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Whitetail Hunting with Kids

Having kids in camp is so much fun! We like to do most of our youth hunts in and around the holidays to give it a Christmasy feel. Kids generally are the greatest listeners and learners in hunting camp, and they want to learn how to use the firearms, the crossbow, or their compound bows properly. They love the education and the prospect of what is gonna happen, and as you go through that process, it’s a learning experience from the breathing control to the aiming points.

If we can share a few pieces of advice when it comes to getting kids involved in hunting is “Make it fun, make it fun, make it fun, make it about THEM.” If they want to bring a toy to the blind, it makes a lot of noise, that’s okay because they will get to that point where that will go away and they’ll understand being quiet and being successful. If they want to eat Fritos in a blind that are crunching, and hard candy, and shouting “Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, there’s a deer!” That’s okay too. You can use that as a quiet, fun teaching moment. Let them evolve. Let it be about the time outdoors and the bonding experience. So, just make it an enjoyable trip, so if they come back and then are hooked for life, and that they’ll pass it on to their children down the road.

So this episode starts with Steve Lovell from Garmin bringing his Son Isaac to deer camp in search of his first whitetail buck byways of a TenPoint Crossbow and the new Garmin Xero® X1i crossbow scope.

Before heading out to the field, Isaac first spends some time learning how to use the TenPoint Havoc RS440 Crossbow fitted with a Garmin Xero® X1i crossbow scope he’ll be using for his hunt. Once he’s out in the field, it’s only a matter of time before a tempting buck makes an appearance, and it’s up to Isaac to do the rest!

As we round out this episode, we’re taking a look at one of our favorite times of the year at deer camp, it’s the annual youth hunt! Landon Nessl has been a mainstay at our youth hunts in the past and this year he’s taking a step back to let his best friend, Walker, have a chance to get on the gun. As usual with kids in camp, Walker and Landon take some time to get their guns sighted in at the range, and then it’s time to get hunting!

Throughout Walker’s hunt, we’ll see an incredible display of the patience and determination that hunters learn over their hunting journey, along with a good dose of buck fever. After making the difficult decision to pass on a couple of bucks that would be considered great firsts, Walker finally sets his sights on an even more impressive buck than the first few he laid eyes on. Will he be able to bring this big guy home and talk about him for years to come? Tune in and find out!

Hunting During the Peak of the Rut

It’s mid-December here in Texas, which means two things, Steve Nessl of Yamaha Outdoors is in camp, and the rut is in full swing!

Steve is rifle hunting with a Thompson/Center Venture II Weathershield equipped with a Trijicon Credo HX Riflescope in an area we call “The Big Bluff”. What makes “The Big Bluff” a great spot is that you can sit high above an expansive valley below seeing every move the deer make.

Now Steve has sights set on a big shooter that’s been roaming around the area. With the peak of the rut going on however, there’s no telling whether or not that buck will even make and appearance. But that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of rutting activity to witness!

Deer Camp – Pt. 1

One of the many things that goes on at the Yamaha Whitetail Diaries Deer Camp (that most people don’t see) is the amount of rigorous field testing that goes on to test out the latest products in the hunting industry.

Brian Flaherty of TenPoint Crossbows is at the Yamaha Whitetail Diaries Deer Camp to field-test some new products and the new TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO Crossbow.

Ten Point and Garmin have teamed up to deliver the world’s fastest crossbow-per-inch of length and the most accurate long-range hunting crossbow ever. The TenPoint Havoc RS440 Xero featuring Garmin’s Xero X1i Range Finding Crossbow Scope and Brian has carved out a few days to hunt with it here in South Texas. Brian is also debuting the TenPoint HALO bowpack at first of its kind in the hunting industry.

Brian’s hunt is an exciting one that you won’t want to miss! From being overrun by sheep to having bucks bed down next to his deer blind, Brian experiences some incredible encounters including a hunt that concludes with everyone scratching their heads.

