Getting (and Keeping) the youth involved: Passing on a timeless tradition

Posted on January 15, 2016 by Sam Hogan | 24 comments

It is no surprise that hunting, particularly bowhunting, requires skill, patience, luck, and time. Most of today’s youth are accustomed to video games, their cell phones, and uninterrupted access to the internet. Hunting doesn’t provide that instant gratification they are used to. When a young man or woman expresses an interest in the outdoors they are venturing into an unfamiliar world outside of their social media accounts, Call of Duty Campaigns, and movies. They should be welcomed with nothing but positivity and encouragement.

I was there once. Nobody in my family hunted, and I really wanted to get into it. I ended up scouring hunting magazines and learning a bit from online forums but most of what I learned was based on trial and error in the woods.  

These are 5 tips I wish I knew when first getting started.

  1. Be wary of social networks. This is my personal soapbox. Rather than advice and encouragement social media has become a breeding ground for the part of hunting that I resent. The negativity. A picture of a young man smiling ear to ear standing behind a forkhorn buck has many comments below it saying “Would have been a nice buck in a couple years”,  “Should have let that one go…”, or “Some people have no self control”. These aren’t the kind of comments that someone looking to get introduced to hunting should be concerned about. Deer hunting is a challenge and the trophy is in the eye of the beholder. My first deer was a spike. I am more proud of that spike than any other deer I have harvested. If social media is your thing, consider joining traditional archery networks as these guys are very knowledgeable and in my personal experience, far less negative.
  2. Learn Shot placement from all angles. Nothing will put a damper on the desire to hunt more than wounding a deer. Knowing where a whitetail’s vitals are is critical to making an ethical shot. This includes knowing which shots to NOT take. Study deer anatomy from every angle, and keep a sharp eye out for that shoulder blade!
  3. Keep it simple. You are just getting started. Don’t feel pressured into buying a new Sitka suit or the newest name brand flagship bow. Just because it is available doesn’t mean you need it. Native Americans killed deer with primitive bows and sharp stones. Pick up a cheap bow (used or new) and shoot it until you feel confident. Keep it simple and keep it fun.
  4. Accept help. Getting started isn’t easy. There is a lot to know! Talk to a guy at a local proshop. Make sure your bow fits you and you are set up with arrows that are the right spine. Soak up constructive hunting knowledge and apply it to your future outings!
  5. Have Fun! After all, that’s what it’s all about! Hit the woods with some buddies, chase that big buck, but make sure you’re having fun doing it!

Posted in first hunt, kids, michigan whitetail pursuit, tradition, youth, youth hunt

10 Things to do when you are Dreaming of Deer Season in July

Posted on July 07, 2015 by Sam Hogan | 0 comments

Any serious hunter has been there. It’s a lonely place filled with unprecedented longing, sadness and a restlessness. It tends to hit sometime between the end of the previous deer season and the beginning of next year’s deer season. And it hits hard. You know it hits when your wife tells you to “Shut up about deer season already”, your last ten YouTube searches are hunting related, and you spend your workday pondering what stand you are going to sit opening morning.

I know how you feel. Here are ten things to do when you can’t stop thinking about Deer season in July.


Scout, Scout, and Scout some more

If you are this excited about the upcoming season you want to make sure your odds of arrowing that bruiser are as high as possible. Set up trail cameras, check out new areas, and try to get a better understanding of deer travel patterns. It will pay off big time during the season.

Go Fishing

This one is fairly obvious, If you can’t hunt you might as well wet some lines! Hit the local lake or river with some buddies and make the most of it!  I have spent many days on the water solely to curb my desire to hunt.

Spend time with family

You and I both know that come October and November we are going to be spending the vast majority of our free time on the stand. Spend plenty of time with them now, and they may be more likely to allow you to skip “Date Night” once or twice.


Bad shots happen. Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t hunted for very long. Preparation in the off season will help prepare you for that one shot where it really matters. Practice year round to ensure you are ready when that buck steps out opening morning! Remember to practice with broadheads before season opens! I am still shocked by the number of people who never shoot a broadhead before shooting one at a deer. Regardless of if the package says “Flys like a field point” make sure you shoot them a few times beforehand. Don’t wait until the last week before the season to do this.

Build blinds

Have a favorite spot that you always seem to hunt year after year? Build a blind! It isn’t hard and it allows you to hunt more comfortably.It also allows you to introduce kids to the outdoors as well. Plus, who doesn’t love a heated blind come December?               

Plan a youth hunt

More kids should be introduced to the outdoors, plain and simple. As technology advances the number youth involved in hunting decreases. So many kids spend hours on videogames, texting, social media, and online that they never get an opportunity to take in nature. Use the youth hunt as an opportunity to introduce the next generation to the outdoors. Don’t make it a last minute thing either. Plan it in advance and give them something to look forward to. Be sure to have them shoot their gun/bow regularly so an ethical shot can be made.             

3D Shoots

Don’t bring a rangefinder. I use 3D shoots as practice judging distances in a natural environment. Shooting a 3D deer in the woods at an unknown distance is way more effective than shooting a target at marked yardages. Bring buddies and make a day out of it. It is a blast!

Go Explore

Getting outdoors in general is a great way to unwind. I go on a handful of camping and backpacking trips to remote areas annually just to get away from the stress and noise. For me it is just as peaceful as a morning on stand. Plus, if you are exploring a national forest there is a good chance you can find a new hunting spot!

Fine Tune your gear

Remember last year, when your boots never kept your feet warm, your pants were too noisy, or your arrows never grouped right? Now is the time to change that! Look into new gear, figure out what works for other hunters, and make sure you are well equipped to hit the woods this fall!

Knock on some doors

Contrary what a lot of people will tell you, door knocking is not dead. What do you have to lose? Knock on some doors and politely try to gain permission to hunt. Many will say no, but most will be polite and cordial about it. The ones that say yes will be well worth it! Many of my best producing properties came from door knocking!

Posted in 3d, archery, early season, hunt, hunting, michigan, michigan whitetail pursuit, scouting, whitetails, youth hunt