Published by admin on 02 Aug 2010
Published by admin on 02 Aug 2010
Published by sarah on 25 Jul 2010
HI! im sarah and im fifteen(: i wrote this for huntinglife.com it got accepted and also got me on their prostaff. i was thinking about sending it to eastmans. tell me what you guys think.
The big day, October 2nd is here. The leaves are green with hints of yellow and the air is warm. I hike through the woods to my tree stand; the warm air smothers me with a feeling of peace. Getting away from the grind of life and into the woods for a few hours brings me to an absolute bliss. Although the weather is pleasant I get cold chills because the feelings the outdoors brings to me. Even if I do not bring a deer home with me, I will not return home low-spirited but I will feel cleansed and refreshed. As the season goes by, I may kill a few deer but that’s not all that brings me excitement. Just seeing nature’s changes is enough to thrill me. Watching the leaves go from green, to yellow, orange, and red, then watching them slowly disappear off the trees and the ground transform into a red, orange, and yellow mixture. I’ve learned the beauty of the hunt can be just an exciting as the kill itself.
As a child, responsibility isn’t a strong point. But it may be gained much faster and stronger if the child hunts. Hunting is a sport that involves weapons and they can’t be treated as toys. And as a child I was taught to treat every gun as if it was loaded. I’ve learned patience and how to be stealthy. Learning all the ways to hunt such as walking quietly by rolling you foot, when to be ready to draw back, when to stand up, how to correctly use deer estrus, how to scan the area in search for deer, and many other difficult techniques. I remember to practice these each time I go out and hunt. I want every technique I know to be mastered.
Hunting has taught me about respect. Not the yes sir and no ma’am kind of respect that I was taught when I was young. But I have learned to respect the outdoors, to respect my states laws and people who own the land I hunt on. I put myself in the landowners position and think “I wouldn’t enjoy people disrespecting my land.” And I remember to treat others as I would like to be treated. Wildlife is beautiful and I see it on TV getting ruined by oil spills or enormous clear-cuts. It hurts me to think of all the beauty that humans are destroying through their greediness. The woods that I know will never vanish in my generation are my sanctuary. And I sympathize for the people who can’t enjoy the forest or animals in the wild because they live in the city. They just don’t understand how hunting truly can change a person’s life.
My dad and I have bonded tremendously through the outdoors. We fish, hike, hunt, or anything else we can find that’s outside. Really, all our time spent together is doing these activities. He has taught me a lot of things from tying a strong slip-knot for fishing to how to shoot my boy correctly. My Granddad has also taught me many useful things. He owned a sporting goods store in the seventies and he was also a park ranger, he goes to Montana to shoot prairie dogs once a year and buys me books and magazines to help me learn as much as I can. My granddad takes me out to the rifle range and we shoot skeet, pistols, and rifles. All the old men up there let me try out there guns. Without my dad and granddad I doubt I would know all I do. And without the outdoors, I wouldn’t be nearly as close with them as I am.
Another of the many great traits I have gained from the outdoors is hard work pays off. Two years ago on my first hunting trip alone I missed a doe. I blame it on myself because I hadn’t practiced like I should have. That disappointment lit me up and I was determined to be the best shot I could be. All summer I shot and shot. Finally the chance came for me to prove that my hard work actually meant something. I shot at my second deer at 42 yards while standing on my knees, turned around backwards in my tree stand. My heart sank; I knew I had shot to low and missed. I pulled out my cell phone and called my dad to tell him to help me look for my arrow, it could be anywhere. He came down to the clearing where I had shot and we looked a long time for that arrow that was nowhere to be seen. I searched and searched, but I found something a million times better than an arrow. Blood. A smile hit my face so hard that I couldn’t even speak. My dad noticed and he looked at me like I was crazy. I found the words and told him about what I spotted. That was the start of our night. I had barely nicked the lungs and he ran a little ways but eventually we found him. A little spike but I didn’t care; I had a kill under my belt. I was so proud.
Hunting isn’t for everyone, but if you love it and get out there you can learn some of the most important qualities a person can earn in their life. The beauty of nature, responsibility, respect, the value of family and friends, and that hard work truly does pay off. These aren’t the only things a hunter can learn, but they are some of the most precious characteristics.
Published by admin on 15 Jun 2010
Published by admin on 14 Jun 2010
Published by ejon on 29 May 2010
Last year, I knocked down one of the biggest bucks I’d ever seen from my favorite hunting area… or so I thought?!
It was the last day of the 2009 hunting season. The plan was to try and fill my last doe tag. I still had a tag left for a monster buck too, but that was not the plan.
As the clock was winding down on one of the coldest Michigan days of hunting I could ever remember, it seemed like everything was falling right into place. So I waited… and waited… nothing. For hours, I sat in my tree stand, posturing quietly. It was everything I could do to keep the feeling in my toes (and my backside) from chasing me out of my tree. Finally, I gave in… twenty minutes of daylight left …I was done.
I gathered up all of my gear, climbed down from my tree and headed back to the warming shed to meet up with my hunting buddies to reflect on another great season.
As I turned back to look over the area where I just left one last time, I noticed some movement. There she was… the one beautiful doe that would have filled my ticket. As I began to laugh in disbelief– there was another one. Then, a buck… looked like a six-pointer. Then another one… and another. Holy Crap! Suddenly, out of the shadows of the treeline, there he stood… a majestic monster. Like a parade of nobility all on display for me to see. “Why couldn’t I hold out just a little while longer?”
