So what do I do with a deer I’ve shot?

This was a question recently asked to me by a person who never hunted.  Her question was sincere but was quickly followed up by, “Do you just leave them in the field?”  That question was immediately followed by a look on her face similar to a person that just smelled bad milk.

I was a a bit surprised by the two questions and more than a little peeved. After all, to insinuate that I would shoot a deer and then just leave it lay there was insulting. What – I hunt therefore I’m a jerk? As I tried to prepare my answer (all the while I’m fairly certain I was sucking the air from the room with my attempts to calm down), I looked at this person and realized -she really doesn’t know, well anything, about where FOOD comes from.  I told her that no, to leave the animal there would go against everything I believed in. I take the deer to the butcher and they process the deer for me.

“The butcher? “she asks.  Dear Lord – give me patience.   Yes, you know, the butcher. I then asked her, “Have you ever seen the meat aisle at the grocery store? Where the pork chops and steaks are lined up and neatly packaged? Well a butcher did that. So I take my deer to a butcher and he processes the deer and I pick up the packages a few days later.”

After a few minutes of silence, she asks, “So there are people that do this? Butcher the meat?”  “Yes I say, where do you think it all comes from? If you eat ground meat from the store you are eating a cow that was processed by a butcher. If you eat pork chops, you are eating a pig that was processed by a butcher.”

This conversation ended at that point but it stayed with me.  I really wanted to yell at this person to wake up, grow up, expand your world. Is this what people think? Meat grows in white plastic trays.  When they grow big enough they are encased in Saran Wrap and slapped with a price tag? Perhaps that’s a bit melodramatic. But perhaps we’ve done a disservice to future generations-we’ve made it too easy. You want a burger? Just run down to the local fast food store. If people actually had to practice shooting a bow, zeroing in a gun, hunt, track, field dress, process their own food, actually work for it, they might understand and respect why hunting is not about killing.  It’s about life.

I am headed to the Great American Outdoor Show!

I can’t think of a better way to start my week then to ditch the office, get in the truck and head off to talk hunting, guns and archery.  Hopefully by the end of the day I will have lots to report back on along with a sore back and an aching feet.  On the other hand, every time I’ve went to this show I have met some really nice people.  If you are there, look me up- stop and say hi!  I’ll be the one in the black Ladies In Camo shirt pulling a cColor-JoAnn-w-2015 deeramo wheeled backpack with one squeaky wheel!

VTX Bowstrings from VaporTrail

VP Header

A few weeks ago, I wrapped up a product review on VaporTrail VTX bowstrings.  I also spoke about their bowstring customizer.  If you did not get a chance to read the review, here is a link: VTX bowstring review.

VaporTrail provides great service backed up by some knowledgeable people.  You can find out about all of their products at:www.vaportrailarchery.com/ 

 

I am a Staff Writer for Ladies In Camo, an organization that provides articles, review and hunt packages for women.  Please visit the Ladies In Camo website at www.ladiesincamo.com.

Tree stands and me-not a match made in Heaven

I am terrified of heights. And while I know alot of people will sympathize and give me helpful hints, really I’m not listening. I can’t. Their advice will make sense, I’ll try it and then there I am again, stuck on the fourth rung of a ladder stand – sweaty palms clutching on with a death grip. People mean well but knowing myself,the only thing that would work for me is to suck it up, put on my big girl pants and just do it. Only I’ve said that multiple times as well.

Oh and to make this cosmic fear/joke even better, why should I just stop at being afraid of heights from a stand? Let me go whole hog on the whole height/fear issue. Walk up grandstands? Better just head on up and get comfortable in your seats; I will get there sooner or later-usually later. Drive through the mountains? You better knock me out or tie me up because I’m crying the whole way through.(Thank you IBO Worlds and Snowshoe Mountain for that enlightening experience.)

What’s your point JoAnn? Well since I bet alot of hunters or huntresses out there are like me, here is how I am SLOWLY working on getting over this fear. Or at least not letting it control my life anymore. Notice I said working on this because I’m not sure I will ever be totally over it.

1 – I am lucky enough to own a few acres and have a ladder stand installed on a tree in my backyard. Attached to the stand are two ropes; one used to hoist up my bow, the second is a lifeline rope with another smaller loop of rope with a prusik knot.

2 – I practice putting on and taking off my harness in my living room so I can do this as quietly as possible without getting everything tangled up.

3 – I then go outside to the stand. In regular clothes, I practice attaching onto the lifeline, climbing the ladder stand, getting to the top and hooking up the umbilical line to the strap which is located behind the seat. At that point I am double hooked-to the strap and to the lifeline. I do this step multiple times-it’s overkill, I know but it helps.

