By: Steve Wall

Quality, value and durability are aspects that I look at when making a decision on new hunting product purchases.  Having a young family, I need to be smart about my purchases.  A quite a few years ago I picked up a pair of Vortex Diamondback 10×42 Binoculars.  These binoculars met my standards in quality, value and durability.  I have put these binoculars through years of use hunting deer, turkeys, bear and elk.

This past fall, while scanning the woods with my binoculars, something didn’t seem quite right.  I was not able to see anything through the right eyepiece.  After looking them over, I noticed that there was a loose piece inside.  Now, I was fully aware of the Vortex VIP Warranty, but never I never had to use it and didn’t know anyone personally who had.  I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  I went online and printed out the service form.  After filling out the form, I packed up the binoculars and sent them off to Vortex.  Within a few days I received an email stating that they had received my binoculars and gave an estimated turnaround time.


I was very surprised when within 2 weeks I received another email letting me know that I had a package coming from Vortex.  I was surprised because I sent my binoculars in around the holidays and know that many people take vacation around this time which can increase turnaround time.  I received the package the next day and couldn’t wait to see my repaired binoculars.  A note was listed on the packing list that they were unable to repair my binoculars.  Since the binoculars were not repairable I received brand new Diamondback 10×42 binoculars!  I was blown away with the outstanding customer service!  I can definitely say that Vortex stood by their VIP (Very Important Promise) Warranty!


Even before I had this great experience, I purchased a 3x9x40 Diamondback Riflescope from Vortex for my deer rifle.  I am not sure that I will ever purchase any other brand of optics than Vortex!  The great quality, value and durability of their products along with the VIP Warranty is tough to beat!  I know that someday I will be able to pass these great optics down to my son!

If you are in the market for new optics, I highly suggest that you check out www.vortexoptics.com



By: Steve Wall

Have you ever had one of those years hunting when nothing seems to go your way?  As hunters, we know that there are going to be low and high points to every season.  It can be difficult at times to not let these low points discourage you.  If you can turn these low points into a learning experience and keep an upbeat attitude, you will find yourself to be a better hunter.  In the end, patience and persistence pays off!

The year 2015 has been one of these difficult years for me.  It started in the spring when I was unsuccessful in filling any of my Turkey tags.  Some days the birds were unresponsive and other days they just decided to go the other way.  My 2015 season reached its high point during the summer when I captured multiple bucks on my trail cameras.  These pictures and videos got my blood pumping for the upcoming season.


My season hit rock bottom one weekend in late October.  I slipped out of work a little early on a Friday afternoon and headed straight to the woods.  I put on my gear and walked into my hunting location.  I strapped my climbing treestand to the tree and headed up.  I got to the top and all set up and noticed that my Tactacam video camera fell off of my bow on the way into the stand.  I climbed down immediately and slowly retraced my steps back to the truck.  I did not have any success in finding the camera.  I headed out earlier than normal the next morning to walk slowly with my flashlight to try to find the camera on my way into my stand.  Again, no luck.

Losing your hunting gear can definitely put a damper on your hunt, but my bad luck didn’t end there.  That morning about an hour after sun up a small buck made his way down a trail 20 yards in front of me.  I came to full draw watching for the opening where I was going to stop the deer for a shot.  As I readied for the shot, I adjusted my feet and with the little bit of frost on my stand my boots squeaked on the stand.  The deer froze about 2 steps before I wanted him to.  At full draw and not feeling like I could stop him in another 2 steps, I found a small hole to let my arrow fly.  As I released, I noticed a small branch moving between me and the deer.  My arrow hit that small branch and deflected away and I missed the deer cleanly.  After finding my arrow, I decided to look a little more for my lost camera.  Still with no success.


The following morning I headed back into the same location.  Excited that I was seeing deer, but disappointed and frustrated with the prior events from the weekend, I watched the woods come alive that morning.  I had a small buck come within 50 yards but stayed just out of range and headed off away from my stand location.  Shortly after this buck moved out of the area, a doe was headed my way.  I watched as she fed slowly on a trail about 30 yards away.  At full draw as she came into an opening, I bleated to stop her.  I settled my 30 yard pin just behind her shoulder and released the arrow.  I am not entirely sure what happened next.  She ran a little ways and then walked off slowly away from my location.  I gave a little bit of time and climbed down from the tree.  I went over to the location the doe was standing and found my arrow.  There was no blood on the arrow.  My only guess is that the deer may have “ducked” my arrow.  I followed the direction the doe had went and found no blood.

To think that this all happened in one weekend.  To say that I was frustrated would be an understatement.  I was at one of those points asking myself “why am I doing this?”  This is where my passion for hunting came into play!! I took a step back and thought about the weekends events and what I can learn from them.  To me, this is the most important thing we can do to become better hunters.  Learning from these disappointing and frustrating events will help us to make better decisions the next time an opportunity arises.  In this case, I have made mental notes about shot timing and shot placement.  These notes, along with the all the other mental notes from past hunts, will go through my head the next time a shot opportunity presents itself.  The other lesson here, DON’T GIVE UP!  Patience and persistence will pay off!

