On October 5th Justin Olk climbed into a brand new set that he and fellow DreamPoint staffers JD Fox & Andy Swan had hung months before. Justin knew deer were moving through a section of CRP on the North end of his farm but pinpointing an area worthy of hanging a stand proved to be more difficult than one would think. After hours of scouring the area the guys made the determination that a small draw must be the point of entry leading from a bedding area directly to food. There wasn’t much for trees or cover but they found a cherry tree and made the best of what they had to work with.
A month later the trail cameras proved they had chosen the right spot. Plenty of activity and to everyones suprise a buck named “Stud” was showing up on a regular basis. Justin had some history with this buck from the year prior. During muzzleloader season Justin had his crosshairs on this deer but unfortunately the camera wasn’t on him so he lived to see another day. That spring JD found his shed in a brassica field on the North end not far from the new stand. At 6 1/2 years old he had packed on another 15″ and entered “Booner” status.
Since “Stud” was tops on Justin’s list, it was a no brainer that he would hunt the new stand that had seen so much activity during the months prior. With hopes to catch a glimpse of him, he settled in for a long sit.
The weather was perfect and so was the wind. A front had moved through only hours before keeping daytime highs 15 degrees cooler than the day before. Only an hour into the hunt, Sam, who was running the camera, saw a deer stand from it’s bed only 80 yards away. Immediately the two knew who it was.
Over the next hour Stud slowly made his way through the CRP being ever so cautious. Slowly inching toward the the draw in which Justin was sitting it was clear he was going to present a shot eventually. When that moment came a perfectly placed Easton FMJ hit its mark and put Stud down for good running only 90 yards from the stand.
Justin’s first Booner was a buck he knew well and was on a mission to harvest. Stud weighed 300+ lbs and scored 182 1/8. DreamPoint continues to be on a roll this fall and with months of whitetail season still open ahead of Justin, who knows what may happen next…
Earlier this summer Justin Olk logged on to the Michigan DNR website, half heartedly checking to see if he drew the most coveted tag in Michigan – a Once In A Lifetime Either Sex Elk tag. With thousands applying and over 112,000 chances among the masses, Justin had accumulated 7 of those chances by failing to draw over the last 7 years. Expecting another year of disappointment Justin had to read the words on the screen 2-3 times before realizing it wasn’t a dream. “Congratulations, you have drawn a Either Sex Elk Permit”!!
Dennis Cassleman, father to Justin’s good friend Preston Cassleman happened to be an elk guide and had a reputation as one of the best in Michigan. Naturally, plans were quickly made for the hunt. In Michigan, once you draw this tag (one of less than 60) you may never apply again whether you are successful or not. With a herd estimated between 900 – 1000 animals, less than half of which are bulls spread over 4 counties of Norther Michigan’s most remote wilderness areas, Justin knew he had his work cut out for himself.
Due to prior commitments for Extend Your Range TV Justin would only be able to hunt 7 of the 12 day season. After the first 5 days of hunting in well above average temps, a bull hadn’t even been spotted. On the second to last day Justin left his bow at the cabin and dusted off his rifle. With only 2 days left in the season if Justin did happen to spot a bull he didn’t want to loose the opportunity to fill a Once In A Lifetime tag if a bull wouldn’t come within bow range.
That morning began with a 2 1/2 mile hike from the trailhead deep into the Pigeon River State Game area. This is a walk-in only area, no horses, no ATV’s.
At first light bulls could be heard bugleing in the distance. Seemingly out of nowhere a bugle was heard only 1/4 mile away. A plan was quickly made and set into motion. Rounding a corner and stepping into a small meadow Justin spotted the bull running to the sound of the cow calls. Seconds later Justin had harvested the most coveted trophy a Michigan hunter could claim, a Michigan Bull Elk!
Sharing the experience with good friends Preston and Dennis Cassleman, their families, and cameraman Andy Swan is a memory none of them will ever forget. Patience is a virtue.
When Justin received the news that he’d drawn a New Mexico Elk tag this past summer visions of bugleing elk crept into his dreams for months. The tag was for a unit not known for the same type of giant World Class elk that are found in other parts of New Mexico but this zone did hold a larger number than most. The goal was to find a mature P&Y qualifying bull to harvest.
Hunting for the third time with United States Outfitters Justin was sure he’s be in the elk but nothing could’ve prepared him for day one.
Bulls were bugleing from the moment Justin stepped outside the truck to begin his ascent up the days first mountain. Throughout the day Justin glassed over 100 head of elk which included at least 30 different bulls. A few stalks were made but mostly Justin was content to soak it all in. Sometimes just being in the mountains in September is good enough. To make the day even better, 8 different bears were spotted, two within 20 yards, and all but 1 were different phases of color. Mix in a few coyotes and some mule deer to top things off.
Day two brought much of the same as the day before. Glassing from atop a mountain peak, a good wide 5×5 was spotted about a mile away. With cows to contend with the stalk would be difficult but certainly worth a shot.
Minutes later Justin, cameraman Sam Zeeb and guide Isaac were closing fast and within 100 yards. Oddly the cows started to slowly meander away while the bull raked a small Juniper. With the bulls eyes closed, and plenty of cover noise being made from all the thrashing, Justin made a beeline directly at the bull. Within seconds Justin had closed to within 30 yards but had no shot into the thick scrub oak. After what seemed like forever the bull finally walked into an opening 41 yards from Justin’s position. A quick cow chirp to stop the bull worked perfectly as the arrow hit it’s mark. 100 yards later Justin was holding his second P&Y qualifier from New Mexico.
