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Published by admin on 22 Jan 2010

Western Connection by Tom Tietz

Western Connection
Word on the street says that big mule deer are
almost impossible to find.  But this is far from true
Story and Photos by Tom Tietz

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com/

 Mule deer herds are declining throughout the west.  There are no longer any trophy mulies to be found.  This is the talk of the day throughout the western states.  Some pundits make it sound like a waste of time, money and effort to pursue trophy mule deer bucks these days.  Well to that, I say HOGWASH!

 

Although mule deer herds and trophy bucks are nowhere near the levels as during the heydays of the 60s, there are still sustainable populations with quality bucks out there for the hunting.  It just takes a little more effort on the part of the hunter nowadays.  Granted, the days of driving your truck down a road and having your pick of big four-pointers are probably gone forever, but good bucks are still out there, on both public and private lands.  A bowhunter with reasonable expectations of taking a buck that qualifies for P&Y can find success in any western state.  It just takes a little homework and pre-season effort on your part.  While there are very few, if any, areas that consistently produce 190-class mule deer, there are a myriad of areas where one can pursue and have a reasonable chance at harvesting 150-plus class mulies.

Getting a Tag
 The first thing one has to do to find big bucks is to learn how to play the draw.  Most of the better hunts in the West are now on some type of limited draw system for tags.  At first glance this may look incredibly complicated, what with bonus points, preference points, multiple choices, hunt codes and the like, but it really isn’t all that difficult to learn.  The key is to start early.  The days are gone when you can decide in July that you’re going deer hunting in August.  You need to start getting your act together in December.  Every state has a somewhat different system, and application deadlines can range from January to May, Contact the states you’re interested in hunting in late fall and get on their list to receive information and applications as soon as they become available.

Playing the Odds
 Drawing a tag can range from literally once in a lifetime (due to astronomical odds) to something you can do virtually every year.  Usually the tougher the draw, the better the quality, but you can find P&Y bucks in nearly every unit in nearly every state.  Some areas may be excellent for 150-class bucks but you will have no realistic chance at a 190.  These areas are usually much easier to draw.  Believe it or not, some areas are still capable of producing 200-point bucks, but getting a tag in these areas can be another story altogether.  Some guys try to hit a home run and apply for only the premier areas in every state, in hopes of drawing at least one really special tag every couple years, whereas other guys prefer to hunt more often and apply for areas that have the better odds of drawing.

 

Some states reward those who apply but don’t draw a tag with bonus or preference points for future drawings.  This way the hunter who puts in every year has a better chance to draw the more sought-after units.  Others just have an all out draw, where every applicant has an equal chance of drawing every year.  The key here is to start getting points in the states that offer them and keep trying to draw prime units in the other states.  If you set up a system for drawing different states, you can pretty well assure yourself of a good quality hunt somewhere each year.

Selecting an Area
 The first key to getting a trophy mulie is to find out where thy live.  You can be the world’s greatest hunter, but if the area you’re hunting doesn’t hold big deer, you’re not going to get one.  There are several ways of finding areas that harbor trophy bucks.  Read as many articles and books on mule deer as you can find.  Although you may not get much on specific areas through these sources, you can still glean a lot of valuable information.    For example, an article on trophy mulies in Nevada’s high country will narrow your search down to units in Nevada’s high country will narrow your search down to units in Nevada with high mountain ranges.  Or an article about hunting in CRP will narrow your search to those areas and states with large expanses of CRP.

 Another source for information is state game departments, where you can get harvest data, herd data, draw odds and hunter distribution.  Look for areas with light to medium hunter pressure, high buck-to-doe ratios and stable or increasing deer numbers.  Don’t just rely on one year’s data either.  Get at least three years up front, then update your information each year.  Set up a file for each state or area.  From this you can determine trends in overall quality for each area.  Areas that meet these criteria have the highest likelihood of producing trophy bucks.  The best areas will usually be the toughest to draw, but there are some gems out there with good odds of drawing, you just have to look.  Put this data together with things you’ve read and you can narrow your search drastically.

