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Published by archerchick on 12 Apr 2012

Texas Record Book Weekend- By Thomas L Torget

Texas Record Book Weekend – By Thomas L. Torget
Archery World February 1989

Two Florida Archers Arrive At A Sprawling South Texas Ranch For a Weekend Bowhunt. They leave with THREE Pope and Young Whitetails. Is This Place Special?

For George Cooper, “buck fever’”, is
something that happens to the other
guy. After taking almost 100 deer during
the last 30 years of hunting, George is pretty relaxed
when facing yet another routine shot at yet
another routine buck.

At least, that’s how it used to be. Things changed dramatically at 9 a.m.
last October 11. That is when George was overwhelmed
with all the classic symptoms of this dreaded

hunter’s disease: dry rnouth, pounding heart
high blood pressure, shortness of breath,
sweaty palms and trembling fingers.

ln short, Cooper was completaly unglued.
“I had adrenaline up to my eyeballs!” admits
the veteran Florida bowhunter, “I.was so
shaken up I Was sure I’d have a heart attack
and crash right out of my, stand, I’ve.never
been so rattled in my life. It was horrible.”
The cause of all this emotion was a solitary
whitetail buck. When the deer lifted its, head
high as it stood 80 yards away, Cooper knew
this buck was special. Its thick rack sported
10 enormous tines that seemed to reach toward
the south Texas sky. As the buck stepped
out and began moving down the trail, the bow
hunter eased into position fo ra shot.

“There were several does and smaller
bucks nearby when I first saw him,” he
explains. “He walked slowly toward the pond in
front of my stand. When he reached the water’s
edge and lowered his head for a drink, he
was just 15 yards away. I tried drawing my 80-
pound bow, but l was shaking badly. The arrow
rattled against the rest and the sudden
noise spooked all the deer.”

The big buck, however, did not panic. He
slowly trotted off, stopping 45 yards away.
When the deer tumed broadisde and glanced
back toward the pond, Cooper didn’t hesitate.
He held his 40-yard sight pin behind the
buck’s shoulder and let the arrow fly.

“I flubbed the shot badly,” he concedes.
“I was sure he was 40 yards out, but he was
actually closer to 50. My arrow sailed right
under his chest and off he went. I felt totally
miserable about screwing up such an opportunity.
Bowhunters don’t get chances like that
every day. In fact, most of us never see a buck
that big, much less get a shot at him.”
Five minutes later, the impossible happened:

The big buck came back. As the
whitetail paused at the water’s edge just 18
yards from Cooper’s stand, the shaken bow-
hunter was determined not to miss again. The
buck was quartering slightly toward the
hunter as his arrow drove through both lungs,
putting the buck down for good after a 150-
yard sprint.

As Cooper stood over his magnificent trophy,
he had to pinch himself to be certain all
this was real and not just a bowhunter’s
dreamland fantasy. The events of the past
three days certainly seemed unreal. Cooper
and his hunting companion, Hal Arve, had
come to the Kenedy Ranch in south Texas for a
weekend bowhunt. They fully expected to see
plenty of deer and they were optimistic that
they’d locate some good bucks. But these veteran
bowhunters knew how slim the odds
were they’d be able to arrow a Pope and
Young record-book whitetail. So as Cooper
stared down at his incredible trophy, their
third of the weekend, a reality test pinch
seemed appropriate.

Reality Strikes
The adventure began several months ear-
lier when Cooper and Arve decided to travel
to Texas to hunt the largely unknown Kenedy
Ranch. From the perspective of a whitetail
deer hunter, this place is like no other. Headquartered
60 miles south of Corpus Christi,
the ranch covers 400,000 acres of some of the
finest deer habitat in Texas, a state that’s home
to more than 20 percent of all America’s
whitetails. And most amazing of all, the ranch
went virtually unhunted for more than a century. Hunting by anyone other than family
members and friends didn’t begin until 1986
when Sarita Safaris, Inc. , an outfitter based in
Corpus Christi, obtained commercial hunting
rights to some 66,000 acres of the ranch. That
year, 52 rifle hunters harvested 62 bucks that
averaged 6.5 years of age. Almost 30 percent
of the bucks taken scored between 145-166
Boone and Crockett points. Only seven of the
62 bucks taken scored fewer than 130 points.
How ’s that for a season’s harvest?

As the 1987 whitetail season drew near,
Sarita Safaris began receiving inquiries about
bowhunting opportunities on the ranch. A
bowhunting program was established and
Cooper and Arve were told they’d be welcome
to test their luck during Texas’ October
archery season.

“We arrived Thursday night, October 8,”
says Arve, a 36—year-old insurance salesman
from Homestead, Florida. “George had
hunted the ranch with a rifle the year before
and had told me it had plenty of big bucks. We
were really excited about the prospect of taking
a record—book whitetail with our bows.”

“This may sound crazy,” adds Cooper, a
50-year—old farm machinery dealer from
Princeton, Florida, “but the toughest challenge
we faced was making sure we didn’t
shoot the wrong deer! There are plenty of
young bucks on the ranch in addition to the
very mature bucks that are six to eight years
old. When you’re not used to seeing so many
mature whitetails, a three or four·year-old
eight—pointer can be very tempting. So we
made sure we spent the first day just looking
over what was available. We kept reminding
ourselves to be patient.

Friday morning Cooper and Arve were
both in treestands before daylight. Perched
high in their mesquite trees, they saw plenty
of deer, including several excellent bucks. But
neither archer was offered a close-range shot
at the buck he wanted. Arve watched a mas-
sive 10-pointer pass within 25 yards of his
stand, but a limb obstructed his shooting lane,
preventing a shot.

Saturday afternoon Cooper drove around
the ranch with guide Mike Mireles in an effort
to locate a big buck that might be stalked. The
pair found a handsome 10-point buck and
Cooper managed to sneak to within 40 yards.
After evaluating the buck’s rack, however, he
chose to let the deer pass in hopes of finding
something better on Sunday morning.
Arve, meanwhile, was back in his treestand.
At 7 p.m., he watched a beautiful 10-
point buck approach slowly toward the water
hole in front of his stand.

“He sparred pretty good with a big nine-
pointer,” says Arve. “He really intimidated
that other buck. After their bout, the 10-
pointer walked to the edge of the water and
lowered his head to drink. He was 20 yards
away and I knew this was my chance.”

The arrow launched from the 75-pound
overdraw bow struck the buck in the neck,
severing the jugular. The deer raced around
the pond and into the thick grove of oaks before
piling up 150 yards from Arve`s stand.
The whitetail’s rack scored 135 Pope and
Young points, easily surpassing the 125-point
minimum for a typical whitetail.

“I was really proud of that deer,” beams
Arve. “I’d taken 10 whitetails with a bow pre-
viously, the best being an 11-pointer I arrowed
near Lake Okeechobee in central Florida.
But none of those deer compared to this
one. This was a real mature trophy — six and
a half years old.”

Don Quixote
Sunday morning found Cooper perched
atop a unique “treestand” he’d constructed
out of a pair of two-by-ten boards.
“I wanted to hunt a spot where a game trail
passed close to a water hole,” he explains.

“The weather had been extremely dry for
months and the deer were really coming to the
water. The best spot seemed to be atop a metal
windmill. So I lashed two boards together
near the top of the structure and made what
looked like a swimming pool diving board. It
was a one-of-a-kind treestand, that’s for sure.
It may not have been pretty, but it sure
worked!”

It was from this stand that Cooper arrowed
his trophy buck. It was six and a half years old

and scored 149 3/6 Pope and Young points,
ranking it among the top five whitetails ever
arrowed in Texas.

Arve, meanwhile, decided to return to his
mesquite tree for Sunday morning’s closing
hunt. “l had been watching a big 10-pointer
come and go over the weekend,” he recalls.
“For the past two mornings, he’d come
across the field to the same spot at the edge of
the pond. He was never in a good position for
me to shoot from my treestand, so I moved to
a ground blind about 25 yards from the mesquite
tree. It was nearer the water and I
thought it might give me an opportunity for a
shot if that buck came by again.

Hunched low in the branches of his makeshift
blind, Arve squinted through dawn’s
first light at a faint movement near the mes-
quite tree 25 yards away. The 10-pointer appeared.
“The first time I leave my treestand,”
laughs the bowhunter, “the buck comes down
the trail next to that tree and stops tive yards
away — broadside! There was a lot of high
grass between us, so I didn’t have a shot right
away. I eased up on my knees and waited for
him to move into a gap in the grass that would
give me a clear shot. When things looked
right, I drew back and released. The shot
looked perfect, but I couldn’t be sure where it
hit. He only ran about 20 yards and stopped. I
tired another arrow and this one hit him in the
neck. He went down for keeps. My initial
shot, it turns out, was a good lung shot.”
Arve’s second buck was an amazing eight
and a half years old. Its rack tallied 144 4/8
Pope and Young points, placing it among the
top 10 bow-killed whitetails in Texas.

