Monday, December 17, 2012

Broken Tine December Buck

It's that time of year where life becomes busy with Christmas preparation and get togethers and that is why I decided to take advantage of an unbooked Saturday morning, December 15.  The only question was where do I sit?  We recently got permission to hunt 12 acres by my moms house, but I was thinking the odds would be better by the bank.  Speaking of odds, any previous year would have suggested the upper stand (also known as the hotspot or killer stand) would be the best choice for success, but this year, for the first time ever, the lower stand has out produced the upper stand with two bucks and doe compared to only two doe out of the upper stand.  So I decided to sit in the lower stand. 

I had been sitting for no more than 20 minutes and a buck came strolling in from the south.  It was still fairly dark, but I could tell it was a smaller rack, which got me wondering if it was the deer Andrew hit a couple weeks before.  I figured I would never find out for sure because it was about to step right into my wind, and I figured that would be the last I would ever see of him again, but that is not what happened.  The buck stepped into my wind and put his nose in the air, but instead of taking off, he started heading right for me.  In a matter of minutes, he was twenty yards in front of me, directly in my wind.  He looked away for a brief second and I took the opportunity to draw my bow.  I heard a whack and the deer took off to the north.  It ran about 50 yards up the powerline and stopped, stumbled, and rolled.  It was the first time I have ever seen a deer go down after shooting it with a bow (except spine shots).    

Not only did this buck loose the fight with my Hoyt CRX35 but it appears it lost a fight to another buck earlier in the season because its main tine on the left side was broken off.  It would have been a nice six but was a ugly five instead. 
The deer had no signs of being hit by Andrew a couple week prior so I got my answer on that question, and this guy solidified the lower stand with the top stand of 2012 with three bucks and a doe (plus the one Andrew wounded).
Sex - Male
Points - 5 (broken tine)
Shot distance - 20 yards
Weapon - Hoyt CRX 35
Broadhead - Muzzy 100 grain three blade (that's right I'm back to shooting Muzzy's.  They seem to do the trick)
Shot placement - through the the shoulder and out the mid section (Muzzy blasted right through the bone.  You can't complain about that)
Weight - 115 lbs
Didn't have an illuminated nock on so I have no feedback for you. 
Stand - Lower Bank Stand

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Whiskey Creek

Like my older brother, I too have a deep appreciation for bow hunting. I'll never forget the day I shot 2 deer with my gun within a ten minute period. After the gun smoke settled I found myself facing a huge task (we process our own deer) which was brought about with only a mediocre amount of adrenaline. To be fair I have to admit it was still a good time. But it did lack the satisfaction of having a whitetail only yards away , and putting them down with energy that came from the strength of my own arms.

However, my appreciation for gun hunting was revived this past gun season when I got to take out my trusty ole 25-06 and head up north for my 2nd annual Whiskey Creek Hunting Camp. This hunt didn't revive gun hunting for me because of the gun or even because it resulted in my first northern whitetail. It was because It was a deer camp that included my entire family! And the 96 Lb doe that I shot was nothing too spectacular, but it was the first deer I got to shoot with my son Easton sitting next to me. Easton is my 2 year old boy who is in love with deer, or “Dee” as he calls them. Elijah (my oldest, 5) has been out with me several times this year, but Easton isn't able to climb into the stand so the ground blind was our only option. He quietly sat in front of the heater, and even though he may never remember that night, I know I'll never forget it.

It was only six years ago that I sat in that same pop up blind with my Dad, trying to get my first deer with a bow. I'm glad he took the time to hunt with me, and I'm glad that I now get to teach my own boys the same thing. I still prefer the bow, but if I get to put a deer down with one of my boys next to me, I'll do it with whatever the state of Michigan allows!

Hunt info:
Mossberg 4x4 25-06
118 grain bullet
150 Yards
Whiskey Creek
Deer dropped then got up and ran 15 yards
Tom Coviak found with flashlight after dark.
Shot placement- Lung & Liver. Quartering to me.
96 Lb.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bow Kill During Gun Season

Shooting a deer with a gun seems to carry less satisfaction than taking one with a bow, and that is the main reason I generally opt out of taking a gun into the woods when I can take the trusty Hoyt.  Don’t get me wrong, there is still a certain satisfaction of letting a round fly out the end of your gun barrel and having it meet up with a perfect kill shot on your desired prey, but I prefer the up close and personal  (and sometimes frustrating) challenge of the bow. 

