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Published by archerchick on 21 Feb 2011

Barebow Basics – By Gary Vater


Bow and Arrow Hunting
June 1990


Barebow Basics ~By Gary Vater

Shooting Without Sights Takes More Practice, But Accuracy Can Be Amazing!

WITH THE STEALTH of a predator, the bowhunter
eased down the sage-covered ridge. Each step
was calculated and cautious. An earlier stalk had ended with an
alerted animal bursting from its bed, leaving the archer alone
to watch the trail of dust in the distance. The wounded antelope
retreated to the safety of this open hillside and bedded down a second
time. Now the animal was lying near a large clump of
sage, allowing an undetected approach from above.
Though well within bow range, the hunter
was faced with a new problem. The same
bush which aided his stalk was blocking
any chance for a shot. As the bowhunter
crept forward, the buck exploded out of its
bed. With an arrow ready on the string, the
archer stood and swung the bow into action
at the fleeing animal. Even with the shot
changing every second, the arrow found
its mark and put the animal down for
good.

While most people would chalk this up
as a lucky shot, others will perhaps recall
making a similar shot themselves. Many
of these believers will fall into the category
of “instinctive” shooters.
That shot was made with no concern of
range estimation nor of what sight pin to
use. In a situation like that, the opportunity
will only present itself for a few
seconds before the animal is gone. The
arrow is brought into motion as simply as
tossing a ball, with nothing more than
practiced hand/ eye coordination.

Think of the snowballs thrown when
you were younger. There was never any
calculation as to how to make the throw.
You just did it. After a couple of snowfalls,
you’ll have to admit, you became pretty
accurate. And I’ll bet most of you can
remember connecting on a few neighbor
kids who were streaking for safety. There
is no reason to feel you can’t shoot instinctively.
Learning to shoot an arrow instinctively
takes time. Being a learned ability, it`s no
different than any other developed reaction
involving hand/ eye coordination. You
need repetition to engrave it in your mind.
Once you’ve got it, it’ll always be there. It
can’t be bent, broken, or rattled out of
place.

Sound interesting? It can be a simple
process; just point and touch the anchor,
I’m not saying instinctive shooting is a
can`t-miss alternative. Believe me, I know
that And I’m sure not trying to sound like
an authority on shooting the bow. So many
people in this sport never have been exposed
to the many variables of shooting a bow,
I’d just like to help open some eyes to a
shooting style different than what most
people are taught today. I have some suggestions
which may make the transition in
styles a little easier.

Before you snap an arrow on the string,
you may want to take a look at the arrow-
rest system on your bow. It will help to
shoot off the arrow shelf, if you can. The
idea is to get the shaft lying almost on top
of your hand. Have you ever marveled at
the accuracy some people have on moving
game or objects tossed into the air? Odds
are, these people have the arrow as close
to their bow hand as possible. The flight of
the arrow becomes an extension of their
fingers.

Two basic bow tuning notes should be
mentioned: To shoot off the shelf you’ve
got to use feather fletching. Plastic vanes
aren ’t forgiving enough when passing over
the stiff rest. You’ll also find the nock set
usually has to be placed higher above
square when shooting off the shelf
When the equipment is ready, it’s time
to adjust the archer. Keep in mind that
there really is no single right way to shoot a
bow. As long as the arrow goes where you
want it, it doesn’t matter how your form
looks when compared to everyone else.
I’m just presenting ideas that many others
have found useful. Experiment with some
or all of them. Find what works best for
you and develop your skills from there.
Because we may be building from the
ground up, let’s begin with the foundation;
the stance. Try this: When pointing out
something specific to another person, there
is a tendency to lower your head to get
your eyes on the same level as your finger.
Flexing your knees while leaning forward
a little brings you even more in line. This
same stance works well with instinctive
arrow shooting.

Since depth perception is more accurate
with a clear field of view, you may want to
cant or tilt the bow to open up the sight
window. By doing this, all that’s seen is the
target area, with nothing between to break
your concentration. By the way, if you
think about it, even a bow equipped with a
sight can be shot canted, as long as the
angle remains the same for each shot. One
of the reasons people started holding bows
vertically was to prevent interference with
the person next to them on the shooting
line. If you have to take this into consideration
when shooting at an animal, it’s
time to find a new place to hunt.

The string fingers and anchor point may
need refinement. Try using a middle finger
in the corner of the mouth anchor, if your
prefer a split finger hold on the nock. Others
will find placing all three fingers under the
nock to their liking. Either choice may
accomplish what you are after: to get the
arrow as near the eye as possible. We’re
getting everything in line with our plane
of sight.

The most solid form still needs to be
driven by concentration. Your mind tells
the bow arm where to move as the arrow is
drawn. By the time the anchor point has
been reached, the aiming process has been
completed. If the concentration has been
broken, the results will show it.

When I shoot, all of which I am consciously
aware is two fingers; one index
finger gets pushed toward the intended
target, while the other touches the anchor
point. While I’m drawing, I imagine my
finger touching the exact spot I want to hit.
This simplified thought process eliminates
any second guessing about the shot. More
often than not, second guessing has a negative
effect on the shot. Once developed,
trust your instincts. Doubting or guessing
is where many flinches originate. The mind
is unsure if the arrow should be sent on its
way, while the fingers are saying it’s time.
This point—and-shoot style could be of
particular interest to any archer suffering
from that dreaded disease, target panic.
This mental collapse of the shooting technique
has ruined many an archer. Some
say it develops through a fear of missing.
Those affected can’t really tell you when it
struck; they only know the ability to aim
and hold on target is gone. In an attempt to
overcome it, some have tried hypnosis,
release aids, clickers or switching from
right- to left—handed shooting. Others have
just plain quit the sport in frustration.
I caught a nasty case of it myself about
ten years ago and fought an uphill battle to
conquer it for a long time. Finally I decided
it would be better to develop what I had
left, instead of fighting it. Learning con-
trolled snap shooting was the answer for
me. Since target panic won’t let you hold
the arrow once the anchor is touched, pre-
aiming as the arrow is drawn eliminates
the need to hold. If the aiming is completed
as the anchor is touched, there’s no need to
hold any longer.

Other than just putting in your time in
front of the target butt, here are a couple of
ideas to break the monotony and to develop
your skills more quickly.
One method suggests learning to shoot
in the dark. In a safe, dark area, place a

small flashlight on the ground so it shines
on the target. Even though you’ll be shooting
from only eight to ten yards, make sure
you’ve got a large safe backstop. It is too
dark to use the arrow for sighting, so hand/
eye coordination will have to put the arrow
where it belongs. This way, you’ll be shooting
by feel rather than by sight. With nothing
but the target to concentrate on, the act
of drawing and releasing will become a
natural motion, allowing the archer to place
his total attention on the spot to be hit.

Possibly the most enjoyable way to
develop your instinctive eye is through
stump shooting using Judo or other blunt
points. The Judo points eliminate any concern
about losing arrows, so a wider variety
of shots will be taken. These varied shots
will sharpen your skills faster than taking
the same shot repeatedly. It also will get
you out into the fields and forests, simulating
actual hunting conditions.

Shooting instinctively doesn’t guarantee
you won’t miss your next animal. There
are no guarantees in hunting or shooting as
there are no short— cuts. Both require a substantial
investment of time and practice to
become proficient. If the technique you’re
using now isn’t working, what have you
got to lose by trying something different?
Sure, your friend with the bow sight will
out—shoot you on the target range. But take
him along roving through the woods, where
the ranges are unknown and he must shoot
from an awkward position. I think the pros
and cons of the different styles will balance
out and you’ll both realize there is more
than one way to shoot a bow. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Blood Trails To Success~By John Trout Jr.


Bow and Arrow Hunting
December 1995

Blood Trails To Success – By John Trout JR.

After The Arrow Is Released, The Hunt May Begin!

TRACKING THE whitetail buck had become a nightmare. Only
two specks of blood were visible within a few yards of where l shot
the 10-pointer. The arrow had entered high, too far back on the quartering—
away deer. It appeared that the animal was lost.

One hour after the trailing began, four of us spread out to widen our search. We
hoped that someone would eventually find another drop of blood or locate the
deer. A short time later, we spotted the downed buck only 100 yards from
where it all began. A close inspection revealed the arrow had sliced through
the kidneys and into the paunch.

In the past decade, responsible bowhunters have become more
knowledgeable about shot placement They also have realized that they must take only
those shots within their effective shooting range. Following these standards,
along with a good understanding of the whitetail’s anatomy, is sure to make any
bowhunter live up to the ethics necessary to keep our sport alive and well.

We are human, however, and mistakes can be made. A well-aimed arrow
can easily stray, regardless of our intentions to make a quick, clean kill. After
the shot, the bowhunter still has a responsibility. He or she must trail the deer
effectively and make every effort to recover the animal. This responsibility
begins the moment the arrow is released.

Following Up After The Shot

Much can be said about the archer who pays close attention to the white-
tail as it leaves the scene after the shot. The bowhunter who does so often can
determine the type of hit that was made and assume the necessaiy tracking skills
that may be involved. The sound of the arrow hitting home,for example, may give
you an idea on the type of hit. The dull “thump” usually means that the arrow has entered
the body cavity. A sharp crack, on the other hand, may be a sound of the arrow
hitting the shoulder blade or some other bone.

Perhaps the best warning of what lies ahead is in the whitetail’s reaction after
the arrow hits. You should watch the deer for as long as possible when it
leaves the scene. The bowhunter should memorize the precise travel route the
deer uses when it leaves and the exact location when last seen. Even a mental
note of a particular tree, bush or rock will assist you later when it comes time
to pick up the blood trail. Nothing can be more frustrating than looking in the
wrong place for a blood trail.

Various hits will cause the whitetail to react differently. Normally, an arrow
that passes through the lungs will send a deer away at breakneck speed.
A heart shot also may cause the deer to run hard, but it often will jump or
jerk its body erratically when the arrow passes through. Superficial — muscle
wounds also may cause a deer to run hard, however. What may appear to be
a superficial wound should be taken seriously, because artery hits are
not uncommon.

A deer shot through the paunch often will run for only a short distance then stop
or begin walking. Normally, they will hunch their backs as they walk. A hit through
the liver may cause a similar reaction. Following up after the shot will no doubt play a
major role in the recovery of your deer. It may help when determining how soon you
should begin trailing, and it may let you know if assistance will be necessary.

How Long Should You Wait?
A 30-minute wait before taking up the blood trail is a standard rule that many
bowhunters enforce. After all, a deer shot through the vitals will run a short distance
and fall over moments after the arrow passes through. It will not be going anywhere.
The wait will not change the outcome. Death comes quickly when an arrow passes
through the lungs, heart, kidneys or major arteries. A liver or paunch-shot deer, however,
will require a much longer delay. First, consider that death may be prolonged if
the vitals are spared. If you push the whitetail only one hour after the shot, it
will continue to move ahead. A deer that travels one—half mile will be more difficult
to find than one that travels a few hundred yards or less.

Also consider that most deer shot in the paunch and/or liver will usually bed
quickly when left alone. They may or may not leave this site, but pushing them
is a sure way to keep them ahead of you. Normally, I give the liver-shot deer
two hours. I often wait six hours before taking up the trail of a deer shot through
the stomach. I have found many of these deer within 300 yards of where I shot.

We do know that forced movement will induce bleeding. However, the entrance
and exit holes of the paunch and liver—shot deer often become clogged
with tissue that does not allow the blood to reach the ground. Trailing deer that
have sustained these types of wounds is difficult, simply because little blood can
be found, regardless of whether it is pushed or left alone. For this reason, I
find it best to wait a few hours before taking up the trail. Keep in mind, the
farther a deer travels, the more difficult it will be to recover.

Muscle wounds, though, may prompt you to begin trailing immediately. These
wounds are often superficial and recovery may be impossible, regardless of
whether you push the animal or delay the tracking. However, I usually assume
that there is little chance of finding a deer shot through the muscles unless I push
it to induce bleeding.

In my opinion, there is no universal rule for waiting. You should judge each
incident accordingly from the sign that you find and your suspicions of where
the arrow hit. Some hits will require waiting; others will not. The bowhunter
should decide this after the shot is taken and before the tracking begins.

Blood Trailing

Before following a blood trail, it will help to fully understand the meaning of
various blood colors. Blood is red, plain and simple, but the color does vary with
different wounds. Those who can recognize these different aspects will have
a better insight as to the location of the deer’s wound. The brightest blood
usually comes from a lung shot. It appears pinkish and may or may not have
air bubbles visible in the droplets of the blood. The blood that you find when the
heart, kidneys or major arteries are severed is more of a crimson red and
not as glossy as the blood of a lung hit. However, a muscle wound may also
resemble this same dull red color.

A deer shot in the liver and paunch section will leave much darker blood. This
difference is noticeable when compared to the blood of a heart or lung-shot deer.
Experienced trackers can usually spot this dark blood immediately. However, this is deter-
mined best before the blood dries. Dried blood, even that which is bright to begin with, is
always darker than wet blood.

