Archive for the 'Hunting Stories' Category

12 votes, average: 2.83 out of 512 votes, average: 2.83 out of 512 votes, average: 2.83 out of 512 votes, average: 2.83 out of 512 votes, average: 2.83 out of 5 (12 votes, average: 2.83 out of 5)
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Published by HawaiiSportsman on 09 May 2008

If it weren’t for bad luck……………..

 

Have you ever had one of those hunting trips where nothing seems to go right? The kind that makes you wish you’d never gotten out of bed? Every time something else goes wrong you tell yourself “well it can’t get any worse than this.” You soon realize that it can, and it does. Before long you start to second guess yourself. If only I had worn my luck hat, if only I had hunting the stand on the other side of the field. Your not sure if you should curse at, or pray to the hunting gods. Some where along the way you lost your Mojo.

I’ve had my share bad luck, but I recently went through a slump that almost had me ready to hang up the bow. As in the lyrics of an old Eric Clapton song ‘if wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all’. That’s how I felt. I could not catch a break. But, I kept plugging away. Even my hunting buddies recognized my downward spiral. They would give me words of encouragement and even let me know they were glad they weren’t in my shoes! They were short on advise because it seemed as though I was doing all the right things. I would change up my hunting routine, change stand locations, have a positive attitute and all the other things needed to get my Mojo back.

I could easily write a short story describing the painful yet humorous events that chronicled the last several months of my life. But sometimes that old saying just fits, “I guess you had to be there”. Well, there was a video camera there. Over the past four years I have been filming hunting adventures for myself and friends. I have been airing them on a local community access channel for all the local hunters to enjoy. The response has been incredible. I’m not sure if it’s because there is no local hunting program in the state or it’s because of our local, oridinary guy approach. I guess you can judge for yourself. I humbly present Hawaii Sportsman TV. This program was specially edited just for the archerytalk.com blog section. Enjoy and please feel free to leave feedback.

 

 

MOJO HUNT
 

Eric

HawaiiSportsman

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 votes, average: 2.63 out of 58 votes, average: 2.63 out of 58 votes, average: 2.63 out of 58 votes, average: 2.63 out of 58 votes, average: 2.63 out of 5 (8 votes, average: 2.63 out of 5)
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Published by Will.V on 09 May 2008

My First Draw on an Animal.

2007 Deer season was my first season of hunting any animal.  I got 3 weekends to hunt in our local park.
 
First weekend was the first weekend in October…95 degrees sitting in a tree being packed off by stand by mosquitoes. This was a bad first hunt for a guy!  By the time I got back that night, my back was covered in bites.  Second weekend (November) a small doe came in, but too far off to take a shot.  Pretty disheartening, really.
 
3rd weekend (January), I am sitting in a blind.  I get there about an 1 hour before sunrise and fall asleep in the chair.  I wake up just before dawn, but with enough light to see (and during legal shooting hours).  I awake about 2 minutes when 6 doe come barreling over the hill coming right for me.  I immediately crap myself and try to remember what I am supposed to do. Oh yeah!  The bow.  I slide off my chair and onto my knees, grab my bow and wait for my opening.  A couple smaller does are running around chasing each other.  Being the greedy guy I am, I am only watching the biggest doe here.  She was nice.  Probably 3 – 3 1/2 year old doe by my untrained eyes (she gets older/bigger every time I tell this story).  I decide that she is going to be the one to make me into a full fledged hunter.
 
By this time, I have 2 does at about 15 yards, 2 at 40 yards, and 1 at 20 yards.  But the one I have my eye on, the big one, is at 30 yards… and behind a tree.  I am trying to be patient and control my breathing.  I swear the 2 at 15 yards hear me and start to look my way.  I notice them staring at me and I decide to hold my breath.  Bad idea.  That just makes me start to breathe harder after I can’t hold it any longer.  Much to my surprise they go back to chasing each other again.  I decide to move a little to my left so I can get a better angle on my big doe when she steps out from the tree.  Then terror strikes.  When I start to move my knees to scoot over…I hear this awful sound that can only be described as velcro.  I slowly turn my head thinking my jacket is caught on something, but it wasn’t.  I try it again.  Again the nightmarish sound louder than a 12 guage.   I look up and thankfully none of the does notice.  I try it one more time, but this time very slowly. Sound is still there, but now I know where it is coming from.  My knees of my pants are stuck to the frozen ground.  Am I destined to fail at deer hunting?  I keep moving slowly, keeping the sound as quiet as possible, and eventually get them free.  I scoot over and am now looking through an opening in the blind.  Now sitting where I think I have the best shot, I see the doe start to move forward.  Game time, baby.  I lift my bow and draw back the shakiest draw I have ever made.  Breathing becomes even louder and faster, and I can’t believe they don’t hear me.  I have a decent shooting lane, except I have to shoot over this small branch about 5 feet in front of the blind.  Not a problem, I have been practicing since last winter and feel confident in my shooting ability.  I finally get to full draw.  She still isn’t out all the way.  Vitals are only halfway out from behind the tree, so I have to wait.  No problem, I have been practicing holding my draw since last winter and feel confident in my ablility.  About an hour later (probably 25 seconds, really) she is completely out from behind this tree.  Fantastic.  This is the moment I have worked for all season.  I pick my spot.  “Aim small, Miss small” as the elders in my hunting group always say.  No problem, I have been practicing since last winter and feel confident in my shooting ability.  I let her fly.
 
