2015 Indiana Deer Season for Tiny T by Brett Steele

Tiny T takes a weekend off to fill the freezer!  

It has been awhile since I have added to my blog and it's something I wish I did more of.  I think it is fun and interesting to follow others blogs that share interest of mine.  I want my blog to be about my journeys, interest, and family....not just strictly about photography/videography. 

Most people know that I love everything outdoors and love hunting, specifically archery hunting.  It's more of a challenge to me; draw bow without being noticed, wait for your desired game to come within range, and hold a steady aim to have flat arrow flight.  It's all around more rewarding to me.   

Since early archery season opened for us here in Indiana on October 1st I haven't had much time to hit the woods.  Busy with taking clients pictures almost every evening as the fall colors really erupted, which is a good thing!  Always happy to have a busy photography business.  I managed to sneak out a couple of times on a couple evenings I had off.  

It was the first week of November and my folks were at the Clear Lake Pub have a drink.  A family friend was there and over heard my dad talking about hunting.  The gentleman knew that I didn't have much ground to hunt other than state owned ground here in Steuben County.  Somehow it came up that I was beginning weekends off from my full time job (which come once every month and a half) and was planning on hunting hard them days.  That night my dad called me stating that the gentleman was giving me a three day pass to hunt his land.  I was EXTREMELY stoked about this offer!  Finally have a chunk of ground with no worries of another hunter stomping in on me.  Mid-week I met with a family friend that I grew up hunting with to have him to show me around the property and the stand placements.  Over the years we busted a lot of bunnies together.  He was great friends with my grandpa John who we lost in 2014.  Needless to say he should be a guide. He took me to a ladder stand that I felt was perfect for bow hunting.  I climbed up the stand and had good shooting lanes in all directions.

On Friday night I made my first attempt to the woods.  Not much moved all evening besides a army of squirrels and waterfowl flying above.  It was nearing the last 45 minutes of sunlight when I had two nice sized does moving south from the north.  I was pumped!  Heart was beginning to race with excitement.  I was in the middle of texting my wife about my evening and seeing how her and our daughter we doing.  I quickly snapped a picture on my phone and sent it to her say, BRB (be right back).  The does still continued towards me as if they were going to walk right under me.  I had the biggest one at 25 yards broadside, but I figuring they would stay on their same path.  Boy was I wrong.  They turned and walked towards the west at 20 yards covered by brush, no shot!  Ugh!!  I was starting to fear I lost my chance.  Finally the smallest doe stopped at 40 yards to graze and I had the biggest doe at 35 years perfectly broadside......no more games.  I came to full draw and let my Bowtech 82nd Airborne release the Rage!  Perfect shot and she only ran 15 yards and came to rest.   

2015 Archery Doe - Low light selfie from iPhone 6s

The next morning I went out with high hopes!  I snuck in and got to the stand as quiet as I could.  Just as there was enough light I could see about half a dozen does and one small buck in the ran bean field to the west at approximately 300 yards.  I watched the small basket eight point chase a few does around as if he was a stud!  I grabbed my doe bleat can and tipped it 4 times to see what I could draw in.  As soon as I completed my third bleat that small buck was on a steady pace towards me.   Without a pause he was at 25 yards in no time.  He hung out eating from what was left of a small food plot for about ten minutes.  I strongly debated during that time on harvesting him.  Good body, just not the size of rack I typically like taking...because I like the wait for the "big one".  Which doesn't come very often!  I texted my brother-n-law and a co-worker asking their thought if I should shoot as if it really mattered.  Ha!  I ending up passing on him because I still had those does at a distance and by this time a bigger buck chasing a doe.  Only caught a quick glimpse of good horns.  Shortly after the deer cleared that field and I didn't see another for a couple hours so I climbed down and headed for my truck.  That following evening I spent time with my wife and daughter.  