That is why on Sunday, November 18, 2012 I decided to sit in the lower bank stand with my bow.  After watching four mature doe walk by at 60 to 70 yards, I feared I made the wrong decision on my weapon choice.  But then from the north came my chance at redemption.  A single mature doe was heading in my direction.  It was walking directly into my wind so I feared that I would be winded at any moment, but it didn’t happen.  She gave me a 30 yard shot and I took it.  It must have jumped my string a bit (at least that is my excuse) because the shot was high and it the spine. 


I would say taking a doe that is on edge from gun hunting pressure with a bow at 30 yards is a pretty impressive feat.  I have gone bow hunting during gun season in previous seasons with no luck so this kill makes me feel pretty good.  All glory be to God for letting me make this harvest.  It may not be a trophy but it was another exciting hunting challenge. 

Weapon - Hoyt CRX35
Shot Distance - 30 yards
Sex - Female
Weight - 95 lbs
Shot Placement - spine
Stand - Lower Bank Stand

P.S. Just so you know Brad, my Burt Coyote Lumenock failed me.  I know your shocked.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Unforgettable Miss

This past weekend (November 1 and 2) I took Friday off from work and went to hunt with Chrixus in Hastings.  We planned on leaving for home Friday night after we were done hunting.  Well, up until the Friday night hunt I had been skunked in my attempts to even see a deer so I decided to strap the climber stand to my back and try a completely different area of the property. 
After getting in my tree, which was quite the ordeal in its self, I saw nothing up until about a half hour before dark.  The buck of a life time came strolling in about thirty yards away.  It was moving fast and was in some thick brush that I couldn’t shoot through.  Suddenly it stopped dead in its tracks.  It either spotted me or the cat that had decided to come and take a stroll directly under my tree stand.   Whatever the case, it was in statue mode, as was I.  We had a 15 minute stare off, and in that time, I was formulating a plan of action.  There was a small hole that I could maybe, possibly shoot through if it took five more steps forward.  It was getting dark and I was getting desperate.  I contemplated a shot at its back hips because it was the only open area in the brush.  That thought quickly left my head as the deer started to progress forward.  It entered the somewhat of an opening that I was planning on, so I took action.  Things looked much different through the peep site so I crouched down as far as I could and in the most uncomfortable shooting position ever, I decided it was now or never.  The arrow flew and I heard a loud whack.  Did I hit the shoulder?  The questions and concerns flooded my mind. 
Ten minutes later it was completely dark, and I could see my luminock glowing only 15 yards from the base of my stand.  Confused at the position of the arrow, I got down from my stand to assess the situation.  I found my arrow like the picture you see below.  The end was shattered and the luminock was jammed two inches down the end of the inside of the arrow shaft.  The arrow had hit a rock or tree and bounced straight back nearly 15 yards.  And the buck of a life time just walked away like nothing had happened. 
I wish I could accurately describe the size of this deer but I can't.  Just trust me when I say it was big.  One detail I can remember is that the antlers were around 6" past the ears. 
Oh and a shout out to Nocturnal nocks again because if the nock had not stayed lit I would have been looking for that arrow 15 yards further from my stand in the dark and I would have probably thought that it was still in the deer. It saved me a lot of time and wasted excitement.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Short Wolf

 Here is a video of the first shot Elijah took with the new gun.   I think I mentioned it in the last post, we shot 50 grains of white hots, with a 200 grain T/C shock wave.  It had more of a kick than  I was expecting, but Elijah said nothing about it.  Until shot #3, I think I might have neglected to pull the stock back tight on his shoulder. 

Here is a pic on the end of my barrel, it still isn't blued. (the kit is in the mail) but you can see the countersink. 

We put 6 shots through the gun. 3 were Elijah's, Shot one was about a 10 inches high, then his next two were acceptable.   Then Andrew and Bryan shot and were only inches apart.    I never had one shooter shoot consecutive shots so I don't have any real good moa data.   All I know for sure is that it could put a hole in the vitals of a deer.

Link to Michigan Out of Doors Episode that got the ball rolling on this project:

Saturday, October 20, 2012


I've been pretty quiet so far this hunting season, and with good reason. Unless of course you wanted me to re-tell the stories of Bryan and Andrews successful hunts from my perspective which was from 90 yards away in another tree stand. I had to watch a nice six walk in front of me during the early doe season, and ever since then it's been almost nothing but bird watching. The good part is that I have my 5 year old in my tree stand with me this year so the time in the woods is well spent even when the deer don't show.