But I make a mistake.  A mistake I am sure many beginners make.  Something I have been practicing since last winter.  Something I felt confident about.  I got excited.  I “peeked”.  When the release let the arrow fly, I peeked over the bow to see where the arrow went.  I dropped my bow just enough to see.  I didn’t do what I practiced since last winter to do.  I didn’t follow through, by keeping the bow up.  The arrow came out below where I planned, and hit that small branch 5 feet in front of my blind.  It ricocheted off that branch and flew 2 feet in front of the big does face.  To my horror I saw all 6 doe look up, and run.  My heart drops into my boots and shoulders go limp.  Disappointment at it’s worst. 

But wow, what a rush!  I have never felt like that before.  Even missing the shot completely, the rush was indescribable.  Maybe this is what hunting is really about.  That was worth all the mosquito bites.  That was worth the sore butt from sitting 12 hours in a tree.  That rush was the most intense feeling I have ever felt.  And that was a doe!  I can not even fathom a big buck walking past my stand.  Even having completely missed my shot, the smile wrapped across my face is fantastic.  That rush has just made me a full fledged hunting addict.  My record 0 – 1.  But wait until next season.

8 votes, average: 2.88 out of 58 votes, average: 2.88 out of 58 votes, average: 2.88 out of 58 votes, average: 2.88 out of 58 votes, average: 2.88 out of 5 (8 votes, average: 2.88 out of 5)
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Published by r49740 on 09 May 2008

The Difference…

As the dawn of December 25th, 2007 began, so did the unknown of the events that would begin to unfold.  Much like so many others, my wife and I exchanged gifts with each other, shared a cup of coffee, and began to get ready.  Every year for Christmas morning, my family gathers at our house for my mom to make a huge breakfast.  This tradition goes back 36 years to when my parents first bought the house, and has continued since my wife and I bought it 3 years ago.  This year would change the tradition for every year to follow.

For the first time we would be going to my sister’s house for breakfast.  The atmosphere would be different.  The conversations would go from retelling the hunting stories of all the hunting pictures on the walls, to probably talking about general life.. life outside of hunting and archery.  As the 9:00 am hour approached, we climbed into our car and drove off.

As the breakfast table was cleared, the excitment started to build.  It was time to exchange gifts. Again, this year, it is different.  As each person takes there turn to give a gift to everyone else and watch them open, the nervousness and fear begins to set in… I’m next in line.  Just like everyone else, I typically give a gift that is unnecessary in cost, but one that still brings a smile. This year is different.

This year, I hand a card to every person at the same time.  In place of a gift that took away my savings, they all get a letter to read.  However, each letter is different.  Each letter is an explanation to why I love that person, what they have done in my life, and thanking them.  To follow was a discussion that most parents do not want to hear from their last born.  A discussion that I had been diagnosed a week earlier with cancer.  The hour to follow was a blur, but the ending comment that was made by my dad is one that will not be forgotten.   Since treatments are available at this time, he said, “There is a difference between having a house, and having a house on fire.  One gives you comfort, security and hope.  And we all still have those things”.

The significance of that comment would be greatly increased in just four short hours.  As my wife and I headed back home and pulled on to our street at 2:45 pm, we saw the fire department completing the task of putting out the flames of our home.  When we left in the morning, a candle that was forgotten to be put out had fallen over onto the carpet.  A home that had been in our family had just lost 3 complete rooms and the rest was destroyed from smoke damage. At 3:45, the fire department cleared the home and allowed my wife and I to enter for the first time.  As we walked around in complete disbelief and shock, we made our way to the basement. 

Even with everthing upstairs being ruined, everything in the basement was untouched.  My wife’s wedding dress in storage, our wedding album, my archery equipment.. all untouched.

As the days to follow unfolded with little sleep, black powder season opened in Ohio.  To get away from all the work and stress, I was convinced to go hunting with my dad, my dad’s long time friend, my brother in law, and my wife’s uncle.  As the darkness started to fade, so did my stress.  The woods started to fill me with hope, comfort, and excitement for things to come.  Shortly after day break, at about 9:30, the silence of the woods was broken.  I had just taken the biggest buck of my hunting career.

As our group stood around the deer taking pictures, and the hand shakes and high fives were given out, I saw it.  When I saw it, I finally knew exactly what it meant.  I looked into my dad’s eyes, the one who taught me to hunt, the one that got me excited about archery, the one that helped me develop my passion for the outdoors… he did it again.  He taught me another life lesson, and seeing myself surrounded by friends and family doing what I love to do, I realized..

“There is a difference between having a house, and having house on fire”.

14 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 5 (14 votes, average: 3.14 out of 5)
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Published by LowTrunkOzz on 08 May 2008

What gets me out of bed in the morning

I don’t know about you, but come any hunting season I’m just like a kid the night before Christmas. I work as hard as I can during the “off” season (and according to my wife there is really no such thing) getting myself and my gear ready for whatever is coming up. This years spring turkey season was no different.

I hadn’t really been able to do the scouting that I wanted to, but after last year I knew of a couple of good spots to put the bead on some turkeys. Before season “drive-by’s” had given me a good idea that my hunch was correct and there were thunder chickens in my chosen areas. The only thing that was different about this particular morning was that I REALLY had to perform! I had found out that a person that was as enthusiastic as I lived not but an eight of a mile from my house! After the first few messages back and forth about who each other were, it was decided that I would take this new friend on a hunt.

