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Published by billhowardoutdoors on 04 Apr 2011

Through a Child’s Eyes

North Carolina offers youth days for hunting some species each season. It gives the youth a chance to go out and have an adult guide them through a hunt, allowing only the child to take a shot. April 2 is youth day for turkey. Bearing that in mind, I feel obligated to share a story a new friend, Chase Shepherd shared with me.

+ + + + +

I closed my eyes while my dad smeared camouflage face paint on my forehead. “Just hold still. We’re almost done,” he whispered. I was ready for the hunt to begin. I loaded my gun, strapped on the gun rest, and put on my hat. “Got everything?” Dad whispered.
“Yeah,” I replied, while I too, was in a whisper.
We started walking back to the area my dad picked to hunt. “Today’s the day you’re killin’ a turkey,” Dad whispered.
“I hope so” I whispered back.
My dad stopped about five minutes later and whispered, “Go sit at that tree, I’m gonna’ set up the decoys.”
“Okay,” I replied.
???? I did my best walking over, trying not to make any noise. I finally stopped at the tree and watched my dad set up the last decoy. It was still dark out so we had enough time to sit down and get comfortable.
Dad sat down first, and then I sat down in between his legs. He set his gun up against the tree and then instructed me to practice aiming on the decoys.
?? The sun just started to rise, and all I heard was gobbling. It was crazy! Then my dad started calling. He did some average hen calls, and that’s when he whispered, “Don’t move!” My mind started racing! Is this really going to happen? Is it a big one? Am I ready? I started to shake as I glanced over. It was a big tom, beard dragging the ground, walking back and forth. “Don’t move,” Dad whispered again.
Then the turkey heard a hen across the creek behind us, and never came in. I was devastated. When all of the sudden, “Here comes two more!” Dad whispered. It wasn’t over yet. My heart started pounding once again. The two turkeys were running to us! I gripped the cold metal of my gun. Then they jumped up, and started attacking our decoy, they were flying in the air, and hitting it with their spurs.
I pulled the trigger, but not hard enough. Since the gun didn’t fire I had to wait for another open shot.
Finally the time came. One of the turkeys stopped, and stared right at us. This time I squeezed the trigger, and the turkey dropped. My dad shot at the other turkey, but it was flying and he missed.
We stood up and started high-fiving and fist-bumping.
“You smoked him buddy!” Dad exclaimed.
Then we walked over to claim my trophy. When we got there we exchanged high-fives again. “You killing a turkey means more to me than me killing one,” Dad said.
When we got back to the truck, we started to take pictures. Some were with Dad’s cell phone and others with the digital camera.
That was the greatest day of my life. It was exciting, fun, and most of all…an adrenaline rush.

+ + + + +

I believe Chase gives us an inside look at how a child feels sharing the outdoors with his parent. It is a memory that will last long after his dad can no longer go out in the fields, yet it is also a memory he will surely share with his kids in the future. I am also sure if you asked Chase’s dad about that day, he too would agree it was one of the greatest days of his life as well.

Bill Howard is an avid bowhunter, hunter education and IBEP instructor, and outdoors columnist for the Yancey County News and Wilson Times (North Carolina). You can read his blogs and catch video on www.billhowardoutdoors.com.

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Published by Double s on 01 Apr 2011

REMINDER: No Selling. This is for Archery, Hunting Blogs & Articles only.

Selling is NOT allowed in the ArcheryTalk Articles and Blogs. For sale or trade items belong only in the ArcheryTalk Classifieds. Posts selling or trading will be deleted. This section is for Articles and Blogs related to Archery and Bow Hunting. Any post not related to Archery or Bow hunting will be considered Spam and trashed and the user deleted. Questions about Bows, Equipment, etc. need to go into the Archerytalk Forum under the correct section. Spammers will be automatically deleted.

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Published by RightWing on 19 Feb 2011

The Witching Hour On Ashburn’s Creek…..

Big Tennessee Gar....

The Late May sun set low in the Western sky as he approached the half-submerged willow trees. Ripples appeared as he drifted ever closer, he scanned the water for any movement, ready to gently stow the push -pole at moment’s notice. The sounds of trashing fish filled evening air as the spawning carp danced their age-old waltz that has become such a welcome rite of spring.

Our friend’s eyes soon become drawn to a brown, shapely figure that slowly became visible in the shallow what that lay before him. He reached for his bow that lay ready at his side, as his fingers applied pressure to the bowstring he soon found himself at full draw. This is the point where the logical mind subsides to that of raw, instinctive reactions and reflexes that can only be gained from repetitive shooting, achieved from similar outings throughout years past. Things happen quickly, and details become lost in the fleeting seconds, as the fish descends to deeper water and the archer releases the arrow; An arrow set aflite on a skewed course predetermined by our archer using calculated leads that could only be learned from past experiences.

For a moment time stood still, and our fisherman held his breath, uncertain of what had taken place, only when he heard the tale-tell sounds of line stripping quickly from his reel did his mind find ease. The sportsman grasp the line to slow the fish’s frantic run, he then began the task of bring his prize to the boat. Emotions filled his thoughts as he brought the large Mirror carp into his craft and admired it’s natural beauty and girth.

The sun was now sinking fast into the hills, the night sounds soon surrounded him with the familiar eerie tones. Some would think at this point, that his day’s event would soon be over, however upon the flip of a switch his generator fired up and the nightscape became aglow with light. This is bowfishing and the night is still young……….

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Foothills Pronghorn – By Fred and Dora Burris


Bow and Arrow Hunting
October 1990

Foothills Pronghorn ~ By Fred and Dora Burris
Speedy Pronghorn Antelope Are Inhabiting Deer And Elk Domain in Some Locales

WHEN l WAS introduced to hunting, my father taught
me to first spot my game, then plan my stalk. When I took my first
bow and arrow into the hunting field, I was surprised how difficult it was to approach
game to get within arrow range, The most difficult species to approach is pronghorn
antelope.

In fact, trying to stalk these far-sighted characters of the open sage can be a totally
frustrating experience. They can keep you in sight and out of arrow range day after
day. By hunting water tanks and man—made reservoirs, I could let the antelope walk up
to me. Yet, somehow, I never lost the desire to stalk rather than wait for my antelope.
Later, when my wife, Dora, and I moved to Cody, Wyoming, I found a workable
solution for my stalking fever; it was the foothills.

Although most of the West’s antelope live on the prairies, a substantial number
of pronghorn roam the foothills country. Some roam even higher. On Carter Mountain
west of Meeteestse, Wyoming, antelope range up to and above timberline.

We call the country between the expanded prairie and the rugged peaks, the foothills.
At this point, the terrain undergoes dramatic changes. Low obscure ripples
transform into impressive folds. Shallow depressions develop into deeper and narrower ravines.
Slopes rise abruptly. As the elevation increases, plant life slope
changes, too. Junipers and cedars dot the ridges. Higher up, the junipers and cedars
mix with and give way to the pines. Here antelope, mule deer and sometimes elk
thrive together.

Even though the foothills are better suited for stalking pronghorn, the antelope have
adapted well to life in the higher elevations and steeper terrain. They are alert and
smart. They have sharp eyes like their flatland relatives and foothills antelope
have developed sensitive noses. Most of all, they know how to use the terrain to
their advantage.

The foothills antelope use some of the same survival tricks that their flatland relatives use.
However, they have also added a few new maneuvers they have learned
from the mule deer and wintering elk that share the same foothills environment.
Similar to mule deer, foothills pronghorn often bed down just beneath the
ridgeline with their backs to the wind. This makes it nearly impossible for the stalker
to slip up on them from behind. If the terrain appears favorable, I look for an
approach where I can quarter into the wind.

