Tony Smotherman Says He Shot The Wrong Buck With His CVA Accura MR

For the last 15 years, I’ve been hunting the same area in Brown County, Illinois. I hunt with a great friend of mine, Toby Stay, who runs Illinois Connection’s North Camp. On this particular trip up north, I was hunting during the second shotgun season last year with my CVA Accura MR. It was the first week of December and Toby told me, “We have cold weather coming in this week.… Read more

Tony Smotherman on Why He Still Uses Loose Powder

Tony Smotherman on Why He Still Uses Loose Powder
Tony Smotherman on Why He Still Uses Loose Powder

I prefer loose powder because I want to shoot as accurately as I possibly can. A blackpowder substitute pellet will group fine for most hunting shots. However, I am a fanatic on accuracy and I always want to make sure that my gun shoots as accurately as it possibly can. One thing you must remember when trying to get your muzzleloader to shoot as good as it can… “consistency” is accuracy when dealing with a muzzleloader.… Read more

Twinkies Died and Roger Bergfeld Took Deer with His CVA Buckhorn

Twinkies Died and Roger Bergfeld Took Deer with His CVA BuckhornLike many hunters, I was almost ready to cry when I heard Hostess had shut down. I know many hunters who won’t go into the woods without two or three packs of those cream-filled pastries known as “Twinkies.” But I wasn’t nearly as sad to see Hostess go as Roger Bergfeld of Davenport, Iowa, was. A district manager for Hostess, he managed more than 25 outlet stores.… Read more

Inside the Chad Schearer Family and the Muzzleloading

Hunting, filming, producing and being on the road to develop a top-notch TV show is a difficult task. Taking your wife along to hunt and shoot video solves many problems, but also creates problems, because you now have two people to consider. When you add-in two young boys, how a family can hunt and travel together may appear tough. When people ask us on our TV show that appears on the Sportsman’s Channel, Fox Sports South and CBS in Montana , who will be the shooter and who will run the camera, I mention that we can put-in for four tags instead of just one, since our boys hunt with us.… Read more

Learn from Tim McKoy – A Muzzleloading Master of Shooting Deer At Short Distance

You'll never hear Tim McKoy's name touted as a legendary hunter or see his name in the national magazines. However, during one hunting season in his home state of Alabama, McKoy took a10-point buck that scored 152-6/8-points on Boone & Crockett and weighed 255 pounds. On opening day of bow season, he bagged a 9-point buck that weighed 235 pounds and scored 124-7/8-points. McKoy ended the season with a record of bagging five fine bucks, including the 10 pointer, three 9-point bucks, one 8-point buck and also three does. McKoy made no shots of more than 100 yards to take these deer. He made most of his shots at less than 70 yards. A short-shooting, thick-cover hunter, McKoy revisited the past to learn how to take bucks now.  McKoy does what any woodsman who consistently bags big bucks each season with any kind of weapon does. He immediately begins to study the bucks in his area after deer season has ended. He builds on his knowledge from the past and increases his knowledge for the upcoming season. The day after deer season ends, McKoy starts scouting for the next hunting season. McKoy has seven principles he believes result in successful deer hunting: scouting; preparing; scouting; preparing; hunting only with a favorable wind; realizing that any place worth hunting means he should hunt it at least 3 days; and hunting where no one else will hunt. When McKoy starts scouting after the season, he doesn't just walk through the woods, searching for deer sign. He goes into thick-cover sites where he assumes big bucks will head. He looks for big tracks and rubs on large trees, because he believes these signs will indicate whether or not a big buck lives in that region. Once McKoy finds big-buck sign, he writes down pertinent information in his logbook. He'll note: the wind direction he must have to hunt that area; the available stand sites and the exact trees where he'll place stands; the location and the identification of any food in that thick-cover area; the deer's bedding region; the location of trails coming into that place; and the best direction from which to approach this section of the property. He’ll also log many of these waypoints into his GPS.   Then McKoy begins cutting 3- to 4-foot-wide shooting lanes that extend for 30 to 70 yards. "I'm preparing a spot to hunt it during the next deer season," McKoy explains. "After I learn all I can about this place and the buck that lives there, I'll prepare the region for me to return after hunting season starts to hunt that particular buck there." McKoy realizes that more deer other than the one he plans to bag may live on that land. But because of the size of tracks and rubs he's seen, he plans to only take the big buck he’s identified.  Four to 6-weeks before the season starts, McKoy returns to each core area he's discovered and scouts the sections again to make sure that the buck he's found at the end of the season still are in the same place. "I have had bucks move 200- to 300-yards from where I've left them in February." If the buck has in fact moved, McKoy cuts new shooting lanes, picks-out a new stand site and prepares the area to hunt. Since McKoy makes such detailed notes, he knows exactly how, where and when to hunt each buck before the season begins. McKoy continues to take notes on each hunt site – recording every day he hunts that area, the wind and the weather conditions present, and the deer he sees.   For each buck he takes, McKoy can tell you where the buck has held, the date when he’s located that hot spot, how he's prepared the region, which date he's hunted that site and all the critical information about each hunt, including the time he's bagged the deer and the circumstances of each successful hunt. Through the years, McKoy has become a detailed deer researcher who uses the information he gathers to successfully harvest bucks at close range each season, exactly how you’ll have more success with your blackpowder gun.  By John E. Phillips, outdoor writer and muzzleloading hunterYou’ll never hear Tim McKoy’s name touted as a legendary hunter or see his name in the national magazines. However, during one hunting season in his home state of Alabama, McKoy took a10-point buck that scored 152-6/8-points on Boone & Crockett and weighed 255 pounds. On opening day of bow season, he bagged a 9-point buck that weighed 235 pounds and scored 124-7/8-points.… Read more

Decrease Your Range To Take More Deer With Your Muzzleloader

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    “Get the clothes out of your pack, and pile ‘em up on that rock,” Chris Denham of Arizona told me. “For what?” I asked with a look of total bewilderment as we hunted a Coues buck 357-yards away, based on the reading from Denham’s range finder. “I’m not gonna shoot that buck,” I said. “I’m a better hunter than that.” Denham asked, “What do you mean you’re a better hunter?” “Down home in Alabama, if we see a buck that far away, we take our time, sneak up on him and get within 100 yards or less so we can make the shot.… Read more

Becky Stripling First Deer is taken with a CVA

Eddie & Becky Stripling of Open Season TVMy wife had never been hunting before until we got married and spent our honeymoon mule deer hunting in Colorado back in October 2012. I took a nice mule deer on that trip and gained the best hunting partner of my life, my wife Becky.

After returning to Alabama we started making plans to hunt whitetails in Alabama. I finally got a weekend off from work and we decided to go whitetail hunting on our property.… Read more

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