The night before the big day was no different than any other high expectation, premature adrenaline rush, “man I HAVE TO see something nice” time that I’ve looked forward to before. It was sleepless, to say the least. At 4:30 that morning I was awake waiting for the alarm and then I was off like a bolt to get dressed, brush my teeth, and be out the door. Ron showed up and we decided it was surely a good day to bust a longbeard!

My initial thought was to hunt a bottom that is encompassed on three sides by a creek that has always been a good roosting spot. After last year, I was sure where we needed to set up and we made our way to it. The decoys were out, the stake out blind was up, a call was in my mouth, and it was looking to be a great day. My, was I wrong!! By daylight there was maybe the faintest of gobbles that could barely be heard over the grass growing and nothing else. As we sat there silently complaining of aching rear ends, Ron slowly turned to scan the area and whispered to me, “Nate, I think there’s a turkey in the tree behind me!”

“WHAT?” I ask, and then begin scanning the area behind me. “There’s one in the tree behind me, too!”

I couldn’t believe our fate. No toms were heard, but boy we sure fired the hens up! After flydown we quickly packed up and headed out to a few other properties that held about as much promise as my back yard and finally ended up at what was my “last ditch effort.” We got into the woods, threw out a couple yelps and finally heard that sound that says there are undeniably turkeys here, the grobbobbbole! So, like two confused clowns, we look at each other while I bumble with the hen decoy stuffed in the back of my vest until Ron comes to my rescue and gets it out unscathed. We sit down hurredly and I just so happen to pick the smallest, most uncomfortable tree around. We threw calls out sparingly as the gobblers got tight lipped. After about 20 minutes or so I catch the ever so slight movement of Ron telling me that there are two birds off to his side. And then it starts, my heart is in my throat and my fingers feel like they are going to explode! I can visibly see Ron start to shake ever so slightly as one of the toms made it’s way back to see where that sexy lady was that was talking so sweetly! I don’t think a turkey could have moved any slower!

Finally, after much contemplation, ol’ tom made his down to a pretty good shooting lane, from where I sat mind you, so I gave a little cluck. Man was he on to me! He ever so slowly made his way a little further all the while my mind is screaming “SSSSHHHHHOOOOOOTTTTT!!!”

BBBBOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM! Wings out, head down! It was a good hit for sure! Before I can even think about what to do next I find myself trying to hold this big boy still so he doesn’t tear up his tail. That is what it’s all about! The late nights and early mornings, the sore backs and bottoms, the fight to find that one lonesome tom looking for love in all the wrong places. You can’t replace that feeling with anything man made! That’s what gets me out of bed in morning! 

53 votes, average: 3.66 out of 553 votes, average: 3.66 out of 553 votes, average: 3.66 out of 553 votes, average: 3.66 out of 553 votes, average: 3.66 out of 5 (53 votes, average: 3.66 out of 5)
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Published by tim9910 on 08 May 2008

Success for Beginning Bowhunters

For most hunters that decide to make the transition from barrels and bullets to strings and arrows, it can get off to a tricky start. I began hunting with my dad when I was young, probably 7 or 8 years old. I remember when I finally got to carry my own gun, a 20 gauge pump action with slugs. Back then, we were not allowed to harvest does in the county we hunted, so although seeing many deer I wasn’t able to close the deal. I got my first bow when I was 12, an old Bear Grizzly II from a pawn shop. I shot daily until I could shoot 3-4 inch groups at 30 yards, shooting barebow with fingers. When I was 13, on that same property I had hunted all those years, I set up a stand for my first bowhunting experience near a pond with a steep ridge to my back loaded with white oaks. That first morning, a nice 8 point came trotting towards me grunting lowly and checking the ground, as if there was a doe ready for his acquaintance. I was so excited about seeing a buck in the woods, I didn’t even raise my bow to shoot! I saw him again the next day, but this time he was right behind a doe and never came within 50 yards of my stand. Finally at 14 I harvested a doe with my bow and the rest is history, I have been hooked since that day.

Fast forward now about 15 years, a friend of mine has a better story. In 2006, Byron Howton, a friend and colleague of mine, started bowhunting. He bought a bow early in the year, practiced until he was sure about himself, and sought all the info he could gather from friends and more experienced bowhunters. He scouted a piece of public land, on Skiatook WMA, and found some good places to hang stands. Then, to my amazement, he harvested a legal doe in the first few weeks of the season. We were all happy for him, especially being his first bow kill and doing it on heavily pressured hunting ground. Then, rifle season rolled along, he took the week off work and bowhunted the entire time. On November 16, he and his wife Melissa took to the woods. She set up in a ground blind about 60 yards behind his treestand. They were on stand well before legal light, and the weather was calm and clear. It was a quiet morning, a few hours passed and Melissa decided to leave the confinement of the ground blind and still hunt a little. She hunts with a crossbow, so there is the advantage of being able to shoot without movement. After Byron saw her moving out further, he decided to give a couple soft grunts with his call. After the second or third grunt, a nice 8 point cleared the brush about 60 yards out. He was in no hurry, not like was seeking the call, but made the journey towards it anyway. After he got within 30 yards, Byron drew his Reflex bow, and settled the second pin behind the bucks shoulder. He released the arrow, but with the excitement, didn’t see the impact. But then he saw as the buck was running off, the quarter of his arrow shaft sticking out from the side of the deer. He waited about 20 minutes, then decided to get down and check for blood. He and his wife found the deer only 35 yards away, hit through both lungs. You can imagine the excitement now, two deer in his first season, one of which is a nice buck. I’m glad everybody is not the successful their first season, or there would be no place left to hunt!