You also can determine if the deer you are tracking is running or walking by looking at
the blood trail. A deer that is standing or walking slowly will leave blood that has splatter
marks surrounding the droplet. The blood droplet of the running deer will have splatter marks
only on the front, which also indicates the direction it is traveling. The amount of blood
that reaches the ground may or may not have any bearing on the possibilities of a recovery.

As mentioned, the stomach-shot deer leaves little blood. However, this
deer can be found when the tracking is handled properly. A muscle-shot
deer may bleed profusely at first and lead the bowhunter into believing the
deer is going down immediately, but its wound may also clot without warning.
For this reason, I pay little attention to the amount of blood that reaches
the ground. When following a blood trail, do not hurry the process. Slow trailing
will allow you to see more and prevent you from being forced to return to the last
blood found. Marking your way with trail-marking tape or toilet paper will
keep you from accidentally backtracking or straying too far from the last blood
drops whenever the trail is lost. You should remove the markers, though, after
the task ends.

An experienced tracker will do more than just look for blood. He also will
watch for tracks that may appear as only impressions in the leaves. This
helps considerably when blood cannot be found on the ground. When blood
does not fall to the ground, you may see it on limbs and high weeds. A
wounded deer may leave blood smeared on debris when it passes
through. There have been many times that only smeared blood has put me
back on the right trail.

Locating The Downed Deer
No doubt, a happy ending to any tracking situation is locating the downed
deer. This brings about an overwhelming satisfaction that makes any hunt
more memorable and enjoyable. For this reason, and because the bowhunter
should be an ethical, responsible individual, he or she must never give up if
there is a chance of finding the deer. Although the blood trail may have
expired, there is still hope of locating the deer if you follow a few simple procedures.
Primarily, these include spreading out your search and looking for sign
other than blood.

Several years ago, my dad shot a small-antlered buck through the paunch.
We could find blood for only the first 200 yards. Finally, after spreading out,
we were able to locate two beds that showed blood. Both beds were at least
another 100 yards from the last visible blood. We soon found the deer, lying
dead in a third bed 50 yards from the other two.

When you widen your search area, it will help to have more eyes available. Any-
one who can assist will increase your chances of finding the deer or some sign that
may lead you to it. When I begin tracking, I prefer to do it quietly with only one
or two others. However, once the trail is lost, several fellow hunters will increase
the chances.

Trails should be followed for a long distance, even if they do not lead you in
the same direction that the wounded deer had previously. Most deer, when
wounded, tend to circle. I would also suggest walking creek and ditch borders
to watch for tracks where the deer may have crossed. Often, a drop of blood may
fall as the deer travels up and down the bank, or jumps to the opposite side.

Never assume that a wounded deer will not do what seems impossible. They
can and will do exactly what you would never expect. I often have heard
bowhunters claim that a hurting deer will not go up steep hills. I have seen
this theory proved wrong on many occasions. I have also seen them cross
large bodies of water to avoid those in pursuit. When trailing a deer, it will be
best to think logically, but do not rule out the impractical whenever your blood
trail ends.

Time may not be on your side, but time must be allocated to locating a
downed deer. Many times, one more hour in the field can make all the difference.
Only when all efforts have faded and you have decided that the wound is superficial
should the trail be abandoned. The sharp broadhead is lethal and
will put a deer down quickly when aimed properly. It is every bowhunter’s
responsibility to see that this happens. Unfortunately, a slight miss can still
occur, which would lead you into a difficult tracking situation. You may re-
cover your deer by following the guidelines mentioned, though. Remember that
the hunt is not over when the arrow is released.

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Prairie State Bucks ~ By John L Sloan


Bow and Arrow Hunting
December 1995

PRAIRIE STATE BUCKS By John L Sloan

If you want a Record-Book Buck, You Must Hunt Where The Record Bucks Are!

?

STEP OUT of the bunk house. The sky is clear and starry-cold. I
listen to a minute or two of the coyote choir tuning up in the
west. The wind sings a little as it gusts briefly through the wires.
Yesterday’s deluge is over and the cold snap, clear skies and wind
should dry things quickly. Today the deer should move.

?

I warm quickly as I walk across the still dark, freshly combined bean field.
I watch the distant tree line to hit the right crossing for the fence, the
hedgerow and the narrow line of weeds. As I enter the lower field, sweating
slightly, I tum for the southeast comer of the picked field. There I will find the
trail crossing the dry creek. If someone hasn’t moved it again, when I top the
far bank, I’ll be exactly 45 yards from the stand in the giant, double-trunked
sycamore. It is going to be a great morning!

?

The trees take shape. Pike County, Illinois, complete with blackland fields,
standing corn, picked beans, woodlots and brushy draws emerges from the
negative and develops into a color print view. I wiggle my toes for warmth and
remove the bow from the hanger. The yellow hedge apple leaves float by, bordered
by oak and hickory leaves in reds and yellows, It is early autumn.

?

An hour passes. I am entertained by four squirrels. They are in love.
A wood-pecker does his thing. A coyote, one with only three legs, tempts
me, but stays at a distance. Then comes a deer. I’m wrong, there are
two deer — both this year’s fawns, maybe six months old. Even at that
age, they will weigh close to 80 pounds Field-dressed. I pass. After
killing a fat doe yesterday, I have two more tags and I am waiting for
a good buck.
?

My friend comes back. He is a sleek six-point with a death wish.
Every day he tempts me. Even when I change stands, he follows
and tempts me. Today he plays games. I call and rattle a little. He
walks around me a couple of times. Two days ago, he walked between
my pack on the ground and the base of the tree. I tried to spit snuff
juice on him.

?

I am in Illinois, hunting for the fourth straight year.
Every year I have seen huge bucks. Every year I pass up
deer most hunters would love to have. I see deer every
time I go to the woods — some big deer. Just two days
ago, hunting a neighboring farm, John Christian killed a
l0-point that scored 127 points and weighed 215 pounds
field-dressed. I saw one even bigger three days ago.

My hosts are Bob Cox and his partner Phil Johnson.
They run Pike County Trophy Outfitters (Dept. BA, 53
Cottonwood, Chatham, H. 62629). Located four miles
from Perry, Illinois, their land covers two square miles of
the finest deer habitat I have ever seen. Large tracts of
woods split crop fields. There are creek bottoms and ridges
and brushy draws and grassy fields. The deer seem to like
the grassy fields. The bucks come to check the does there.
?

I never have seen so many deer moving in the open
fields. Let me give you an idea how strong their operation
is. They take only 10 hunters per year — five the
first week of November and five the second. They span
the prime time of the rut. Their stands all are located in
proven areas and they have at least four stands for every
hunter. They charge $2,250 for a week’s hunt. If you don’t
shoot a buck, they refund you $500. That is no joke! If
you don’t shoot a buck, they write you a check for $500.
You can take it with you or apply to the next year ’s hunt.
That, my friends, is confidence.

?

I arrived at the hunt headquarters midday, a week too early, according
to Cox. “Most hunting around here doesn’t get started until the first of
November. It is tough with the crops still in the fields,” he said.
“It is hard for some hunters to believe how these bucks — l mean
the big ones — stay out in these open fields. I guess they learn
that shotguns and arrows aren’t going to reach out 250 yards. But
when you can see in the fields and can see the bucks in them, you
can make a better guess as to where the stands should go.

?

“But anyway, I’ve got 15 to 20 stands hanging now, and the
rubs and scrapes are starting to show up. Maybe we can get on a
good one. I’ve got to go pull out a beaver dam. They have a creek
backed up to where the combines can’t get across. As soon as
they get the combines across, they can pick the com.”Go, combines!
We’ll hunt this afternoon.

?

I turned down Bob Cox’s offer to stay in the clean farmhouse they use for their
hunters. I elected to stay at the bunk-house with Cox and a couple of his
friends who hunt adjoining property. The farmhouse is complete with hot showers,
clean bedrooms, stove, refrigerator and whatever else you need, including
television. The bunk house is, well I guess it is cozier.

?

Some of the land Cox and Johnson guide on is owned by Johnson. I met him
briefly as he scurried between tractors and combines and augers. When it is dry
in late October, farmers put in long days. Once the crops are harvested, they have
time to hunt. The Pope & Young record-book heads on Phil Johnson ’s wall indicate
he gets to hunt some each year. There is no doubt about it, these guys
have big deer, and they know how to hunt them.

?

After a brief battle with the beavers, Cox and I changed clothes and headed
for woodlines that bordered a standing cornfield. I went up a slight ridge and
climbed into a huge hickory tree. Cox uses Staghom tree stands (Dept. BA,
410 West Lincoln, Goshen, IN 46526) most of the time. I found them to be se-
cure, roomy and comfortable. Many of the trees are so big he has
to put extensions on the chains. Cox spares no effort in hanging stands. They
are high enough and there are enough steps for anybody to climb up. Each is
steady and positioned for the best shot.

?

I had been in the one in the hickory tree only 20 minutes when the first deer
came by. It was a big ol’ doe and two fawns. Coming from Tennessee, I have
trouble with deer that weigh 120 pounds on the hoof being called fawns. Within
minutes, a herd of 19 came by and stopped to browse on the locust beans
falling near my stand. Unfortunately, this herd was all cattle and they stayed
until dark. Deer don’t particularly mind cattle, but they aren’t going to walk right
in the middle of them if they can help it.

?

The next morning, Cox and I slipped into a heavily wooded creek bottom be-
fore daylight. As so often happens to me, someone moved the tree we were looking
for. Finally we found it and I settled into another Staghom stand.
As it got light enough to see — the sun always rises in the north in Illinois;
I swear it does — I almost had a cardiac! Cox had said this was a good spot.

?

What an understatement! From the stand I could count seven wide, deep trails,
all crossing within bow range. I also could see four rubs and two scrapes.
Before long I saw a doe and two fawns, then one unidentified deer and the six-
point that adopted me. I knew that buck wasn’t the one making the rubs and
scrapes. There was at least one big buck in this area.

?

As Cox and I walked out the creek bottom, he continually pointed at rubs
and scrapes and such stuff. Yes, indeed, the rut was starting to heat up.
That afternoon, I hunted from another sycamore in a dry creek bed that bordered
a field of green clover. I saw some little stuff, but the wind was howling and
swirling. On the walk out, we spooked several deer; a couple seemed pretty big
to me.

?

The next morning we had a cold spell with heavy frost. I suggested we try rattling
in the creek bottom. It took me awhile to find the big, double-trunked
sycamore. Someone moved it again, but I was in it before I could see to shoot.
As daylight came, so did the deer. I saw seven that morning, including one that
probably was a shooter, and my pet six-point. Cox, hunting the same bottom
from a tree 300 yards down from me, had two bucks fighting in a grass field
200 yards in front of him. We both could have killed does. A scrape near his stand
had been worked overnight.

?

Back at the bunkhouse, Lee Woodward, another of the hunting bud-
dies, needed some help dragging one out. Lee killed a nice eight-pointer on
some land a few miles away. We aged the deer at 2 I/2 years. He sported some
sticker points and probably weighed close to 140 pounds field—dressed.
Woodward said the deer was with 25 others, coming out of the standing com,
right at daylight.

?

Well, it went that way for a week. One morning, Cox watched a heavy,
high-antlered buck enter a picked com- field. The buck was 200 yards from Cox
and headed my way. By the time he got to me, he was 80 yards from my stand.
That was a shooter for sure, probably close to 150 P&Y points. Just about every
time I climbed into a stand, I had deer within shooting distance.

?

One morning, I rattled in two coyotes. One afternoon, I had an eight—point
in the 120-125—point class stay with me for an hour. Sometimes does joined him;
sometimes another buck would enter the scene. This was in the broad open. I
watched him make scrapes and rub everything in sight. I saw deer on the sky-
line that would make you hyperventilate. As they say in the video business, I had
lots of encounters. Then it rained. It rained all day. lt rained hard. The wind blew in gusts.

We drove to Cox’s house in Chatham, an hour away, and enjoyed a hot shower and
some hot chili. We washed clothes. I had given Cox a set of ASAT Ultimate 3-D camo
and he wouldn’t let it out of his sight. I guess he was afraid I would take it back.

?

On the way back to camp, the skies began to clear and the deer were everywhere.
We counted seven bucks in the fields around the hunting area — big bucks, Pope &
Young bucks. Shooters!

?

That was Tuesday afternoon. On Saturday, Cox and I had hung one of my Non-Typical
stands to the side of an old logging road that climbed a short ridge and ended in a green
pasture. There were seven scrapes in the road. On Saturday, there had been five.
I climbed into the stand at 4: 15 that afternoon.

?

Wind was from the southwest and slight. It was perfect. She came first —
a young doe fawn. She was not in heat.The six-point, a different one from my
pet, didn’t care. As with a teenage boy, he just liked the idea of having a girl
friend. The young doe demurred and walked under my stand. The buck
jumped into the logging road, looked right and rattled his hocks out of there
in a hurry. My view to his right was blocked by the top of a tree and a bend
in the road. The bend was soon filled with a nice 10-point. When he turned to
follow the doe, I released. Another miracle! I am certain my arrow went
completely through that deer. I could not have missed at…at…10 yards. No, it was
a miracle.

?