Sunday morning came and it was COLD!  I was hoping that it was going to make the deer active.  I took extra time to walk to my stand because of the frost making my every move a bit louder than normal.  I was within 75 yards of the stand and I kicked three deer up out of the food plot.  I was both bummed and excited to what the rest of the morning would bring.  I climbed up and got all my gear situated.  The morning really started off slow.  Just a few squirrels and a farmer next door cutting down a tree.  Some time past and I looked up and saw my first deer, a small buck moving my way.  It was a very small basket 5 point.  I made up my mind, if he presented a shot I was going to take it.  Although not a trophy "rack", but I was more than happy to have meat and a archery kill.  All my pre season practice coming together and the joy making my heart race.  The 5 point came in and I came to draw three times to take a shot; first at 35 yards and then 22 yards, but he moved behind trees so I couldn't take a shot.  Finally on my third attempt I had he broadside at 15 yards.  My heart was racing and breathing starting to flare up (again there's just something to harvesting deer with a bow and arrow compared to a firearm) as I came to full draw to punch a hole in my buck tag.  I took a deep breathing and from behind me I heard a loud crashing sound.  I looked to my left and saw a doe running.  I brought down my bow because I would rather shoot a doe than a small buck that can grow up.  

As I put my full attention during this short time towards the doe, I realized that it was being chased by a nice buck!  Not a record book buster, but defiantly a nice deer.  The small buck bolted out of the area as this happened and I reached for my game calls.  I hit my doe bleat twice, grunted at him a handful of times, and ended the sequence with two snort wheezes.  That buck and doe wanted nothing of me as they tore out sight to the south.  There I sat excited for that thrill and bummed because I had no deer on the ground after coming to full draw so many times. I sat back down heartbroken and pulled out my phone to search eBay for Christmas ideas.  About ten minutes passed and I look to the south and saw movement from a shadow at about 125 yards.  My first thought was that it was a squirrel running, but then realized that the shadow was too big for that.  I pulled up my binoculars and took a peek.  To my surprise that buck was on his way back to me.  No way did I pull him off that hot doe!  I reached into my pocket and hit the doe bleat once more to keep his attention towards me.  That bleat did the trick, he began to run towards me closing the distance quick.  I grabbed my bow and came to full draw.  I looked at the rack just to make sure and knew it was a nice buck.  At that time I didn't care about the amount of points, but big body and decent rack!  He came in to 15 yards and stopped perfect after I did a small mouth grunt.  I steadied my aim and pulled my trigger on the release.  The buck did a small back kicked and tore out of there in a small loop heading south and to the east.  He stopped at 70 yards.  I was looking at him through my binoculars and shaking to no end.  I was going to watch him fall too!  To my surprise he flicked his tail and walked a couple steps out of my sight.  I was confused and bummed thinking maybe my shot was a touch high.  I waited about 20 minutes and climbed down to look at my arrow.  Arrow was covered in blood and the path he took was covered as well with blood half way up a tree.  It just amazes me the cutting power behind Rage broadheads.  I stuck my arrow in the ground to mark the spot and snuck out of the woods in fear my shot was high.  I wanted to give him some time.  

On my walk back to my truck I phoned my dad to come help with tracking.  He had shoulder surgery so wouldn't be much muscle power, but always great to have my pops along.  We gave the deer about a hour and a half.  I drove back to the food plot and parked my truck.  We got out and I showed my dad the location I shot the deer and put my arrow back into my quiver.  My dad was shocked at the amount of blood on the ground and on the tree within feet of my shot.  We followed the blood trail, which was easy!  It was like someone threw blood from a cup on the ground.  I was shocked the buck went as far as he did.  We tracked the blood to where  I lost sight of him from the stand.  As we crested the small hill, my dad pointed him out about another 20 yards ahead.  I still followed the blood trail as I normally always do.  We got to the buck and checked to make sure he was done.  Hell yeah!!  High fives all around.  My dad snapped a couple pictures with my iPhone to send out to friends waiting to hear the word as I went back for the truck and my true camera inside.  I drove a bit closer and grabbed my camera and tripod.  I wanted to take a picture of both my dad and I with the deer for memories.  