No matter if it takes a week or 10 years, harvesting an animal with a bow is an experience to behold. I have forgotten deer taken with rifles, but remember every arrow flight that penetrated a kill zone. It’s always like slow motion for me, and the excitement never goes away. I still shake like a squirrels tail even when it’s a doe I just took. I guess if that ever went away, it wouldn’t be so addicting. If you are a beginning a bowhunter, and having bad luck like so many of us have had, don’t get discouraged. Use every moment in the stand as a learning experience. Remember where the deer came from, and where they went. What time they moved, the time of year and what the food sources were at the time. After you spend time and keep compiling this data, you’ll eventually put the pieces of the puzzle together. Success in the woods is not always harvesting animals, but seeing them in their natural state undisturbed. You can learn things in early bow season about deer that you never would have known if you weren’t out there, putting in your time. Not everyone is going to have a first season like my friends, but if you keep at it, eventually you will get something on the ground, and then start doing it consistently.

It’s even more of a challenge for an experienced hunter to teach children. They want results, and if they have multiple outings with no sign of deer, they can quickly become frustrated and bored. Reassuring them that success will come, and maybe mixing in a few squirrel hunts in between deer hunts will help. If they can get out in the woods and move around a little more, and bring home some squirrel for the pan, it can help to rekindle the drive to pursue more challenging game. The main thing is to find something positive about each outing. Something you see in the woods that may seem insignificant to you could spark a lot of interest in someone of lesser experience. A good example is as the sun goes down in a draw, feeling the rush of cooler air. Thermals are a complicated but interesting event that happens in the woods. Explaining what causes these and how they affect scent control and stand placement can be very educational to a beginning archer. At the same time though, don’t overload them with information and confuse them to the point of boredom again. There is a fine line between good hunting education and cramming for a final exam type of education.

Byron has been bitten by the bug now, and he has started to shoot 3D tournaments with us now. He has talked about hunting non-stop since Jan 15th, the end of our season in Oklahoma. He has also kept the fire burning in me, which usually dies about December, when I have spent so many hours in a stand I begin getting burned out. I didn’t harvest a single deer last year, but had several within a few yards of my stand. I count that as successful, I could have easily taken a couple of deer, but decided to let them walk for another year. That’s easier to do on private land, where they have a chance at making it. Only the good Lord knows what this October will bring us, but I know one thing for certain, my friends and I will be in a tree somewhere waiting to find out!

-Tim Hicks

71 votes, average: 3.83 out of 571 votes, average: 3.83 out of 571 votes, average: 3.83 out of 571 votes, average: 3.83 out of 571 votes, average: 3.83 out of 5 (71 votes, average: 3.83 out of 5)
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Published by robert muncie on 08 May 2008

The Dance of Excitement

My son recently turned six and for many months leading up to his birthday I debated as to if he was mature enough to receive his first gun. The answer ended up being yes. I then spent several weeks looking at new and used guns, trying to decide which route to go. I knew it would be a 22, I just didn’t know what gun it would be and then it came to me. My first gun was a 22 Remington Model 66, given to me by my grandfather on my fourth birthday, and the gun was still in perfect shape. The model 66 was made available in a black nylon stock and a nickel barrel and that’s what I had. The gun was light weight and still shot perfectly despite being over 40 years old. I made a call to my buddy Zach, who does some gunsmith work on the side, and he came over one evening to help break it down and double check that all the parts were in perfect working order. Well the gun checked out and we were good. My first gun would also be my son’s first gun. It came time for my son’s birthday and time for his big gift. He opened several other gifts and then stood quietly looking around, wandering why there hadn’t been one from good old dad. After about a minute I said are you looking for something and he just looked at me with that “you know I am” look so I trotted off to the bedroom and came back with a large package. His eyes became as big as saucers as he opened the large package. He knew what it was and he was elated with joy. I stood there just watching him look over his new rifle and I started to feel tears well up in my eyes and a joy I could not explain. I knew right then that this was going to be the start of a great hunting partnership. I would soon have a new hunting partner like no other I’d had before.

This got me wandering back some twenty six years ago to a time when I was 14 and in my second year as a deer hunter. The first year had not gone well. My father had done all he could to get me ready and when the weekend finally came, a cold front had come in and it had turned bitter cold. This made for many long sits on the ground and only one doe crossed my path. Back then your license only allowed you to shoot a buck so I had to let her walk. Now I’m 14 and have a year under my belt so I considered myself a veteran hunter.

We headed out for our trip that Friday night and got to our camp just before dark with the weather looking much better. Saturday turned out to be very uneventful and Saturday night brought much disappointment without any deer sightings. I sat in camp that evening with my father and we worked over where to hunt the next morning. He usually kept me near him for safety reasons, never more than a half mile at most. I decided that I wanted to hunt a place we ran across that day and told him my ideas for the following morning. He hesitated a bit and then finally agreed. This would put us over two miles apart and me over a mile from camp. I must admit I was a bit nervous but I really wanted a shot on a buck and felt my new found honey hole would deliver. Morning came and I headed out under clear skies and a cool crisp morning air.