What lessons have you learned while hunting that have helped you become a better hunter!?

By Steve Wall

Let me introduce you to the world of canning wild game! Are you looking for a new way to process your wild game?  Are you ever in search of a quick easy meal that can be put together in 5 minutes?   While I was growing up, my dad would process his own deer as I am sure many of you do as well.  During this time he introduced me to canned deer meat.  Once the process is finished, canned meat can be a very quick and tasty meal.  I will walk you though the steps to canning wild game and have also put together a video of the process.


 Canning wild game

  1. directions for Canning wild game

  2. Cut up meat into approximately 1″ cubed size pieces.
  3. Wash jars.
  4. Place new lids into saucepan with water and simmer.
  5. Fill jars with meat, making sure to remove as many air pockets as possible (with spatula or knife).
  6. Add 1/4 of a sliced onion and 1/2 of a beef bouillon cube. (No need to add liquid)Filling jars 
  7. Continue filling jars until you have enough for 1 batch or until meat is gone. (Canner does not need to be at full capacity)
  8. Add 2 quarts of water to pressure canner.
  9. Wipe off jar rims with towel.
  10. Remove lids from water, place on jars and screw on cap.
  11. Place jars in pressure canner. (It is ok if they are touching)
  12. Place lid on pressure canner and turn heat on high.
  13. Watch for steam to come out of center vent tube. ( Allow it to steam for a few minutes)
  14. Place 15 psi pressure control on top of vent tube. Pressure control
  15. Watch for red pressure indicator to go up and pressure control to jiggle vigorously.
  16. Reduce Heat so that pressure control jiggles gently. (Adjust heat as needed throughout process)
  17. Once pressure is controlled, start time for 1 hour.
  18. Turn off heat and watch for red pressure indicator to go down. (Do not try to speed up the process, let it cool down on its own.
  19. Remove lid.  Remove jars from canner and place on towel.
  20. A popping sound will indicate a proper seal.
  21. After cooling, press top of each lid to check that they are all sealed. (If you any of the jars did not seal they are ok to eat, but need to be used right away.)

removing jars

A couple of recipe ideas:

  • Heat and mix in your favorite BBQ sauce and have on sandwiches.
  • Head and mix with cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup.  Have over noodles, bread or mashed potatoes.
  • Mix with taco seasoning for shredded wild game tacos.

If you have had canned venison any other ways let me know and I will add them here!

Here is a copy of the instructions (Click on instructions to open in separate window to print or click link below to download.)

By Steve Wall


Do you have a smartphone?  Are you using your smartphone to improve your odds of harvesting an animal?  That’s right, that phone that we all carry might just help you harvest your next animal.  I will share with you some of the hunting apps that I have installed on my smartphone and how I use them.


scoutlook cone

ScoutLook Weather DeerLog


If you were only going to install 1 of the hunting apps that I share with you, make sure it is this one.  ScoutLook Weather DeerLog is by far the most important hunting app that I have installed on my phone.  This app has so many great features!  ScoutLook DeerLog app will allow you to check weather and moon information based on your stand location.  You can also log deer activity based on your stand location and weather data for that exact time will be saved automatically!  One of the best features though is the ScentCone.  The ScentCone feature shows the current wind direction and the wind direction for the next 36 hours!  I don’t step foot in the woods without first checking the ScoutLook app!

scoutlook log

 Pocket Ranger



The Pocket Ranger fish and wildlife app is a very useful tool for finding state wildlife agency information.  You will have to see if this app is available for your state.  I find this app very useful for looking up questions I may have on any regulations.  This app can also be used to find public hunting areas and also look up the cost of a permit.  The app also has GPS features built in!  One of the most useful tools in this app for me is the sunrise/sunset calculator!  If you have your phone’s GPS enabled, the app will tell you the legal shooting hours for your exact location!




Have you ever wondered who owned the land across the fence? Do you want to find private lands available for public hunting and recreation?  OnXmaps will allow you to do all of that.  If you hunt public land there is always a chance the deer you shoot may cross onto private land.  This app is very useful for finding landowner names so you can possibly contact them to gain permission to find your animal.  This also shows land that may have possible public access.  In Wisconsin, these lands are mostly managed forest lands and managed crop lands.  These are programs that offer the owner a cheaper tax rate for allowing public access to their property.





The Earthmate app by Delorme is a great GPS app.  It has a built in compass and allows you to mark waypoint and create routes.  I have an Earthmate PN40 handheld GPS from Delorme and I am able to import my waypoints from my GPS to my phone or vise versa!  Delorme has always been a leader in the mapping industry and I have always found their products very helpful and easy to use!


Facebook and Twitter



I know what your thinking, Facebook and Twitter are not hunting apps!  I would have to disagree!  Facebook and Twitter are great tools to use to find out real-time deer information.  On almost any hunting page people are talking about what deer they are seeing and when.  This information can be especially useful in timing your best hunting days during the rut.  Of course not all areas are going to be exactly the same, but it can give you pretty good idea when deer activity is increasing!  So “LIKE” as many hunting pages as you can and “Follow” as many hunting related people that you can!