Author: Darron McDougal

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Darron McDougal, a full-time freelance outdoor writer, has resided in central Wisconsin for his entire life, except for a 2-year jaunt during which he and his wife, Becca, traveled and lived in a fifth-wheel camper. Becca often hunts with Darron and is an integral part of his publishing success, capturing professional-grade photography that often accompanies his articles. The McDougals do minimal deer hunting around their home. Instead, they love to hunt DIY-style, primarily on public lands, out west. Hunting unfamiliar territory has its thrills and challenges, and it truly tests a hunter's prowess. Despite the low success odds of this hunting style, Darron has done very well, and he accredits his success and accomplishments to God. So far, he's hunted whitetails in 11 states and harvested deer in nine. He enjoys hunting all sorts of wild game from turkeys to hogs to elk. He also occasionally mentors youth or beginner hunters. While bowhunting is his preferred method, he doesn't think twice when a rifle, shotgun or muzzleloader hunt fits his schedule. He's been shooting archery for nearly three decades and has 20 years of hunting experience.

Turn up your deadliness with these quick tips. The muley buck nudged the doe until he was situated broadside and 61 yards away from me. I knew my opportunity would soon fade, so I promptly drew my bow, put the correct pin on his side and released. When I first saw my arrow’s trajectory, I worried that it would whizz over the buck. Instead, it dropped perfectly into his chest just behind the shoulder. He sprung off and within a short distance, his legs gave out. The dandy 4×4 buck was mine. Nothing in bowhunting satisfies like watching an arrow…

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Unsure if you should go with a vertical bow or a  horizontal bow? Consider these points. A debate wages among hunters. Some believe crossbows should not be considered legal bowhunting equipment. Others believe crossbows are 100% superior to compound bows and should be legal to the fullest extent. Which stance is right? I say neither. Any individual who practices sound ethics and follows all hunting regulations is a legitimate hunter, and the choice to use a crossbow or a compound bow is up to that individual alone. In other words, bite your tongue about someone else’s equipment choices. Let’s agree…

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Don’t overlook the effectiveness of an elevated ambush. That day, you could’ve heard a pin drop—which is a rarity on the normally gusty South Dakota prairies. Dawn cracked slowly that November morning, and with the onset of legal shooting light came the rustling of an approaching deer. I was hunting 20 feet up the only tree large enough to hold a treestand in a little thicket I’d found the previous day with trails intersecting in multiple places out front. My pulse quickened as I stood, lifted my bow from its hook, and studied the brush for an emerging buck. When…

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Say Hello to the West’s Best Entry-Level Hunting Experience: Antelope The inquisitive buck meandered through the alfalfa toward the pop-up blind where my brother Brad and I were hiding. At 50 yards and broadside, my opportunity had arrived. I anchored, hovered my pin on the buck’s lower-third chest area, and launched my arrow. Unfortunately, the arrow lobbed just over the buck’s back. The previous day, I’d taken quite the spill and dropped my bow when I caught my foot in a prairie dog hole while running to cut off a traveling buck. I hadn’t checked then to see if my…

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Fundamentals Every Bowhunter Should Know Before Hitting the Elk Timber Every year, groups of hunters get busy planning their first archery elk hunts. Anticipation runs high and everyone is mentally and physically stoked. Afterward, the 20-some-hour ride back home only adds insult to injury, in many cases. Wait! It doesn’t have to be that way! Elk hunting is never easy, but your first elk hunt can look very different from what I just described. Harvest or not, you can have a very positive time chasing elk and you can learn a lot of information to apply on future hunts. The…

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I have 20 deer seasons under my belt, and Lord willing, I’ll have many more. While I have many mule deer and Whitetail racks in my home, I’m not too proud to say that I should have many, many more. I’ve made countless mistakes over the years that have cost me big time. Of course, deer are smart critters with the home-field advantage, so many of my hunts have ended in disgust rather than a victory in a short blood trail. The cause of those errors has usually been one or two completely avoidable mistakes. Sound familiar? LESSONS 1 Needlessly…

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We discuss whether trail cameras should be part of your hunting program. Trail cameras. They provide definitive edges to modern hunters. They provide key details to an-imal-movement tendencies, plus they show us what’s roaming around our hunting areas. Early hunters didn’t have those advantages. But, the question is, are trail cameras purely beneficial, or do they have negative sides, too? Absolutely. In fact, trail cameras can actually hurt your hunting strategy in some instances. In this article, we’ll break down the pros and cons of using trail cameras to help you scout and put the pieces of the puzzle together…

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