Sunday, November 7, 2010

Campbell Outdoor Challenge

Team Up North Journal takes first place in the Campbell Outdoor Challenge Whitetail qualifier by successfully filming the successful harvest of a 239lb. 8-point buck and a 151lb. doe. We arrived in Carmi, Illinois at 10:00am Saturday, October 23. The ten competing teams selected their hunting areas through a random drawing and were allowed to scout the areas that afternoon. The challenge began Sunday morning with the conditions not being ideal for hunting with 20-25 mph winds and the temperatures reaching the upper 70s. Even with these tough conditions, most teams were able to get some good footage but there were no successful harvest videos for the first two days of the competition. Tuesday morning, hunting was canceled due to tornado warnings and hurricane-force winds. After the storms passed and conditions improved, teams were given the choice of seeing their secondary hunting areas or continue hunting the primary areas. I chose to continue hunting our primary area because we were seeing quite a bit of buck activity, just no shooters in range. The area that I had chosen to place our stand was a hardwood flat on the bank of the Wabash River. Most of the trees were chestnut oaks or commonly called "swamp chestnuts". The deer were browsing through this area in the mornings and evenings on their way to and from the cut corn and bean fields that surrounded the hardwood flat. Wednesday morning we woke up with temps in the upper 30s but the wind was still howling at 20-25mph. We saw several small bucks and a few does on our morning hunt. I noticed that the deer were focused on several red oaks that were scattered in with the swamp chestnut trees. I decided to move our setup downwind of a large red oak that was dropping acorns. I knew that this would be a hot tree because of the fresh sign underneath. About 45 minutes before dark, a spike and a large mainframe 8-point came in and began picking up acorns under this tree. The 8-point turned broadside for me at about 35 yards but Randy couldn't get him in frame because of a tree obstructing the camera view. The deer continued to feed on acorns and Randy finally said "I've got him in the camera; take the shot". The buck was about 45 yards away and working his way out of range. This wasn't the shot I was looking for but I knew it was now or never so I turned the arrow loose. I could tell by the sound of the impact and the way the buck ran off, it was hit hard. We found good blood and I could tell the deer was lung hit. But after blood-trailing him for about almost 250 yards with a small flashlight, we decided to pull out and resume the search the next day when we had better light. Thursday morning, we found the buck about 50 yards from where we had marked the last blood. The filmed buck harvest put us in 1st place going into the last day but it was a close competition and I knew that we needed a doe harvest to hold onto the lead. Friday morning about 7:45am, we had 7 does and a small 8-point working their way into range and began feeding under the same red oak that I'd taken the big 8 from. I was able to make a 20-yard shot on a 151lb. doe that sealed the deal for team Up North Journal. My camera man, Randy Adams did a great job filming both hunts under tough conditions. The first place win earned us a spot in the 2011 professional Campbell Outdoor circuit. This is a 4 hunt challenge against the top pros in the outdoor filming industry and guarantees a $100,000 purse to the winner. Additional information can be found at

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