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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

Get Aggresive For Elk – By Jeff Copeland


BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2002

GET AGGRESIVE FOR ELK
By Jeff Copeland
In the pre-rut, before the bugles begin and the weather is uncooperative, sometimes you just have to go get em!

My heart rocketed into my throat as the beautiful 6×6 strode from behind the brush broadside at just 25 yards. He was following a couple of cows as they fed toward the point of a ridge. I knew something had to happen quickly because the gentle breeze tickling my left ear would be swirling around the point of a ridge. I knew something had to happen quickly because the gentle breeze tickling my left ear would be swirling around the point that the cows were headed for; but for this moment, there were too many unobstructed eyes for me to lift my bow and come to full draw. In the past few years, I’d had this dream thousands of times, but on September 3, 1999, it wasn’t a dream. It was a reality

This was my first trip to New Mexico to
hunt elk with Ray Milligan and Milligan
Brand Outfitters. Our plan was to hunt the
first week of the 1999 archery elk season,
thinking that the weather would be warm and
dry. This would allow us Lone Star flat-landers to sit comfortably in a treestand overlooking the area’s isolated watering holes and
take our pick from the parade of bulls that would get thirsty in the evenings.
That plan looked good on the drawing board»—and it probably would have turmed out exactly that way had l been left out of the
equation. l firmly believe I have personally been responsible for ending more droughts than El Nino.
True to form, we arrived in the Milligan camp to mid-40—degree temperatures and a pouring rain that turned to sleet as
me day progressed. Rain was predicted as far as the forecast extended and we knew we were in for one tough hunt.
Needless to say, Ray informed us that sitting over a waterhole would be a waste of time.

One of the benefits of being an avowed weather jinx is that you learn to be a more adaptable hunter. If I hadn’t learned
to be adaptable, a dozen arrows would have lasted me through the entire decade of the ’90s. So,
as we sat around the dinner table that first night, I tied to be the optimist.
“Elk are smart, but they’re not whitetails,”
I told my hunting partners. “This country is conducive to stalking and it’ll be just like hunting exotics back home in Texas.
If we can find them, we can kill them.”

Topping a ridge at about 5 p.m. on the second day of our hunt, I
spotted a really nice bull herding two cows down the mountain in front of me.
This trio was eventually joined by about 20 additional elk on the edge of a
meadow. I glassed the bull with my Leica 10X42s as the elk began feeding in my direction.
The oak brush-covered ridge I was on ran perpendicular to the mountain that the elk came
from and bordered the meadow where they were feeding.

With more than two hours of legal hunting time left, and the elk totally oblivious to my presence while feeding in my direction, I
already had my tag on this bull and my fork in one of his juicy steaks. However, as is often the case, it wasn’t meant to be. A lone black
bear emerged from the brush between us, and the elk herd soon hoofed it back up the mountain, destination unknown.

Not quite sure what to do, I stayed put, cursing the bear until the sun fell behind the mountain where the elk had made their escape. Then, remembering the huge open valley that lay behind the ridge to my right, I
thought maybe the elk had dropped off into it to feed. As I eased quietly around the ridge glassing the draws and headers for brown fur and calcium, I finally reached the edge of the valley. Sure enough, the elk were there, feeding away from me at about 250 yards. With sunset (New Mexico’s end of legal hunting time) only five minutes away, I decided not
to risk pushing the herd out of the area.

The next morning my enthusiasm woke me up before Scotty Wilson, the camp cook, even sounded reveille. At daylight, though, I spotted my herd and they had already returned to the security of the oak brush-covered
mountainside and were browsing their way up toward the dark timber, where they would likely spend the day. Knowing the elk were gone until evening, I used the morning as an opportunity to familiarize myself with the terrain on the side of the ridge where the herd had been feeding at sunset the day before.

Bear or no bear, this time I had a plan. That afternoon, the sky was clear and temperatures had warmed a bit. I arrived at my perch atop the brushy ridge to see if I could spot the herd that I had put to bed that morning. Around 4:30 p.m., I heard a bugle and recognized the voice from the day before. Though I couldn’t see them, over the next hour or so, I could tell from the cow calls and
bugles that the herd was moving down the other side of the ridge again. I knew where

the herd was headed, and because I knew the lay of the land, I had time to get between them and where they were going. I gathered my gear and began slipping around the ridge to find my bull. As I cautiously eased through the brush, I spotted a mule deer doe and had to wait for her to feed into the brush so I could get by without spooking her. Once I was past, the bull bugled
again and I spotted a cow less than 100 yards away. Just as I had hoped, they were feeding on the ridge that ran above the big valley and the wind was quartering from them to me.

When I figured out exactly where the rest of the herd was, I dropped off into the draw and inched forward until I could just peel; over the edge of the ridge the elk were on. As I did so, I saw a cow, a calf, another cow, and the 6×6 bull come by at 25 yards. My Bushnell rangefinder was tucked into the
cargo pocket on my right pant leg and there was no time to retrieve it. The cows fed on the side of the ridge and the bull was about to follow. His head went behind a ponderosa stump and I came to full draw. He was walking, quartering slightly away when a cow called from behind him. As he paused to
look back, my subconscious shouted “50!’ while my pin hit the crease of his front shoulder and my Mathews Black Max sent the Easton A/C/C 371 streaking at 303 fps down a collision course with the bull’s heart.

At impact. the bull bucked and kicked with both back feet as he bolted 15 yards before
piling up near a downed pine. The rest of the herd never had a clue what was going on and I
had to wait for them to feed off of the ridge. When they were gone, I ran over to put my
hands on the bull’s massive beams. I sat in awe of his beauty as I looked through his tines
at the sun setting behind the mountains across the valley, and thought about all the times
before I had played this game of cat and mouse, only to come out on the losing side.
This was my first pre-rut elk hunt and it taught me a lot. In the first couple weeks of September,
there isn’t a lot of bugling like later in the month As the week progresses, you begin to
hear more bugles in the early morning and late evening, but still not a lot of roaring back and
forth like you hear in the peak of the rut. As a result, you may find cow calling is a lot more
common and effective in getting a response. From a half-hour after sunrise to a half-hour
before sunset, cow calls may be the only elk vocalizations you will hear.

Many hunters like to go elk hunting in the rut so they can hear the bulls bugling,
and I’ll admit I enjoy that spine-tingling whistle as much as the next guy. However,
as a bowhunter, when I go elk hunting, I like to kill a bull, and it has been my
personal experience that the early season is the time where I have the best chance
at that. I can hear bulls bugle on the Outdoor Channel in my living room.

The other big difference between hunting this time frame and the rut is that when a bull
answers your calling, he typically won’t be headed in your direction. In the early season,
you can listen for bugles to determine the areas holding the elk. If you cow call and have
a bull answer, chances are he isn’t coming to you, but he will stop what he is doing and look
in your direction. When you have a bull answer, don`t continue calling like you would during the rut.
Instead, try to home-in on the bull’s location, moving to where you think you will be able to see the bull, and decide if
he is the one you want to take. If you think you are getting close to the bull’s location but
you still haven’t spotted him, then it’s time to call again to see if he is still in the area.

One thing about hunting the Southwest during the first week of September is that typically,
the mature herd bulls are not the ones out gathering up cows. Usually, the younger,
satellite bulls gather cows and do the majority of the bugling that time of year. The big
boys are usually alone, but in the vicinity, thrashing brush, making wallows and generally
keeping watch on the younger bulls while preparing for the combat to come.

When you spot a decent bull with a herd of cows, it might be worth your while to glass
the surrounding country before setting your sights on him. Such was the case with a bull I
shot last year, on another trip to New Mexico with Ray Milligan. Once again the hunting
was tough but for totally different reasons. Last year, the Southwest was in a terrible
drought and wildfires were rampant. Fortunately, the area I was to hunt was out of the
bum zone, but it was hot and very dry.

Arriving full of anticipation about ambushing at waterholes, we were in for yet another disappointment.
The drought was so severe that ponds and water tanks holding the limited
water were continually visited by the numerous bears that inhabit north central New Mexico
—not good when you’re after elk or mule deer. The parched terrain made still-hunting
difficult and slow stalking more critical than ever. It was a tough hunt but there are lots of elk
in the country Milligan Brand has leased. I spotted several good bulls and actually passed
up shot opportunities at three different ones in the 240-265-inch class. I was determined to get
something bigger than the 280 I shot in 1999.

The last morning of my hunt, I decided to go back into an area where I had seen several
different groups of elk. By that time in my hunt, I figured if I couldn’t spot a good bull, I
might be able to till my tag with a cow so I could take home some meat. I arrived in the
area I wanted to hunt just as dawn was breaking. The air was cool and crisp and I heard
bugles in several directions as I approached the top of the ridge where I wanted to glass. Of all
the bugles I heard, there was one in particular that caught my attention. It was a deep guttural
growl, followed by an ear-piercing whistle that seemed to linger in the air for an eternity. I had
to get a look at the critter making this sound.

As the early morning light altered its way into the canyon I was overlooking, I began to
make out the silhouettes of elk. My Leicas focused in on a nice 6×5 that I had passed a
couple of days earlier. I knew he wasn’t making the sound that had piqued my interest.
When it got light enough to see well, I made a couple of cow calls. Just as I finished the second
mew, another bull answered. He was an old herd bull that was now thrashing brush
directly below me about 300 yards from the herd which held the 6×5.

