Ben Rising vs. Scrape Master – Illinois Booner

My first trip of the year to hunt Illinois is always a exciting time, just being able to leave your own state and leave work behind is a welcome feeling. Earlier in the summer I had strategically placed some trail cameras on field edges, future scrape sites and tight pinches that were easily accessible on the farm I was hunting – looking for a potential candidate to hunt in the fall of 2016. I also had prepped in the summer by hanging some of the HAWK Heliums in some major travel corridors between doe bedding areas close to some normal breeding scrapes anticipating pre-rut and rut activity.

The cameras never lie and after getting pictures of a buck I nick named Scrape Master, the pursuit was on. I knew by the intel that if I was to encounter him and get a shot it would be in one spot close to his favorite scrape that I always got his picture. I had secluded access that allowed me in and out without a lot of detection and the Helium KickBack afforded me the comfort I needed to sit all day when those daylight pictures started showing up.

The Story of ‘KNEE HIGH’ – 172″ IL Brute

With a season of trials and tribulations drawing to an end, Evan Smith climbed into his stand on the 1st of January with high hopes of harvesting a deer he called Knee High. Little did he know that only thirty minutes after being in the stand, that very deer would be standing twenty yards in front of his dad. Evan’s dad, Craig Smith, passed on the deer knowing how hard his son had worked to have the chance to harvest him. The Illinois giant slowly made his way through the hardwoods, where he would soon put on a show for Evan. As he came into view, it would take 12 minutes, a scrape and a rub to get to the moment of full draw. This would become the hunt of a lifetime for Evan and also a hunt that proves a fathers love for his son!


Score: 172 1/8″

Age: 5 1/2 yr old

Date: 1/1/16

Location: Illinois

Treestand: Helium XL

Other Gear: Ranger Traction Climbing SticksSpeed Retract Hoist Reel

Summer Prepping For Whitetails

With the unofficial start of summer here (Memorial Day Weekend), there’s just one season that now separates us from climbing back into a stand for 2017. As summer days slip by, crunch time sets in and only time will tell if all the hard work during summer months will pay off.

In light of those long, hot, bug filled days we’ve compiled several articles we believe may provide some new insight to your summer scouting & preparation. None the less, hopefully some fresh reading to pass the time before Fall.

1) 4 Step Process to Planting Food Plots – Bone Collector 

2) Mark Drury’s Top 10 Pre-Season Scouting Tips – Mossy Oak

3) 6 Classic Summer Mistakes Most Deer Hunters Make – Wired To Hunt

4) Safely Hanging an Invisible Treestand – Robinson Outdoors 

5) QDMA’s Guide to Summer Food Plots – QDMA

6) 7 Steps for Taking Better Trail Camera Pictures – Outdoor Life

7) 11 Steps to a Perfect Deer Hunting Treestand Set-Up – Wired To Hunt

8) 3 Camera Locations for Summer Deer Inventory – Bucks Bulls & Bears

This summer grab your boots, trail cameras and a cold one at the end of the day – Deer Season 2017 is on the horizon.


Days are growing longer, birds are gobbling and crops are being planted – No doubt Spring is here. Below are a few of our favorite photos to remind us just how much we love Spring & everything it brings.


Easily found in a field nearby, toms can be seen strutting nation wide. Photo @Heartland Bowhunter


With strutting jelly heads comes high stakes. Photo @Heartland Bowhunter


Spring is here & so are the ‘Birds & the Bees’. Photo @Heartland Bowhunter


A quick reminder that he’s still out there. Photo @The Legends of the Fall


Listen closely, he’s bound to be heard sooner or later. Photo @Bone Collector

Caught mid stride, this gobbler lets out a bellowing blow. Photo @Team Radical

6, 7, 8 – COMRADERY

Spring is often best shared around a tailgate with a few buds. Photo @Small Town Hunting

Fresh harvest wrapped up in bacon set over a bed of hot coals. Photo @Whitetail Fix

Bringing families closer one gobble at a time. Photo @Bone Collector


Grab some oil & turn the fryer on high! Photo @Team Radical


Taking up close and personal to the next level. Photo @Small Town Hunting

How can a strutter at 10 steps not get your heart rate going? Photo @Bone Collector

12, 13, 14 – SPURS FOR DAYS

We’ve got a limb hanger! Photo @Heartland Bowhunter
And another! Photo @Small Town Hunting
Got Hooks? Photo @The Break TV


A Spring morning well spent. Photo @Final Draw
A different perspective. Photo @Team Radical