Whitetail Heaven
How can one ranch have so many high-
scoring whitetail bucks? The answer lies in
both the ranch’s location and its history. The
property is located in one of the best trophy
whitetail areas of the South, the well-known
“brush country” of Texas. More than 80 per-
cent of all Texas whitetails listed in the Boone
and Crockett record book were taken in counties
located south of San Antonio. The Kenedy
Ranch lies near the southern tip of the state,
where the terrain is a mixture of oak groves
and rolling grassland pastures. Much of the
ranch ’s eastern and northern borders lie along
either Baffin Bay or Laguna Madre, waters
which connect to the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a
unique experience watching trophy whitetail
stroll along a sandy beach, but it’s a scene
often witnessed on the Kenedy Ranch. And,
there’s plenty to see in addition to whitetail
deer.

“The ranch is loaded with wild turkeys,
javelina, feral hogs and nilgai,” says Gerald
Ashbrook, a member of Sarita Safaris’ board
of directors. “The nilgai is an antelope im-
ported from India. It’s a huge animal, almost
as big as an elk. We have about 10,000 bulls
and cows on the ranch. They’re tough _to hunt
so they make excellent trophies. The meat is
delicious, too, tasting much like beef.”

Ashbrook says the ranch was founded in
1866 when Mifflin Kenedy dissolved his part-
nership with Richard King. The result was the
formation of two enormous ranches, the
Kenedy ranch and the more well-known King
Ranch.

Until 1986, hunting on the Kenedy Ranch
was limited to the Kenedy family members
and a few friends. Much of the property is
now owned by a foundation established by the
Kenedys, and it is that foundation which
leases commercial hunting rights to Sarita Safaris.

“We’ve had two terrific seasons so far,”
says Ashbrook, “and we’re looking forward
to many more. Obviously, we’ve got lots of
land to hunt and we’re careful not to overhunt .
any part of it. Next season, we’ll use some
new areas and we’ll ‘rest’ some of the areas
we’ve hunted in 1986 and 1987.”

Ashbrook noted the ranch includes
230,000 acres that are off-limits to all hunt-
ing. “That area is a permanent game preserve
that will never be disturbed by hunting,” he
says. “We realize we’ve got something spe-
cial here. Our challenge is to maintain the
high percentage of mature deer that we have in
our whitetail population. The high numbers
of six, seven and eight-year-old bucks is what
makes this ranch unique. There just aren’t
many places where deer have the chance to
live that long. When they do, they can grow
some pretty impressive headgear! ”

George Cooper and Hal Arve agree. Even
before departing the ranch last fall, they made
reservations for a return trip in 1988.
“We saw more Pope and Young-caliber
deer in three days last October than we’ve
seen in decades of hunting elsewhere,” says
Cooper. “You can bet we’ll be back next October.
If there’s a better place in the world to
bowhunt whitetail deer than the Kenedy
Ranch, I sure don’t know where it is.”

Author’s Notes
Information about bowhunting the Kenedy
Ranch is available from Sarita Safaris, Inc.,
PO. Box 8995, Corpus Christi, TX 78412.

The ranch is located in Kenedy County and is
headquartered 60 miles south of Corpus
Christi. Out-of-state bowhunters can reach
the ranch via commercial airline service to
either Corpus Christi or Harlengen.

Bowhunting fees are $125 per day, plus a
trophy fee for each animal harvested. Trophy
fees range from $100 for a whitetail doe or
javelina to $3,000 for a whitetail buck. The
daily fee includes all meals and lodging in
modern cabins at either of the two hunting
camps operated by Sarita Safaris.

Texas’ archery deer season usually opens
the first Saturday in October and runs about
30 days. The state’s general deer season (gun
or bow) usually opens the second Saturday in
November and ends the first Sunday in January.
ln most counties, the fall turkey season
runs concurrently with deer season.
A Texas hunting license costs $10 for
residents and $200 for non-residents. A $6 arch-
ery stamp is also required of anyone bowhunting
deer or turkey during the October archery
season, In Kenedy and most other counties, a
hunter may harvest four whitetails,
two of which may be bucks. A copy of Texas` hunting
regulations is available from the Texas
Parks and Wildlife Department,
4200 Smith School Rd.,
Austin, TX 78744.

>>—>

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Published by archerchick on 12 Apr 2012

Bowhunting The Midwest -By Randall P Schwalbach

Bowhunting The Midwest

By Randall P Schwalbach
Archery World Bowhunting Guide ’88
Is that a deer, or is that a horse?” Ben I exclaimed as the eight-point whitetail buck leaped in front of the truck. “Just an average Wisconsin buck,” my father replied. Two hours earlier, I had picked Ben up at the airport, and now we were within a couple miles of camp. Ben had come up from Texas for a November hunt with my father and I, and he couldn’t believe how large the first deer he saw in Wisconsin was. That deer didn’t stop and let us weigh it. but l said it might go 140 pounds dressed. Just an average Midwest whitetail. Now to put that in perspective; two weeks later, Ben killed an east Texas buck that scored 126-1/8 Typical — and weighed 88 pounds.
That’s why the Wisconsin buck we saw leap across the road surprised and impressed Ben. Midwestern deer not only have large bodies, they also have the potential for trophy antler growth. The all-time high scorer (206 1/8) was taken by Jim Jordan in 1914 in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. In the number-two spot is a Missouri buck (205) taken in 1971 by Larry Gibson. Next comes an Heinous buck, a bowkill that scores 204 4/8, taken by Mel Johnson in 1965. Just last year, another big Wisconsin buck came to the attention of Boone and Crockett scorers. Taken by Joe Haske in 1945 in Wood County, the buck scores 204 2/8 and ties for fourth place. Wisconsin is the only state to have produced two trophies scoring over 200. Not to mislead anyone, I must also point out that most midwestern deer never reach trophy size.
In Wisconsin, for example, the average whitetail supports a small six or eight-point rack. That’s because an average Wisconsin buck is a year and a half old. Very few bucks make it through their second winter because they are shot during the November gun season; a fact that archers who like to hunt bigger bucks have to deal with. If hunting big deer is your primary objective, your first challenge is to identify habitat that will hold big deer. Such habitat will have one characteristic: It must be overlooked  most deer hunters.
Finding The Bucks
To use my home state of Wisconsin as an example, some of the largest deer are taken from the southeastern counties surrounding the city of Milwaukee. Don’t let the number of subdivisions fool you. There are deer here Big deer. They become big by living in areas
where hunters typically don’t look for deer – in the shadow of development.
Gaining access to urban areas is admittedly difficult. To go out the week before hunting season and ask permission to hunt such farms is usually futile. But if you keep your eyes and ears open, you may learn of an opportunity not far from your doorstep. The point is, you are looking for a place that everyone else has overlooked.
Public hunting areas are sometimes also in the overlooked category, especially those places that are primarily marsh and river bottoms. It is likely that the only hunting pressure these areas get is from duck and pheasant hunters. Often you can use the waterfows and upland hunters to your advantage, by being there on opening day and letting the brush pants brigade drive the deer to you.
A third area in which to look for trophy bucks is the wildest, most rugged country you can find. In Wisconsin, steep hills, such as the breaks of the Mississippi river, and the big woods and swamps of the Nicolet and Chequamegon National Forests tend to keep hunter pressure at low levels. A standard rule of thumb I use in wilderness-like areas is: If you can get there by road, somebody else already has. Find a place where the roads are few, and then walk in.
Hunting the Midwest has a different flavor from deer hunting in other areas of the country. Unlike southern states, where liberal bags (some allow a deer a day) are common, the seasons in the midwest are far more restrictive. In Wisconsin, an archer is allowed one deer of either sex per season. This leads to a hunt where the bowhunter is likely to place more emphasis on killing a trophy buck. After finding an area where deer can live long enough to become trophies, the second step to shooting a big buck is to learn to pass up smaller bucks.
This should be obvious. But I know of many good hunters who do everything else right, and who always end up shooting deer with average size antlers. Then they ask why they’re never seeing trophy deer.
My first shot at a trophy was not by design. It was September, and the evening was hot. So hot that I began to feel ill while perched on an oak branch and had to kneel down on the branch (it was a big branch) and put my head low. While in this position, I heard a deer approach and looked up to see an eight-point buck, probably a yearling or 2 1/2 year old, walk by within five yards. Unable to get into position to shoot, I watched him walk away. Once he was out of sight, I regained a standing posture, in the hopes the buck would circle back. He didn’t. But on his backtrail came a much larger buck. I counted 14 tines, some of them appearing to be a foot long. I missed a five yard shot. Lesson one: Early in the season bucks travel together, so let the smaller buck pass if you’d like to see a trophy.
Time It Right
September is my favorite month to hunt the midwest. It is a perfect time of year,  when there is still abundant natural camoflauge left in the trees (leaves), yet the nights are cool enough to slow down the majority of flying insects. During the middle of these early autumn days, it warms up enough t0 make a nearby trout stream the place to be.
Beyond the  weather, I like September because the deer are still feeling relaxed from a long summer of undisturbed feeding. The first week of the bow season is when the element of surprise is in the hunter’s favor. I have taken more bucks with a bow during this first week than any other time, including the rut.
During the first week of the season, usually, the third week of September in Wisconsin, I concentrate my efforts on the oak  woods. That’s when the acorns of the white oak begin to fall.   These acorns are the sweetest of all the oaks, and they will also not last long on the forest floor before they begin to decompose. The deer know this, and they some to eat these acorns at all hours of the day.
The rut is probably the second best time to score on a buck. In the midwest, the rut occurs during the first two weeks of November. In central Wisconsin, the eighth through the 11th is when I look for the rut to peak. Given the recent increase in bowhunter pressure, however, the rutting behavior in my area has become more and more nocturnal. On the other hand, late-season hunting in December seldom sees crowded woods. A week or two after the gun season closes, the deer resume their normal feeding schedules.
The closer to winter, the more active deer seem to become, as if they are trying to put on a few more pounds before the real cold starts. This is especially true of big bucks that burned their energy reserves during the rut. If they are going to make it through the winter, they have to replenish those reserves.
Bucks start to travel together again in the late season. In this regard, it’s a lot like the early season. Don’t try and hunt the whole day during the late season. I find mornings unproductive then, because that’s the coldest time of the day and the deer remain in their beds. Afternoons when the wind dies early have been best for me in the late season.
Hunting the midwest has a charm because of the large variety of habitat types. This forces a bowhunter to be flexible in his hunting style. In wide open farm country, for example, the best use of a tree stand is not for hunting, but rather for scouting. If you spend a few evenings or mornings in a tree in a fence line, you will likely discover some patterns to deer movement. Perhaps you’ll see a small herd of deer using a corner of an alfalfa field. Try to determine the best natural funnel to that feeding area, and set up a ground blind in it.
Make sure you’ve practiced shooting from a sitting position, because you’ll probably use a stool in your blind. For a good blind, wear camouflage that matches the background, and make sure you can shoot over any kind of screen of brush that you place in front of you.
Another way to hunt farm country is to still-hunt through standing corn. This technique is best employed on windy days, when the corn is noisy. By moving across the rows, looking up and down each row before you proceed to the next, you will get amazingly close to deer, some of them bedded down.
Although I don’t personally own one, a suit of corn stalk and cattail camouflage would seem ideal for this type of hunting. Skyline or winter camouflage, with a lot of white in it, also works well, because bedded deer are looking up at the sky.
Midwestern states are full of rivers, and boat hunting is some of the most enjoyable hunting I’ve ever done. Both my father and I made our first bow kills from a canoe slipping
 silently by the alders, and both deer were shot in their beds. This technique is dynamite if nobody else is doing it. Once locals caught on to our technique, they gave the deer on that river a thorough education in what paddles banging on gunwales sound like.
The best river for floating is one small enough that allows you to shoot to either bank. However, I find it works best just to watch one bank, and let the person paddling watch the other. On my first bow-kill, Dad actually whispered to me, “Right bank,” and I still had time to locate the deer and release. One of the disadvantages of hunting from a canoe is not having prepared shooting lanes. You’ll get extremely close to a lot of deer that you’ll just have to pass up because there’s no shot. Wait it out. As you drift past, a lane may open up, or the deer may step into one on its own.
Probably the most unorthodox tactic I ever employed in a farm country situation was an amphibious ambush from a drainage ditch. I used the ditch as an approach to a cornfield where I knew the world record whitetail was hiding, then submerged my folding stool in a clump of reeds, and sat down with waders above my waist. Mallards whistled over me and sandhill cranes exulted the dawn with raspy, prehistoric voices. A family of raccoons wandered past, busy poking their hands into silt at the waters edge and never noticing me. And finally, the sound of deer feet, precisely placed on the sandy bottom of the ditch. Slow but steady, the deer approached.
I could see the reflection of his antlers in the ripples that pulsed toward me. And then, 10 feet away, his gaze met mine, but not for very long. There was no shot opportunity as the buck raced straight away from me, up the ditch and back into the safety of the corn. By that time, I was fairly chilled from the water (what did I expect from wet wading?) and went back to the car for a cup of coffee and a sandwich, which I chewed very slowly while planning my afternoon hunt. Finding a dry, leafy oak tree was what I had in mind.
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Published by archerchick on 12 Apr 2012