Steve Fills the Freezer with a Management Buck


Steve Nessl of Yamaha Outdoors has one tag left to fill and has been hoping all over the deer lease in the Yamaha RMAX 1000 Side-By-Side with the Yamaha Whitetail Diaries Crew. He’s found a spot near clearing where a pipeline was dug and is hunting out of a Muddy Box Blind during the peak of the rut.

As always, he’s looking for an old mature whitetail or even a management buck to fill the freezer. With only one day to hunt, and a thick morning fog in the forecast ,who knows what will happen on this hunt!

Whitetail vs Cattle

Outdoor Writer Will Brantley is headed out in a Yamaha Wolverine X4 Side-By-Side to a Blackout pop-up blind in a brushy cactus and mesquite-filled bottom that both deer and cattle feed for an afternoon bow hunting in South Texas. This pop-up blind is located where several game trails converge.

There’s no telling what or where the whitetail will come from, but Will is ready and eager to draw back on a mature whitetail!

Wade’s Favorite Whitetail Encounters


Throughout the years, Wade has had some incredible encounters hunting whitetail across the country. For this episode, we’ll take you into the hills and prairies of Montana and Wyoming, then into the Texas brush country where each time Wade has had a memorable entry into the Yamaha Whitetail Diaries.

Our first stop is in the fields of Wyoming, over-shadowed by the Devil’s Tower National Monument. Wade finds himself at Four Horse Outfitters, on a spot and stalk hunt, which is predominately the way you hunt whitetail deer in the western part of the country. After a long morning of glassing alfalfa fields, getting busted, and encountering bedded-down bucks, Wade decides to set up in a natural causeway between where the bucks tend to bed down and where they go to feed. But Mother Nature has other plans as a cold front is on its way threatening to drop the temperatures by 40 degrees.

The next hunt we highlight is another western-style hunt where Wade has spent multiple days hunting whitetail in Montana during the rut. However, the big bucks rumored to be in the area have not made an appearance yet and Wade is about to call the hunt off. While driving his Yamaha Side-By-Side around the property hours before he has to get to the airport to head home, he spots one of the big bucks that roam the area, and the hunt is on!

The third hunt that we look back on in this episode, was a monumental one for the hunting industry. This hunt was one of the first-ever hunts with the (at the time) brand new Garmin Xero Bow Sight. The day before the opening day of bow season, Wade receives the Garmin Xero Bow Sight and gets it set up on his bow just in time for a morning hunt the next day. He picks a tree stand on the Wendlandt Ranch in Central Texas where deer have been known to feed in the mornings. This area has a multitude of shooting lanes and the deer can come from anywhere, this setup is perfect for what the Garmin Xero Bow Sight was designed for.

Our fourth and final hunt is probably our most infamous one. So famous in fact that the whitetail deer known as Pincushion has been forever immortalized in the “Cabela’s Big Game Hunter” video game along with Wade himself. If you don’t know the story of Pincushion then let us provide a quick recap. Pincushion had been hit by two previous bowhunters in the past and survived to make it to the next season. On a very wet, and rainy day at the Yamaha Whitetail Diaries deer camp, Wade ventured out to the killing tree with his TenPoint Crossbow. With Pincushion the furthest thing from his mind, Pincushion appears in front of Wade and his heart beat begins to climb.

Hunting with the Yamaha Wolverine RMAX


Scott Newby from Yamaha joins us in deer camp following the annual Yamaha Writer’s Event. In this episode we’ll learn more about Yamaha’s newest Side-by-Sides and then later, Scott is off to the Guajillo for an evening rifle hunt.

Scott has really evolved and come a long way as a hunter. Scott is very patient, very passionate, and wants to do the right thing, which is a great testament to somebody when it comes to hunting.

Scott being in camp is also an opportunity to learn more about the new Yamaha Wolverine RMAX Side-By-Side’s functionality. In this episode, Scott heads across the deer lease in the Yamaha Wolverine RMAX2 and shows us why this recreation side-by-side can handle anything you throw at it when it comes to hunting.