2015 Early Archery Indiana Buck

One heck of a year for me!!  Memorable weekend for sure.  

Small ending note for my fellow hunters..  It's that time of year again when you like to take photographs with your trophy whether it be a doe or buck of any size.  Be a class act when doing so!  Not sloppy.  You know the ones; photos of deer with tongues out, bloody stomach cavities, hunter riding the animal or in the bed of a pickup with trash all over.  You DO NOT have to be a professional photographer or have expensive camera equipment to take a photo of you prize deer that is respectful to the animal and non-offensive to those who do not hunt.  Please keep it classy this hunting season.  Remember there is a small percentage who hunt, small percentage who are anti hunting, and biggest percentage of people who don't take either side, they just don't want to see the sloppiness posted to social media to draw a negative image to the wonderful sport of hunting.  They respect both sides of the field.  Be happy and proud of a given right to hunt!  It literally took me seconds to clean up my buck and doe for a proper picture!

Click HERE for a link to 8 Ways To Take a Bad Photo with Your Trophy.

Take care and happy hunting.  Be careful!!

2015 Youth Hunt Video by Brett Steele


This is my first blog post and I figured there's no better way to kick it off than by sharing with you about Steuben County Turkey Tracks.  

I am fortunate enough to be among the great people that make this event happen every year.  Steuben County Turkey Tracks is a hunt put on for kids that are handicapped and/or terminally ill that have a desire for the great outdoors and great fellowship with friends.  The Steuben County chapter is a branch of Turkey Tracks Hunt - Eric Corey Foundation.  Eric Corey had the passion for making great friends and chasing wild game.  His main slogan was "It's not about the hunt, it's about the friends you meet".  Sadly Eric lost his battle to ALS in January 2012.  Since then Doug and Carol Corey, Eric's parents, have went full steam ahead to make events like this happen in Indiana, Michigan, and Tennessee so other kids can have chances to hunt as their son had.  

This year we had twelve kids sign up to come to our county to chase thunder chickens April 18th & 19th.  All the families had to do was make it to our lodging location, this year being at the Comfort Inn in Fremont, Indiana.  The Steuben County Turkey Tracks organization pays for basically everything that is needed for these families to have a great weekend away from the doctors office.  We cover their hotel expense, meals, licenses and sometimes have supporters gift the families with fuel cards to assist on their transportation to our county.  To go along with the families that stroll into town for our youth weekend, but we have an overwhelming support from our community.  We get amazing guides that go head over heals for these kids, landowners gifting their turkey filled grounds to just our organization, individuals donating money, and businesses gifting money or hunting items to be given out during our banquet night.  Without everyones support this weekend would not be a success.  A big THANK YOU goes out to everyone.  

For me it is a bittersweet weekend.  I get the stress of helping the other committee members pre plan months in advance to make sure it's a bit better than the years previously.  Once that Friday hits there is no sleep to be had.  Wake up early to make sure everything is ready for that first morning arriving to the hotel hour before the first person wakes up.  For the past three years, John Deem and myself are the report car.  We float around the county patiently waiting for our phones to ring about a bird down.  That's were my bittersweet comment comes into play.  I thoroughly enjoy hearing and seeing everyones smiles of excitement, but I also love sitting in the blind too.  In the end, my whole weekend lugging around pounds of camera gear and cameras truly captures what this event is all about.  That is what means the most to me!  

At a conclusion to the weekend we had a amazing year.  Beautiful weather to go along with amazing turkey action.  Seven of the twelve kids were able to lay the smack down!  One kid was about to come back during regular with his dad to pull out a awesome double with his guides!!  

So spare 12 minutes to kick back and relax to watch this years video, click here