My wife and I recently went to a BBQ and like all of the others I've attended, the men were outside braving the smoke and the woman were inside….doing whatever they do. As we walked through the door my wife and I didn't have to say anything, we knew the drill and without even a word or a glance separated to our primeval groups. The conversation was well under way when I joined the man circle around the grill, and like all conversations between men it oscillated between sports and politics.
I wasn't too interested in the current topic and began to contemplate why men discuss the same two things. My conclusion; men like to be right. No one can ever prove that Richard Petty was better than Dale. Sure the win totals aren't close, but no one can ever prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that one driver was better than the other. Tackling these types of subjects that have no end gives men an opportunity to flex their memory muscles for useless facts, hear themselves talk, and no matter what happens walk away knowing they're right.
This realization motivated me to start a series devoted to finding the best state to hunt in for White-tailed Deer. I'll pick experts from every state to give their opinions and at the end of it all choose the state that I think is best. But, like every favorite male topic, I won't be able to fully prove I'm right and you won't be able to fully prove I'm wrong. Feel free to email in thoughts or post comments on articles. And without further ado, our first state is Tennessee.
The first thing that struck me about the Tennessee ranchers I talked to was how confident they were about people having a successful harvest. Larry from Craig Game Preserve put it, "you'd have to be a pretty bad hunter to not get a deer." And Larry should know, his family has been on their 900 acres for 176 years! He told me about how they have stands set-up all around the property and when hunters come to his land, they put them in the best position possible by already knowing where the deer are due to the camera system they've installed. Combine that with the size of the deer herd, and it's easy to understand Larry's confidence.
That's not to say that this is like going to the zoo with your Winchester. All of the deer on Larry's land are free range and if you don't show enough patience or hunting savvy you might be out of luck. At Craig Game Preserve any weapon can be used (even crossbow) and lodging and meals are provided. They suggest a 3 day hunt and if you're able to find your trophy with time to spare there are other activities. As well as, Tennessee has a very liberal limit when it comes to bucks and does and you might go home with more than one.
After talking to Larry I was happy with my selection of Tennessee as the first state of the White-tail Series because of the impressive opportunities and then I talked to Mike from Goodman Ranch and my happiness doubled. Here's a guy that sneaks within 2-3 feet of white-tail for fun - think he knows a thing or two about hunting them?
Without knowing it he agreed with the Larry about the biggest challenge of hunting White-tail, avoiding their nose and sense of smell. The wind needs to be right and the days he's been able to get the closest have been ones with a constant breeze, lush vegetation and a little bit of rain to cover any noise.
Probably the coolest thing about the Goodman Ranch is that they don't only have White-tail Deer, there's also Axis and Fallow Deer which can be hunted year round since they're not a native species to Tennessee. The Goodman Ranch is a working ranch and so Mike and his staff have a good handle on where the deer are and the best positions to place hunters. They understand that some more experienced hunters prefer to be on their own while other hunters may not have as much experience and prefer to have a guide.
Lodging and meals are provided and the hunts typically are for 3 days. Once the deer are harvested they quarter the meat and place it in coolers for the trip home. Good ol' Southern hospitality.
Two additional facts about hunting White-tail in Tennessee this year is that the rifle season is one continuous season opposed to being split like in previous years. And, even though this summer is hotter than usual, it has been wet enough to maintain the clover and the deer herd is expected to be strong as ever.
There are many more states to go and Tennessee has gotten us off on the right foot. With only eight weeks until opening day prove Mike and Larry right that Tennessee is the best state for White-tail and go get some monsters. Feel free to send in your pictures or videos and we'll add them to the evidence to help settle this argument once and for all (yeah right).
It's paws were the size of my chest, it was triple my height and it jaws looked like the perfect fit for my head. I stared at its stomach not only because I was calculating the dimensions and coming to the conclusion that I could fit inside with room to spare but also because I was already craning my neck and I couldn't look any higher. Being only 4 years old 'Big' was about as descriptive as I could get, but even then I knew I wasn't doing it justice.