Since the foothills breezes are shifty, some method of keeping track of the wind
direction is helpful. A small neutral—colored marabou feather tied onto the upper end of
your bowstring will indicate wind direction. Marabou feather fibers are fluffy and
light and they are easily moved by the slightest air current.

Like the elk, the foothills pronghorn often feed just below the ridgeline, yet they
stay high enough to stare over the top of the ridge whenever they raise their heads.
We like to climb high and use this same technique to locate our foothills pronghorn.
Once we are high, we can peek over the ridge top as do the elk and antelope.
Only the top of the head and eyes are exposed for possible detection. That is a
great deal less than the complete profile of a human.

Much like the prairie antelope, the resting foothills herd is sometimes protected
by a single lookout; this sentry is often a doe. The lookout lies on the crest of the
ridge or an elevated position and constantly watches.
If danger is spotted, the guard jumps to its feet. A warning snort follows and the
herd alerts. Now all the herd focuses in on the potential danger. If frightened, the
foothills pronghorn can vanish in seconds down a steep draw or over the next ridge.

Since the foothills are often steep, sturdy shoes help support the arch and ankle. Our
personal preference is a shoe six inches high with a soft, aggressive sole and heel.
The rugged sole gives added traction and the heel works much like a brake while
traveling down hill.

Wedge soles can slip on loose dirt or gravel. l learned this while hunting the
precipitous foothills north of our Cody home. Fred Marks and 1 were contouring a hillside
when I lost my looting. The wedge soles skimmed over the loose gravel like downhill
skies on snow. l was fast approaching the top of a fifteen—loot sandstone cliff when l
realized the danger I was in. I flopped down on my belly and dug in my elbows
and toes. l was shaken, scratched and bruised. It was also the last time I wore
wedge soled shoes in the hills.

In addition to good shoes, proper camouflage is a helpful foothills item, Choosing
the appropriate camouflage color or pattern for the foothills is not as difficult as
many other hunting situations. During archery season, the foothills colors range
from fall gold to rich juniper green. Therefore the choice of camouflage can vary,
too. We have used camouflage clothing with backgrounds from light tan to jungle
green. All have worked well for us in the foothills.

Once, while I was hunting with my Uncle Orville, he dressed in light gray-blue coveralls.
I was amazed at how difficult he was to see among the varied shades and shadows
of the foothills. For those of use who must wear eye glasses, there is always the possibility of
our glasses’ rims or the glass itself reflecting sunlight. In addition, eye glasses fog
when a person perspires during colder weather. I tried unsuccessfully to use contact lenses
to overcome these problems.

My own personal prescription is difficult to fit with contacts. Therefore, I use the
sun and natural thermals to help me over- come these disadvantages associated with
eye glasses. To reduce reflections, I like to hunt both evening and morning with the sun to my
back and the wind in my face. Putting the sun at my back helps prevent the direct
contact of the sun with eye glass frames and lenses.

There is another more important advantage: It is just as difficult for a pronghorn to
look into a low sun as it is for you. Therefore, it is more difficult for an antelope to spot a
careful hunter or a reflection when the hunter has the sun at his back.
Here in the Rocky Mountains, our pre-dominate winds blow from the west. By
hunting a drainage that flows from west to east, I can usually have the early morning
sun to my back and the breeze in my face.

As the sun warms the foothills, the thermals sometimes shift by the afternoon. If
this shift takes place, I hunt the late afternoon from west to east. Again, I have the
sun at my back and the breeze in my face. In the foothills country, some of the
large ranches allow hunting without fees, but some also restrict the hunting to two
weeks in November. This is a cooperative compromise between the ranches,
sportsmen and the Game and Fish Department. However, this bars the bowhunter
during archery season. Although this is somewhat of a disadvantage for the
bowhunter, all is not lost. The foothills contain some large parcels of public lands
that are open to hunting.

Many of these public lands have state highway or county road access to them.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has excellent maps of many areas that
indicate land ownership. These maps outline deeded, state, BLM, Forest Service Lands,
etc. A BLM map of the area you plan to hunt is helpful.

For Wyoming map information, con-
tact: Bureau of Land Management, P.O.
Box 518, Cody, WY 82414.

For Colorado map information: Bureau
of Land Management, 2850 Youngfield
St., Lakewood, CO 80215.

For Montana: Bureau of Land Manage-
ment, 810 East Main, Billings, MT
59105.

When you write for map information,
ask for a map order form. The map order
form includes a map index for that particular state. Maps cost $4 each and the
scale is 1 to 100,000.

One of my most memorable antelope hunts took place in the foothills a few years
ago. Dora and I spotted a Pope & Young Club record buck in the foothills just below a
pine-covered hog—back. For the next hour and a half, I crept forward up a shallow depression,
traveling on my hands and knees. I crawled on my belly to get to within arrow range. Then I
waited for more than ten minutes for the buck to tum broadside. Somehow I managed
to slowly bring my bow into position and draw my arrow without detection.

As I look up on my office wall and see the old buck, I relive that stalk over again.
Since then I have stalked the foothills for pronghom as often as I can draw a permit.
Most of the time, the pronghorn easily outsmarts me. But the foothills country is the
place to test your stalking skills for pronghorn. <—<<

Archived By
www.ArcheryTalk.com
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Published by archerchick on 16 Feb 2011

Bowhunting The Third Season ~By Ralph Quinn

Bow And Arrow

Bowhunting The Third Season ~ By Ralph Quinn

LASHES OF GRAY light were beginning to punch
holes in a seamless canopy of inky clouds as I hiked
toward a distant hedge-row. The bitter December wind slowed
my progress. Periodically, l`d huddle against the cold, glass the expanse of
corn stubble, then continue. Twenty minutes later I arrived at the ancient oak
tree.

?

Seemingly for the hundredth time, l`d scale the main stem, anchor my portable
perch in place and watch another day end in the farm country of southern
Michigan. Hopefully, however. tonights hunt would be different.
For three days now the weather had been typical of third-season hunts: rain,
sleet. snow and sub—freezing temperatures; the local deer herd was under
wraps. With the Canadian front passing to the north, the bucks would be on the
move again. Thoughts were still bouncing about when the first whitetails
entered the field from the south. Single file. like ants in a line, the animals
picked their way through the dense cover surrounding the planting, then
flooded across the field.

?

Temporarily distracted, I didn’t notice the entrance of a second group from the
east; four bucks, led by a high—racked trophy. Almost on cue, the big Whitetail
turned south and stiff—legged to the center of the corn stubble. From here, the
buck diverted his attention on the feeding herd. The staredown continued for
several minutes. Satisfied, the big boy put his legs in motion and headed down
the fencerow.

?

Checking the wind as he moved, the buck ambled closer. In a few seconds
the animal would be opposite my stand and I’d have to make a move. As the
buck reached the brushed shooting lane I carefully leaned away from the tree.
The bow eccentrics rolled over. The sight pin found its mark. At the release,
the buck exploded into full flight. I followed the whitetail’s noisy escape.

?

Fifteen minutes later I took the trail. The path was easy to follow in the
drifted snow. In the beam of my flashlight the blood showed bright red.
Fifty yards into the secondary maple growth I found my prize wedged against
fallen timber. If you haven’t guessed it by now, bowhunting the third/ late
season for whitetails in farm country is, in a word, fantastic. Under normal
early—season pressure, dominant bucks are almost entirely nocturnal.
These animals are solitary and avoid contact with man.

