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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bow Hunting Partners...Choose Wisely

2015: My Brother Jeff was running the decoy as I buzzed an
arrow past his ear and into the chest of this buck. 40 yard shot.
We were cruising a small creek looking for a cruising buck.
Click Pic To Enlarge.

Bowhunting partner...those words for most probably flash the face of their partner or partners without much thought. Heads Up Decoy has blessed me with the opportunity to hunt with a bunch of different guys over the years. Before H.U.D it was almost 100% family. Now that I am older, have a family of my own just getting into hunting, and a network of guys, it is not unusual for me to hunt with a variety of people throughout the course of the year. Rather than giving you my opinion on how you should choose a bow hunting partner, I am going to tell you about my hunting partners.
Stuff Dies:

When I reflect back to 2008 when Heads Up Decoy first started, there is one guy...and now several guys that I have hunted with where animals get dead. My friend Kent, not only is he a great human, he's a phenomenal bowhunter. I get so excited when I go on a hunt with him because I know our chances of success are extremely high. Kent, is not the only one, there are guys that when they get in my truck or I climb into their's...brown animals or turkeys are in real trouble. I do not believe that it is coincidence. It is confidence.

2008: My good friend and cerified killer, Kent, was with
me on the first Heads Up Decoy bow kill in 2008.
15 yard shot. This buck is a freak.
Click Pic to Enlarge

Many of the guys I hunt with are accomplished bowhunters. Maybe that is why animals get dead. I like to think, at times, two skilled bowhunters are better than one. When I have confidence in the person I'm with, my optimism is high. I am more efficient and more on point.


I am not an expert. I enjoy listening to others share their knowledge, regardless of their level of experience. I try to listen to bowhunters' successes and failures. It only makes me a better bowhunter. I can think of three specific conversations that I had with my friend Kent that led to success for me on two occassions. I applied two tips on one instance. His experience and willingness to share his knowledge, played out for me. I recently passed on Kent's experience with snort wheezing to a good friend, and he applied that to a decoying scenerio and was able to get a buck into bow range. I later applied the snort wheeze technique to my set up which led to my 2016 buck coming in for a fight.

I have found that I always struggle hunting with people that have to be right or have no faith or confidence in your ability. Honestly, I have been on both sides of this coin. What ultimately happens is a whole lot of struggle. Over the years, I have found that when I've been "that guy"...a dash of humility would have been a better ingredient.

I learn from my peers. Many of my best hunting partners are guys that fail a lot...but are not failures. I know people that are self proclaimed trophy hunters that never kill anything...failures in the field. I know guys that are humble as dirt that kill trophies at will...but it takes them many attempts. I know who I listen to when the topic of hunting comes up.

2013: Matt Dorram with the giant prairie buck. We worked on this buck.
The hunt evolved by the minute. We talked each other through it.
It ultimately led to a 40 yard shot. This buck was with a doe.
A smaller buck was making it difficult to get this deer in bow range.
Click Pic To Enlarge

The Dance:

I am not sure this is the greatest analogy, but here it goes. We've all been to wedding dances when a couple gets on the dance floor and they seem like they are floating on air. They own the floor and it's obvious. I like to think that I can lead...or be lead at any point during a hunt. When I have been forced to lead...or force to follow I've become the hero or the goat. Not the "greatest of all time" kind of goat. I personally don't want to be the hero or the goat. A natural flow of responsibility on a hunt has always been more satisfying and fulfilling for me. There are times when I will be on fire...and times I am as cold as ice. I know when I'm in the zone and I know when I don't have it. It seems to me that when I've been a part of a natural exchange of philosophy more things go right.

2010: Kent holding the decoy as this buck postured in. Cut milo field.
Shot this buck at 17 yards and closing.
Single best H.U.D moment to date. Been hunting like this since.
Click Pic To Enlarge

My best hunting partners seem to have a great deal of self control or awareness. Stumbling and bumbling through the woods has not worked with me. A good idea or plan that both parties buy into...whether right or wrong has worked well for me. My best partners try to find success in failure. By that, no one gets saddled with blame and we can check a hunting spot or technique off the list and move on.

My picks:

The guys I work best with are guys that are ethical. Guys that have confidence in me. Guys that I have confidenc in. It always helps when they are experienced. I enjoy those that have a degree of humility. Not afraid to take the lead or the backseat. Guys that share both in success and in failure. When you screw up they let you live it down...but every once in a while bring it up to give you the business.

Heads Up Decoy and Partners

One of the things I appreciate about Heads Up Decoy is how enjoyable the product is to use when you have a partner. Many of my greatest moments with Heads Up Decoy have been with a partner. I am more aggressive and less conservative.

2015: Charging Buck. My friend Kent running the decoy as his hired hand was the shooter.
The wind was blowing about 30 mph. Miserable conditions, but we were able to get a shot.
We worked for this chance. Click Pic To Enlarge.

When I am with a partner, I have played many roles: the shooter, the guy running the decoy, or observing a guy going solo. I find it very satisfying helping someone tag out. My best bow hunting partners feel the same.

2013: Good friend David Gillan. We've killed some animals together.
Turkeys, deer, and now elk.
David is optimistic and positive. Spring Turkey.
David shot this bird at 5 yards. Click Pic To Enlarge.

When there are two people that are accomplished, humble, and confident...animals die. Heads Up Decoy is deadly when there are two people working together. Bowhunting is about making memerois as much as anything. Having someone to experience a hunt with Heads Up Decoy helps keep the memories alive and furthers the bowhunting bond.

If you find yourself hunting with a partner, Heads Up Decoy has a product for you that can improve your results and create moments in the field that you won't believe until you experience it.

2016: Holding the decoy as my friend Nathan whizzed the arrow by my ear.
This is a screen capture of the arrow going passed me.
This buck is at 20 yards. Made eye contact with him before
I could get the decoy up. He was locked down with a doe.
Came posturing in from over 100 yards away.
Click Pic To Enlarge.

2012: Matt and Lucas Palmquist with 2 great mulies they shot in the same field
approximately 30 minutes apart. Both bucks were inside of 20 yards when the arrow made impact.
Click Pic To Enlarge.

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