I got down and walked around in a circle some and beat on the ground
with a stick. Then I picked up my clean arrow and sucked my thumb for a few
minutes. Ido not miss shots like that. At least, I am not supposed to. I
couldn’t even come up with a good excuse; I just missed. I don’t know how
many deer I saw while I was there. It was a bunch. As I said, I killed one and
could have killed several more. I could have killed a couple small bucks and should have
killed one nice one. The trophy potential of this place is tremendous and it
will continue to grow. There are a lot of 2 1/2-year-old bucks that will be 3 1/2
next year.

?

With the policy of no gun hunting and only 10 hunters per year, this place is
going to be good for a long time. Stand sites get rested and every stand I hunted
was in a superb location. It is one of the few places I have hunted where I actu-
ally felt every hunter would have a real chance for a Pope & Young record buck.
I can’t wait to see what it is like with the corn out and the rut in full bore. These
are deer such as they have in Alberta, but the weather is a lot more pleasant.

?

It was clear and the stars were out as I listened to the end of the coyote choir.
The wind was singing in the wire around the field as I headed the truck for home.
The deer would move today, and I do not miss deer at 10 yards. Golly, what a
hunt!

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Open Door To Adventure~ By Roy Hoff


Bow and Arrow
June 1972

Open Door To Adventure ~ By Roy Hoff

When Alaska Was Reopened To Bowhunting The Trophy Possibilities Were Staggering!

IT WAS INDEED A GREAT DAY in bowhunting circles when
word was flashed that the Alaska Game Commission had again
legalized bow and arrow as a hunting weapon in the Territory of Alaska.
The new legislation was effective during the fall of 1954. All
big game animals were legal except grizzly and brown
bear. There was a good reason for the prohibition.
Most present-day bowmen, no doubt, believe the
bow and arrow has been legal ever since the Eskimos
moved in. That’s not true.

?

Prior to 1930, Art Young and Saxton Pope received
world-wide publicity in newspapers and magazines
and in theaters where movies were shown of
their Alaskan adventures depicting the successful bagging
of grizzly and Alaska brown bears. The success
of these famous hunters set the stage for a tragic event.
A party of state-side hunters figured they knew all the
answers, but learned the hard way they were mistaken.
In a tragic episode involving a grizzly, one member
of the party lost his life and some others were mauled
so badly they barely escaped with their lives. Shortly
afterward, hunting with a bow and arrow in what is
now our fiftieth state became a no-no!

?

The new law specified that moose could be taken
only in the Anchorage area. Other big game such as
caribou, deer and black bear (excepting grizzly and
brown) could be taken anywhere in the Territory.
Members of the Alaska Bowmen initiated a long
and arduous campaign of public relations between the
bowmen and members of the Game Commission. The
ring-leaders, with whom we were in constant contact,
were Royce Martin, Ivan Blood and Bob Myers, to
whom bowhunters on the North American Continent
owe much.

?

Having worked for the news media nearly all my
life, it took little persuasion to convince myself I should
be on hand for the festivities.
On a – dream-trip like this, a guy must have a hunting
buddy or two, so I invited Bill Childs of Alameda
and Tim Meigs of Oakland, a couple of dyed-in-the-
wool bowhunters in California, to join me.

?

We met in Seattle, chewed the rag with Glenn
St. Charles, founder of the Pope and Young Club,
then boarded a Northwest Orient Airlines plane for
our destination in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
The flight is about 1700 miles, practically all over
water. To me the only impressive sight was the Alaska
Range, with many snow-covered peaks rising abruptly
from the seashore to an average altitude of 18,000
feet, much higher than any mountain in -the States.


?

As our pilot turned the nose of our plane in to-
ward Anchonage, we passed over Montague Island and
proceeded up Turn again Arm to Cook’s Inlet. My cam-
eras really clicked. Keni Peninsula, noted for its many
species of big game, was in plain view for many miles
and we wondered what fabulous hunting stories the
island could tell.

?

That night we were guests of honor at a very nice
banquet staged by the Alaska Bowmen. Each of us was
presented with a “bellykin” made from walrus tusks,
as a talisman to carry with us on the hunt.
In the morning, our guides: Royce Martin, Mortimer
Moore and Ivan Blood, packed our duffel on two
pack horses. Frieda, my wife, was provided a saddle
horse. It was a seven-mile hike to moose camp which
was on a shelf of a nearby mountain where the view
of Anchorage and the surrounding valley was superb.

?
Upon arrival we received our first hunting thrill.
The boys unveiled a fine set of moose antlers (still in
the velvet) and a quarter of the carcass hanging in a
nearby hemlock, all ready for cooking, Ivan was the
lucky hunter. He had bagged the animal during the time
the boys were setting up camp. It was thoughtful of the
boys to provide our party with camp meat and, let me
tell you, there is no tastier meat than moose, if prepared
correctly of course, and Frieda attended to this
detail. Boiled moose ribs, yum, yum!

?

With a moose already in camp it appeared we’d
have little difficulty in filling our tags early and then
head out for caribou country. Coming events did not
work out that way. Moose had been in the area, that
was certain, but all but an occasional straggler had departed
for parts unknown. There were lots of tracks
but none was fresh. We hunted hard for three days.
Other members of the party reported sighting a nice
bull. The best I could report was one “maybe.” We
all came to the conclusion we were hunting a “dry hole.”

?

All of us were pleased when we broke camp and
headed back toward Anchorage, and for the opportunity
to dry out. This was the early part of September
which is their rainy season. If you plan to hunt here
at this time be sure to take plenty of “foul weather
gear.” I’d suggest an outfit consisting of: lightweight
rubber hip-length waders, rubber pants (bib overall
pattern) and rubber parka-coat. If you don’t like to
hunt with your ears covered, wear a rain hat and tuck
in the parka. The parka comes in handy to keep your
ears warm in the evenings and early mornings.

?

Returning to Northern Sporting Goods, our head-
quarters in Anchorage, we were greeted with glowing
reports of the many moose sighted by local hunters together w
ith a few kills – right at the edge of town! In
fact, as we were being briefed on what had transpired
in our absence, in walked Charley MacInnes, one of
the Territory’s popular and successful bowhunters. He
was smeared and spattered with blood. The broad
smile on the Scotsman’s face told us louder than words
there was meat on the table.

?

“Where is he, Charley?” we asked in unison. Our
hero merely headed for the door motioning us to follow.
A most beautiful sight greeted us. There in the bed of
a pickup truck was a beautiful set of moose antlers resting
on a spring-sagging cargo of moose meat.
McInnes was a very impressive person. He actually
hunted wearing kilts, symbolic of his ancestory,
or his shorts. Charley pointed out he was a “lone wolf”
type of hunter who believed it is tough enough for a
bowman to stalk quietly through the woods without ad-
ding noise-producing makers such as Levi overalls.

?

One arrow proved to be “curtains” for the big
moose. Further, quoting Charley, here is what he said:
“On September 6, at 6:10 a.m., I was hunting in
the Goose Lake area and spotted a bull below me headed
my way. I waited until he came to within forty feet,
whereupon he stopped, apparently sensing my presence.
I eased my bow up carefully and released a broadhead.
The bull whirled and dashed off down the slope. He
disappeared in the brush for a few seconds, but I saw
him when he came out on the flats below.”

?

“He stopped in an open spot and appeared to at-
tempt to turn his head back in my direction. At that
moment, I heard the breath go out of his lungs and saw
him collapse. It sounded a lot like letting the air out of
a rubber mattress. I’d estimate from the time the bull
was hit until he keeled over dead, was about fifteen
seconds. The broadhead entered the rib cage and passed
through the lungs.”

?

During our interview, I documented a few hunting
tips which I’ll pass along to you: He always spreads
his clothing on spruce boughs overnight, washes with
plain soap just before the hunt, wears clean clothes,
uses no tobacco or shaving lotion. A parting remark
was, “Any shot in the rib cage may be considered as
a fatal hit !”

?

We had to kill time for a day waiting on Mert
Marshall, who was to guide us into the caribou country,
returning with a party of successful hunters (we
hoped). So we took a sight-seeing trip to view a couple
of glaciers. Upon our return – as usual – it was the
same story: Another moose had been bagged. Don
Goodman was the successful hunter. Following is the
exciting and humorous story he told me:

?

It seems Don is more of a novice bowhunter than
an experienced old timer, though, I must say he could
hold and shoot a hefty stick of seventy-five pounds and
place an arrow pretty close to the spot he was aiming at.
Don had been out several times, hunting in proximity to
the Campbell Air Strip at the edge of Anchorage, but no luck.
On this particular morning he
had hunted the spruce-covered hillsides and was re-
turning to his car through the middle of a swamp.

Suddenly, not over twenty yards in front of him, up
jumped a bull moose from its bed in the buffalo grass.
It stood broadside apparently unperturbed at the intrusion.
Don loosed a carefully aimed broadhead and ob-
served the feathers as they disappeared into the rib
cage. Don swears this dumb-dumb moose never even
so much as batted an eye.

?

The hunter immediately drove another shaft into
the animal not two inches from the first, with about the
same reaction from the moose.
“‘That critter,” said Don, “just shuffled his feet,
stuck out his neck a little closer toward me and just
glared. As I nocked the third arrow I looked around
to see if there were a convenient tree I could climb or
at least hide behind. There was none, so again I blazed
away. By this time I was so dog-gone nervous and
shaking so badly I hit him in the foot.


?

“By the time I loosed the fourth arrow I was a
physical wreck and missed that big hulk completely. I
started desperately praying for help-a fellow bowman,
shotgun hunter, or maybe somebody with a stout club.
As I fumbled for another arrow I stood transfixed by
a sight I couldn’t believe. Just when I thought I was
a goner, over he went dead as a mackerel!

?

Subsequent investigation showed both of the first
two arrows had completely penetrated the animal’s rib
cage and were found sticking in the ground beyond. In
my estimation, there is not the slightest doubt but what
the first arrow would have done the trick.
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service,
the Keni moose of Alaska is the largest of its kind on
earth. Bulls reach a weight of 1,400 pounds or better
and with an antler spread of six feet and more.
Of the sixty hunters who participated in this hunt,
six were successful in bagging a moose.

?

Statistics on tackle show a radical change in re-
cent years. Ivan Blood used an eighty-pound recurve;
Charley MacInnes shot a seventy-nine-pounder. Seldom
do we see bows this hefty any more.

?

We joined Mert Marshall at Eureka Lodge across
from the huge Matanuslca glacier, 125 miles northeast
of Anchorage where, after loading our duffel, we took
a swamp buggy ride fifty miles up the river bed to the
headwaters of the Little Nelchina River into the tundra
and land of muskeg.

?

In all this wide world there’s no ride just like that
on a swamp buggy After eight and a half hours on
this vehicle, it was the concensus of our gang that the
best way we could compare it was a combination of
which the worst part was like riding a Brahma bull
bare-back; the average as that of riding a pack horse
with the saddle stirrups too short; and the real smooth
portion as that of riding on a lumber wagon over a
cobblestone road!

Ment designed and built two of these swamp-
buggies with but one thought in mind a really rugged
conveyance which would carry parties of hunters
into the back country which is impassable, except on
foot or horseback.

?

Construction of the swamp-buggy started with a
Model A Ford engine. The frame was four-inch pipe
welded together. The body was made of heavy gauge
steel plate. C54 17 x 21 airplane tires were mounted
on the front, and earth—mover truck tires, with non-skid
tread, on the rear. A magneto was used for ignition, as
many times on this· trip the engine was almost entirely
submerged We went through water holes so deep, and
over boulders so huge, it didn’t seem possible a motor-
driven vehicle, other than an army tank, could accomplish
the feat. There were no refinements such as body
springs or soft cushions on the outfit.We all were grateful
when Mert announced we had reached our camp site.
We shook the kinks out of our weary bones, downed a
heaping plateful of Frieda’s ptarmigan stew, and hit the sack.

?

?

Next morning, our day’s activities started on a
sour note. I had a confrontation with Moore, our licensed guide.
He chawed me out for starting a campfire, explaining
in an unfriendly manner that only
sissies built campfires which spook the caribou out of
the area. I didn’t strike any fighting pose, for I knew
he could lick me. Suffice to say, if I were paying the
bill for this trip I should have something to say about
turning on a little heat. The fire was built. Breakfast
was eaten and we prepared to leave for a day’s hunt.

?

Tim was chomping at the bit and decided to climb
the riverbank to take a look see. He topped out slowly,
looked around for about two seconds, then dashed madly
back to the fire and told us he had sighted a small
herd of caribou feeding within a stone’s throw of the
camp. They must have been looking the other way,
when mama told them not to approach a campfire.

?

?

Bill and Tim, accompanied by Moore, sneaked
downstream for a few hundred yards, then made a successful
stalk on a nice bull. Bill put an arrow into him.
The animal started to run. Fifty more or less steps
farther and he folded in a heap – not from the effects
of an arrow but a bullet! The guide said he
thought the animal was escaping, and it was- his legal
responsibility to kill it. I was sure we could have track-
ed down the wounded animal, but the damage was
done. Take a tip from me, hire a guide who is familiar
with bow and arrow hunting.

?

