed four mature bucks feeding together only 85 or 90 yards from the road on the Knapp Farm. One was a great buck, pushing 140″ as a 10 pointer.

Gas prices make it much more difficult to hop in the car and go for a long drive to check out deer. Ironically, it’s one of the reasons my family chooses to live in Rowan County, N.C., instead of closer to Charlotte. We love the agriculture-rich terrain it affords us to be away from the city.

I’m going to make it a point to go “hunt for deer” more this summer. I know my 3-year old would love to join too. Poor girl, she is sure to get sick of the old stories from yesteryear while we’re riding around. Here’s hoping she won’t get sick of hearing about Scotty though!


Hunting: My favorite sport.

I am a proud venison eater. Just last week, I went to a dinner event – attended by more than 100 people – where we enjoyed more than 20 different entrees prepared with the harvests of many successful hunts. And each bite of food that hit my mouth was tasty. This post, though, is less about venison and more about the reasons why I have a freezer full of it.

One of this blogger's early whitetails with a bow.


Venison is not the reason I hunt. And I’m not looking to use it as an excuse for explaining to people why hunting deer makes me happier than a lab’s jowls lapping up peanut butter.

I hunt deer because I enjoy the challenge, the time in the woods, and the sport that comes with outsmarting an old, wily whitetail. My preferred method of success is with a bow and arrow, but I don’t mind shooting a deer with a gun.

The food my family gets, and the fact that it’s the most effective manner for conserving wildlife, just so happen to be great byproducts of hunting. Let that be crystal clear to anyone who’s wondering.

Far too often, I find my fellow sportsmen having to defend the reasons why they hunt. That’s hogwash. No one in our country should have to defend their participation in an honest and legal sport that has roots as deep as the trees in the Redwood Forest.

You might wonder why I’m a bit feisty about this topic. I just watched a propaganda-filled video being kicked around the digital world where an alleged veterinarian presents a case that bowhunting is an ineffective way to hunt deer. He spends a great deal of time pointing out that deer, when shot with archery equipment, do not die instantly. At this point, I’m hoping I hear a collective, “Naw, really?” from our readers.

I have shot somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 deer with a bow. While that number might represent an “insignificant sample” in the world of research, I can tell you that my successful retrieve rate for bowhunting is better than my own rate with a gun. I know that reams of data exist to point out a variety of metrics on what is the best way to kill a deer. Articles published on the topic are probably in the hundreds. I can read all that until I’m blue in the face, but what matters to me is the experience I’ve had in the woods. That is my first-party research. I assure anyone who reads this and might question otherwise that a compound bow is more than effective at placing a lethal shot on a whitetail deer.

Is every shot lethal? No. Much like hunting with a rifle, a shotgun or a sling shot, hunters are not perfect. Heck, even Peyton Manning throws interceptions. While it’s not a pretty point to make for some, that too is part of the sport.

While you think about that, I’m headed to the kitchen to cook some venison chili.


Picture-Perfect Dream Buck

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, we were looking at two pictures. The 2,000-word part was easy. My struggle came with figuring out how many inches were in the photos.

Tyler Sellens had just returned Friday from checking his trail cams. And he wanted to know what I thought this one particular buck would score.

I looked quickly – too quickly – and threw a number out that Tyler and my hunting buddy, The Biscuit, clearly weren’t impressed with. The odd looks told me I’d have no problem proving I was running on two hours sleep the last two days.

At closer glance, my high 140s mark had absolutely no merit. This stud had huge main beams, he had long tines and his mass was of the deer that hunters dream about. I quickly retracted.

Tyler, who along with Josh Turner makes up Riverview Outfitters in Hancock County, Ill., had two pictures of this buck. The first picture was Thursday morning, the second from Friday morning – but both during daylight. But he also had a challenge.

Tyler explained that he and Josh had only one tree to hang a stand in this spot, and his gut told him this deer was working a high trail during his daily ritual of checking for does. If that remained true, he knew the shot on this deer might be a long one with archery equipment.

The Biscuit, and I were only an hour removed from target shooting our bows, doing so at nearly every yardage marker possible – including 50 yards. We both shot well and that had our confidence levels soaring. We both implied that we might be up for the challenge.

The stand that they put in this area was, unfortunately for the Biscuit, locked onto a small hickory tree. The Biscuit isn’t … well … small. I am.