Well, it’s the end of May… still thinking about that moment at the end of the season when I gave in.
So for this coming season, I have made a pact with myself– I will try to last a little longer on those days when I feel like leaving. I will pick up some warmer clothing to be better prepared for battle. More important, I will always remember this, “…it’s why they call it HUNTING– NOT gathering!”
Published by archerchick on 24 Mar 2010
Bowhunting Superman Archie Nesbitt – By Jason Butler
Bowhunting World 2006-2007
He’s been called “Canada’s Premier Bowhunter,” and in many ways Archie Nesbitt is the most-accomplished bowhunter who ever lived.
With a bow in his hand and an animal to hunt,
Archie Nesbitt is a happy man. Hunting is in his blood. In fact, the Calgary, Alberta, bowhunting fanatic feels best when trudging through the forest or desert. “I’ve been chasing animals all over the place for the last 30 years,” says the
super-friendly attorney. “Long ago I thought
to myself that if you can hunt it, I want to try, it.” Thirty years and counting he’s stuck to that notion like glue. And, boy-oh-boy, have the animals piled up.
“I never stop thinking about bowhunting,” he says. “It’s just tons of fun and I’ve never thought there was such a thing as ‘kicking back.’ Of course, I travel extensively with my job, so that
certainly makes things convenient'” Nesbitt is a bowhunting fanatic for a very simple reason: Challenge. His attitude blends determination and focus into what he loves best. Once You get to know a little about the man, it’s easy to see just how true that is.
Nesbitt, 54, was born to hunt. Growing up as a kid in the wilds of eastern Canada, his family gun hunted to eat much of the time, shooting moose and caribou for their plentiful meat. By age 15,
Nesbitt shot his first big-game animal with a bow, immediately becoming infatuated with the aesthetics of archery. With that single animal his passion was born.
Even back when bows were pretty crude, Nesbitt took animals cleanly, thanks to his sharp shooting and hunting skills. He spent every spare moment he had scouting, hunting, and honing his skills, shooting arrows behind the house. A decade later Nesbitt graduated from
law school and became involved in corporate mining exploration and mineral resources development around the globe. This successful career would reinvigorate his passion and take his bowhunting to a whole new level.
Nesbitt’s bowhunting resume reads like a Donald Trump memoir on real estate. He has taken more animals with archery gear than any other hunter, alive or dead. Jon Shepley, vice president of sales and marketing for PSE archery, knows Nesbitt well. “This guy is the undisputed most-successful bowhunter on the planet,” Shepley states. “He’s arrowed quadruple the number of animals compared to any other bowhunter out there. It would be difficult for someone who is just retired with unlimited resources and time to hunt the animals he has successfully.”
To put that into perspective, consider this: In 2001, Nesbitt became the sixth man to make the North American Super Slam, harvesting all 28 species of North American big game recognized by the Pope & Young Club. More recently, however, he became the sole bowhunter to take the triple Slam, a tremendous accomplishment.
The Triple Slam consists of four separate North American sheep species, 12 additional sheep species from around the world, and 12 additional species of goats from around the world. This feat is recognized by the Grand Slam
Club/Ovis. At a conference in early ’06, the Grand Slam Club awarded Nesbitt a certificate and congratulations for his unprecedented achievement.
However, for his Triple Slam, much like the Super Slam, Nesbitt did not start out hunting these animals with a “slam” in mind. “After several decades of hunting a whole bunch of animals, things just sort of ended up that way,” says Nesbitt. “This took many hunts and much energy. I didn’t get all of these animals the first time out. For many of them I had to go back a number of times.” But the “slams” are just the tip of the iceberg. Nesbitt currently holds 46 combined world records recognized by Safari
Club International (SCI) from North America and around the world. His tally of Pope & Young animals nearly reaches triple digits; many are listed in the top 10. In North America alone Nesbitt’s tally includes: two polar bear; a 1O-foot, 3-inch brown bear in Alaska; two Dall
sheep; a grizzly bear in British Columbia; two bighorn sheep; three musk-ox; a Shiras moose in Utah that was the state record for 15 years; truckloads of deer; the SCI world record Roosevelt elk on Vancouver Island; and more moose and caribou than some see in a lifetime. In Africa, the list gets longer.
Africa is one of Nesbitt’s favorite bowhunting destinations. In approximately 20 trips to eight countries, his list includes: four Cape buffalo; two Western buffalo; three lions; three leopards; two hippos; an elephant; a crocodile; and
hundreds of plains game. Nesbitt says that everybody should experience Africa at least once.
“Africa is magical. You see so many animals up close that it’s just incredible. I’ve been fortunate to arrow a pile of different game over there. and I tell you I never grow tired of it. You can go over and shoot eight to 10 animals for a reasonable price. Usually l take my family and make a good vacation out of it. I’m always thinking about Africa!”
In other parts of the world, his list is even more mind-boggling. Abroad he
has hunted in 20 countries-Spain, New Zealand, China, Pakistan, and Iran,
just to name a few—-on six continents’ He once hunted for a solid month in North Africa atop camels. In Kyrgyzstan, he spent three three weeks hunting Marco Polo sheep and Ibex at 15,000 feet. On hunts like these, there’s no room for error.
A few years back Nesbitt was planning a two-week hunt in the Middle East. Because of the unstable political situation, it’s not a place many hunters would want to go these days. Naturally, he called some colleagues to see if they wanted to tag along-But all told him he was nuts. Yet, that didn’t dampen his parade one bit. He went alone, despite their hesitation, and bloodied up a few arrows. lt went over without a hitch.