Bowhunting the Southwest ~By Mike Lowry

Bowhunting the Southwest-By Mike Lowry
Archery World’s Bowhunting Guide ’88
I was just finishing winding up my winch cable as the old gentleman stepped onto the jeep trail. As I walked over to say hello, he set the lower limb of his bow on the toe of his boot, pushed back his sweat-stained cowboy hat and rested his arms on the top of the bow. After a friendly hello and a handshake, we talked for almost an hour about the bowhunting around Ely, Nevada, and how dry it was hunting here. “Here” was up in the cooler, greener, and generally higher and more forested area of the mountains that sat northeast of Ely.
The old bowhunter then told me that, because I looked like a nice “young fella,” he’d let me in on a little secret. ” I’ve lived in this country all my life,” he said, “and if ya want big trophy deer, get the hell out of these mountains and hunt the high desert .” He then went on to tell me of an area southeast of Ely that, though it didn’t look it, held some real wall hangers. “Most people just don’t believe those deer are down there, or if they do, won’t hunt them there. But I tell you what, if you want to work for a big one, that’s the place .” If there’s one thing I have learned over my bowhunting years, it’s to listen to people  especially older, more experienced people. The next day found me driving along a very dusty road leading into low, sage-covered hills that looked better suited for hunting jack rabbits or horny toads than big mule deer. As I eased along, looking for a good camp and hunting spot, I was reminded of the Jicarilla Apache Reservation of New Mexico, where I’d grown up. Some of the best mule deer hunting in the world was on that reservation; as old memories surfaced, my excitement about the hunt grew. Noticing some green growth in the bottom of one of the side canyons, I turned onto the little-used ruts of an old road, parked about 150 yards from the green and walked over for a look. The Bureau of Land Management had put in a stock trough that was full of clean water. The mud at the lower end of the trough, where the water had overflowed, told the story; deer tracks, lots of deer tracks, some very big, covered the bottom of the draw.
My partner, Mike Sagers, and I smiled at each other as we headed up the side of the draw for a better look at the surrounding country. Half-way up, Mike pointed out a deer standing by a little clump of grease wood. As we watched, it took off up the hill, followed by six others — all bucks. We sat down and watched in wonder as they skylined going over the top. I hurriedly picked my chin up off the ground and closed my mouth before a dozen or so blow flies could buzz in. Three of those bucks could have easily gone into the top of the Pope & Young listings and the rest were mighty respectable.
Giggling with glee like two school kids, we hurried back to the truck and took off to find a place to camp. Not for the last time I thought io myself, Thank the Lord for the 0ld f0lks!
Lessons Learned
 Memories of those big bucks and all the near misses hurried me along a year later as Mike and I picked our way up the hill in my old Suburban. We were far better prepared for the high desert hunt this year and ready to capitalize on last year’s learning period. The spot we had spent over an hour leveling for a tent last year was there just as we had left it, as was the fireplace next to the rock face and our pile of powder-dry firewood, still stacked as if it had only been an hour since we cut it. No wonder the deserts hold so many secrets of ancient times; change comes very slowly, We quickly put up my tent, one with large screened openings on all four sides. Next to it, we put a 12 x 12 sun shade to protect ourselves from the heat of the day. There was very little natural shade here — one of the lessons learned from the year before. After storing most of our gear away, we brought out the coolers — one with our food, one full of ice. Then came the water; this year we brought a ten-gallon Gott cooler filled with crushed ice and then water, and a 30- gallon plastic barrel for washing and cooking. In this country, you would be wise to saturate yourself with water. In other words, before you go out in the morning, drink all you can, then take another drink. I also carry a bota bag with me, which is a lot quieter than a canteen.
With camp set and a quick meal under our belts, Mike and I set off on foot to do some poking around before the next day’s hunt. The year before, we had learned some of the movement patterns of the deer. In most instances they started to hit the water hole about 5- 5 :30 p.m. You could almost set your watch by it, in fact.
The deer are thirsty by then and, unlike other places I’ve hunted, when these deer decide to come for a drink, they literally run up to the water, stick their head in and suck up a belly full. The trick is to be on the water well before they come in; failing that, you should be on a good approach lane. I say “lane” because these deer won’t really use any set trails, but are liable to come in from any direction.
Finding a good vantage point in the shade of a small bush, we sat down and began to glass. The area we were watching was where three good draws came together about 600 yards above the water. Brush covered the northern faces of the draws, and grew thick and twice as tall as a man in the bottom. Trying to glass every square foot of cover, I began searching the terrain for bedded deer. The 7 x 35 Browning binoculars were well suited for this kind of glassing, offering enough magnification to see everything, yet not so much as to cause objects to bounce around at every little movement I’d make. I’d tried other compact glasses and also stronger, larger glasses, but for me, after a half hour or so my eyes began to protest the harsh and unusual punishment. I agree with Dwight Schuh, who said that good quality optics are probably more important than the most expensive bow.
Gridding the area off, I slowly began to search the draw back and forth, looking at everything in the optical picture, then moving just enough to pick up a new area next to the one I had just looked at. Twenty minutes later on the third pass over the same bush, I thought I saw an antler. Intensely focusing in on a shadow under the bush, I saw a large set of antlers slowly turn and then return to the original position, blending perfectly with the larger stems of the bush behind them.
I put down my glasses, gently eased the 2OX spotting scope into position and zeroed in on the brush. Either this deer had some very large antlers or a tiny head because the main beams were at least six to eight inches out past his ears on both sides and somewhere around 24 inches tall. As I looked him over, I became aware of a pounding noise and found it hard to sit still. My breaths began to come faster — and all I was doing was looking at him from 500 yards away!
After everything I’d taken with my bow, these really big bucks still get to me the most. To be honest, I hope it never changes. Mike and I watched the buck for a while and then began to spot other deer getting up and stretching, relieving themselves and starting to feed. Before long, it seemed the whole draw began to move.
At last, the big boy stood up. I was surprised, though not disappointed, to learn that he was a monster three-point with about six-inch eye guards. What was more surprising, however, was the four-point that appeared just behind him. This buck was almost a carbon copy, with one more tine but a few inches shorter in height. Both had unusually long tines and heavy mass. They stretched and turned down the draw toward the water. As if waiting for this signal, all the other deer began to head in the same direction, the last ones hurrying to catch the others.
Looking at Mike’s watch, I saw it was 5:20; these deer hadn’t yet been disturbed out of their routine. As they went out of our sight line, we picked up the spotting scope and carefully backed out so as not to disturb them now.
Hunting The Draws
Two anxious bowhunters walked out of camp an hour before sunrise the next day. Mike
took off toward a water hole and I went over the saddle above him to see if I could make a stalk on the other side of the hill. The birds soon began to noisily announce the brightening eastern sky. Down the saddle, I could hear sounds of movement. Something coughed and I strained to see what was there through my binoculars. Gradually, the dark spots below me began to take on depth and form as the light of dawn grew brighter and brighter. I could now make out several  browsing around on the opposite hills. Where was Mr. Big? Soon it was light enough to see everything, though the sun was still minutes from its grand appearance. Does and fawns, small two-by-threes and a couple of larger bucks, though not the big boys, wandered below me. Sneaking along just under the skyline like the Indians in a Louis Lamour novel, I backed over the ridge through a small stand of brush so I wouldn’t be spotted.
