5 Quick Tips for Newbie Hunters

These 5 tips come from experienced hunters.

Waiting for Hunting Season to start? So is he! *

Smelling ‘Right’

After washing  your hunting clothes and drying them in open air,* add your boots to a large plastic bag, along with the crushed leaves and other vegetation from your hunting site.  Seal it closed and allow to ‘steep.’

The odors will seep into your clothes, making you fit into the smell of the area you plan to hunt.

Your Hunting Boots

Don’t wear your hunting clothes or boots when you are adding gasoline (or any other fuel) .   Experienced hunters also avoid wearing their clothes/boots in diners or ‘greasy spoons.’

These scents (gasoline, kerosene, cooked food odors) cling to clothing and boots.

Did You Know?

Your wrists, like your scalp, lose heat rapidly.  Blood flows close to the skin surface in both places, requiring covering to keep you comfortable while hunting.

As you can imagine, keeping your wrists covered is a challenge while shooting or using a bow.  Gloves are effective, but they might interfere with your shooting.

Lots of hunters have started using wrist bands (used by athletes, tennis players, etc.) — either without gloves or under gloves and/or mittens.

Playing it Safe in a Tree Stand

Every year,  several hunters die falling from their tree stand or when their gun discharges while climbing into  their stand.

A safety belt: It’s an important piece of gear  for anyone using a tree stand.  Safety isn’t it’s only value; it also helps steady your aim for distance shots.

A properly adjusted belt will end the fear of falling — thus adding to your enjoyment of the hunt!

Deer are Excellent Swimmers

When hunting for a suitable hunting spot, look for water!  Deer seem to consider water as a barrier to detection.  Deer do not hesitate to enter water.

They are known to swim beaver ponds and swamps, as well as wade creeks to escape from hunters and dogs.

When looking for deer, be sure to scan the banks for trails leading out of the water and up the bank.  As creatures of habit, they may come for water and/or cross the river or creek at the same place.

This is a great site for a hunting spot!


* Your dryer has ‘dryer sheet residue’ (complete with fru-fru smells). Hang them out to dry instead.


If you found this useful, please pass it on to a friend!  Thank you!

‘Great Eight’ rear window graphic is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com


More Tips About Ghillie or Camo Wear

What Will You be Hunting?

To me, the factor that seems to affect concealment most is the type of game you are going to hunt. Deer, elk and turkey bow hunting calls for more sophisticated concealment than most other game.

Generally, deer, elk and turkey have more experience with hunters – outsmarting them  requires a more thoughtful approach. Some hunters have gone to the next generation of ghillie suits

  • with ‘scent-lok,’
  • suits that look more like leaves and
  • making sure their suits don’t make noise!

Scent Lok

Garments made with Scent-Lok fabric promise to keep your scent out of the wind for up to 40 field hours before it needs to be reactivated (in a dryer). These are useful with game (especially deer and elk) that rely on their sense of smell to avoid detection.

Lurking on the ‘Net

Besides buying garments with ScentLok, it can be purchased individually to spray on clothing.  While following a forum discussion on the HuntingNet (www.HuntingNet.com), I noticed the hunters with experience were telling the newbies that they didn’t buy it or use it.

Briefly, the attitude seemed to be “I’ve never used it and I get my deer limit every year.” Who can argue with success? A similar attitude is: “Before camo and ghillie suits, people used to hunt game — and did just fine.”


Click for More Info!

This Ghillie Wear only Covers the Head & Torso!


If you want the natural fabric — jute or burlap, choose one with fire  retardant (some kits include sprays, so you can renew the retardant qualities of your suit).

More About Material vs. Climate

Where will you be wearing these suits? Real burlap suits are better  suited for areas with colder weather. Some burlap/jute garments have  been reconfigured so they are cooler to wear (Netting and suit  information tags will notify you if the garment has this quality)·

Ghillie garments with FAUXLIAGE,™ offer a durable fabric that breaks up  the human outline without the bulk or noise.  This product  – and ones like it – offer soft leaves to break up the hunter’s image (see the lower right image).   Some of the  advantages of the synthetics are: rot-resistance, washablity, light weight, quiet and they come in a variety of colors.