So, with all these accomplishments under his belt, why haven’t you seen Nesbitt’s face plastered all over archery magazines and advertisements? Nesbitt has very few ties to the archery- industry. He is a PSE pro staffer. “I started shooting PSE bows,around 1980. When PSE founder and innovator Pete Shepley approached me in the mid’90s to ask me to join the pro staff there, I was more than happy. I’d already been using his product for almost 20 years. I really think he is an archery pioneer, and I was happy to come aboard.”
With a PSE bow in hand, most of Nesbitt’s hunts have run smoothly, but predictably, there are exceptions. There was the time when a big musk-ox busted out of the large pack and charged
toward him like a freight train. Reacting quickly and jumping sideways for dear life, Nesbitt walked away after the animal missed him by mere inches. In Alaska, ominous grizzly bears have popped their teeth and circled at spitting distance many times.
These incidents were dicey. But encounters with elephants in Africa were cutting hairs, situations Nesbitt considers much more frightening. “For my money, the most dangerous animal on the planet is an elephant,” he says. “Elephants have the temperament of a junkyard dog, and when they charge you better start praying. I came within 4 to 5 feet of sheer disaster a couple of times. I finally killed an elephant in 2OO2 using a custom 100 pound-draw weight bow. I was thrilled!”
“In A League Of His Own”
The Pope & Young Club recognizes 28 species of big game. But Nesbitt’s North American resume reveals that he’s done them a few animals better with 32 species. Pope & Young Records Chairman Glen Hisey says, “Nesbitt is in a league of his own. It’s hard to fathom how a guy can hunt so much and be so darn good at it.
I know a lot of successful bowhunters. And, believe me, none of them are close
to walking in his shoes.”
Just how many animals can one guy kill? Well, out of the other species Nesbitt has bow bagged on our continent, the Boone & Crockett Club recognizes two of them. The first is a Boone &
Crockett Tule elk from California. The latter is a Boone & Crockett Atlantic walrus. Nebitt’s is the biggest ever shot by a hunter-gun or bow.
Natives have found bigger walruses that died by natural causes. However, the few gun-shot animals pale in comparison to Nesbitt’s. He’s also shot lynx and bobcat with broadheads. No record keeping organization claims these. They say they can’t justify it because they can’t tell 100 percent whether the animals were trapped or nor. Nesbitt has a handful of witnesses to prove it.
For a man who has bowhunted and shot just about everything under the sun, what’s next? For Nesbitt, there’s no letting off the throttle. “Over the next several years I plan to concentrate on
several species of Asian sheep, the ibex and argali. Also elk and mule deer around home will get plenty of attention. They’re my favorite North American animals to bowhunt, and I can chase both right out of my back door.”
Nesbitt is very involved with SCI and has been for the past 12 years. He considers the organization outstanding and a great support for hunters.
Currently he’s the Alberta chapter president. “I’ve got some great friends in SCI. I plan on being affiliated with this community for a long time.”
Archie Nesbitt is a hunting machine, a pure predator on two legs. Many call him “Canada’s Premier Bowhunter.” His considerable accomplishments aside, the bottom line is that Archie Nesbitt hunts for personal enjoyment and fulfillment, not for sponsor money or bragging
rights. It’s that simple. You can’t help but appreciate a guy like that.
all rights reserved
Published by archerchick on 24 Mar 2010
Jared’s Buck -By Jeff Murray
BOWHUNTING WORLD Annual 2006-2007
A Father and Son Bond Through The Best Moments in Bowhunting
For many years, I’ve read about what it’s supposed to be like to.”pass on” the legacy of
hunting. But instead of reading about it, I’m finally experiencing it. Yes, I’m talking about a father-and-son story with a happy ending, but I have to admit it didn’t start our that way. If you’ve ever listened to the enchanting tune, Cat’s in the Cradle by the late Harry Chapin, you’ll understand and appreciate my perspective.
Here’s the chorus:
“And”the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
‘When you coming home, dad?’ ‘I don’ t
know when, but we’ll get together then.”
You know we’ll have a good time then.”
It’s a familiar refrain for many dads. We have to work hard to support our families; kids grow up before we know it; they become adults and get busy before they know it. Today’s life cycle just
doesn’t seem very friendly to endearing and rewarding relationships. And Lord knows I’m as guilty as the rest: It wasn’t until the death of my step-father that I realized I’d cheated him out of precious intimate times together. Now it seemed to be happening to me. Hear the confession of my now-27-year-old son, Jared: “While I admit to wanting to spend more time hunting with my dad, I find myself too busy to make good on my promises. At first, it was a high school and college football career. Then I got married early and we had a daughter. Life is good but tough.”
Though I tried raising Jared with a bow in his hand, he was born an athlete. He was remarkably fleet. He ran (not walked) at eight months and had a chiseled physique right from the cradle. Even as a toddler he lacked so-called baby fat, and his biceps looked like golf balls. He was destined to pump iron in preparation for the gridiron, which ended up out-muscling time on the target archery range during his teen years. But there was always a spark in his eye when we’d shoot our bows. He’d anguish over every shot that didn’t find the 10 ring. I was confident this trait would eventually drive him to become an accomplished archer and bowhunter.
I just hoped it would happen during my lifetime! If it didn’t, however, I had nobody to blame but myself. As a full-time journalist, I wrestled with projects and deadlines that always seemed to steal weekend hours. So as Jared pursued a football career, I pursued my writing career. We
just couldn’t get on the same page….
