Is battery powered hunting gear the natural evolution in keeping you warm in the deer woods? Is it just a passing crazy? Or is it somewhere in between? On this episode I dive deep into the world of battery powered hunting gear to give some perspective and recommendations. Also, get your free 14-day trial of Aura, the sponsor of this episode:

Heated gear is all the rage today, and many companies are beginning to produce it. However, battery powered gear is not automatically a game changer. There certainly are benefits, but there are cons too. First and foremost, not all heated gear is good. The quality of many things on the market is questionable. The quality of the garment and the quality of the heating system must both be considered. And with new brands popping up overnight trying to get on the bandwagon, this can be hard to judge.

You need to understand what makes good, heated gear and what are the traits of poor-quality gear. The most important thing is the garment construction. You want the gear to be warm, comfortable, and effective when it is off. Too often people are compromising their gear setup for a particular hunt in order to find a way to make their new fancy piece of heated gear work. But if you use the wrong layers just because they are heated, you will not end up further ahead than wearing proper normal gear.

Another big issue with heated gear is the battery life and heat output. Every brand gives you a range of times, temperatures, and power levels. Most of the time it is just marketing nonsense. The most important number is the amount of power the batteries hold. That power directly translates into the amount of warmth the gear is capable of generating. The more powerful the battery, the more capable the gear. Do not settle for tiny little batteries on a piece of brand x gear that promises you the moon.

I have used a heated jacket, vest, socks, and gloves, and had the opportunity to use more still. I would say each of these pieces of gear has a place when they are helpful. But often, if I am being honest, regular gear performs better. Heated gear works best in certain niche situations and in very specific conditions. For most hunters and most new hunters, it is not a priority to get some. But once you establish a complete set of gear, it is worth augmenting that gear with some powered pieces that fit your situation and location well.

Listen to the whole podcast episode to hear it all.

As a note, Heated Hunter and DewBu sent me gear to test which helped me do this show. Thanks to them for their support.

How do you maximize your time spent in the woods? The answer depends on your goals, but if your goal is to take the most deer per hour hunting then this episode is for you. I am going to cover five strategies to help maximize every minute you spend in the woods. Also, get your free 14-day trial of Aura, the sponsor of this episode:

Everyone has limitations for hunting, some are limited by time, some by opportunity and others by desire. If you don’t have the time to hunt dozens of days waiting for the largest buck in the area, you shouldn’t use the same tactics as the big buck hunter either. You need to stack the deck in your favor to maximize the chances of hitting your personal goals.

If your goal is to take a grown deer on as many hunts as possible then you need to create a strategy focused on that. In this podcast episode I give five strategies to help you accomplish that goal. First and foremost, you need to hunt the best times of day for each part of the season. People often hunt the time of day they prefer to hunt. And while that isn’t necessarily bad, it may hinder your ability to get more opportunities on the average white tail.

Generally speaking, deer tend to move more in the evening most of the season. If you love hunting the mornings, you need to weigh your enjoyment of the morning vs. your enjoyment of taking more deer to figure out what is the best fit for you. I personally used to be a morning hunter for years, until I realized I was about twice as successful on evening hunts. Now I hunt the evenings almost exclusively and I have actually grown to appreciate the benefits of evening hunting and I prefer it.

You should also hunt the best weather days for deer movement if your time is limited. Not all days are equal by any means. Days that have a significant relatively temperature drop compared to previous days are likely to prompt deer to move more during daylight because the lower temperatures refresh the deer and make it easier for them to be comfortable while moving during the warmer daylight hours. If you focus on the best weather days and the best time of day for that part of the season it will go a long way towards improving your chances for success.

Listen to the full podcast episode to hear the other strategies to help you take more deer in less time.

Everyone has a worst hunt story, but I hope mine can keep you from ever going through something this bad. Learn from this bad deer hunting scenario and keep from making the same mistakes I did. Also, get your free 14-day trial of Aura, the sponsor of this episode:

Deer hunting, especially in archery season is never a sure thing. Human error plays a part of everything we do and is magnified when the tolerances are tight, and the margins are slimmer.  However, there are many mistakes we can avoid by just knowing better.