 

Another way to get up-to-date information is from sport shows and conventions.  Talk to other hunters about where they have had success.  Again, most won’t give you specific information, but put what you hear together with what you’ve learned and your search becomes even narrower.

 I know you’re thinking, “man this is a lot of work.”  It really isn’t as bad as you might imagine.  You can do a lot of your research in the winter months when you’re relaxing after a few hours of snow shoveling.  And what could be better than planning your next trophy mule deer hunt?  Just sifting through the information you accumulate will get you pumped up for the upcoming season.

 

One last thing is to watch the weather.  Is the area you’re wanting to hunt having an unusually sever or mild winter?  This will have a lot to do with the health of the herds and trophy quality come fall.  If an area looks good statistically but had a very sever winter within the past couple years, it may be best to shy away from it.  On the other hand, if the area has put together a string of mild winters and the statistics add up, you may have discovered one of those uncovered gems.  Remember that just because an area produced some big deer in the past, things can change, and it may not live up to your expectations next fall.

When to Scout
 You’ve done your research and drawn that coveted tag.  Now it’s time to find out where the big boys play.  A lot of where to look will be based on the time of year you’ll be hunting.  Mule deer are generally migratory and where you find them in August could be miles from where they are in October.  Even though you may not hunt until later in the fall, the best time to do some pre-season scouting is in late July or early August.  Due to their reddish summer coat (which sticks out like a vegetarian at a barbecue), mulies are very easy to find this time of year.  Their antlers will be nearly fully developed, although the velvet coat that covers them will generally make them look about 15 percent bigger than they really are.

 The first step towards successful scouting is to obtain topo maps of your area.  These can be obtained from USGS, or Delorme has some neat software that enables you to print up-to-date topo maps right from your computer.  They also have state atlases that are very detailed and show basic topography and access roads.

Scout Smart
 When scouting, do so with little or no impact.  Glass wide expanses from a distant high point using a high-quality binocular or spotting scope.  With their reddish coloration, deer will be easy to spot from a distance, and you will be able to observe them without disturbing them.  This is especially critical if you are going to hunt in August or September, as the bucks you see will probably still remain in the same general area.  If your hunt is later in the fall, the bucks probably will have headed for lower elevations, but at least you’ll have an idea of the overall quality available to you.

 If scouting early isn’t a possibility, you can still get some pre-season scouting in.  The best chance you’ll get at a real trophy is in the first couple days of the season before other hunters have stirred things up.  If you are going to take seven days for your hunt, for example, you would be better off scouting for two or three days prior and only hunting four or five days, than to arrive the night before season and hunting for the full seven days.  Your best chance of taking a real buster buck is to locate him before opening day and then try to nail him in the first day or two of your hunt.  Once the deer get stirred up, all bets are off.  Those big guys didn’t get that way by being stupid.  They had to survive a number of hunting seasons to grow trophy antlers and know where to go to get away from hunters.

 Remember that scouting is important, but scouting smart is even more important.  The less you disturb the deer before the season, the better your chance of taking your trophy come opening day.  If you continually disturb the animals and the area while scouting, the bucks, especially the big ones, can be miles from where you first found them.

 Trophy mulies contrary to some beliefs, are still out there for the taking.  With just a little common sense and by using the information that is readily available, you will uncover areas that you can consistently hunt for that trophy of a lifetime.  Although luck always plays a part, trophy hunting is an endeavor where you usually get out of it what you put into it.  Research is an essential part of today’s trophy mule deer hunting.  It can be hard work and somewhat time consuming, but the rewards can make all the effort more than worth it.