?

In mid—October the bow and arrow hunter may get a brief glimpse of a trophy buck
as it makes a hasty retreat from a food plot After a few of these accidental
chance meetings the whitetail begins to pattern the hunter who is at an extreme
disadvantage. The rut in early November changes the picture slightly in favor
of the bowhunter, but you still have to cash in on the temporary distraction.

?

During December, the third season, the story is different. Initially, my interest in
late—season bowhunting centered on avoiding the crowd. A few years back it wasn’t
unusual to run into a few bowhunters in the cornbelt region. Today, however,
that’s changed. Lease hunting, increased numbers of two- and three-season hunt-
ers and a surge in bowhunting numbers has forced the devotee to adopt a different
time slot or give up serious hunting. For me, the solution was simple:
hunt the third season — December —— and eliminate all but the most hardened
whitetailers. There are other, more important considerations, too.

?

When game departments establish seasons on whitetails, top billing is given
to peak rut periods. Bowhunters are given an excellent opportunity to tag a
trophy before the gun hunt. In Michigan, for instance, the peak rut period occurs
during the first full week of November and continues to mid month. Bowhunters
who stick with late fall early winter have a good chance of tagging a buck, if
they are able to tough it out. A few dominant bucks are tagged during the
firearms season, but once the army of redcoats disappears, the late-season fan
can get down to the serious business of buck hunting; not for immature 1 1/2-year-
olds, but breeding bucks in the 3 1/2-to 4 1/2-year class.

?

In December, snow typically blankets the whitetail’s world and after a few
brief flurries of “secondary rut” activity—— when multiple bucks pursue unbred
does — the average buck is primarily concerned with food gathering, not
breeding. Not that the late-season trophy is a dumb goat pursuing such
urges. With fat reserves low. bucks will feed often and travel long distances to
get nutritious high—energy grains like corn, soy beans, milo. It’s this behavior
that puts the Whitetail in front of the hunter’s sights and, in many instances.
during good shooting light

?

Another factor playing to the advantage of the late—season hunter is the
social interaction of whitetails December/ January. Early in the year,
bucks buddy around in bachelor groups. As the rut approaches, they disband
going solo much of the time. ln the mid season, subordinate bucks will rejoin the
herd and even though dominant bucks may not travel with the group. they are
always close by, on the fringes. lt`s the post season yarding or changing of
habitat that makes late hunts so productive. One of my best whitetails came in
1985 from such a setup.

?

During the pre-rut in late October, I’d located a prime scrape area, adjacent to
a pothole-infested bottom and from the activity I guessed a number of bucks
were using the locale. Rubs, territorial and breeding scrapes lined the trails and
openings leading to and from this hideaway. The weeks prior to the mid-November
firearms season slipped by with only one sighted an eight point, but
I knew there were more. Each time out I guessed wrong and the whitetails some-
how escaped. The gun hunt arrived November 15. The weather was
inordinarily warm and breeding fell off sharply. The rutting bucks went into
neutral and didn`t surface until December 8.

?

When I pulled my bow up the spindly cottonwood the temperature hovered at
a grim l2 degrees F. By sunset, it dropped into the single-digit area. The
whitetails showed at 5:30 p.m., right on schedule. but by the time the buck got
within range it was dark, dark. Three days went by and the story didn’t
change, too late and too dark. On‘the fifth try, however, I got my chance and
temperature played a key role in the outcome.

?

The mid-day high on December 13 was a record low for that date; the thermometer
registered l0 degrees. I thought of canceling the hunt, but by
late afternoon I was bundled in down and wool, waiting. If the whitetails
moved early I’d get the chance. My prediction was correct and the herd showed
at 4:30. By dusk, the herd buck, a good 5×5, fed below my stand. A twenty-tive-
yard shot and I tagged my sixth late-season whitetail.

?

Once you’ve located an area where deer are actively feeding and traveling,
skirt the region and make note of routes entering heavy cover. These will usually
be bedding regions. Now, back up and find a zone that has sufficient cover to
hide a buck’s comings and goings and set up. Too many hunters stand at the
margins of feed plots and expect a buck to drop in their lap. After a Whitetail
enters a food area, he’s on alert, looking for danger. He expects danger in the
open, particularly in good light. Dozens of eyes and ears from herd members
don’t help the cause any. By taking a stand some distance from a grain field
or mast crop, in adjacent covers, you stand a better chance of getting a shot
on a respectable animal.

?

Away from feed areas, whitetails on the move are alert, but not as
easily spooked. Generally, the closer the bedding area is to food plots, the more
alert the animals will be. Stay well back and you`ll be better off.
Of the problems confronting third-season bowhunters, temperature has to
be the biggest obstacle to success.

?

Actually weather can be a two-edged sword. Low temps make whitetails
travel and feed over a wider range to maintain body fats, so the bowhunter has
a better opportunity of scoring. However, grim can and do play havoc with a bowhunter
locked in a tree stand. Cold feet, legs and numb fingers are tough to control under stress.

?

You can ease some of the pain by warming your trunk – chest region – with a down vest, then the feet and head. Insulated felt boot packs are, in my opinion, the best for cold weather bowhunting. I generally layer clothing to to maximize heat retention: cotton and wool socks, plus wool blend underwear, followed by wool pants and sweaters. Cover the head with a quality wool skull cap with eye slits and you’ll endure the cold.

?

If there’s a weakness in a late season clothing system, it’s keeping shooting/release fingers
warm and flexible. I’ve tried a number of cures and found nothing does the job as well as a leather hand-warmer mitt lined with sheep wool. Additionally, this accessory serves as a spare hand to carry climbing spikes, bow cords, tabs, flashlights, scents, etc. While traveling to and from stand areas, I often wear a white disposable coverall made of Tyvek, then zip out of it prior to climbing the tree. I’ve repeatedly stumbled into whitetails feeding ahead of their scheduled time. Quite often
late-season bucks travel during mid-day periods – 9 am to 2 pm- and bed near food plots. If you’re not prepared you’ll blunder into a situation which could spook the trophy of a lifetime.

?

Basically, hunt strategy for late-season whitetails is simple. First, find the feed and you’ll find the deer. Second, if does are gathered, the bucks won’t be far away, particularly if a second rut phase is in progress. Under normal late-season conditions – snow covered landscapes – whitetails prefer corn to forage – alfalfa, rye, etc, but if there’s no snow, they’ll be attracted to these islands of green until forced to switch. If there are no crops in your hunt area, concentrate on mast crops such as acorns and beechnuts.

?

If stand productivity is slow, you might check out the solunar tables, corrected to your geographic area. Scheduling stand periods based on moon phases has merit and is worth checking out. For instance when the moon is full, whitetails feed at night, traveling less in the day. So normal evening and morning stands are not likely to produce well.

?

However, when a new moon – dark of the moon – dominates, deer feed less after dark and often bed near food zones to take advantage of reduced light periods. With the herd feeding to maintain body temperatures, stands near crop areas during the first and last quarter, plus the new moon usually are productive. And the fact that fewer bowhunters are bumping around can’t hurt the strategy.

?

Patience and dedication are two traits the late-season bowhunter must possess in large quantities or it will be a long wait between bucks. When your opportunity comes, move slowly. Even though whitetails are more at ease in traveling areas, they aren’t an easy mark. Pick a point and don’t wait for a standing target. It may never come.

?

Finally, quiet every piece of bowhunting equipment before heading afield. Then you’ll avoid the buck’s second line of defense, his hearing. Bowstrings, eccentrics, quivers, arrow rests, sight windows should be given special attention. In cold weather, sound travels great distances and one false slip could cost you a successful shot.