A morning breeze blew against the right side of my face as I eased along, carefully feeling for anything underfoot that would give me away. Suddenly, a loud snort and the heavy “thump thump” of what surely must hare been the world’s record buck caused my heart to do 14 quick laps around my chest cavity.
Peeking through the bush in front of me, I was startled to see a very ordinary doe staring my  way as if trying to determine what I was. Frozen in position, I watched, trying to avoid any eye-to-eye contact. Within a few minutes, she turned and walked stiff-legged over to the ridge line and out of sight. Moving to my left about 20 yards, I snuck up behind a small bush and slowly raised up until I could see through the top of it.
Fifty yards below stood five bucks and a doe. They were alertly looking at the spot where the doe had just come in. If I had merely followed her over the ridge line, they would have had me pegged. As it was, they were alert but not yet spooked. A couple of the bucks were tempting, in the 140- 150 point range, but this was the first day of the hunt and I knew there were much larger deer around. Not knowing what was over the hill, the deer finally decided to leave rather than take a chance.
A loud snort and pounding hooves signaled Mr.  Big. I sat watching them walk single file down the hill to where Mike should be sitting. As they reached the bottom of the draw, they stopped for a quick drink within 25 yards of where I figured Mike had set up. It was exciting to see the drama unfold, and as I glassed the deer,  I kept waiting to see an arrow nail one of them. Nothing. I wondered what he was waiting for. Soon, they filed away and up the other side into the thick stands of mountain Mahogany to bed for the day.
Where was Mike? Later I found out that at the last minute, Mike had decided to move up the draw 100 yards, where he had to sit and watch the bucks walk directly past the spot I thought he had been in. That’s deer hunting; almost always in the wrong place at the right time. Working my way down the ridge, I glassed a tremendous buck already bedded down under one of only five or six bushes in the whole bowl. He had chosen his spot well; there was nothing within 300 yards that was more than knee high — and not much of that, either.
I watched him for quite a while and then backed over the ridge and hunted my way over to Mike. When I finally found him, he was pretty disgusted about not being in position for a shot at the group of bucks, so I asked if he wanted to see a really good one. Ten minutes later we were glassing the bedded buck. We didn’t think he was one of the two we had seen the night before, but he was in the same class. Since I had found him, and because stalking is my favorite way to hunt, Mike encouraged me to go for him.
Courting Mr. Big
By now, the sun was up and its heat was steadily pulling the wind up the draw to the deer. Dropping back over the ridge, I hurried around and well above the deer’s bedded position and into the bowl above him. Being sure to keep the bush between us, I started down into the bowl. Every move had to be painstakingly slow because there was no room for error. A broken twig, the crunch of gravel or carelessly dragging a branch across a pant leg could end the stalk prematurely.
 I took two or three slow steps at a time, feeling for anything that might make noise, stopping and glassing for other deer who might mess things up. I moved again, so slow and easy that I was sure I melted into the surroundings. Constantly checking the wind with the little feather glued to the fine thread on the upper limb of my bow, I was aware of everything around me. I tried to imagine being a cougar stalking his prey and wished I had his sense of smell and padded feet.
Finally, 30 yards from the bush, I nocked an arrow and eased closer. The pounding heart rate started again, for I knew he was there, not 15 yards in front of me. Closing my eyes for only an instant, I told myself to stay in control and pick a spot. I took two more steps to the right and still couldn’t see him. Doubt began to creep into my mind; is he still there? I glassed the bush and then up the ridge to Mike, only to see him frantically giving me the “stay where you are” signal. I waited, worrying that the wind might change and give my position away. My bow got heavier as I held it out, ready to draw and shoot at the slightest movement. I decided to wave Mike down toward the deer, hoping it would stand up and look at Mike. He started noisily down into the bowl in plain sight. This is brilliant, I told myself. The buck will see 0r hear Mike, stand up and I ’ll have an easy shot. Wrong! The buck didn’t move at all as Mike moved closer and closer. Suddenly, the bush exploded as the buck hit his feet at a dead run, right around the bush and straight at me. I had drawn my bow at the first movement, but what the heck would I shoot at on a deer running straight at me with his head down and closing fast? Our eyes met and I saw recognition_ in his eye as he veered off to my left. Swinging with him, I released as he ran by at the speed of light. . .squared.
As I watched him run over the saddle at the top of the bowl, I knew he wasn’t to be mine. Mike walked toward me. We just couldn’t believe the buck had let him get that close before leaving cover. Why hadn’t it stood up as he came down the hillside? The only thing we could think of was that the buck had been asleep and hadn’t known Mike was there until he was in the critical zone, and that’s why he took out at a dead run. What a let down!
That afternoon found me over the ridge and down the other side looking for the buck. As I tracked along, I kept scanning the small growth of cedar and mahogany that stood halfway down the hillside. It was much hotter and even the light, long-sleeved camo t-shirt felt like too much, but the memory of that big buck fueled my enthusiasm. Looking through an opening in the trees, I spotted a doe feeding and another lying down above her. As she turned away, I moved forward a couple of steps and then froze as I saw the buck with
them. He was between the doe and me — about 60 yards out — sitting on his butt like a big dog. I’d never seen a deer do that before and since he was looking the other way. I eased forward, hoping he would stay there I hadn’t taken two steps before he stood up and started feeding away from me. Since the wind was calm, I dropped back and below  planning to use the trees as cover.
If all went well, I would get within 40 yards. No sooner had I reached the trees than a doe and fawn went busting out the other side spooking the whole bunch over the little saddle and into the next draw. I ran uphill 100 yards or so and peeked over the ridge. Nine deer were crossing the next ridge and walking up the far draw. As I watched with the binoculars, they walked for a bit, then stopped to look back to see if anything was following Satisfied they had gotten away, the buck stopped to feed near the top and soon the big guy and a couple of others lay down under the only cedar on the hillside.
Seeing my chance, I backed off the ridge and ran up the hill, circling around above the deer. Gulping in great gasps of air, I began to wonder if I wasn’t too old for this, but then smiled , for I knew it wasn’t true. . .yet. After catching my breath, I crept over  the saddle and then crawled up to some small clumps of sage, looking down to the cedar tree. I could just see the tips of antlers, so I sat back and waited. Soon, I thought, they’d be up and would probably feed right through the saddle just below me. Some 30 to 45 minutes ater Mr. Big stood up and started feeding my say.
Here we go again, I thought. Just as he was coming into range, I heard a motor and turned to see a pickup come down the ridge behind me. This can ’t be happening, l thought. The driver stopped as he came even with me and saw the deer standing below him, looking up. He started to open his door, saw me and, to his credit, waved a “sorry” and went on down the ridge.
Turning back to the deer, I looked at the place the buck should have been. He wasn’t there. Hoping he hadn’t left the country, I crawled down to the next clump of sage and peeked over the top. There he was, feeding about 60 yards below me. I drew back, eased up, put the 60-yard pin right behind his shoulder and released. The arrow zipped over his back. Nocking another arrow, I drew back, eased up again and saw him looking downhill to where the first arrow had hit. He never knew what happened as the 2216 passed clean through him and off down the hill. The buck bolted down the hill, only to lay down within 100 yards.
A short time later he got up and moved around the hill out of sight. As I tracked him, my respect for this deer grew more and more. He’d used every trick in the book to lose me and even had me stuck for a while until I found where he had back-tracked and lay dead in the sage. This old boy was tough right to the end. While I took his picture and admired my trophy,. I thought back to the old man I had met on the worn jeep trail. His advice had been right — Thank the Lord for old folks.
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Published by archerchick on 11 Apr 2012