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Published by admin on 22 Jan 2010

When the Wind Blows By Bob Grewell

When the Wind Blows
Sometimes silent, always invisible, the wind can
be your worst enemy or your best friend.
By Bob Grewell

 http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com/

Each year there are bowhunters who figure out the travel habits of a big buck lurking in their hunting area and eventually get a shot at him.  There are other bowhuwhunters who accomplish the same, but for some reason never catch a glimpse of the big trophy.  Why is this?  Well, of course, it could be due to a number of things.  Maybe the unlucky bowhunters made too much noise while sitting on stand, and deer could hear them before venturing within sight.  Or maybe they put their stand in the wrong place.  But if I was to bet on it, I would probably say the luckless hunters forgot to monitor the wind currents surrounding their stand, giving deer a “heads up” to their whereabouts.

Deer Rely On It
 It’s a fact.  Our preparations and stand locations are principally affected by wind direction.  It’s probably the number one element that sends hundreds of patient bowhunters home empty-handed each fall.  Recently, while bowhunting eastern Ohio, I was reminded of how important wind can be to every hunting setup.

 Where I was hunting, a dense tangle of greenbriers and saplings wrapped around the side of a steep hill.  Halfway up this slope, my carefully positioned tree stand was erected close to a trail that wound through this horseshoe-shaped bedding area.  The time-worn path provided deer easier access from a low-level stream bed that connected to an alfalfa field on the hilltop.  Water at the base, bedding cover in the middle, food on the peak—you couldn’t ask for better deer habitat.  On days the wind was to my advantage, I was in a tree downwind from an obvious fence crossing.

 On that particular day, however my hopes were extremely high, mostly because the rut was escalating and extremely high, mostly because the rut was escalating and deer activity was increasing.  The late afternoon sun was unusually warm, so I took my time moving to my stand.  I reached the edge of the briar tangle just as another bullying wind gust blew off my hat.  Disgusted, I began to wonder if I would in fact see deer because unruly wind makes deer skittish.

 Pulsating wind had me constantly searching the landscape.  At one point, I was slowly rotating my head when I spotted a six-point casually making his way up the hillside.  As he scaled the steep incline, he stopped frequently to nose the air.  I felt safe because I had pre-planned the stand placement so that a wast wind was blowing across the trail, toward me.  He stood for several minutes, scanning the area and smelling air currents.  When he finally committed to crossing the fence, he made on leap.  After his feet hit the ground, he nosed the wind then investigated a natural scrape 12 yards from my stand.  I wasn’t interested in shooting the buck, but I was curious of his peculiar behavior.

 The deer’s nostrils flared constantly.  He smelled the ground, surrounding foliage, and methodically tested wind currents.  His reliance on the wind impressed me, as his damp, black nose purposefully searched out odors carried by the wind.  It was as if he were wired to an internal timing mechanism that induced him to sample the wind every 30 seconds.

 The buck eventually bedded down alongside a tangle of briars not 30 yards from my stand.  I was hoping his appearance would provide a “comfort zone” that would attract other deer.  The hillside shelf appeared to be a staging location where he waited for darkness before traveling uphill to the open alfalfa pasture.  As he laid down, his back faced the wind.  This posture enabled him to scent potential danger behind him (upwind).  Then, he could watch and listen for intrusions in front of him (downwind).  He frequently rotated his head to inhale the wind.  With my binocular I could see his face clearly.  He intermittently closed his eyes.  It was amazing how he moved his head to smell wind gusts while his eyes were closed it was obvious his nose never stopped working, even as he cat-napped.

 Long before darkness, a doe entered the scene.  She was approaching at a reluctant pace, walking into the wind.  The buck hadn’t been able to smell me because my stand position was perfect.  But, from where the doe stood, she scented me with the help of a prolonged gust of wind.  Her alarming snorts indicated she didn’t like my presence.  She scrambled and jumped the fence, racing across a weedy opening.  The startled buck exited a different direction.

 As you can see from my experience in the woods that day, deer rely heavily on wind currents to detect danger.  So, as hunters, we must learn as much as we can about the wind, where it comes from and how it blows.