Third-season hunting is super if you plan well, hunt smart and persevere until the last minute. Remember it’s the persistent bow and arrow hunter who score season after season.

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Published by sliverslinger on 15 Feb 2011

vane clearance problems

Picked up a used 2003-2004 bowtech extreme a few years ago on ebay after my bow was stolen. Have actually wrecked the trophy ridge drop away that came with it and now i can’t index the shorter 4 inch vanes to not make any contact with the trophy taker thats on it now. I either hit the cables or the containment wall of the rest. Cock feather up, i hit the cables. index away from cables i hit the rest wall. any ideas? should i try fletching 4 x 4 inch vanes at 90 degrees? will that work with a three blade broadhead?

Sliverslinger

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Published by passmaster on 12 Feb 2011

IM READY TO PURCHASE A BOW

I SHOOT WITH FINGERS, IM THINKING OF PURCHASING A HOYT VANTAGE PRO BUT IM NOT SURE WHICH CAM TO USE WITH THIS BOW WHAT DO YOU RECCOMEND

I HAVE A 27IN DRAW

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Published by archerchick on 10 Feb 2011

Basics Of Buck Calling~ By Don Kirk


BOW AND ARROW HUNTING
February 1990

Basics of Buck Calling By Don Kirk

New Innovation In Calls Makes It Easier

FOG DRIFTED dream—like through the ridge-top oaks and hickories, as Harold Knight
stood shivering in the pre—dawn dampness of the rolling hills of western Kentucky.
Silence ~ the kind that sometimes becomes “deafening” when a bowhunter strains
to hear those things that refuse to stir — enveloped his tree stand. Without looking
down, he ran his cold forefinger over the smooth surface of the arrow shaft resting
against his bow, rechecking its position by touch. For five days during the state’s bow
season for whitetail, he had occupied this strategically located perch. Each day, he had
hoped he might nail the big eight—pointer he had spied while scouting before hunting
season. However, thus far the wary old buck had proved too scarce to pull an arrow back on.

The whitetail rut was not in full swing, but the Bluegrass State hunter hoped the
crisp cold snap that had moved in the night before would trigger increased breeding
behavior. The scrape line tracing along the crest of the ridge showed signs of heavy use.
Knight had a good feeling about this day and was confident he had a trick that might
undo the buck he sought.

?

Dawn gave way to a bright morning, then mid-morning. By 9:30 a.m., only two
small bucks and a trio of does had passed along the game path near his perch.
Shortly after 10:30 a.m., Knight spotted two does coming down the game trail
along the crest of the ridge. Fifteen minutes later, he saw a considerably larger
deer moving along this trail behind the does. Even through the tangles of wild
grapevine and tree limbs, it was obvious this was the big one he was awaiting.

?

The heavy-antlered buck was over a hundred yards away and separated from him
by thick woods. The snap of a twig caught the Kentuckian`s attention, as his quarry
slipped stealthly down the side of the hill behind a tangle of naked grapevine and
leafy greenbriar. The buck was still over a hundred yards away. yet it appeared to
be leaving. Experience had taught this expert woodsman that the buck probably
would not wander closer to his tree stand.

?

His trembling free hand found the call suspended by a lanyard around his neck.
Knowing it was his only chance to take this animal, he blew through the tube—like
call. A low-pitch, guttural grunt filled the air. This was followed by an inward gasp,
then another deep grunt. Before Knight ceased his efforts, six nonstop grunts
connected by inward gasps were broadcast through the brightly lit woods.

?

When hearing this, the heavy-beamed eight-pointer stopped in its tracks. Craning
its neck upward, the whitetail peered intensely toward the source of the sound.
Dropping its head, the buck started toward Harold Knight’s tree stand located high
alongside a scrub oak flanked by two dense cedars and backdropped by a huge,
head-high tangle of Japanese honeysuckle.

?

Blowing the call once more, Knight observed the deer moving in a straight line
toward him. The buck never looked up. Thinking the breeding noise came from
behind a large clump of honeysuckle, it approached to within thirty yards.
Its investigation was greeted by the lightning—like strike of a broadhead.
Sporting eight thick points, the wide beamed trophy now belonged to Harold Knight.

?

Knight needs no introduction to many bowhunters. He and David Hale own
Knight and Hale Game Call Products of Cadiz, Kentucky. They first made their
mark on the hunting scene over a dozen years with their quality goose and wild
turkey calls. Three years ago, they introduced their EZ—Grunt—er deer call.
Since then, they have sold more of these so called attending grunt calls than
any other manufacturer.

?

Thousands of bowhunters have experienced success using one of the many
grunt calls that became available a few years ago. Grunt calls are custom—made
for the close—in style of whitetail bowhunting. Until recently, all attending grunt
calls featured one reed, over which air is blown to produce a guttural, grunting sound.

?

There is no question that properly used grunt calls are effective. however,
last fall, this relatively new facet of hunting leaped to new heights. In recent seasons,
Knight and Hale’s EZ—Grunt—er has captured a lion’s share of the deer call market.
This may change with the development of their new EZ—Grunt—er Plus deer call.
The name EZ—Grunt—er Plus is almost a misnomer. It goes beyond mere grunting.
It effectively mimics a ready—to breed, excited buck’s grunts, gasps and wheezes.

?

When explaining their new call, “hyper-ventilation” is the term frequently used by
these two Bluegrass State nimrods. “First of all, there are several different
kinds of grunts. One of the most important is the simple social grunt. It is used
year-round. Soft and subtle, it enables does to maintain contact with their fawns,
as well as other adults. It starts with a short grunt another. It usually unfolds into
a series of six or seven grunts,” says Harold Knight.

?

On a calm day, the social grunt is heard easily forty to fifty yards away. Those
possessing keen ears and knowing what to listen for, can detect it over one
hundred yards away. However, the social grunt has little to do with the sound
produced by a ready—to-breed buck during the hyperventilating stage.

?

“Hyperventilation by a buck attending a doe in heat is something few hunters
have actually heard. For a long time, this so-called excited grunt has been overlooked,
but primarily because hunters had no means of copying it,” explains David Hale.

?

“I compare a whitetail buck’s hyperventilating stage to that of a bull elk. A bull
elk grunts immediately after bugling in his cows. The elk bull’s grunt is a close
in call, announcing to his cows he is nearby. When grunting, his stomach goes
up and down. He sounds like he is running out of steam, much the same as
I would were I on the edge of hyperventilating.”

?

Whitetail bucks attending a doe in rut give similar sounds. The excited bucks
grunt rapidly. Grunts are linked by easily heard inward gasps. At the same time
air is going out and making noise, it also is coming in and producing sound.
Bucks only act this way when in the company of a doe during her twenty—four
to thirty—five—hour estrus period. Does coming into heat announce this by
dropping estrus when urinating on scrapes. By doing this. female actively
seeks the male for breeding as much as, after finding freshly visited scrapes. bucks look for does.

?

Aier finding the marked scrape, the buck trails the nuptial doe. Nose to the
ground, he passes through the woods omitting short. deep grunts at intervals
of two to four seconds. This goes on as long as he is in pursuit of a doe in estrus.
Much has been written about the magic of the whitetail rut. The will to breed is
stronger than the desire for food or self-preservation. ln attendance of a doe in
estrus. bucks transform into fearless herd masters. On several occasions,
photographing deer near our home in eastern Tennessee. my wife. Joann, and
l have been put to flight by bucks accompanying ready to breed does.