THE BIRTH OF A
When Jared graduated from college in 2001, we were finally able to hook up together in the deer woods. Jared went
antler-less that year, but it taught him bowhunting’s most valuable lesson: the role of commitment. In 2002, we spent time together scouting a patch of woods that produced some impressive rubs. I remember turning Jared loose, challenging him to hang a stand at the highest percentage spot he could find. When we reconvened a week later, I congratulated him on finding the second best spot.
“But this is a super treestand [location],” he protested. “What are you thinking?”
“You made a classic mistake of stopping where you thought it couldn’t get any better,” I said.
“Follow me and I’ll show you where you can’t miss.” We walked about 100 yards, stopped
where four trails came together like a tic-tac-toe grid, and soaked in the fresh deer sign surrounding us. If that weren’t enough, an aspen tree grew tall and straight in, about 25 yards away.
The only remaining question was when. I remember counseling Jared to plan on some vacation time in October instead of an all-November schedule. From decades of studying the timing of the rut I was positive it would hit
early that year, and I didn’t want Jared to miss out. Fortunately he listened to me. He ended up
arrowing the biggest-bodied buck I’d ever seen. I still remember getting the call at dinnertime.
The date was October 23rd. “Dad, I need help,” Jared said. “l shot a really nice buck!”
“Great, son,” I said. “But what do you need me for? Call one of your football buddies. I’ll meet you later at-.”
“You don’t understand,” Jared interrupted. “He’s huge. I mean, he looks more like a Clydesdale than a whitetail.”
The buck was big, all right. Everything-from his head to his hooves-was enormous. The dressed-out 1O-pointer bottomed out the scales of a local check station at 260 pounds. He was Jared’s first Pope and Young buck, and that magic moment hooked him for life on the cat-and-mouse game of bowhunting trophy whitetails.
But like so many young bowhunters today, it took awhile for the lad’s dedication level to match his expectation level. The next year, for instance, I managed to score on a nice buck while hunting weekends with Jared. He got out early and got out a lot, but by the time we could put things together, some other hunters moved into our two best spots. The following year, Jared ended up shooting a buck that he was convinced would make the Pope and Young minimum. He shot it at first light from a treestand we’d just hung the day before, which was prompted by a week of steady southeast winds. Long story short: the buck shrank by the time he hit the ground. I’ll never forget the look on Jared’s face when we recovered the deer. You could read his mind like a book: Is this really my buck?
Ironically, Jared would be asking the same question this past fall, but for a completely different reason. I’m getting a bit ahead of myself ( but instead of witnessing ground shrinkage, his 2005 buck would grow about 35 inches.
Finally, the two of us were able to hunt
together as a team. The rules of a local deer
-control hunt prevented us from scouting the way we’d like, but we still managed to set up a few stands that looked promising. Truth be told, my whole game plan revolved around anticipating where rutting bucks might cut corners. None of our stands were high-traffic spots.
On opening weekend, we each harvested a doe in compliance with one of the management hunt’s requirements. We spent the next month hunting the “fringes”-observation stands- while we knocked off some more does for a local venison donation effort. Predictably, as the days of October came and went, so did Jared’s confidence. I knew what he was thinking before he said it.
“I haven’t seen a single decent buck, not even next year’s shooter” he complained. “I really think we need to make a move, Pa ”
I’ve been there and blown that. The last thing a serious bowhunter needs to do is make a move for the sake of making a move. “Jared, that’s the best way to mess up a perfectly decent setup,” I lectured.
“These are our best spots, based on our best guesses. Second-guessing ourselves right now
with no new evidence isn’t going to get us anywhere.'”
That evening, I looked at my contour map one more time “just in case.” I found a subtle
bottleneck that I hadn’t seen before. The next time it rained hard or the wind howled I’d toss
a Lone Wolf over my back and hang a backup stand. As luck would have it, the very next day
a northeaster blew at 35. I found what l was looking for right away, and this stand location became Jared’s personal favorite the very first time he hunted it. A narrow ridge paralleling a gurgling creek proved to be a deadly combination: the ridge funneled deer, the creek muffled the kid’s comings and goings.
Now all we needed was a cycling doe or two to pull the bucks out of their aspen and pine woodwork. Bingo! Jared sat the next three mornings and watched the woods explode overnight with sniffing and grunting bucks. The first day for instance, he saw five different bucks,
including one that was about twice the size of his “ground-shrinkage” buck of the previous year. On the next day, Jared passed on a buck that, ironically, I ended up arrowing about week later
(another story for another day). I had to give the kid credit: He was willing to go antler-less if that’s what his quest for a record-book buck ended up dishing out.
Slow-forward to November 3rd. This date’s right up there with the day I married my wife and the days our children were born. I slept in Jared’s basement the previous night, and I remember beating the alarm clock that morning. Before I
hit the shower, I walked outside and tested the elements. It was cool and still-a perfect morning for rattling.
We were situated about a quarter-mile apart and comfortably perched in our treestands long before sunrise. As the eastern sky began to light up, I was seconds away from a hard-core rattling session.
That’s when a vibrating cell phone intervened.
The phone number was Jared’s. I knew something very good or very bad had just happened.
“l think I just shot a
“‘What do you mean, think?”
After some awkward silence that made me real
nervous, Jared said he was nervous. “I’m not sure about the shot. It was a little high and a little far back.”