Looks like Tom got a headache from this deal. Photo @Trevor Olson

Picture Perfect. Photo @Heartland Bowhunter

Everyone loves a quick nap in the Spring sunshine! Photo @Whitetail Edge

Home of the red, the white and the blue. Photo @Heartland Bowhunter

Who said bowhunting was just for whitetails? Photo @Alpha Strong

Receive emails with stuff like the above weekly – Click Here


I have been blessed in my 29 years of archery hunting to take a lot of great whitetail bucks, but never did I imagine I would have the opportunity at a deer of this caliber. November 14th, 2016 I headed to north central KS with my good friend and cameraman Wes Cooper to go hunt with Cody Kuck and Heartland Pride Outfitters. We met up with Mike Hunsucker and Brandon Franklin midday and headed west in pursuit of some giant whitetails. We did not arrive in camp till 10:30pm, but we were all pretty excited and stayed up till after midnight putting a game plan together for Tuesday. It did not take long to realize Cody and his guides had done their homework and showed us a good number of nice bucks that he had on the farms we would be hunting. Tuesday morning we started scouting at sun up and then spent the next six hours slipping in and hanging stands. We ended up hanging two sets on two different farms about three miles apart. Of all the bucks Cody had pics of, there was one non-typical that I really hoped to get a crack at. Only problem was he seemed to be the only shooter on that farm while the other farm had four different shooter bucks using it. We decided that first evening we would try hunting the non-typical.

With unseasonably warm weather the deer activity that afternoon was not great for Wes and I. Mike and Brandon on the other hand were on a big buck that afternoon, but could not get him close enough for a shot. Wednesday brought much of the same warm weather patterns and we decided to hunt the other farm near a pond. That morning we had an encounter with a shooter but he stayed just out of bow range. It was a long all day sit as the temps climbed up to 70 degrees. Sitting by the pond offered a great deal of waterfowl to keep us entertained, but by the end of the day we had only seen 4 deer. With a cold front moving in that night we had high expectations for the 3rd day.

I wanted to give the non-typical one more opportunity and the wind was perfect out of the NW that morning. The draw we hung the stand in was only about 600 yards long and maybe 100 yards wide with a CRP field to the west and a winter wheat field to the east side. We had our stand on the east side of the draw about 300 yards from the north end where the bedding area was located. That Thursday morning, November 17th, we climbed into our Hawk Helium XL stands before sun up with no idea what was about to go down.

At day break we had a doe come from the SE that caught our wind and right away we started to question our stand choice. After she spooked, I decided to rattle and a couple nice two year olds came in to check things out. About 8:45 I picked up the horns again and before I could finish my sequence, a nice three year old came to within ten yards of the tree. It was just one of those special mornings that the bucks really seemed to be on their feet and cruising. About 9:15 Wes and I were chatting it up in the stand and he asked me what the non-typical looked like. I got my phone out and pulled up a pic to show him. As we were looking at the picture I looked up the draw and saw a deer heading our way. Right away I knew it was a nice buck and as soon as I got my binos up I knew it was him. We watched as this giant made his way through the draw, heading right toward our tree. As I reached for my bow I gave myself a little pep talk: “you got this, just keep it together”. The Lord brought him just far enough down the draw before he stopped and appeared like he was going to head back to his bedding area. By this time he was at 26 yards and I was already at full draw waiting for him to give me that shot angle I needed to seal the deal. As he turned to head back north I released the arrow. I knew the shot was a little back, but was sure it was good enough to get the job done.

As an archery hunter you live for that moment. I was flooded with emotions that I had no control over. Twenty-nine years of bow hunting and I had just killed my biggest buck ever. Not until Cody met up with us and we walked up on him did I realize just how big he really was. This buck’s trail cam picks did him no justice. We had all thought he would be pushing about 170 inches, so when we walked up on this 20pt 188 inch giant…well let’s just say there was no ground shrinkage. And just when I thought this hunt could not get any better, Mike ended up killing another great buck the following morning. There is always so much more that happens on a hunt such as all the stories shared and friendships made along the way. I was truly blessed to be given such a great opportunity at a buck of a lifetime and even more blessed to get to share this moment with such good friends!

Score: 188 inches
Age: 6.5
Date: November 17, 2016
Location: North Central, KS
Treestand Model: HAWK Helium XL Hang-On
Other Hawk Gear: Tactical Solo Tree HookXtendible Bow Arm

Watch the hunt for this Giant on the upcoming Season 10 of Heartland Bowhunter – Only on the Outdoor Channel.