Where Does It Come From
 As the earth warms and cools a turbulent of air currents and generated that produces the byproduct of wind.  Wind thermals typically move upward during the morning as air is heated by the sun.  During the evening, when the earth begins to cool, air currents fall.  Thus, vertical-moving air masses rise during the morning and descend in the evening.  This is important information to know when determining placement of morning or evening stands.

 But, you don’t have to be a magician to understand and use wind to your advantage.  Bowhunters do need to realize, however, where wind is coming from in relation to deer activities, and where it’s going so deer don’t pick up your scent after you’ve put up a stand.  Timing the wind is based on logic.  But, we often become so wrapped up with every aspect of bowhunting, we overlook the importance of wind direction and how this invisible atmospheric condition affects us.

 Three seasons ago, while hunting an oval-shaped creek bottom during early-November, I was able to use the wind to my advantage to arrow a nice buck.  At the time, the rut appeared to be in full swing.  I wasn’t in my morning stand more than 15 minutes when a doe materialized from a corn field on the opposite side of the lengthy weed field.  Suddenly, I caught a glimpse of the buck pursuing her.

 I could hear faint grunting, so I played my grunt tube and slapped my rattling racks, attempting to draw him away from fleeing doe.  After my third overture he stopped and looked toward me.  I hit the racks again and he shunned the doe, trotting toward me.  Fortunately, a steady west wind blew in such a manner that my scent wasn’t transported toward their activities.  More importantly, a deep, wide creek was directly behind me.  If this buck tried to circle and walk into the wind, it would be difficult for him to smell me without crossing the creek.

 As he came closer, he moved along the water barrier, but didn’t cross.  Nosing the wind, the buck took a course beside a narrow band of trees and foliage at the edge of the field.  Ears laid back, grunting seriously, he walked within 10 steps of my tree stand.  I had previously dribbled doe urine on the ground as a scent post in anticipation of distracting a buck long enough to draw and release an arrow.  And it worked!

 He stopped, lowered his head to decipher the odor, and I made my move.  He flinched as the arrow blew completely through both lungs.  When he started to bolt, I immediately grunted twice with my call.  He abruptly stopped and looked back toward me.  I remained motionless as he stumbled across the open field before laying down only 80 yards away.  I was thankful the wind didn’t change directions.  Only a week before I couldn’t use the stand because a different wind direction would have carried my scent across the field.

Monitor It Daily
 Using the wind as an ally begins before we enter deer habitat.  Become a student of weather by monitoring daily conditions so you’re completely aware of current wind directions.  Weather radios will help you retrieve this vital information.  A radio’s portability also allows you to carry one afield and monitor weather at your convenience.  Television and radio weather reports should always be checked before going afield, but don’t solely rely on these weather reports.  Once you’re afield, you need to double-check wind conditions.

 Reviewing wind direction is a continuous process.  Watch the movement of leaves and small tree branches, as well as tall grasses.  If it’s a blustery day, check the direction of your steamy breath as you exhale.  I use one stand close to a rural home where I can view the drift of chimney smoke as it rises from their fireplace.  Cat whisker string silencers move freely in the direction wind pushes them.  If you tie a short piece of dark-colored thread to your bow, it will move with the wind, even a slight breeze.  A small butane lighter will show the direction of wind currents precisely, too.  Some hunters carry a squeeze bottle with a scent-free powder and occasionally puff small amounts into the air, watching the direction the powder floats.  This method works very well.

 But, any time the wind is in your favor before climbing into a tree stand, basic bowhunting rules still apply.  Make certain all your clothing has been de-scented.  Equally, cleanse your body with a de-scenting soap to avoid contact with human related odors before going to your stand.  Even when you’re downwind and deer aren’t as likely to smell you, hunters need to stay as clean and as scent-free as possible.

Wind Is Ever-Changing
 Location, location, location—it’s instrumental in allowing you to hunt undetected.  When selecting a tree to ambush deer, there’s no strategic spot that’s fool-proof.  No one stand site produces every time because wind isn’t constant.  It’s imperative to have more than one location available.  This enables you to switch whenever wind direction changes.  This tactical change is beneficial, especially when ever  you’re hunting different types of landscape.  Flat, open farm ground is typically subjected to one-directional wind currents for several hours at a time.  If there are no landscape contours creating obstacles and the day is exposed to a specific wind, breezes will flow in the same constant direction.  That is, unless there’s a weather change.