?

During the doe`s short estrus cycle, she only allows herself to be bred by a buck
during a four—hour segment of this time. A doe’s egg is only fertilizable during this
relatively short ovulation period. To breed successfully, she must find a buck prior
to ovulation. Equally important, once a buck is attracted, his attention must be
maintained until ovulation. Prior to ovulation during estrus, the
female whitetail keeps a buck close by teasing him with a cat—and—mouse game.

?

To keep the buck handy, does wiggle their tails, almost letting the buck breed them.
They sometimes run and try to get away from the buck, so he will cut her off. When a
buck checks a doe, he drops his head to the ground and stomps his hooves in an excited,
prance—like dance. Bucks frequently draw their shoulders up and look like they
are attempting to sneak up on the doe.

?

“During this entire process, the attending buck is grunting, almost without stopping.
These baritone sounds can be translated as the buck’s pleas for the doe to stand for
him. A buck may only get a chance to breed once a year,” says Harold Knight. “He
does not want to miss any opportunity. Ever eager to breed, he constantly tests
the doe. How close he is allowed to approach and smell is a sure-fire indicator of
how near a doe is to ovulation. Understandably, five to fifteen hours of reproach
by an estrus doe creates noticeable frustration in the attending buck.”

?

During this tiny portion of a buck’s life, its grunt turns from clear and guttural to
raspy, excited and somewhat high in pitch. Imagine a frustrated buck grunting
until it is almost hyperventilating and you begin to have a picture of what Knight
and Hale Game Call’s new EZ-Grunt—er Plus is all about.

?

Blowing a call that mimics a frustrated buck in the attendance of an estrous doe
assimilates a breeding situation. This is nothing new. Years ago, hunters did the
same thing with mock scrapes, then later, antler rattling. The so called attending grunt
further enabled hunters to create a mock breeding scene. The addition of the new
hyperventilation call adds an even more decisive twist to the art of trophy buck hunting.

?

The rut is one of the most exciting times of the year in the life of all whitetails. It is
not uncommon for wary, dominant bucks to have ranges over three times larger than
the traditional one—square-mile generally attributed to these animals. Such roaming
bucks patrol along fences and forested areas, checking scrapes. They are always alert
for signs of dropped estrus or the sound of distance mating activity.

?

“All deer are attracted to the social activity of mating. Big bucks investigate to see
if they are capable of dethroning bucks already there. Smaller bucks sneak closer
for the same reason or out of inexperienced curiosity. Even does that are not in
heat are attracted to where mating occurs,” says Knight.

?

Copying the hyperventilation stage of grunting scams an irresistible attractor of
all deer. According to Harold Knight, such calls are particularly effective on
trophy bucks that are confident of them-selves from past contest for breeding rights.
Hearing pre-breeding noises quickly draws eager-to-breed bucks to the sources of these sounds.

?

Until development of the EZ-G runt—er Plus, it was impossible to produce the
back—and-forth sound of a buck’s hyperventilation grunting. The unique EZ-Grunter
Plus is more complex than any other deer call. Its construction features two reeds
positioned opposite each other. The first reed differs little in design from those of
traditional grunt calls. When blowing into the mouth hole of the call, it produces a low,
guttural grunt. The second reed produces a raspy, gasping sound when air is sucked through the mouth hole.

?

The hyperventilation-like sound is produced by blowing the grunt call, then quickly
sucking air one to three times over the second reed.
“Our new call can be slowed down for simple grunting like the EZ—Grunt-er or it can be
used to its fullest capacity. Dual pitch is possible by turning the call around and repeating
the process through the opposite end of the EZ-Grunt-er Plus,” says Knish.

?

Harold Knight admits his scouting home-work. not necessarily the new EZ-Grunt-er Plus.
was the key to taking his big eight-pointer the firsttime he used this call in the field.
However. he believes the call enabled him to draw the buck close enough to kill.

?

One week later. David Hale took a 131- score eight-pointer. using the EZ-Grunt-
er Plus. While hunting on the ground in a thicket five days later, Knight took an
impressive eleven—pointer. Harold Knight and David Hale feel whitetail calls of
any sort are most effective when your quarry is visible. Seeing the deer enables
the hunter to gauge the animals response to the sound of their call. In fact. the
deer will dictate back to the caller how much he wants to hear that sound.

?

Hunting on the ground, stalking the edges of fields and woods is the method
preferred by many expert callers. Granted. there is a possibility the deer will see
the hunter first, but when the bowman sees the deer first, there is an excellent
opportunity for calling up a trophy. When hunting from a stand, constant or
near constant calling is recommended.

?

Throughout the day, bucks will travel in and out of hearing range of such calls. Frequent use of a call will draw any curious bucks within shooting range. According to Hale and Knight, their new second generation hyperventilation type call will prove even more effective at this job than anything previously offered to hunters.

For more information on the new EZ-Grunt-er Plus, contact Knight and Hale
Game Call Products

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Published by archerchick on 10 Feb 2011

Plan A Moose Hunt ~By Bob Robb


Bow And Arrow Hunting
February 1996

Plan A Moose Hunt~ By Bob Robb

TO MANY LOWER-48 bowhunters, a bull
moose is nothing more than a cartoon character,
Bullwinkle, a little slow on the uptake,
plodding along through life a step behind just
about everyone and everything.
In reality, nothing could be further
from the truth. Moose are North
America’s largest subspecies of deer,
awesome creatures in size of body and
of antler. Unless you have had the pleasure
of quartering a moose in the field,
you honestly have no idea how big they
really are.

How big are they? Whole hind quarters
can weigh more than 200 pounds
each. Something as small as a boned-
out neck may weigh 75 pounds or more.
A big set of antlers and skull plate might
weigh a bit over 100 pounds. To gain a
little perspective, a big whitetail deer
might produce as much boned—out meat
as one large bull moose neck!

Picture yourself backpacking your
moose a mile or two over hill and dale,
through boggy, bug—infested swamps,
weaving between spruce thickets and
tangled balsam, buck brush and berry
bushes or through waist-deep snow, as
I did in Alaska in 1992. In all, packing a
moose back to camp in this manner will
take eight trips, give or take one or two.
depending upon how much each man
can reasonably carry. When it comes to
packing moose, you can never have too
much help – especially if that help includes
a couple of strong pack horses. a
boat or an airplane!

If a man had to work this hard at his
regular job, he’d probably go on strike.
But each year, hundreds of bowhunters accept the
challenge, because moose hunting is exciting and fun.
Just looking at a big bull is indeed awesome, especially
if all you have for perspective is perhaps the
largest whitetail deer. Moose meat is highly prized
for its flavor and nutritional value. And, of course,
there’s lots of it. The antlers of even an average bull
moose are impressive, like nothing else you’ll ever
see.

However, moose hunting is not something you
should do on a whim. It takes careful planning to
arrange a successful moose hunting adventure that
will result in a punched tag and reasonable meat packing job.

MOOSE: WHAT ARE THEY?
In terms of subspecies, most sportsmen recognize
the three listed in both the Boone and Crockett
and Pope & Young club record books. Safari Club
Intemational recognizes a fourth, calling it the East-
em Canada moose, Alces alces americana. The oth-
ers are the Yellowstone or Wyoming moose, A. a.
shirasi, more commonly called the Shiras moose; A.
a. andersoni is the Canada moose; and A. a. gigas is
the giant Alaska—Yukon moose.