In the meantime, Ivan and I headed out in the
direction Tim had seen the caribou herd. Nothing
was in sight so we fanned out. I turned to my right
and started walking parallel to the river. Making a
sweeping glance, I saw Frieda on the riverbank at our
camp waving her arms and motioning something was
just ahead up river. I sneaked down to the bank and
looked over. There were eleven head of caribou drink-
ing from the stream. I had goofed! The herd spotted
me and moved on. I use the word moved because, in-
stead of like state-side animals, they didn’t run. They
just walked. I tried to catch up with them, but they
could walk faster than I could run. Of course, I must
say this was not a cinder path, but muskeg which is not
conducive to speed. Who was it who said caribou
won’t come near a campfire? Phooey!

?

In succeeding days, Mert taught me much about
hunting caribou. There are two species: the barren-
ground, which is the most abundant game animal in
Alaska, and the woodland, which is found in Canada.
Caribou are migrating animals to the north in spring
and summer and to the south in the fall. Herds travel
hundreds of miles to find new ranges and are constantly
on the move in search of lichen or “reindeer
moss” their favorite food which grows in abundance on
the muskeg-covered tundra.

?

Both sexes of caribou have antlers. The bulls, of
course, have the larger. Considering these animals are
nomads, there is no sense in building a blind during
hunting season facing toward the south. All your game
will be heading south, so face north. We did not build
any blinds, merely hiding in the willows growing at
the edge of the riverbed where we’d constantly glass
the deep etched caribou trails which run north and
south through the tundra for hundreds of miles.

?

One morning, Mert set up an ambush for Tim
and me. We were keeping our eyes peeled on trails
where they skylined. Suddenly, perhaps five miles
distant, we spotted a herd of caribou approaching.
We did not see the animals, just antlers! We could
see those fascinating five-feet-high antlers for several
minutes before the body of the lead animal came into
view.

?

Now for the strategy. That was the last look at
our quarry for perhaps thirty minutes. Mert indicated
hiding places for us across the stream from where we
watched our guide – not the herd! By slow hand move-
ments Mert signaled us the approach. All we had to
do was wait until a big bull got within four feet of us,
then drop him in his tracks with a well placed broad-
head. Things didn’t work out that way.

?

Mert finally signaled us to attack. We raised up
ever so slowly to take a peek. About a hundred yards
ahead on a hillside were four bulls apparently having
stopped for a snack. We figured we had them in the bag,
but they wouldn’t come down any farther.
Tim and I really tried to make a perfect stalk.

?

After some difficult maneuvering, we reached a spot
where we both were concealed from the herd in a
dense growth of willows. By lying flat on our bellies
we could barely see a dim outline of the herd, but
this was all we wanted or needed, just enough view
to keep the herd under observation. Terrain and willow
growth were such we could not contact our guide
for instructions. So we decided to stay put until the
herd came down, even if it took hours of waiting.
We must have lain in that one spot for more than
an hour. It was exasperating to watch our game graze
slowly down the hill toward us until almost within
bow range, then turn around and work back up the
hill. I had to restrain myself from attempting a Joe
Dolan shot at the herd. They were always closely
grouped and at one time were within less than one
hundred yards from us.

?

I petted and stroked my little Walrus tusk talisman,
but it didn’t work. The bulls worked slowly back
up the hill. Then very slowly topped the hill and disappeared.
For several seconds their bodies were out of
sight, but we could still see the tips of their antlers and,
judging from the way they fooled around on our side
of the hill, Tim and I figured they’d stay put for at
least a few minutes. We ran up the side of that hill as
fast as we could and when we topped out we very
cautiously peeked over expecting to see them nibbling
right in front of us.

?

We slowly stood up and scanned the barren hills
in every direction. Our game had disappeared.
We rejoined Mert who pointed out one phenomenal
characterisltic of caribou is their ability to disappear
in an area where there is no cover. We concluded
the herd must have known we were in the area though
they seemed to be peacefully grazing, without a care in
the world. It was just a ruse to outwit us.
So ended our Alaska hunt. Score: two trophies
for three hunters. Question: How come I had to be
the bridesmaid?

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Roadhunt For Muleys ~ By Marc A. Barger


Bow And Arrow Hunting
December 1995

Roadhunt For Muleys ~By Marc A. Barger
Mule Deer Trophies Are Where You Find Them!

SOMETIMES A HUNTER has to have a horseshoe located in a bodily
orifice to harvest a big-game animal! That was the case on my recent
hunt to the Cheyenne River bottoms north of Wall, South Dakota.
It was my fourth trip to this area. The preceding three had seen close
encounters with some nice muley bucks I would have been proud to harvest. One
thing or another contributed to coming home empty handed, although I came within
hairs of it going the other way on a few occasions!

The area I hunted has a variety of terrain types.
In some places, I had to pick my way carefully
along steep banks of loose rocks and sage. Other
areas were flat prairies or fields of alfalfa and wheat.
Some contained deep canyons choked with cedars.
The thing that was common to all these areas was
unpredictable winds! More times than anything
else, I was foiled in a stalk by a switch in the direction
of the wind.

I found a product, though, that allows a hunter
to have a much better idea of just exactly what is
happening as the wind swirls past. It is an amazingly
simple idea made available by Ron Carlson,
owner of The Compound Doctor (Dept. BA, 3600
Labore Road, White Bear, MN 55110). It consists
of a small bag of down feathers and …. that’s it!
Feathers! It helped me immensely in my stalks. By
cutting the comer off the plastic bag, I could carry
it in my pocket. At any time, I could reach in, pull
out a feather and launch it on its way. Unlike the
powders I normally use, the down would float on
the slightest of breezes and was highly visible for
up to 50 or 60 yards.

Earlier in October, Jeff Aulick, Bruce Hudalla,
Clint Peterson and I had ventured to Wall in search
of monster muley bucks. The bucks were bunched
up in their bachelor groups and we saw some real
bombers! On the first day, Peterson made a super
shot on a real good four-by-four that was attempting
to scoot by him. To say this got the rest of us
pumped up is an understatement!

As sometimes happens, no matter what the level
of enthusiasm, those critters outsmarted the “superior”
human mind and abilities! We were once again humbled by the uncanny
senses game animals possess. Bruce Hudalla harvested what he dubbed a
“snot-slinger” right after he educated a big four-by—four that sitting with its back
to the wall sometimes is not the best
place to sit!

The rest of the trip was not uneventful. We had many good, exciting stalks.
It just so happened that the muleys won the battles!
We vowed to return later in the year, if possible, to once again chase the bucks
in this area.

The area we were hunting belongs to three brothers —Glendon, Grant and
Greg Shearer. They have approximately 23,000 acres of some of the best mule
deer habitat a person could want to lay a boot on. It is beautiful country with
food plots of alfalfa, wheat and com. They do wonders holding the animals
in the area. Combine this with rugged terrain bordering the fields and you have
a hunter’s paradise.

Muleys are not the only game making this area their home. You can just as
easily see record-book whitetails, huge numbers of Merriam turkeys —— two
from the area are ranked in the top three in the world — pheasant, grouse,
coyotes and, at the right time of the year, those scaly things that make a heck of a
ruckus if you step too close to their tightly coiled bodies!

The Shearers offer an unguided hunting opportunity that tests hunters’
knowledge of game and their hunting prowess. It has the additional bonus of
some awesomely beautiful country and the chance at harvesting
some great animals.

Our hunt started out right away with sightings and attempted stalks on some
really nice bucks. At the time of year we were hunting, almost every group of
muley does had at least one nice buck in it. That made stalking quite a bit more
difficult with a dozen or so eyes trying to catch even one wrong move.
Jeff Aulick was the first to give it a go when we spotted a couple of nice
bucks making life hectic for some does in the
comer of one of the hay fields. Due to the difficulty in judging distances in this type
of terrain, the score was one for the muleys, zero for the hunters!
After the first few days, all of us had experienced close encounters with trophy
bucks. So far none of us had connected with one.

Some friends of ours flew in from Maine to hunt with us for a few days. After
setting them up in a few of the hot spots, I felt I needed to sacrifice one evening’s
hunt to drive into Wall to gas up the truck for the next day. Along the way, I stopped
to glass some of the muleys coming out to the fields for their evening forage. A
person driving through this country at the right time of the day can see literally
hundreds of deer in a few minutes.

One of the great things about hunting with others is that, even though I might not
see anything or be successful on a specific hunt, I always look forward to hearing
what happened with everyone else. It’s almost as good as if it had happened to me.
As I neared the area Aulick was hunting, I rounded a bend in the road and saw
numerous feeding muleys. I figured I might as well take a look to see what had
slipped by.

I grabbed the spotting scope and jumped out of the truck. Between me and the
deer was a dike that ran parallel with the road. It gave me the perfect cover to be able
to sneak up close for a look. As I peeked over the top, I saw deer directly in front of
me. Looking through the spotting scope, I saw a buck moving right toward me!
I didn’t have my bow, and I really was not ready nor did I expect to have the
chance to shoot. Iran for the truck, grabbed my bow and took off running down the
dike. As I got about even to where I thought the buck might be, I peered over the top.
Dang! He was paralleling the dike about 100 yards out.

I figured there was no way I could get close
enough before I lost daylight. Then I
heard something. On the other side of the dike I
heard a commotion. I slipped up the dike a little
farther and looked to the north. The first thing I
saw was a buck doing his best to rip apart every
willow in the ditch! I really could not believe my
good fortune. Here was a nice buck — although I
couldn’t really see what he was because he had
his rack stuck in the willows — completely oblivious
to the fact that a few yards away was his worst
enemy planning to ruin his day!

I slipped down the dike; the wind was in my
face. When I got about even with the tree, I got
ready, drew my bow back and eased up. He still
was taking out his frustrations on the willows when
I spotted him about 30 yards away. I settled the
30—yard pin behind his shoulder and slipped a
carbon sliver through his ribs.

Whopf The telltale sound of a solid hit reached
my ears. I finally had connected!
The buck took off hard and stopped about 80
yards out, then ran up on top of the dike and lay
down. If I hadn’t seen the arrow hit home, I would

have thought I had missed him! He stayed there looking around like he
didn’t have a care in the world. Then his head sagged and I knew he was mine.
Still, I wanted another arrow in him, so I proceeded to stalk closer. I got to within
40 yards and was getting ready to take the shot when I saw movement out of
the corner of my eye.

Eight to 10 does were walking down the far side of the road a mere 30 yards
away. They were looking at me, wondering what this moving clump was.
When I looked behind them, my jaw almost hit the ground! A super-nice buck
was hot on their trail! His rack was heavy and wide; he was at least a four-
by-four. He walked up on the road, scanned past me and then, can you
believe it, looked directly away from me as he stood completely broadside for
more than 20 seconds!

I can truthfully say I never thought of shooting this buck. I already had an
arrow in the other, but it was almost as if the second knew he was safe. Situations
such as this are exactly what test our ethics! Here was a true trophy of a lifetime
offering himself for harvest. A person could not have asked for a better opportunity.
All bowhunters must rise above temptation and do what is right. The big
buck sauntered off after his harem.

I looked away from him to see what was happening with the buck I had hit.
He was trying to get to his feet, but stumbled and fell for the last time. Being
lucky enough to be in the right spot at the right time was something I thought
happened only to other people.

When I got back to the cabin, I announced that everyone had better change
clothes so they wouldn’t get their hunting duds dirty when they helped drag
out my buck. No one really believed me, as they knew I had gone into town for
gas. As we topped the dike, the beams of the flashlights
glinted off the buck’s rack.

This was my first good look at my buck. He had a tall
four-by-four rack that was not really wide, but he was plenty
good for this bowhunter. I am proud of him. He will have a
special place on my wall with all the animals I have harvested.
The bow I used was a Hoyt Prostar Legacy set at 78
pounds. This is a super bow for finger shooters with its 47-
inch distance from axle to axle. The grip on this bow is
the best I have ever felt! The arrows I used were
Easton 6.3 carbons tipped with Wasp 100-grain CCL
broadheads. For a person who wants to shoot carbons, you
can’t get a better combination: fast and durable!

The camo was Predator Fall Brown. We had numerous stalks when the deer
were absolutely unaware we were as close as we were, until the wind swirled!
The down feathers taught us many things about wind currents and hunting
techniques for this type of terrain. For bowhunters who might be interested in
hunting on this land, you can write me and I can put you in touch with
the right people (Marc Barger, Dept. BA, 5616 Eagle Lane, La Crosse, WI
54601). There are many good bucks in this area, and I can almost guarantee a
hunter will have opportunities to put the moves on some trophy animals!

Four to six bowhunters per week will be allowed to hunt. Every other week is
closed so as not to pressure the deer too much.As for the monster buck that walked
down the road next to me, I hope he tries that again this year. He might not be so
lucky! <—<<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Let’s Make The American Flat Bow~ By Pierre St. Arnaud


Bow And Arrow
June 1972

Let’s Make The American Flat Bow~ By Pierre St. Arnaud

THE FLAT BOW began to appear on American
tournament lines about 1932. Prior to this, the English
longbow for centuries had been virtually the only type in
general use.