The area where Scott is hunting is called the Guajillo, an expansive valley flat type area with a couple of oak trees in the backdrop where we have some tripod stands set up. This area is a rifle hunter’s dream! This is perfect because Scott got a lot of time perfecting long-range shots with the Thompson/Center Compass II and Trijicon Huron Scope combo we got set up for him.

With the possibility of 300 – 500 yard shots never knowing what will show up at any given time, this is sure to be an exciting hunt!

Yamaha Racers Go Hunting


The 2021 Yamaha Writer’s Event brought some of Yamaha’s top racers from the Yamaha Racing Team to the Yamaha Whitetail Diaries deer camp to put down their racing gear and pick up their archery equipment. The hunting conditions for the Yamaha Writer’s Event will be challenging for our hunters. They are going up against a 20+ month drought in the area. So a lot of deer have broken up already, and it’s early season.

The first hunter we go out with is Chad Wienen, a seven-time AMA Pro ATV MX Champion. Chad has only shot a bow recreationally before now, so this will be the first time he’ll take to the woods with it. He’s looking to not only get his first whitetail but to fill the freezer and feed his family. However, Chad must battle buck fever to bring that meat home.

Our other Team Yamaha Racer, Walker Fowler, is a Six-Time Grand National Cross Country XC1 Pro ATV Champion, and he brings all the eagerness and excitement that only a first-time hunter can express. Walker has chosen to pick up a TenPoint Crossbow for his hunt, and he’ll be venturing out in the all-new Yamaha Wolverine RMAX2 Side-By-Side.

It’s tradition each year for Yamaha to bring outdoor writers to the Yamaha Whitetail Diaries Deer Camp to showcase Yamaha’s lineup of Side-By-Side vehicles in a real-world off-road environment. The purpose of this is for the chosen writers to get real-world and hands-on experience with the Yamaha vehicles instead of just reading a press release. This year, however, Yamaha shook things up and brought in two racers from their racing division. Chad Wienen & Walker Fowler are both multi champions in their respected racing divisions were introduced to the Yamaha Wolverine X4 and the Yamaha Wolverine RMAX2 Side-By-Sides. These vehicles were their means of transportation as they enjoyed a week of hunting and trail riding with these Proven Off-Road Vehicles.

Choosing Hunting Rifles

Choosing a hunting rifle can be as simple as being passed down to you from your grandfather, your father, family member, or a friend or it can be as extensive as a guy has a collection of 412 guns and he wants to add number 413. Or it could be that you have saved every dime that you possibly have to get your very own first hunting rifle. Because of that, there are a lot of different spins, twists, and important things to look at when it comes to choosing a hunting rifle.

We also open up the conversation about hunting big game with modern sporting rifles. Modern sporting rifles have a unique stigma on them. When you look at a modern sporting rifle in the hands of a hunter, it’s a really finite tool. It is designed to be able to perform in a lot of different situations.

One such rifle is the Smith & Wesson M&P10® Modern Sporting Rifle is packed full of features that one can only find from the Smith & Wesson Performance Center. This modern sporting rifle is a hunter’s long-range dream firearm setup that is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. That type of caliber has caused some debates around the deer camp and shooters alike. We get into the meat of it sharing where we think it excels and where it may not be the best choice.

We’ll even join Wade as he ventures out on a rifle hunt to showcase not only what the 6.5 Creedmoor can do when hunting for whitetail deer but also talk more about how the Trijicon Huron Riflescope is the ideal riflescope for hunters.

Big Texas Buck!


Wade Middleton heads back to an area he’s had both good and bad memories at. Near this exact location was the scene of one of the most bizarre endings to a hunt he’s ever had that you’ll be able to see again. As we dive deeper into this hunt we’ll see just why this new area near that same spot is holding a lot of deer and why Wade has chosen to set up a pop up in the shade along the creek for an early season rifle hunt.