Mature Eastern Canada moose bulls have antler
spreads in the low 40-inch bracket. They weigh some-
where between 900 and 1,100 pounds on
the hoof. The Shiras moose is about
the same size. Large Canada moose bulls
can have antler spreads in the low
50-inch class. Where they mingle with
the Alaska-Yukon moose in the extreme
western portion of their range, they
might even creep over 60 inches. They
can weigh 1,200 to 1,400 pounds and
stand between 6 1/2 and seven feet high
at the shoulder. Mature Alaska-Yukon
moose have antler spreads beyond 55
inches, with a few bulls more than 70
inches shot each year. There have even
been a few of these bulls recorded with
antler spreads that exceed 80 inches.
That is nearly seven feet! These incredible
creatures can stand 7 1/2 feet high
at the shoulder and weigh upwards of
1,800 pounds on the hoof.

HUNTING TROPHY BULLS
If your goal is an honest—to—g00dness
record book-class bull moose, you must
understand that antler spread is an of-
ten deceiving criteria. For example, one
outfitter friend of mine in Alaska guided

a rifle-toting client to an Alaska·Yukon
moose in 1989 that had an antler spread
of only 57 inches. But the bull still almost
made the minimum Boone and
Crockett score of 224 points for entry
into the records. Its extremely wide
palms had many long, heavy points, as
did the fronts, to give it the additional
score. The Pope & Young minimum
score is 170 points for bow-killed animals.

For the most impressive antlers,
hunting Alaska-Yukon moose in
Alaska, the Yukon or the Northwest
Territories is what you must do. Of that
group, more than three-fourths of all
Alaska—Yukon moose entries in the
B&C record book have come from
Alaska. While huge moose are scattered
about Alaska, the record book
tells you that the Alaska and Kenai peninsulas,
and the north slope of the
Brooks range are your best bets. If you
hunt these bulls in Canada, the Yukon-
Northwest Territories border area is
best for a truly huge bull.

For Canada moose, 224 of the 386
bulls listed in the B&C book came from
British Columbia. But you can find
record—class bulls scattered about
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and
Ontario. A careful management plan
that includes limited sport hunting has
produced some really top—quality
Canada moose from Maine in recent
years, too. It takes a score of 195 points
to qualify. The P&Y minimum is 135
points.

For Shiras moose, Wyoming owns
158 of the 229 B&C record book en-
tries. Montana, Utah and Idaho also pro-
duce a few bulls in this class each year.
A score of 155 points meets the mini-
mum B&C requirement for Shiras
moose. Archers need a bull scoring 115
P&Y points to make that book’s mini-
mum score.

HOW AND WHEN TO
HUNT MOOSE

There are two kinds of bull moose.
The first, easiest to hunt, is the bull in
the rut. When a bull succumbs to an
overdose of testosterone, he thinks of
nothing but breeding. We have all read
stories of rut-crazed bulls charging
trains and semis on the highway, and they do
sometimes get this goofy. It is not unusual
for a rutting bull moose to come out of
the brush and investigate the sound of your
saddle horse clomping down the trail. Once
located, these bulls are relatively easy to get
to within rifle or bow range if you are careful
to not think it’s too easy. The timing of the
hunt may vary from area to area, but generally
speaking, it occurs in late September and early October
This is prime time for trophy moose hunting. If those
big antlers are your goal. this is by far the best time
to try to find them within bow range.

The other bull moose is something entirely different.
Out of the rut, a bull can be extremely difficult to locate:
even tougher to get personal with. Early in the season.
before temperatures drop and when the bugs are thick
down near creek and river bottoms, the bulls will go
high up the slopes of the drainages where the breezes
keep them cooled and the bugs at bay. They will lay up
in thick, almost impenetrable patches of alder, balsam and
buck brush, cover that’s taller than you sitting on a horse
and impossible to silently stalk through. The leaves haven’t yet
dropped off these plants and seeing into them is like trying to
look through a brick wall.

Bull moose densities are another problem to overcome. As noted gun
writer John Wootters once said, “Even when there are a lot of ’em, there aren`t
many of ’em.”

A biologist in Manitoba once told me
I was hunting the best area in the province
for moose. There were three moose
to the square mile. Even in many good
areas, moose densities are only one animal
per square mile. Often it is less. It
is not quite the satne as hunting white-
tails in states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania,
Ohio or Georgia. With such low
animal densities, it often takes lots of
looking to locate a good bull, even in the best areas.

How you hunt depends a lot upon where you are,
the time of year and the prevailing weather conditions.
In mountainous areas such as Alaska and
western Canada, getting up high and glassing for
hours on end is the way to go. In some areas of
Canada, canoeing rivers or along lake shores early
and late in the day is the best way to find moose in
this flat terrain. That technique also works well in
Alaska.

One experienced
moose guide in Alaska told me that
when the bulls aren’t rutting, he will
find a drainage junction that contains
a fair amount a fresh moose sign, climb
up to where he can see as much country
as possible and just sit there. He
builds a small tarp shelter if it is rainy,
brings along a coffee pot and will sit
for several days if necessary.
“When the bulls are working the
area, sooner or later they will walk
where you can see them without spooking
them off,” he told me.
It sounds boring, but it makes a lot of sense.

During the rut, calling is a popular technique.
One excellent way to call
moose is to float a river in a canoe or
large river raft, stopping and calling in
likely-looking areas. You can cover lots
of ground this way, often what it takes
to find a good bull. Making moose
sounds with your voice is pretty simple, or you can
use one of the commercial calls. Both Lohman Game
Calls (Dept. BA, P.O. Box 220, Neosho, MO 64850)
and Haydel’s Game Calls (Dept. BA, 5018 Hazel
Jones Road, Bossier City, LA 7llll) offer excellent
moose calls and instructional tapes.

A modified form of antler rattling may also help
lure in rutty bulls. You can bang large deer antlers
together and it will work at times. Serious moose
hunters carry an old scapula bone from either a cow or
moose and use this to rake against brush and dig up the ground.
Combined with some judicious calling, this can be deadly. The old trick of
scooping water up and pouring it back into a river or lake to simulate a bull
moose urinating isn’t a joke; it also works.

For bowhunters trying to call moose, hunting with a partner is an excellent
idea. Just as in elk hunting, one archer acts as caller, the other as the shooter in
the hope that the bull will not notice the man with the bow. Glassing bulls on
open slopes also can be effective, especially when there is a steady breeze and
cover of brush or trees to hide behind when making a stalk.

However you hunt moose, keep in mind that they have outstanding senses
of smell and hearing, with pretty good eyesight. Always hunt with the wind in
your face, wear non-scratchy clothing, and keep talking and other human noises
to a bare minimum.

MOOSE ARCHERY TACKLE
Bowhunters need stout tackle to hunt moose. Bows should draw at least 60
pounds. Broadheads need to be razor- sharp and constructed strongly. Light-
bladed broadheads that are lethal on light game such as whitetails won’t get
the job done. I like broadheads to have at least 1 1/8 inches of cutting surface,
with strong blades at least .030-inch thick. I prefer cutting—tip design
broadheads for increased penetration through the thick hair, hide and muscle
structure of a big bull. But rest assured that a well-placed broadhead will drop
a moose quickly. My 1992 Alaska bull was shot once through the lungs at 40
yards with an Easton aluminum arrow shaft tipped with a 125-grain Hoyt Top
Cut broadhead sent on its way by a compound bow with a draw weight of
78 pounds. He ran only 100 yards before piling up stone dead.