Tonight I decided to give it a try again after Elijah and I almost got to poke a little spike in the rain yesterday. (He is a common visitor to the area, so I think we should give him a name........Larry) This time I was going solo, no Eli and no bro's as 90 yard spectators. (in case you haven't figured out already, our tree stands are very close which provides one of the best HD Hunting Shows possible.) I climbed in the stand at 5:30 and took my hat off to say a little prayer. Within 20 minutes 4 deer were moving in. Spike (Larry) , Momma Doe, Baby girl, and Button Brother.  Larry was chasing the doe hoping for an early score but Momma wasn't having any.  Anyway, they made there way in while I put my hat on and stood to grab my bow. Some how I remained undetected, and was able to come to full draw.

This part of the story will only be understood by bow hunters..... I had a PERFECT broadside 20 yard shot. I took my sweet time finding all my anchor points. I had to hit Momma Doe perfect so we could maintain our 100% recovery rate for the year. Also it was Deer #1 for the new Destroyer Bow and I wanted to make a good first impression with the Ottawa County deer population. Anyway, I had already set in motion the steps leading to the trigger pull. It all happened within that second... Lustful Larry tried at Momma again, Once more she denied the man and quickly wheeled around. At that exact moment my series of “trigger pulling” steps had just completed and I watched my arrow fly into the dirt where Momma was standing only a second before.

The deer scattered, but Momma held up about 30 yards out in some thick cover and waited for her children to reconvene. Then the most amazing thing happened, a dejected, sad, defeated hunter made a last ditch effort. I grabbed for my trusty deer call and gave it a most desperate grunt. I'm pretty sure the doe just felt bad for me, because she turned around and walk right back to me. I already had my number 2 arrow knocked, I was at full draw for the second time in only a few minutes.  She came it to 15 yards, almost facing me I put my pin on her chest right along the shoulder...................... Flashback. I've been here before. The shoulder is hard and won't allow a pass through, the brisket is thick and full of fat, the deer would probably die but it would likely wander too far and would leave almost no blood trail. I could see the look of disappointment on Bryans face after losing the blood trail and having to admit that I stuck a deer in the chest again.

So I waited until she gave me a decent quartering shot. It only took 10 seconds, but for me ten seconds of holding a pin on a deer guarantees that the shaking has already escalated to seriously bad level. I let #2 fly and it it ripped through her upper shoulder through both lungs and didn't slow until it was dripping blood and stuck in the mud. Momma ran about 60 yards, and left a blood trail that I could have followed with my eyes closed.

I am very grateful for this deer! I know some people aren't going to be happy to know that I shot a mother doe. Just understand that I am not out there to kill for a thrill. As George W. Bush would say “I'm putting food on my family”. (pull up a youtube video of George's funny lines and this will make more sense to you). Here are the details

80 Lb. Doe
Taken October 19 2012
Upper “Killer Stand”
Shot with Easton Axis Arrows and Montec Broadhead
15 yards
double lung
recovery 60 yards

This should probably be a separate post. But I just wanted to quickly show you my latest project. It's a CVA Wolf for my kids. Hoping to get Elijah's first deer this year. I cut down the barrel and the stock. It seems to fit him really well. A 200 grain sabot and 50 grains of white hots should do the trick.
If you don't believe me, watch last weeks episode of Michigan Out of Doors.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rage in the Cage

Friday October 12, Chrixus and I decided to head down to Hastings and try our luck at getting a deer.  Turns out it would be the night that I get my first deer on the Hastings land that my buddy Chrixus is allowing me and Chad to hunt with him this year. 

I had only been in the stand for a half hour when I recieved a text from Chrixus letting me know that there was a doe heading my way.  It came into some thick brush, but after 15 minutes of walking around it stepped into a shooting hole through the brush about the size of a basketball.  I took advantage of the opportunity and let the arrow fly.  The lumenok worked this time and I instantly knew I had a good shot.  I sat the rest of the night in the stand hoping for a chance at another deer.

Once it was dark and Chrixus and I were done hunting for the night, we got on the blood trail.  I was a fairly easy trail to follow.  After about 80 yards we came up on my deer.  To both of our surprise, it was a yearling.  I did it again.  It bothered me at first that I still can't tell the difference from a yearling and a mature doe, but after thinking about it for awhile, I must say I am still happy to have had the rush of the hunt and some nice tender meat for the family. 

My first deer in Hastings and my first deer with a Rage Broadhead.  I reported back on my last deer that I took with the Bloodrunner Broadheads which I was pretty pleased with, and I must say I am equally pleased with the Rage Broadheads.  The entry hole on the Rage broadheads was much larger, but the exit hole was smaller.  The blood trails were about the same for similar shot placements and both were pass through shots.  As for right now, I have to lean toward the Bloodrunner just because it is $29.00 for a three pack versus $40.00 for a three pack of Rage.
Entry hole at 1 1/2" to 1 3/4"

Exit hole at 1 1/2" Max

Weapon - Hoyt CRX 35
Broadhead - Rage
Shot Distance - 13 yards through a small hole in the brush
Arrow - Carbon Express Maxima Hunter
Sex - Female
Weight - 60 lbs :(
Shot Placement - Perfect double lung
Nock - NockTurnal lighted nock that actually worked this time

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Eleven Point Buck!?!