When the 6×5 bugled, I cow-called and the old bull stepped out of the brush nearly
causing me to swallow my diaphragm. He was a massive 6×6 that would dwarf the bull I
shot the year before. To add insult to injury he looked in my direction and bugled in my
face just for good measure. As he walked into the edge of the meadow, the 6×5 quickly.
drove his cows across the valley, up the opposite ridge and out of sight over its crest, leaving me
and the big guy to fulfill our own destinies in the quiet New Mexico morning light.

After an hour of playing cat-and-mouse with the monarch as he demolished oak brush
and ripped apart pine trees with his long ivory tipped tines, I managed to get around him so
the wind was right. In another 45 minutes I finally got ahead of him and was waiting at full
draw when he stepped into an opening between two patches of brush. My arrow
found its mark and 75 yards later I was admiring the regal beast laying on the point of a ridge
with the sun glinting off his massive beams. In the early season, before the bulls really
get fired up, many times success can hinge on the weather. When the weather tums nasty
making waterholes ineffective, you can still fill your tag if you know what to do when you
have to go get ’em! >>—>

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

TAGGED OUT – By Steven Tisdale & Brandon Ray


BOWHUNTING
October 2002

TAGGED OUT
by Steven Tisdale & Brandon Ray

To Shoot all five of the North American deer species: whitetail,
Coues whitetail, mule deer, Columbian blacktail and a Sitka blacktail,
during the course of any bowhunter’s lifetime, is a tremendous accomplishment.
To shoot all five deer species in less than a year, with three of the
five deer species taken on do-it-yourself hunts, would be phenomenal.
As one friend put it,”Now that’s the sort of thing you should write an article about!”

Texas bowhunter Steven Tisdale did just that during the 2000 hunting season. Tisdale, 37 years old
today is the owner of Collision King Repair Center, an auto body shop in the town of Lubbock.
He has been a bowhunter for 17 years. He is like most bowhunters,
Tisdale works hard all year at his business and spends his free time with his
wife and two daughters, but come fall he finds time to slip away on the weekends to
pursue his passion, bowhunting. While the dusty panhandle town of
Lubbock is hardly at the center of great bowhunting country, there is good hunting for
both mule deer and whitetails within a couple of hours drive of the city.

Tisdale’s first taste of success came on a mule deer hunt in eastern New Mexico.
Tisdale gained permission to hunt a private ranch in the rolling sand dunes and
farm country found on the Texas/New Mexico border. Here are the details of that hunt, and others, in his own words.

Mule Deer New Mexico and Texas

Looking out my pickup window at the sun sinking down on the horizon,
I calculated that I had two or three more areas left to glass before
darkness would erase the landscape. An unproductive early season
tag had been neatly folded in my wallet for the last three months and
I was eager for another chance during this late—season, archery—only
hunt. At the base of a tall sand dune, I ditched the truck like I’d done
several times already that afternoon. I climbed the sand dune and poked
my head over the top, being careful not to be skylined. I scanned to
the west and suddenly my glasses were filled.

With a 5×5 mule deer buck less than 150 yards away. I quickly ducked
out of sight and skirted the perimeter, making mental notes of the
buck`s last location.
I slithered through the short shin oak brush and cactus using the
dunes to flank an approach route. When I thought I was getting close
I eased into position and peeked over the closest dune. The buck was
35 yards away, broadside. I drew on him and released, but a hard
crosswind combined with me being winded from the stalk sent the
arrow off course, just grazing the buck’s back. The buck, not knowing
my whereabouts, turned toward me and dropped out of sight in a low
spot. In one fluid motion I nocked a second arrow and drew as the
buck came back into view, topping the sand dune in front of me. At 18
yards I put the arrow into the oncoming buck’s chest. He turned and
ran 75 yards and collapsed within sight.

The last 10 minutes worth of events soaked into my brain as my
heart pounded and sweat ran down my brow. During the past 15 years
I have had some dry spells pursuing big game with a bow. In my
twenties, it was sometimes almost more than my restless, impatient
soul could bear. Sometimes I would be on the verge of picking up a rifle, but an occasional animal taken would quickly bring me back to the realization that it was well worth the effort to hunt only with a bow.

During the drive home I pondered on what I would do for my next hunt, just as many bowhunters would do. I had set aside five days off of work for hunting in the month of January. Visions of thick-beamed, mouse—colored
Coues bucks chasing does in the colorful deserts of Arizona filled my thoughts. I had hunted the sneaky Coues whitetail of the desert Southwest off and on for the last 12 years without success. That would be my next hunt.

(ln addition to Steven’s January mule deer he shot a second, even
larger muley buck in late October on his deer lease in the Texas Panhandle. That buck was also taken by spot—and-stalk hunting in rugged, open canyon country. A 30—yard shot downed that second, wide 5×5 muley buck.)

Coues Whitetail Arizona
Thursday evening after work, I quickly went home, loaded my truck
with gear, kissed the wife and kids goodbye, and headed west. My
plan was to camp out and stay mobile until I found a good place to
aunt. It is common to see mule deer in the lower elevations before
getting into Coues country and that is mostly what I encountered for
the next three days. During the middle of the day I tried to gather
information on hunting areas from the local ranchers, arming myself
with forest maps, a smile and a friendly handshake. After several
encounters their response seemed prerecorded, “You’re trying to get
a mountain whitetail with a bow? Why don’t you go for a muley, lot
more meat and easier to hunt’?” At the end of day four, I made a major
move to an area I had hunted several years earlier—rough terrain and
a good walk in.

Once in the new location my memory was fuzzy at first. A familiar knob
overlooking lots of stalkable terrain Finally registered.
Yes, there it is. I unpacked my optics, got comfortable and began glassing,
picking the desert apart. The Zeiss were scrutinizing hunks of land-
one tree, one rock, one cactus at a time. Veteran Coues deer hunters
will tell you that glassing is the key to success. At the first possible
light let the binoculars be your legs, they say, reaching into faraway
shadows of pinions and brush. Be patient.

One spike buck and a few does was all I found that morning. Further down in a different bowl I saw one doe, then another and another. From a half mile away I watched several more deer filter out of a low spot in a far-away crease. I decided to investigate. When I reached the low spot where all those deer were coming out, I noticed a small natural pond with about a dozen ducks on it. “Could this be the only water source in this area?” I thought to myself. As I
approached the water’s edge the ducks lifted off. There were heavy trails
leading to the water with tiny hoof prints in the mud. Two sizable pinion
pines near the pond would serve as a makeshift ground blind. As I got situated
in my new ground blind the ducks landed back on the pond confirming
what I’d suspected. Water was scarce.

Throughout that day six different deer came in for a drink, including a small 6-point buck. They all left quickly after getting a drink, as this is a land filled with mountain lions and even an occasional jaguar. I had to be back at work the next day, so reluctantly I left my newly discovered hot spot. During the
10-hour drive home I schemed on how I could return to this oasis before the season ended.

I retumed the following Saturday night, slept five hours in my truck
then made the two-hour trek to the pond equipped with a backpack and_
material better suited for constructing a ground blind. I set up my blind,
trimmed branches, and dug out a seat in the ground. I draped camo
material to keep me hidden in the shadows. It was 40 yards to the water’s edge.

At 1 p.m., I looked up from my book to see a splendid solo buck
approaching the water maybe 75 yards away. His 8 point rack glistened in the midday sunlight. I eased my bow into the ready position, putting tension on the string. He lowered his head to drink while ever so slightly leaning forward. I knew he would not linger after quenching his thirst. I drew, anchored, and settled my 40-yard pin low at his shoulder. The arrow caught the buck solid. After a short recovery I was holding the most beautiful animal of the desert.

Columbian Blacktail California

The biggest dilemma I faced was using my vacation time for my remaining hunts without interfering with my 10 year wedding anniversary in September, My wife Lynn decided to join me on my trip to northern California to hunt Columbian blacktails. In mid August we flew to San Francisco, rented a car and drove north towards Jim Schaafsma’s awesome blacktail hunting operation. Along the way we made stops in Napa Valley to taste wine, sight see and even stayed at a bed and breakfast. I wanted to the trip to be special no only because of my blacktail hunt, but I wanted Lynn to enjoy the trip as well.

The first evening of hunting blacktails found Jim and I staring at a huge 5×5 buck bedded with a small forkhorn. The big buck was colossal in size, pushing the B&C minimums according to Jim. Jim has guided loads of bowhunters to record class bucks and he has personally taken many P&Y blacktails with a bow. A few years earlier, I even shot a decent P&Y buck on my first blacktail hunt with Jim.

The air was hot and steamy and my thin cotton shirt was sweat-drenched by the time I completed the stalk. I closed to within 30 yards but just as I was preparing for the shot the smaller buck saw me and they both ran out of sight. I spend the next several days relocating that same big 5×5 and
attempting stalk after stalk, but I was never able to get a shot. Columbian blacktails are more patternable than their mule deer cousins, similar to whitetails. They hang in the same area day after day. I never got the big 5×5, but I did have several opportunities at other big bucks, including a dandy non-typical that I missed. On the last day of my hunt I shot a respectable buck at range of 25 yards. The date was August 13, the last day of the season in the unit where I was hunting.