'It' was the stuffed Brown Bear at the local hardware store that stood upright on a platform and intimidated people into buying more bolts and PVC piping. Every time my dad took me along to buy odds and ends for the house I was in total awe. And now, 25 plus years later, I am still in total awe of the brown bear. That's what led me to call around to some guides in Alaska and ask them a few questions about hunting brown bears.
Here's some quick facts, the Alaskan Brown Bear can get up to 1200 lbs and run as fast as 30 mph. That's equivalent to 2/3 of a '67 VW Bug (and about as fast). The coastal bears will eat 100 lbs of salmon a day and have an amazing sense of smell.
As I learned from Sue of Alaska Hunting Adventures there is only one type of brown bear, but it's referred to by different names depending on where it lives; coastal brown bear and grizzly bear. Physically the grizzly is smaller and has up to an 8 sq. ft. hide which is average size for the coastal brown as they can get up to an 11 sq. ft. hide. Sue, her husband Frank and her son Matt operate their guide business in the Tok management area mainly for Dall Sheep but they also conduct a few grizzlybear hunts a year. It's a small, family business and you can expect to be treated like family from the time you arrive at their front door to the time you leave.
You can also expect to see some beautiful country on the way to the hunting area as you'll be driving a few hours and then hopping on a boat for a few more hours. Their hunts typically consist of a bit of hiking, up to 3-5 miles in a day, and is a bit more gruelling than a coastal brown bear hunt. And when I said you can expect to be treated like family, it's because they only take one hunter, two at the most on their bear hunts.
For those of you out there that want to be the real manly men, or see what it'd be like to be Jeremiah Johnson, meet Chris of Alaska Bush Guides. We talked via satellite radio because that's the only way possible where he lives. He's hunted Bristol Bay (unit 17) for 25 years and knows a thing or two about tracking down coastal brown bears. And here's the best part, you can actually purchase two bear tags in his area. If you're fortunate enough to bag two, that's a whole lot of hide. Now just because Chris is on the edge of the world don't think he doesn't have some of life's finer things available for his customers, TV and internet at night and hunting out of his home. Not too bad!
The style of hunting Chris uses is stalking the bears and spending a whole lot of time glassing. Typically he'll try and spot them coming down the mountain looking for food and position himself and his hunter or hunters (Chris also only takes two hunters maximum and prefers only one) where the bear is headed. Sometimes it can turn into a big game of patience.
The third guide I talked to is Brent Jones of AAA Alaskan Outfitters. Brent is one of the few guides that allows his customers to use a bow - which means he has customers willing to get close enough to use a bow. Brent conducts two hunts a year, each lasting ten days and they have exclusive rights to 550 sq. miles of coastal and inland terrain with 12 camps set up. I asked Brent which hunt was better, the first 10 days or the second and he said it was a matter of quality or quantity. The first 10 days is easier to bag a bear, but the second 10 days lands the bigger bears.
Before every hunt they canvas the streams to find which ones have the most salmon and use that information to decide their camp. Once they've made camp they keep the stalk hunting to a minimum because of how sensitive the bears noses are. As Brent informed me, the worst thing you can do is walk all over every where because the bears will quickly smell you and not return. If you're wanting to go bear hunting with a group, Brent's outfit caters more to that style of trip.
All the guides agreed that what makes hunting brown bears so challenging is just finding them. And once you find them, you may end up with hundreds of pounds of rotten meat due to the bear's diet (although Sue swears that Grizzly that's been eating berries is a killer meal). While bear hunting isn't very physically demanding, it can be very mentally demanding. Patience and sometimes an eternal spring of optimism is needed to get your dream bear. And, once you get it, maybe you can display it in your place of business and forever leave a mark on another 4 year old.
One of the coolest features of the iHunt website is the amount of information available about different animals that can be hunted in the U.S. This article will walk you through how to view and find everything you need to know about your potential game.