 Conversely, hilly and mountainous terrain will fool you.  Valleys, rock structures and heavy woods might alter wind direction.  The wind can blow from a westerly direction on a hilltop, but as it sweeps down into  snaking valley, wind currents will follow these twisting and turning landscape features.  Wind will weave its way along and around uneven landscape features, too.

 There’s not much that compares to going one-on-one with a mature whitetail buck.  Whitetail are elusive, cautious, and seem to have an invisible sensory ability that alerts them of our presence.  They create a superb challenge because this ally makes them capable of avoiding the best hunters.  One often wonders if they don’t have magical abilities.  That is, until we understand their unseen partner: wind.  It can be your friend or your enemy, it just depends on how you exploit it.

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Published by searcher1988 on 18 Jan 2010

Looking for a Bow Rack?

Just to let you know if you are looking for or interested in the Ultimate in steel locking bow racks, you need to contact Dave at hangemhighbowracks@yahoo.com Their website is under construction at: HangEmHighBowRacks.com They are selling the best steel, locking, with rubber coating bow racks around. They come in 2, 4, and 6 models that are either wall or ceiling mounts. (For indoor or outdoor use) (There is a patend pending).

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Published by travis on 17 Jan 2010

Hunt Elk in Idaho

Booking hunts right now for Panhandle Idaho Elk hunts.
Excellent oppertunity on good bulls in September.
View huntnorthidaho.com

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Published by Grizzly16 on 17 Jan 2010

Golden Eagle Bow ID, and help finding Modules/Cams

I have had this Golden Eagle since i was younger. i am now 23. the Draw Length is now to short. the bow is labeled as Lenght-26, Weight-50, and Srting Lenght- 52. its Advantage Timber. I went to Cabelas, Bass Pro, Gander Mountain, and a store called Clelnads Outdoor World. They all told me Golden Eagle has been bought out many times since that bow came out, and that none of them carried the modlules/cams for it and to get on here and try to see if anyone or any company had the cams/modules. If someone could please help ID this bow, and tell me where to find modules/cams i would appreachate it. Im a US Army soldier who does lots of deer and duck hunting. didnt hunt in 2007/2008 cuz i was in Iraq and im getting back into it and i need to get my bow adjusted to my length and weight. thanks.

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Published by psebowswtm on 16 Jan 2010

Arrows?

i need some new arrows im shootin a pse whtetail madness 60lb draw weight and a 27 in draw lenght ibo speed right around 300fps

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Published by al on 16 Jan 2010

mission bow

im looking to get a mission bow, does anyone know how good they are to  shoot.

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Published by lwells on 16 Jan 2010

Im new to this sight I shoot a mission Journey. I just put a 26 inch draw cam on my bow from a 28 I would like to get some carbon Force pro arrows but im not sure if the 200 series arrows have enough spine I will be cutting my arrows about 26 1/2″ and draw weight of 70LB any info would help. Thanks

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Published by denoisd on 16 Jan 2010

family shoots ISAA proam

As a family we just got in to archery in Sept. of 2009.  January 9,10 2010 we shot the ISAA proam where I got my butt stomped by the whole family. Im not mad just wanted to congradulate them on such a good shoot.

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Published by okiecountryboy on 16 Jan 2010

penobscot bow

looking for plans to make a penobscot bow(original compound bow). I have seen kits, but do not want one. I make my own arrows (flint knapped), I do native american and mountain recreations. I want basic plans to make it myself. I have researched and can find nothing. My recreations are not just authentic, but usable. I NEED PLANS. CAN SOMEONE HELP! Maybe, my mentor and favorite country boy rock and roller, Ted Nugent, can help. Thanks to anyone that can help!

 

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