This terrible hunting story is not one that resulted from imperfect execution or one bad decision, it was a series bad choices that were all completely avoidable. And hopefully you will avoid them all because of this episode! 


Donating a deer is important and can make a big difference in the lives of many people. But on this episode I am going to share some stories and guidelines for how to NOT donate a deer to a feeding program like Farmers and Hunters Feeding The Hungry or Hunters Sharing The Harvest.

Donating venison is an honorable thing. Foodbanks often supply people in need with canned goods, non-perishables, and carb rich foods but meat of any kind may be rarely available due to the cost. Venison is able to provide people who are food insecure with high quality lean protein. People will often wait in line or check back constantly with hopes of venison becoming available. If the meat portions they receive are lousy because the hunter was careless, we’ve hurt a person we could have helped.

Proper field care is a huge part of bringing back quality venison to donate. But simply being considerate as a human being is needed first. You must not leave a deer over night or for several days in the woods and bring it to donate. These carcasses are unfit and unsafe for human consumption and a good butcher will throw the entire thing away. You cannot bring animals that have been half eaten by coyotes. The bacteria and disease present in these situations makes the meat unsafe almost instantly. 

Just because you’ve eaten questionable meat and been ok does not mean its ok. Children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems can become seriously ill by eating something that your body seems to process ok. And people who are food insecure and nutrient deprived may be at elevated risk levels. You are providing meat to people who due to their poverty may have compromised health.

The deer that we donate should be the best deer we can take out of the woods, not some scheme to get a butcher to cut off the antlers for us for free. In fact the deer we donate should be better than the venison we put on our own tables. Keep in mind someone is paying to have that deer butchered and given to food banks, soup kitchens etc. These are often individual donors, local churches, small businesses and others who pay the financial cost of deer processing, so the hunters do not need to pay money when they donate their animal.

We need to strive to provide the best possible meat for families in need. If you are going to donate a deer, donate your best, not your worst.

Listen to the whole podcast episode for so much more.




The newest generation of hunting ground blinds are see through, semitransparent fabric that appears to be solid from the outside. Are these blinds any good? Do they live up to the hype? You should try one? Well, I took the plunge and got one.  After hunting out of a TideWe see through blind all last season I am here to report on the results. 

I really did not have high expectations for the quality of see through hunting blinds. But after giving them a try, I am impressed with the durability and quality of the material. They do work, you can see through them. But what really left a good impression on me is that they are a good solid hunting blind by any standard.

I go through a lot of ground blinds; I have used some of the top brands in the industry and none have done much to impress me with durability. I did not expect the see through blind to be more than just some paper thin mesh but I was pleasantly surprised. 

For the price, they are as good or better than any other similarly priced hunting blinds, see through or not. They hold up well to inclement weather, and kept me dry across numerous rainy days, with some days bringing heavy rain. The quality of the doors, windows, zippers, and hubs was all very good.

The see through element is very interesting. It was great to be able to see everything around me that was making noise from floor to ceiling. I could see what was a turkey and what was a sparrow. I could see what was a deer and what was a squirrel. I was able to have more advance warning of what was coming and if I needed to, I could have easily shot right through the transparent wall of the blind to take my game if no better shots presented themselves.

I did still open the windows in order to have a crisp long-range view. While you can see through the blind, it is like looking through mesh. So you can only see so far and so clearly. It is perfectly fine for archery ranges, but it would be hard to identify a deer at 100 yards. But the windows give you all the flexibility you need for perfect vision at a distance while still having the situational awareness you need for hunting just about anything that walks on the ground.

I reached out to TideWe and requested a special discount code for my audience so you can save 18% off even sale prices if you use my code GK18 at checkout on TideWe’s website.

Check out my detailed TideWe See Through Hunting Blind Review.

Listen to this entire podcast episode for all the of the details and information.