Face Veil

Face Veil

Noise and Ghillie WearMovement and noise are criticial ways larger game are able to avoid being some hunter’s trophy. If your ghillie wear rustles (think about the ‘swish’ of nylon pants), you have problems.

Some ghillie suits have nylon and/or plastic. These are the fabrics that seem most likely to make noise when they are rubbed together.  Check yours!


In the past few years, new fabrics and finishes have changed the idea of concealment – Hunters have more choices than ever before! 


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

A Few Tips on Buying a Ghillie Suit

The Original Ghillie Suits Were Awful

Originally, ghillie suits started out as low tech garments. All you needed


Ghillie Suits are Available for Virtually Every Region - From the Woods to Snow-Bound Canyons!


were several burlap sacks, nylon thread and some patience. But take it  from me, those suits were awful!

How do I know? MDH* talked me into making one – perhaps 30 years ago.

At the time, the ghillie suits were horribly expensive to buy. We learned the hard way — you REALLY had to love hunting to wear one of those things. They were very hot (we live in Texas), incredibly itchy and stank. Heaven help you if it rained; the stink turned rotten.

The Origin of the Ghillie Suit

Scottish gamekeepers were the first to use ghillie suits, to help them catch wild game for the table. Along with the bad smell, itching and heavy weight, they were flammable.

With all these negatives, it’s hard to imagine anyone wearing these concealment suits willingly!

The good news is — all that is behind us. Ghillie garments now come in a wondrous array of fabrics and weights. The camo suits vary between one and four pieces!

Want to Make Your Own Camo Suit?

You may be thinking about making your own ghillie. There are places on the Internet that offer directions. Having done it myself, let me give you a tip.

The materials will cost as much as a fully constructed suit – and you will still face dozens of hours of construction.  If you use burlap sacks – please make sure you use fire retardant each time you wear them!

Things to Consider

Under what conditions will you be hunting?  If you mostly hunt in warm weather, choose a light weight garment.  On colder days, you might need to wear a jacket under your camo.

What will you be hunting?  The game you’re going after has a large influence on the camo you wear. Many smaller animals have poor eyesight. As long as your shape is broken up by pattern and you blend into the background – fine.

However, deer and sharp-eyed turkeys require more careful pattern selection and color choices. Deer only see two colors: blue and yellow.

They do not see blaze orange, but do notice patterns that are not consistent with the background. In other words, if you stand out from the background – it’s a bad plan.

Turkeys, unfortunately, have wonderful color-distinguishing abilities. Therefore, the patterns and colors must make you part of the background.

What will be the dominant colors of the terrain?  You will be the loneliest hunter around if you are walking around in a desert-colored pattern (beige and light browns) in a snow-bound area!

By the way, you don’t have to be a fashionista while you hunt: Matching jacket and pants are not required! In fact, if you are moving around, it is better to have differing patterns for your top and bottom halves.

As long as you are quiet, the break in patterns will make it harder to catch your movements.


* MDH = My Deer Husband 🙂


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Anyone Out There? Questions for My Readers!


Calling all Readers!

Calling All Readers!


Just want you to know that it gets mighty lonely in my Ivory Tower, issuing,  ‘Calling all Readers!’  pearls of fascinating lore.

If there is anyone in cyberspace who has read my article:  Hunting News: Why You Just Might Not Get a Turkey or Deer this Year or A Few More Facts About Deer Hunting — I’d love to hear how you are handling this issue.

Hey, I’m even willing to listen to anyone who hasn’t read either article!

Briefly, hunting clothes purchased from China AND/OR washed in detergents have UV brighteners. This is a real bummer if you are hunting either of the two species with extremely sharp eyes — the turkey and deer. Essentially, folks with brighteners in their hunting clothes “glow” — making it very easy for the turkey and deer to elude those hunters.  Either of the mentioned articles has a photo of the “bright, blue, glowing hunter.”

What I’d like to know is

Are you concerned about the issue?

Have you tried the product mentioned (UV Killer)?

Did it work? As well as advertised?

Have you discovered an alternative method of removing (and keeping out) “the glow?” What is it and how does it work?  Inquiring minds want to know!

I appreciate your input; thanks for taking time to respond. (No Mom, you don’t need to answer these questions. I want to see if I have any readers besides you!)