Frankly, I wasn’t concerned one bit about how
far back the shot was-I’d find that darn
deer if it took us all day and all night. But
a too-high shot can be a buck of a different color. -The”undead zone”of the backstrap area is a non-lethal shot. I didn’t want to go there, but I had to. “How High?” I asked. “Do you think you penetrated the cavity?”
Well, Jared admitted he rushed the shot a bit, but he didn’t think it was that high. After mulling it over we decided to wait till after lunch to track the buck. That’s when I discovered a new rattling technique, compliments of my son. Turns out he rattled before sunrise. His reasoning was that he’d heard deer running around in the dark, and he wanted to keep them in the immediate area till it was legal shooting hours. It worked! His third rattling session produced a big buck, standing motionless in a thicket, behind his right shoulder. The buck was directly down-wind from a well-placed tarsal gland, and he was ticked off. As he tore into a fresh scrape, Jared quickly and quietly exchanged his rattling antlers for his Mathews Switchback.
“l tried focusing on a narrow opening’ about 20 yards away, instead of on the buck’s rack,” Jared recalled. “When his head disappeared behind a tree, I drew and timed the shot when he slipped into the opening.” As I heard those words, I swelled with pride. That’s the
only surefire recipe for meeting the challenge of the Moment of Truth, and my son had mastered it.
The blood trail wasn’t exactly copious, but with each step I grew more and more confident that we’d find this buck-it was a liver-shot blood trail if I’d ever seen one. Indeed, all of our anxiety proved to be a waste of adrenaline.
The buck didn’t make 75 Yards from the impact of the shot. I spied him first. I had to bite my tongue when I got a good look at the rack. Wow I knew this was going to be a whale of a moment,
and I wanted to squeeze every drop of endorphin out of it. We’d split up with Jared examining the last speck of blood, while I monitored the trail and scanned the landscape ahead of us. When I told Jared to come closer for a better look at a new spec of blood, I grabbed him and told him to look over my shoulder. “There! What do you see?” I said. The whites of his eyes widened, we hugged and kissed, and he sprinted for the buck without hesitating. I paused to give thanks and let the kid soak up the ambrosia. Man what a rack. Earlier Jared said he thought it was “150-something.” Now we could not believe our eyes. All we could do was
stand and stare in a daze.
“Are you sure this is the buck you shot, boy?”I teased. “This ain’t no 150-buck … this is a booner!” Instead of ground-shrinkage, this buck enjoyed ground-growth: we later green-scored the rack at 184 1/8 inches! What’s more, it was impressively unique. The tines looked like menacing daggers; they were bladed and sharp-edged, not round and smooth.
Simply put, the score doesn’t come close to reflecting the mass of the tines. As I said, our story ends quite happily, no small thanks to a buck of many lifetimes.
But here’s the main point I want to leave you with: Experiencing another hunter’s triumph can be many times more gratifying than experiencing it yourself. It doesn’t hurt if it’s your son or
daughter, of course, but it shouldn’t matter if it’s a neighbor, a buddy or even a new acquaintance. Perhaps this is the quintessence of “passing it on.”
all rights reserved
Published by archerchick on 23 Mar 2010
Wild Hogs – by Joe Bell
Few critters match the excitement theses animals offer the bowhunter during the spring and summer off-season.
In June, the California sun is notoriously known for casting out intense heat, particularly 100 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean where tentacles of rugged ridgelines spring out from the immense San Joaquin Valley. Here, the country changes drastically from some of the most robust vegetable- and fruit- growing soils in existence, to towering foothills and mountains dotted with wild oats, valley and blue oak trees, poison oak and various tangles of brush and manzanita. Among this picturesque backdrop live some of the wildest feral hogs known to man.
My hunting partner Chris Denham and I were soaking in the heat and enjoying the landscape as we glued our eyes to our 10-power binoculars. It was a bit early, but with a little luck, we would spot a couple of hogs early enough in the evening to have a legitimate stalk. Earlier in the day, we had walked some steep country and eventually Chris got into some pigs. But as it so often turns out, the kill just didn’t happen.
One of the chief problems with hunting wild hogs during the summer months is dealing with that short window of time you have when pigs are most active. Usually, the last hour of the day is peak hunting time, which means you can’t dally, and long stalks are usually out of the question. So when Chris and I noticed two dark silhouettes only a 3O minute stalk from the truck, I knew luck was finally on our side.
Soon, we were en route, wading through a sea of knee-high grass, across a creek bottom, and up the ridge. My pocket wind indicator was in constant motion. When we got close, I decided to send Chris out ahead. This was his second time hunting with me without the shooting opportunity he was looking for. The crisp under footing told me I needed to back up anyhow, allowing Chris to poke along 50 yards or so in front.
Easing over a rise, the pigs weren’t there. Chris went ahead, while I swung to the right. Soon I caught movement. The two nice boars were feeding along in a perfect place for an ambush. I plodded uphill to search for Chris, and now he was out of sight. I had tried to be unselfish, but these pigs are going to get away if I don’t do something! I went to retrace my steps only to never see the hogs again. Darn! I had let a good opportunity go by…and these moments aren’t abundant with these wild hogs.
Hunting opportunity flourishes today, and you Can find hog hunting places nearly everywhere-Florida, Texas, and in small hunting preserves throughout the Midwest and southern United States, But for my tastes, I like to hunt free-ranging wild hogs in country I’d usually stalk or still-hunt deer. Fortunately I was born and raised in California, which is home to an abundant wild hog population-and this population is spreading in some areas.