The transition from longbow to flat bow was due, in the
main, to efforts to improve bow designs by such archer-
scientists as Dr. Paul E. Klopsteg, Dr. Clarence N. Hickman,
and Forest Nagler. These men, physicists and engineers,
circumvented tradition and applied engineering principles
to the designing of bows. The application of these principles
resulted in a bow of rectangular cross section.
To understand why the longbow with stacked cross
section is functionally inferior to the bow of rectangular
cross section, refer to plate 1, types of cross sections. Let’s
consider a longbow being bent. The cross-sectional shape of
the longbow limb is narrow, thick and rounded on the belly
side. The belly C is the compression side and the back T is
the tension side.

The neutral or shearing axis N bisects the mass of the
section. In the longbow, the shearing plane is farther from
the belly than from the back. This condition imposes excessive
stress at the belly. The farther the fibers are from
the shearing plane, the greater are the compressive stresses
at the belly, and the belly overworks, and the back underworks.
To circumvent this design, and to prevent breakage
due to compression failure, the bow must be made long to
give a large radius of bend.

Refer to the sections for the semi-flat bow and the flat
bow. The neutral or shearing plane runs equidistant
from the back and the belly in these designs. All parts work
equally, and these bows are more efficient. They can be
made shorter than the longbow for the same arrow draw.
Now, let’s get on to the designing and constructing of
the flat bow. This bow is made more easily than the long-
bow. Those of you who have made the longbow will find
the same methods applicable to making the flat bow.

First, let’s consider the woods which can be used.
Lemonwood or dagame, a semi-tropical wood, is a good
choice. It is a good compression wood and can be used with
no regard to grain. Yew and Osage orange make excellent
bows, but let’s save these woods for a future article. They
require special treatment. Pignut hickory is high in tensile
strength and makes a tough, serviceable bow. It is good for
backing other bow woods, and it takes to hot bending
admirably.

White ash is another tough, elastic wood that takes
readily to hot bending. Black walnut makes a bow of quick
cast but must be backed with hickory. Greenheart, another
tropical wood, is high in compression strength. It varies in
color from light green to nearly black. Purpleheart
(amaranth) is a deep purple color and is also a tropical
wood.

There are many other woods with which bows can be
made, but the above mentioned offer a good selection. All
of the above woods should be air seasoned for use in
bowyery. Kiln-dried wood is brash and does not yield well.
Some of these woods can be bought to your dimensional
specifications from the following dealers: Craftsman Wood
Service Company, Department BA, 2729 South Mary,
Chicago, Illinois 60608; Constantine, Dept. BA, 2051-C
Eastchester Road, Bronx, New York 10461.

You will need the following tools and materials: a low
anglerblock plane, a ten or twelve-inch half-round cabinet
file; a three by_five-inch square cabinet scraper; a six-inch
rat tail file; garnet paper, medium and fine; and a
fifty-pound spring scale.
Lemonwood is so dense and close-grained you need not
concern yourself with flat or edge grain. If you use the
other woods, order your staves flat grained. The cross
section S shown in plate 1 shows how grain should run in
your stave and B denotes the side which is to be the back of
the bow.

The stave dimensions are 65 x 1% x 5/8. Smooth the
back of the stave with a plane and medium garnet paper.
Measure your stave from end to end and mark the exact
middle. Scribe lines completely around all four sides at this
point

The ten-inch handle riser will bisect this line on the
belly. The riser must be flat-grained hardwood, walnut,
maple or oak and will be ten inches long by 1% inches (the
width of the stave) by one-inch.

The riser is glued directly over the middle of the stave
with equal lengths of riser to each side of the middle mark
on the stave. Be certain the riser is glued to belly side of the
stave.

Both surfaces of the glue joint must be planed square
and flat, or a poor joint will result, and the riser will pop
off. When gluing risers, use any of the following types of
glue: urea resin, resorcinol or casein. The white polyvinyl
glue creeps under stress. Be certain to read the directions on
the container for the glue used.

Apply the glue to both surfaces and center the riser on
the stave. Three three-inch C-clamps are used — one at the
middle of the riser and one about one-inch from each end.
Use small pads of wood under the clamps to prevent
marring the bow. Be careful to keep the riser from shifting;
snug up the middle clamp, then snug up the other clamps.
Proceed to tighten until you get squeeze-out glue along the
edges of the joint. Allow this assemblage to dry for a least
twenty-four hours before further progression.

If C-clamps aren’t available, wrap the riser to the stave
with one-inch wide rubber strips cut from an inner tube.
Stretch the rubber tightly to insure sufficient pressure.
After removing the clamps, clean the squeezed-out
hardened glue from the stave with a file. Lay the stave with
the back up on your work bench. Refer to bow dimensions
in plate 1.

At stations A, five inches from the middle of the stave,
scribe marks across the stave. Measuring from the side edges
of the stave, place dots at the middle of lines A. Attach
small weights to the ends of a stout thread about a foot
longer than the stave. Allowing the weights to hang freely,
bisect the dots at points A. Place additional dots a few
inches apart under the thread along the full length of the
the stave. Connect these dots with a straight edge. This line
is your datum line.

Referring to the diagram, lay out the mid-part of the
bow. The arrow rest R can be transferred to the opposite
side of the stave if you are left-handed. At one-half-inch
from the ends of the stave, station E, mark out one-half-
inch for width. From these dots, straight edge lines to the
full width of the stave at station A. Both limbs are of equal
length in this design and differ from the longbow with its
longer upper limb.

The back is now laid out. Bandsaw or hacksaw the stave
to shape. Stay a little bit away from the lines when sawing.
After sawing, work just to the lines with a plane and file,
being sure to keep the sides square, ninety degrees to the
back. This completes the contouring of the back.

Lay the stave with one side up on your bench. Lay out
the grip. If a saddle grip is wanted, lay it out as shown by
the dotted line. Do not make the bottom of the saddle too
deep, or you will weaken the bow at this point. If a deep
saddle or a straight wrist grip is desired, glue a thicker riser
to the stave. The dips are three inches long. Go to station A
on the side of the bow limb. From the back to the belly,
measure one—half-inch for your base limb thickness. From
this dot, scribe the dip to the top of the riser. The bottom
of the dip should curve gradually and become more abrupt
as it approaches the top of the grip.

Beginning from station A, measure 6-% inches to station B
and follow the diagram markings to E. Mark a 15/32-inch
thickness at station B, 7/ l6—inch at C, and again follow the
diagram to station E. Join these dots to establish the
thickness taper. Repeat this procedure on the three remain-
ing sides of the limbs. Plane and file down to the lines, and
leave the rest for tillering. The dips are sawed and filed
carefully, so the bottom of each dip feathers smoothly into
the base limb.

Place a tip of the bow against the floor, belly side to-
ward you, and exert pressure against the grips with the right
hand while holding the uppermost limb with the left. Deflect
the lower limb only a little, while judging the amount
of resistance or stiffness and examine the limb to see if it
bends evenly. Repeat with the other limb.

If both limbs seem to balance with each other, you are
ready to cut your nocks and string the bow. If there is an
imbalance, mark the stiff spots on the belly with a pencil
and scrape these spots down, checking the bend and resistance
frequently until all seems to be in balance.
Refer to nock details in plate 1. Use the six-inch rat tail
and cut into the sides at station E. Go into the wood about
one-eighth of an inch and diminish this cut into the belly as
you slant at the angle shown. If you want to use overlays to
enhance the appearance of your bow, glue hardwood blocks
to the tips as shown in plate 1. The shaded area in the
diagram shows the amount of wood to be cut and tiled
away leaving the tip shaped as shown.

When overlays are used, the nocks are cut into the back
as well as into the sides. Otherwise do not cut into the
back, because doing so will weaken the tip. String the bow
to a seven-inch brace, measuring from the back of the grip
to the string. Use a stout string for tillering.

Examine the strung bow for stiff spots and uneven
bending. Both limbs must bend evenly. Mark and scrape all
stiff spots. If one limb is too stiff, scrape it down to match
the other in curvature. When the bow balances at this stage,
you are ready to use the tiller. Use 36 x 2 x 1%-inch stock.
Cut a notch at one end to accept the bow grip. Along one
edge, measuring twelve inches from the grip notch, cut a
series of string grooves two inches apart to a location
twenty-eight inches from the grip notch. Refer to plate 1.
Fit the center of the grip into the notch of the tiller, and
slip the string into the twelve-inch groove. Place the bow on
your bench with the tiller uppermost, and step back to
examine the bend.

Mark any stiff spots, and remove the string and scrape
down. Put the bow back in the tiller at the twelve-inch
groove and re-examine. The bend of each limb should start
at the bottom of the dip and curve in a gradual, graceful
curve to the tip with no stiff areas. Both limbs should bend
equally.

Work your way up to the twenty-eight-inch groove in
this manner. Be cautious when you get to the twenty-four-
inch groove. From this draw to full draw, do not leave the
bow on the tiller for more than a few seconds. Any imbalance
can cause the bow to break while under great stress.
Shape the grip as shown in plate 1, Gc. Round off all the
edges of the bow slightly as shown in the flat bow cross-
section.

Attach a large steel screw hook to a stud in the garage
about six inches from the floor. Hang the spring scale from
this hook. Bore a hole in the end of a yardstick, and hang
the stick on the scale hook. With the nocking point of the
string on the scale hook, draw the bow down to twenty-
eight inches and read the scale.

Sand the bow smooth, starting with medium and
finishing with fine garnet. Whisker the bow. Rub it with a
damp cloth. When dry, the whiskery ends of grain will be
left standing. Steel wool the whiskers off with 2/0 wool.
Mix a one-to—one solution of spar varnish and turpentine,
and apply this liberally to the bow. After twenty minutes,
wipe all the mixture from the bow with a clean, dry rag.

Let this dry for twenty-four hours, and apply the finish
coat full strength. The grip can be covered with leather or
heavy colored fish cord.

The flat bow can be recurved. There are two methods of
recurving, laminating and steaming or boiling. I will explain
here the process of boiling or hot bending. Lay out a board
16 x 4 x 1 3/4 inches as shown in A, plate 2. Be certain the
working or top edge is ninety degrees to the sides. Attach a
strap-iron stirrup and stop block as shown.

Leave enough room in the stirrup to accept the bow end,
the support strip, and wooden wedge. A straight—limbed
recurved bow is more highly stressed than a straight bow if
both are the same length. It is advisable to lengthen the
recurved bow. This is done by extending the distances between
stations A, B, C, D and E to 7% inches. This will
result in a sixty-eight-inch bow, measuring between the
nocks.
To prepare the bow for recurving, work it down to
dimensions as you would the straight bow, but do not cut
the nocks. Using stout cord, wrap a twelve-inch strip of
fiber to the belly of the bow on the end to be boiled. Keep
the wraps very close. A length of .02-inch metal strap can
be used in place of the fibre. The strap prevents spills from
raising during bending. Fill a large bucket or can with hot
water, and place the bow end into the water. Bring the
water to a boil and continue to boil. for 1% hours. Replenish
the evaporated water with more boiling water from
another receptacle. If you add cold water, the bow cools,
and the boiling process must be begun all over again.

When the end has boiled sufficiently, remove it quickly
from the bucket, and insert it into the stirrup of the form.
Tap the wedge firmly into place, and bend the limb into
place on the form. Clamp it down with a C-clamp through
the hole in the end of the form. Be sure the tip is centered
in the stirrup to avoid twist. This operation must be done
quickly to prevent the bow’s cooling. Wrap the whole
assembly with one-inch wide rubber strips cut from an
innertube. Stretch the rubber tight as you wrap.

Let the bow end cure in the form for two days before
removing it. Recurve the other end and cure. Refer to re-
curve groove and nock detail in plate 2 The groove along
the top of the recurve retains the string. The grooves and
nocks are cut after the bow has been tested against the
floor for proper bend.

After cutting the nocks, string the bow, and mark out
the grooves along both sides of the string. The end of the
groove should end at the point where the string ceases con-
tact with the recurve. The bow is tillered and finished like a
straight bow.

The English longbow is not adaptable to recurving; the
tip overlay can be used with the recurve; aluminum foil
wrapped around the .02 metal strap before boiling will prevent
rust stains; the string for a recurved bow will be
shorter than one for an equal length straight bow. <——<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Well, It Ain’t Cecil B. Demille ~By Ted Eastburn


Bow and Arrow
June 1972
Well, It Ain’t Cecil B. Demille ~ By Ted Eastburn

Wing’s Lee Wades With Hat-Snatching Shark And, Yessir, Folks, It Is Recorded On Film

THE FOURTEEN FOOT RUNABOUT skimmed
across the choppy surface of the Gulf of Mexico some two
hundred yards off the sugar white beach. A Texan stood in
the bow of the boat holding a bowfishing rig nocked with a
harpoon arrow, his right hand holding a nylon rope tied to
the front of the boat. A companion astern controlled the
outboard motor that pushed the craft at a breath—taking
speed.

A larger boat ran a parallel course some twenty yards to
starboard. The young man at the wheel of this twenty-five-
footer was the l7-year—old son of the Texan. The second
man operated a 16-millimeter movie camera. The cameraman
zoomed the lens in on the Texan in the smaller boat,
then shifted scenes to fifty yards ahead of the two craft
where three dorsal fins sliced through the water. Sharks!
“We’re coming up on them fast, Ben,” the Texan said, as
he shifted about trying to steady his position.