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Hunting News: Why You Just Might Not Get a Turkey or Deer this Year

That headline is rather unsettling, at best. Is it the truth or just someone’s (brilliant) scheme to sell a product?  If the headline is true — is there any other solution (than the promoted product)?  As with most things, the truth is somewhere in between.

The Problem


Turkeys Watch for Movement Much More than Colors!


In a nutshell, the problem is related to the UV brighteners in most clothing.  China produces just about all of the fabric used for clothing, including camo suits. Even before the cloth is printed, UV brighteners are added.


Deer Skitter Away When They Hear A Sound They Cannot Identify!

The largest group who would NOT want these brighteners added are — hunters. Why? The short answer is: Turkeys and deer see differently than we do and they do see the UV brighteners. It makes the hunter look like a bright blue blob.

The solution is obvious: Only buy hunting clothing without UV brighteners! Therein lies the problem; even companies that promise they have added no brighteners — parts of the garment (pockets, lapels, etc.), may have been brightened before sale to the clothing manufacturer. So, what can you do?

Buying New Camo Clothing

First, you will need a black light. Lots of sports stores carry black-light flashlights.  Check the camo clothing you already own. If you need new garments, the black-light flashlight will be an important tool. Shine the light over all portions of garments you are considering.  If it glows, it has UV brighteners.  Remember: Almost all camouflage, blaze orange, street clothes and detergents have UV brighteners.  If you have washed, even once, your hunting clothes in regular detergent, UV brighteners have been permanently added to the garments.


Before your britches get bunched,  😉  let’s pause and consider some aspects of this problem. Folks in the forums have taken positions on both sides of the aisle.  Some posture the idea that our ancestors did just fine hunting with what they had at hand. Of course, they seem to be forgetting that our fore-mothers didn’t have brighteners (UV or any other kind) in their clothes washing kettles.

Others espouse the idea that they’ve ‘done fine in the past, so what’s the big deal?’ Some hunters are of the mind that they should use every tool at their disposal.  Where are you on this issue?

The Long View

I will admit that the photos of hunters in “hot UV” clothing is pretty damning! They certainly do look like big blue blobs.  However, I’m not planning to burn all of my husband’s hunting clothes, even though they have all been washed in detergents.

I’ve decided to take the long view: Reading the reports by the scientists conducting the tests, I can see there is a problem. However, the scientists admit that deer and turkeys see this “blue glow” at two distinct times: early morning and late evening. This is during low light conditions. True, deer seem to be more active during these times. During regular daylight hours, the animals’ eyesight seems to be less acute.

Implications and the Real Considerations

If you are concerned about this issue, there’s a product available that will remove the UV brighteners. It is manufactured by ATSKO (www.atsko.com), the U-V Killer. Once this product eliminates the “glow,” you will need to always use their washing liquid to keep the fabric safe.

Another company is touting their wool hunting garments as an alternative to the ‘glowing goods’ that seem to be rampant in the stores today.

However, I think there is something close to  ‘undue concern’ about the glowing hunting goods, to the exclusion of issues that just might matter more.  Deer are much more sensitive to scent — and they can detect scent from much greater distances. There are some products that promise to remove scent from the hunter.  I wonder if they work because deer are alerted when there is no scent, as well as when there is too much human smell. I think movement is another important consideration, that has been sidelined during this discussion.

The same studies (referred to above), make certain recommendations about camo clothing.  Having patterned clothing that blends in with the landscape is more important than its color. The scientists warn hunters about wearing large patches of unbroken color. Two specific materials are discouraged: vinyl and plastic. Why? Because they reflect light. It is not the color of these two materials that’s important, but the fact that light reflects so readily from them.


Only you can decide how important this issue is to you. Perhaps the UV brightener-killer is right for your needs. However, I read something from R. Henshaw (on a forum) recently. He suggested purchasing a large box of 20 Mule Team Borax. “Wash your hunting clothes in that, do not use fabric softeners, do not use dryer sheets.  Problem Solved!!!!!”

I’ve decided that ‘it’s a plan.’ Before I try the high-priced solutions, I’m going to keep it simple.  Another idea I’m considering: Repair MDH’s (my deer 😉 husband’s) old hunting clothes, languishing in the back of a closet! Until recently, when textile manufacturing moved to China, this was a non-issue, no problem. I’m also planning to check out thrift stores in our area for camo not bearing the tag, “Made in China.”