October 1, opening day of bow, I shot an eleven point….    Yeah, that’s right, it is an eleven point.  This will teach you to never assume that just because a buck has a lot of points that it is a monster.  I like to call this little guy the sticker monster. 
He is really a five point buck, but thanks to those stickers, I get to boast that I shot an eleven point.  Of course, the bragging rights end once people ask to see pictures.  None the less, he felt good to take considering I had an antler dry spell last year.  Yes, the curse has been broken. 
I camped out in Hastings, Michigan for the early doe weekend and hunted the land I mentioned in "The Season is Upon Us" post with my buddy Chris Korreck.  The first morning I didn't see anything, but the remainder of the weekend had plenty of deer (mostly bucks) but no shots.  So once opening day arrived, I was excited to try sitting out by the bank.  Chad and I headed out there after work at around 5:00 pm.  We flipped the Doberman head key chain, as is tradition now, and it was determined that I was going to be in the lower stand. 

As I headed down there, I spooked a spike from under the stand.  It wasn’t a big deal since I had planned on refraining from shooting spikes this year anyway.  After getting in the lower stand, I took some ranges and got familiar with the new lay of the land since the power lines were mowed and clear cut this summer making everything look very different.  The night went on and just as I was starting to think that the spike I scarred out was going to be the only deer that night, a buck stepped out into a clearing at the very last minute of shooting light.   I knew it was not a monster, but I also knew it was not a spike so it was game on.  This buck was on a mission and was not slowing down so by the time I stood up and grabbed my bow the buck was in the last possible clearing for me to shoot.  I drew my bow, made a grunt noise with my mount to stop him, and looked through my peep site to see nearly complete darkness.  I finally made out the front leg, placed my pin right behind it and let the arrow fly.  I heard the thump of what I thought was a gut shot followed by the deer crashing through the woods and finally what sounded like a crash in its final resting place. 
Chad and I got down from our stands only minutes later and found the arrow full of bright red blood.  Jackpot!!  The well-defined blood trail easily lead us to the deer only 40 to 50 yards away.  It was the first time ever shooting Bloodrunner Broadheads and I must say I am pretty pleased.  See the video below.  

Sex - Male
Points - Eleven
Weight (dressed) - 125 lbs
Shot Distance -17 yards
Weapon - Hoyt CRX 35 Bow (first whitetail deer taken with this bow)
Broad Head - Blood Runner (first time ever shooting this type of broad head)
Lighted nock by Nocturnal (failed to work) Note to self - Go back to Burt Coyote Nocks.
Location - Lower stand at the Bank

Friday, September 28, 2012

Good start to the 2012 season

Well I guess it is my honor to start the blog posts for this years hunting season. Fishing wasn't the greatest for us this year with all the boat troubles we have had. There may be a fishing trip or two left to redeem ourselves.

This past weekend was early doe season and my (Andrew) first time hunting with a bow. I did not have too high of expectations until Bryan told me the night I was going out that me and Chad would probably get a deer.

It didn't take long after climbing into the tree stand to see a spike run right underneath me. That alone was enough to get my blood running and my hands shaking. I thought there was no way I could shoot at a deer if I can't even keep calm when I see a deer I am not even allowed to shoot!

Probably 15-30 minutes later a group of three deer were headed through the woods in my direction. It was pretty thick so by the time I saw them they were within 40 yards. The smallest of the three led the group right to me. The second deer in the group was the one I had my eye on for a kill. She was about 20-25 yards away and stared me down for a good 30 seconds. I thought I was busted for sure. She finally put her head down and I drew my bow and waited what seemed like a lifetime for her to turn for a good shot. I took the shot and immediately realized it was hit too far back.

After waiting over night to track the deer Chad and I finally got out at 7am to start looking. We found a blood trail and tracked for a good distance but had to stop looking after a couple hours. I went out by myself later in the afternoon but I had lost most of my hopes of finding it. That is until the miracle tracker Bryan came in. I showed him the blood trail we had found and soon after he started walking well away from the blood trail. I guess he had a good instinct because I got a call a few minutes later that he had found the deer!

