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By: Steve Wall

How did you start your outfitting business?

We started our outfitting business out of pure enjoyment for setting up other hunters on successful outings. By successful I do not mean just killing an animal. We pride ourselves in providing our hunters with the total experience from A to Z.

Where do you guide and for what species?

We guide for black bear in Wisconsin zones A,B,C and D. Our whitetail hunts are in Wisconsin, Michigan and Arkansas. Also, we offer hog hunting as a bonus with our Arkansas hunt package.

Snowbelt Hunting Shack

What is the availability / cost of a license?

Class A bear licenses are drawn on a preference point system. Deadline for applying annually is December 10. Whitetail in all 3 states we hunt offer tags purchased over the counter.

What are your success rates and what does the trip all include?

Our success rate on bear had been 100% for 4 years running until this past year. The weather during the opening week was horrible with high winds and rain and kept the wildlife movement to a minimum. In spite of the weather, our hunters did harvest some nice bears. Our whitetail hunts are very successful, with archery season being the most popular.

Jake

What type of gear / clothing do you recommend bringing?

Bear season is usually quite warm so light clothing is recommended. The weather along Lake Superior where we hunt can change fast so we tell our hunters to pack their long underwear and rain gear as well. Early September in the north means mosquitoes, so a bug head net is a must! Most of our hunters book in October thru mid November for whitetail archery hunts. We always tell the guys to watch the weather channel closely leading up to their arrival and be prepared for a mixed bag of weather. Lake Superior is very close to where we hunt and the big lake affects the area weather tremendously.

What do your clients say about you?

Our return rate of hunters that have booked with us the previous year is extremely high and that in itself tells you how we run our operation and how much fun our guys had with us.

What do you enjoy most about outfitting?

I absolutely love the scouting and setting up stands, etc. We are extremely diligent about making sure we put in the maximum amount of time and effort into set up to allow our clients a stress free enjoyable hunt. This makes for some awesome stories at our log cabin bar every evening after the hunt.

Snowbelt Crew

What is your favorite hunting / fishing memory?

Just about every one of my favorite hunting memories does not include me killing an animal. Sitting with my daughter when she killed her first deer is #1. Also, there has been many great memories that involve friends, family, a campfire or the warm wood stove in the cabin after a long cold days hunt and the camaraderie associated with that.

Contact Info:

Website: snowbeltcustomoutfitters.com
Facebook: Snowbelt Custom Outfitters

 

 

Steve Bear

My dad and I have personally hunted with Snowbelt Custom Outfitters and we can’t wait to go back!!

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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.

Vortex

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!

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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

Son

 

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.

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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.

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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!?

Hips Archery Targets

By Steve Wall

How did you start the company?

Hips Archery Targets was started in 1968 by Stanley Hips.  Stanley was a bowhunter, and like many archers, he needed a way to practice more often.  It was later purchased by Darrin Brown, who at the time, was owner of Longhorn Archery Systems, a manufacturer of 3D archery targets.

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What do your customers say about your products?

 Our customers agree that Hips Archery Targets are built to last.  They love the durability and lightweight design.

What are your most popular products?

Our most popular products are the X2 Series Muley and Herd Bull targets for their exceptional value and stopping power.

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Who is your target audience?

We build targets for all types of archers.  The bowhunting segment is the largest audience, but we are seeing tremendous growth from recreational and target archers.

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What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I would say that I like being able to produce a product that helps others enjoy their love for the sport of archery.  Talking with fellow archers and bowhunters throughout the year is a big part of what we do and it never gets old.

What is your favorite hunting or fishing memory?

My favorite memory from the field would have to be the first time my dad and I went bowhunting together, now almost 20 years ago.  It was our first opportunity to take a trophy White Tail Deer and the memories will last a lifetime.  Since then we have been on many adventures and look forward to many more.

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Hips 4×4 range target!

Contact Info:

Website: www.hipstargets.com
Facebook: Hips Archery Targets
Twitter: @Hips_Targets

 

Comments from Wisconsin Outdoor Pursuits:

If you shoot your bow on a regular basis you definitely understand the importance of having a good target.  You want a target that is going to: stop your arrows, stand up to the punishment of multiple shots and provide you with the most value for your money.  Well, I believe that the Hips Archery Targets will do all of that and more.  These targets look to be very well constructed and stand up to intense punishment, even from broadheads, as you can see in the video.  I might be in the market for a new target this offseason and I don’t think I have to look much farther than at one of these great targets from Hips Archery Targets. 

 This is a weekly segment to showcase and share a little more information about some great companies!  If you know of a company that would be a great fit for this segment please email me at: steve@wioutdoorpursuits.com.  I hope you enjoy learning more about these great companies!