As a note, TideWe sent me this blind to do this review. Thanks to them for their support. 

Archery deer hunting is growing but there are a lot of people in the woods with bows who should not be there, YET. They are missing fundamental knowledge or skills to hunt deer effectively and reliably with a vertical bow. On this episode I talk about five crucial areas that every archery hunter needs to know about and develop proficiency in before they begin taking shots at whitetails.

Archey is a very fun, challenging, and rewarding pursuit. Hunting with a vertical bow is appealing for a wide variety of different reasons. And most people can learn to do this effectively. However, too few hunters understand the challenges unique to this style of hunting and go unprepared into the woods only to have problems, failures, and worse.  Often, they should hunt with a rifle or a crossbow until they develop the needed proficiencies for a vertical bow.  

Understanding these five things will save you from a lot of difficulties and disappointments. There is no shame in going into the woods with a different tool if you are not ready or able to do what it takes to hunt properly with a bow. We are talking about an investment in preparation, it has nothing to do with the character or ability of the person. Anyone could prepare if they have the time, energy, and health to do so. And maybe they can and will in the future, but for now they should hunt with the tools they are able to use with greater proficiency.

The first and most obvious of the five reasons you should not hunt with a bow is you do not practice enough. This is about skills and conditioning. Proficiency in archery is a perishable skill. It decays quickly with time. A few weeks can cause you to lose a lot of ground. There is head knowledge and skill you will retain for your lifetime, but conditioning means everything when it comes to being able to reliably hit a target under field conditions.

Ideally you want to learn to shoot, from an instructor or expert of some type. Then you need to practice, a lot, and for a long time. You should start practicing around two months before the season starts. Start practicing 3 days a week and then bump it up to 4 or 5 once you get your initial conditioning. These do not need to be long sessions; 20 minutes can be plenty. But you need to shoot often and throughout the hunting season to stay sharp.

This is not just about being able to hit a target but being able to draw even when stiff and cold, under field conditions, with cold weather gear, in a tree, holding a draw for a long time, fighting off nerves, and finally taking an ethical shot. This is taxing on your body. You must practice a lot to able to do it when it counts. If you are not able to practice enough, you should probably use a crossbow for that season. Crossbows require a much lower level of conditioning. 

The most responsible and wise hunters know their limits and deficiencies and takes the appropriate action to make up for them. Newer hunters especially do not have enough experience to know what they do not know. They have blind spots. We all have blind spots at times, but when we are just getting started, they can be very large blind spots. I can tell you from experience, the best and fastest ways to learn is to practice, study, and learn from the mistakes of others. If you want to hunt with a bow, get one today and start practicing. But wait, even till next season if needed, until you are prepared and can check off all five things mentioned in this episode. 

Listen to the entire podcast episode to hear all 5 reasons why you should not hunt with a bow.

Like any tool, there are benefits to upgrading a deer hunting crossbow, but when should you do it and what should you look for? On this episode I give some guidance for when to upgrade a crossbow, what to look for in a new bow, how to make wise budget decisions, and what you realistically will not gain from a new crossbow. 

The right time to upgrade your crossbow often intersects with something going wrong with your current bow or hunting experience. Either you have equipment wear out, failure, or maybe you have a hunting failure that causes you to cast doubt on your bow. Sometimes we get distracted by better bows but usually it is something going wrong that pushes us to make a purchase right away. Be careful in these moments not to jump to conclusions.

Sometimes you can repair a broken bow, sometimes nothing is wrong except your confidence takes a hit and practice may fix that much cheaper than buying a new bow. Be calm, patient, thoughtful, and think about the investment needed to get a bow that is better. Ideally you want a better bow, something with better features that will help you improve your hunting experience. Just replacing a bow may do the job, but you are probably better off with a short-term fix while you look for the right better bow.

A crossbow is a very sophisticated tool that is full of nuances. There are so many things to gain with a better crossbow in terms of comfort, feel, balance, features, ease of use, increased range, and less weight. However, if you have a working crossbow, chances are low that a better one would do much to enable you to take home more deer. A better crossbow makes the hunting experience easier and/or more enjoyable. But it often does not make it more effective.