Ideally I would have liked my first deer with a bow to have been a cleaner shot, but we did end up finding the deer and no meat was wasted. Good luck to everyone in a couple of days!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Season Is Upon Us

The 2012 hunting season is upon us and there is plenty to be excited about.  As Chad and I mentioned in earlier posts, we both have new bows, and personally I can’t wait to put it to use on some whitetail deer, and I’m sure Chad shares those same feelings.  New equipment is always fun to purchase and even more fun to use, especially if there is a long period of anticipation.  While the bow was my big off season purchase, I also bought a climber treestand off Craigslist for $60 and a number of different broadheads that I hope to try out during this season.  Rage, Tekan, and Bloodrunner broadheads are the ones I’ll be putting to the test.  I have shot Muzzy three blade 100 grainbroadheads pretty much my entire hunting career and have been very satisfied, but this year I got the itch to try something new.  If things go well, I will report back in a later blog on how these broadheads performed for me.
Another exciting aspect of the upcoming year is that I have fallen upon some new hunting grounds to try out.  A buddy and co-worker of mine, Chris (Chrixus) Korreck, is going to let Chad and I tag along with him on his 500 acre “dude ranch” in Hastings, MI.  After several years of hunting the same piece of land, it is going to be refreshing to get out in some woods that are unfamiliar to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the land we hunt and plan to still hunt it hard, but having a change of scenery will be nice.  I am also planning to try some public land this year and also holding on to the hopes that I will be drawn for the Upper Macatawa Natural Area hunt in Ottawa County.  Having options always helps and since we dropped the ball on our plans to go door to door looking for hunting land (as we fail to do every summer), it will be nice if these other options work out. 
Generally the most anticipated event for every season (and most hunters) is the possibility that this season may be the one you take down that monster buck in the most awesome hunt you could imagine, but this year I think I am more excited about my youngest brother, Andrew, joining us in the chase.  While Andrew has hunted before (most recently with gun last year), he has never bow hunted, and I am personally pumped and hope he feels the rush that comes with bow hunting and becomes hooked like my dad, Chad and me. 
Unfortunately, the anticipation for this hunting season is not filled with only feeling of excitement like that of previous seasons.  This season is touched with much sadness due to the fact that our excitement cannot be shared with my dad, Richard Kraker.  He is bed ridden with cancer and will have to sit this season out.  Still, we hope we can share the season with him through our stories, and thank him for the skills he has taught us as hunters.  We love you dad!
Here are some pics of the view from a tree stand that I put up at the "dude ranch" tonight.  I'm feeling good about this spot since we spooked two six point bucks out as we were scouting the area.

Here is a quick video of the pro hunters at work:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Slammin the Salmon

Okay, so the title is a little on the lame side especially since all the fish aren't even salmon. Oh well it got your attention didn't it. As many of you faithful readers may remember, there was a post about a successful fishing trip on the day my daughter was born last September. There have been some "Legendary"** and also some mildly successful fishing trips since then. But nothing like this. The word on the water is that this is the best year on the big lake since the 70's. Three quarters of the Krak Boy Team wasn't alive then but we were able to travel back in time to see what the good old days were really about. Andrew and I (Chad) Woke up at 4 in the morning to try to repeat the success that we had this past September. Lines were in the water before the sun came up............. Just like last time we couldn't keep lines down. For the record, if you don't have auto pilot on your boat, always make sure to have three people on board. I had to be to work at 9, but within the 2 and a half hour window that we had to fish we were able to land 8 nice fish. (Andrew will comment on species and size). With one more man on board and another hour to fish we might have actually limited out. Good times! All we need now is to figure out how to catch these things during daylight hours. **Legendary--- is a term coined by Old Bro Krak. When used reference to a fishing trip it is simply a trip in which few or no fish were caught, the coast guard rescue boat is involved and vomiting is at the front of everyone's mind with the exception of the driver who is usually not prone to sea sickness.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Big Lake Big Expectations

Last night we were able to hook into 2 nice steel-head and a lake trout that just hit it's 20" size limit. My Mom, Dad, Elijah, Easton and I were headed out to 160' of water when Bryan called and told us to try it in 30 - 50 feet. He gets his info from a much more reliable source, so we dropped lines and gave it a try. After an hour of nothing I was just about to pull up and go deep when we hooked the first fish. Got it on a down rigger 30 feet down. The second and largest fish of the night came about an hour after the first and was caught on my Dad's Brand new Copper Pole. The third was again about 45 min. to an hour later on that same copper line. 3 of 4 isn't a bad night for a Kraker Cruise, but it was far from the stories of 17 for 21, etc... that we have been hearing about. I'll try not to complain.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Florida Boar Hunt 2012 - Omega Ranch