I have hunted pig in most sections of the state, but I have yet to find a place that seems as wild and as productive as hunting the famed Taejon Ranch, a historic 270,000-acre cattle ranch home to countless big-game critters ranging from Yellowstone elk, to deer, antelope, black bear, various predators-and a teeming wild pig population. You can seek out hogs in expansive locations, only to hunt an entirely different area come dusk. It all adds up to a true adventure, not casual off-season filler.
The glow of sunset was at it’s peak when Chris and I adjoined. The stalk had been mass confusion, and he was disappointed I didn’t capitalize on the opportunity. I rolled my eyes and mentioned that the boars didn’t show teeth big enough For me. (l was kidding, of course.) By the time we ate dinner, showered and rolled into bed, it was pushing 11 p.m. or so. The nights are short when bowhunting this country in the summer. That 3:30 a.m. wakeup call is ruthless. After coffee and two Pop-Tarts the feeling of aching sleeplessness was beginning to give way to visions of big-tusked wild boar, exposing that perfect quartering-away shot. What would we do without such aspirations?
After pursuing wild hogs for nearly 10 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are lots of different ways to hunt these critters. Classic spot-and-stalk hunting in rolling oak woodland-type country is the most enjoyable-but you’ll find that this hunting can be somewhat of a fairy tale at times. California hogs are truly wild-and even much wilder when hunting pressure hits. When this happens, they tend to roam about terrain with more cover, at least during hunting hours. In this case, you’ll have to really become a hunter, seeking our wily hogs in awkwardly dense locations.
Wild hogs are actually very intelligent creatures. Even farm hogs have proven to be the smartest among all domestic livestock. Now when you take a hog that lives in the wild, one that perhaps has been shot at by hunters, you’ve got yourself one crafty critter.
As we drove up the road, we came across a familiar location. Years ago, I saw a group of hogs cross this exact dirt pathway and amble off into an adjacent creek bottom. Moments later. I still-hunted my way up the cut and found myself face to face with a monstrous pig running unknowingly right at me. I drew my bow more so in self-defense and let the string slip from my finger tab as soon as I hit anchor. Fortunately the arrow hit the proper spot below its throat and drove to the fletching. It was one of the fastest kills I’d witnessed.
Now as we sped along, I couldn’t believe my eyes. About 15 or so hogs kicked up dust across the same bit of real estate and raced into an endless valley of grassland. Immediately, I recognized our opportunity. A narrow ravine slicing through the field would allow us to make an ambush. I banked the truck, and Chris and I scrambled to get our bows. Then we jogged as quickly as we could, eventually changing our clip to a fast walk. It worked like a charm, and Chris triggered a well-placed shot from 30 yards. Soon he was admiring his first California wild pig – a nice 150-pound boar.
To be successful on wild pigs, you must grasp their habits first and realize they do change depending on the season. Of course there are many factors at play here, but food and water are the primary ones, followed by hunting pressure. During the late winter/early spring months, water, and food usually aren’t much of a concern. Wild grass, roots, forbs, berries and other stuff are prevalent and moisture saturates these items at nightfall. With this being the case, wild pigs usually venture toward higher, more secluded ground when hunting pressure is existent. With low hunting pressure, they can still be in more of a “roaming” mode, which could make them difficult to locate.
When temperatures are on the rise, like in late spring and summer, wild pigs are likely to be found concentrated around water and food sources. Early-spring food is diminishing rapidly, and this is when hogs turn to other food like man-made such as walnuts and fruit. Keep in mind, wild pigs are omnivorous, so they’ll consume just about anything including meat from animal carcasses-even their own kind. In a nutshell, summer months can make for great hunting. Just hunt near water. I shot my biggest wild boar in early August as I saw the animal descending from rocky hilltops to a muddy waterhole.
However, during the summer months, if hunting pressure is existent, hogs may only lurk during the wee bit of daylight hours, leaving hunter with maybe a 45-minute window of opportunity to make a stalk- not always enough time. These are all generally based rules. I say this because I’ve glassed up lots of pigs in July roaming towering hillsides, miles away from their watering sources, so you just never know.
When in hog country, look for fresh sign. Tracks are always helpful, but make sure they are fresh, and then try to draw up some conclusions on ways of travel. I’ve read that wild pigs prefer to make their way straight up trails, not at an angle like deer do. Better yet are fresh droppings. These are a sure indicator that pigs are around. Pig scat is shaped much like horse droppings; only they aren’t as firm and not as long and copious.
Creek bottoms that have wallows in them are another good sign pigs are nearby. Recently used wallows are filled with mud, never clear water. Though I have no scientific claim to support this, I’ve noticed that a spring or summer rain seems to somehow increase the level of pig activity. Last April, rainy, drizzly weather appeared to threaten the outcome of my hunt, yet the exact opposite was the case. Each morning, I slid into my Cabelas Rain Suede raingear and still-hunted the hills. The very first evening I glass up animals on every hillside, eventually stalking in on a nice hog. However, I missed the 40-yard shot. The falling light and downhill shot got the best of me. Fortunately, the very next morning I set up a 25-yard shot I couldn’t miss. There were other trips in which I detected this “triggering” affect.
When you finally spot a hog you want to go after, keep in mind that wild hogs have one of the best noses in the business. You have to constantly check wind thermals, preferably with a wind-detector bottle. Depending on the situation. your stalking noise may or may not break your chances. During late-morning or early-evening hours, animals are naturally more alert, but as light diminishes. they feel more safe and are accustomed to their own and other pigs’ noisy feeding habits.’