Ben was Captain Ben Marler, Jr., for generations a name
synonymous with commercial and sport fushing in Destin,
Florida.
“Better give hand signals when you want me to cut
speed or change directions, Bob.”
Bob Lee, president of AMF’s Wing Archery Division in
Jacksonville, Texas, nodded his understanding.
The cameraman, Harry Morlan, now sat crosslegged on
the deck of the larger craft as he reloaded the camera. A lot
of action seemed just seconds away. The young man at the
wheel, Robin Lee, handled the inboard/outboard with ease.

The distance to the sharks had closed rapidly. Suddenly
one of the three tins moved toward the small boat, then
turned to the port side. The other two fins disappeared.
“Circle around, Ben, so we have it between us and
Harry!” shouted Lee as he released the rope and eased
toward the seat.
“Hold on. Here we go!” Captain Marler cut the small
craft sharply to port in order to give Morlan a good camera
view of the anticipated action with the shark.

Lee did not make it down to the seat. As the small boat
whipped to the left, Bob Lee went to the right along with
his cherished hunting bow. The fall was more like a cart-
wheel dive. He bobbed safely to the surface and held the
bow high above the water as Marler pulled alongside.
“You okay, Bob?” the captain asked in an astonished
voice.
“Ugh,” Lee moaned as he scrambled back into the boat.
“You really clapped the spurs to that horse, Ben.”
The other boat pulled alongside. With a grin as wide as a
cinemascope screen, Harry Morlan said, “There’s nothing in
the script about taking a dive, Bob.”

“I suppose you recorded the whole thing for posterity
with that devilish camera of yours. Where’s my hat’?”
“There it is,” Marler said as he pointed to the floating
headgear some twenty yards away. He turned the boat. At
the same time, a shark fin broke the surface no more than
fifteen feet away moving in the same direction. Lee quickly
nocked the harpoon arrow and came to full draw. Too late.

The shark dove, taking the hat with him.
Bob Lee stared at the spot where his hat had been and
said slowly, “Ben, I thought you told me last night that
sharks didn’t have much of a brain.”
“I did and they don’t. Why?”
“Well, I could have sworn that one laughed at me just
before he swallowed my hat.”
Falling overboard and having your hat swallowed by a
shark are not your run-of-the mill shark hunting hazards. I
know Bob Lee disagrees with my saying these are two
hazards. No doubt he considers falling overboard a hazard,
but when a Texan has his hat eaten unceremoniously by
anything, that’s an insult. And what was worse, the fall just
described was the first of two on the same day.

The idea of a movie on bowfishing for sharks, or, for the
hounds of thesea as the ancient Greeks called them, had
originated a few months before in Colorado where Wing
Archery had rolled another movie production. Harry
Morlan had the Colorado assignment too, and the shark
bowfishing idea grew to reality when his long-time friend,
Destin charter boat captain Ben Marler, Jr., offered full
cooperation.

However, the hunting party had a problem. Chasing for-
aging sharks a couple of hundred yards off the Destin
beaches had provided plenty of thrills but no trophy shark
to dramatize the movie.

“We need to change our tactics a bit,” Marler suggested.
that evening over dinner.
Lee smiled and said, “I’m inclined to agree with you.
The fun is in the chase, but that bulldogging I did today can
wear a man out quick.”
Morlan grinned and muttered matter-of-factly, “It sure
makes for great movie footage.”
“I thought you said you didn’t shoot any footage of
that,” Lee queried anxiously.
“I didn’t say one way or the other. When you brought
the subject up this afternoon it was about the time that
shark was eating your hat, and you didn’t give me a chance
to answer.”

“One thing for sure,” Marler said thoughtfully as he
drummed his fingers on the table, “we can’t be dumping
you overboard anymore, Bob. Just think, twice in one day!
l’ll be losing my reputation as a shark hunter and instead be
known as a guy who tried to feed the hunters to the sharks.
That boat is just too small, Harry.”

“I have more than enough footage for a second boat
anyway, Ben. We can do things the way you normally do
them now,” Harry replied.
“Good. Tomorrow being your last day, Bob, let’s keep
our fingers crossed. Here is what we do. We use the big boat
and go out about thirty»five miles. It’ll be deep water out
there…something like four hundred feet. We’ll be wasting
our time that far out using the chase method, so we’ll get
the sharks to come to us by using baits.”
“Sounds like a change of pace and very interesting,” Lee
said. “Do we use the float on the line?” referring to the
fishing method used for two days.

“No. We’d better go to the rod and reel. The sharks out
there will probably run three hundred pounds and more.”
With the float method of bowfishing for sharks, the free
end of the line attached to the harpoon arrow is tied to a
water tight container. Lee landed several sharks which
ranged from fifty to one hundred pounds using this
method. The float was a five gallon jug. When a shark was
shot, Lee tossed the float overboard to mark the fish’s
whereabouts and to retard its movement. With Marler’s
help, the shark was then eased close to the boat and when it
surfaced Lee released broadheads. With this method a bow
reel is not used. The line is simply coiled on the boat’s
deck.

On the third day of the hunt a bow reel would be used
but not in the normal manner. When small fish are shot, it
is a simple matter of re-winding the line around the bow
reel. However, with large sharks you have a fish too tough
to handle in this manner. Instead, you pull thirty feet of
line up through the eyelets of a heavy—duty rod and reel, tie
to the harpoon arrow and wrap around the bow reel. When
the shark is shot, it will pull the line off the bow reel, and
the action will be picked up on the rod and reel.
When the fathometer recorded four hundred feet on the
third morning of the hunt, Marler cut the twin 120 engines.
Sixteen freshly-caught bonito were in the bait box. Bonito
bleed excessively when cut, thus making them ideal shark
bait. As Marler and young Lee readied the baits, Morlan
checked his movie equipment and Lee rigged the
bowfishing gear.

Nearly any bow will get the job done on small fish, but
for big game it should pull at least fifty pounds. Short bows
are also best due to the unwieldiness of a longer weapon on
a boat. Lee’s bow, which was Wing’s Presentation Two
Hunter, pulled sixty-five pounds.
Lee wrapped eighty-pound test line from a heavy duty
fishing rig around the bow reel. He joined the line to five
feet of braided leader with a swivel and attached the other
end of the leader to the fiberglass shaft tipped with a fish
point. The remainder of the three hundred yards of line led
to the 9/0 reel on a short stout rod.

Marler and Robin Lee tied strips of bonito to the styrene
floats with twelve-inch lines. No hooks were used on the
baits. These bait rigs were dropped overboard and allowed
to drift back fifteen feet before being restrained.
A considerable amount of blood had flowed into the
bucket over which the bonito had been cut. Marler poured
this into an empty bottle then fashioned a harness out of
heavy cord so that when suspended, the neck of the bottle
pointed down.

He punched three holes in the cap and hung this contraption
over the side of the boat just above the water. The
rig looked like a transfusion bottle, and the steady dripping
of bonito blood provided more trails to the boat.
An hour had passed when Morlan spotted a him some
fifty yards behind the boat. There was no scurrying about
on anyone’s part. It was as though the shark was expected.
It approached to within thirty yards and crossed what
would have been the boat’s wake. This imaginary wake was
also the general direction of the blood trails. As the shark
crossed the blood trail, it seemed to pause momentarily,
then continued on its original course only to do a quick
turn around to cross the trails again.

It moved closer…twenty yards back but still out of
range. Then the fin disappeared.
“What do you think, Ben?” Lee asked as he scanned the
area.
“Hard to tell. It may be suspicious, or it may come up
on the bait from beneath. We’ll just have to wait and see,”
A gust of wind tipped a small paper cup from the transom
into the water. The cup didn’t sink but drifted away.
About thirty yards out, a gentle swirl caused it to spin. At
the same time, the dorsal tin of a shark protruded near the
cup.

“That devil is playing with the cup,” Lee said as though
he hardly believed it. The shark bumped the cup about like
a cat playing with a mouse. Lee spread his arms in a gesture
of frustration and said, “I tell you, men, I simply don’t
understand it. Here we have all these juicy baits dangling all
about and what does that shark do…he plays with a paper
cup…incredible.”

The fin and the cup disappeared. A good minute passed
before the silence was broken by the noise made by Robin
Lee as he slumped back into the fighting chair.
It was inevitable that Morlan would say, “Maybe he
thinks the cup is the hat of a midget from Texas.”
They remained in that area all morning but no more was
seen of the shark. Early in the afternoon the hunt was
moved to another spot three miles southeast.

One o’clock rolled around; then one—thirty. Time was
running out. For the first time the four men harbored
doubts of the hunt’s success. Hundreds of feet of l6mm
color movie footage had been exposed, but without a
trophy-size shark there was no ending, no movie.
The minutes seemed to melt away under the heat of the
sub—tropical sun. It was too hot to do any active thinking
and a sort of lethargy settled over the boat. A blanket
smothered conversations and spirits.

Another half·hour passed. Nothing was said as Marler
pulled a bonito out of the bait box and began to slice off
hunks into the water. This abbreviated act of chumming
seemed futile. Afterall, juicy morsels still dangled from the
floats, and apparently they had been rigged in vain.
A few minutes later Robin Lee, who was still slumped in
the chair, casually pointed astern and hesitantly said, “I
think I saw…something.”

“Where?” the others chorused.
“Far back…maybe seventy-five yards,” he explained as
he bolted upright in the chair. “There…there it is again! It’s
coming our way…2igzagging!”
“Yes! Yes! I see it, too!” Marler cried, unable to contain
the excitement in his voice. “It’s coming like a freight
train…a zigzagging freight train!”
The shark veered to the left and made a wide clockwise
sweep from the port side. It circled once but stayed out of
range.

On its second round, the shark tightened the circle and
revealed a length of approximately ten feet. The shark
circled a third time and came within range as it passed
astern. Then it did a quick change in direction as though to
leave the area by the same path from which it had
approached.

Lee came to full draw and released the harpoon arrow at
the retreating giant’s head. Line peeled from the bow reel as
the arrow struck and the fish dived.
At the same time Marler fired the engines to life and
shouted a tentative identification on the fish, “I believe it’s
a lemon shark, so be careful. They’ve been known to eat
people.” He moved the boat forward a few feet in order to
keep the shark directly out from the stern.

Before all the line had melted from the bow reel, and the
action transferred to the rod and reel, Robin Lee lifted the
rod out of the transom holder. He backed off a few feet
and awaited the tug on the rod. Instead of a tug, he was
plucked off his feet as though by a giant hand and literally
dragged on his knees up against the transom. He held
desperately onto the big rod and 9/0 reel loaded with
eighty-pound line. The reel brake was on, but he dared not
turn either hand from the rod.

“The brake…the brake!” he yelled. “Someone release
the brake!”
Marler bolted from the captain’s chair and snapped off
the brake. Despite a heavy drag setting on the reel, the
sudden release of the brake caused Robin Lee to roll back on
the deck. He recovered quickly and made it to the swiveled
fighting chair.

Fifty feet back the shark surfaced and dived again, too
quickly for Lee to release an effective broadhead shot.
Robin pumped the rod and reeled in line steadily. Within
minutes the shark surfaced again. Lee planted a broadhead
near the harpoon arrow and again the shark dived.
Unrelenting pressure was applied on the big fish for
another thirty minutes, and it moved back to the surface.
Lee placed two more broadheads in the head between the
eye where the brain is harbored. The shark rolled on its
back and began to sink. The battle was over.

Marler’s speculative identification proved correct. The
trophy was a dangerous lemon shark.
Well, that wrapped up the movie. As they say in
Hollywood, “It’s in the can.”
Back in Destin, as the shark was hung from the scales
and the crowd began to gather to “oh” and “ah” at the
375-pound sight, Bob Lee walked up to Harry Morlan and
was heard to say emphatically, “Harry, now don’t be pulling
my leg…just give me a straight answer. Was that camera
running when I fell overboard yesterday’?”
“Which time,” Morlan asked bravely.

Well, the last time I saw Harry Morlan that day, he was
hastily making his way through the crowd with Bob Lee
close behind.
Much later I overheard a stranger say to another, “Up on
the highway this afternoon I saw this big fellow with a bow
and arrow chasing this other fellow carrying a camera. And
this camera fellow, he was lookin’ back over his shoulder
and yellin’, ‘Just wait and see the movie …. Just wait and see
the movie!”
And the other stranger replied, “These danged tourists
are gettin’ crazier every year.” <——<<<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Improve Your Deer Hunting Odds~ By John Sloan


Bow And Arrow Hunting
April 1990
Improve Your Deer Hunting Odds~ By John Sloan
Are you in a Hunting Rut? Give some of these Old/New Ideas a Trial~ They May Pay Off This Season!

EACH YEAR, as I get letters and calls from deer hunters who have questions
about something I have written, or when I talk with hunters who have attended
one of my seminars, I am amazed at how many simple mistakes these hunters
seem to make. Many of the folks I talk with are experienced hunters. By experienced,
I mean they have spent a lot of time hunting. That doesn’t mean they have been
successful much of the time.

?