Before I go into the details of our Florida wild boar hunt this year at the Omega Ranch in Volusia County, I want to get on my soap box and go off on a little rant on how hog hunting has become so commercialized in the state of Florida. Years ago, when I was first introduced to hog hunting in Florida by my dad, you could find a land owner anywhere in the state that would charge you around $50 to hunt hogs on their land. If you shot one, they would charge you another $100. The deal was simple; it included them dropping you off at your stand, which typically sat on a feeder of some sort, and if you got one, you would call them up on your cell phone, and they would track it, bring it back to your vehicle, skin it, and quarter it up. Seems like a fair deal, right? I thought so; even after a $20 to $50 tip, it still seemed worth it to me.
Finding a Florida Boar hunt like the ones back in the good old days is almost impossible now. I know because I searched long and hard. I’ve got some Dutch in me so I’m always looking for the best deal, but it’s not all about the deal. I also want a good hunt that is the real deal, unlike last year’s buggy hunt disaster. Most hog hunts I found during my search were anywhere from $200 to $500 dollars for meat hogs and small boars. If you got anything with tusks over 1 ½ inches, plan on paying $150 to $200 dollars in trophy fees. Plus, it is virtually impossible to find a hunt that is not a fenced in 40 acre lot. We used to hunt pieces of land that were 1,000 or more acres. The problem is that people found out that there was money to be made, so just like anything that is a money maker, they wrapped it up, put it in a pretty package and put a big price tag on it. Now we are stuck with guides that buy pigs by the truck load, put them in a forty acre pen, and follow you around during your entire hunt telling you which way the wind is going (as if it isn’t obvious), how careful you need to be because the pigs are so dangerous, and guiding you as to which pigs you can shoot and which ones are off limits because they are “bait hogs” (I’ll explain this further later on in the post). Is it too much to ask, to just let me sit in a tree overlooking a feeder (with feed in it), enjoying the scenery and waiting for a nice hog to wander in? I don’t want to spend my hunt with some guy I don’t even know who is over exaggerating every detail in an attempt to sell me on the authenticity of the hunt that I am paying way too much for.

Alright, now that I got that off my chest, on with the story of our 2012 Florida Boar Hunt.  We stayed in Titusville, Fl this year and I wanted to try and find a place less than an hour’s drive away.  I found Omega Ranch in an add on Craigslist.  It is located in Volusia County between Daytona and Orlando about 45 minutes from the cottage we stayed in.  They were asking $225 and $100 extra for anything with tusks over 2 inches.  It seemed a little pricey to me, but it was close and like I said earlier it doesn’t get much cheaper than this anymore. 
We arrived at the ranch at 4:45am.  The guide greeted us and gave us instructions on being very quiet while entering our stands and informed us of the importance of being scent free, all the while, he was smoking a cigarette.   He also mentioned that when he opened the gate we shouldn’t be alarmed if there are hogs there to greet us.  We were told that these are “bait hogs”.   In other words, they are tame hogs used as decoys to lure in the wild hogs.  You will notice on the video of my dad’s hunt that after the shot is taken only one hog takes off.  The others stick around as if nothing happened.

The morning was a beautiful one and I was taking it all in from a tree stand overlooking a feeder, just as I hoped for.  At about 7:00am the silence was broken by a gunshot coming from the direction my dad was hunting in.  It was so close that I almost fell out of my stand from being startled.  I prepared for spooked hogs to come running in, but after ten minutes of nothing I gave up on that hope.  My new hope was resting on the feeder that was supposedly set to go off at 7:30am.  I knew the pigs would come running as soon as they heard the corn flying, but that hope soon fading as well when 7:30am came and past and the feeder never went off.
We also had to gut our own pigs.  The guide didn't want blood on his hands.
A little after 8:00am the guide came and got me out of my stand and we tried a couple more stands with empty, non-functional feeders.  We also tried “spot and stalk” hunting.  Finally, around 2:00pm I stood in some thick brush while the guide pushed through a swamp in hopes of putting a hog in front of me, and it worked.   I had one come walking in out of range so I stalked up to about twenty yards, drew my bow and waited for a clear shot.  It stepped into an opening and I let the arrow fly.  Whack!!  I was sure it was a good shot.  I found the arrow and it was full of bowel, but I wasn’t concerned because it was quartering at me when I shot so I figured I caught some vitals and it passed through the guts on the exit. 