This puts crossbows into a special category of gear where features have value but in the end they will do little to bring home more deer. That does not mean you shouldn’t upgrade your crossbow. On the contrary, you should simply upgrade with realistic expectations and timing.

I have found the best time to upgrade crossbows is around the end of season sales. You can often get a new crossbow that is very discounted. The trouble is you often cannot find the bow you have your heart set on in this way. It is better to simply follow the sales, look for the biggest discounts on credible brands trying to move last year’s model or clear inventory space and you can sometimes get a bow for as much as 50% off. By doing this you can upgrade a few levels higher in bow quality and function for alot less money.

However, if you have your eyes on one particular bow and you have to have that brand and model, your best bet is to save up your money and wait for even the most modest sale to come along. 

Listen to the full podcast episode to hear alot more about when to upgrade and how to pick a new crossbow.

The best weather conditions for buck movement vary as the hunting season goes on. Weather, time of day, and time of season all work together to create ideal situations for whitetails to move. On this episode I focus on the weather and seasonal conditions that promote deer movement. 

Too often deer hunters go into the woods and see nothing. Any good hunt starts with good scouting, and indeed that has been the subject of many of my previous deer hunting episodes. But if you have a good spot and still see nothing, that may very well be a factor of being there on poor weather days that inhibit deer movement. Understanding this little piece of information can completely change the way you hunt and how effective you are in the woods. 

There are three main factors that work together to determine ideal times for buck movement. Time of season, weather conditions, and relative temperature. Think about it, deer live outside, and they like to move and feed under certain conditions. If you can learn the basics of each factor, you can put them together to predict the best hunting days with fairly good accuracy.

Time of Season – Deer movement patterns change as the season goes on. This is affected by how deer relate to the mating season, the change in weather, and change in habitat as soft cover dies with frost and things change as winter approaches.

Weather Conditions – Deer are greatly affected by changing weather conditions. They are no less sensitive to the weather than we are. Understanding how weather effects deer behavior will enable you to predict which weather days are the best for deer hunting. 

Relative Temperature – As fall comes and deer begin to grow in thicker fur, they are much more sensitive to high temperatures. When it is hot, they are much less likely to move until the colder times of day. But when colder days comes, the crisp temperatures can be liberating to big bucks, freeing them from overheating to move around more during daylight. 

The big key to picking the best days to hunt deer are putting these three factors together. Understanding the right time of day based on the part of the season you are in, picking days with the ideal changes in relative temperature, and looking for specific micro weather conditions that best contribute to deer movement. 

You can take deer on any day of the hunting season, at any time of day, and during any weather conditions. But your chances increase dramatically if you pick the best days and conditions. And if your time to hunt is limited, this information can help you pick the best possible days for deer movement.

Listen to the full podcast episode to get all of the information!

There is no shortage of companies trying to convince deer hunters that they will take more deer if they buy something. The marketing is so overt and overwhelming that you could easily think you can spend your way to success in the woods. The truth is, there are precious few things you can buy that will make any difference in the number of deer you take. On this podcast episode I help you sort through the tide of marketing so you can make informed purchase decisions.

You can break down most deer hunting gear into three main categories, needs, comforts, and novelties.

There are very few true needs for the whitetail deer hunter. I consider a need to be anything you must have to optimize your chances of success for your hunting setup. If you are hunting in a tree, you need a tree stand. If you are hunting in archery season, you need clothing that provides some level of concealment to get in close, etc. What you do not need is a $500 tree stand or a $1,000 set of super high end camouflage gear. Needs are basic boxes that need checked to hunt a certain way, and it is a short list of boxes. A $100 tree stand fills the role of a need, a $500 tree stand is merely adding comfort, it may be nice but it will not help you take more deer.