Monday 08:30 AM EST

Wednesday 08:30 AM EST

Thursday 09:30 PM EST

Thursday 05:00 AM EST

Heartland Bowhunter – Facebook

Heartland Bowhunter – Instagram

Ty Easly Instagram – Instagram


Frankenmuth, MI— April 13, 2017 —  HAWK Group has hired hunting sporting goods industry veteran Jason Fuller as Chief Operating Officer.  He will report directly to Scott Lee, Hawk Group President.  Jason will oversee sales, shipping and customer service divisions, as well as hold responsibility for ensuring overall business operations are efficient and effective for streamlined distribution of goods and services to customers.

“Bringing Jason on board is one of the key steps toward building a fully integrated product to sales strategy and process. Jason’s deep experience, knowledge and exceptional operational skills add to our passionate team and will further advance Hawk Group to the next stage of operational maturity and sustained growth. As a fast-paced, high-growth company, Hawk Group and our customers will benefit immensely with Jason as COO,” commented Lee.

Jason has over 18 years of hunting industry experience in driving positive change and is a highly-experienced sales management executive with a proven record of developing strategies and business operations that drive business results. Most recently, Jason held National Sales Manager for G5 Outdoors, Quest Bows and Prime Bowhunting, in which he managed sales, customer shipping and customer service functions.  Past experience also includes distinguished work with Eastman Outdoors, Carbon Express Arrows and Gorilla Treestand brands.

“I’m really excited to be part of such an amazing company.  Every individual here has the desire to be best-in-class.  I look forward to growing with this team and becoming outright leaders of innovation and value.”

Jason can be contacted at [email protected]

Hawk Group is home of the popular and rapidly growing Hawk® and Killer Instinct® brands.


It was a windy rainy evening and I got off work early since we couldn’t cut beans. A buck I had been after the last few years was moving during daylight as I had tons of pics of him going out to my food plot.
I figured I could get a quick hunt in so I sat out in the rain and was getting soaked, but being a dairy farmer I hunt when I can. Not many opportunities to get out when it’s good due to taking crops off. I was sitting in my HAWK KickBack stand texting my cousin who was hunting the next property over, and was actually hunting the same buck. I caught some movement out the corner of my eye, and to my surprise it was the deer I was after standing up out of the beans on the top of the hill. He stood there and shook himself off, I’ll never forget it. Then he started shaking his head off and proceeded to bed back down. At this moment, this was the closest encounter I’d ever had with him and had never seen him more than one time the previous 2 seasons.
I thought about all the possible approaches hoping he would come in and walk right by me. Sunset was slowly creeping in and he just kept standing up, shaking off then bedding down. I had made the decision next time he beds down, to get down from my stand. With the wind and rain knocking down the noise from the beans, it was a perfect stalk opportunity. There was a small hill coming out of my food plot into the standing beans, I stayed low and crept slow and easy up the side of the hill. When I was about halfway up the hill I could finally see the tips of his antlers. Suddenly he stood up. I thought I was busted. After several anxious minutes he bedded back down again. I just kept moving slow. When I almost crested the hill I knew he would see me so I drew back and crested the hill. He stood up and looked right at me. My pin settled and I let the arrow fly. I planned for a duck, as he dropped hard and turned at 50 yards. The arrow stayed true on path and up being perfect, double lung shot!
(The above Photo: HAWK Fan Payton Oney several minutes after the stalk for his 206″ OH buck)
Score: Net 206″
Age: 5.5
Date: September 28, 2016
Location:  Ohio
Treestand Model: HAWK KickBack Hang-On

Ben Rising On The Hunt for a 215″ Kansas GIANT, Titus

The date was November 12, 2016 in Kansas, day number 11 of my two week long Illinois and Kansas trip. I had just harvested a 183″ gross p&y on Nov 7 a few days before on my lease in Illinois, grinding it out for 5 days in a HAWK KickBack and a Helium XL. So me and my camera guy Kyle we’re still on cloud-9.

We were hunting with my good friend Travis Lehman (Cedar Ridge Outfitters ). Travis and some of his previous hunters had located a true giant deer that they nick named Titus! Titus had proven to be a very unpredictable buck thus far and had not given any one a shot opportunity. After a discussion Travis showed me the farm that Titus frequently traveled and was nice enough to let me scout and hunt it a few days.

After getting my Two different sets of HAWK Heliums hung in what we felt was his main travel corridor it was time to hunt. We had to play the wind and access to the stand was key in not tipping Titus off to our new set ups. The very first morning on the new farm we caught Titus slipping back to his bedding area and checking for trails. He wasn’t real responsive to grunts so I backed off and had to watch him walk away, I did not want to over call and spook him. We sat out the whole morning but he never showed back up. We then had to get down at noon and move the sets for the next morning wind switch. The ease of hanging the Hawk stands makes this an easy and quiet task.