Bowhunting early season Columbian blacktails is tough for several reasons. First the temperature is hot and miserable which keeps deer movement to a minimum in daylight hours. The heat also makes hiking and controlling the scent tough on bowhunters. In addition , the , dry conditions make grass underfoot brittle and noisy. Very tough for stalking. When the hunt was over I was very pleased to have a decent set of antlers to bring on the plane ride home. Lynn and I left norther California with fond memories and hopes of returning sometime in the future.

WHITETAIL Texas
For the first day and a half of Texas’ archery-only season, I hunted three different stands. The 90-degree-plus temperatures had deer movement to a minimum. Just a few does were spotted, but no bucks. The scorching heat made me consider another option that had paid off in Arizona,
hunting water.

It was on the second day of the season that I made a midday trip to a waterhole. The plan was to erect a tripod stand in a cluster of hackberry trees near a beaten trail at the stock pond. The timing seemed perfect for a buck to quench its thirst.

By 4p.m. I was seated in the new stand with a slight breeze in my face. A full Scent-Lok suit and scent-eliminating sprays were used to increase my odds. In order to play the wind direction it was necessary that the stand be placed where the afternoon sun beat down right on my face. For this reason, I sat facing slightly away from the trail where the sun wasn’t directly into my eyes.

It was at 5:30 p.m. peering through the sun at the trail, that I first spotted a deer. Due to the blinding sun the buck had drifted into the waterhole undetected. By the time I noticed the movement, the buck was already at the pond, broadside, with his head down drinking. Immediately I knew he was a shooter. By the time I had swiveled my stand around to get in position for a shot, the buck was already leaving the water. Experience from past hunts had taught me that once a deer was finished drinking they wouldn’t stick around for very long. Time was quickly fading away. I jerked the compound bow to full draw and tracked the walking buck’s progress through the mesquites. When the big 8-point stopped in an opening at 33 yards, the arrow was on it’s way. Hit in the spine, the buck dropped immediately. A finishing shot behind the shoulder and it was over.

As I walked up on the fallen buck I was surprised at the rack’s tine length. The tines curved inwards and the beams were longer than expected. Small patches of velvet were still clinging to portions of the rack. The 135 inch, mature 8-point buck became my first ever P&Y whitetail from my home state. What I thought could take me months, had quickly ended on the first weekend of the season. Fantastic, only one deer species to go!

SITKA BLACKTAILS Alaska

It was on November 5th that my Sitka
blacktail hunt began on Prince of Wales
Island. My dad accompanied me on the trip,
which made this final leg of my deer season
even more special. l had two deer tags
in my pocket and my plans were simple.
Shoot the first respectable buck, then hold
out for a bigger buck.

The island was beautiful with rolling,
mountainous terrain and thick, dark forests.
Most of the terrain was so dense that glassing
and spot-and-stalk hunting was difficult.
The primary tactic was driving logging
roads, glassing into openings and along
edges, and trying a stalk if l spotted a buck.
Unfortunately, only does were spotted when
we glassed. Another popular tactic my guide
used was calling with a deer bleat in the
dark, damp forests. We called in several does
using this tactic, but never a buck.

Rainy, damp conditions plagued the first
three days of my trip. After three days of it l
was feeling like l would never dry off. Since
calling and spot-and—stalk hunting had been
only mildly successful, we resorted to still-hunting.
And so on November 7, at 11:30 in the morning, while
slowly cruising through the moss—covered timber, I
spotted a big deer and a glimpse of antler.
This was the first buck sighting of the hunt. At 25 yards, with the
buck broadside, I punched an Easton A/C/C shaft through the
buck’s chest. When I recovered the mature deer I was shocked to
see only one antler. In my rush to shoot I had only seen the buck
from the side, glimpsed multiple points and a thick beam, and shot.
His left antler beam was broken just above the base.


The following day, late in the afternoon,
I shot another buck while still-hunting. At
30 yards, I connected. Typical of Sitka
bucks, this one had a blocky frame with a
handsome cape and antlers stained the color
of rust. His hooves were also oversized. My
guide said that was an adaptation to walking
in the spongy, wet terrain. That buck had the
tip of his right beam broken off, but considering
the bad weather and tough hunting
conditions, I felt fortunate to fill both tags.
My single season deer slam was complete,
and with it I had lots of great memories.
What had started as a normal year of
bowhunting back in January had mushroomed into a full-blown,
year-long obsession of hunting deer with a bow. Every technique
and tactic was required in order to succeed.
There was spot-and—stalk hunting for
mule deer and Columbian blacktails, hunt-
ing over waterholes for whitetails, and even
still-hunting in rain—soaked forests in Alaska
for chunky Sitka blacktails. lt was never
about making a name for myself or trying to
set a record. It was just taking my stick-and-
string deer hunting to a new level. >>—>

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

MULIE MAGIC – By Zack Walton


Bow & Arrow Hunting
August 2009
Mulie Magic
Stalking desert mule deer is never easy, but the reward is well worth the pain.
By Zack Walton

It’s hard not to scream when you’re standing on a cactus wearing
nothing but socks. But after two straight weeks of practice, I was .
getting pretty good. I decided to put the pain in the hack of my mind
and continue to sneak forward. Knowing the group of` mule deer had
to be close, I tried to Focus on anything but the needles piercing my
toes. Just then, I was snapped back as to why was doing all this. I could
suddenly see the wide-racked four—point mulie reappear through the
mesquite. He was intently following two does.

The buck was obviously in full rut.
His large, swollen neck gave his body
the perception of being front-heavy As
he began moving around the group of
does, I couldn’t help but focus on him,
and while doing so, a doe had picked
up my location. The cagey “mule head”
bounded away taking with him she
and the others. It was developing into a
trend this trip. However, she went only
200 yards before settling down.
I began watching the group, trying
to anticipate their next move, when
the scene quickly turned into a
spectacular show Over the next few
minutes, I saw the large buck mount a
doe several times, finally breeding her,
square off with a smaller 3×4 and level
cacti and bushes just to prove his
dominance. The group had settled
down and grown in size when two
small bucks joined in on the fun.
With light fading, I laced up my boots
and began closing the distance on the
deer.

I had to skirt the group of deer to
get the wind in my favor by dropping
off the hilltop and circling them. I
stayed a couple-hundred yards away
and continued °°dogging” the group
until they disappeared into a small
draw By slipping into the depression,
the deer allowed me to get in front of
them without being seen, so I ducked
out of sight and ran down a wash to
where I thought the herd would go.

Shortly after finding my feet were
again full of thorns, I eased my head
above some rocks and saw big ears
moving every which way The bucks
were chasing does back and forth in
the confined canyon. What a circus.
Three different times I had a 20-inch-
wide 5×4 stop well within bow range.
“The deer don’t know you are here,
find the big boy? I kept thinking to
myself Soon enough, the wide four-
point popped out from behind some
quail bushes hot on two does. He was
easily twice the size of the does he
pushed in front of me at about 50
yards. I was hoping I had finally met
up with a large mulie about to make
his last mistake.

There is not another animal I have
chased more often, for longer periods
of time, than desert mule deer of the
Southwest. Every year I spend my
Christmas vacation in the high desert.
I have been going with my family for
the better part of two decades. And for
the past I5 years, I’ve bowhunted the
various animals that call the cacti-
infested area of Arizona home. This
past year was no exception and on
Christmas night my friend, Shawn
Wood, and I left to meet up with my
parents.

The holiday season is when I love
to hunt mule deer, because they are
more active and bucks are always
“twitterpated.” Bowhunting mule deer
during this window can be a blast.
Bucks fight cactus and each other.
Their I.Q.s plummet to that of a
stuffed animal, and they swell up like
a second-rate boxer after a few rounds
with Iron Mike. And the sight of one
classic desert giant, with wide, flared
antlers stretching from horizon to
horizon, is enough to bring you back.
I had my first introduction to these
big-eared desert dwellers 15 years ago
on the morning of my first bow hunt
for deer. Arizona allows hunters to
chase big game at the age of 10,
(two years before my home state of
California), so my first deer hunt was
in the Grand Canyon State. That

morning I found myself in the middle
of a group of mule deer and at the age
of 11, I shot my first deer with a bow.
I wish it were always so easy The
fact is, the mule deer in southern
Arizona are easy to hunt with a bow,
but difficult to kill. You can get within
150 yards with little effort, but closing
to within bow range is a minor miracle
every time. Throw in the fact that
when the rut starts, large bucks usually
will have between one and 20 does
with him—and you will have more
eyes, ears and noses to go through
than a plastic surgeon in Hollywood.
That’s when the challenge begins.
That’s the challenge I was faced with
that January afternoon.

The deer were running in circles.
“Wait for the buck to stop,” I told
myself When one doe stopped and
the buck lowered his head to sniff her,
I drew my Hoyt and settled on the last
rib of the quartering-away buck. I
remember thinking, “Constant
tension. Squeeze through.”
When the arrow struck, the buck
kicked his rear legs high in the air like
a bull looking to rid himself of a
cowboy Surprisingly, the shot did not
spook any of the deer, but as I scanned
the group, I could not find the buck I
had just hit. But he still had to be
there. The other bucks were still
chasing does, and the other deer were
feeding on cactus, all of this within
50 yards of where an arrow crashed
through the biggest deer in the bunch.
Finally, I found him concealed in
some ocotilio about 20 yards from
where I shot him. I could tell he was
badly hurt, but that I should put
another arrow in him. Control the
shaking. My second shot hit low as I
misjudged the yardage, but he didn’t
move. The next shot slid right under
the buck’s large chest and still, he
didn’t move. It was obvious
adrenaline was out of control now.
The other deer had spooked away and
here I was failing to put a second
arrow in the large buck right in front
of me. Somebody get me a bag to
breathe into. I told myself to calm
down and make the shot count and
the next arrow smacked home.

At impact, he busted through the
ocorillo for 100 yards before stopping.
The arrow had broken off from his
sprint, but I knew it had hit him
through the shoulder. The buck slowly
walked off stopping frequently I
watched him for 10 minutes before he
limped into a wash. Since the sun had
just set, I decided to leave the deer _
overnight and come back with some
help in the morning.

The night lasted for an eternity,
and after searching in the morning,
with help from my dad and Shawn,
we found the buck 150 yards from
where I last saw him. Both of the
arrows had penetrated the chest cavity
the first slicing the liver before cutting
through the bottom of the chest, and
the second hit both shoulders and cut
through the top of the chest.
The trip was a wonderful success,
as I had seen lots of animals and taken
a marvelous mule deer that was 26
inches wide and gross scored right at
the Pope & Young minimum. Along

with the one-horned buck I’d taken on
the last day of the December season,
and l had two archery-killed bucks in
difficult terrain. To make the hunt
more amazing, everyone in my
hunting party took animals.
My Christmas-time trip is a perfect
ending to my bowhunting season. The
high desert offers sunshine during a
usually cold winter at home and an
opportunity to hunt a different time
of the year for me. And with the right
amount of luck, l get to bring home my
last, and best present of the season. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

TUNDRA FUN – By Warren Anderson Jr.


BOW & ARROW HUNTING MAGAZINE
August 2009
TUNDRA FUN

Come along on this fun-filled journey in pursuit of central barren-ground caribou amid Canada’s Northwest Territories.

By Warren Anderson Jr.

I think caribou are fantastic animals; not many other species in North America can grow as much antler in such a short amount of time or cover the open landscape they call home faster than an Olympic track star. They inhabit pristine country and going to the Northwest Territories to chase them with a bow is an incredible challenge. They are also excellent table fare, yielding a flavorful meat that is tender and worth the effort. I had hunted caribou once before in Newfoundland a few years back, and that experience left me with a hankering to chase them again. So, in January 2007, my wife and I met with the folks from Peterson’s Point Lake Lodge at the Denver Sportsman’s Expo. After talking with the owners and some of their staff we decided to send a deposit and book a hunt for the first week
in September 2007. Although my wife doesn’t hunt, I was able to talk her into going as a non- hunter and sharing this once—in-a—lifetime experience with me. Some friends of ours had hunted with Peterson’s in the past and all gave glowing references. Although all of my buddies were rifle hunters, the staff at Peterson’s had guided several bowhunters and were well versed in the challenges that archery equipment poses.

We arrived in the town of Yellowknife in the Northwest
Territories via commercial airline, and then took a floatplane an hour and a
half north to camp. The Peterson’s camp sits on the shore of Point Lake,
which is a large body of water 70 miles in length, located just south of the
Artic Circle. The area is so pristine that the ice—cold water is safe to drink
straight from the lake. After cabin assignments and introductions with all
the staff and other hunters in camp that week, I headed down to the beach
to check my archery equipment.

I had been paired up with another bowhunter named Vince (the only
other archer in camp that week), and he also came down to check that his
equipment had made the trip without incident. I knew Vince had been to
Peterson’s a few years earlier and had not gotten an opportunity at an animal,
so we decided that he would have the first crack at an animal when we went
out the first day We shared a few stories, and I knew he would be a good
hunting partner for the next week.

On our first day on the tundra, we had great weather and spotted several
groups of bulls right off the bat. Our guide, Egan, helped judge the quality
of the animals and suggested that we could do better. That afternoon we
found a group of six bulls that made the grade, and Vince was on the chase.
He slithered into position as the rest of us sat in a boulder pile and looked on.
The way he crept to within range of these bulls, you would have never
guessed that he was a treestand hunter from Wisconsin who had never stalked animals in such open habitat. The caribou stood, sensing something was up, and Vince got his chance. The distance was a little closer than he had estimated and the arrow sailed harmlessly over the largest bull’s back.
We headed back to camp empty-handed, but with a great first day on
the books. That night in camp we ate like kings and shared stories of the day
Some of the other hunters had taken animals, so we listened to their adventures and admired their trophies.

On the second day of the hunt, we were again treated to great weather, a
gorgeous sunrise, no bugs and plenty of caribou. We each had a Pew stalks,
but no shots presented themselves. We also saw several bear tracks along the beach,
and that night, we had a bear visit camp. It had Pound the buried
freezer that the lodge used for storing eggs, peaches and jalapenos! Needless
to say after the surprise of jalapenos, we didn’t think the bear would be
back.

On the third day of our trip, my wife elected to stay in camp and relax.
We loaded into the boat and headed for one of the large islands on the
lake. \When we neared the island, we spotted two groups of bulls. After
sizing them up, we beached the boat and made our way to the top, over a
series of saddles and rock outcroppings. We slowly inched our way
around the numerous dips and peaks and could not relocate the target
animals. After getting the slip from the bulls, we were headed back to the
boat when a bull appeared out of nowhere and busted us. We were in a
little meadow crossing a boulder field when I heard Vince sharply say my
name in a high-pitched whisper. I froze and got our guide’s attention,
and when we looked to our right, there stood a good bull, with the sun
shining from behind him, illuminating his velvet-covered antlers.

Vince whispered, “Would you shoot that bull?” I answered yes, but
in our current situation, it seemed unlikely that I would get the chance.
After a few minutes, the bull moved off behind the saddle, and the chase I
was on. The bull busted us again as we were making our way to him and
trotted around another saddle. We stayed in pursuit, but at the next ridge
he had a cow and a calf with him. I was able to stalk within 30 yards and
get drawn on him twice but, each time, the cow or the calf was blocking
his vitals, preventing a shot. The group headed back in the
direction they had come from, and now Vince was back in the game.
Egan motioned for me to slip around behind them and cut off the escape
route while Vince crept close, trying for a shot. I hustled around several
knobs and lost track of both the bull and my two hunting partners. When I
eased up over the saddle and looked to my right, Vince and Egan were
motioning frantically that the bull was to my left. I was confused because
there was nothing but a large expanse of tundra, and I thought I should
surely be able to see a caribou in the wide open.

Just then, I saw his antlers bobbing from behind a large rock shelf and
knelt down to range the distance. When the bull took a few steps out
away from the rock outcropping that had concealed him, I drew and placed
the 30-yard pin in the sweet spot behind his front shoulder and triggered
the release. The arrow hit home with a thud, and I watched him tear out across the tundra and tip over. After some back slapping and photos, Egan caped the head while Vince and I packed the meat back to the boat. When I
returned that evening, my wife was happy for me, but a little sad that she
missed out on the whole experience.

That night, just before dark, the skinner was coming out of the meat
shed when he encountered a grizzly bear about 10 yards away. He had just
closed the electric fence and was reaching in to turn on the power, when
he turned around and saw the bear. Both he and the bear were startled at
the same time, and all he could muster to shout was, “Bear!” The skinner
made fast tracks for the guide’s quarters, and the rest of the staff came
piling out, shooting into the air to encourage the bear to move along.

As I watched the bear running out through the tundra, the owner of the
lodge walked past me and said, “I told that skimmer to keep the shotgun
loaded. I bet it will be loaded tomorrow.” He just kept walking back
to his cabin, as if nothing had happened. The skimmer was still shook
up the next morning and retold the story over a cup of coffee. He was in
no hurry to get out to the meat shed, and he took a good ribbing from all of
us before we headed afield.

On the last day of our hunt, my wife again elected to stay behind. I still
had my second tag in my pocket, and we spent most of the day trading stalks on different groups of bulls we found. In the early afternoon, while out on the lake, our guide spotted a lone bull in some thick cover. We beached the boat and tried to get the drop on him. We lost track of him in the tall
willows, and on our way back to the lake, we walked through a saddle,
when Vince and Egan froze. The bull had looped around and was sleeping
standing up when we came through the saddle. He had now spotted Vince
and Egan, but hadn’t seen me. Vince said they were busted, but if I thought
I could get the drop on him, for me to go ahead and do it.

I belly-crawled ahead to a small rock and ran out of cover. I was still
60 yards from the now-bedded bull, with no chance for a shot. I slid
backward until I had some cover and motioned to the guys that I was going
to go over the top of the ridge and come at him from the other side. As I
was sneaking around the knob, I felt the wind hit my back. Had I been
stalking a deer or an elk, I would have just headed back, but I knew that
sometimes you can get away with a bad wind on caribou. I crawled to
within 35 yards of the bull and waited for his next move. After about 10
minutes, he got up and started to feed to his right, which brought him to 30
yards broadside of my position. I drew the bow and slid the 30-yard pin
behind his front leg. When the arrow hit, he crow-hopped in a circle and fell
over dead within 15 yards.

We soaked in our final afternoon on the tundra as we worked on
quartering and skimming. We shared a few laughs and admired the orange
and red leaves of the landscape we were about to leave. It was a great way
to end a fantastic hunt. He wasn’t the largest bull in camp, but the stalk was
one that I will remember for a long time. As we said our goodbyes before
getting on the plane, my wife and I filled up our Nalgene bottles with our
last drink of the pristine waters of Point Lake and wished that the end of
our trip hadn’t come so soon. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 30 Dec 2010

ON-YOUR-OWN ELK – By Mike Poulin


BOW AND ARROW HUNTING
AUGUST 2009

ON-YOUR-OWN ELK

Many Bowhunters are under the impression that all elk hunting is either too expensive or just not feasible to do on your own, which just isn’t true. Here’s how you can plan your very own elk bowhunt, all on a relatively small budget.

By Mike Poulin

Have you been sabotaging or
limiting your hunt opportunities on false beliefs? Does
out-of-state elk hunting seem so cost-prohibitive you just
won’t apply? Do you think drawing an out·of-state elk tag
is nearly impossible? Do you think you can’t get a
public-land bull elk on your own? Well, l once believed these exact lies,
until a fellow hunter educated me. Come along with me while I share
with you how to obtain tags, and how an average hunter like me prepared
and connected on a public-land bull.

ENTRY INT0 ELK HUNTING
As a die-hard Nevada mule deer hunter, the thought of hunting elk, let
alone out-of-state elk, came slowly for me. As you may know, claiming a
Nevada elk tag is rare. On the other hand, an archer in this state has very
good draw odds and many opportunities to hunt mule deer.
But the lure of these “bigger” deer animals pulled at me, so I threw
caution to the wind and initially opted for the easier-to-obtain cow elk tag. By
alternating between applying for a cow elk tag one year and the bull elk tag
the next, I could start to build and retain my bull elk bonus points. In
short order, it worked; soon I was hunting cow elk in the Ely, Nevada
area. And this is how I got hooked on elk hunting.

I learned so much in those three seasons bowhunting cows as I encountered
huge bulls that I could only watch in awe. Observing the inter-
action between bulls and cows, I developed quite a respect for both sex’s
sense of vision and smell. One could argue that going cow elk hunting
those three seasons rather than staying home and just earning points helped
develop me as an elk hunter. So, word for the wise: Do whatever elk hunting
you can, even if that means chasing cows.

OUT OF TIME—TIME TO GO
OUT OF STATE
The longing to go after one of those impressive bulls just grew .
stronger with time. Building bonus points was good, but I knew it might
take 10 years or longer for me to draw a coveted Nevada bull elk tag.
One day, I was lamenting the fact that I wasn’t getting any younger and
it might take quite a number of years for me to get a Nevada bull tag. My
friend Mark Hueftle listened patiently before asking me why I had been
limiting myself to my home state.
I told him because of expense, and he basically laughed. He said not all
hunts are expensive, and many could be done successfully without a guide.
And plenty of western states had good elk draw odds for nonresidents.

Mark offered to help me research some nearby states and to apply along
with me. Over the next few weeks, Mark and I looked into hunting in
Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Soon thereafter,
we applied for a few limited tags, and purchased an elk point in a few states
that allow you to do so.

Our research had identified some good draw odds for certain hunts in
Wyoming. In the end, we applied for a Wyoming general bull elk tag. Their
system for out-of-state general tags is by draw, but with a special twist. If
you paid the regular license/ tag (the cost at the time, 2005, was $493), but
if you were willing to pay nearly twice that at ($895), you were placed in a
“special” draw pool. The reality was that few hunters would be willing to
pay the higher fee, and therefore, the draw odds in that pool of hunters
would be better than the more numerous “regular” pool of hunters.
We ended up paying for the “special” and ended up getting tags.

WISH FULFILLED—NOW WHAT?
Not only did we each obtain a general-area tag, but one of Mark’s
friends, who had relocated to Cheyenne a few years before, was
about to be recruited. Soon, his buddy Bob Koehler, purchased an
over·the-counter tag too. One added benefit of Bob’s enlistment
was that, if we wanted to hunt in any of the designated wilderness
areas of Wyoming, law required you to have a resident
accompany you. Though we ended up not hunting in the wilderness areas,
Bob’s contacts in Wyoming helped us narrow down which general area to
hunt in the state.

Getting bull elk tags was just the start of our adventure. I knew that this
hunt was not going to be as easy as my broken-country cow elk hunts,
especially if the public area we picked was heavily hunted and heavily
timbered. Outlined below are the key activities we employed to narrow the
general areas down and to prepare for the hunt:

RESEARCH ONLINE AND
READ REPORTS
By using herd reports and differentiating the general area’s characteristics
and topography we were able to rule-out some areas. Neither Mark nor I
were fond of hunting in an area too populated by bears, and thus we
marked some bear areas off our list as soon as we found out.

SPEAK TO A GAME
DEPARTMENT BIOLOGIST
OR LOCAL CONTACT
Knowing we wouldn’t have a chance to scout the remaining areas,
we needed to get first-hand information. That meant person-to-person
contacts. Besides, talking with one of the biologists, we were able to have
Bob ask some of his friends in the state about a couple of different
hunting spots. This helped us narrow it down to just two places.

LEARN ABOUT ACCESS ROADS
BY USING MAPS
Whether online or hard-copy use maps to locate roads into the hunt
area. Vehicle closure areas and wilderness boundaries are very
important to identify before the hunt. We used some online topo map
services to review the areas and ended up making certain each hunter carried
a map of the area.

PREPARATION . . .
PREPARATION. . .
Gear preparation, clothing choices, practicing elk calling, exercising-
especially up hills—shooting up and down hills, travel plans, and almost
every facet of the trip needs to be planned out. Doing it yourself adds to
the fulfillment, but it takes some planning. Think about possible scenarios and bring the appropriate gear and some backup clothing. Due to my less—than-stellar directional aptitude, I brought along a GPS in addition to the compass and map.

READ THE DETAILS
By reading the regulations, we knew that our Wyoming “special”
general tag was really a rifle tag, but that by purchasing an archery permit
and paying, we would be able to hunt in the archery season. If we failed to
connect, we had the option of returning during rifle season.

ON TO THE HUNT
The sound was like a reverberating electric guitar as the arrow oscillated
back and forth, harmlessly embedded in the tree trunk. My dream of arrowing my first bull elk seemed to be vanishing as fast as the massive 6×6
and his harem showed up. Moments before, Bob Koehler and
I had split up to pursue different bands of bugling elk. Having more
than one band of elk within striking distance was a good problem to have
for sure. I had raced over the ridge in hope of intercepting that fast moving
herd that was working toward the thicker timber. Each time I heard a
bugle I could tell they were getting closer, and I needed to get in front of
them as quickly as possible.

Quickly I dropped down over the ridge into their projected path. I identified
a tree to crouch beside,
nocked an arrow, and tried to catch my breath. Moments later, the sound
of footsteps, mews and the shapes of sleek cow elk filtering through the
trees greeted me. My rangefinder read 39 yards. I knew the bull was close
behind and I had little time to prepare myself for his appearance.

Drawing my bow was effortless, and my confidence swelled as I
positioned my 40-yard pin on the walking bull. In a split second, the
massive form of a rutting bull totally filled the space in between two trees.
Still, something seemed wrong as I released the arrow. The bull had
stopped, but just as I let go he began walking again. My arrow missed and
struck a tree just behind the bull.

A sense of disappointment overpowered me like a thick fog. It
seemed like someone had just knocked the air out of me. Fortunately, a
thought crossed my mind: In videos, the callers all seem to call right after
the shot.
With very little faith, I reached down and grabbed the rubber
Hoochie Maina call hanging on my belt and gave it a push with my
thumb. The sound of the call had barely ended when a loud bugle
erupted just 25 yards away Looking through the pine needles to my left, I
could make out a large, tan body with dark legs, and I thought I could see
antlers. A whir of motion caught my attention as a smaller-bodied bull
trotted past while the other elk saw me and quickly vacated the area.

Satellite bulls, of course, I thought to myself I used the call again and
another enormous bugle erupted from the bull but this time at 10 yards! I
narrowed my eyes in hope that he wouldn’t see me through the tree cover
and wondered if he could hear my pounding heart. Time seemed to be
standing still as my emotions jumped back and forth between joy and {right.
The tree was the only thing between me and the bull, and he was
now peering through the branches trying to find the owner of that sweet
cow mew. Not seeing anything, the 6×5 stepped downhill to go around
the tree. I drew my Hoyt bow and swung my body around, just in time
to see his big body step out at 8 yards.

My 20- and 30-yard sight pins both appeared behind his shoulder
and I concentrated to hold them both behind his shoulder as I released. The
arrow was gone, and the bull raced away at break-neck speed. I finally
heard myself exhale and tried to follow the bull visually.

SUCCESS AT LAST
It took many minutes to collect myself, but finally I looked over and
saw the crimson-stained arrow buried in the ground just 20 yards from my
position. As different as the tree-embedded arrow was from this
reddened arrow, so were my emotions. The disappointment that was so real just a few moments before.

However, they were gone once I saw the bull approximately 600 yards
away on a rock shelf overlooking a beautiful creek. The sight of the 6×5
antlers gave me reason to pause. It is funny how a successful shot alters ones perception. Somehow, the landscape seemed different. The views of the
countryside seemed richer, more vibrant, even enchanting and heartwarming. I remember myself having a warm glow and I am sure I must have had a stupid grin on my face.

After packing the cape and backstraps back to camp, I found out
that Mark had connected on a bull too. With only the one day left to
hunt, I felt elated. “Thank you, God” is all I could say.

What a hunt. Earlier in the week, Bob had filled his mule deer tag on a
small buck. Then both Mark and I were able to connect with just one day
left. On our last day we called a nice bull to within 10 yards of Bob (that
almost walked over him) but he was pinned down and couldn’t get a shot
without spooking the bull. Unfortunately Mark and I made a costly
mistake thinking we should just hunker down and be quiet, rather
than try and turn the approaching bull with a soft mew. It cost Bob the shot.
and we learned an important lesson. Just because some bulls are call-shy,
this one was coming in to the calls and therefore the rule didn’t apply.

Subsequently the next year, we paid the regular general price and
failed to obtain a tag. We did, however, build a bonus point which, the
following year, allowed us all to draw tags once again, but this time in the
regular pool. Bob’s brother from California, Dave Kohler, got a tag along with us.

And so Dave, Mark, Bob and his brother, James, and I hit the slopes
about the middle of September. Within two days, Dave had arrowed
his first bull. Though it was a spike, he was elated. I missed a 6×6 on day six
at 54 yards, and on another day got surprised by a 5×5 that left me
without a shot. I had opportunities but ended up coming home empty
handed, but not without great memories.

Mark, on the other hand, passed on some smaller bulls early on and,
after a small snowstorm, arrowed a nice bull high up on a remote ridge.
Of course, as Murphys’ Law goes, the only two guys carrying real packs that
day were Dave and I. Mark used his very soft pack and did some MacGyver-like rigging to carry out the horns and backstraps.

BOTTOM LINE COSTS
In 2005, Wyoming general tag/license was $493. I spent nearly
twice that for the special tag/ license at $893. I believe the archery permit was
about $20. Above and beyond my normal food costs and gear, I figure I
spent approximately $1,200 total. This included my special tag, archery
permit and gasoline.

In 2007, the cost was lower. We each paid $591 for the general tag, and
about $900 each total for an entire 14-day trip. Now that} affordable do—it—
yourself elk hunting. My thanks go out to Mark Hueftle of Reno, Nevada,
and the Koehler brothers of Nevada, Wyoming and California. Let’s do it
again—very soon! <—<<

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Published by bhowardoutdoors on 22 Dec 2010

Why Hunt?

I’ve been given the honor and opportunity to write a blog about something I dearly love and enjoy.  Who could pass up a chance to write a blog on hunting and fishing?  So with the pertinent task of coming up with something so special that it would send the public into a frenzy to read this blog, I began wondering; do I open with a short autobiography?  Well, that would certainly send everyone into frenzy, but not the type the I would like!

How about a few stories of hunting successes this season?   That will surely follow, and at the end of the blog will be a contact address for you to send information and pictures of your trophies. But for the first blog, I’ve decided to explain why we hunt, what we hunt, and why it is important.

Fred Bear, a man known as the father of bowhunting, once said “Don’t base the fun or experience of hunting on whether you get an animal or not.  The kill is way, way down the line.  You can enjoy the woods.  You can enjoy the companionship of the birds, and the fish, and the animals, the color of the leaves…”  It really holds true.  Some of my best experiences have been without the climactic shot to bring down the game.  Every fisherman remembers the ‘one that got away’, but may not be able to tell you anything about the three fish she caught two weeks ago.  The beauty of God’s canvas with you being an integral but non-invasive part of it, that’s really the goal.

As outdoorsmen, our targets are usually the majestic whitetail deer with a crown of bone, or we may hope to bring in the strutting tom eager to meet a new mate.  The trout may be fooled into attacking a cork with feathers believing it to be an unlucky insect.  All have garnered our passions; our unrelenting efforts in pursuit of the biggest and most beautiful of Darwinian challenges.  We have entered nature’s domain, and blended in and became part of nature.  We accepted the challenge and try to conquer nature in its own territory.

 We come up with reasons for hunting and fishing, such as nature tends to overproduce, or disease and famine will destroy more wildlife than hunters if we do not help balance the carrying capacity of the land. But really, what I have found goes back to what Fred Bear stated. I do not have the first dove I killed mounted on the wall. But I do have a fond memory of hunting with my grandfather and my father. I was using an old Ithaca 20 gauge side-by-side that my grandfather and father used as a child. I also have a wonderful memory, and fortunately, a wonderful picture of my son and I walking off a field in Eastern North Carolina with two tundra swan on our shoulders.  My son used the old Ithaca 20 gauge side-by-side that I used as a child.  Hunting is a bridge of generations.  It’s a constant with many variables.   It’s something we must protect, but we must not abuse.  This is why we do what we do and why we enjoy it so.

I look forward to sharing your hunting and fishing experiences, as well as thought provoking and entertaining insights through this blog each week.

 Bill Howard is a Hunter Education and Bowhunter Education Instructor , a Wildlife Representative and BCRS Program Chairman for the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, and an avid outdoorsman.  Please forward any pictures or stories you would like shared to billhowardoutdoors@gmail.com.

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Published by admin on 07 Oct 2010

The Aspirinbuster visits Ted Nugent’s Camp for Kids by Frank Addington, jr.

The Aspirinbuster visits Ted Nugent’s Camp for Kids by Frank Addington, jr.

“Hanging out with Theo…”

When Dick Mauch, Bruce Cull, and Ted Nugent want you to do a gig, you do it. I was already coming to Ponca, Nebraska the weekend of September 18, 2010 anyway when Dick asked for my show schedule at Ponca. He was communicating with Bruce and made arrangements for us to leave Ponca in time Saturday afternoon to drive to Yankton, South Dakota for the Ted Nugent Camp for Kids event Ted was hosting that day.

The NFAA headquarters was the location for the event and the Eastons have supported this endeavor with the “Easton Sports Development Foundation Center for Archery Excellence”. Bruce Call and his staff run a first class operation. It’s a beautiful facility that easily handled the huge crowd of young people and their parents. I heard somewhere they had around 450 kids at this event. We got there as the closing ceremonies started and Bruce Cull was on stage. I was told we had a few minutes to set up. We were back stage and I quickly began putting together and tuning my Hoyt Formula RX recurve bow and getting my gear unpacked when I heard, “What’s up Aspirinbuster” and looked up to see my pal Theo standing there. He hugged Dick and Carol Mauch and the I went over to greet Ted. When Ted hugs you you can feel the energy and enthusiasm he has for life and those around him. We visited and then he left to go on stage and give the closing remarks. As usual he gave a teditorial talk and hit on major points about being drug free, living the good life, and hunting and freedom. I saw Greg Easton on the podium and a few other dignitaries.

Bruce had a net already in place so all I had to do was add my Hoyt banner and quickly get some balloons blown up, and find out who they were having toss targets for me. A volunteer stepped forward and we quickly reviewed what would go on. I heard Ted tell the audience something about a “mesmerizing” archery exhibition and I grinned. Only Ted Nugent could give an intro like that. Ted was presented with a custom built gun and then it was time for Bruce Cull to give my show intro. Ted had someone film my shooting and it should be on his show sometime down the road. I ignored the camera and went to work.

It was showtime! The audience gathered around my net and as kids held up cell phones to video and take photos of the show I did what I do. It was a great time and after the baby aspirin shot I invited the audience by a table to get an autographed photo. I ended up signing more than a few hundred photos that evening. Greg Easton had to leave early so I did not get to visit with him.

After the show, we said Adios to Bruce Cull and Ted Nugent and headed to the Black Steer for a fine dinner. Dick and Carol are fine supper companions. Then we made the hour long drive back to Ponca for a party at Tom and Bonnie Ferry’s home. That day I’d did set up the show at Ponca and did two shows, packed the gear and drove an hour or so to Yankton, set up again and did another show, and then packed the gear and drove back. By the time we were at the Ferry’s home, I was exhausted but enjoyed seeing everyone and catching part of the Longhorn’s football game on TV. Dick was still going strong! At his age (83) we should all his health and energy! He and Carol admired Tom’s trophy mounts and shared hunting stories with everyone. It was a fine day.

The Ted Nugent Camp for Kids was a huge success and the NFAA headquarters is a great place! If your travels take you near Yankton, please stop by and see the building. Have Bruce or his staff show you around, there are many vintage photos and other items of interest. It’s a great facility and a real showplace. I think that many youngsters were introduced to the lifetime sport of archery that day by the staff, Ted, Greg Easton and myself! By the way, if your travels do take you to Yankton, try dinner at the Black Steer. Nothing beats Midwestern corn fed beef!

Until Next time, Adios and God Bless.

Shoot Straight,

Frank

www.frankaddingtonjr.com

To learn more about the NFAA, visit: http://www.nfaa-archery.org/

For info on all things Nugent, visit: http://www.tednugent.com/

For more info on Easton, visit: http://www.eastonarchery.com/

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Published by admin on 09 Sep 2010

Deerassic Classic like the Woodstock of Deer Hunting…

Deerassic Classic like the Woodstock of Deer Hunting…

August 6 & 7, 2010 I was in Cambridge, Ohio to attend my first appearance at the National Whitetail Deer Education Foundation’s annual “Deerassic Classic”. This event has it all, from good food to musical entertainment like country singers Daryl Singletary, Andy Griggs, and Rhet Akins. It also features celebrities from tv hunting shows and the hunting industry such as Joella Bates, Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo, Pat Reeves and Nicole Jones, Chris Brackett, and many more. Oh, then there’s the crowd. More than 15,000 attend the event and many camp and stay the whole weekend.

Just imagine a “Woodstock” for deer hunters you have a pretty accurate photo of what this event is like. There’s good food, lots of exhibits to see, and lots of celebrities to meet. When Jerry Snapp asked me to attend, I felt like we could entertain the folks, even 15,000 of them. The main stage is broadcast on big jumbotrons on the grounds so that people can see the shows on stage. When you stand on the main stage you can see a wave of chairs and people across the grounds. It’s cool.

Jon Petz is the master of ceremonies and keeps the event rolling for the two days. He does the intros, hosts games and skits with audience members, and basically is the face of the event for the weekend. He is excellent at his job. There’s another John, John Page, that is behind the scenes keeping the stage clear, set up, lit and ready for each act and he also does a fine job. This team kept things rolling all weekend. This is a big event with lots of stuff going on and I was impressed that it went so smoothly and without a hitch. Irlene Mandrell is the spokesperson for the event and is also around.

The purpose of the foundation is to educate people about the whitetail deer and also help reconnect today’s youth with the outdoors. They have a facility where the event takes place which is called the Deerassic Park Education Center. Besides the once a year Deerassic Classic, they also host activities such as Ray Howell’s “Kicking Bear One-on-One Archery Shoot and Campout”, a Fall Festival and Trail of Treats, and a new fishing event held in conjunction with a free youth fishing day. It’s good to see that those attending the Deerassic Classic are helping to support events like these that are helping generate an interest in the outdoors for the next generation! This one event generates much of the money that runs programs like these all year long.

There were booths by manufacturers, sales reps, and retailers, as well as tv hunting personalities. This gives attendees the chance to meet these folks face to face and take advantage of it by asking questions, getting autographs and photos.

For my shows I used a young man from the Ten Point crossbow booth named Conner. He threw for me and did a good job, especially given the size crowds the three shows had. I did three mini shows, five to ten minutes each which meant I had to pull the top shots from my exhibition and do those. I did a 12:30, 3:30 and 7:30 show on Saturday. The 7:30 show had the largest crowd of the day— just before the big fifty fifty drawing and just before country singer Daryl Singletary went on stage. The crowd was estimated at more than 15,000 people and all three shows were broadcast on the big jumbotron screens on the grounds. It was awesome seeing a sea of people as far as I could see. John Page had the net ready each time and Jon Petz kept the atmosphere relaxed and fun. I was pretty laid back considering the size of the audience and the time restrictions we had. It was actually a lot of fun.

My shots included two arrows at once, three arrows at once, and even six arrows at once, shooting clothes pins from the net, multiple targets, and the grand finale was shooting three baby aspirin from mid air with three arrows— all behind the back! After one of the shows I held the Hoyt bow up high and Joella Bates snapped a picture from stage left. I laughed when I saw it. I am pretty proud of the Formula RX bow and the way it shoots!

I also took time to tell the audience about being the protege’ of the late Rev. Stacy Groscup, who tossed a Pepsi can into mid air and challenged me to hit it— and that was 25 years ago. It’s hard to believe that 25 years later I stood on stage with 15,000 people looking on. That is the single largest LIVE audience I’ve performed for in one setting. It was cool and I wasn’t one bit nervous. I enjoyed it. Conner did a fine job and we split one of the three baby aspirin and nicked the other two. I’d like to take the time now to thank my bow company Hoyt for the great equipment and their support, all the folks at Deerassic— from the top to the bottom they all worked so very hard to make this event go smoothly. I was asked multiple times each day by more than one person if I was comfortable and needed anything. They are a class act and I enjoyed working with them. Hats off to a great event and great folks. They do so much good for so many I was glad that this event went so well. These folks gave it their all.

After my show I kicked back and relaxed and listened to some good country music and visited with some of the show staff and other entertainers. It was a good time all the way around and I hope to get back there. If you get a chance to attend, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Just be ready to show up early and stay late.

That’s the latest. Until next time, Adios and God Bless.

Visit our updated website at www.frankaddingtonjr.com

Shoot Straight,
Frank Addington, Jr.
The Aspirin Buster

Email Frank @ Aspirinbuster@aol.com

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Published by archerchick on 06 Sep 2010

Bad Day At Ft. Campbell – By Keith Jimmerson


ARCHERY WORLD – APRIL 1988
Bad Day At Ft. Campbell

What do you do when your long-time friend and hunting partner has a bad day
in the deer woods? Do you offer encouragement and moral support…..or do you collapse
in a fit of laughter? Well, here’s what happened to two Tennessee bowhunters at Ft. Campbell last year……..

By Keith Jimmerson
Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to get our
of bed, even if it is hunting season and
you are hunting over a deer run that
looks like the Indianapolis 500. My long-time
hunting partner Don Wagner (who, in
my opinion, happens to be one of the best
hunters in the state) had one of those mornings
this past season. I have seen Don hunt whole
seasons without screwing up as much as he
did that one morning.
We were hunting the Ft. Campbell military reservation
for deer. Ft. Campbell has
plenty of deer and plenty of big bucks, but not
many of the big bucks are killed in the bow-
hunting areas. A hunter has to be drawn for
his choice of area. and we had discovered that
we got our choice only about one-third of the
time. This results in a lot of hunters hunting
areas they are not accustomed to. Also, no
pre-season scouting is allowed; scouting must
be done during hunting time. These factors
add up to a big advantage for the deer and they
are also the reason why the bowhunting areas
have more than their share of big bucks.
This year Don and I had approached hunting
Ft. Campbell from a different angle. We
applied for one of the less desirable bowhunting
areas and we got it. Our area had plenty of
deer, but it was smaller, more remote, and
was mostly pines and overgrown fields. We
spent the first two weekends learning the lay
of the land and patterning the deers’ movement.
This was made difficult by the honeysuckle vines,
which were up to 9 feet high in
places with deer trails going through them.
We quickly discovered most of the other
hunters were hunting logging roads and the
edges of this year’s clearcuts. We also discovered
that the good bucks were avoiding these
areas until after dark.

It was our second weekend of scouting
Light rain and cool temperatures ! The
weather was perfect for deer hunting.

When we found the spot we wanted to hunt. It
was an area which was extra thick in vines
with a lot of saplings growing up between the
pines. As I wedged my way through, I popped
into a clearin?g instead of honeysuckte, this
opening -had been claimed by thick, low-lying
creeper vines, leaving a relatively clear area
roughly 30 yards wide and 80 yards long. The
saplings growing in the opening were torn all
to pieces, gouged, rubbed and bent over. It
was a remote area with buck sign everywhere.

Don and I began picking and setting up spots.
Don has always hunted for the big buck and I
have always hunted for deer. I ended up at the
far end of the clearing, back in the-woods
about two trees off the edge. I had trails in
abundance and could shoot into the edge of
the clearing with ease. Don was 100 yards
away in the thickest part with buck sign all
over and an exceptionally heavy trail winding
underneath his big pine tree.

The following weekend (with expectations
high) we woke to a light rain and cooler temperatures
(mid-30s). We hurriedly ate breakfast and
talked about what a perfect day it was
for bowhunting. As we approached our area in
the dark, Don told me to cut by his stand on
my way out if I had any luck. I wished him
luck and angled off to my stand. With dawn
came the deer, but they were all too small or
slightly out of range until 8:00 a.m. when a
plump doe crossed my trail at 10 yards. By the
time I field dressed her, rigged her to my drag
sling and dragged her by (within 30 yard+)
Don’s treestand, it was near 9:00. I gave Don
the high sign as I went by and he returned it,
but he looked beat. His camouflage paint,
even at that distance, looked streaked and his
appearance was that of a man “tuckered out,”

Don scaled the tree again and again, until
he was wringing wet with sweat.

I knew a logging road lay a quarter mile
south of my position, so my deer and I headed
that way. As I came upon the logging road, I
met two of the base MP’s who double as game
wardens. After checking my permit and license,
one of the MP’s offered to help me drag
my deer to the truck; After thanking him, I
drove to the checking station, hung my deer
and fixed lunch. Around 2:00 p.m- I headed
back to the area to wait on darkness and my
hunting partner. As I approached the area, I
saw Don sprawled out with his gear fanned
out around him. Knowing Don’s tenacity, I
Figured he had gotten a deer, probably a-big
buck.

“Where’s the deer?” I yelled as I pulled
up. Don slowly straightened up, accepted the
cold drink I offered him and proceeded to tell
me his sad tale.

Oops. . .

Early that morning, after we parted to find
our spots, Don worked his way over to the big
pine tree and realized he had left his tree step
pouch off his gear belt. I was astonished to
hear this, since Don is the most meticulously
organized person I know, with a separate
compartment for all of his gear. When he
comes down from his tree at dark, he puts
every piece of gear in its particular place, the
same place every time, his rope neatly folded,
his tree stand strapped securely to his back.
This may not seem like such a feat to some of
you but to me it has always seemed like a major
accomplishment. I am always disorganized and
while I usually have everything I
need, I have to hunt for it. Anyway, after I quit
laughing over Don forgetting his steps, he
went on with his story.