I speak with hunters who still believe many of the old wives’ tales and myths
that have abounded in deer hunting lore for many years. I see hunters who have not
kept pace with change in both equipment and habitat. These changes have affected
the habits of deer and their vulnerability. In thinking back over many of these
calls and encounters, I find that there are six main areas that, if given a little more
attention and thought, can be changed to greatly improve the hunter’s chances of
success. The understanding of these areas requires that much of the hype and bull-
hockey that has been written and espoused must be cut through. Look at the factors
with clear, simple understanding and you will develop a clear, simple understanding
of the animal you are hunting.

?

SCOUTING

There have probably been more words of advice on scouting than any other facet
of deer hunting. Of course, it is important. But it isn’t a great mystery rife with secrets
and complicated formulas. I do most of my scouting in the post-season. Why’? Because
I can see the ground better then. Deer walk on the ground. They do not fly. or climb trees
or hop from bush to bush. They walk on the ground and they prefer certain types of ground to others.
?

Deer would rather walk where the walking is the easiest. Given decent cover, a
deer is also going to take the course of least resistance. He is not going to climb a steep
ridge if there is a gentle slope nearby that will get him to the same place, but with less
effort. Deer don’t really like level ground. It is harder for them to hide there. They prefer
there be a depression through which they can travel. They prefer to have a ridge they
can get over in a couple of quick jumps. I want to be able to see the contour of the
ground first. Then I’ll take a look at the trees and the brush.

The single biggest mistake a hunter makes is not seeing what he is looking at.
He is not assimilating the material his eyes observe and computing that into what it
means to a deer. Look at the surface of a lake. lf you never consider what is under
that surface, you’ ll not catch many small mouth bass. If you look at the trees, you’ll
never see the forest, to rephrase a phrase.

?

STAND SELECTION

Each year I am given consulting jobs. These jobs are simply me — the guide —
telling the employer — the hunter — where he should hang his stand. Most of
the time. I have never been on that piece of property before. Here I am, charging $l5O
a day to tell a guy where to put his tree stand. Most of the time, I find that where
he had his stand last year was within twenty or thirty yards of where it should have
been. Too often. a hunter picks a particular tree. because it is a good tree to climb. It
may be a bit out in the open or a touch too far from the trail. but it is a great tree to
climb.

The stand has to be in the right place; or you might as well be sitting at camp
drinking Jack Daniels and branch water. Quite often. there is no good tree to climb in
exactly the right place. Your options are simple: You either find another place; or
make do with what you have. Frequently, even a bad tree can work just fine, if you
have a different type of stand or hunt from the ground.
?

Now I would just as soon be at camp with bourbon and water as sit on the ground.
So I own about four kinds of tree stands. If all you find where you hunt are little saplings,
maybe a ladder stand will work. I suggest placing ladder stands in your selected location
at least four weeks prior to hunting that area. If the trees are all huge or have lots of branches,
a lock-on stand often will work. A tree seat and a board will work in the crotch of a big tree.
A tree sling may work in almost any tree that will hold you up. I use a Quick And Quiet climbing portable stand ninety percent of the time. But if it just won’t work, I’m not so set in my ways that I won’t use something else.

Pick the stand location on the basis of deer movement, cover and the direction of
the sun. I try to have the wind at my face or quartering and the sun at my back. Here in
my state of Tennessee, the sun almost always rises in the east and sets in the
west, but the damn wind can change every twenty minutes and often does. So l don’t
get locked into not hunting a particular tree just because the wind is wrong. I simply
adjust for that.

SCENTS AND LURES
I have often wondered just how many different scents and lures there are on the
market. I have also wondered just how many of them even come close to being
what they are reported to be. Here in Tennessee, thousands of words have been
written about a lovely teenage girl who has bagged several nice bucks over the past
couple of years using her favorite perfume. I don’t doubt it. I have a tale or two myself.
You can do everything wrong and still kill “Ol’ Snort.”

One day last hunting season, I did everything wrong. I used no masking scent or
attracting lure. I made plenty of noise going to the stand. I got in the wrong tree, waited
fifteen minutes and climbed down and moved. It was a warm, windy day and the
ground was wet from rain the day before. I had eaten a Mexican dinner the night before
and Montezuma was taking his revenge. I got down and attended to that ~
five feet from my tree. I didn’t expect to kill anything, I was just marking time.

I shot the nine-pointer ten minutes later at a remarkable six feet. I literally could
have stabbed him with a spear. Maybe he liked enchiladas? Maybe we’ve discovered
something. When it comes to masking human odor, the best product on the market costs thirty-
five cents. It’s called soap and you add water to it and use it regularly. There are
also some products that are said to eliminate human odor. I don’t know about total
elimination, but a couple of them do a pretty good job on boots and hats. I do use
them some, but only as an addition to keeping my body and clothes clean. There
is no substitute for that.

As far as attracting lures are concerned, the only thing I use is an estrous scent during
the rut and pre-rut, then use it sparingly and preferably in a spray format. The key in
using these scents is to be sure the stuff is good quality. Concerning animal urine on my
boots: I don’t use it. I doubt the urine hurts anything, but I also doubt it helps anything. I
also have not been able to see one bit of difference in leather and rubber boots, as
far as scent control goes. Just watch where you wear your boots; I really don’t think
gas or motor oil on your boot soles does much good. I do wear plastic surgical
gloves going to and from my stand. After all. it is my hands that push the branches
out of the way.

CALLING AND RATTLING

There have been millions of words written on calling and rattling. I wrote some of
them myself. I am a firm believer in calling and rattling at certain times. I am also a
firm believer that neither of these techniques are magic. They work only sometimes.
I call a lot and rattle maybe ten days a year. I call softly and usually try to sound
like a doe. If a hunter has not included calling and rattling in his or her bag of tricks,
one should consider it. Learning to do it properly may spook some deer in the beginning.
So what? There are plenty of instructional cassettes, videos and books to reference. Use
some common sense and sort out what works best for you. If you never try it, you’ll never know if it works.

?

DEEP WOODS SYNDROME
In the past eight years, I have killed sixty deer. I need that many to feed my
family; that is well below the legal limit where I live. I have not killed a deer that
was over 150 yards from any sort of road. Of the ten deer I killed last year, eight were
within seventy-five yards of a road. Three of those were within thirty yards of a road.
Too many hunters walk as far back in the woods as they can before even considering
a stand site. Their rationale is to escape the other hunters and have all
the deer to themselves. Now if most of the hunters are thinking that way, it doesn’t
take a genius to see the long walk in is accomplishing nothing.

I much prefer to hunt where the deer are. If my scouting has revealed a super
stand fifty yards from a road, that’s where I hunt. If the deer don’t care about the
road, why should I’? I’ll go ahead and let the deep woods hunters have the deep
woods. I’ll stay up by the road and enjoy the lack of hunters and plenty of deer.
I have, on several occasions, killed deer within sight of my truck; I mean within
forty yards of my truck. Many of my friends and paying hunters have done the same
thing. One of my hunting partners coined the phrase, “If you can’t see the car, you’ve
gone too far.”

?

DR. PEPPER
A popular soft drink had a slogan, which ran something to the effect, “Good
at 10-2-4.” I have found that you can apply that to deer hunting. I have been
keeping some pretty good records on the times of day we are killing deer with my
guide service. In 1988, of the forty-two deer killed, all but four were killed after
7:30 a.m. The majority were killed between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.On our afternoon
hunts, we had poor success last year. Only six deer were killed in the afternoon and
those were killed between 4:15 and 5:03 p.m.

Here, where we hunt, all the deer were killed at least one hour after daylight and
one hour before dusk; our legal shooting time here is daylight to dusk. In the past
few years, we have seen but little deer movement either early or late. What deer
we do see are usually does and yearlings. The majority of the big bucks we take
are shot around nine or ten in the morning when many hunters have left the woods.

Now I don’t even go to the stands until I can see well enough to shoot.
To put all of this in a nutshell: Scout in the post-season. Find good-looking areas
with deer sign and the sort of terrain deer like to travel. Pick out one or two stand
trees. Go back late in the summer and see if the deer are still there and if you can
shoot from your selected stand trees. If not, trim till you can or move.
Pick all stands on the basis of shooting a deer, not because it is such a good tree to
climb. If your stand won’t work, get one that will. Buy one, build one or borrow
one.

Take a shower. If it is hot, shower two or even three times a day. Wear clean clothes.
Change twice a day, if you have to. If a set of cammies costs you $75, isn’t it worth
$75 for a good buck? Remember, the best camo you are ever going to wear is called
sitting still. Keep your boots clean and use a cover scent if you wish, but be sure that
cover scent is natural.
?

If you are not calling and rattling, try it. Investigate the products on the market, listen
to some seminars or cassettes, pick the products that appeal to you. Don’t use
calling and rattling as a last resort: use them as primary tools. Don’t be misled into
thinking all the deer are five hundred yards back in the woods. One editor of a popular
bowhunting magazine kills most of his bucks in his neighbor’s backyard.Re-think the old
saw about, “All the deer are killed right at daylight and right at dark.” It just ain’t so. If
you are getting tired and fidgety by 8:30 a.m. and are on the ground, “scouting” by nine,
try going into the woods at seven and hunting until eleven.

Quite simply, use some common sense and think about the animal you are hunting. Whitetail
deer, sharp as they may be, are not mental geniuses. You can out think some of them. Do some simple, basic things until you are ready to try the college-level tactics. Most of all, enjoy
what you are doing and give some of these different techniques a try. They can pay
off for you.

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

How To Build Life-Like Three-D Targets ~By Jim Deitrick


BOW AND ARROW HUNTING
April 1990

How To: Build Life-LIke Three-D Targets ~By Jim Deitrick

I CAN BARELY make out the light tan color of an elk’s back on the
steep slope above me. Looking carefully, I pick up the glint of an
antler through the timber. Moving closer, I can see the elk standing at the
confluence of a thick patch of aspens bordering a heavy stand of fir. Closer yet and
the bull comes into full view. He is a magnificent animal, poised with his head up,
listening, ten ivory—tipped points of armor tilted over his head.

While mentally compensating for the steep incline, I carefully judge the distance
separating us. In one smooth motion, I slowly raise my bow, draw and release.
The arrow flies true, heading for its mark. Thud! The unmistakeable sound of an arrow
hitting — Styrofoam?

The elk is only a target; not an ordinary target, however, but a handcrafted three-
dimensional target. With targets built in this manner, it’s easy to let your imagination take hold.
Practicing is, as every archer knows, a crucial part of being a good bowhunter.
The best practice possible is having life- size three—dimensional targets set up in a
field, simulating actual hunting conditions. Three—Ds enable a person to get a
better feel for judging distances that ordinary face targets simply cannot duplicate,
especially when shooting on steep inclines.

Three-Ds also make it possible to shoot from any position or angle without having
to move or adjust the target. Putting aside all the practical aspects, though, shooting
at these lifelike animal replicas is just pure fun. l believe anyone, with a little time and
practice, can put together good looking 3-D targets.


Unless one has previous experience, working with a buddy seems to be the best
approach on the first one or two attempts. When it comes to carving the form, one
person can sometimes see an irregularity the other person does not notice. Avoid
getting too many people on the same project, however. This sometimes creates too
many opinions, making it difficult to get anything accomplished.

I had the opportunity to work with a fellow who is exceptionally good at turning out
these lifelike targets. Mike Shetler of Carey, Idaho, has produced several
exceptional 3-D targets and together we made the elk featured here.
The materials used for construction, with the exception of the antlers, can be
purchased at most lumber yards, builders’ supply or hardware store. It is conceivable
that even the antlers could be carved from wood or some similar type of material, but
I have never tried it. It is generally much easier to End the real thing. However, real
trophy—sized antlers are a lot harder to come by. Antlers carved out of Styrofoam
would lack the strength needed for normal handling.

Many big—game animal targets that one can make have no antlers to worry about.
In fact, Shetler carved out a set of full curl ram’s horns in a sheep target that turned
out to be nothing short of incredible.

The materials we used for assembling the elk are: a large sheet of cardboard,
two—inch Styrofoam, Styrofoam glue, heavy—gauge wire, burlap, wallpaper paste,
paint in appropriate colors. The first thing to do, after deciding which
animal target one wants to make, is to find a picture of that animal in the pose wanted
from a book or magazine. With the help of an opaque projector, enlarge this image to
lifesize onto a sheet of cardboard and trace out the outline. It is important to ensure
that the selected picture must be almost perfectly broadside. lf the animal is quartering
even slightly, the result will be a distorted view when the silhouette is traced
onto cardboard. If a person can draw well, this problem can be eliminated by simply
drawing a life—size silhouette on card- board. Once drawn, this outline is cut out,
making a pattern for cutting the Styrofoam.

We used ordinary two—inch white insulating Styrofoam on the elk target. We
used one sheet of the denser blue—type foam in the center for durability. I believe
the more dense foam makes a longer— lasting target. Unfortunately, it is a lot
more costly and considerably harder to work with.

The cardboard silhouette is placed on top of each sheet of two—inch Styrofoam
and traced. The sheets of Styrofoam do not need to be wide enough to cover the
entire height of the animal. In fact, shorter legs make the target more stable for
carving and can be lengthened easily after the rest of the target is carved. Depending
upon the size of the animal target to be made, one to three sheets are cut
without legs — for the center of the body. Two or three sheets are cut for each side,
including the appropriate right or left side legs for each.

