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25


I know a lot of trackers who carry and live by one specific gun they favor over all others. My friend Hal Blood and many of the other master trackers I’ve met and talked with, love their pump action carbines. They would not hunt with any other rifle. Others I’ve spent time with have a lever action or two that they swear by.

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remington 7600, marlin 30/30, 7600, lever action, rifle, 3 gun competition, 30/30, 30'06, muzzleloader, scope, practice, Ruger 44 magnum, 45/70, savage bolt action, bolt action
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21

As the weather continues to improve it is time to train more outside. Classic strengthening can get a little more challenging outdoors because you don’t have access to a wide variety of equipment that you might in a gym. A little creativity will help you meet the training demands for building strength before the season gets here. Tracking bucks does not require a body builder’s physique, a power lifter’s strength or an Olympic lifter’s technique. What it does require is a certain amount of strength to get it done. What is it?

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05


This past year I had the privilege of spending time in hunting camp with some of the greatest trackers in the Northeast. We had snow early on, and then it continued on throughout periods of the rifle season. Because we hadn’t had these kinds of conditions for a few years, when the snow fell, it was a festive time – there was an energy in the air. Trackers from all over the Northeast were talking…”How much snow you got over there?”

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whitetails, buck, racking, whitetail bucks, hunting camp, wall tent, lodge
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11

When we think about practice in the off season as it relates to hunting and tracking, it tends to conjure up images of shooting our rifles, tuning our bows for the fall, and working out during those long summer months. All of these activities are forms of practice and are the necessary preparatory pieces of the puzzle to be sure. If you want to be successful, then those items need to be on your to-do list as well. But with that said, there is another form of practice that gets less attention – practicing the art of tracking in the off season.

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Tracking, whitetails, buck, tracks, Adirondacks, rifle, still-hunting, scouting, 270 pump, Jeff Doyle, summer, mountain bucks, nomadic, swamps, swamp, hemlock swamp, Larry Benoit, tracker
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16


Two of our three horses took off down the trail, leaving us miles back in the Colorado wilderness. Darkness was approaching after a long first day of hunting. There had been a number of mistakes that led to this point, but rehashing those would only make things worse. The decision was made to start hiking out. A couple of hours later the trail was lost. With fading hope of getting out that night to a warm meal in camp, the three of us decided to spend the night in the woods. We were under-prepared for a night out but had basics.

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02

Gabe is my middle child sandwiched between two brothers.She is by far the most outspoken of my kids, and is the most independent and intense. I grew up with 7 sisters, so in a way, I get girls. But, I also grew up in a German immigrant household, so let us say it wasn't the warmest domestic situation. Every aspect of a German household is straightforward and without fanfare - some would say it cold.

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35 whelen, Tracking, track, deer, whitetails, does, daughter, Gabi Scheeren, hunter, young, buck fever, 308, 308 winchester, managed recoil
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12

It was the last day of the season, December 5th 2011. I had already returned from my fruitless hunt in the Northern Zone in the Adirondacks, and was now hunting in a big chunk of woods behind my home in the Southern Zone. The good news was we had snow!

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big woods, whitetails, hunt, hunting, woods, remington, tracking whitetails, Tracking, track, buck, 7600, Adirondacks, 870, trijicon, ridge, adirondack, mountains, tracking bucks, does, pump, lever action
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10

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  Think about your last visit to the doctor and ask yourself if Western medicine works toward this definition?  Do the pills that the Pharmaceutical companies produce make us truly healthy?  Should it really be that complicated? 

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15

 
It was mid-rifle season in the Adirondacks, November 20th, 2016 and we got some snow…and boy did it come! When I got up that morning at our camp, it was a foot deep and it was still snowing with a cold wind howling. I was excited because of a new area my son Austin and I had hunted the month prior and the size of the bucks we tracked on that mountain. I was itching to get back in there.

 

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12

I have found through this season that how I hunt is important, more important than what I kill.  A cold day, a good VT buck and fresh tracks make for a fun day in my world and the fact that it happened at the end of a long season was that much better.  I hunt for the chase and my VT muzzleloader buck had that. The training that I do allows me to stick with it to the end, physically and mentally.  I like to feel that I earn the bucks I shoot and this one fit the bill.

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09

The day after Thanksgiving, I left my house in mid-coast Maine at 2:30 in the morning and headed north to the Big Woods. There had been snow on the ground all week. The weather report was calling for snow for most of the day as well. I arrived at the area I wanted to start looking for tracks at daylight. It was discouraging to see that other hunters had already driven the roads checking for tracks. There were also hunters parked at the blocked off roads that I wanted to walk. I decided to head for a place where there aren’t as many deer but that I love to hunt. 