I also recommend a rangefinder, like the Ranging Eagle Eye 3X or 80/
2, to help gauge distances over the often deceptive flat ground where moose
are found. Large pack frames, for hauling meat, a razor-sharp hunting
knife and whetstone, and a compact bone saw are mandatory to help with
meat care. Several quality meat sacks will help keep flies off the meat should
the weather be warm. You will also need waterproof binoculars of at least
7X to find bulls in the heavy cover and over long distances.

GUIDED OR UNGUIDED?
Both guided and unguided moose hunts have their advantages. You have
to weigh the pros and cons of each, as well as the local game laws, before
making your decision. Moose are a popular animal for hunters to pursue
on their own. Many sportsmen travel to Alaska each fall and hunt
moose unguided. Those who take enough time and
prepare properly do fairly well.

In Canada, guides often are required for non-resident aliens, so you may have no
choice there. The lower 48 states permit un guided moose hunting where there are
huntable populations. Fully outfitted and guided moose
hunts are the most expensive. Costs vary greatly from place to place, depending
upon exclusivity, the remoteness of camp and the hunting area, and other
factors. Expect a fully outfitted moose hunt to cost you between $500 and $800 per day in
the most remote areas that hold the best chances at a big bull, with most hunts
scheduled for seven to 10 days. These costs reflect the expense of ferrying in
supplies, air taxi services and generally conducting
a hunting business in the bush. Costs can drop
down to $200 to $300 per day in areas where the
hunting is done closer to roads. Access may be primarily via four-
wheel-drive vehicle, and the cost of doing business is lower.

For example, a fully-guided 10-day Alaska moose hunt might set you back
$6,000 to $8,000, plus license and tag fees, and extensive — and expensive
-— air taxi costs. A hunt for Shiras moose in Wyoming or Montana migh:
run you $1,500 to $2,500, because the outfitter’s operating expenses are so
much less. Two good moose outfitters l’ve personally hunted with in Alaska are Terry
Overly, Pioneer Outfitters, Dept. BA. Chisana, AK 99780; Gary Pogany.
Osprey Mountain Lodge, Dept. BA. P.O. Box 770323, Eagle River, AK
99577. Both cater to archery hunters, as well as their usual rifle clientele.
Guided hunts have several advantages. The biggest two are that the
outfitter will generally know where the larger bulls hang out, saving you count-
less hours in research time and on-the ground searching, and he will have
made meat and trophy·care arrangements beforehand. As mentioned, that
is no small consideration.

Do—it—yourself hunting is satisfying and can save you major bucks, too. If
you are willing to research an area and plan diligently, you can do a fly—in
moose hunt in Alaska for under $2,500 total, including airplane costs. Float
hunts down major rivers can be even less. A lower-48 Shiras moose hunt can
cost less than $1,000, if you use your own vehicle to get into hunting country
and set up a roadside camp. But you must be able to locate a bull
to your liking, shoot him, then care for the meat yourself. Meat care is the most
important consideration in shooting a moose, especially when hunting on your
own. Make arrangements with a local horse packer before the hunt to help you
get meat out of the back country if you can, or have lots of friends with strong
backs and weak minds. And try to shoot your bull as close to a road, river or bush
landing strip as you can.

Moose hunting is something every ardent big-game hunter should do at
least once. It’s not just the size of the animal nor his tender, succulent flesh.
Moose hunting occurs in some of North America’s most spectacular country.
Moose live in terrain dotted with sparkling, gin-clear lakes and rivers, miles
and miles of uncut virgin forests, often in settings featuring tall mountains with
peaks that reach for the clouds. The flora can be bright and cheerful, the fauna
abundant, the excitement high. <—-<<<

Archived By
www.Archerytalk.com
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Published by archerchick on 10 Feb 2011

HIGH NOON DEER ~By Joe Byers


BOW AND ARROW
December 1990

HIGH NOON DEER ~By Joe Byers

STILL-HUNTING for deer is a method rich in heritage and
enjoyment. More and more archers are adding this technique to their bag of
tricks; the ability to move silently and unnoticed closer to deer while they lay
unsuspecting of the hunter’s approach. Some folks boast of being able to stalk
so effectively that they can physically touch a deer before the animal knows
someone is around!

Each year, I become captivated by this most enjoyable method of deer
hunting and with absolutely the best of intentions, give it a try. The process
sounds so simple: move slowly, take small steps, look around and, in short,
see the deer before it sees you. Easy, right?

Deer hunting is exciting and just being in the woods during the season is
enough to get a guy’s blood pressure into the big numbers. It`s even worse
when a hunter’s feet seem to have only one gear: high. My mind says,”go
slow,” but every muscle in my body says,”get going,” “hurry up,” “move
it.”

Not one to let this promising technique go untried, I became serious
recently, perhaps crazy, in the attempt. For example, I tried tying my shoelaces
together, but found I couldn’t hop quietly. Next came the old “tie a log to
your leg” trick, but that didn’t help either as the logs kept wearing out. I
even invested in a “digital compound release,” but with no luck. This high-
tech gadget attaches to a tree and, by a slender cable, to a hunter’s belt. Each
minute it releases three feet of cord, allowing a consistent, but gradual
advance. This almost worked once as I got to within seven yards of a twelve-
point buck that was sound asleep. Using the tautness of the rope as a steadying
device, I came to full draw and was within a whisper of release when the
device kicked out slack, throwing me forward and nearly arrowing my foot.
From time to time, deer hunters are accused of exaggerating and perhaps
these stories are stretching things a little. However, those hunters who have faced
the frustrations of trying to stalk bedded deer can appreciate the feeling.

Seriously, still-hunting, the art of stalking quietly through deer habitat,
can be as productive as it is exciting and can perhaps double the amount of
quality hunting time for a sportsman. On the first Saturday of the deer
season I decided to, once again, give still-hunting a try. I came up with the
standard results: fresh, but empty beds, the sounds of rustling leaves in the
distance and several bobbing whitetails disappearing over the horizon. In an
hour of “sneaking,” probably ten to twenty deer had been jumped, far more
than I could expect to see from a single stand. If I had been serious about moving
slowly, really slowly, I probably could have had several opportunities.

This is the beauty of still-hunting. It is an excellent supplement to stand hunting
and, except during the mt when deer are often active throughout the day, can
more than double hunting time. The following Saturday, I was determined to
hunt the same ridge top. The weather was windy and cold, unlike the warm
sunny day the previous week. I expected to see deer bedded on the lee side of the
mountain, which was exactly where they were.

After traveling less than two hundred yards, I spotted a doe bedded and looking
away from me. Closing the distance to within forty yards, I was surprised by a
second doe that suddenly stood up. By 2:00 p.m. and several stalks later,
I was watching a large bedded doe, looking directly away from me. She was
quite in the open, but I moved carefully, only when her head was turned.
It was almost like watching a video.

When stand hunting, deer come and go often in a matter of minutes or seconds.
This was hunting in slow motion, but with the volume turned all the way up.
The bedded deer watched downhill, allowing step after step to be taken from
the uphill side. When her head would turn toward me, I’d stop and she would
continue chewing her cud, then focus on the downhill direction once again.

At fifty yards, the same problem as with the earlier stalk occurred; another
deer saw me. Only thirty yards away, an unseen doe stood up and went trotting
past the deer I was stalking. Both deer stood alertly, but couldn’t see me, even
though I stood in the open. Choosing an uphill escape, the pair circled slightly
and began angling uphill. At this point, the odds of the deer passing within
twenty yards were better than fifty—fifty. However, instead of continuing on the
trail, the big doe broke straight for the top, picking up yet another deer on the
way.