Just a few weeks ago I was hunting an area along the central-coastal foothills. Conditions were hot, yet springtime rains hovered over the area for nearly a week before my hunt. I knew I’d have to hike far to find pigs, I detected intense hunting pressure in the area. too. On the second evening of the hunt, I climbed to a prominent vantage point and began glassing. About 45 minutes before dark, I noticed odd blemishes against a hill-side that I had been overlooking all evening. In a flash I was off on the stalk.
About 20 minutes later, I stripped my pack and slithered in line with the feeding hogs. The vegetation was much denser than what it appeared like at long range, and I found myself crawling through tunnels and cutting away wild vines with my broadhead-tipped shaft to
gain progress. As light was fading, the sound of the animals grinding their noses across the firm ground digging up dirt and roots grew more and more intense. Soon, I was plum out of walking room-about 10 yards from the feeding boar, but I had no clear shot. I didn’t want to rush the situation, but 10 minutes went by and eventually the boar sensed or smelled something. Soon he began chopping his mouth, making growl sounds and other threatening noises. Is a charge on its way, I thought? Soon the dual ended as I made a hasty move into a wall of brush to attempt a shot. Even so, the moment was well worth it.
If you’re into year-round bowhunting thrill, yet you don’t want to drop loads of money on a remote trip for exotics in New Zealand, Africa or some other hot destination, I’d recommend giving California’s wild hogs a try. They’re loads of fun. and the thrill-well, you just have to judge it for yourself.
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Published by tddroptine7 on 23 Mar 2010
In my opinion, tracking a blood trail after that shot was made is the second most exciting time of the hunt. Nothing can top the first excitement, which is the watching of the animal and then the shot. I have tracked many blood trails during the short 24 years of my life and it wasn’t till last year that it hit me while tracking the blood trail to a buck. I took my time following the spots of blood on the ground as I eventually walked up on the deer that I put long, hard hours in to get. Everyone has seen the excitement in someone’s eyes as they follow that blood trail to their trophy and the anticipation is almost unbearable at that point. A sigh of relief is made and the feeling of an accomplishment in life is felt inside that bowhunter. No one can argue that this is yet another success story in their hunting career, whether the hunter is professional or not.
This most recent blood trail that I followed made me realize that I followed a blood trail once when I was young. The blood trail that I am talking about is the one that leads to Jesus Christ, the one who has changed my life. I could only imagine that the blood trail He left as he was beaten and whipped before he was led the cross to pay for mine sins and yours. Every beating and every nail that was forced into the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus, screamed that he loved me so much that He would take my place on that cross. You see, God is perfect and we are not, therefore, He had to send his only Son to die for our sins on that cross and it is only through the blood of Christ that one can be saved. In Romans 3: 23 it says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” But God made a solution to this sin problem. In Romans 6: 23 it says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The Blood Trail that my savior had was a trail to the cross where my sins were forgiven. Have you taken the step of faith and followed that same blood trail? If not I encourage you to do so. If anyone has any questions reguarding this topic please drop me a reply or an email.
Published by archerchick on 23 Mar 2010
Eye Level Black Bears – By Rick Combs
Bow Hunting World Annual 2004-2005
The Scenario I had envisioned entailed spotting the bear in a clearing, mapping out a strategy, then hunkering down and executing the perfect stalk. What really happened was more like this: We spotted the bear at about 30 yards in a thicket of spruce and aspens just before it dropped out of sight into a small drainage, and my guide was shoving me toward it as I struggled to knock an arrow.
“Go! Go! Go!” he hissed. “That’s a good bear! That’s a good bear! That’s a good bear! Get up there!”
Half expecting the bear to have vanished, but fully aware it could just as easily be moving my direction, I began walking carefully toward the lip of the ravine, bow at full draw. As I peeked over and looked down on the gradual slope, the bear was standing broadside 10 steps away. He ran forward a few yards, and I thought he’d be in the thicket before I could get off a good shot. But then, inexplicably, he stopped and looked back.
I won’t pretend to know what goes through an animal’s mind at such a moment, but at the time it appeared for all the world he was thinking, “Wait a minute, I’m the bear. I’m not the one who is supposed to run” I swung the sight pin to the crease behind the shoulder, released the arrow, and watched the fletching disappear in the sweet spot.
The bear lunged forward, running further down into the ravine to a slough. Crossing it on a log, he stumbled once, nearly falling in, but made it to dry ground. Every bowhunter’s instinct after arrowing an animal is to keep it in sight as long as possible, but as I attempted to move forward and to one side to do that, my guide was tugging me away from the action, fearing that I was trying to follow the bear immediately.
That bear was not the first I’d seen on this trip, and it would prove to be far from the last. While in some ways the reality of my close encounter with a BC black bear did not live up to my fantasy, in all the ways that mattered British Columbia bear hunt was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.
To begin with it was a spot & stalk hunt. There is a lot to be said for baited bear hunting, beginning with the fact that in some areas, hunting over bait is the only feasible way to go about hunting bears. Hound hunting, too, has its following where legal. Man and dog have hunted cooperatively for thousand’s of years, and for more than a few hunters, enjoying that primal link is the main reason for hunting. My fantasy, though, was a spot & stalk hunt. I wanted to do it on the ground, eye-to-eye, so to speak, with the bear.