About an hour after sun up I heard that wonderful sound of crunching leaves. I looked up across the ravine and saw two deer headed my way, a doe and a yearling. As I watch them I realized they were coming on a path that would lead them to within 10 feet of me and I’m on the ground. I gathered myself and shut down all my movement. As they approach I heard another sound from behind them and I peaked out the corner of my eye to see what looks to be a buck coming in 200 yards behind the doe and yearling. He was hot and apparently so was the doe some 15 feet in front of me. I remember being scared and shaking and hoping that the other two didn’t bust me as they moved past. Things went my way and they walked on. The buck was now 75 yards out and closing. I only needed a few more yards for my 12 gauge single shot slugster to be in range. He made up the distance quickly and a loud boom sounded as my 12 gauge barked out. He jumped and ran about 15 feet, stopped, then fell. I waiting about 10 minutes, mainly to stop the shaking, but that didn’t work. I finally made it to my feet and walked down the hill to where my prize awaited. There lay a 6 point buck that I now know scored about 75 inches but to me it was the trophy of a lifetime. He was a majestic animal with a large mid western buck body and a good solid rack. I had shot a buck, I couldn’t believe it. Reality soon set in though and I was faced with two problems. One I didn’t know how to field dress a deer and two there was no way I was going to get him up that hill and back the mile or so to camp. I figured that my dad would have heard the shot and would eventually make his way to me. So I laid my head on my deer and stretched out and started shaking again as I realized what I had done.

About 45 minutes passed and I could see what looked to be a man walking towards me but still a good 300 yards away. As he got to within a 100 yards I noticed it was my father and his pace was very quick. I whistled to him and heard a shout of “did you get one” I shouted back that I did and what happened next I’ll never forget. I heard a yell and then another and could see my father dancing on top of the hill. He took off down the hill dancing the whole way and yelling something about my boy and real deer hunter. My father was a very reserved man and I’d never seen anything like that out of him. I began to be concerned he had fallen out of a tree stand that morning and hit his head. Well he covered the distance between him and I in no time flat and came to a halt standing next to me and breathing very heavily. He looked down at the deer and back up at me and then grabbed me and gave me a big hug and a high five and we spent the next 10 minutes looking over the deer and talking of how it all came down and how I’d conquered the trophy buck. He had so much joy on his face and so much outward excitement and I just didn’t really understand why. I was the one that shot the deer not him and besides he had countless deer on the wall that would score well over 150 and several more in the garage. I really didn’t know how to take this from my father. I’d never seen him that excited about anything. The conversation and excitement continued as we drug the deer back to camp and again all the way home. I was more than happy to tell of my great hunt and kill but didn’t really understand why it was so important to him and why he had gotten so excited.

I’m 40 years old now and a lot of time has come and gone. Cancer took my father when I was 28 and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. There is one thing that time has helped me to understand though and it took all these years to get there. I understand what he was thinking that day and where all the excitement was coming from. I was his boy, his son, and his hunting partner. I was all his pride wrapped up into one package. I now have my own boy, son, and hunting partner and it finally makes sense to me. I am starting to feel that same excitement that my father must have felt all those years ago. My son has a few years to go before he is ready to deer hunt but I’ll teach him and wait till that day comes. I only hope that he doesn’t think his father has gone crazy or taken a fall when it’s my time to do the dance of excitement.

15 votes, average: 3.00 out of 515 votes, average: 3.00 out of 515 votes, average: 3.00 out of 515 votes, average: 3.00 out of 515 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5 (15 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
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Published by DuckBuckGoose on 07 May 2008

Hunting The Moonphase – Does it Really Make a Difference?

Some guys I know swear by hunting moon phase patterns. Others think it is an “old wives tale”.  Honestly I’m not sure where I stand on this argument yet, but after studying the theories around this a little more, there is some research to show that the various phases of the moon can have an effect on not only deer activity, but on deer mating behavior as well.  Perhaps for these reasons, or their own personal experience, I hear more and more hunters are talking about moon phase deer hunting and using it as another tool in their arsenal as they try to take that big buck.

Moonphase Calendar

If you’re not yet familiar with moon phase hunting, one of the most popular theories suggests that the female deer’s reproductive cycle is influenced by the different phases of the moon. This theory also says that a doe’s reproductive cycle peaks in the three or four days surrounding the second full moon after the autumnal equinox (which is either September 22nd or 23rd, depending on the year). Due to their instinctual drive to breed, bucks are also most active around this time, and will be more easily seen during daylight hours, as they are moving about looking for hot does. If you would like to check out what the moonphase will be when planning your dates for “deer camp” or days off this fall,  here are a couple of web sites that I found that you might find helpful:

http://stardate.org/nightsky/moon/

http://www.moon-phases.net

I can’t promise you that hunting the moon phase will help you harvest a trophy buck this year.  But when it comes to hunting, it never hurts to try new things and keep learning.  And, if you look at the November 2008 calendar in the picture, it just might give you a good excuse to take off work on a Thursday in mid November.  Don’t try calling me that day, I’ll be in a treestand!