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16

 

Whitetail deer saved my life.

It was the 80’s and my life was a train wreck. I was a teenager who was struggling with a serious alcohol and drug problem, and if not for whitetail hunting and the outdoor experience, I might not be here today to speak of it. I realize this might seem to be a strange topic, especially on a hunting website. But to those who have tracked, stalked, hunted and admired these amazing animals, the effect of the hunting lifestyle can be dramatic and in some cases like mine, even life saving. There is something deep inside, primordial even, that gets stirred if you spend enough time hunting and becoming connected to the woods.

 

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Big Woods Bucks, Hal Blood, tracking, bucks, big woods, whitetails, hunting, deer, Booze, alcohol, drugs, alcoholics anonymous, buck, saint jude retreats, st jude retreats, chris dalti, bwb, bwb system, deer hunting, stalking, tracks, marlin 30/30
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21

It was the morning of the last day of the regular firearms season here in Maine. There was 2”-5” of snow on the ground and the temperature had risen to slightly just above freezing in the night. The thermometer in my truck said 32 degrees when I headed out, but the snow soft and melting a little. The air was thick and kind of foggy, one of days you could just feel that the deer were going to be up and moving. I climbed into my truck before daylight and struck out from camp in search of a big buck track.


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18


Not every tracker begins his whitetail tracking career the conventional way. I didn’t have a dad or a hunting mentor that was willing to spend the time to teach me the outdoor skills necessary to become a proper woodsman. Consequently, my outdoor activities tended to be less organized than the average kid who spent his days in the wilds. My outdoor antics almost always included my partner in crime, best friend and schoolmate, Bob. We honed our hunting skills on cheap hand-me-down fiberglass bows and bb guns. And when they fell apart from relentless use we had no trouble resorting back to more primitive means if necessary.

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big woods, hunting, Mark Scheeren, crossbow, whitetail hunting, whitetails, crossbow hunting, big game hunting
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15

 After a long wait the snow finally hit my area for Monday of Thanksgiving week. I had plenty of places that I wanted to look for a good buck track but it’s always a matter of picking the right place where a buck had traveled. I walked all day Monday without ever seeing a buck track. I also began to feel that tugging in the back of my throat like a cold was developing.

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Posted in: Hal's Articles
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16

As a child I began my goal to kill a whitetail buck by walking the ridges and creek bottoms of the farm land around my parent's home. I walked those hills and valleys like a boy possessed, driven by my intense desire to hunt and find peace in my life. I did shoot deer as the years went on, but most of the time I seemed to do a lot more scaring of game than I did successfully shooting them. In contrast, my buddy (and lifetime hunting partner) Bob, would always shoot deer.

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Big Woods Bucks, whitetails, tracking whitetails, Tracking, track, tracking whitetail deer, deer
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04

Ever wonder what its like to be on the track of a big whitetail buck with the man himself? Well I also wondered that for many years. As luck would have it, that would eventually become a reality for me, as I have been filming him for the last 3 seasons when time allows. I will assure any time you get behind Hal in the woods you are sure to have some type of wild adventure! You see I am a big woods tracker at heart, but the fact that I live in southern NJ, greatly limits the time I can spend up north in Maine. While I have spent up to 150 days a year tree stand hunting and filming, I am an average tracker at best. I want to share last weekends tracking story with you along with a few things I feel the average tracker may find helpful on their journeys.

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02


I enjoy watching outdoor television. I’m also aware that what I am watching is entertainment, and that most of it is fairly rehearsed and scripted. As long as I watch these shows with this in mind, I remain entertained and at times amused. It’s fun to watch people have success killing really big deer as well as other species for the record books. These shows make it look easy and give flight to our fantasies about the hunts some of us might never have the opportunity to experience. But while entertaining, a hunting show can only demonstrate a very limited perspective on the topic at hand, and to a certain point, this limited view provides the public with a mere snapshot of the actual experience.

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Big Woods Bucks, bucks, whitetails, hunt, hunting, whitetail, Mark Scheeren, addiction, substance use
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28

An early snow was going the hit the Adirondak’s in late October. Already having an invite to hunt there by my buddy Joe Dinnito, I jumped in my truck and made the drive on Saturday as the snow was falling. My cameraman Jason DelPalazzo was going to meet me there. My mission this year is to capture a kill shot on film while tracking. I really want to show everyone in the deer hunting world what it takes to track one down. I knew it was going to be a tough task but I am committed to trying it.

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Posted in: Hal's Articles
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