All of these layers are glued and stacked together in their correct order. Some weight
placed on top while the glue is curing will help hold the pieces evenly together. Masking
tape wrapped around the legs will hold them while they are drying. If the target is
being made with a turned head, this portion will have to be built out farther than
the rest of the body. Small pieces of foam can be used by adding them to the head
and neck area so as not to leave as much waste.

The best glue to use is one made specifically for glueing Styrofoam. It is generally
purchased in tubes and applied with a caulking gun. Builders’ supply outlets should
have the necessary materials.

When the glue is completely dry, the foam is ready to be carved and the fun
begins. We have found that an ordinary kitchen knife works well for carving Styrofoam.
The only drawback is having your spouse catch you with it and use it on you
before you can get it out of the house.

When carving the body, try not to worry about cutting off too much. This is a common
tendency and resulting in an animal with a sort of blocky squared-off look. If a
person does cut too deep, it’s a simple matter to glue on a scrap piece of foam and
start over. Once the foam is roughed out with a carving knife, coarse sandpaper
works well to bring out the fine details, especially around the head and face.
Don’t rush this process. Sometimes it is best to leave for awhile; return at a later
time with a fresh view.

Sections of heavy wire are used to support the ears and extend the leg pieces to
their proper length. It is usually best to leave the lower section of the legs over-
sized. Carving them down to lifesize will make them too weak to support the rest of
the target. Steel rods can be used for support if a person wants more lifelike legs.
However, these same rods are often detrimental to the life of aluminum arrows.
Attaching the antlers to the foam is a matter of carving out the appropriate size
hole in the head, then anchoring the antlers with several sections of heavy wire pushed
down into the head through drilled holes.

Sometimes balance can be a problem. lf the antlers are too large, the front of the
animal will be too heavy to stand on its own legs. If this happens, one possible
solution is to place some weight in the lower part of one of the hind legs.
When the carving, shaping and swearing are finally completed and you are satisfied
with the look of the form, you are ready for the next step. The foam is covered
with burlap and wallpaper paste. This process puts a heavy covering, almost like a
shell, over the entire target, adding strength and durability.

Our best luck with wallpaper paste is to use the pre-mixed variety. The extra thickness
and weight of this paste helps to hold and fill the burlap. When applied liberally,
the paste will hide the seams between sections of burlap, making a smoother skin on
the target. Any heavyweight burlap will work. We used burlap bean and grain sacks, with the
seams removed, cut into varying sizes. Larger pieces are used over the body section while
smaller strips are placed around the head and face. The entire target should
be covered with burlap. Weaker points, ears and leg extensions, are tied together
by overlapping the strips in opposing directions.

When the wallpaper paste dries, the target will be relatively strong and ready
for normal handling. If any weak points are noticed at this time, it is wise to apply
some extra burlap where needed. Most wallpaper pastes will break down
if immersed in water. When the target is completely dry, it is a good idea to apply a
generous amount of exterior paint, in an appropriate base color, over the entire target
to help protect it against the weather. However, it is not a good idea to leave a target
in the rain any longer than necessary regardless of how much paint has been applied.

With the base coat of paint completely dry, the target is ready for the final step.
Putting on the finishing color is critical to the final appearance of the target. On this
final process, we appropriated the services of a talented lady who had most of
the paints and talent to make a fair target look pretty good.

Even though we had an expert paint this elk target, that doesn’t mean anyone couldn’t
do as well with some practice. It is generally helpful to gather as many color pictures as
possible before beginning to paint. These pictures will help with the color and shading,
particularly while working on the face.

It is important to remember to not rush the job. Take your time.
Three—D targets put together as I have described will last through dozens of arrows.
However, when the vital area finally does get “shot out” and is too weak to prevent
arrows from passing through, it is time for some repair. Carefully cut out and remove
the damaged section and replace it with a new block of Styrofoam. The patch is
covered over with a new section of burlap and paste. Then, with a new coat of paint,
the target is ready for service.

It seems the closer a target appears to real life, the more fun it is to shoot at and
the harder a person tries to connect with a good shot. This extra effort improves
concentration, making for better quality practice. Many clubs also have competitions
for the best looking 3-D target constructed by members. A club can assemble a large
inventory of fine targets.
Good shooting! <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Whitetail Habitat and Habits~ By Bob Grewell


Bow And Arrow Hunting
October 1990

Whitetail Habitat and Habits By Bob Grewell

?

Bowhunters And Deer Are A Lot Alike – Learn More About Your Game and Improve Your Score!

?

A HUNTING PARTNER gave a few of us some good advice when he explained
about using known whitetail feeding grounds he had been tree-standing successfully
for three years. He favored a ridgetop plateau crowned with oak and hickory. To his
advantage, a brushy stream-lined ravine skirted the east side of its base. Below
this flat on the south and west sides was a massive cornfield. A bedding growth
of tangled honeysuckle and blow-down timber wrapped around the northern
lower third. It set the stage for suitable bowhunting habitat. Deer frequented the
ridge for mast and had all they needed: food, water and cover. Picking a spot
and waiting for deer movement was his proven technique.

?

This ridgetop was also used by early- season squirrel hunters quite regularly
Although we bowhunters don`t directly emulate the methods of squirrel-gun
hunters, Gary picked a stand site in this area, right on the perimeter where the
landscape dropped over and down into corn and bedding. This kept him directly
away from squirrel-hunting activities, but still put him in touch with a major
deer-escape route. He had selected ideal habitat, relied on deer feeding and
bedding habits and positioned himself so squirrel-hunter movements would
probably force fleeing deer past his stand.


The last day of the early season, he hadn’t been settled more than thirty
minutes when he heard the faint sound of voices far off into the hardwoods. The
hunters who were stalking the woods that morning were friends of Gary`s and
knew he was bowhunting, so they stayed away from his stand location. Shortly
after their voices broke the silence, a fat doe and apparently her two offspring
slipped past his tree and down over the hill. The action looked promising.

?

Before Gary had a chance to get settled again, a muffled shot was heard;
then another. Within two minutes he noticed movement in the trees. Walk-
and-stop, walk-and-stop; the buck was sneaking through the hardwoods at a
snail`s pace. Constantly looking back toward the squirrel hunters, the whitetail
didn`t pay much attention to what was in front of him. Appearing as if he felt
he had eluded the human interference, the cautious buck stopped behind a tree
not fifteen yards from Gary.

?

When the buck turned and looked back toward the squirrel hunters after their
voices broke the silence, Gary eased into full draw. The buck took three steps
and stopped, alert, but not frightened. The arrow whispered as it gilded into
the buck`s chest cavity. He flinched and jumped straight up. Standing motionless
and looking all around, he wobbled a little. Then, trotting past Gary`s tree, he
attempted to walk downhill, stumbling, then rolling into a briar patch. Even
though the buck lay motionless, Gary sat back down. ’

?

He had picked a good habitat location and took advantage of the whitetail`s
habits in this area. He also used the squirrel hunters activities to his advantage,
knowing the buck would avoid their presence. Although this bowhunter
is a rut-hunting enthusiast, he never fails to be afield before or after the rut.
The first two or three weeks of whitetail bow season are not perfect
times to be looking for rutting bucks. A bowhunter is not likely to be found
seated in close proximity of a “hot” scrape, because they just aren’t prime.

?

Even though one can`t concentrate on whitetail mating urges to be successful,
it is a great time to be afield. The deer haven`t been pressured a lot by hunters.
The weather is not deplorable and there are lots of deer. Many hunters score on
whitetail bucks even when these trophies aren’t yet interested in mounting a doe.
Whitetail and bowhunters are alike in many respects. Our habits and habitats
coincide. The whitetail faces a different set of problems on a daily basis, even
though some are like ours. They must develop habits that mesh with the conditions
of their habitat.


?

The whitetail deer generally leads a life of comfort, seclusion and sometimes
just plain luxury, except for hunting season, human pressures and changing
weather. Food, water and protective cover are all around them. This is a
“key” bowhunters can capitalize on each season. When mating urges haven`t
reached a focal point, basic necessities are a hunter`s asset as well as a deer’s;
in many cases, even more exacting than the short-spanned exposing effects of a
traveling, sex-hungry buck during the rut.

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The common practice today is to hunt whitetail bucks during the peak of their
rutting activities. There`s nothing wrong with taking advantage of this natural
urge and the high-exposure effects it has on a buck`s actions. In many instances
and terrain locations, rut-hunting provides a bowhunter with an exceptional
chance to take a secretive buck. But if he waits solely for those few weeks of
prime sexual behavior, a bowhunter is missing out on a lot of other chances to
take deer.

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Logically, bowhunters are constantly searching for the fastest, simplest and
least expensive means of arrowing a buck. The usual method of pursuit that
ups the odds in one’s favor is to take advantage of the exposing effects mating
has on a buck as he searches continuously for a receptive doe. But deer
activities won’t always be predictable or on time and hunters limit their opportunities
when hunting solely for mating bucks.

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There are many opportunities available prior to and after the ritualistic
mating cycle that can expand one`s chances. The ability to pattern buck
exposure is more prominent when they are stimulated by their annual sexual
drives. This erratic response does help one to set up more productive stand
sites and enables a bowhunter to see more deer, more often. Patterns of travel
become more consistent and timely as bucks spend increased time on the hoof
looking for ready to mate does. Rutting bucks are a little more prone to being
visible when they are crazed for estrous does. For that we can be thankful, be-
cause bowhunting is a limited opportunity sport. anyway.


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There are thousands of bowhunters who take deer each year and don`t count
on mating activities as a catalyst for success. Not that it`s any easier, because
a hunter must work just as hard and be just as smart to outwit a sneaky
buck. When we enter whitetail habitat looking for a place to hunt, it can appear
confusing. Local deer know it thoroughly. But for us, it`s like walking onto
a new car lot…so much to look for, so much to choose from. The buck usually
only exposes himself when feeding, watering and traveling to and from
bedding locations. These are the key points to concentrate on during any
given day. Habits and habitat knowledge will put you on better bucks when they
aren’t on the move for doe.

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Bowhunters who plan to take bucks prior to and after the rut need to spend a
lot of time in the field. Relying on previous areas of success is a major
ingredient when taking deer, if the landscape hasn’t been altered to move
deer out or change their habits too dramatically. Deer associate with sights
and sounds in their home range. When changes occur, these animals are
automatically alerted. Although whitetail habits seldom change greatly, they do
change travel habits and feeding locations if habitats are rearranged or some form
of interference dictates their mood. But for deer that live in specific areas year round,
these changes are minimal. That`s why it is important to get to know an area
well. Learn the contour of the land, the locations of food, water and bedding.

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These natural architectural features will control the daily habits of deer. Every
effort of scouting will build a storehouse of valuable information in your favor.
When a bowhunter pursues a buck without relying on rutting activities, the
hunter must study intensely. Talk to landowners, rural mail carriers and successful
hunters. Tap other successful archers knowledge to help you improve
your own. Opinion plays an important role in deer hunting and if it`s a successful
hunter`s opinion, the answers are more prone to be factual details.

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Whether before or after peak rutting desires are aroused. food is a critical
influence that stimulates deer movement patterns. Bedding sites are important, as
well. The routes of travel leading to and from feeding and bedding areas are
walkways to guard. When a bowhunter is after his buck under normal conditions,
study whitetail habits and the structure of the habitat.

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Any buck not interested in does is especially concerned with protecting his
own hide. This makes him tougher to get close to when he`s not overwhelmed by
a female. Extreme caution on the hunter`s part is a must. but bucks aren’t
beyond approach. If you go after a buck that has been bedded throughout the
afternoon, a logical place to set up an evening stand is along a trail that shows
obvious use.

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Scouting cannot be over-stressed. Of course, deer aren’t likely to travel the
same trail. the same way. the same time, on an everyday basis. We can`t assume
deer have rigid schedules. But we can determine deer habit patterns more
accurately by thinking food and cover, and using these necessities to our
advantage.

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Ideally, one first locates a prime food source that is being utilized regularly,
whether it is natural. such as acorns, or artificial, like corn and soybeans. By
backtracking game trails adjoining likely feeding areas and potential bed sites,
stand site selection is easier. Choosing two or three possible stand locations
that will place you on the downwind side of predominate daily wind currents
allows you to change positions, because of shifting weather, other human
interference, or noticable habitat changes.

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In no way would it be practical to suggest that one should not hunt during the
heat of mating activities. It’s a perfect time to be afield. But no hunter should
rely solely on the sexual urges of whitetails before going hunting. It would
be a genuine loss of productive hunting time to stay home during non-rut days.
If a bowhunter studies and learns normal daily whitetail habits, familiarizes
himself with the details of the terrain he intends to hunt, scouts and determines
the most popular food sources and finds likely looking bedding lairs. the efforts
will amount to a perfect foundation for hunting at any time of the season.

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Then by respecting the wind`s fickle effects in exposing your scent, hunting a buck
without relying on the mating urge will be an exciting experience. It will not
only teach you more about your quarry, but will instill you with a sense of pride
from the fact that you took your deer from intentional effort, not just from random
luck. Using whitetail habitat and their habits will put you in the drivers seat.

 

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