Unfortunately, after much effort, we never found the pig or even a trace of blood.  It was the first shot at an animal with my new bow, and it was a failure.  To add insult to injury, I now owed $10 into the fishing gas fund because of a bet I made with my brothers.  And, if you thought that was the worst of it, you’re wrong.  I also found out that skinning and quartering the hogs we take was not including in our package so I tied the hog up under the blind and went to town.  The best way to learn is by doing it, right?   The good news is that we got both hunts for a total of $400 instead of $450 and my dad got to take a nice boar home with the satisfaction of knowing he had a perfectly placed shot.
Hunched over under the blind trying to cut up a hog.  I can't tell you how many times I hit my head.  Very enjoyable!

Mom cleaning the pork

Moms camera work of dad taking his boar.  Nice work mom.

My self filmed video of the only opportunity I had at a shot from a stand.  Looking back, I should have taken the shot, but I was certain once the feeder went off bigger hogs would have shown up.  It could have made great video.

If this sounds like your type of hunt, give Brian at Omega Ranch a call.  (386)479-3266.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Florida Fishing - Veterans Memorial Pier

My brother-in-law, Joe Koeman, and I found some time to get a little fishing in while we were in Titusville, Fl.  The first day we stopped at a bait shop in the area and asked the guy inside if there was any good fishing areas near by.  He told us to wade out knee deep from the shore right behind his shop, cast out a shrimp on a hook, and wait.  He assured us we wouldn't be disappointed.  Well it turns out we were, and the fact that he told us that we wouldn't be made it even worse. 

After casting toward several jumping mullets, not knowing that they are impossible to catch because they are herbivores, we gave up and went about two miles down the road to a public pier.  We went all the way to the end of the pier and the water was still only 2 feet deep.  Have you ever gone fishing in a spot and known that it was hopeless?  It didn't last long before we hung it up for the day.

The next day we drove about 15 minutes from our condo to a pier we found the night before while we were out to dinner with Joe and Theresa.  It was called the Veterans Memorial Pier, and it had fish.  We caught several Sea Trout around 12" long.  Keepers are 15" to 20" and we could not seem to catch anything over 12", which is a shame because I've heard they are good eat'in.  Anyway, it was still fun to do some catching instead of just fishing.  We also caught several other varieties; Blue Fish, Puffers, Jacks, and others that I couldn't tell you what they were. 
Sea Trout


After the sun goes down the pier fills up with shrimpers.  Shrimpers are people who come out at night with nets that have 25’ long handles, and they attempt to catch shrimp one at a time by scooping them up.   I never knew there was such thing as shrimping, but it was very interesting to see.  They actually throw lights into the water so they can see when a shrimp comes swimming past.  A single shrimper will have anywhere up to 5 lights in the water at a time, so with several shrimpers lining the pier, the water is illuminated all the way down both sides of the pier.  It is a sight to see, and to top it off, every once in a while you will see a manatee or two go swimming through the lights.  It is comparable to smelt dipping but with nicer weather and better scenery.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Merry Christmas To Me

As Chad promised in the previous post, there would be more updates of new equipment.  I recieved this Hoyt CRX 35 for Christmas this year from my wife.  Sure, I picked it out and did the purchasing, but it's the thought that counts, and this was a great thought. 

Like every new bow it came with the headache of getting it set up, and if your a Kraker, you don't settle for anything but perfection when it comes to your new toys.  I sent it to Predator Archery right here in Zeeland to have the QAD rest placed on it, a new D-loop, and a paper tune.  After I got it back I noticed some major cam lean on the top cam.  This did not make me happy (even though the bow was shooting great) so I sent it back to Kevin at Predator Archery.  He ripped the bow apart and we both researched the cam lean issue.  Kevin called Hoyt and I read a dozen forums online and we both came to the same conclusion.  It is just a common thing for most Hoyt bows to have the cam lean so we got it shooting good again, and I'm just going to learn to live with it. 
Hoyt CRX 35 - IBO 319 fps / Actual Chrono Results with my set up 306 fps
This is my fourth official bow.  My first being a cheapo Darton that I never hit a single animal with, the second was a Hoyt Intruder which I still have and took my first several deer with, and my last bow was the Hoyt Ultratech which I am happy to say has found a new home with my brother Andrew.  I would like to officially welcome Andrew to the world of archery, and I am happy that my old bow is his gateway bow.  We look forward to hearing stories of success and, since it is a bow, stories of blunder as well. 

The new equipment has sparked a little competition between the Krack Boys (shocker).  Chad has put together a few rules, but in short, we are looking to see who has the first kill with their new equipment.  Losers pay into the summer fishing gas fund.  Good luck suckers!