Northeastern Bowhunting ~ By Charles J Alshelmer

Northeastern Bowhunting -By Charles J Alshelmer
Archery World’s Bowhunting Guide ’88 – February 28, 1989
The slate-gray eastern sky was turning  to a pale amber as I headed across the frost covered hay field. Like many times before, the final two hundred yards to my treestand were relatively uneventful. What followed was anything but uneventful. From fifteen feet high in my favorite stand I could see the November forest come to life as it started to get light. First the chickadees began to buzz from branch to branch. Intermingled with this came the rustle of leaves to my left. Almost out of nowhere, a yearling six-point slowly made his way to the scrape thirty yards from me. After pausing for a few brief moments he started to work the over- hanging branch. For the next two minutes, the buck treated me to a sight I’ve never been able to get enough of — that of the scraping ritual. Once done working the branch, the buck urinated in the scrape, then finally walked off as silently as he had come. Though I was tempted, I never picked my bow off its rest next to me. Throughout the autumn months, thorough scouting had revealed the area contained a real trophy buck, one I had seen on several occasions. I was determined to hold out for him, regardless of the temptation lesser bucks might offer. Little did I know while watching that first buck that temptation would strike fast and furious. Almost as if on cue, a succession of five more yearling bucks visited the scrape before 9 a.m. Though the rut was in full swing, I knew this parade wouldn’t go on much longer as the sun started to warm the air.
The woods had been silent for nearly twenty minutes when I heard a twig snap to my right. Another deer was approaching. At first only muted patches of fur were visible, then the glint of an antler caught my eye. From fifty yards, I could see it was the buck I’d been scouting all fall. Ever-so-gently, I lifted my bow from its hanger and got ready. However, unlike the yearling bucks, the big nine-pointer started to swing downwind. It was obvious that he was going to scent-check the scrape rather than walk into it in broad daylight. I thought to myself, the jig is up, as he walked behind me. In an instant, the slight breeze carried my scent into his path and he exploded out through the woods and out of sight. At ten, I climbed out of the treestand and headed for home. Even though I had nothing tangible to show for the morning, I had a quiver full of memories from the four-plus hours I’d spent high in a tree. Whoever would have thought that seven bucks would visit the same primary scrape in one morning? Undoubtedly, avid hunters would envision this taking place in the more exotic places whitetails are found — places like Montana, Alberta or America’s heartland. Actually, it took place in the heart of New York’s Finger Lake region.
Northeastern Bounty
Though the Northeastern portion of the United States isn’t considered in the same breath as those places mentioned above, its popularity as a bowhunting mecca has been known for a long time to those living there. Within this group of states is found more whitetails than nearly any place else on earth. Scientifically, the whitetails found there are the northern woodland subspecies, the biggest of all whitetails. This area also has the distinction of being one of the most populated areas in America. As a result, confusion abounds when it comes to trying to figure out how to bowhunt Northeastern whitetails. In the block of states from Pennsylvania to Maine can be found a variety of terrain and habitats in which to hunt. Here a hunter can find farm country, remote regions and urban whitetail hunting within a reasonable drive of his home.
Non-resident hunters, on the other hand, can easily find accommodations close to the prime hunting grounds.
The Northeast offers every conceivable type of hunting and hunting  at its best.
Determining where t0 hunt, how to hunt and when to hunt is more difficult than getting there if y0u’re a non-resident bowhunter. One needs t0 determine such things as whether he wants to hunt during the rut and in what types 0f terrain he prefers t0 hunt.
The popularity of bowhunting has been phenomenal in this region during the past few years due to a host of factors. For the most part, deer numbers are stable or increasing in nearly every area from Pennsylvania to Maine. Also, due to extreme hnting pressure during gun seasons, more and more deer hnters are taking up bowhnting in order to hnt whitetails before the pressure-packed gun season begins.
Nearly all the states offer exellent bowhunting opportunites during the whitetail’s rut, which. in the Northeast, peaks around November 15 each year. One notable exception is Pennsylvania; the bow season runs through the month of October and usually closes just prior to the rut’s peak. On the other hand, New York, perhaps the best Northeastern bowhunting state, runs its early bow season from October 15 to mid-November. For bowhunters interested in pursuing farm country whitetails, the entire region, with the exception of the northern reaches of New York. Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, is excellent. For the most part, bow- hunting the farm country woodlots is the most productive way to hunt in the Northeast. When hunting the pre-rut (or prior to November 1), it’s been my experience that hunting a whitetail’s food source is the most productive. Pennsylvania is known for its oak trees and many bowhunters thrive where the oak mast is heaviest. New York not only has an abundance of oak and beech mast, but also is a big milk-producing state. As a result, alfalfa and corn are found in abundance. Though farming is found in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, it isn’t as big as in Pennsylvania and New York. So, these latter states offer more urban and remote bowhunting opportunities. Whenever bowhunting in farm country, it is important to know the lay of the land as well as where various crops, orchards and mast stands are found. Though this sounds a bit basic, it can be the most important ingredient in being successful. Due to crop rotation and inconsistent mast and orchard production, the whitetails’ movement patterns change from year to year. Knowing this is vital in preparation for the hunt.
Whitetails are also creatures of habit;  their food source is fairly consistent from year to year, their movement throughout their territory is predictable. They’ll invariably bed the thickest cover nearest to their food source.
This may mean that they’ll bed in a corn field and seldom come out. However, they will usually travel to and from their bedding and food source along a given route. My experience has found hedge rows, diversion ditches, small connecting patches of woods, natural benches on hillsides and any other natural funnel or passageway to be preferred by whitetails as they move throughout their territory. Only proper scouting will reveal where the most heavily used funnels are. Once the natural passageway between the bedding and feeding area is located, it is important to make the proper blind setup. I do not hunt over a trail that often. However, when I do, I try not to set up on a curve in the trail or place the treestand too close to the trail. Doing either makes it too easy for a buck to spot you. Also, I put up two treestands in the area I want to hunt, one up wind and one down wind. By doing this, I am able to hunt the area even if the wind shifts from day to day.
Trophy Hot Spots
One of the beauties of bowhunting most Northeastern states is being able to hunt relatively undisturbed whitetails during the rut. Without question, the bucks are most active during the ten-day period just prior to the rut’s peak in mid-November. Rubbing and scraping activity are a fever pitch and it is at this time I hunt my favorite way – over scrapes. I scout for the scrapes in areas between the bedding and feeding areas, trying to locate a good primary scrape as close to the bedding area as possible. How do I determine a bedding area? Experience has shown me that the best way is to scout an area during mid-day; when I consistantly jump deer, it’s a good indication of a whitetail’s bedroom.
When hunting over scrapes, I usually erect my two portable stands 40-60 yards from the primary scrape. I also try rattling in bucks from my stand. The most successful rattling comes when there is no more than three or four does for every antlered buck.
Unfortunately, in some area of the Northeast the doe to buck ratio can run as high as nine to one. Ratios like this result in poor rattling success because there is little competition among the bucks. Another problem frequently encountered in this region is posting. Though this can be discouraging, it is a problem that can be over-come with a little tact on the hunter’s part. As a landowner, I’ve seen all kinds of techniques used to receive hunting permission. If p0ssible, the best approach is to contact the land-owner in the off-season rather than on the eve or middle of the season. The landowner will usually be more receptive then. Also, for the most part, those who post are often more willing to allow bowhunters than gun hunters. So, the proper approach will gain you permission most of the time. Though the Northeast is generally recognized for its high deer and people populations, few tend to view parts of this region as trophy whitetail producers. Any northeastern state can produce 140-plus Pope & Young whitetails, but three states, Maine, New York and Pennsylvania, are the best. For decades, Maine has been known as a hot spot for trophy whitetails. However, most of the whitetails harvested there have been taken with rifles.
But this is changing. During the last ten years. archers have been taking more and more whitetails in the trophy category. For anyone thinking about bowhunting Maine, the
bigger-racked bucks are found on land where the elevation is under 1,000 feet above sea level.
Maine has harsh winters and the lower elevation (counties along the Atlantic Ocean) produce bigger bucks on average. Maine has a very active big buck club and thorough information about the state’s trophy-producing potential can be obtained by writing The
Maine Antler and Skull Trophy Club, c/o Richard Arsenault, R.R. 5, Box 190 Gorham, ME 04038.
For years, New York has been known for its trophy class bucks. Though 140-plus Pope and Young heads can and are taken throughout the state, some areas remain the best. Interstate 81 cuts the state nearly in half, east and west. The counties lying west of this line are true trophy whitetail producers, with Monroe, Niagra, Livingston, Sneca, Steuben, Genesee, and Orleans being the better ones if a Pope and Young buck is desired.
New York has one of the most active and copied big buck clubs in the United States. Formed by dairy farmer Bob Estes of Caledonia in 1971, the club has over 1,000 Boone and
Crockett registered in its most recent record book. To date, there are over 200 archery bucks that exceed the minimum Pope & Young score of 125 typical. The biggest Northeastern archery buck was taken by New Yorker Jeff Morris in 1984. Arrowed in Niagara County, Morris’ typical 11-pointer scores 175 Pope & Young. Each year, New York’s Big Buck Club has a banquet at which are displayed bucks harvested from the previous year. Further information can be obtained by sending a postage-paid envelope to New York State Big Buck Club, 90 Maxwell Rd., Caledonia, NY 14423.

When it comes to trophy whitetails, Pennsylvania is not far behind New York as a place in which to bow-kill a big buck. The chain of counties south of Interstate 80 have consistently produced big-racked whitetails. It is in this area that much of Pennsylvania’s fertile farm land lies. No doubt this state would produce more trophy archery deer if bowhunters there were allowed to hunt during the peak of the rut. But even with this limitation, bow-hunters do very well in the Keystone State. Perhaps the northeastern portion of the United States will never gain the notoriety of the exotic whitetail locations being popularized today. But for the serious bowhunter not wanting to travel great distances, this area offers every conceivable type of hunting — and hunting at its best. If one wants remote hunting, the region has plenty of it.
If farmland bowhunting better suits the archer, one would be hard pressed to find anything better. The possibility of arrowing a trophy woodland whitetail is enough to tempt any bowhunter, regardless of where he lives.

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Published by KurtD on 25 Mar 2012

2X2X2X2 By Ted Nugent

There are some hunting destinations around the world that any, if not all hunters would do just about anything to experience at least once in their life. Africa, Alaska, across the wilds of Canada and pretty much every top hunting destination in North America have provided me many dream hunts so far. I’ve been so lucky it is inexplicable, but I shall continue to pursue, wrangle, manipulate, beg, borrow and almost steal to continue my good blessings.

I moved to Texas nine years ago for a series of coincidental reasons, but at the top of the list is the incredible quality hunting all across the mighty Lone Star State.

From the deer and exotic infested Hill Country to the world’s best kept muledeer secret of West Texas, to those maximum quality managed deer heavens around Albany, to the pig and Auodad dreams, waterfowling, varmints and beyond, there is no doubt that my favorite hunting is celebrated in South Texas where the deer are big and ubiquitous, the land is beautiful and endless, and the people are the best on earth.

I return to the famed Kenedy Ranch each winter to plunge headfirst into the dynamic tradition of deer hunting there, and can honestly say it is like no place on earth. The terrain is diverse, the land loaded with populations of wildlife that seem to defy the truism of carrying capacity. The huge, delicious, ultra wary Indian Nilgai antelope provides some of the most challenging hunting found anywhere. Javelina, feral hogs, Rio Grande turkeys and whitetails are everywhere.

And because the land is private and vast, these dense populations of game animals are minimally pressured and are more relaxed than any game I have ever encountered, except for Mexican critters. But only a fool would subject themselves to the evil dangers and corruption of the world’s most vile  government, and actually help finance the slaughter of innocents in Mexico. No thanks.

So BloodBrother and bowhunting/VidCamDude Bobby Bohannon and I returned to the fabled Kenedy with our BloodBrother Greg Curran and gang for another fantasy hunt.

Bobby and I prepared for venison liftoff. Unfortunately, bowhunting 101 was violated and we were directed to a brand new elevated box blind with too many windows that the deer had not become comfortable with, and all the bucks avoided it like the plague. Our first morning we were able to stealth into a big fat cactus donkey and I arrowed a pretty old she deer for Spirit of the Wild TV.

Having been boogered by some damn fine bucks that morning, we hurried to relocate our double ladderstand setup in the perfect cover for an afternoon ambush. They would never know what hit them.

We weren’t in our new killer stand very long when a sounder of eight hogs grunted their way into our grove. When a huge black sow got broadside, I managed to miss the quartering shot at thirty yards. But for what I may lack in accuracy, I more than make up for in tactics, and within two seconds, I zipped a perfect arrow into a fat brown boar.

Bobby is the best tracker I know, and he found where the coyotes dragged off my pig and he recovered what was left of the hams and straps at dark.

Two sets, two kills. This is fun.

At dawn the next morning, we were somewhat surprised to see a sounder of good looking hogs moving our way and got ready for pork. One giant, very tusky red boar was the only pig in the group that kept out of range, but after a long wait, he finally made the mistake of looking the other way, broadside, and I sent the prettiest arrow you ever did see smack dab into that pumpy crease.

With an instantaneous vicious snort, loud grunt and hyper squeal, the old warrior exploded through the scrub and tumbled porkchops over ham steaks in a swirling cloud of grey dust a short fifty yards yonder.

Big goofy grins on TV are a beautiful thing, and I couldn’t help myself as I ran to the fallen beast for TV recovery!

We hustled back into our tree, and like only South Texas can, it wasn’t long before deer could be seen skulking our way through the mesquite and live oak. Several does cautiously milled about snapping up kernels of corn, but were strangely fidgety for the area. As they moved off, three bucks appeared and took no time in stepping into the shooting zone. One real handsome eight point posed for a bowhunter education poster, and I obliged by giving it to him.

He tipped over right there with a severed central nerve, and I finished him instantly with another arrow.

More glowing celebration took place with Bobby and I feeling pretty pleased with ourselves. Ace bowhunter and guide Kris Helms fetched us a short time later, and we took care of the animals, had a good lunch and commenced to enjoy a live pigeon shoot into the afternoon.

Things didn’t go as planned on the afternoon set, with my most important arrow  of the season skimming low on a monster mature 150 class 10 pointer that brought painful consternation to our otherwise joyous hunt.

On our last morning with only an hour before departure from camp, we hit a distant thick area, corned the road, and settled in for a last ditch effort to try my brand new Ted Nugent Hunting Ammo.

Does filtered out of the forests, and then one heck of a dandy 10 point buck emerged from a few hundred yards. Bobby settled the vidcam and I anchored my GA Precision .270 on a solid rest as the bruiser followed the does closer and closer by the minute. At just under 200 yards, the big buck stood facing us and I told Bobby I was going to take him.

The 140 grain Nuge bullet slammed him dead center so hard, it throttled him straight up and back, flipping him up, over and upside down with only one or two kicks before he was still.

As we prepared to celebrate, a big doe darted out from the edge just beyond the buck, and Booby captured it on tape as my 2nd round found her heart, making a quick, perfect strapper double.

My new signature ammo proved itself, and we had pulled off a triple double. Two doe, two bucks and two hogs at the mighty Kenedy Ranch 2012. All is good in Tedland.

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Published by KurtD on 15 Feb 2012

THINK DEER – by Ted Nugent

THINK DEER                                                                                           by Ted Nugent

You can’t really close your eyes and read this, so instead, concentrate as you read and pump images of deer into your brain. Envision all those stunning beasts you have been so blessed to encounter over so many hunting seasons, and burn that beautiful picture deep into your cranium. Imprint it on your psyche, make it an actual element of your being. Now, doesn’t that feel good.

I am typing this little ditty in my Ranch King deer blind on a cold December afternoon, and I have eight whitetails in front of me right now, all within twenty yards. I sit spellbound.

An old matriarch doe is crazy alert, two doe fawns and a very handsome button buck with huge pronounced nubbins could care less as they nibble away. There is a yearling doe, a yearling three point buck, and a fat stud of a three year old eight point beast. They own me.

My heart is racing rather predictably, and I only keep typing because I am trying to convince myself to not shoot the handsome eight pointer.

Steady Uncle Ted. Steady as she goes.

For all the right reasons, I should kill that old doe as part of my Texas Parks and Wildlife Managed Land Deer Permit plan. We figure eight more does gotta go off our ground, and she’s an old gal that would be perfect to take out to better the herd. We shall see.

I really love hunting, ambushing and killing deer, love watching and videoing them, love being a natural part of their world, love grilling and eating them, really love sharing their sacred flesh with the regional Hunters for the Hungry program and the families of the US Military, but what turns me on the most is the intelligent, stewardship system by which we manage deer and all wild game for healthy, thriving populations and properly balanced conditions. By doing so, I can forever enjoy and celebrate all those other ways that I love deer.

I just looked up again from my laptop, and now there are ten deer. Another shooter doe and a scrawny spike horn buck arrived, and they are all bulking up on feed in the cold weather. They constantly look around and flinch at every bird, every breeze, and for many unknown reasons. What an amazing creature. I would propose that for millions and millions of us, our lives would be dramatically less enjoyable without deer. I know it has always been a powerful force of joy, inspiration and awe for me and my family.

The two big does just stood up on hind legs and went into that flurry of cartwheeling punches with their front hooves. That is some violent behavior right there, and any one of those cloven hooved blows could kill you outright. I am sure that while we are all conveniently tucked away in our cushy homes throughout the year, whitetail deer are knocking the living bejesus out of each other, including killing each other at a much higher rate that anyone really understands.

The button buck is way out of his league haranguing the old girl, as the rut is up and down for the last couple of months. I am real tempted to kill the puny spike and forkhorn, but at only one and a half years of age, their first set of antlers in no way provides a meaningful indicator of their genetic potential. Have you ever noticed that once we decide to not shoot a particular animal, that they pose perfectly broadside with their leg forward for the longest periods of time?

I just gulped a deep breath of freezing air, for a dynamo buckaroo just arrived on scene to take any deer hunter’s breath away. This majestic stag has ten perfectly defined points on his tall, wide, sweeping rack, and represents the kind of monster buck I would never have dreamed of coming in contact with growing up in the Midwest deer woods.

This incredible beast has no idea that a blood thirsty venison addict is only fifteen yards away in this dark blind, with a bow and arrow and razor sharp broadhead and the tags to go with them.

He noses the does and the other bucks give him lots of room, and with all the commotion, you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to get to full draw on such a great deer. But I just gaze, video it all and type away, for though this buck’s antlers are very impressive and highly desirable, I can tell by his trim neck, brisket and body that he is only two and a half years old, the very definition of a quality deer management specimen to let walk.

I am so proud of myself. I am learning, and his presence literally increases my excitement just knowing such quality bucks are around. It wasn’t that many years ago that I would have killed him in an instant, but like so many other hunters these days, I know I can get all the venison I need by killing the right deer and letting the right deer grow to their potential.

Shooting light is gone now, all the deer have moved off, so I put away my vidcam, attach my quiver back on my bow and get ready to shut down my laptop, absolutely thrilled beyond words that I am a deer hunter. I head home with my soul filled with allthings deer.

Tomorrow in another day, and tomorrow is another deer. I will now fill my belly with some scrumptious backstraps and keep the spirit of the deer alive in everything I do.

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Published by KurtD on 15 Feb 2012

TEXAS TEN – by Ted Nugent

TEXAS TEN                                                                                 by Ted Nugent

 

I never really stop hunting. It is indeed a cherished, time honored lifestyle for me. A wonderful, totally alive, day by day celebratory outdoor lifestyle of great, deeply appreciated, heartfelt gratification. Self-sufficiency. Rugged individualism. Hands-on conservation. Private land ownership. Property rights. Privacy rights. Experimenting in “self-government”. We the people resource ownership and stewardship. The right to keep and bear arms. Live free of die. Don’t tread on me. Surely the ultimate American Dream the way I see it. Independent. Free. Self evident truth, God given right’s. Pursuit of happiness guaranteed. Perfect. You can’t do this in France.

 

The supremely enjoyable daily routines of checking my trapline, killing varmints, choosing and planting foodplots, running irrigation, positioning new deerstands, constructing groundblinds, upgrading old ones, checking fences and gates, filling waterholes and feeders, trimming shooting lanes, practicing with rifles, handguns, shotguns and bows, arranging and upgrading targets and ranges, training dogs and introducing new people to the joys of shooting, watching and studying wildlife and constantly strategizing ambush zones for my hunting clients, and more, are all chores and enjoyable outdoor activities that I really look forward to each day. Rocking my brains out nearly 100 concerts per year pretty much keeps me busy throughout the summer any way you cut it, so these wonderful activities which I live for in between rockouts do indeed keep me bright eyed and bushy tailed in a constant, energized way. When the actual official hunting season shows up in the fall of the year, my state of mind doesn’t need too much adjusting back to my natural predator mode and spirit. In fact, with the amazing year round hunting opportunities for exotic wildlife in my new adopted homestate of Texas, there are not any “No Hunting” days in my life. How cool is that? Godbless Texas, Godbless America and Godbless the beasts all!

 

Back in my ancestral homegrounds of Michigan, the seasonal changes are palpable. The air tastes different. Dramatic change is tangible. The planets do indeed realign and there is a mystically altered pulse in the wind. Ya gotta love that. Meanwhile, in the great Republic of Texas, one must routinely check the calendar so see if summer will ever end. Texas is hot. Usually hotter. For an old dyed-in-the-wool Michiganiac, it is a bit of a psychological adjustment to deal with all this blazing sunshine and brutal heat. But as a guitarplayer-cum-U.S. Marine, I can improvise, adapt and overcome with the best of them. And I do. There is no Plan B. It is time.

 

So it was, as the blistering fireball in the LoneStar sky grilled my inner being, nonetheless, the calendar read October and my spirit insisted on liftoff. All that dedicated boot time on my hunting grounds had kept me abreast of whitetail activity, and this day I chose a tall ladderstand nestled deep, and hidden within the green embrace of a tall pine tree overlooking a winding, rocky creek course amongst the thorny screen of greenbriar, assorted impenetrable tangles and relentless juniper. A line of huge, towering pecan and live oak trees made up the forest before and behind me, and with the gentle southwest breeze, my confidence ran high. It is always a roll of the hunter’s dice, but we had a full on backstrap mojo going on this day. I could feel it. You never know, but we always hope.

 

After a long wait, the eye-candy parade of beautiful, sleek, healthy does and fawns ghosted from the shadows as the sun dipped lower. Some of the whitetails were red, some brown, others slate grey. A few of the fawns still showed remnant spots, confirming that the breeding does indeed continue well into winter. Momentarily, a small forked horn, a spike and a fat, muscular, slick six joined the group. My elevated ambush hideout gave me a perfect viewing position to watch the group of 20 plus deer carryon undisturbed, and again provided me the greatest joy that is being a hunter. To be on the inside of their natural world has a powerful healing and calming effect on me, and I studied each animal in detail through my Yukon binoculars. Mutual grooming, prancing, kicking, nipping, licking, head butting, sparring, browsing and constantly examining their surroundings with an uncanny alertness entertained me completely. I love every minute of such encounters and it represents a prime allure to the great outdoors lifestyle. The critters never let you down and there is never a dull moment.

 

Early season bucks tend to hang out in bachelor groups, and the slight glint of bone through the scrub materialized into antlers as five stud boys emerged from the tangle down below. The first two were handsome 2-3 year old eight pointers, followed by a 3-4 year old 9, then another young eight. It was the arrival of massive, tall, wide, light colored antlers that got me. With a dandy set of impressive antlers towering over his distinctive, Roman nosed face, one hog of a mature buck strode up the creek embankment and waddled into view. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that Texas whitetails are small, for this old granddaddy of a buck was every bit as fat, muscular and heavy as a Kansas or Michigan brute up North. I could tell by the deep chest and brisket, and the fat belly that I had before me a 7+ year old trophy. Now the slight trembling began.

 

Slowly lifting my binocular, I examined this fine buck carefully and realized that I knew this old boy. I had encountered him in this same grove late last season. His distinctive white legs and exaggerated white facial markings clearly identified him as my old buddy. My bow was already at half mast, Scott release locked onto my bowstring, and my mind made up.

 

The does and fawns and younger bucks backed away as the old boy strode toward the small piles of Wildlife Innovations Buck bran I had put out as an attractant, and now my inner predator ballet was going into the gutpile pirouette hyper two step. I dance divinely.

 

A slight screen of leaves on a young cedar elm separated my arrow from his vitals, so I had no clear shot. It doesn’t take much interference to deflect a speeding arrow, so I held tight. As goes bowhunting, the big boy kept his forward shoulder toward my position for a long while, and life around me ceased to exist. It was just his ribcage and my broadhead that existed, nothing else.

 

With a graceful swing of his long neck and head, he took a step to his right, bringing his bulky chest clear of any obstruction, and the mushy 55# CP Oneida bow flexed back smoothly on its own. I zeroed in dead on the crease behind his left foreleg, and the next thing I knew, big white feathers were dangling out of his armpit as he and all the other deer exploded at once. Angling forward as he had turned, the zebra colored GoldTip shaft had surely sliced through his ribs and into the life pumping heart of the old beast, his sagging hindquarters telling of his imminent demise. Big Jim swung the SpiritWild vidcam from the now departed buck’s vaportrail, onto my now smiling, giddy face for the whole word to share, and I was one happy American bowhunter to say the least.

 

We captured on tape all the glory and joy of this wonderful, perfect hunting connection, then filmed the short, quick bloodtrail and recovery to the heartshot monster. Everytime we collect these wildlife gifts, a Nuge party erupts in the forests and wildgrounds of the world, knowing and celebrating the thrills of being so intimately functional as a beneficial, positive participant in this natural tooth, fang and claw world. Every exacting nuance and detail of the pre-event, anticipation, encounter, shot preparation and intense action is relived and articulated as clearly as possible, so that the viewer of our Spirit of the Wild TV shows and videos better understands the depth of spirit, form and function of the real world that we are living and documenting. Life and death is it. It is perfect. Shame on those who pretend otherwise. Rejoice to be a player.

 

For the Best of Spirit of The Wild DVDs or Ted Nugent Hunt Music CDs, contact tednugent.com or call 800-343-4868. Dealer inquiries welcome.

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Published by huntermt on 30 Jan 2012

reality hunting

I have been waiting for a reality based hunting show to come out on on of the networks for a long time, I want something I can be involved in and go online and vote for hunts I liked and recommend thing I want to see. I recently stumbled upon Outlanders on the Outdoor channel and although the hunt I watched didn’t appeal to me, the idea behind the newish series is what I wanted. They take everyday hunters and build an eposide around their choice hunt. In the hunters everyday honey hole. Next season you can enter in a drawing to have this be you, they opened up like 10 spots. I love this! I cant wait to see me and my buddies on tv.

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Published by ScentBlockMLB93 on 19 Jan 2012

My First Deer EVER! With my BEAR CHARGE!!!!

December 3, 2011

The night before I had a very difficult time falling asleep due to wondering if there was going to be a huge amount of hunters around me using muzzleloaders when I only had my bow (Bear Charge.) Well when the alarm went off early in the morning I woke up with a strange feeling of energy with only getting about 3 hours of sleep. I then had to drive about 30 minutes to this small gas station/check in station to meet my brother so we could go through the gate. He is a memeber of Izaac Walton’s. A small club with a pond, woods and has many other activities. Well after sitting there for about 30 minutes I called him and it turns out that his truck won’t start. I didn’t want to go back home after driving that far and I knew this would be a good morning because we had just got about 4 inches of snow two days earlier. Well this private ground borders state ground so I parked on a bridge right next to some powerlines. I had to walk about a mile up and down some ridges until I reached one of our stands we placed back in the summer. I finally got set up in the stand about 5 minutes before daylight. This stand was placed midway up a ridge overlooking a bending creek. Well when it became daylight a few minutes later I didn’t see anything. I heard 3-4 gunshots a little ways off across the salamonie and then there was 4 does running across a ridge to my left about 50 yards away. All of them stopped about 5 yards away from one of my stands on that ridge that I hunted in gun season. I was getting mad as they started to just stay within 20 yards of my stand on that ridge. I kept thinking to myself “why didn’t I sit there this morning”! Then when they all stepped into the clearing I noticed that they were all shooters. Then the biggest doe started to make her way down the ridge quartering towards me and stopped at about 40 yards. Soon as I stand up and go to draw back a squirrel broke the limb it was sitting on and spooked the deer. Well they took off behind me and stopped around 110 yards away. So I sat back down and I got a text from my brother and was asking me if I had seen anything. Soon as I told him about the 4 does and put my phone back in my jacket I notice something in the corner of my eye and it was a big doe about 8 yards away. I grabbed my bow but couldn’t draw back because her head was turned sideways towards me and I kept thinking “turn your head, turn your head!” Well soon as she turned her head I drew back and put my pin right on the pump station and slowly went to release then she started to walk away and couldn’t get a shot. At this point I was ready to throw in the towel and give up on deer hunting in general because that was a for sure gimmee. Then I got out my grunt call and grunted a few times and about 5 minutes later there was 9 does coming down the ridge right in front of me. I started thinking I might be able to get my first deer after all. It was one big mature doe with 8 yearlings/ small does. Well they were just grazing and slowly moving around on this ridge then out of nowhere the mature doe started running down the hill towards me. She stopped at 38 yards standing towards me then she turned broadside and started walking along the creek. I drew back and waited on her to stop and I couldn’t figure out how far she was then when she stopped behind a tree I studied the distance from the stand to her and I figured around 40 yards. She stepped out from the tree and I put my 40 pin right on the lungs, exhaled and released. I heard the arrow smack something but thought I missed, when she took off running and then I noticed the blood pouring out of her. I felt the biggest adrenaline rush of life and just thanked god for letting me harvest this doe, more importantly my first deer and it was with my bow. I sat down and called my brother and he rushed out to the stand looking like he was going to war, he had his muzzleloader, glock, and his gut knife on his belt. I climbed down and we started to walk over towards where she was at when I shot. I looked and looked for my arrow and was having a hard time finding it. Then I saw part of the viens in the leaves and when I pulled it out it was soaked in blood. My brother asked me where I hit her and I told him a little bit back farther than the heart and a little high. He sniffed the arrow and he said that he didn’t smell guts. We started to track the blood trail and it was quite a easy one thanks to the NAP HellRazor. We came up on her in the creek and she was deader than a doorknob. He looked at me and said you just shot a swamp donkey of a doe. She only ran 40 yards from where I shot her. After gutting her I just sat there thinking this is what I have been waiting for all this time and it was the best feeling that I have ever felt. That is when I knew I had bow hunting whitetails in my blood for the rest of my life.

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Published by admin on 12 Dec 2011

CHECK CHECK DOUBLE CHECK CHECK AGAIN

CHECK CHECK DOUBLE CHECK CHECK AGAIN

by Ted Nugent

Alright, I better write this while I’m still seething. I am so angry my blood boils, my eyes are bloodshot, I twitch, turning beet red, lips pursed so tight it hurts, fuming, seeing red, snarling, forehead furrowed deeply with a full body scowl to scare the devil himself. Did I mention that I am really, really angry?
The first word in this piece is alright. Well, nothing is all right, I assure you. Anything but.
Being that I fancy myself Mr. Cocked Locked and absolutely ready to ROCK, Captain Detail, Mr. Smarty Pants Know it all master of allthings shoot, hunt, ambush sniper world, it is with great pain, humility and consternation that I am compelled to share with you how Mr. Murphy can sneak into our psyche no matter how dialed in, prepared or attentive we may otherwise dedicate ourselves to be.
Personally, at this point in time, I suck.
Okay, in the real world of meaningful priorities like God, family, health, country and freedom, my painful evening on deerstand last night doesn’t really qualify as all that upsetting. We miss. Get over it. Yet here I am, head hung and forlorn like little Teddy just lost his favorite puppy dog.
Here’s how it unraveled; Throttling onward nonstop with much gusto for my truly inspiring 2011-2012 hunting season, I had a wonderful meeting with my SpiritWild Ranch hunters as the rain poured down on our little chunk of Texas hunting heaven. Everyone was excited to be at our special camp with the barometer and temperature plunging, making for some optimal critter encounter conditions.
Master guide Paul Wilson organized the guys to head out for their killer blinds, and I decided to return to my Ranch King portable tucked into a nice jungle of cedars and tangled blowdowns on the edge of the big hay field.
With rain pelting my snug little coop, I smacked away on my laptop writing more invigorating celebrations of our beloved hunting lifestyle, not really expecting shooter beasts to arrive in the pouring rain.
Next thing I know, a highly desirable, elusive “Alberta” whitetail 10 point is smack dab in front of me eating corn at the Hang Em High feeder before it even went off. YIKES!
I’ve never had a shot at this particular buck that looks like he belongs in the forests of Alberta, Canada, and I was about to implode with excitement at the opportunity before me.
I carefully turned on the SpiritWild vidcam, silently set down my laptop, reached for my bow, then zoomed in on the trophy beast.
He was joined by his girlfriend, then out of nowhere, a spotted axis doe poked her head out of the scrub into my little clearing.
Axis! Axis deer are so incredibly elusive on SpiritWild Ranch that we are lucky to get a quick glimpse at them but few times each year. I knew that if a doe was here, the herd must be close behind.
One by one, the majestic Chital deer emerged, including monster stag after monster stag, right there in front of me, within 20 yards. I captured all their antics as they jockeyed for position until the biggest baddest buck went broadside.
Like a million times before, I picked a spot, gracefully drew back my arrow, and let er rip for a gimme trophy of a lifetime.
And ladies and gentlemen, the winner of the embarrassing NumbNut of The Year Award goes to, (drumroll) Teeeeeddddd Nuuuuuugent!!
My orange Lumenok told no lie as it zinged six inches under the huge stags brisket. At about 18 yards ya all!
I’m here to tell you I was supremely aghast. With my Robin Hood sniper arrow routine going so beautifully all season, how can this possibly be?
As the sickness in my stomach began to subside, I nocked an arrow in the garage, took aim at the Big Green target at 15 yards and sent two arrows touching each other, SIX INCHES LOW!
I cradle and protect my bow with tender loving care each and every day. How the sights could have gotten that far off from one day to the next will forever be a mystery. But since I have written and raved about it so many times over the years, I may want to obey my own rules of bowhunting and take a “feel” shot before each hunt, and I think I shall.
It’s not only an archery thing, but as we all know, each year somebody at many camps somewhere will experience the heartbreak of a bad shot for inexplicable reasons. Inexplicable that is until we admit that we all know things can go wrong, so we really oughtta plan on them and do everything in our power to keep them from happening.
Under most conditions, there will be an opportunity to take that pre-hunt test shot with both bow and or gun so we can be certain everything is tight, sighted in and in order before that long awaited moment of truth on the beast.
Mr. Murphy is a predator, an indiscriminate, soulless, uncaring predator, and as his prey, we best be aware that he is ubiquitous, so check, check and double check, then check again to keep the punk at bay.
I’m on my way to my stand now, and I just took a shot to be sure I am ready. ZI am ready, and vow to always be ready forevermore.

 

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