DuckBuckGoose – Cincinnati, Ohio – 5/7/08

42 votes, average: 3.98 out of 542 votes, average: 3.98 out of 542 votes, average: 3.98 out of 542 votes, average: 3.98 out of 542 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5 (42 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5)
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Published by soularcher on 06 May 2008

Three Lessons

Three Lessons

By Joe Shuhay

(Soularcher on AT posts)

 

The first day had come, and I was up at 3:30 AM to eat, shower and dress.  Luckily my new spot was only 20 minutes away, and I could get in my stand at least an hour before daylight.  As daylight broke, the woods started to come alive with movement and sound.  I had spotted many doe and a small buck.  At about 10:00 AM a small doe came underneath my stand, and I let the Muzzy do its work, and work it did!  It was a very clean kill.  But this isn’t where the story ends…

The doe ran about 15 yards and fell.  While I waited for the animal to expire, I had noticed a very bad fray through the string serving right underneath my bottom cam!  It was obviously dangerous, and it had to be fixed.  I was lucky that I wasn’t hurt!  

LESSON #1:  Always inspect your bowstring and equipment well before the hunt.  This will give you time to swap strings and make repairs.  It will also save you from injury or a missed opportunity!

Instead of taking my Archery Research AR31 bow to the area expert, I took it to a local guy that ran a shop out of his house, to save money (a lot of money).  He was a very nice man, but I should’ve taken the hint when I entered his shop and saw that he specialized in traditional equipment (an art form in itself).  I returned that Friday afternoon for the bow, and $16.00 later I had a new string.  Sixteen Bucks!

I wanted to hunt the next day because I wouldn’t have another chance until the following weekend, and I knew there were a few nice buck cruising the area.  Needless to say, I didn’t get to shoot the bow before the hunt.  I know, I know…  I heard that little voice inside, but didn’t listen: “What if?  You didn’t shoot it, stretch the string, check it out…  Is this safe?”  Nope, I didn’t listen.   I was too worried about getting out the next day.

LESON #2:  Always inspect a repair or string installation when you get your bow back, and always shoot the bow and allow for string stretch.

I got out to my stand and opted to hunt the northern part of an oak flat, due to wind conditions, and I expected action.  There was still a little doubt in the back of my mind due to not shooting the bow the night before.  Any archer knows that reduced confidence in your form or equipment can definitely have a detrimental effect on your mindset for the hunt.  At about 9:30 AM, two doe came bursting from the laurel to my left at about 20 yards.  They stopped and then looked back.  That’s when I knew he was coming!  I waited, and saw a flicker, then a very wide eight came out into full view and paused sniffing the doe’s trail.  I drew and viewed the magnificent animal broadside at fifteen yards!  I pulled the trigger on my Scott release, the arrow flew, and…  Nothing…  Nothing!!!  I watched helplessly as the high-tined buck trotted away pursuing the doe.  I  climbed down and retrieved my arrow; it went right underneath the buck’s belly by at least a foot!

At noon I went home and shot at my target at 10 yards to troubleshoot the issue.  The arrow didn’t even make it to the target!  It was buried in the ground at about eight yards in front of me.  A closer inspection of my bow revealed that the string was not installed on the bottom cam properly which effected the whole setup.  

LESSON #3:  Pay the extra cash to get a job done by someone that knows the technology, or get the tools and learn to do it yourself, and you can rest easier in the knowledge that the job was done correctly (also refer to LESSON #2).

I don’t hold the bowsmith responsible, I knew full well that he had his specialty and, to his credit, he tried his best.  I hold my own impatience and thriftiness as the reasons that that hunt worked out the way it did.  Believe me when I say that I learned a difficult lesson that day.  The sign of a good hunter is the humility and willingness to learn and improve.

 

 

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Published by Shaman on 05 May 2008

Turkey Lurky Come on By!

Turkey hunting, from first to last

My Morning, had to leave blind at 9am due to work.

  • 4:30am: head to blind, set up 1 hen facing off canter to left of blind.
  • 5:00am: get first gobble response
  • 6:00am: Finally lure the tom over the crest and he sees decoy.
  • 6:00am-8:00am: Tom stops gobbling and Struts, Preens and Stands on Log showing off. Slowly, SLOWLY displays, preens, and peck feeds down the entire length of the field edge to the right, around the corner and hangs up 30yds short and behind vegetation (not clearable)
  • 8:05am: Second Tom blast into the field gobbling like crazy.
  • 8:10am: I give up on closer Tom who is stalled and I Box Call the Field Gobbler. He approaches 60 yards out and sees decoy.
  • 8:10am-8:50am: He circles around to the left continues crossing the field, enters the woods and comes in behind me. He would not enter by 3 rear facing shooting lanes and ends up walking off as well.
  • 9:00am: I head out, no turkeys in sight.

I moved my blind.
I think the distance that the Toms have to cross from the far side of the field put them on edge when they do not see any hen movement for so long.

I got 2 shots off out of the blind last year when Paired Toms rushed the decoy, but have had 4 other times when single birds fetch up after crossing a couple hundred yards only to see the decoy never move or call back.

I’ve moved my blind over the little crest and 1/2 to the other side of the field where they usually enter to give them less distance to consider the immobile hen before they are in range.

Guess that is why they call it Turkey Hunting and not Turkey Shooting.