Most of us have dreams the night before the opener about killing that trophy buck who seems to always be one step ahead. Rarely does that ever happen on opening weekend, unless you are Field Staffer Jimmy Rand.
Back in 2010 Jimmy shot a 3 1/2 yr old buck that he had never seen before. No trail cam pics and only one encounter. Unfortunately the shot wasn’t lethal and the buck lived to see another day. In 2011 the buck returned and was one of the most visible deer on Jim’s Stealth Cams. Due to the injury from the year before the bucks left antler was deformed but even at only 4 1/2 he was still the largest bodied deer on the farm. It was because of this Jimmy decided to name him “Heavyweight”. Heavyweight never showed within bow range that year but the cams proved he was making the farm part of his home range. In 2012 Heavyweight proved to be just as smart as the year before. Always showing up on Stealth Cam, but never showing when Jimmy was in the tree.
This year Jim found one of Heavyweight’s sheds 10 yards off a G2 food plot and made it his mission to harvest Heavyweight at 6 1/2 years old. After some intense spring scouting Jimmy found the thicket that he was living in. After completely changing his strategy Jimmy went all summer without a single trail cam pic of the big bodied 6 1/2 yr old.
On opening weekend Jim’s cameraman was unable to film so Jimmy was left on his own to get the job done. A few hours into the hunt on Wisconsin’s second day of the season, Jimmy watched a buck rise from his bed and stretch his back. It was Heavyweight!
Minutes later the buck was eating in a G2 Food plot when he turned broadside and offered Jim a 45 yard shot. The arrow hit a little farther back than he liked to see so the decision was made to back out and return in the morning.
The next day Jimmy found Heavyweight less than 100 yards from his stand. After 4 years Jimmy finally knocked Heavyweight down for good!
One of the hunts that the DP crew looks forward to the most every year is the annual Antelope hunt with Tyler Sims Outfitting in Wyoming. This hunt usually kicks off the fall season and is a great way to get things started. Tyler’s outfit offers an incredible amount of game and the quality is incredible.
This year JD was hunting Antelope for the first time. After passing on 3-4 bucks on day one Justin was able to film JD harvest his first speed goat. With plenty of game continuing to arrive at the water hole, the two switched it up. Justin grabbed his bow while JD manned the camera. An hour later Justin had arrowed another P&Y qualifier at Tyler Sims Outfitting.
Day three proved to be the day for Mitch as he “Extended His Range” to 60 yards to harvest the weeks biggest Antelope.
No better way to get the fall season started than a hunt with Tyler Sims Outfitting. Great friends, delicious food and awesome memories.
This spring Justin again traveled north to Alberta in search of monster black bear. In 2013 the focus was arrowing a seven footer or better. Good friend and bear guide Luke Smith had recently began guiding in a new area along the Peace River that hadn’t seen hunters in decades so naturally hunting with Luke again had Justin excited.
The first few evenings were anything but slow. Color phase bears, plenty of 6 1/2 footers and even a few wolves showed up, but nothing over 7 foot. By day four Justin made the decision to move to a new bait as a sow with cubs was aggressively defending the bait site he had been sitting on for the days prior. The sow had been running off any bear that attempted to feed and with no signs of her leaving continuing to hunt that specific bait seemed futile.
On day five of a six-day hunt, Justin rolled the dice and decided to hang a stand on a new bait that had never been hunted. Without knowing anything other than the bait was getting hit, he settled into the stand on his second to last evening. After a very slow evening, in the last 15 minutes of camera light a twig snapped in the distance. Seconds later the massive bear appeared. After what seemed like forever the bear finally approached the crib. As light faded the giant bear finally stood and began to walk off giving Justin the broadside shot he was waiting for.
30 minutes later, in the darkness of Alberta’s northern bush after sunset, Justin finally put his hands on his largest bear to date. The big boar measured 7 1/2′ foot with a skull measuring just short of 20″. A world-class giant without a doubt.
With a tag still in his pocket and one day left Justin and cameraman Sam Zeeb decided to spend the day on the Peace River exploring new baits without any pressure at all to harvest. In the end Justin succeeded in his quest for a 7 foot bear and the last day was spent laughing with old friends and reminiscing about a hunt Justin will surely never forget.
On a beautiful mid-April weekend in Illinois Justin, JD and Andy were able to scour one of our favorite farms for shed antlers. Right off the bat, Swanny was able to find his first shed of the year.
Minutes later JD went on a hot streak finding 3 within a 50 yard circumference. First, JD came across a real nice antler from a buck that we couldn’t identify but we sure hope to see him this fall.
A few minutes later as the three walked through a G2 Extreme Brassica food plot, JD almost stepped on a massive shed from a very well known buck named “Stud” tangled in the DreamScreen. Justin had a very close encounter with “Stud” during muzzleloader season. While walking to the stand for an afternoon hunt, Justin spotted the giant 5 1/2 year old buck trailing two does. As Justin settled his crosshairs on the bucks shoulder, Sam Zeeb was trying frantically to get the camera on the deer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in time and Justin decided to let the buck walk with the hopes to see him another day.
Throughout the afternoon the three were able to find many more sheds from younger bucks but while looking at the last 20 acres of this farm Justin was able to locate a giant shed from a buck called “Razor”. Razor was never seen on the hoof however he was one of the most photographed bucks on the farm during the summer. The trail cams never caught a single picture of “Razor” in hard-horn but as you can imagine there was reason to celebrate knowing the buck was back on the farm and will hopefully be visible this summer. The shed scored 82 1/8.
At the end of the day 12 antlers were found totaling over 500″ of bone! Looking forward to this fall already!