Backyard deer hunting

Inexpensive food from the outdoors

Archive for February 2010

Barnett RC-150 Crossbow – Approved

with 5 comments

The Barnett Ranger was a good fit for this young hunter, although an adult would have to cock it for him.

A video version of this announcement is at

I just learned from David Barnett that this crossbow will be discontinued. This was not unexpected as the company (and the industry in general)  is upgrading its crossbows. If you are disabled, or have poor arm strenth, get one of these now, before they disappear. I hate to see it go. It is a useful instrument and needed for young and disabled shooters, even though it is not as durable as its higher-cost replacements.  

  At about $236 Barnett’s RC-150 is the lowest-cost crossbow in the company’s line.  I killed a deer with an earlier model called the Ranger, which uses the same frame, but had a simple stave bow. I  was interested to see how a compound-limbed RC-150 would perform.

The RC-150 as part of a lightweight hunting outfit.

  The Ranger took a doe with a 20-yard shot and the RC-150  killed a similar  doe at 10-yards.  Both crossbows gave double-lung penetration and rapid kills. These crossbows use relatively light-weight arrows, and I would recommend that their use be restricted to about 25-yards.

  Because of these crossbows’ adjustable stocks and light weight, they are very useful for individuals with weak or missing limbs. They also had reasonable 3-4-pound trigger pulls with a bit of creep. These crossbows cannot be expected to be as durable as those costing hundreds (or thousands) of dollars more, but they can provide a low-cost introduction to crossbow hunting and will kill close-range deer. Despite their small size and light weight, these are serious instruments and are not toys.

  For more on this and other crossbows, consult my books, Crossbow Hunting and also Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound. 

  Products and/or payment was furnished by the manufacturer.

Written by hoveysmith

February 28, 2010 at 9:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tree Lounge Tree Stands – Approved

with 28 comments

The Elusive Whitetail climbing stand is a stable stand that is liked by many, paricularly women.

I regret that Tree Lounge closed its doors for the last time the Spring of 2011. I enjoyed supporting the company and was rooting hard for it to survive. To the best of my knowledge no one is offering products, accessories or support for Tree Lounge stands. The stands are heavy, rugged and will last for decades if  reasonably cared for and not hung on a tree for years in all weather. If you are lucky enough to have one with the accessories, take care of it. The original designs will be worth more every year that you own it,  provided that it is kept in good condition.


Tree Lounges’ original Tree Lounge ($299), Ground Lounge ($79) and Elusive Whitetail climbing stand ($279) won my enthusiastic endorsement. I have used the Elusive Whitetail and Ground Lounge for two years and have been very satisfied with these excellent, American-made products.

Original Tree Lounge, made the way it ought to be

To view a  3-minute video go to . Tree Lounge was among the first really successful climbing stands. Margarete Hice and her late husband Bob, sold the company; but got it back after the buyers failed in their attempts to produce the stand in China and mass-market it.

Production of the original Tree Lounge has returned to Georgia.

Ground Lounge. Ideal for turkey hunters to pre-position on field edges.

New stands including the Ground Lounge, Ladder Lounge and elusive Whitetail climbing stand have been added to the line and all are made in the U.S.

These stands are now sold exclusively through their website to cut out the middlemen and offer maximum value to buyers.  All of these stands use square aluminum tube construction with steel pins and fastenings. The only thing that I add is a cushion when I sit in the Ground Lounge.

Products and/or payment was provided by Tree Lounge for the placement of this ad.

Written by hoveysmith

February 27, 2010 at 8:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3-Minute Seminar: Marketing Books, Movies and Creative Content in a Down Economy

with one comment

  Below is a 3- minute video that touches on some of the topics that I have in a 40-minute CD, “Marketing Books, Movies and Creative Content in a Down Economy.”

  This video was done following a visit to the Macon, Georgia, Film Festival where I found that many people who were interested in books, video production and making movies had not been exposed to the realities of modern marketing. The approaches presented in the following “short-short” and in a longer 40-minute CD, will also work for artists and others who make physical objects.

  If you are a creative person of any sort and have not just got out of College where they taught marketing as a vital part of surviving as a creative individual, this is worth a look.

Written by hoveysmith

February 26, 2010 at 10:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Cooking Deer Stew

with one comment

Written by hoveysmith

February 23, 2010 at 2:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Getting Muzzleloading Rifles and Shotguns Ready for Turkey Hunting

with one comment

An antique Brunswick .69-caliber smoothbore used to take a turkey with a load of shot.

  I saw the first flights of returning robins coming through Central Georgia yesterday, so Turkey season is not far away. Simultaneously, I received notice that I had been drawn for a hunt on some state lands that has a nice population of birds. I have hunted there before. I know the ground, I know where the turkeys are and now is the time to get guns and gear ready.

  In Georgia shotguns and muzzleloading rifles are legal for turkeys. On some hunts you are also allowed to take any wild hogs you see, which makes using a muzzleloading rifle very attractive. Wild hogs as well as coyotes will sometimes come to turkey calling, particularly to the “lost bird” call. If you are going to use a muzzleloader, you need to make sure that it is sighted in at 20 yards or so.

  A caution is that you do not shoot a turkey as it approaches. If you hit in the chest, the bullet (even a .50-caliber round ball) may pass through breast meat and wing feathers which will have the bird fly off and be lost. Take your bird when the tom is facing sideways and aim low enough to go through the lungs and backbone.

  Largely unappreciated is that even fast-twist muzzleloaders will shoot patched round balls very accurately provided that the powder charge is reduced to about 50 grains of FFg in .50-caliber rifles. This charge is sufficient to nail any turkey and can also take hogs with good shot placement. This is a more potent load that the .45 Long Colt or .44 Special;  although a little on the light side for deer hunting.  