With the wind correct, I was able to navigate to and climb that stand our first morning of hunting Illinois. I saw and videoed four small bucks over the first couple hours out of that tree. And as the winds were gusting at speeds well into the 40s, I figured the big bucks were probably off their feet and staying as much out of the wind as possible. I had just talked myself into not expecting much movement until the magical time before sunset. The wind remained favorable for this stand, blowing out of the southwest.

And that’s when it happened. Nine hours after I arrived at my stand, the biggest deer I’ve ever seen on hoof came walking out of a brushy pile of woods and started on a walk in my direction. As Tyler had predicted, he was on the high trail. I knew right away that everything would have to go perfect in order to get a chance at this deer. I remained very calm – and looking back I’m not sure how.

As every hunter who has a large whitetail walking his direction would do, I grabbed my video camera! I’m not sure why that came first, but thankfully I also grabbed my bow and fumbled both in my hands as I sized the situation.

The buck walked through a little depression and stopped behind a series of saplings at 60 yards. He started rubbing his antlers on a small tree. I kept the video rolling and somehow managed to reach for my range finder. I’d already ranged this area several times in the morning but decided confirming the distance right now would be best. If he came out of those trees and remained broadside, he would be at 50 yards. If he came down the hill just a little bit, he would be in an opening at 44 yards. I dialed my sight to 45 yards and waited.

Somewhere in there I remember making up my mind that I was only going to shoot if everything went perfectly. I recall distinctly thinking that I was going to make this particular deer my week’s mission if the shot didn’t present itself. This was the first day of the hunt and I would have several days to play chess with him.

After a couple minutes of rubbing, the deer started moving again. That’s when I threw the video camera into my backpack. For some reason, I never even bothered to turn the record button off. Thus, the remaining pieces of the hunt were played out via sound on my video camera.

The buck broke out of the saplings and was walking slow. He walked a couple yards and turned toward my stand a bit. He was going to be on the 44-yard side of the opening.

I drew. At full draw I remember thinking that I would only take this shot if everything were still perfect.

I grunted. He stopped.

He was broadside at 44 yards. My HHA dial sight was dialed appropriately. I was looking through my peep sight and everything was perfectly aligned with his vitals. I squeezed the release and remained focused intently on where I wanted the arrow to hit. I did not see my arrow in flight, but saw and heard it hit the buck right where I was looking.

The buck turned up the hill and I could see the lion’s share of my arrow (all but the fletchings) sticking out of the opposite side of the deer … right where it would indicate a lung shot. I also saw blood – a lot of it – coming out of his side.

I was confident in the shot (as was later displayed when I replayed the video sound). I watched the buck run up the hill and out of sight. The shaking started.

I grabbed my video camera and realized that it was still on record. After taking a few moments to record my thoughts, which were all rooted in the sheer enjoyment of just shooting the biggest deer of my life, I called Tyler.

I climbed out of my stand and went to another hill and waited nearly two full hours for Tyler to meet me to begin tracking. As anyone who has ever shot a whitetail with a bow can attest, those hours are some of the most gut wrenching you can experience. You go through everything in your mind 1,000 times and try to recall any clues that will help in the recovery.

I started to question what I had seen. Was I sure the shot was where I thought? Was that blood I saw? Was he even as big as I think he was? Was it the same deer in the trail cam?

For the first time since the shot, I replayed the video. I listened to my entire first reaction and realized that there was no way I was seeing things. Replaying the real-time reaction helped build my confidence back up.

Tyler arrived and I played the video sound for him too. We started back into the woods to track.

We found blood early. The trail was easy to follow. After 70 or so yards, my arrow laid in his tracks. It was covered in blood. As often happens, the trail got wider with blood after that. We walked only another 15 yards and Tyler turned around smiling.

I’ve experienced ground shrinkage in the past. This is my first ground growage! He had points coming out of his main beams, his tines were longer than I remembered and he carried the widest rack I’d ever shot. He was truly a remarkable deer.

Tyler and Josh both were as excited as I was to have the bruiser on the ground. They’ve worked their tails off for several months to provide a hunter with an opportunity like this. And it so happened that in this case, I was the hunter. For that, I’m extremely grateful.

The buck ended up with 15 scoreable points – all intact.
And that picture ended up being worth a lot of inches – 185 4/8” in fact!

Cat Tales: I’m truly blessed. I’ve been able to shoot several nice bucks in my hunting career. Yet, I recognize that this deer is a “once-in-a-lifetime” kind of deer. And for that, I need to thank a few people for helping me fulfill a life dream. Thank you to Nick Pinizzotto, my fellow outdoor blogging friend who had never met me yet thought enough to ask me almost a year ago to join him in Illinois for a hunt with Riverview Outfitters.