Day 2

Another near miss.
Set up this morning and 2 hens, a jake, and small tom come into the field.
They just would not respond to calling and calmly pecked and strolled on by out of range.

At least there are birds about!
Tomorrow I get 4 hours in the blind.
We’ll see what happens.


Day 3

This morning was even more stressful than the other morning.
A larger flock (for around here) came into the top of the field.
About 10 hens, one big tom and 1 jake (I thought).
I called to them as they crossed the top of the field and slowly 4 hens and the jake broke off and started coming by way, the long way. They did a giant circle around the field and came into the decoys the opposite side of where they entered the field.

Now, I am getting excited. They slowly come in and I notice the jack is a young Tom. More color and a 2-3″ beard. Here they come, but the tom is out the outside and they are all kind of huddled together. I draw back and hold waiting for a gap…. wait for it… wait for it….
GAH… have to let down.

They peck along slowly, with the Tom still on the outside and just poking his head up every so often and looking at the decoys. I draw back again… wait… wait… wait…….. wait. MAN!
I let down again. Still now shot. Now they are about 3/4 out of my shooting arc and still moving along.

I take a couple deep breaths and draw back again. Watching them slowly walk out of my arc and range. The whole time there was not ONE break in the flock that let me have a shot at the small tom.

I’m trying to convince myself it is for the best, that I succeeded in calling them in, and that I’ll gt another chance. I have 2 days this week, a week off, and another week before my season is over. And I know there are two other big Toms around. But man! I just wanted to tag out and eat some turkey!!!


Day 4

Yesterday:
Cold, Rainy, Damp.
No turkeys.
BOOO…


Day 5

Finally!
Got up at what I thought was 2am with the baby to feed him.
Then as I was prepping the bottle I realize it said 12:00 not 2:00.. WHOOOOOHOOOOO
2 extra hours of sleep!

So, I get up again at 2:30am, get ready and head down to my Dads.
Get there, say hi and we head out to the blind around 4:30am.
The landowner had said she saw 1 big tom and a couple jakes almost every morning, so we waited.
Around 6:45am a lone jake came in my Dad spotted him out his side of the blind.

I promised my wife that if it had a beard, I would take it down.
He had a beard, so I waited for him to get into my shooting lane and took him down at 21.5 yards.

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Published by Shaman on 05 May 2008

A doe, a deer, a female deer

It all started the week before.
The season had opened and it was another fall with my own yearling in the house (second child, 9m old). I had no time to scout, but I had a couple spots on my neighbors land picked out.

All that week as I arrived home after a long day; 4am Andrew diaper changing, 5am feeding, 6am Samantha is up, 7am off to drop off kids at Daycares (split with wife, we go in opposite directions)… I get home after a longer than usual work day and stare wistfully out the window. I know there are deer out there somewhere.

On Thursday I am supposed to put my stand up and fix my blind to place on the edge of a field. I get home to find out my wife had tweaked her shoulder working out and is out of commission. I cook supper, give the kids baths, get Andrew in bed and then retire to the living room to dream about being out in the woods.

Friday rolls around and I am going through the ‘routine’ that evening while my wife is waiting to get into the Drs office this upcoming Monday to get her shoulder checked out. By now it is hardly able to move. The phone rings, it is my brother.

“Shawn”, he says in a shaky voice while half whispering, “I just arrowed a doe!” He continues,”I finally got a shot on with the Diablo and it felt soooo smooth. She was quartering away hard but I know it was a good shot. It all felt so magical.” I ask him if he needs help tracking, though I was not looking forward to the hour drive knowing Mandy would have to deal with two kids with a hurt arm. Marc replies, “Naw. Charlie is coming to help. If we do not find it by 8:30p, I’ll give you a call back.” Around 8pm, he calls and excitedly tells me he found her. She went about 80 yards and went down. I congratulate him and ask him if Dad is going to help him skin it out tomorrow. Nope, he is busy.

So I offer to go down and help him out and I’ll find Mandy help babysitting with the kids. At that point he suggest I pack my bow up and take a turn in the stand. There were three does in the area and they all came in together. He is sure they will come back out, as he has them well timed and they are walking through like clockwork.

I ask Mandy if she would mind if I put an evening in the stand, and she agrees. She does tell me that not only do I need to do, but if I get the chance I need to take the shot. No waiting for the perfect moment. She has seen me shoot and I need to use the skills I have.

The next day I head out in the late morning down to my brothers. As I make the hour trip I am feeling a little pride in the confidence my wife has in me and her actually saying she knows I can make a humane shot even without the broadside. It fills me with confidence as I head down and makes the drive that much more enjoyable.

I arrive around 1pm and help my brother finish processing his deer. It is a nice time chatting about how exactly they came in, how he kept waiting for the broadside, but finally settled on the quartering away. I take a couple pictures for him, and while it looked like he hit it WAY back, the shockwave sliced and diced all the vitals and left the ponch in place. A textbook shot.

I head over to the landowners place at 3:30 and settle in. I sit enjoying the cool breeze (it had been 80 dgrees all week, fall in Maine – welcome global warming). I slowly turn my head this way and that, my bow across my lap holding my personally assembled arrows in the quiver. I am shooting Xweave Predators fletched myself with Blazers (2 Orange and a White cock Vane), Bohning Signature Flo Orange Nock and Slick Trick Magnums.