A crossbow killed turkey that was shot with a blunted arrow designed to remain in the bird.

  Crossbows with X-shaped cutting blades that are up to 2-inches long can work too. These will cleanly take the head off the bird which does not make for very attractive photos, but is instantly disabling. The deal here is that there must be absolutely nothing between you and the bird that might deflect the arrow.

  If you use either muzzleloading or cartridge shotguns, PATTERN YOUR SHOTGUN AND KNOW WHERE IT SHOOTS. This is something

Pattern your shotgun and know where it shoots.

everyone has been told to do, but many do not. Heavy turkey loads very often shoot below the point of aim. It is better to choose a 1 1/4-ounce load that shoots to the point of aim than a 2-ounce load that does not. If you use the heavy turkey loads you will often be forced into using a scope or adjustable sights so that you can shoot to the point of aim.

  Turkey cooking instructions are in both Crossbow Hunting  and Backyard Deer Hunting converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound while I will have  load information for muzzleloading smoothbores in the 2011 Gun Digest and in my forthcoming book Xtreme muzzleloading: Fur, fowl and dangerous game with muzzleloading rifles, smoothbores and pistols.

Written by hoveysmith

February 21, 2010 at 7:54 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Cooking Deer, Wild Hog and other Wild Game Livers

with one comment

Wild hog liver with attached gall bladder. The bladder is removed before freezing

  The liver from wild-game animals has traditionally been consumed in deer camp. More often my game livers are extracted, frozen whole and eaten at home. While deer liver is generally considered safe to handle, it is no great trouble to slip on a pair of rubber gloves when cutting and processing liver. Gloves must be used when handling hog and bear livers as these can contain  blood-born parasites that can cause serious diseases.

  That caution given, remove the gall bladder (free in deer liver, attached in hog liver) and the pancreas before freezing. I wash the liver to expel any excess blood and remove any surface contamination. Cut away any parts that have been ruptured or cut by a bullet or arrow, but otherwise make few cuts, except to partition into one-meal portions.

Wild hog liver and onions with potatoes.

  Before cooking, allow the liver to semi-thaw and then cut into slices about 3/8ths- inches thick. Remove any large blood vessels that may still be attached. Start canola or olive oil heating in frying pan. Coat liver in flour, salt and pepper mixture. When oil is hot fry liver, taking care not to be hit by popping oil when you add the liver.  Brown liver on both sides, remove and drain. Pour off excess oil. Some coating will be stuck to pan, let that remain.

  Dice two medium Spanish onions and add to pan. Put on medium heat. Scrape pan with spatula until onions caramelize and any stuck-on residue is free. Return liver to pan and add water to cover. Allow liver to steam until tender. Serve hot with pan scrapings and onions on top.

  As a variant, put left-over liver on bottom of dish and add cooked  spinach with a  sprinkle of cheese on top. Reheat for 15 minutes, garnish with sliced hard-boiled eggs on top and serve.

  Small livers from geese and turkeys are incorporated into giblet

Deer liver pate.

gravy (see recipe in my books Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound and X-Treme Muzzleloading: Fur, fowl and dangerous game with muzzleloading rifles, smoothbores and pistols (Summer, 2010).    Or crushed, the veins removed and mixed with mayonnaise to make a pate.

  Huge livers from moose and the like, are often made into liver sausage.

Written by hoveysmith

February 16, 2010 at 9:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Stryker Crossbows for $750

with 13 comments

The Stryker with its built-in crank cocker enabled the author to take these two backyard deer without climbing down from the stand to recock the crossbow.

  I recently visited Bass Pro’s store in Macon, Georgia, and in the bargain area they had reconditioned Stryker crossbows for $750 compared to their release price of about $1,700. These crossbows were factory reconditioned with factory warranties, cases and accessories. 

 The Stryker made a splash 2-years ago as the fastest crossbow on the market. It reported a speed of over 400 fps with a heavy arrow which attracted immediate attention. Since then BowTech (the maker) has brought out lower powered (and much more user friendly) crossbows that are better suited to the average hunter. 

  The reason that the Stryker was discontinued was because it was too big, heavy and complicated to please most hunters. After receiving a sample and shooting it extensively, I found no mechanical problems; but expect to replace strings about every 100 shots. 

  This high-speed instrument is a specialized tool for the person who wants to push the comfortable limit of crossbow hunting to 50 yards. The arrow drop at 50 yards is about 6-inches when the crossbow is zeroed at 20 yards. I had no mechanical problems with the crossbow, even when a string broke. The instrument appears to be  sufficiently “overdesigned” so that the limbs will not fly apart when the string fails. I particularly like the way it drives very wide-bladed mechanical points, like the Grim Reaper with extra long blades, through game.  

  Compared with the present high-speed products from PSE, which either use an AR-15  trigger assembly platform or another model which has a non-gun firing mechanism, the Stryker is much better as a hunting instrument and does not require special factory-furnished arrows. 

 Things to watch for with the Stryker concerns the strings. In storage, particularly in hot weather, the strings will stretch and change the bow’s zero. This can be corrected to removing the strings, shortening them by twisting and using the factory-supplied restringing cables to reinstall them. These strings will ultimately fail and must be kept waxed and the rails lubed for longer use cycles. They will polish the deck somewhat and the second, and subsequent strings will last longer than the first. 

  For anyone who shoots from a stand and wants longer range crossbow capabilities or who has to have the “baddest” crossbow on the block, the Stryker at $750 is an outstanding buy.

Written by hoveysmith

February 11, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized