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Published by Frank Biggs on 01 Aug 2014

Bwana Bubba Thoughts! Baiting Ethical or Logical?

Baiting Big Game – Ethical or Logical

First Question of the Day!

Having a scent felt, doused in Doe in Heat hanging in a tree to bring a buck is it a form of Baiting?

We have been into the 21st Century for some time now and the issue of baiting hunt-able animals or game birds has become a major subject!  Must be the Anti-Hunters and Anti-Gun advocates finding a new avenue to target to draw a crowd for their cause! Well as usual I have a few words to say!  There is a great deal of writing and talk going on right now about the subject and I have my own thoughts about the subject. As we look at the circle of the food change including mankind, we find in one way or another we all bait for survival or our enjoyment. We have the livestock ranches around the world, the livestock eat on ranches and open ranges without much disturbance, then comes the day they first go to the feed lots, then to the butcher, then receive a head shot and end up on our tables to eat by humans and canines.

Bald Eagle 01 int

The Bald Eagles were everywhere, in trees waiting their turns. About 12 Bald Eagles, adults and juveniles were working the sheep!

Even the birds of prey figure out the how to eat the sheep that seem to come up dead in a field, in the State of Oregon in the valley near the towns of Lebanon and on the way to Marcola, I have seen as many 12 Bald Eagles on sheep.  Ah!  Is that nature’s way to feed the birds of prey, or are they opportunist to feed on fenced Sheep?  Easy Prey! So in the hunting world with any kind hunting weapon to take down big game, birds, small game or other wildlife, there is some form of baiting involved. Let’s take waterfowl hunting, majority of the time planted fields are flooded in many parts of the country.  Ah! Say!  Ok! Your hunting spot does not flooded any fields, yet the birds come into the field to feed en route to the water for protection.  We lay ambush from cover or blinds with decoys in wait for the waterfowl to fly by or land within our decoys.  So are the decoys a group style of baiting? Upland game bird hunters in many cases with hunt corn fields, wheat crop fields or other fields that have produce an edible to market crop.  Yes! The birds hide in the adjacent cover, but they still feed on the remnants of the crop. We have bear hunters in many states that get to bait bears with meat or fruit and lay in wait from treestand or cover blinds.   In the northern sector of CONUS and into Canada many bears are ambushed while working the fresh growth of grasses in the spring.   What an excellent way to keep the bears in check. I know that a well-known hunter and advocate of hunting big game native to the U.S. and exotics from around the world baits the game and lays in wait from a treestand or ground blind.   He is very successful, yet he does not eat all his harvests.  Most do not know that he raises the game animals and the meat goes to needy families.   For him, his family and friends, it is about the hunt, the harvest and the excitement of the whole experience.  This is done on this own land and in one way this is his crop! In some states you can bait big game, but you can’t bait predators, such as Bear and Cougars.  That is a great way to manage a state, so it is said (wildlife managers).   So bears and cougars run rampaged with no predators other than mankind taking out a few during hunting seasons.   Plus over populations of bears have taken out large sections of timber that is not quite ready for harvest.  Did you know that they themselves find a great source of sap from these age trees?  The strip the bark off, secure the sap and the tree dies.  So we won’t have to worry about baiting big game such as deer and elk to hunt with the way it is in Oregon. Did you know that a Cougar only wants fresh meat and takes on the average about one (1) a week on deer and if working take elk, then maybe one every 14 days. Recently I got a short 15 second video from an old hunting buddy.  It was taken from a camera on his property just outside of the city limits of a rural town, close to Portland, Oregon.  Just think about the fact it is summer in the Willamette Valley and he has never seen a Cougar this time of year.  In the past years he has seen a Cougar in the snow following deer to their winter staging area.  So you ask what does this have to do with baiting, well if we could bait for Bears and Cougars in Oregon, maybe we could save our deer and elk herds. Press Here To See We have in the western half of the United States the privilege to hunt for Pronghorn (Antelope), though they will roam the great sage brush plains, they do love to work agricultural areas, especially alfalfa.   Is it a form of baiting to wait for the Antelope to leave an alfalfa circle and be shot going under the barbwire fence?   If we think back to the existence of man, he has in many cases waited for the game he was going to eat to come to water, food or leave from one of them. Recently I posted a video of a great video archery shot of a Blacktail Deer, there were apples on the ground from the apple tree near the treestand.  The comment wasn’t very good telling me he wasn’t a hunter working over bait.  It didn’t help that the opening picture was of the same buck standing over a pile of apples early in the season.  I explain to help the commenter understand that the opening picture was of a different spot to take census or take count of the bucks in the area and that the kill shot was near an apple tree.  Press Here To See

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Does anyone really think we would get these shots without doing something to slow them down on the way to the vineyard?

My feelings are if it is legal by the state in-which you hunt, then there should be not issue. Many years ago when I was having a conversation with Randall Byers of the Pope & Young Club, he made comment to me that in Idaho it was legal to hunt deer over bait and that he and his buddies like to use corn.  At the time I thought it was terrible, as I had never done it with big game.   Guess I was clueless to the fact it was legal! I have laid in wait for a buck Pronghorn coming to water and ambushed them at a crossing to water.  So is water bait?   I would believe in some sense of the idea that it to be bait! Another instance years ago while hunting for Pronghorn over at Earl Smith’s Ranch outside of Antelope, Oregon, Mike the ranch foreman would say come with me and see what happens in a few minutes.   As we watched from about 200 yards away I watched countless Elk jump over the fence and into the wheat field.  They did it at the same point every night.   That to be a strategic location during the archery season to hunt for the elk.  So would that be considered baiting to wait close by for the elk to come and go or just being an opportunist like the Eagle? I used to hunt for Mule Deer bucks on the Mayo Ranch outside of Riley, Oregon.  We would wait in the tall grasses for the Mulie to enter the cut and bailed Alfalfa fields to eat the second cut.  So we did not intently bait the deer ourselves, but we made opportunity work for us!  At that time I would have never thought that to be a process of baiting, yet I did not plant the crop, but was an opportunist to be in the right spot! So everyone has their own thoughts what is baiting.   It is about hunting and harvesting game to eat, though myself I give the meat away for the most part, as I have many friends that beg for deer and elk meat every year.  So for me it is about the adventurer and the harvest, so in later life I have found that using every opportunity to get the hunt done legally is Right. Anti-Hunters have created the problem with hunting in every sort or form of the sport or natural order of mankind’s desire to kill animals and baiting is just another subject to change the course of history.

This was in January and in this case it was about seeing what the carryover was with the Blacktail Bucks in the area.

This was in January and in this case it was about seeing what the carryover was with the Blacktail Bucks in the area.

All should take note that if hunters or other sports people did not  buy sporting goods, which includes licenses to hunt, fish and collect coastal creatures in the oceans, there would be no successful management of game, fish , upland game birds or waterfowl.   It is the money from those that love the hunt or fish that allow all to enjoy seeing game.

These are my thoughts on the subject and may not be the thoughts of others!  Bwana Bubba   

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Published by Frank Biggs on 08 Apr 2014

Bwana Bubba’s How Not To Trespass!

To Trespass Knowingly or Not To Trespass with Technology!

Without getting carried away with the past, I will say that in the day, in Oregon when the Bhagwan & his Cult ruled some 60,000 acres outside of Antelope, Oregon, that also had some 60,000 acres of B.L.M. within the boundary, with a vast majority of it being landlocked, I ran the line to hunt for the big Mule Deer and Rocky Mtn. Elk that roamed the land.  Later it was taken over by the Washington Family, who donated the land to Young Life.   The Bhagwan was pretty easy if you stayed on the B.L.M. via a public road access.   Young Life in the first year allowed access via Current Creek on the Big Muddy Rd.   That did not last long when the Management of the Young Life on the Big Muddy found there was real money with the hunting of big game.

In 2002 I was stopped on B.L.M. on the Northeast Sector of the Grizzly Elk Hunt Unit in Oregon by Young Life Patrollers.   They demanded our Licenses, which in Oregon if on private you’re going to have to give it to them.   I told them we were on B.L.M. and I wasn’t going to give them anything.   They were packing handguns and demanded the licenses of all three of us.  I said are you going to shoot us if we don’t and they said” are you going to shoot us”, I said funny our rifles are on the Quads some 100 yards down the B.L.M. Road.  Standstill for a while and the other hunter (Young Life Donor & Doctor) who was with us gave up this license first, then without any more battle of words we all gave the Olsen Brothers our licenses.   Their words when they finally got their old technology GPS’s (old technology GPS didn’t work well in pockets) out of their front pockets and found a signal said the following “we are on B.L.M.” “Ah! We still know you were TRESPASSING!”  Let it be known that they had to cross B.L.M. to get to one small parcel in the middle of B.L.M.

When we go out of the B.L.M. via the same trail we took in via B.L.M., an OSP Game Officer was waiting for us on the Hwy 218 road access.  He asked the following “did you guys have an incident while hunting” I said of course we did, but we were on B.L.M. and showed him the maps that we had, which were made up of old technology and Garmin GPS to outline all of the B.L.M. and had it color coded, with our tracks going in and out.  We were carrying the first Topo mapping Garmin GPS that had come out in 2000.   We all thought it was over with the proof that we were legal.   Well 9 months later we get ticketed for Criminal Trespassing.  The same OSP (Oregon State Police) Game Officer from Bend, Oregon drove over to issue the tickets to us in Oregon City, Oregon.  I asked him why, since I had an OSP Game Officer as a neighbor and the Senior OSP Game Officer some 4 houses away.  His comment “was he had to do it, as Craig I., said he saw you Trespassing”.  Then the next comment was “you know you’ll get off on the Trespassing” and I said yes, but we have to hire 3 lawyers!

What the heck i will share the past.  Remember only horses for human foot traffic in the area.  Private Land Owners can change the demographics for all with the B.L.M...
What the heck i will share the past. Remember only horses for human foot traffic in the area. Private Land Owners can change the demographics for all with the B.L.M…

In conclusion:  The DA of Wasco County didn’t want anything to do with it, as we had the evidence that we were innocent of Trespassing on Young Life.

Comments made by the others hunting BLM, old combat veterans “why didn’t you have a firefight Frank?”  It was in jest, but reality we were held at bay with handguns, which should have been kidnapping!

The above story now leads into why a hunters or outdoor people should have a Garmin GPS and onXmaps HUNT  Mapping Software.  The technology that I used back then took a great deal of time and resources to get it done.  Now it takes about 15 minutes to have the advance technology on your computer and your GPS to be 100% sure of where your hunting.

Many of my hunters have waited 10 to 20 years to draw a premium tag to hunt deer, elk and especially pronghorn.   I don’t put the sheep or goats in the picture as it might never happen and at least in the State of Oregon, the ODFW Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will help you in locations of goats and sheep.   Funny though that many sheep and goats work between private and public land!

The mapping software can be used as a tool to find the private land owners when you see a herd of maybe a 100 Pronghorn in the Alfalfa and most likely get permission to hunt for free!

Many figure they don’t need this type of equipment that paper maps will work just fine for them!

I have given an example of government paper map in the below picture and a picture from onXmaps HUNT so you can compare the difference.

Normal View at National Forest

This is what Brett thought he was hunting with National Forest cross fences and coming in from the 160 road working north.

Hunt onXmaps - Deer

What Brett ended up on was one of the south corner triangle pieces below the Ochoco Creek Rd. with no corner fences.   There were no signs either on the land and it was all open timber.   Brett was ticketed with a word from the Game Officer he could pay restitution of up to $6250.00 (For Real) to the landowner.  Brett offered to put of No Trespassing Signs, the landowner took the signs from Brett and he went to court.   He did show the Judge in that particular county a Government Map, which helped a little, but still paid a fine to the court.

I am now informed that landowners do not have to post their lands.  So in areas such as National Forest that has private mingle within and no fences, it is your responsibility to know the private (At least in Oregon).

onXmaps HUNT has maps for almost every state in CONUS and the great state of Alaska has a map.

I recommend this product with utmost confidence that you’ll have memorial and successful hunts and trips without hassle.

Knowing is everything!   Bwana Bubba

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Published by admin on 14 Nov 2013

The Pope & Young Club is much more than bowhuntings record keepers…

The Pope & Young Club is much more than bowhuntings record keepers…

pope-and-young-club-logo

We are Fair Chase. Supporting the ethical pursuit of free ranging, wild game animals without unfair advantage. We are Conservation. We protect the future of bowhunting and promote the conservation of habitat and wildlife. We are Heritage. We strive to increase the awareness and appreciation of bowhuntings foundations, principles and values.We are Membership. We are a fraternity of bowhunters networked to protect the future of bowhunting. If you are an ethical, fair chase bowhunter, then YOU are the Pope & Young! Join Us Today! Dr. Saxton Pope, 1923

BASIC HISTORY

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Dr. Saxton Pope & (r) Arthur Young.

The Pope and Young Club is one of North America’s leading bowhunting and wildlife conservation organizations. Founded in 1961 as a non-profit, scientific organization whose objectives included bettering the image of bowhunting, the Club has grown to be the standard-bearer for the principles of fair chase, ethics and sportsmanship in bowhunting. Named in honor of pioneer bowhunters Dr. Saxton Pope and Arthur Young, whose exploits during the early part of the 20th Century drew national attention to this “forgotten” and challenging form of hunting, the Club encourages responsible bowhunting by promoting quality hunting, sound conservation practices, high standards of conduct and fostering dedication to the protection of bowhunting’s future.
In the early days, the Club’s objectives of proving the effectiveness of the bow and arrow and bettering the image of bowhunting proved to be keys to the acceptance of bowhunting and the establishment of bowhunting seasons around the country. Nowadays, the stalwart Pope and Young Club champions the cause of protecting our bowhunting heritage, promoting its rich values and the adherence to a strong fair chase ethic, while continuing to prove the effectiveness of conventional bowhunting equipment. For over 50 years we’ve been leading the way and setting the standard.
“In the joy of hunting is intimately woven the love of the great outdoors. The beauty of the woods, valleys, mountains, and skies feeds the soul of the sportsman where the quest of game whets only his appetite. After all, it is not the killing that brings satisfaction; it is the contest of skill and cunning. The true hunter counts his achievement in proportion to the effort involved and the fairness of the sport.”

HERITAGE

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Ishi: The last of his tribe.

In 2004, the doors to the Pope & Young Club / St. Charles Museum of Bowhunting, at the Club’s national offices in Chatfield, Minnesota, were opened, free to the public. The foundation of the museum is the largest collection of bowhunting related artifacts and memorabilia anywhere in the world. Artifacts in glassed cases, descriptive storyboards and dramatic dioramas – featuring Ishi, Dr. Saxton Pope, Arthur Young, Fred Bear and Glenn St. Charles – chart the events that shaped bowhunting’s rediscovery and evolution.
Special exhibits include, among other things, the largest and most complete publicly-displayed broadhead collection, “Journey to Africa – 1925,” the evolution of the compound bow, and representative examples of all 29 species of native North American big game animals.

CONSERVATION
Bowhunters are some of the most active and dedicated conservationists anywhere. We are committed to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and the scientific-based management of our natural resources – including the key role that hunters play. Our program is about leading by example. We support, with financial assistance and moral support, a wide array of projects and programs around North America in efforts to enhance and protect wildlife conservation and our bowhunting heritage. We do this by providing monetary grants annually to projects and programs in areas of wildlife research, education, pro-hunting and wildlife management. The Club is also active in a number of valuable partnership and collaborative efforts representing bowhunting and promoting bowhunting. In recent years, annual conservation budgets have exceeded $110,000 per year.

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Chief Compton

MEMBERSHIP
If you are an ethical, fair chase bowhunter, then YOU are the Pope & Young! We are men, women and youth, from all walks of life and from all corners of North America. We are well-rounded, dedicated and concerned bowhunter/conservationists who care deeply about the fair chase principles and high standards of ethics and for protecting bowhunting so that future generations can experience and appreciate all that true bowhunting has to offer. Associate Membership is open to any bowhunter who has pursued the challenge of bowhunting long enough to have taken at least one adult big game species (not necessarily a record book animal).
Membership is separate from the Records Program (i.e., entering an animal into the record book does not mean that you’re a member…each is separate). The mystique of the Pope and Young Club is often credited to our unique membership structure. The founders established a membership structure to reward longevity as both a bowhunter and as a Club supporter. Every bowhunter joins as an Associate Member. Over time, a member may advance to Regular Membership, and then on to Senior Membership, by meeting different sets of criteria, including well-rounded bowhunting experience and active involvement. Members receive quarterly news magazines, membership card, decal, Club updates and fundraising activities, access to the Members Area of the website, and more. More importantly, members gain a sense of pride belonging to a special fraternity of dedicated bowhunters, giving something back to a sport…no, a lifestyle…that means so much to them. Join Us Today! https://www.pope-young.org/secure/associate_application.asp

RECORDS
The Pope & Young Club is recognized as the official repository for records on bow-harvested North American big game. Together with the Boone & Crockett Club, we maintain the long-standing, universally-accepted scoring system and set the standards for measuring big game animals. Through the Records Program, the Club records for posterity scientific data on North American big game taken with bow and arrow. The Records Program has many purposes and objectives.

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The great Fred Bear
First and foremost, it is THE venue to honor a bow-harvested animal, throughout all time—an historical record. The Records Program is the scientific measure to compare an individual animal to others and to the ideal for that species. Each listing is a document of bowhunting history, a testament to bowhunting’s heritage and traditions. The Record Book is the principal means by which the Club can promote the ideals of fair chase and ethical standards, and protect the integrity of bowhunting.
Continuing to prove the effectiveness of conventional bowhunting equipment remains important. The Club’s ever-growing archives provide great insight into the past and present management, health and trends of North America’s wildlife populations. The Records are a testimonial to traditional wildlife management and the important role of hunting in that management.
Through the Records Program, the Club encourages quality bowhunting experiences by awakening interest in selective hunting and the outstanding examples of this continent’s big game animals. We conduct ongoing recording periods and every two years present appropriate recognition to the finest big game specimen accepted into the Records.

Join Us Today! https://www.pope-young.org

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Published by Frank Biggs on 29 Oct 2013

Bwana Bubba’s 2012 Oregon Blacktail Archery Hunt

Sunday Morning Hunt

Making the Shot Buck! 

Though this story will end up with harvesting of a small Blacktail Buck from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, it is more about the principles and aspects of aging in the hunting scenario.

I would like to say this is the buck of harvest, but not! Right Handed Tree Stand in background!

Over the years, especially when I was younger I lived to hunt and fish.   I was very selfish and would spend most of my time either at work or doing the great outdoors.  It was a total escapement from reality after serving in the U.S. Navy and being In Country. I found great excitement with chasing and harvesting game.  My fishing was about how many fish I could catch, later finding it was more fun to catch and release.

Now later in life I find I do not have as much time to hunt and fish with the reality of still working into my 60’s.   Weekends are a thing of the past since I have been in the RV selling business.   Hunts have now turned to hunting in the valley close to home for the elusive Blacktail Deer.

What started with getting permission to take pictures of Blacktail Bucks on a parcel of land outside of Oregon City & Canby, Oregon has turned into the place to have the opportunity to harvest a Blacktail.  The landowner himself is a Vietnam Vet and I know he finds great peace to be able to walk his timbered land and in some places be able to escape the daily grind!

This year was different from the past years on the M & L Ranch as I call it.   It is the first time other than a Blackberry thicket blind, that I have setup a real tree stand and fixed ground blind.   My thoughts have always been to glass, spot and pursue the game, with an occasional wait at a nearby waterhole for Pronghorn.

I had past him up at 40 yards, but this is not what I saw from 40 yards through the Blackberries!

The 2012 Archery Season in Oregon was of great expectations in harvesting one of the Big Three Blacktail bucks that we all had captured on Trail Cams.   With Odd 3 X 3 leading the pack, “Sticker” second and finally the P & Y buck Even 3 X 3.  You do notice that I have never mentioned a 4 x 4! I have yet to see a 4 point buck western count in 2012.   In the past I have seen a number of them and have put them on film!

I truly hate to say it, but many of the big bucks I have seen have been poached.   I have heard rifle shots in the familiar sound of hunting situation before the archery season and during the season.  Poaching has become a major issue in Oregon!   It can’t be about the meat, but about the rack.

P & Y Buck at probably 110″ Maybe JR can get him!

So with the missed opportunity on the Even 3 X 3 in the first couple of days really took me back mentally.   The easiest shots, can most often not work!  I am sure most know that deal in hunting.   Having hit the tree stand rail not once but twice on the 25 yard shot was embarrassing for sure.    Small note:   WHEN PUTTING UP A TREE STAND AND SETTING UP THE LINE OF THE ANIMAL TO BE POSITION, MAKE SURE YOU PUT UP YOUR STAND IN RELATIONSHIP TO BEING LEFT HANDED OR RIGHT HANDED.   In this case for me being Left Handed I should have put it across the path to the opposite tree.  It is definitely a Right Handed tree stand.  Guess I will have to get another one and put it on the opposite tree 25 yards across the path!  My partner’s JR (Frankie) and Mark are right-handed!  They had decided what tree to put the stand up before I can to help!  Pretty smart guys!

As most of you know that are in the circle, with two weeks into the archery season had a second chance with a 20 yard shot on a nice heavy 3 x 3 at 20 yards (No Hesitation Either).

The one that also got away and survives another day! Flesh Wound!

I shot through the Camo mesh of the ground blind, leading to a close Kill shot (3”) to a glancing arrow hitting the shoulder and ricocheting upward and out.   I have had someone call me unethical for not making this one buck the one find and harvest.  In this case give me a break with a Blacktail and the odds, especially with a bow!   Mark and myself spent 3 hours looking for blood on the buck, which ended with one final drop about 300 yards away in the dark at 2200.  The following morning I spent another 3 hours and found no more blood on the ferns and what appeared to be a buck with normal walk back into the forest (no broken limbs or down branches).

Great shot on a Blacktail Buck – Martin Onza 3 on display also!

So in the following weeks the buck has been on trail cams in good health.  In fact when Mark was in his tree stand with his rifle (Willamette 615 anything tag) the buck came to within 12 yards of him in good health.   As this is another story of Mark’s buck that he took at that time, all I can say is the buck might have been a vendetta for me to get him, but I was not worried about his health any longer.  Just a bad hit!

It is now Sunday September 9th in the morning about 0430 and my wife wakes me up and says “aren’t you going hunting this morning!”  Na!  I got to work and need my sleep!  I am now awake and say to myself, I am gone.   In minutes without combing my hair I headed out the door and into the darkness.  Looking at my cell found I see JR.; my son left me text messages (10) about the morning hunting.  I text back are you awake as I am already heading to my secure parking spot!  No return text, guess I got the place to myself today!  It would have been great to have him with me!

It does not take me long to get ready once there and I head off to the stand about ¼ from the parking spot.   Quickly get up in the stand with the anticipation of a good hunt, as it cooler this Sunday.   I figured I might get the spike and of course plus the one doe with twin fawns in first, with maybe a big boy coming in before 0700.   I patiently wait, which is a major problem for me as it super quite in the draw.  The only noises are the wind rusting the trees and occasional Scrub Jay squawking in the distance.  I should add the lone owl hooting in the canyon!

It is now approaching 0700 with no movement at all on the forest ground, I am extremely bored and need to get on feet and make a ground hunt.   I lower my bow and day pack to the ground, check the trail cam and see that only 6 pictures from the 12 hour period.   I thought about heading back to the house and catch a few winks before work, but I would not get any sleep.   I dropped the pack and headed over to Mark’s stand near the edge of the western sector of the farm.   No movement in the heavy grasses and I surely did not jump anything, as Mark’s stand borders the field and heavy timber.  Hmm!

I pick up my day pack and talked to myself and ask the question to drive around to the eastern sector and hunt from there and see if I can jump a Blacktail Buck.   I tell myself to go back to the stand and head up the trail that leads to the dry creek bed and the eastern sector of the farm (most of us old war dogs talk to ourselves a lot).   I decide that I wanted to go light on this expedition with only my bino’s, range finder and bow!   I am wearing a Camo long sleeve shirt and I have my booties on as it is very noisy place to walk and think you are quiet when making a good stalk.

Here I am only about 200 to 300 yards from my stand on the trail and spot a doe that had just come up out of the draw that leads down to the creek bed and the other side of the farm.  It is a warn trail now and used by the game since Frankie (JR) and his cousin had taken a D-6 Cat through the property, it has given a game when not disturb a bit easier route to feeding areas.  There are places near the creek bottom that are so thick; I would have to eat the deer there!

Ok!  I spot the doe and she is a ways out there, I would put her at about 50 yards line of sight.  Not sure if she has caught me as slither back into the Scott Broom.   I decide to range her in and use my left hand, my release hand.  Shaking a bit, I target to the left of her to a small bush and it says 48 yards.   I got the area pretty well dialed in and will wait to see what come out of the draw.  Finally a very smart move on Cobra’s part!   Her fawns that no longer have spots doodle along and up.   I can not see the doe at all during this time and I assume she did not see me!   Then I see a deer coming up, it stops and see it has a rack, I can not tell the size it all seems to blend into the background of brown grasses and the fir trees.   Knowing what my Martin Onza 3 can do for me, I am at instinct mode and without though of size or distance my eyes as they are looking through the peep side have the orange 40 yard pin set about 1-2 inches above the back bone.  The release is very smooth and no hesitation on my part.   I see the arrow in flight as the  Norway Zeon Fusion (pink) vanes are evident in flight.

I love the way these beauties fly and glow for me!

The buck has moved forward during the short time of flight of the arrow.   “Damn” is all I could say when I see the arrow hit the hind quarter forward.  What surprised me was to see the deer drop like a sack of bricks and then he shook!  Wow!  Then to my further surprise the buck go back up and struggled into the Scott Broom.  Out in the distance at about 100 yards there is a monster buck facing directly at me when I stepped out to lay the bow down!   I quickly move up to the spot and find blood.   I marked the spot with my bow and head back to the day pack to get what I needed.  I call my JR and to my surprise he answers his phone! Hoorah!  He is on his way with his truck that he can get back there and not be upset with the blackberries scrapping the side of his truck.  I do check at my launching point and range find to the spot the buck was initially standing at and it hits 63 yards.

I have a head in this picture! Keep it clean! I still have the ability to shoot some distance!

I have to tell you that during the flight of the arrow, there seem to be little arch (trajectory) in the flight.  What a strange feeling of watching the flight which was under a second, like out of a movie!  The Martin Onza 3 is most likely pushing 330fps with my setup!   Outstanding performance for me!  Martin bows have never failed me on a hunt!

I have pulled my rig near the stand, hoof back to the area with cameras and my Gerber’s.   I did not have to go very far from the hit spot, the blood trail was extensive and the buck was stretched out about 80-100 yards from the impact area.  I could see the buck is one that I had seen on camera and past up an evening before when I went to the stand and had him at 40 yards.  He was a young 3 X 3 or better 3 X 2 with no eye guards.

I was in combat mode during this time period of spot and shoot.  I truly love to spot, stalk and then kill!  I have found that the times in the field with difficult shots and I go to combat instinct mode the job usually gets done.  I do not think about anything, but the mind has allowed me to react!  One can read a book call “Blink” and understand what I am saying.  Thinking about a situation to much, I feel that you can make a dumb mistake!  Let me tell you I have made mistakes and failed number of times.  Being on the ready at all times makes for success.

The arrow did hit his hind quarter on the right side, failed to pass through.  During the Hawaiian Field Dressing operation I could see what had happen and I am most surprised, as I have never seen this before. I failed to mention that JR had given me a package of new broadheads to try and just that morning I did put one on my arrow.  The broadhead does not look like it could be as effective or un-effective as the Thunderheads I had on the rest of the arrows.   The name of this broadhead is Slick Trick 100 gr.!

This is a picture of the Slick Trick 100 gr. Magnum after hitting the ball and socket!

So during the Hawaiian field dressing using one of my gifted Gerber Gator knives I find that if the arrow had passed through there would have been pumping out even great flow of blood, but what happen once the arrow hit the flesh it angled back and somewhat down hitting the knuckle in the hip joint pulverizing the ball joint.  I have never seen this done to an animal with a Broadhead in all my years of bow hunting.   I have seen ribs cracked or cut, but for the arrow to go through that much tissue and still do that at the range of 60 yards is simply amazing.   As you know at this time I will be changing in the future to Slick Trick Broadhead.   Another thing that arrow flew as straight as if I had shot at 10 yard target.  My Onza 3 highly tuned, as all my Martin bows have been.  Reminds when I tried Barnes X bullets 225 grain in my Weatherby 340 on an elk hunt and took out the bull at 1000 yards approx (testimonial proof) and he dropped in his tracks.  I have never looked back on using the product.   Knowing that the product will do the job, if there is a mistake it is usually the hunter!  It can be equipment also if you don’t check and make sure it ready to shoot! So my deer hunting for 2012 has come to an end and I now can if time permits to focus on elk or help JR get his archery buck in the State of Oregon!

This story has been posted in Bwana Bubba which is a big deal for me to get a story posted!

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Published by Frank Biggs on 27 Oct 2013

Bwana Bubba’s 2013 Archery Hunt – Boys get their first Blacktail Bucks!

The Oregon General Archery Season Opener proved to be a successful opening day hunt in the Willamette Valley for Blacktail Deer Bucks’.  Neither of the two young men had every taken a Blacktail Buck with the bow and arrow!

The anticipation of the 2013 Oregon Archery Season Opener had been a very exciting anxiety brain thought for me. 

Having myself wanting to target two (2) different bucks during the season, I was ready for the opener on August 24th, 2013.   There would be two (2) other hunters hunting the small parcel (90 acres) of un-fenced land in the Willamette Valley of Oregon in the Clackamas County zone outside of Oregon City, Oregon. Neither of the other two (2) young bucks (Frankie or Mark) had ever taken a buck deer with the bow and arrow.   Considering the Columbia Blacktail deer is one of the toughest to hunt, the odds are lowered.  One hunter was my son Frank Jr. who has been hunting since he was 12 years old and the other hunter Mark S. one of Oregon’s finest…

Both are experience hunters with the rifle and have taken Mule Deer, Blacktail Deer, Elk and Pronghorn. Mark would be hunting from his treestand at the far end of the property in which he can view the vineyard that the deer were still working over during the year.   Jr. would be in a ground blind in the same draw that I was in, though I would be in the treestand.  This year Jr. would be hunting for the first time with a 2013 Martin Rytrea Alien XT and also for the first time the HHA Sports 5519 Optimizer Bow Sight.  All of us would be using again for the second year the Slick Trick 100gr. Broadhead.

Mark's Blacktail in the velvet!
Mark’s Blacktail in the velvet!
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Frankie’s Blacktail in the velvet and how he saw him on opening day, but in the daylight!

 

Anticipation by all was at its highest with all of us to harvest a Blacktail buck, since we had many bucks working the area.  At times it would seem we would have an atmosphere of a buck pasture, as does working the area lacking! Just before shooting time, I get a silent text message from Mark, “they are all around my tree”.  My thoughts were of course those of jealousy with him getting first lick on a buck.  Legal shooting time was upon us and I get another text message from Mark “Elfi is down, I smoked him”.  Now I had a bit of relief that he did not take the Number 1 Blacktail on vineyard and there would still be a chance in the future.

Mark with his P & Y Buck!  First bow kill of big game!
Mark with his P & Y Buck! First bow kill of big game!

Mark text me again that he would stay in this stand for an hour to wait on the deer and give us a chance.

Now the story gets really interesting, as Mark’s last text comes in, I see a lone deer moving through the tree to my left at a good pace.  Thinking back the deer was running a bit erratic.  This would come into play in about an hour of this sighting! It is now about 30 minutes later and I spot from the treestand about 4-5 bucks in the Douglas Firs, just milling around across the gravel road from the draw.   I see they are moving to the North and there is an opening in the blackberries.  I knew at this time they deer were heading into the draw.  The bucks and a couple does go out of sight as they go around the blackberries, travel 30 yards down the gravel road and turn east into the draw. Quickly sending Jr. a text that they were coming towards him and too be on the ready. The action is about to start, as deer are under my stand coming from the South and I can see the bucks with does coming from the West into the draw.

Frankie with his first bow buck kill with the bow and arrow!
Frankie with his first bow buck kill with the bow and arrow!

I am just mesmerized by the movement and the amount of game upon us.  I have my Optimizer set at 30 yards in anticipation of the bucks coming into my open shooting zone. The deer are on top of Jr.’s ground blind and I just sit there watching the action and not wanting to standup and get ready.

He still lives and looks to have made it through the rifle season in Oregon.  No one is suppose to hunt this place with a rifle!
The Even 3 X 3 has been harvest on 11-22-13 and he had a rough score of 123.   Great buck for the area and since I took him after chasing him for two (2) years, he left his blood line going into the future bucks!

The big Even 3 X 3 is at 42 yards from me, if I were to shoot at the easy shot, the arrow’s flight would have to zoom between Douglas Fir branches and then over the top of Jr.’s blind.   All the deer just stop at this point which is 2 – 10 yards from the blind.  They know something is up at this point, but still wanting to move down the draw to the creek bottom.  All of a sudden one of the bucks looks into the only open window in the portable blind.  The buck has eye contact with Jr., (should have had sunglasses on) snorts and bulks.   With that movement Even 3 X 3 and all the other bucks and deer are gone in a flash.  I was mistaken since I could not see one of the bucks that remained.  A Forked Horn with Eyeguards (only buck that is still in velvet) stands his ground at 5 yards from Jr.’s blind.   In my mind I am saying shoot, what are you waiting for Frankie!  A split second later I hear the report of the arrow hitting the buck in the zone.  The buck walks off directly away from him, turns and jogs about 40 yards and the rest is history!

 

As for myself I am still stunned that I did not take the shot, but there was something in my mind that told me not do so it.  Reasoning or Mind Drift? Quickly I am out of the stand congratulating Frankie and he find his deer in minutes. You ask why Jr. didn’t take the Even 3 X 3, same question I asked him!  “Dad that is your buck that you have been chasing for 2 years, I wasn’t going to ruin that moment!”

A great hunt that I got to see the hunt un-fold from above!
A great hunt that I got to see the hunt un-fold from above!

After finding Frankie’s buck from a good blood trail within a couple of minutes, taking pictures and High Fiving, Frankie now tells me that we need to help Mark find his deer.  This happen to be a work day for me and want to get one deer Hawaiian Quartered and then worry about Mark’s buck secondly! We do go over to Mark who was coming back to the truck to get rid of his gear.  His buck had not dropped out in the vineyard.  We all went back to help him find his buck.  A most difficult venture at first as there was little sign of blood to track.   After about 15 minutes I told Mark we would be back, as we need to get the buck taken care of now! Mark informed me and Jr. that he had called his Dad, Dan to come and help.

Dad and Son teamed up to trace the buck!  4 eyes many times works better than 2!  Hoorah!
Dad and Son teamed up to trace the buck! 4 eyes many times works better than 2! Hoorah!

As you read this you wonder about Mark’s hit on the deer.  It will be another story once Mark gets it written, but from the video he had taken, it was a good hit and finding the buck would come. We get Frankie’s deer done in about 30 minutes Hawaiian style of quartering, taking only the meat out.

Get with Mark and Dan, as they found some more blood.  Telling him about the deer I had seen moving through the trees just after his shot, proved to be the positive outcome of finding his buck.  The deer have had the habit of escaping or when hit to travel down into a deep canyon on the farm, that I did not even know existed until January of this year.   As soon as Mark and Dan hit the deer trail at the top of the canyon the blood trail was very heavy, but not without the buck expiring in the in heavy cover.  The dandy Pope & Young Blacktail buck didn’t travel more than 300 yards from the stand, though he made an oval track circle to the right, then straight into the canyon.

Frankie’s buck was a really nice Velvet Forked Horn with Eyeguards, with great sylemtry.  Mark’s buck was a very tall 3 X 3 with Eyeguards and would make Pope & Young.  It also was the buck that I had put an arrow completely through in 2012 that did not affect the deer.  Strange as there were no signs once skinned he had ever been hit, yet we have pictures the day after in 2012 of wounds on left and right side.

At this writing Even 3 X 3 is still alive waiting for the rut to find him.   Since opening day he has only been seen 3 times, twice on cameras at the wee hours of the darkness in the morning and once during the general rifle season out in the open field!

It is great that the two young shooters found their marks on bucks to give them the confidence of the bow and arrow on big game. 

In the State of Oregon, bowhunters have greater amount of time and opportunities to hunt for big game.

Bwana Bubba

 

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Published by admin on 29 Aug 2013


Mission MXB-360 Crossbow
ArrowTrade Magazine May 2013

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Scientific Crossbow Test

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Mission MXB-360
By Jon Teater

It’s been quite a few years since a Mathews or Mission Archery product has gone through my testing regime, mostly because of my focus on crossbows rather than compound bows. It was surprising yet not totally unexpected when Mission released a new crossbow late last year. Crossbows continue to grow in importance in the archery market and Mathews Authorized Retailers have been asking for their favorite bow supplier to get into that side of the market. Mathews is the parent company of Mission, so it’s not unexpected to see Mathews engraving on the rail, including a bit of Mathews flair throughout the design.
Mathews and Mission Archery sell not only a product but an experience. Many archers enjoy the feeling of having a top quality product in their hands. Years ago, I can remember testing my first Mathews product. I can vaguely recall the model but more importantly, I can describe the feeling I had while shooting. The balance, draw cycle and firing sequence, which by today’s standards are probably considered outdated, were better than top-notch at the time. In fact, I can honestly say many of the past Mathews bows, including the one I’m reminiscing about, were heads above the rest. If you look at today’s great bow designs, Mathews products still remain in the forefront. I would say its product portfolio exudes elegance. But archers won’t just buy based on looks. What Mathews works to create is the ultimate shooting experience. Therefore, designers of the MXB-360 paid close attention to performance characteristics while creating each component. The product design team released a product that they believe hits all the high points and Matt McPherson expects the MXB-360 to be a leader. The company wanted the crossbows in the Mission line to be fast, quiet and accurate. Additionally, the product needed to be light in weight, well balanced and easy to use, which can be a lot to ask in the design tradeoff process. Bottom line: the Mission line is a new experience and I suspect this product is the first of many new crossbows to come from the Sparta, Wisconsin headquarters.

 

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Testing Background
The MXB-360 went through a standard and regimented performance test. The focus was to determine the performance characteristics. Additionally, the goal was to provide appropriate objective information, as well as some subjective commentary, for aiding in the purchase process. With that said, this evaluation is by no means conclusive. Each archer should assess what is important to him or her and interpret the results within the context of this article. As always, I recommend that anyone who is considering buying a crossbow should shoot as many different makes and models as possible to determine what best suits his or her individual needs and desires.

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Introduction
Mission Archery announced the release of the MXB-360 in September of 2012.
At the time, Matt McPherson, owner and CEO of Mission Archery Inc. and Mathews Inc., said he designed the MXB-360 to give retailers and consumers a fast, powerful and accurate crossbow that is also lightweight, balanced and extremely easy to use. “We’ve spent a few years listening to our retailers ask us to build a crossbow,” McPherson explained. “We’re confident the MXB-360 is going to be a new leader in terms of crossbow performance.”
Both the Mathews and Mission lines have dedicated consumer bases. As you may expect, Mission is probably the more sensible company for this product release. Mathews is a more traditional company, meaning it is strictly bow focused. Mission Archery is slightly more edgy and, from my standpoint, less susceptible to criticism when releasing a product that’s somewhat unconventional. At the time of release, this new product received a lot of publicity. The popularity is really no surprise due to the large following the Mission brand has built in the past few years. In fact, I have several hunting partners that purchased the MXB-360 late last year. So, in my local shooting circuit, many archers knew that Mission had entered the crossbow market and trusted their cash to its introductory model.
The Mission line reflects the look of elegance that I mentioned earlier. The designers worked hard to mix eye appeal with high performance. Matt McPherson predicted this product would be a leader in performance. Being a leader in this market is a difficult feat, since Mission is competing with firms that have honed their crossbow designs and manufacturing skills over decades. Still, the MXB-360 has some unique features that help it stand out. This first Mission crossbow is advertised to weigh 6.55 pounds, which mirrors exactly the measurement I obtained with my certified scales. With a scope, the product weight jumps up but even so, this is one of the lighter crosssbows on the market today. Some of the elements that reduce weight are the skeleton-like barrel, the light forearm and the stock.
The MXB-360 has a tactical look and feel to fit the market trends and from my standpoint, it looks superb. I like the harmonious combination of camouflage and black. The limbs and portions of the stock are embossed in Lost AT, while the remaining portions of the crossbow are black. The crossbow is sold in a complete package. The accessory package includes an MX-3 quiver and three Mission crossbow arrows, weighing approximately 300 grains without their tips. The package includes an option of three scopes: XB Basic, XB Hunter or XB Pro. All these scopes are by Hawke, known for its fine crossbow optics. (Scopes for crossbows are specially designed to correct for parallax at short range and to stand up to the peculiar recoil of these hunting arms.) For this test, the product was provided with all the mentioned components, including a Hawke XB-1 (XB Pro).

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The crossbow dimensions and weights measured out of the box are listed on the previous page.
The crossbow went through a thorough inspection. The review focused on the string/cables, the eccentrics, the limb and limb pockets, the rail, the stock, the butt plate, the trigger housing, the trigger and the trigger guard. After a thorough review of the MXB-360, I was unable to find any blemishes. I would rate the product as exceptional in the workmanship section. Thereafter, I put the product through a 100-150 shot cycling to verify functionality. Some minor testing was performed but the focus was to detect any issues or concerns with the product before starting the actual performance testing. The MXB-360 performed flawlessly. One item I did note was the way the archer must be aware of the location of the cocking rope while attaching the clips prior to drawing the crossbow. The rope can sometimes become latched under the crossbow. If this happens, the archer will be unable to draw the crossbow string back. This happened several times during my initial testing until, after a little practice, I became adept at avoiding that issue.
The crossbow was next evaluated on the five criteria outlined below.
Detailed Test Results
Dynamic Efficiency: The dynamic efficiency portion of the test utilized a Revere Load-Cell controlled by a winch device; the load-cell connects to the crossbow with a cocking aid. The crossbow was mounted in a shooting platform that controlled any movement that might be experienced as Force-Draw curves were taken. The stored energy obtained from the Force-Draw curve was used in conjunction with speed measurements to calculate dynamic efficiency.
Speed per inch of Power Stroke: Speed measurements were taken with three projectiles. A Pact Chronograph XP and a Competition Electronics

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Pro-Chrono IR were set in tandem to record results. The average speed measurement was divided by the power stroke to determine the speed per inch of power stroke.

Noise Output: Sound measurements were recorded with three projectiles. The measurements were averaged and the sound meter was set to take measurements with the A-weighted filter (which mimics the human ear).
Trigger Force: The Trigger Force measurements were recorded in pounds and averaged. An Imada Digital Force Gauge was used to determine the peak Trigger Force.
Precision Measurements: Provides an indication of how tight groups were when shooting the crossbow by hand from a bench rest or other supportive device. Extreme spread was the method used to calculate the group size, measured by a digital calipers.

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The Initial Review
I was happy to receive the MXB-360. Upon opening it, I noticed the crossbow was well packaged. While segregated from the box containing accessories, the crossbow was retained in a case. In fact, this is the first soft case I can remember ever receiving with a crossbow. The case is an excellent touch and a feature that archers are sure to enjoy.
The crossbow was received almost fully assembled. The only components requiring assembly were the scope and quiver bracket. For this test, the scope and quiver bracket were not used and it took just 5 to 10 minutes to precisely position the scope for proper head/eye alignment.
After assembly, I read through the user manual. The manual encompasses safeguards, cocking instructions, specifications, maintenance and warranty. It’s important to run through the crossbow safety rules with customers. While reading the instructions, I was reminded that all Mission crossbows are tested before they leave the factory. The safety instructions are quite detailed and include sharp pictures and information on the dos and don’ts of the MXB-360.
An important aspect of the design is the anti-dryfire component. If a dryfire occurs, this component has the ability to prevent crossbow damage and possible harm to the shooter.

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Safe use of crossbows at the range or in the field is essential for the longevity of the product, as well as the safety of the archer. The MXB-360 has safety warnings “plastered” all over it. First and foremost, orange tape is placed over the string and the crossbow can’t be fired until the tape is removed. Mission placed a caution sticker on the product, which was an excellent idea, since you can’t use the crossbow until it’s removed and you are forced to look at it. The caution notice on the orange tape is very clear; it requests the user to read the owner’s manual, as well as register the product. In addition, stickers on either side of the wings of the forearm remind the archer to keep hands in a safe location to avoid contact with the string while firing. The final safety notices are located on the limbs. The limb stickers reiterate key points of the user manual. For example, the minimum arrow weight is 400 grains, the user must ensure proper vane orientation, the user must use moon nocks only and the user must engage the safety after loading. I mentioned only half the notices, so pay close attention to the safety markings.
Finally, there are limited lifetime warranty terms and conditions with the MXB-360. I recommend that anyone that considers buying this crossbow read through these terms in detail. The terms are also posted on Mission’s website. There are strict rules and procedures to register the crossbow, activate the warranty and make a claim.
In The Field
With winter coming to an end and the weather starting to break, I had time to take the MXB-360 afield. The initial characteristics that most crossbow shooters notice are the weight, feel and balance. The weight aspect is superb, at 6.5 pounds as a bare crossbow; this product is comparable to some of the lightest available today. The crossbow did feel good in my hands; however, the length of pull may be too long for some shooters. (As a reminder, length of pull is the distance from buttstock to trigger.) The balance point (pivot) is at an almost optimal location for my shooting style. The pivot is precisely located at the tail end of the forearm, near the trigger guard.
With many of today’s crossbows, you experience little to no let-off. In fact, only a few crossbows available today are truly focused on producing let-off. Some will say this aspect is unimportant and has little impact on the archer using a rope cocking aid but I disagree. Drawing a crossbow in a treestand or on the ground can be difficult for the last few inches of the drawing sequence. You can teach a customer to bend his legs and use those powerful muscles for most of the cocking process but once the legs are straight, then weaker shoulder and arm muscles have to take over. The MXB-360’s force draw curve indicates a steady drop-off into the valley, reducing any struggle the user may experience. In fact, the measured holding weight is around 66 pounds, which is particularly low, considering the peak weight is around 160-170 pounds.
A primary difference between the MXB-360 and other crossbows, something that became noteworthy in the field, is the lack of a stirrup at the front end. The designers felt that reducing the overall length of the crossbow would be beneficial in the field. Let me tell you, it was! Crossbow length and weight can be issues with some customers, whether they’re used to carrying a bow or a rifle. The MXB-360 feels no different than a rifle on my back. The cleat design of the MXB-360, which replaces the stirrup on a traditional crossbow, allows the user to place his or her foot on either side of the crossbow while drawing. This feature played a huge part in allowing me to easily cock the crossbow while in the treestand.
As I typically do, I brought the MXB-360 to my predetermined shooting location, with four targets spaced at various distances. The furthest target was almost 50 yards away. My treestand includes a removable shooting rail, so I am able to test with or without support. The crossbow performed flawlessly during this shooting sequence. I was conscious to make sure I lubricated the rail every 15 to 20 shots, as recommended by the crossbow manual. The component that stood out the most during this portion of the test was the Hawke scope, which is outstanding. The reticle setup is unique and was designed for easy target acquisition. In fact, I would rate the XB Pro to be one of the best scopes available and it certainly aided my shooting. The crossbow hit the mark in the field; the projectile precision provided herein from indoor testing mirrored what I experienced in the field. And from my standpoint, you can’t ask for a product to shoot better than 2 inch groups at 40 yards.

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Hot Features
Many of the top selling features of this product have already been mentioned. The pistol grip, customized case, adjustability, efficient design, comfortable trigger, telescopic sight, cleat design and performance output come to my mind as elements that will grab a consumer’s attention. The unique look of the design, starting with the skeletonized barrel, which extends rearward toward the stock, is eye catching. The drawing sequence and quiet output of the limb/cam configuration are ideal for a hunting situation. Further, the limb/cam design is one of the most efficient I have tested to date, reaching greater than 80 percent. (Please note that the draw weight of the MXB-360 is adjustable downward to 100 pounds and efficiencies will be impacted when reducing the crossbow from peak weight.)
The trigger pull is in that optimal range for my shooting style of between 3.5 and 4 pounds. The final noteworthy characteristic is the previously mentioned stirrup-free design. With this approach, Mission proves sometimes you can do more with less.
Possible Refinements
I found several areas I felt could be improved upon in the next rendition of this model or in additional models from Mission. The stock and forearm, including the pistol grip, lack frictional areas. Some products include checkering or rubberized material to allow the archer to make firm contact with the crossbow. Without these high friction areas, the crossbow could be more difficult to handle in the field, especially in wet conditions. The next area is the cocking rope anchor. I did see the benefit in this concept; however, the location does not seem convenient and can be somewhat problematic when trying to quickly cock the product; practice can alleviate this concern. The third area is a debatable point because this is an area of personal preference and is constantly discussed amongst designers. I prefer an auto-engaged safety, which the MXB-360 does not have. Please ensure that consumers are aware that this product needs to be placed on “safe” after it is cocked, similar to a firearm. The final element I’d like to see improved upon is the length of pull. From my standpoint, the length of pull will be too long for certain archers. My suggestion is that Mission could include a stock that has some built in adjustability; this will alleviate any issues from those with shorter or longer arms.
Summary
Mission has produced a great first crossbow after several years of rapid growth in vertical bow sales. The MXB-360 can be sold with three different scopes, providing different pricing levels. The reputation of the manufacturer and of designer Matt McPherson makes this product desirable. Consumers love Mathews and Mission has a lot of the same appeal, so use this to your advantage. I would also highlight the performance concepts; this crossbow’s speed measured just under 360 fps in my test with a 400 grain arrow. Speed does sell but noting the high efficiency and low noise output will help consumers understand this product isn’t just your average crossbow. The final selling method is to highlight the looks. From a distance, the MXB-360 exudes elegance and users may be easily drawn to this product because of that. The eye appeal of the MXB-360 will be far greater than some of the latest crossbows from other brands. Much of the allure comes from the stirrup-free design and tactical look.
Overall, I enjoyed testing this product and I’m very pleased to see Mission Archery in the crossbow market!
(Note, you can find more of Jon Teater’s crossbow reports online at arrowtrademag.com)

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Published by Frank Biggs on 03 Jun 2013

Bwana Bubba’s Last Minute Oregon Blacktail Buck

Blacktail Buck in the Unit in 2013!
Blacktail Buck in the Unit in 2013!

THE SHOULDA –WOULDA – I DID BUCK

This hunt took place on the last day of the archery season in Oregon and it was my last and final effort to harvest a Blacktail Buck after a great deal of hunting during the season.  It also would be the first time I exposed my young daughter to an animal of majestic qualities to her dead to look at and touch!

An extremely large buck just stood there looking at me, probably wondering why anyone would be down in a hole like this!   This deer hunt was the end of a long Oregon deer season for me.  Earlier that season, I spent four days at Hart Mountain in southeastern Oregon looking for one of the famous big mule deer bucks that dwell there.  My vacation time had been changed and I was not able to hunt the first part of the season with my group.  So getting that early jump on a big velvet buck was gone.  I’d seen as many as 14 bucks in a group at one time prior to the season.  Truly the big bucks had been stirred up by earlier hunters and were keeping their distance.

I found myself seeking a buck to take home on the last day of the late November hunt in the Santiam Hunt Unit in Western Oregon, just west of the National Forest Boundary in the BLM. It seems on the last day we (empty-handed) will do some strange things. The trip in itself was similar to my earlier trips in which I covered innumerable miles looking for greener pastures.  I must have traveled 800 miles in three days only to find myself hunting in dense forest 30 miles from Portland, Oregon my home. On this trip, I was by myself, my partners having had their fill of hunting for one season. With the heavy rain & wet snow coming and going, I’d just about had enough myself. Then by mid afternoon it started to snow and by 3 PM there was about 4 inches of fresh snow on the ground. I was glad I’d missed a 60-yard shot at a small buck I should have not taken with the wind blowing.  The small buck seemed to be playing king of the mountain standing on a ledge overlooking a deep canyon.  If I’d hit him, he surely would have taken to the canyon below – what a pack out that would have been.
So, like any other sane bowhunter, I went down into the canyon. I decided to walk the naked alders and fir trees, which seemed to surround the small creek that wound through the canyon. I noticed some large deer tracks in the snow and told myself they must belong to a big Blackie.  I hadn’t covered more than 100 yards when I just about stepped on a deer. I was so busy stepping over downed limbs and following the tracks that I didn’t even noticed the deer bedded under a fir tree.  The most beautiful Blacktail I’d ever seen jumped up and ran out 30 yards and turned broadside to me and gazed back at me. Not taking time to count points, I was already at full drew with my Martin Cougar Magnum, set the 30 yard pin on the buck’s chest, and let fly. One would have thought I was shooting with fingers, ah I was shooting with fingers.  The buck was no longer just standing, he’d flat busted out of there. He moved so fast I just shook my head and wondered if I’d missed. I went to the spot where the buck had been, no blood. Now the snow was really coming down and the wind had picked up in the canyon. My heart pounding in my chest, all I could do was follow the tracks in the direction he’d gone.  I started to notice some foamy blood spots and walked about 80 yards on the blood trail, stopped, and looked around. There, in the ferns just below me, was the butt of a deer.  He must have taken one last leap in this last breath! The broadhead had done its job; my shot was a bit high barely missing the heart. I was able to find a small road out of the canyon, thus was able to drive my truck with chains forward and aft down into the canyon.  The buck was a heavy load to pull up into the bed of the truck, especially since I was wet, tired and the snow being everywhere.
My Columbia Blacktail had one of the most beautiful basket sets of horns a person could want, a very symmetrical four point with eye guards. He scored officially at 129 7/8 P & Y Net (Pope & Young).  Never wait so long to get an animal scored!  If he had not had a small chip off of the G-4 on left side, it would have made the B & C (Boone & Crockett) book along with the P & Y book during that time frame. Now in B & C is at 135 to be listed.  I’ll bet that a great deal of hunters do not know that you can list your Archery harvested animals in Boone & Crockett also if it meets their standards.  Double the pleasure of being in both Books! Sometimes it pays to do the unexpected at the last minute.  

Hmm! Now I will check out the head!

You can see from the expression on my daughter’s about her thoughts of seeing a dead animal lying on the ground. In the future I found she would not want to harvest an animal, but would get involved with the field dressing of animals on trips that I took her on.  

Rebecca wondering what the heck dad!

Have fun hunting!  Bwana Bubba 

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Published by Frank Biggs on 11 Feb 2013

Bwana Bubba’s 1987 Rancho Rajneesh Deer Hunt

Me and my pink vanes!  This is how I found the buck!

Me and my pink vanes! This is how I found the buck!

It was extremely hard for the team to stop hunting the Rancho Rajneesh, it was an addiction!

It is about time that I share this story with my readers and friends with all the facts.   It happen a few years back, lets say some 25 years ago, (which feels yesterday), during an opening day bow hunt in Central Oregon in the Grizzly Hunt Unit for Mule deer.

The story is of humor, comedy of errors, or just plain hunting!

We would be hunting the Rancho Rajneesh again or better known to the locals as “The Big Muddy” we spent a great deal of time over there, glassing, scouting and taking pictures of the deer and elk that thrived in the area.   On this hunt I would be accompanied by one of my hardcore hunting partners Dave Brill who is a very accomplish bow and rifle hunter.   On this trip I actually let someone else drive their truck.   This would work out greatly for me at the end of the hunt. “Dave it looks like I won the toss, so I get first shot at a Mulie buck” “Ok! Bubba, even if it is my truck and all!”   “Ya! Dave, like you would let me drive your truck?”  That was a great line to use, but the next day, I would have his truck while he hunted…  I needed to get the deer meat into cold storage in Madras, Oregon.  One of the grocery stores in town had a separate locker for game meat!

Again we would be hunting one of our favorite spots in Central Oregon, which would be outside of Donnybrook, Oregon on the south side of the Rancho Rajneesh.   There was a couple of parcels we found ourselves going back too every year, as it was B.L.M., yet tied to a couple of ranches that we could pass through and sometimes hunt.   Ah!  You are wondering of the spot, well I will give you the spot of big bucks as near Hinkle Butte!  Old man Crowley (Raymond) was a great man to know in the area!  You could find him on his front porch at his home in Donnybrook along Gosner Rd.   He had a number of parcels that bordered the BLM in the “Big Muddy Ranch.”  This gave a save access into the BLM without being noticed.   We were able to keep are secret spots to ourselves for over a 20 year time frame.

This land is now owned by Young Life and a real estate broker in three separate parcels.

We had spotted a number of bucks during our trip into the area for the evening hunt.  The morning hunt was a bust for both of us!  I love to hunt the evening, as most everyone else has settled back down into their camps.  It does not bother me to hike out in the dark when I am deep into the interior of B.L.M.; usually the evening is from about 1330 on.   If I look back over the years I have probably harvest more game from 1300 until dusk!  Figuring that big bulls and big bucks need to stretch a bit after their mid-day nap!

Let’s get back to the story, as I stated earlier, we had seen a number of bucks on the way in.  As we were approaching the honey spot, I notice a real dandy buck up on the hill with what I figured at about a 29” outside spread and heavy racked.   Hunt on, as I roll out the truck and took off with my pack, pack frame, crackers, light sweater, Leupold binoculars, camera, new Martin Onza bow, and Kershaw knives!   Oh! Did I mention that I forgot water in my pack?  The buck is working up the hillside and not knowing that I am behind him I figured.  So quiet that I am in the stalk of this “Big Muddy” buck.   He is working up in front of me through the Junipers, rocks and Sagebrush still in view at about 90 yards.  I feel that I am closing the distance quickly and when I get within 40 yards I will just let him have it when I grunt at him and get him to swing broadside. As I turn the corner of the ridge I was working up he has disappeared, “what no way he is gone.”  The wind was coming down the ridge into my face; I just missed seeing him turn into the draw…

Got over that little trip in the mind and decide to continue the hunt at a place we called the swamp.  

As I approach the swamp, I see a lone buck standing at the edge of the water with lots of cover to work into him.   The buck is not very wide, but tall and extremely heavy with abnormal points.   As I get ready to drill him at 35 yards (he has no clue I am behind him), out of the corner of my left eye, I see about 25 bucks starting to get up in another part of the swamp in the cattails at about 45 yards.  They were now in full line of sight.   I swung onto this buck that was pushing 30” who was just standing their broadside looking me, as were all the rest.   Easy shot and I took the shot, only to see it hit the only branch of Sagebrush sticking up at the boiler room.  The arrow of course deflected and cut the hair off the top of the buck’s back.  He gave me a smile and just walked off into the direction sun and they all stood out at 70 yards on the open hill side!  “A bird in the hand is worth how many birds in the bush?” I would have say that was pretty wild and not ever going to be repeated in my lifetime of so many bucks taking a bath together at one time.  I found a few empty Ivory Soap wrappers at the waters’ edge…

I am now over that experience also and moving on as I had more ground to cover and see what was out there.  

I move alone a Juniper tree line and spot 6 good bucks, one being swamper in a small basin at about ¼ mile away.  To run the game down to within 100 or so yards, then put the final stalk on was great enjoyment for me.  Mule deer with enough cover are pretty easy to sneak up on.  I get to Juniper and Sagebrush along a B.L.M. cross section fence line that was next to the small barren basin which is about 50 yards from the deer.   You wonder about the 50 yards and all!  I used my range finder the wheel type and it said 50 yards to the big buck.   I took a picture of the big boy also!  You’re saying how many big bucks can this guy find? Well it was un-real, but real.  The big bucks were there and everywhere around the area within a 50 mile circle.  Alright being skeptical of my dial a wheel range finder (just got it), I felt the buck was no more than 40 yards as I drew back and shot through the brush, I should have believed the range finder, as the buck must have been 50 yards, as I watch arrow past under his belly.

Almost!  Horseshoes anyone?

Now I am really bummed out about this whole hunt and rushing into the hunt and not believing first thoughts.   Well there was still some day light left and I never give up until it is illegal to shoot.

I am now up on the plateau glassing down into another basin.   All of a sudden I see a single buck at about 1000 yards out.  I figure he is about 25” to 26” wide and a pretty good looking buck, plus the fact it about time to get the job done.  He is feeding in the middle of the basin, but I could see that he was working towards the West.  In his path of travel it would lead him past a big pile of dead Juniper trees.

This is another reason we keep coming back.  Michael James took this picture during the opening day of archery, but in another one of our spots.  He was a rifle hunter, that love to scout when we were archery hunting...

This is another reason we keep coming back. Michael James took this picture during the opening day of archery, but in another one of our spots. He was a rifle hunter, that love to scout when we were archery hunting…

Hunt on, as I race to cover ground and get on the buck.  Getting within a quarter mile of the spot that I would ambush the buck, I drop my pack frame.   With only my Martin Onza (first run production Onza) I raced to the pile of dead junipers.  I was completely invisible (another words he had not clue I was standing in the open and waiting for him) from where I was standing, yet I could see his rack as he moved along the pile.  I went to full draw and had the 30 yard pin on the spot I figured he would come to once he cleared the pile.  It is great that he covered the distance in a short period of time as the Onza had a draw weight of #90.  It was mental thing in those days of bow hunting to have the biggest and baddest bow made! In the 21st Century my new Onza 3 with a draw weight of 72 is most likely about 100 fps faster than my first Onza and it was a hottest bow in the 20th Century! (Yes, I know believed the range finder and mentally plugged in points of yardage.)  As he cleared the pile and was broadside to me, yet was still feeding, I let my fingers do the work.   As the XX75 2317 26 1/2” with a 125 gr. Brute 3 in flight the buck look straight at me into my sunglasses (he heard the bow, but it was too late for him).  That was the last time I saw his eyes looking at me, as to my amazement the arrow hit him dead center in the mouth.   “You got to be kidding me”, as the buck jumped over the side of the rim that I didn’t know was even there.  I thought to myself as the light was fading, what I am going to do now?   I set my bow down on the rim and started to glass in to the bottom of the canyon.  It took me about 2 panic minutes to spot him hunkered up in the bottom (arrow went down this throat about 12 inches).   Ok! I have found him, but I don’t have my pack frame or camera.   I took off on a dead run to where I left my pack frame and ran right back to the rim.   It took me another 90 seconds to remember where I left my Martin Onza.  Finally I get myself down to the buck, take pictures as no one is going to believe this shot.   I give the buck my “Hawaiian Cut” which puts him in quarters with the removal of backstrap and tenderloins.   This is the only way I field dress big game, fast (30 minutes on a deer) and there is little blood!  I get as much as I can on the pack frame along with the head and cape.

Strange Rack on this buck, with a double left beam.

Strange Rack on this buck, with a double left beam.

I have to climb out of the bottom and head back to the truck that would be waiting for me I hoped.  It would be about 3 miles line of sight to get back and light was fading fast, real fast.   There was a great deal of cheat grass and it made it possible to see for a while.   I had decided to take a short cut to the road, which would be a mistake for me.  It was now dark and dark, as the thunder heads over the John Day River were settling in.  Thunder and Lighting now was everywhere, plus it started to rain.  When the sky would light up I would move towards the direction of my pickup spot.  I could see the micro wave tower light and that helped me for a while.  I then lost all the grass and got into just rocks.  I could no longer go forward in reaching the truck or Dave. I had lost the lighting as it would move further east towards Mitchell, Oregon.

I was going to have to spend the night out in the weather with only a light sweater on.   Did I mention that I had forgotten water, now I needed it for sure after eating the crackers?  The crackers were pretty dry.  It was a good thing that I trained in the desert on running missions with no water… The temperature had now dropped and my sweater was not enough at this point.   I hate DIRT, (did I say I hate dirt?) but knew the only way I was going to make until morning, was to hunker down under a low hanging Juniper and bury myself in the dirt (dust).  Though it was raining it would not last very long, as the storm had past.  That is just what I did; waking up about every two hours to see if light had come finally over the John Day River.   It was probably about 5:30 AM when I woke up again and could see a hint of sun coming over the hills above the John Day River.  There was not a cloud in the sky now with only the sun to show up for the day!

Later in the day the temperature reaches about 98 degrees, same the first day. I was now up and getting the pack frame on with most of the buck attached.   It was a good thing I did not try to venture further during the night; I surely would have found myself in the bottom of narrow rock crevice for life.  There was no way that I would have seen the edge and would have fallen to the bottom.  Making it out to the dirt road, out of no where, Dave and his truck appeared.  Dave had driven the dirt road hitting the horn once in a while until about midnight, and then parked off the road until morning; he figured I would be ok with my military background!

Dave's Buck from the last weekend!

Dave’s Buck from the last weekend!

I told Dave it was time for him to hunt the elk he had seen while he was coming up the road.  I could get the front quarters out later in the afternoon! Dave never got on the elk again, but at the end of the season we went back to our spot and he killed a great buck!  That will be another story, but I will let you see Dave’s buck from the last weekend of the archery season in 1987!

Morale of the story:  Be Prepared – Have a Trusting Friend

 

 

This is why we hunted the Grizzly Unit in the day!  This is a great 37" buck taken!

This is why we hunted the Grizzly Unit in the day! This is a great 37″ buck taken!

 

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Published by admin on 11 Jan 2013

How fast do you really want your bow to be? By Terry Martin

How fast do you really want your bow to be?

   By Terry Martin

Over the last 40 years, I have personally tested thousands of bows.

In addition, I have reviewed hundreds of test results and reviews written for articles.

In the early years of the compound bow, truth is many good recurves were faster than most compounds. In the early years compound bows’ let-off made it easier to hold at full draw. However, the durability and performance was not what it is today. It would be similar to comparing the Model T to cars of today.

An archer needs to consider several things when choosing between a traditional or compound bow. Many archers choose to shoot traditional bows for their simplicity and light weight, not to mention the tradition and enjoyment of shooting these classic designs.

Speed is great, however there is a price to pay. In early compound design, the energy was created by round eccentric wheels. These bows peaked at maximum weight for about 2 inches during the draw force curve of the bow.

Current cam have been designed so the bow draws with peaking almost as soon as you start drawing back and not letting off until almost full draw. This creates much more stored energy and a much faster bow.

Basically, the faster the bow the harder it will be to pull back. At full draw, however, the archer is only holding about 30 percent of the peak weight.

For comparisons, here are some examples of average speeds for different types:

Longbow 160 to 180 fps (feet per second)
Recurve 170 to 210 fps
Early compounds 180 to 240 fps
Current compounds with high performance cams 280 to 350 fps
Of course, it’s important to consider other changes made over the years like riser materials, better string material, improved limb technology, cam design, composite arrows and overall bow design.

Over the years, new bow designs, release aids and arrows have caused controversy.

I remember when I was 10 years old, many felt the bow sight was too much an improvement. The reality is you could tape a tooth pick on your sight window and have an advantage.

Release aids were an even bigger controversy. Some states banned release aids in the 1970s, but sales were as strong as states without a ban so the banning laws were quickly changed. The reality is the Turks used release aids hundreds of years ago.

You can imagine what a controversy the compound bow was. Many archers felt they would destroy archery. Some dealers refused to carry compounds. Since the traditional market died for several years after the introduction of compounds, shops that refused to sell anything except recurves and long bows did not survive.

Many manufacturers stopped production of traditional bows entirely. In the last 20 years, interest has returned and the traditional market has been increasing.

In today’s market, archers can choose whichever feels best to them and many shoot both.

Both have advantages — compound have more speed, which helps when judging yardage, they shoot flatter and allow the archer the advantage of misjudging the yardage by a greater distance and still hit the target; long bows and recurves have the advantage of simplicity and light weight.

You can have lot of fun no matter whatever you choose. Archery is a great family sport. Keep in mind, even if a bow is fast, if it’s not tuned or the archer isn’t able to handle the bow, you just miss at a faster speed! Visit a pro shop or watch the videos on www.ArcheryTalk.com to get started right.

Terry Martin grew up in the family archery business building arrows, accessories and shooting in tournaments from the age 6. In the early 1970s he began designing and patenting the first Martin compound bows. Many of the features are used throughout the industry today.

In 1997, he started Archerytalk.com the world’s largest online archery community.

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Published by archerchick on 25 Jul 2012

Watching The Woods Change -By Randall Schwalbach

Archery World – October 1987
Watching The Woods Change
By Randall Schwalbach
The freedom of exploring wild places is one of the joys of hunting. There’s nothing like the anticipation of going out of state on the big hunt. New country, new faces, new challenges — that’s what turns on bowhunters like you and me. At the same time, however, many of us enjoy returning to a favorite hunting spot year after year. I enjoy roaming a woodlot in central Wisconsin where I started bowhunting whitetail deer 15 years ago. It has become sort of an annual pilgrimage, and come mid-September my thoughts converge on this chunk of heaven I call the Big Hoods.
The Big Woods
What I find most amazing about the Big Woods is that it is in a state of constant change. Not only does habitat evolution/ alteration affect deer movement on a year to year basis, but also new generations of deer acquire new patterns and survival techniques. In order for you to enjoy continuous success at your own “old faithful ,” I’m going to share some of my experiences with this evolution at my own tried and true Big Woods. Did you ever marvel at how fast a tree grows? Just look out your window at that maple you planted in the backyard when your irst son or daughter was born. Amazing, isn’t it! Now, consider that a tree is useful to deer for different reasons during the course of its life, and you’ll see why no woods can ever stay the same. When it is small, a tree is likely to be either (1) eaten or (2) used as cover - or quite possibly both. Toward the end of its sapling status, it serves as a good place to polish antlers and test brute strength. Between this and the fruit bearing stage, say, if it is an oak, the tree as an individual is not highly useful. The point is, the woods are a collection of many trees, either in a process of growth or death, and as a unit the woods are indeed constantly changing - right before your eyes.
When I first started hunting the Big Woods, the northern edge was well defined. It butted up against a 20 acre farm field that lay fallow and consisted of thick canary grass and tall goldenrod, with a few small aspen and birch scattered through. In the past 15 years, however, the oaks and maples of the Big Woods have grown out into the field, producing a “zone” rather than a strict delineation or “edge.” The deer used to cross the 20 acre field rather quickly to go between cornfields and the woods. They entered the woods at the corners and at a few select points along the edge. The sign they left was concentrated at these entrances. Now the deer actually “live” in the field and in the “zone” created by the advance of the Big Woods. The cover is much thicker and there are many more lanes of safe travel for deer. Individual trails, however, are not as prominent, and the sign is less concentrated. I think there are more deer now, but they make less impact.
How has my hunting strategy changed? For starters, I alarm too many deer if I walk
 through the zone between woods and field, which is where my old walking trail is. I now enter the woods from a different side. Because the deer come into the woods from any point along the north boundary, I now have better luck hunting farther into the woods itself, where main trails are still in use and sign is concentrated. For nostalgic reasons, I sometimes sit in my old stands along the “edge,” but my luck there is seldom good. It is important to understand that the Big Woods itself is used primarily for three things: (1) acorns, (2) a rutting area and (3) a lane for quick travel to a major swamp/bedding ground to the south. As the only major highland in the area, the Big Woods is strategic for the hunter with a discerning eye.
There is an annual adjustment in deer movement directly related to farm crop rotation. Although my woods are not bordered by any tilled land, there are fields in three different directions. The field to the west is 100 yards distant and is always planted in corn. Encompassing a half section of land, the corn planted there often becomes primary escape cover as well as a food lot. In alternate years, roughly, there is corn to the north and to the east, within a quarter to half mile of my woods. Because deer seem to enjoy variety just as much as we like to try out different restaurants, they will travel the extra distance between these fields and my woods. This is in favor of the deer, from a biologist’s point of view, for it decreases social pressure and interaction. From a hunter’s standpoint, deer sign spreads out and hot-spots become less of a factor. The deer are everywhere, and they approach the woods from all sides, complicating the matter of placing a stand, particularly in relation to wind direction.
The availability of natural food supplies also changes from year to year. During the fall, one of the most important deer foods to look for is the acorn, fruit of the oak tree Since one species of oak may produce more acorns than another in a given year, pay attention to the different groves of oak in any one woods. Furthermore, mast producing capabilities of individual trees within a species also vary. (See my article, “Acorn Time ’s the Time” in Archery World August, 1986, for the complete lowdown on oaks and acorns. Differences in food supply, remember, affect not only where the deer eat, but also where they bed and from which direction they approach the woods.
Natural events such as a violent windstorm can change deer patterns dramatically. Several summers ago one storm took more than 100 of our big oaks. The deer had formerly been accustomed to a clear view in the mature timber, which they traveled through at a quick walk. When the trees came down, it gave predators (like me) good places to hide. so the deer had to slow down and move through the area with greater caution. ln effect, this gave them more time to detect my presence.
In many instances, downed trees also obscured my vision, making it harder for me to spot deer approaching favorite stands. My father and I used to love one open glade in the late afternoon as the deer approached through the slanting rays of sunshine. This perennial stand suddenly became a poor hunting locale. It remained that way until we got in there with a chain saw and restored some order to the area. Shortly the deer returned to using their old trails with confidence. A further outcome of the windstorm was the creation of a new hunting strategy for me – the pit blind. In a nutshells, the upturned root end of a windblown oak created a natural hole for a hunter to crawl into. A little improvement with a spade, and I had a first-class blind that put me as close as I’ve ever been to wild deer. For example, six inches between my face and the antlered end of one whitetail buck was CLOSE!
Another kind of evolution that can force a hunter to revise his strategy is a change of land ownership. When my father first purchased the Big Woods in the early 60’s, all the adjacent lands were owned by farmers. As they subsequently sold off of small parcels (split off the big farms) to non-farmers, the result was a loss of hunting grounds for us and a decline in the hunting potential on our own land. One person put an old mobile home smack dab on the edge of our property, ruining one area totally. Another routinely invites more people to hunt his land than he actually has room for, producing the added headache of a trespass problem for us. We have made the necessary adjustments for these changes, however, and fortunately we still have excellent hunting at the Big Woods.
Possibly you are contemplating buying your own land for hunting. The best advice I
have for you is to locate an available parcel adjacent to a large tract of land that is least likely to be split up and sold off in small parcels. By the same token, don’t purchase hunting land with the idea that it will provide instant and easy access to other peoples’ lands. Neighbors may be willing to grant you hunting rights on their land, but don’t assume this. Acquire enough land of your own to provide for your sporting needs.
In addition to habitat evolution, food availability and change of land ownership, there is the possibility of new generations of deer acquiring new habits - that is, adapting new ways to avoid you. I believe that due to wide-spread use, the overall effectiveness of the tree stand has diminished significantly over the past 10 years. When I first started hunting out of trees for deer, the results were fabulous. Most of the stands I used were no more than 10 feet off the ground, and deer were always walking right underneath me. Rare indeed were the occasions the deer looked up out of natural curiosity, even after detecting a strange odor or hearing a sound that was out of place. I used one tree in particular over and over, year after year, with excellent success. Gradually, however, the deer became wise to my strategy, forcing me to become more of a specialist at the arboreal ambush. Indeed, trees were still good places to hide, but the deer were starting to check out the various trees as they went about their business. I learned to pay more attention to camouflaging myself with natural materials and shadows, whereas before I had relied upon sheer elevation.
Also, once the deer spotted me in a tree stand, it seemed to make a larger impact on their memory, and the effectiveness of any given tree stand diminished through usage. Today, I still use tree stands, but I change their locations more frequently, and I generally go much higher - 22 feet is about average. For all purposes, I have abandoned the permanent, wooden platform made of 2×4 lumber in favor of the portable, aluminum stand which I can backpack in and out of the woods. The latter are more effective as they can be put in almost any tree. They also create less of an eyesore when I leave, for I take them with me.
In addition to tree stands, I spend more time these days still-hunting and waiting in ground blinds. The end result of all this is a continuous, intensive scouting program to keep abreast of the natural changes in the woods as well as man-made-alterations. We always think to ourselves, “Wouldn’t it be nice if some things would just stay the same forever?” But the truth is, that old hunting spot of yours is bound to change; it changes a little bit every day. Spend some time revising your bowhunting strategies to suit the new conditions and it will pay you off with the one thing that doesn’t change - the satisfaction of making a kill with the bow and arrow.
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