Poor Don had hugged that wet pine tree
and pulled himself up toward the limbs 15 feet
above his head. Once there, he discovered
these low limbs on his pine tree were dead and
wouldn’t support his weight. After another
five feet of hugging and grunting, he reached
the limb below the spot planned for his tree
stand. Using his rope, he pulled his tree stand
up into the pine. Holding the stand with one
hand and the pine tree with the other, he
awkwardly unfolded his stand in the dark. As he
reached around the tree to pull his securing

chain into position, he heard something fall
out of his pouch and crash to the ground be-
low. He hooked the chain to the stand and
looked down. Right then he knew he would
have to make a trip down, because he saw his
flashlight shining on the ground like a warning
beacon for all the deer to see.

Luck. You can’t define it, but you know when
you have it…and when you don’t.


After securing his belt to the tree, Don
started back down the pine tree. Don now
claims climbing down a big, wet pine tree is
harder than climbing up it. He had planned to
rest once he reached the ground, but the now
pink sky urged him on. Turning off the flashlight,
he quickly took hold of the only-too-familiar
wet pine tree and started huffing his
way back up. When he reached the dead
limbs at 15 feet, he knew he had to stop for
a rest. even though time was precious.
Knowing better, he straddled the best-looking
limb to get a breather and rest his weary arms.

Just as he was about to start back up, his limb
broke and he slid down two feet before he was
able to stop. He probably would not have
stopped then if his favorite shirt had not
snagged on the limb stub and brought him to
an abrupt halt. Holding onto the tree with one
hand, he managed to jerk his shirt free of the
stub with his other. The resulting sound told
him he would have some sewing to do that
night. As Don wearily pulled himself onto his
stand, he could hear a commotion to his
right. Breathing hard, he saw a big buck right
on him. It was swinging its rack against sap-
lings in its way and grunting as it came. Even
as Don lifted his bow from its hook on the
tree, the buck was moving past his shooting
lanes. Grabbing an arrow, pulling his bow
back, Don tried to concentrate on his last lane
where the buck now was. Releasing the arrow.
Don felt satisfied with the resulting thud his
shot produced. The buck tore out of there low
to the ground and with no hesitation. Still.
Don felt good about his shot.

Shortly afterwards, Don saw me dragging
my doe and gave me the high sign, hoping
I could confirm his hit. Don once again tried
to see where his arrow should be sticking in
the ground covered with blood, but could not
locate it. Maybe it was still in the buck. When
he looked back up and realized I was gone
with my deer, he knew he would have to come
down from the tree himself to confirm his hit.
He knew if he hurried, he might get to the
truck with his deer before I left for the check-
ing station. Pushing away from the tree, Don
jumped the last eight feet, only to land in an
ankle twisting position. Moaning, he limped
over to his shooting lane. There was no blood
on the trail, only his arrow buried almost to
the nock in a rotten stump!

As Don worked on freeing his arrow, he
looked up to see a couple of six-pointers
watching his progress. Hurrying back to his
tree, Don slowly climbed once more into his
position. He settled his bruised and weary
body into a semi-comfortable seat. Working
its way toward him was a buck that was even
bigger than the one he had missed, and this
time he was ready. As the deer worked its way
closer and closer to Don’s shooting lanes, it
seemed to get more and more skittish until it
raised its nose, curled its upper lip in a sneer,
flipped its tail, and was gone. Don knew he
had worked up a sweat that morning, but this
deer was upwind of him. Just then he noticed
movement downwind of where the buck had
been. In a moment, he was able to discern that
it was an MP following the trail on which I had
taken out my deer. Don whistled the MP over.
Unhooking his stand, Don lowered his gear
from the tree and climbed down.

Apologizing for ruining his hunt, the MP
explained he had hunted this area himself and
was back-tracking to see where my deer had
been killed. Don gathered up his gear (every-
thing in its proper place), hiked out of the
woods and wearily lay down to wait for me.
As Don finished his story I tried to summon up
all the sympathy I could for my hunting partner
and good friend, but I’m afraid his
feelings were hurt by my falling to the ground
and rolling with laughter. Don’t feel too sorry
for Don, though, because he doesn’t have
many mornings like that one. He ended the
season with three bow deer kills, one of them
a huge 8-pointer that he rattled in, to go with
the 10-pointer he took the season before.
But even for such consistently successful
hunters as Don, sometimes it just doesn’t pay
to get out of bed. >>——>

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Published by archerchick on 05 Sep 2010

The Country’s Highest Paid Archers: The Green Bay Packers – By Chuck Ramsey


ARCHERY WORLD – JUNE 1968
The Country’s Highest Paid Archers:

Jerry Kramer may be a great right guard for the
Green Bay Packers, but, by any odds, he just shouldn’t
be an archer. But it takes rnore than a few drawbacks
to stop him. He’s an avid bowhunter, has a part
ownership in an archery company, and started many
of his teammates in the sport of bowhunting.

This incredible combination of men and muscle,
the Green Bay Packers, are probably some of the
highest paid bowhunters in the business.
Jerry got interested in borrhunting two vears ago
while recuperating from major surgery. During his
hospital stay he happened upon some copies of Achery World
and decided ro try our this different form
of hunting. He tried it out and ended up as a major
stockholder in American Archery.


I met Jerry while we were co-hosting a television
show called Pack-A-Rama, and I proceeded to try and
teach him all that I knew about hunting with bow and
arrow. We ran into problems immediately, Jerry’s
right hand is deformed somewhat because of an accident
he suffered as a young man while? duck hunting.
The double barrelled shotgun went off accidentally
and blew his forearm literally into hamburger, at least that’s what Jerry said it looked like. After a series of
operations, Prayer, and skin-grafts, he was allowed to
keep his arm in one piece. It appeared to me that his
hook-like fingers couldn’t hold a string so, I proceeded
to teach him how to shoot left handed.

Then I noticed that he wasn’t hitting the target at
all, but he sure was clobbering his right forearm.
When I asked him which eye he was using he said
“My right eye, dummy, I’ve only got ten Percent vision
in my left one.” It seems that he suffered a detached retina during a Baltimore Colt football game a few
years back. Back we went to the drawing board. He
found out he could hold a string with his right fingers
and since then has proceeded to become a very excellent instinctive archer.

Jerry got most of the Packers interested in the sport
of bowhunting, and has taken a couple of the wily
Wisconsin Whitetail. His wife, Barbara, a former
Idaho beauty, has outdone her All-Pro husband. She has taken one more deer than Jerry.

Among the Packers who Partake of the “lnjun-gun type of hunting'” is Doug Hart, a speedy and handsome defensive back, who has collected three
whitetails in three years with his bow. Doug doesn’t
believe in waiting too long after a hit with an arrow.
The scuttle butt around the Packer Locker’room’ is when Doug hits a deer, he drops the bow and runs
the critter down.
Don’t laugh, if you’ve ever seen this
fellow zero in on an opposing player, then you’ll know
why he’s a member of the Packer “Suicide Squad'”

Doug is a former Texas native and refers to our
Wisconsin Whitetail as “large Texas jack-rabbits.”

Some of the other World Champions who hunt with
Jerry and Doug, include Allen Brown, a tight end and former All American at the University of Mississippi.
And, of course the “man with the golden toe”, Don Chandler. a banker from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The talk
around the training room after a weekend’s hunt in
the Wisconsin forests is that if Don were standing in a
barn with all o{fthe doors closed, and he were to shoot
an arrow into the air. he’d miss, But he sure gets an “A” for effort.

Carroll Dale. the speedy end with the sticky fingers,
is an avid bowhunter, and hopes to take a trophy or two in his home state of Tennessee.

Steve Wright, offensive tackle for the Packers was
bitten by the bowhunting bug, as was Ron Kostalnik,
formerly of the University of Cincinnati, and Jimmy
Flanagan, a rookie linebacker from the University of Pittsburgh.

Henry Jordan, a defensive tackle who is, pound for pound more than a match for the toughest offensive
lineman in the N.F.L. or the A.F.L. tried the bow and
arrow way of relaxation, but when his wife Olive
started to beat him consistently he decided to try golf.
I heard him mumbling something about not wanting
to lose that winning spirit that Coach Lombardi has
instilled in him. Makes sense, I guess!

Art Laha, “The Bowhunter” from Winchester,
Wisconsin, who owns part of American Archery, has a
bowhunting lodge in Northern Wisconsin. He also has
aided in getting the Packers into bowhunting.

He invites them up to his lodge in Vilas County at
least twice a year. The fellows really enjoy the trips up
to the lodge, and you can be sure that the bowhunters
here go home with a better understanding of football
after a weekend with these boys.

Jerry remarked one day that the reason he took up
bowhunting was because he had lost the thrill of hunting with a rifle. “I had an unfulfilled feeling when I
took a trophy with a rifle. That old electric feeling I had when I was a kid was gone, and it wasn’t fun anymore. But with a bow I feel a sense of
accomplishment that I’ve never felt before. I can’t really
explain it, he went on. “I don’t know if any bowhunter can, but I do know, it’s a good feeling, like cutting down the last man between the ball carrier and the goal line I guess.”

Jerry and Bill Bednar met for the first time last year at the International Open Archery tournament at
Detroit. After watching Bill overcome an almost disastrous second day of shooting, and end up in second place, he remarked. “There’s a guy with a lot of steel in him.”
He couldn’t have described himself more accurately.


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