4 – After I feel semi-comfortable with the whole climbing and settling in procedure, I then repeat but this time I am dressed in my camo clothes along with any extras like a backpack. It’s kind of like dress rehearsal. I go to the stand, attach my bow to my hoist line. I then attach the umbilical cord of my harness to the lifeline. I climb up, anchor in and pull my bow up.I practice this multiple times to try to get as quiet as possible. I can play around with the option of hoisting up my back pack or climbing up wearing it.

5 – Lastly, after I am settled in and my legs don’t feel like I need to jump up and down with energy, I practice shooting from my stand. I think everyone should do this whether or not they have a fear of heights but for me, practice is even more crucial. It’s hard to concentrate on the shot when your entire body has adrenaline pumping through it and the deer isn’t in front of you yet.

For someone like me, I didn’t get through any of these steps the first time. I basically stood on the ladder rungs and sweated. Tried another step and there were tears involved. My husband’s hand on my ass while saying “Just go, You’re okay”, honestly didn’t help either. I did tell him what he could do with his hand and it wasn’t pleasant. At that point he left me alone. Although looking back he did hang multiple stands for me so I guess I should go apologize now.

I’m still really afraid of heights and that will never go away. But by chiseling away at that fear by little steps at least I can now function in a tree stand.

I wish you well this season!

Remembering 9/11

I remember the whole day. I arrived in my office to learn that a plane had hit a building in New York. Standing at the coffee machine my co-workers and I thought why is a plane flying that low? Then the second plane hit. We turned on the news in the office and I’m fairly certain it did not get turned off until we left. I couldn’t reach my husband by phone who happened to be working near the Pentagon that day. The phones were jammed because everyone else was trying to call their loved ones. Rumors that the Baltimore beltway was going to be closed down forced my boss to call it a day. I picked up my daughter from daycare and sat in traffic. I remember trying to remain calm as I got my son off the bus. I didn’t want the kids to panic however that attempt was too late as he blurted out:”Mommy all the other mommies came to school and you didn’t. I was scared.” Later I found out that many parents went screaming (yes, that’s right) through the elementary school, running to their children. I understood their concern, but screaming through a school yelling, “My babies!” never did sit right with me.

The days and weeks after the attack were exhausting. Visiting my church and finding other people with the same blank expressions on their face; the news showing people wandering around New York looking for family members. I remember feeling sad, lonely and tired. And I was one of the lucky people that did not lose a loved one to the attack.

Lastly, about two weeks after the attack I sat in my living room, turned on my TV and purposefully set out to find a movie, a TV show, something that had nothing at all to do with real life. I wound up watching X-Men on HBO. That fit the bill. It’s odd how your mind can find things to help you cope. I wonder if X-Men is on tonight.

Essentials for my backpack

Below are some things that are always in my pack. I just will not go into the woods without them – no matter the season.

Pack of tissues-especially during the spring turkey season!
ChapStick
Flashlight
Some wire ties for attaching a tag
Snips to take care of any branches I might have missed during the set up
Folding Knife
Pen for filing out tag
License and tags
Permission slips
Saline solution-nothing worse than a dry contact lens in the stand!
Reusable rubber coated Gear Ties
Pair of black Red Head glove liners-these work great to use in the dead of winter under heavy gloves or on the spring as a light weight option
Cell phone

Additional items will get added at certain times of the year for different seasons or my weapon of choice but there are some things this girl cannot do without!

A tip when setting up a ground blind or tree stand

Hunting season is almost upon us.  In some areas of the country, people are already hitting the woods.  As you are setting up your ground blind or tree stand, please do yourself a favor and make sure you have the clearance necessary to make your shot.  If you have done so already, it doesn’t hurt to go back and recheck.  You might be saying to yourself, “What are you talking about Jo Ann, I’ve cleaned out my shooting lanes?”  I’m talking about the structure of the blind itself, like a support bar, that you need to make sure you can clear.

If you are using shooting sticks for a crossbow determine a comfortable height now that will also allow your limbs and bolt to clear the blind before that animal walks out.  The bolt can nick the blind as it leaves the crossbow if you don’t make sure the clearance is there.

If you are shooting a vertical bow, make sure you can pull that bow back and your arm doesn’t get hung up on any part of the blind itself.  Pulling back a bow and having your arm hit the side will either make noise or make you reposition yourself on the fly.  This rush might end up in a poorly placed shot or you just get busted by the deer.  Work the kinks out now before the season to ensure your success.

And don’t forget to read more Tips of the Week from Ladies In Camo: Ladies In Camo on Facebook.  An organization I am quite proud to be a part of!