**For more info about the amount of borax to use, go to article, “Words of Wisdom & A Bit of Humor” and look at the bottom paragraphs.


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com


“Bird Cleaning 101” for Hunters

By the time you have paid to hunt, purchased everything you need, traveled to the site, etc., you may have spent a couple of hundred dollars. So when you look down at your “catch” and see a couple of birds/ducks/whatever, you are looking at some high-priced meat!

(These directions are the same for most fowl.) Often, hunters tell me that they discard the wild birds because of the “gamey” taste. That is a shame! Perhaps a review of some of the tried-and-true methods of preparing freshly caught game would help.  Wild birds are gourmet fare and some careful handling will ensure that your birds have eye appeal and superior eating quality.

First Steps in Bird & Duck Cleaning

Field dress your birds immediately.  Remove the head, bleed and remove entrails. Wipe the body with a clean, damp cloth.  While tending to your next bird, you should leave the cavity open on the cleaned duck for good air circulation. If the outdoor temperature is not cold, it is important to get the birds into a cooler as quickly as possible.

Aging Your Waterfowl

To reduce gamey flavor and develop tenderness, aging is the next task. How you do this is based on whether or not the bird has been plucked at this point. Many prefer to skin the fowl; it’s easier. However, by plucking, you retain moisture and flavor.

If your bird is unplucked, hang it at a temperature between 40 – 45 degrees for 3 or 4 days. Fully plucked birds can be safely aged under refrigeration (between 35 – 40 degrees) for 3 to 4 days.

Rough Pickings

Remove the wings (at the joint nearest the body) and feet (at the first joint above the feet). Now that you are sure that your duck won’t fly or walk away, let the plucking begin. 😉

Most hunters prefer to pick ducks dry, rather than when they are wet. Keeping your fingers moist will help speed the process.  Holding the carcass firmly in one hand, use the thumb and index fingers to pluck feathers.  Remove the down feathers by rubbing the thumb firmly across the bird.

Pluck that Duck

Pin feathers call for a different technique. Use a knife’s edge and your thumb to pull those pesky pin feathers.  Another way to get the downy feathers from a bird is to singe the carcass. The flame will burn off the down.

Another way to remove feathers is to remove as many feathers by hand; then submerge the outer skin of the fowl in melted paraffin. Remove the wing and tail feathers before repeatedly dunking the bird’s skin into the hot wax. You should have a bird or duck thickly coated in set wax. As you pull off the wax, the downy feathers come too.

Final Words – Packing, Freezing, Using

After this much effort, it is important to wrap your birds in quality, moisture and vapor-proof, freezing paper (or plastic).* They can be stored 9 to 10 months at 0 degrees. To thaw, place package in refrigerator for 12 to 18 hours.  According to our nutrition specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Frances Reasonover, “This slow thawing will tenderize the meat.”

* A friend, with a lot of freezer space, puts his birds/ducks in a empty milk cartons and fills with water. He never has to deal with freezer burn.

Now your ‘catch’ will be safe, clean and delicious!


Where do I get paraffin? Hardware stores; Wal-Mart; look on grocer’s shelves next to the canning supplies!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on September 30, 2008 at 10:43 am  Comments Off on “Bird Cleaning 101” for Hunters  
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Today’s Hunting Joke: Be Quiet

A father and son went hunting together for the first time. The father said, ‘Stay here and be very QUIET. I’ll be across the field.’

A few minutes later, the father heard a blood curdling scream and ran back to his son. ‘What’s wrong?’ the father asked. ‘I told you to be quiet.’

The son answered, ‘Look, I was quiet when the snake slithered across my feet..

When the bear breathed down my neck, I didn’t move a muscle.

When the skunk climbed over my shoulder, I closed my eyes.

And I held my breath when the wasp stung me.

I didn’t cough when I swallowed the gnat.

I didn’t cuss or scratch when the poison oak started itching.

But when the two chipmunks crawled up my pant legs and said, ‘Should we eat them here or take them with us? …Well, I guess I just panicked.’


— Thanks again to Dorothy139


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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on September 6, 2008 at 1:46 pm  Comments Off on Today’s Hunting Joke: Be Quiet  
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