Some quick shameless promotion goes to Predator Archery.  They do a great job and can help out with any of your archery needs.  Give Kevin a call at 616-748-8928 or Cell: 616-886-8129.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

New for 2012!

Every year after the whitetail season closes I fill my mind with thoughts of coyote hunting and usually thinking is all the further I get. As you can tell from the blog this January and February have been filled with nothing as far as hunting or fishing. It didn't help that ice was pretty much non existent this year. I'm not really that disappointed as ice fishing ranks right up there with carp shooting in my book. They are pretty much there to just pass the time until real hunting and fishing seasons come around. (my personal opinion, feel free to strongly disagree)
Thankfully my wife came through with a SWEEEEEET new toy for our 6th wedding anniversary.

This is a used Bow Tech Destroyer 340. Old Bro Bryan found it on Ebay for a great price! I'm slightly sad to see my old bow get set aside, it did it's job and did it quite well. Not to mention that it was really the first bow I owned. (not including my old fiberglass re-curve, and my first 20 dollar compound bow that mom bought at a garage sale) The old Diamond Justice really wasn't even used for my first deer kill, that honor goes to my Dads old Tan 110 Lb bow with 2% let off. The Justice was also given to me as a gift from my wife, and for that reason it'll stick around forever, but it's hunting days are over. I have taken somewhere around 15 deer (probably a slightly high estimate) with the Justice but still am only mildly sad to see it retire.

This new bow will likely stick around a few years longer than old Justice. It is shooting over 320 FPS completely set up. (compared to 260 from the Diamond) And personally I love how it looks especially with the “black ops” finish. Not to mention that it was an anniversary gift from my wife. This bow has already made a few memories and has also already shed some blood. Unfortunately it was my blood..... I'm not quite used to the hard plastic grip and while doing some video target practice with my brothers I let the bow slip out of my sweaty hand at about half draw. It flew back and the cable guard caught my trigger finger and knuckle. The good thing was that it gave me an excuse when I ended up losing the video shoot.

BTW--- This I'm not the only one with new Equipment this year. More stories are soon to follow.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Season Over

Defeated.  That is the word that rings in my ears when I think about whitetail buck hunting during my 2011 season.  Although I am very greatful to have shot 4 doe and filled my freezer with enough meat for the year, I can't help but think back on the season and remember all disappointing encounters I had with bucks.  I've seen more bucks this season than I can ever remember seeing in any season of my hunting career, but I was out smarted and out lucked by all of them.

Below is a picture of the 4 point I thought was going to be my saving grace on New Years Eve, but it turned out to be just another failed attempt.  This deer came in so perfectly, it was as if I was dreaming up the events that were transpiring in front of me.  It came in with two doe, a fawn and a button buck (way too many eyes).  The doe, fawn, and button buck split, and this buck walked right up the shooting lane, at 25 yards it turned and looked the other way.  I took advantage and drew my bow.  I was afraid it was going to bolt out of there like its lady friends did so I didn't waste any time.  Before I knew it, my arrow was on its way to score like the winning shot at the buzzer of the championship game, but the happy ending to my story never happened.  It was a complete fail, following suit with the rest of my buck encounters this season.

I don't want to sound like I'm whinning because I'm not.  I had a great season shooting doe, and I understand that if I got every deer I shot at, the sport would loose its zest.  I want to share these stories so  you don't just hear stories of Krack Boy success.  I want to share all the reality of the sport and what we experience in the woods.

On that note I will recap my season of buck horror stories.  It started with the buck I shot out of the Poison Ivy Palace and never found.  Second was a shot I took at a seven point through some brush.  The arrow hit a branch and flew off into a tree snapping my arrow in half and never coming any where near the deer.  Third, I was watching some doe in my binoculars and a spike snuck up from behind leaving me unable to move.  That same night I drew on a seven point waiting for it to take one more step into a clearing, which it never did because it busted dad having a cough attack in the upper stand.  Fourth, involved the same seven point buck from the third story.  It came in and I drew on it, it was a deja vu moment, but this time I got busted.  It caught my scent before stepping into a clearing ten feet in front of it and it bolted.  Fifth, was on the only day I hunted all year where there was snow on the ground.  A little four point came right at me on a mission.  As soon as I made the slightest movement to position myself, the tree stand let out a loud creek (most likely due to the cold weather), and it was pretty much game over for that one.  And finally, to cap the year off was the beatiful miss I mentioned in the story above.

What do think?  Pretty sad huh?  As my uncle Mike used to say, "you should start numbering your excuses".  It would make my stories a lot shorter. 

Oh well, another exciting season is sadly over.  Guess it's time to start thinking about the next adventures for Team Krack Boy.