We got as close to the trail we felt he would use and got back in super early the next morning under the sound cover of a freight train. It was the coldest morning of the year so far and everything was frosted over. It just felt right! After a hour of daylight I knew we didn’t have much time and I was getting homesick and had planned to leave the next day.

Knowing we were close to his bedding area I decided I would just tickle my rattle bag like two bucks testing each other in Titus’s core! The idea was to just plain upset him not try to heavy rattle and spook him. It wasn’t three minutes later Titus was strolling right down through the timber with frost all over his back heading straight to me. The rest is history!!! 15 yard shot after an epic stare down at full draw and the 215″ 6.5 yr old monarchs reign had come to an end. It was truly a day to remember forever, I was truly blessed! You can watch it all for yourself in summer 2017 on our web show Whitetail Edge – YouTube and Carbon tv.

Score: Gross 215″
Age: 6.5
Date: Novemeber 12, 2016
Location: Kansas
Treestand Model: HAWK Helium XL Hang-On 
Other Hawk Gear: 20′ Traction StickXtendible Bow Arm

Whitetail Edge – Facebook

Whitetail Edge – Instagram 



Mufasa was a buck that I have had on trial camera the past few years. Last year, he showed up mid December which was after I had already filled my KS tag. He was huge, definitely the biggest whitetail I had ever had on trail camera. I knew going into 2016, he was going to be my main focus. I put out what I thought was way too many trail cameras this past summer in search of him. When in reality, it probably wasn’t enough.

I ran cameras all summer, but would only get pictures of him every 3-4 weeks. Then the calendar changed to October and the crops started getting harvested everywhere. Once the crops were out, I started getting pictures of him almost everyday. I made one mock scrape the first week of October. Then we had a few days of high pressure weather on the 8th and the 9th where I had him in daylight on the mock scrape.

There was a big weather front blowing in on October 12th that had some rain, high pressure and temperature drop along with the rising moon. I knew I had to hunt, especially with the recent trail camera pictures of him in daylight. We got to the stand early that afternoon, and the high temperature that day was only in the mid 50s. This was a big change from the 70 and 80 degree highs we had been having earlier that week.

It was a very windy day, but as soon as the sun started setting and the wind started dying down the deer started moving and filtering out into the cut corn field we were sitting over. We finally spotted Mufasa back in the timber making a scrape. He then walked out to the edge of the field and made another scrape. After the second scrape he made, he started to turn away from us and walk the other way. So I dug my grunt call out of my bag and grunted at him. He instantly snort wheezed back at me, so I snort wheezed at him. He started walking our way. We lost sight of him behind a big branch that was still filled with leaves. Seemed like an eternity went by, when actually it was only a minute or two and then he stepped out at 30 yards and came into 20 yards and made another scrape.

He went about 60 yards from that scrape and expired in the field. I honestly was in shock for hours after I laid my hands on him. It was a dream of mine for so many days to get a chance at him. Then it all came together so quickly in October! I couldn’t believe what had happened. I sat in the stand 4 times for him this year. Only hunting when the conditions were right.

He is everything I dreamed him to be. I am truly blessed and very fortunate to be able to hunt such a rare animal like this. I can’t thank all my friends, family and wife for all the encouragement along the way that helped keep me motivated.

Score: Gross 226 2/8″ Net 217″
Age: 6.5
Date: October 12, 2016
Location: Council Grove, KS
Treestand Model: HAWK Combat Hang-On
Other Hawk Gear: Tactical Solo Tree HookXtendible Bow Arm


Watch the hunt for Mufasa on the upcoming Season 10 of Heartland Bowhunter – Only on the Outdoor Channel.

Monday 08:30 AM EST

Wednesday 08:30 AM EST

Thursday 09:30 PM EST

Thursday 05:00 AM EST

Heartland Bowhunter – Facebook

Heartland Bowhunter – Instagram

Trent Siegle Instagram – Instagram


It has been confirmed, there truly is a ‘Beast of The Woods’!  Hawk proudly introduces the largest stands to ever hit the woods with the 21’ SASQUATCH 1.5-MAN and the 18’ SASQUATCH 2.0-MAN Ladders.

Designed with Beast-Sized MeshComfort™ Lounger Seats and platforms large enough to take all your gear AND an extra lunchbox to the woods!   The XXL MeshComfort™ Seats define ‘comfort’ and flip-up with Silent Teflon Washers so hunters can make full use of the oversized platform.  Built with XL Oval Tubing that even a Big Foot would trust!

See the SIZE and Comfort for Yourself