Pick The Right Outfitter
Nonresident hunters are required to
hunt with one of the 240 licensed guide-outfitters in British Columbia. Barring extremely bad luck (record late snowfall and low temperatures, a major forest fire in your hunting area), most any of them will show you bears, and your chances of getting a shot at a respectable
bruin are excellent. Even the most experienced trophy hunter with very high standards has a relatively good chance at shooting opportunities for trophy black bears or color phase bears in
British Columbia. The real question is,
what kind of overall hunting experience are you seeking? Are you interested only in a remote wilderness hunt from a spike camp, or would you prefer to stay in a comfortable lodge with hot tubs and other amenities! Either is available, as well as nearly every variation in between, from snug cabins to heated wall tents to bed & breakfast ranches.
Baiting bears is not legal in British Columbia, and though it is legal to hunt with hounds, spot & stalk hunting is far and away the most popular approach.
Still, “spot & stalk” is not a particularly specific term. At one end of the spot
& stalk spectrum, the hunter can hunt exclusively on foot in remote, fly-in or pack-in areas, scouting for sign and glassing mountainside, aualance chutes, or natural openings.
On the other end of the spot & stalk
spectrum, there is cruising logging roads on ATVs or in 4-wheel-drive vehicles.
Logging is a major industry in British Columbia, which means, that in much of the province there are miles and miles of dirt logging roads, not to mention clearcuts. Clearcuts and logging roads produce copious quantities of the fresh green growth bears love to eat.
Of course, logging roads and clearcuts can be hunted on foot. The vehicles, obvious advantage is the opportunity they afford to cover great amounts of territory in short order.
Yet another alternative is hunting waterways from boats. In the case of
both wheeled vehicles and boats,glassing the area and moving on. If bears are spotted from vehicles, hunters exit and stalk on foot to within bow range.
I spent a great deal of time researching my BC black bear hunt. With so many top-notch outfitters in the region picking one was difficult. In the end, I settled on Brett Thorpe and Bowron River Outfitters. My homework paid off. Though I’m perfectly happy to hunt from a tent camp in a spruce thicket, I have to admit the picturesque setting of Brett’s cabins on a lake reflecting surrounding snow capped mountains was a factor.
Brett himself was a factor, too. I think it’s important that a hunter “click” with his guide or outfitter, and I knew I’d enjoy hunting with Brett from the moment we first made contact. An avid bowhunter himself, Brett is intense about hunting, and his enthusiasm strikes a spark with anyone who is passionate about the sport. Though he is new to the outfitting business, having only purchased his BC hunting concession two years ago, he has years of experience as a hunter and a guide. He spent several years guiding and videotaping hunts for well-known black powder hunter and outfitter Jim Shockey. Depending on the needs and wishes of his clients, Brett will make use of wheeled vehicles on logging roads, hunt the nearby Fraser River by boat, hunt strictly on foot, or use some combination of these methods.
Short of references from hunting buddies whose opinion you respect, the Internet and email are great places to begin finding an outfitter. They’ll provide huge amounts of data in a hurry at little or no cost. It’s a good idea to write out a list of questions and issues that you
feel are important. Without a written list, you’ll quite likely get sidetracked on discussions of peripheral issues and forget to cover some thing essential. Make sure you understand what costs are covered, and ask specifically about any additional costs you are likely to incur.
Ultimately there is no substitute for more personal modes of communication, so after narrowing the field to several possibilities, you’ll want to make some phone calls. And though you’ve heard it before, it bears repeating. Get references from hunters who did not fill a tag, if possible. Then contact the references.
How Stalkable Are Bears?
I hate to say “that depends,” but that depends. In my experience, hunting pressure is a major factor in stalking any species. I have greatly enjoyed spotting and stalking wild hogs in relatively remote parts of Florida, but have hunted them in other areas where heavy hunting pressure made them almost entirely nocturnal and all but stalkable.
On the flip side, wild turkeys are often regarded as unstalkable, but on a memorable morning in Wyoming, I followed a flock of Merriams with my camera, back and forth along a ridgeline, several times getting within 20 yards of the birds.
Hunting pressure in BC is relatively light. Bears in remote areas are accustomed to being at the top of the food chain, and though black bears are rarely aggressive toward people, many of them are not easily intimidated, either.
The chief vulnerability of bears anywhere is their eyes; they can see alright, especially movement. Their sense of smell is excellent, and it is usually what betrays the hunter. Their preoccupation with food, both in the spring when they’ve just come out of hibernation, and in the fall when they’re bulking up to prepare for a long winter, is another vulnerability. In any case, the hunter who gets downwind and approaches carefully -using foliage and terrain for concealment, freezing when the bear looks up and moving cautiously when its head is down or hidden – should sooner or later get within bow range of a bear. After that, it’s a matter of not coming unglued long enough to make the shot.
A few hours prior to the incident recounted earlier, I muffed my first opportunity: a 40-yard shot at a good bear. Forty yards is a long shot for me, but not beyond my range if conditions are right and I don’t have to rush. The bear was up a hill and looking back at me, and my arrow went a good five inches to the right of my aiming spot. Luckily a spruce tree intervened to prevent a gut shot. I’ll blame the steep uphill angle, but I can’t deny pure excitement probably was a factor.
Reality may never live up to fantasies in all the particulars, but with a little homework to find the outfitter who will best meet your needs and desires, along with some planning and preparation, a British Columbia spot & stalk black bear hunt can be a reality you’ll look back on fondly for the rest of your life.
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