Tiptoeing through a deer’s bedroom is difficult, but it certainly can be exciting.
Russell Hull of Hill City, Kansas, has bagged three Pope & Young Club record
book bucks by still—hunting. To most fellows, three P & Ys would be
outstanding, except that Hull has a whole wall full of them. A successful
hunter, his preference for still-hunting is during early morning and evening when
deer are moving.

“If they are bedded down, they are going to see you first,” he declares.
One of his three Pope & Young Club bucks was taken at noon during the rut.
Hull recommends this time of day for trophy animals in heavily hunted areas.
“At that time of day most hunters are out of the woods and many big bucks
know this,” he reasons. Hull saw the buck walking down a
trail some fifty yards ahead of him. A light rain was falling and the leaves were
quiet The big buck walked behind a large dead tree and Hull, aided by the
damp forest carpet, hustled, anticipating a shot as the buck emerged.

“I waited and waited, but he didn’t come out,” he remembers. “Peering
around the tree, the buck was rubbing his horns on a sapling and our eyes met.
“I couldn’t draw and shoot, because there was a branch in the way, so we
just stared at each other. For a clear shot, he need to take one step, which he
eventually did and I took the shot dropping him within eighty yards.”
Hull has a number of tricks that can be used to make still—hunting more
effective. It is important to remember that noise in the mountains is a natural thing,
All creatures make noise in dry leaves. grass, or corn. What isn’t natural,
usually, are sticks snapping or the rhythmic one-two crunch, crunch that
signals the presence of humans.

For example, during the first week of the season, I was sitting in a small
ground blind and a deer approached to within thirty yards. Suddenly, something
could be heard approaching from a draw directly behind me. The doe heard it
immediately and stared intently in my direction. I dared not move as the sound
continued out of a nearby ravine. By the sound, it was either a deer or another
hunter.

The rustling stopped, but the staring contest continued. Finally, the scolding
sound of a squirrel could be heard and this doe on the verge of full flight, immediately
lowered her head and continued feeding. Hull recommends using calls such as
a deer call or turkey call to disguise noisy steps or snapped twigs. Another
trick he suggests is to use a walking stick which will break up the step, step pattern
that we two legged creatures have.

This doesn’t mean that archers shouldn’t be concerned about noise, but by using
these tricks, errant steps can be camouflaged.
Hull also uses a belt bowholder. This allows an archer to use both hands to
operate a rangefinder or binoculars. The holder allows the use of both hands with-
out having to lay the bow on the ground. For mid—day stalkers, one essential
piece of equipment is a pair of binoculars. If the deer sees the hunter
Erst, the archer will still be there, but the deer will not. I could catch the deer
in its bed if I moved slowly and glassed often. My mistake was not continually
glassing until all the deer were located. Bucks may be easier to approach in this
situation, since they are often bedded alone and their antlers may make them
more visible.

The final advantage to still—hunting is what a hunter learns while doing so.
Hunters are going to see lots of deer and cover ground that could pinpoint the
perfect spot for a tree stand at the end of the day. As Hull points out, “The things
learned while still—hunting can be invaluable, especially where the big bucks
are!”

In this context, still—hunting can be thought of as “slow scouting” and, as
most successful bowmen know, a person can’t know too much about the deer he
is hunting. I had spent a recent fall morning in a tree stand in a promising area. Arriving
just as day broke, I was barely in the stand when a small doe came by. As it
paused at ten yards, offering a perfect shot, the opportunity was difficult to
pass. However, l wanted a buck and, if the tree stand didn’t pay off, there was
always the stalking opportunity at the top of the mountain where I had the
close calls earlier.

By 10:30, I assumed that most deer had bedded. I returned to the truck to
get rid of the portable stand and shed some clothing that was all too warm.
The day was bright, sunny and certainly not prime hunting weather. Further-
more, the heat had dried out the mountain to the point that leaves sounded like
crunchy cereal with each step. These were certainly the conditions that would
send most archers home for a nap or at least to town for some lunch and a cold
drink. However, I knew that opportunity was ahead and planned to make the
most of it.

I dressed in my stalking gear. My out- fit was a Polartuff jacket and pants by
Spartan Realtree in camo. This high·tech weave gives warmth in cool—to—cold
weather, yet was comfortable in the heat of the day. In one of the pockets was an
accurate Ranging 500 rangefinder. It is a fairly large model, but is on the money
to within one yard at one hundred yards, a bit more distance than I needed, but
the precision was important. My wide- angle binoculars rounded out the gear
and I began the climb.

The going was difficult. Deadfalls, briars and thick, brush—covered rocky
terrain, made the question of whether to continue a frequent thought. However,
deer prefer a sunny slope and the leeside of the mountain was a perfect place
to lay out of what usually was cold weather. I was barely to the crest when a deer
jumped from it’s bed and bounded out of sight. Other deer were seen going down
the other side. Although the group would likely circle to rejoin, the large
doe had seen me and she would certainly be alert. Still looking for a buck, I
continued along the top using the Held glasses to look things over as I went.
A number of promising bedding areas were empty, probably due to the heat
However, within twenty minutes, I was looking at something strange. Just above
a log were two tiny objects twitching vigorously. Concentrating on the movement,
it appeared to be deer ears with a rack included in the picture. Apparently,
flies were giving the animal a fit and he flicked his ears to avoid them. The range
was about l25 yards with a number of large tree trunks directly between the
deer and me. With caution, I could probably sneak up on the buck. Remembering
my last experience, I checked for additional deer. Sure enough, feeding in
the shadows were three more whitetails. Stalking a bedded buck was one thing,
but to stalk a whole herd was another.

The best strategy seemed to be to go to the other side of the mountain parallel
with the deer, then return back over the top above them. Thanks to the falling `
leaves and slight breeze, any noise made was not detected. Carefully raising my
head above the ridgetop, I located one of the feeding does. I was careful to
stand against a large tree, relying on the camo pattern to disguise my silhouette.
Inching to an upright position, I could see the three feeding deer, but the buck
was nowhere to be seen. Remembering the log, I glassed carefully and finally
found him behind a large rock. Ranging in the distance, it looked like fifty yards;
a long shot to be sure. More than the distance, the rock was covering most of
his vitals.

Slowly lowering myself below the skyline once again, I moved ten yards
away, hoping to get a better angle on the buck. When I reappeared on the skyline,
things got really sticky. Try as I might, I could not see the buck. To further complicate
things, one of the does decided to bed down, facing directly toward me.
Luckily, a squirrel or other animal chose this time to make a racket down
the mountain and the doe turned her head to check for danger. Seizing the
opportunity, I slowly disappeared from the horizon and went back to almost the
original position. Like smoke from a smoldering fire, I lifted above the
horizon and was surprised at the sight.

The deer had shifted its position and now lay in the open; sound asleep. It
was bedded with its head back over its back. The vitals were exposed and
presented a fairly clear shot. I had all day to get ready. I had practiced with
the Golden Eagle Turbo bow at distances well beyond the range. The
Satellite Titan broadheads had grouped well and I had confidence in their flight.

The advantage to this type of hunting is that I was in charge. I literally gave it
my best shot. The arrow seemed to barely leave the bow when the buck rolled over and was
still. The big broadhead had grazed the shoulder and entered the neck, thanks to
the unusual position, breaking the spine. As I tagged the buck and began the job
of Held dressing it, I couldn’t help glancing at my watch with a broader smile
than usual. It was 1:30 in the afternoon. I was probably the only hunter within
miles still in the woods. While they were waiting until evening to get back into
their stands, I was dragging out the
venison. <—<<

 

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