I also need to thank “my girls.” My wife has dealt with my hunting obsession for over a decade and has been nothing but supportive – even though it often means a couple weeks of running our house solo each fall. My daughter Sara is living her third hunting season and gets almost as excited about deer as I do. And she is the best arrow holder this side of the Mississippi!

Finally, thank you dad for introducing me to hunting. I’m as passionate about this sport today as I was as a teenager running around our woods in Western New York. I wish a lot more kids around this world could see what I’ve been fortunate to see.


Learn more about Riverview Outfitters at www.RiverviewOutfitters.com


Hunting Pioneer & TV Legend Offers Tips, Strategies

By Greg Johnston
AHT Guest Contributor

It isn’t often you get to meet someone who’s helped grow the sport of hunting into the mega giant it is today, but I recently had that rare opportunity.

Mark Drury, the co-host of Bow Madness, Dream Season and Wildlife Obsession came to Upstate New York for an evening of food, drink and as you may have guessed, hunting.

Drury has years of experience, and success, to back his wisdom! (Image borrowed from OutdoorChannel.com)


Drury needs no introduction, but for y’all who don’t know (mainly my city relatives), he and his brother Terry began producing hunting videos since 1989. The duo is the real deal, the big time, the whatever you want to call ‘em … they’re it.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting several hunting celebs over the years, and all have turned out to be what I hoped – just regular guys sharing a common passion. Drury is no exception.

An Iowa boy who made it big, Mark Drury remains humble and driven by his passion for hunting. Drury addressed our group and then graciously answered questions for over an hour.

From this, four themes seemed to emerge.

First – Technology only takes you so far. Drury, who is endorsed by Scent Blocker, openly admitted that there is no substitute for a favorable wind. Will scent elimination products improve your chances of harvesting that animal of your dreams? Yes, according to Drury, but other factors come into play – mainly he says wind direction and the speed of the wind.. Hunting is hunting, and fooling a wise old whitetail isn’t easy. We all know that.

Second – If you feel the urge, kill ‘em. Drury says a trophy to you may not be a trophy to him. His theory – if you get the feeling over a certain animal, whack ‘em. Having said that, Drury said he believes whitetail deer don’t reach their full potential until the ages of 7 – 9. Here in New York where I hunt, it is extremely rare to encounter a deer that old, so to me a 3 – 4-year old deer is a trophy and, in that case, I will almost always feel the urge.

Third – Hunt the edges. Drury preaches and practices non-intrusive hunting tactics. He says his success comes from hunting the perimeter. He suggests that you do the same and not penetrate your hunting parcel, rather set up on the edge, hoping to catch that mature deer on his feet … makes sense to me.

Fourth – Use trail cameras to find and locate you deer – and don’t check them too often. Drury says he sets his cameras out in the summer and often times won’t check them until October. He says on many occasions, he’ll capture over 300,000 images from one camera set. He has around 50 cameras running on his farms today, and although that may not be feasible for most of us, we all can afford a camera or two to help gain that advantage. Point made.

One other interesting note that Drury shared with me is the ramped poaching he deals with on a daily basis. He said some scum already this year poached a 165 + deer on his land. He says every year he finds numerous headless animals on and around his property. Sick isn’t it?

The best deterrent he’s been able to come up with is planting vegetation along the edges and along the roadways of his property to physically block the poachers’ view.

I’ve had the displeasure of having an animal I was hunting poached, so I feel for Drury on this.

So there you go, tips from a true hunting star! Happy hunting this fall!


Limited Edition AHT Arrow Saw

My dad’s shop is a playground for people like me. With every tool imaginable at convenient disposal, there’s always stuff you can make. It’s one of the things I miss most about being nearly 600 miles away from that shop. Not having easy access to welders, grinders, hoists, vices, steam washers or the room to use any of them makes building stuff more difficult.

But still I try.

The cutting area plus a good shot at the cabinet clasp.

I’ve spent several years assembling my own arrows. And one of the challenges I face is not having an arrow saw. Instead of buying one, I decided to take a shot at building one. I’d seen mentioned one approach on the Archery Talk Forum (www.archerytalk.com) that included using a mini cut saw available at Harbor Freight. We recently ate dinner near a Harbor Freight and I decided the time had come to buy the saw.

Click here for the rest