The first step is to figure out what animal you want to hunt. In this scenario we're going to look for Black Bear. Since we know that Black Bear is considered Big Game we're going to select the 'Big Game' link on the menu.
Once you get onto the Big Game page you can search for your animal of choice two ways - text search or by viewing the list. The text search utilizes auto fill text so that when you enter a few letters suggestions will appear that match what you've entered.
The second way to search for your animal of choice is by scrolling through the list. Since the lists are alphabetical, Bear is not far down the list.
Now that we've found the animal we're looking for, you can select the 'View More' link or the title or the image. This will take you to the animal profile page.
There are four tabs available in the animal profile page, Info, Gallery, Video and Regulations Calender. The Info tab is a brief description of the animal that describes Physical Features, Habitat, Diet, Meat and Behavior. The Gallery and Video tabs are images and videos submitted by iHunt staff and site users (if you have images you'd like to see on the site contact us!). The Regulations Calender is something you will not see on any other site. It is an interactive game calender that is comprehensive for the entire country.
The first step in using the calender is selecting what state you want to hunt in. In this example we're going to show you two possible scenarios, a state that doesn't have regulations and a state that does. The first state we'll look for is Alaska.
As you can see nothing populates. There are two possible reasons for this: 1) The animal can be found in the state but can't be hunted 2) The animal can be found in the state and the regulations have not been released yet. You may also search for a state and not find it on the list. That means the animal can not be found in that state. Next we'll look at Arizona.
As you can see multiple hunting seasons take place in Arizona for Black Bear. The easiest way to learn how the calender works is to play with and click things - don't worry, you won't break it! If you'd like details about a season you can left click on it on the calendar and a pop-up window will appear. Or, you can scroll below the calendar and see all of the seasons listed in a collasped format (by left clicking their titles you can view all of the details).
Also, you can scroll throug the year at different time rates. If you left click in the upper 3/4 of the calendar and move your mouse left or right the calendar will move week by week. If you left click in the lower 1/4 of the calendar and move your mouse left or right the calendar will move month by month. Enjoy!
What is the directory? It is a database of all the hunting related businesses in the country that we've collected. This does not mean that we've captured every single business. If you have a hunting related business that you'd like on the site then add the listing by following these instructions.
To search the directory first either use the directory search box on the home page or use the menu to go to the directory page.
For this example we're going to search for bow shops, gunsmiths and shooting ranges around Kansas City, KS. After making our selections and typing in the city name, we hit the 'Find' button.
Below the map you will see all of the businesses listed that match your search.
Another way of searching the directory is by using the map only. For example, if you wanted to search for businesses in CA, you could use your cursor to select the dot in CA.
Once this dot is selected a pop-up window will appear that will inform you of how many listings are in CA. The map will then zoom in on the state that you selected and different size dots will appear. Bigger dots represent more businesses in that area. When a dot is selected a pop-up window will show all of the business names in that area. Or, you can scroll below the map and see all of the listings placed in alphabetical order. Another option is to switch back to the directory search box and select which types of businesses you're looking for. Enjoy!
To be able to create a listing, you must already be a registered user. To learn how to do this click here. If you're already a registered user, you need to create a profile. Once you've selected the 'Create Profile' button from the login page you'll be taken to here.
Once you've filled out all of the fields about yourself, also select the box that says you are a 'Hunting Service Provider.' This includes all types of businesses that are hunting related. The next step is to select the 'Create Profile' button at the bottom of the page. You will then be taken to a page similar to the one below. As you can see there is a section that says 'Your Listings.' To submit a new one click on the 'here' link.
You will then be taken to the listing creation page. Here you will fill out your business name, business type, state, address, description, location, and other important information. Make sure to enter your address in both the map field and the address line. The map will not automatically populate if the address is only entered in the address field.
After entering all of the information select the 'Submit' button at the top and you'll be taken back to the login page.
As you can see, the listing you just created is now listed under 'Your listings.' Congratulations!