I pull out an arrow and place it in the Whisker Biscuit, and nock it. Staring at the broadhead, I reflect back on the decision to make the switch. Last year I took a buck with a G5 Montec, but the blood trail was less than I would have expected and I just felt my sharpening skills were not good enough to make the most of the broadhead. I bought a couple packs of ST Magnums to try out as an alternative and within my second set of 3, I was hitting 2″ squares at 20yds with no tweaking of rest or sights. I was sold.

I sit and wait. In front of me are several old and dying apple trees, still feebly bearing fruit. Several woodpeckers flitter from tree to tree while searching for bugs and soft spots in the trees to find tree worms (or whatever they really are).

Slowly the sun goes down and the sound of traffic slows in the distance. My awareness increases tenfold as the ‘right time’ approaches. I start scanning more with my eyes, working right to left and slowly turning my head to help my vision reach the tote road to my far left. Time slows down, but it is not boring. It is that time that takes out into the woods. The time where you become part of nature as a predator. Your patience becomes ten fold as you wait. Waiting like a Puma in the trees.

Off to my far right I hear the tell tale sound of a deer. Not surprisingly the small doe has decided to break all the normal rules of access and is coming through the thickest part of the woods instead of the easy tote roads or the two deer trails running parallel to them. I turn my eyes and head slowly, and she is walking straight in. I see that she is small. But, I promised the wife that it was meat I was after and not a trophy. If a deer came out, and did not sport spots, then I would take it.

Slowly she comes in, but relaxed. She walks straight in and under my stand. Stopping for a moment she sniffs the rungs of the ladder stand and sort of glances around. I guess the soles of my 15 year old leather slipper boots (it was so warm I could not wear my ‘hunting’ boots) did not leave much scent. She then walks out from under the stand and slowly starts walking straight away.

As she comes out from under the stand I wait for her to get out a little and then I stand and turn ever so slowly. Forest Ninja’s could not have moved so silently or smoothly. Knowing she could not see at that angle behind her I get myself into position.

She browses a little but slowly continues walking straight out. It is time for a decision! So I wait for her turn? Do I risk her walking straight ahead and under the canopy 30 yards out? I look to my right again (straight ahead of my body now) and check for following does or bucks and see nothing. This is my chance for the evening and I think of my wife back at home, hurt and watching our two kids to give me this chance. I draw.

One of the important pieces of a successful shot is to not change your style. To let your instincts do what you have done dozens, hundreds, thousands of times at home and on the range and in the 3D course (if you are lucky enough to live close). To draw the same, anchor the same, hold the same, and to take the shot when it looks and feels right. Overthink it and you take too long. Get over excited and you shoot too soon. I bring my bow up into the draw (I happen to draw upwards, always have) and line everything up, just like every other time. I envision in my mind where the arrow will go, and aim for the far lung. I ‘see’ the arrow going through to the far leg, down and through.

Without even realizing it my finger smoothly pulls and my Scott Wildcat go off. I see the arrow in flight through my VBG Triangle sight and watch as the arrow strikes HARD. The doe drops instantly and without so much as a kick breathes in and out 4, then 5 times. In the time it take for me to see her drop with the arrow still within her, I have a second arrow out of its quiver and nocked in the rest. Later I would remark to my Dad and brother than my hands just automatically did it, that the next thing I knew I had the bow in the ready position and tension on the dloop. I watch as she takes her last breathe and passes, less than 30 seconds after the shot. I can not express my concern, and then relief that no second arrow would be needed.

As I let my bow down and call my Brother and Dad, I reflect on the shot and wonder if I ‘missed’. I had certainly not intended to spine her. And the arrow not getting pass through had me concerned that I had somehow missed the vitals and hit something harder like the upper scapula. I take great care to respect the doe as I have my Dad take some pictures of where she lay. I give thanks for the bounty and we move the deer off to take care of her in preparation of getting her to the tagging station.

Later, and mostly due to the interest and thoughtful atmosphere of sharing here to help educate ourselves and others, I take special interest in capturing on my camera the entrance, exit, and damage pictures. Upon skinning out the doe I find that my shot was not bad at all. In fact, the arrow passed one blade through the spine, nicked one lung (it did not look like a pull out wound) and punctured the far lung cleanly. There was complete pass through the lower ribs on the far side and the broadhead had actually lodged in the far leg in the lower potion of the shoulder. It was that penetration that required two hands to start the broadhead back out through the body. Interestingly, and maybe it was because it was dark, we had not figured it as a pass through or I would have captured a picture of the broadhead external to the shot.

Attached below are the photo’s that relate to this story.
There are more if people are interested, but these are those that tell the story without being repetitive.

Thank you for the opportunity to share.

Equipment

2006 Diablo NH 65# 26″ DL
VBG Triangle w/G5 Peep
WB DX QS
Doinker Multi-Rod 7″ D2 Hunter
SIMS Modules as Riser Vibration Dampeners
Scott Wildcat Buckle
Radial XWeave Predator 200s @ 26.75″
Bohning Signature Flo Orange Nocks
Blazer Vanes (2 Flo Orange/1 White)
Slick Trick Magnum 100s
Benchmade Snoddy 210
Buck Woodsman 105

Game
Doe @ 75#s
16yds
Spine/Lung
0 Foot Tracking

Supporting Pictures

My second group with Slick Trick Magnum 100s.
I did not shoot a third.:

My Doe Represented:

 

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