Many companies try to market comforts as needs. And it is no wonder why, they want you to feel compelled to buy their stuff. But if you recognize comforts what for they truly are, you will make much better decisions. Comforts do not really help you take more deer, they simply make hunting more comfortable. In some rare cases they can help you take more deer by virtue of enabling you to keep hunting under conditions that would have sent you home otherwise. This is worthy of mention.

Often a full set of Sitka Gear is just going to make the hunt more comfortable and ergonomic, except when extreme cold, wind, or rain would send you home and insulated GORTEX lets you stay a few more hours and get a shot at a nice buck. So in some instances, comforts can make a difference in the field. Most of the time the $2,000 rifle cannot do anything more than the $400 rifle, but it is more ergonomic and fun to shoot. However sometimes the cheap rifle scope fogs up when you need it and the high performance one does not. So, every now and then spending the money matters, but often it just makes hunting a little nicer.

Novelties include just about everything else from things that have some value to thing that are complete gimmicks. On the market there are endless calls, scents, scent blockers, scent killers, scent proof clothing, special knives, special drag ropes, special bait, special laundry detergent, and much more. These are things that sometimes may help, sometimes they do nothing, and sometimes they hurt.  Yes, it can be helpful sometimes to have grunt call, but usually it makes no difference. No, you should not wash your gear in scented detergent, but to spend double on hunting laundry detergent that is the same as the regular stuff minus the added scent is a product of sheer marketing.

No matter the gear in question, always remember the marketing will paint it in the best light possible. You have to realistically evaluate everything with a healthy dose of skepticism. Look at the functional role a piece of gear will play and critically evaluate why you think it might somehow enable you to take more deer.

Listen to this podcast episode to hear much, much more.

It is easy to get stuck in one approach to deer hunting and simply stick with the strategy that has worked for you in the past. Being a well-rounded whitetail hunter is a noble cause but there are practical benefits to being proficient in different strategies. On this episode I talk about how to make the most of every hunting opportunity by looking at four different ways to hunt deer and when to do each. 

Ambush Hunting

Many whitetail deer hunting strategies can be grouped under ambush hunting. Using one method or another, you are laying in wait, as inconspicuous as possible, ready for a deer to walk into a shooting lane for you to ambush it. This is done with rifle hunting, archery, shotgun, and just about everything else. Ambush hunting can be broken down into two main types, the prepared ambush and the improvised ambush.

Prepared Ambush

This involves scouting, land management, advanced planning, and everything that goes into selecting a hunting location in advance. Whether you spend a day or a year preparing to hunt from a particular spot, it is a preselected ambush location, possibly a tree stand, ground blind, or some other type of concealment strategy, if not just leaning up against a tree. This is sometimes done well on public land, but it is most often going to be private land where you can control hunting pressure and habitat to some degree.

Improvised Ambush

The improvised ambush involves going afield, looking for sign or a good location, and setting up to ambush deer that you believe will come through that spot. The location is not preplanned, and you are selecting it based on sign you find in the field right now. This is most often done on public land or large tracts of private land where you do not as much control over the habitat or hunting pressure.

Active Hunting

Active hunting is the other major category for hunting whitetails. This involves the hunter being on the move and trying to put yourself within firing range of a deer. There are two primary types of active hunting I discuss in this episode, still hunting and strategic location hunting. 

Still Hunting

Still hunting is a type of active hunting that involves walking through the woods slowly, trying to catch deer unaware. It takes a lot of skill to do well, and perfect conditions to do great. But this is still an effective strategy for people of all experience levels. It works particularly well when there are other hunters in the woods pushing deer around. It is most often done on public lands but may also be done on large pieces of private land.

Strategic Locations

This form of active hunting involves stealthily slipping from one high potential area or another, sneaking to a vantage point from which you hope to be able to get a shot at deer. These could be a series of locations with various draws for deer like feeding areas, water, bedding, browsing areas, etc. This is most often done on public land but it can be very effective on private land as well, if you do not overdo it and spook out the deer. 

Listen to the whole podcast episode for all the details and when to use each strategy.