Archive for the 'Tips/Advice' Category

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Published by admin on 15 Jul 2010

ARROWGAZM! ARCHERY 101- GO GITYA SOME by Ted Nugent

 

ARROWGAZM! ARCHERY 101- GO GITYA SOME                by Ted Nugent
 
In numerous articles I have written over the years, I have made the emphatic point how the mystical flight of the arrow has always turned me on, thrilled me and cleansed my soul. Amazingly, more now than ever. Those of us who celebrate the discipline of archery simply cannot get enough. Archery as a physics of spirituality artform, and particularly the ultimate Zen of bowhunting, brings us so much joy and excitement as to be rather challenging to describe. Take my bright eyed bushytailed word for it.
 
See that uppity sparkle in my eyes? It is available to everyone.
 
The point has also been made on more than a few occasions how bewildered I am that the number of bowhunters in America has been stagnant at around three million for more than 30 years, and that the ultimate bowhunting paradise of Texas has the fewest bowhunters per hunting license sold than any state.
 
Not being one to want to keep such pleasurable pursuits of happiness to myself, and surely not one to simply complain without offering a solution, it is here and now that I will do all in my power to assist all parties so interested in joining the ranks of the bowhunter brotherhood.
 
I know you want it, and you know you do too.
 
I have witnessed so many potential archers ignore the basics, and then give it up after a brief, feeble attempt at flinging arrows heather and yon. With all due respect, do please pay close attention, as I am convinced that when pursued properly, bowhunting is indeed for everybody who loves to hunt, and archery, for just plain everybody.
 
First and foremost, it will not come as easily or as quickly as does firearms’ marksmanship or firearms’ hunting capability. In fact compared to rifle hunting, bowhunting is downright difficult. Hence, the magical allure. The rewards of gratification are directly linked to the efforts expended. Viola!
 
The absolute ultimate introduction to the mystical flight of the arrow is best experienced with a lightweight traditional bow. In fact, the Genesis youth bow also falls into this introductory category because of its natural archery feel and basically unlimited draw length capability. But lightweight draw, I say 30-40# for grown men, 20-30 for kids and women, once again is the key so that the new archer, young, old, strong, weak, no matter what, will develop their natural hand eye coordination more naturally and smoothly with such graceful equipment.
 
Another important element, especially with a first bow, is to use properly spined arrows based on the archer’s draw length. These arrows should be fletched with feather fletching, not plastic vanes so arrow flight off of a usually hard, unforgiving arrow rest will go where they are pointed instead of kicking off erratically in flight.
 
Of equal importance is to shoot at a good, safe backstop target like bales of hay or straw, at close range, say about 20 feet, not 20 yards to begin with. A simple paper plate to draw your natural focus is perfect.
 
Start without a bow sight, what is referred to as “bare bow” shooting. With the Apache draw of three fingers under the arrow, properly knocked on the string for center shot, draw back so that the string hand touches the face in the exact same spot everytime. This anchor is critical for consistent accuracy, as the anchor represents the rear sight of your hand eye coordination sight picture.
 
Tutored by an experienced archer, slowly and patiently develop proper archery form, how to stand and address the target, how to look at the target from behind the bow and arrow, how to draw, anchor, release and follow through properly.
 
These critical basics will be the foundation for ultimate archery. Anything less, will be a hindrance.
 
Once your arrows group close together constantly at close range, back off in five step increments until you extend your range where your accuracy is solid. This is the test. Do not expect to shoot accurately beyond 12-20 yards for awhile. Be patient. It will come in time.
 
Rule One-do not borrow a compound bow. This simple mistake has caused more people to get a woefully mistaken misunderstanding of archery basics and give up before they even get started. With the modern compound bow, personal fit and feel is a make it or break it issue. You must get a bow that fits you to a T, with the proper draw length and comfortable, graceful draw weight.
 
I bet you that there are more bows gathering dust hanging up in Texas garages that anywhere in the world because so many borrowed a bow to give it a try.
 
Suffice it to say, that according to the world’s master bowmen, all agree that the draw length is critical, and that a slightly shorter than perfect draw length is still quite shootable, but a too long a draw length is literally anti-archery, and you will never know if you can shoot accurately or not.
 
Visit a qualified archery pro-shop and try as many different makes, models, poundage and draw lengths as possible, and discover the ultimate feel based on your own dimensions and physical properties. A little extra time choosing the best bow for you is more than worth it.
 
My pet peeve is the inexplicable phenomena forever where most archers purchase a bow that they have to lift above the line of sight to draw because someone sold them a bow that is too heavy of a draw weight. It is The Curse of American archery. I have witnessed it so often I remain baffled.
 
And the most amazing part is that of the thousands and thousands of archery shops across the country, the vast majority of wanna be archers will not and cannot find a bow of the proper light weight draw in order to actually get into the sport. Absolutely weird.
 
Bow manufacturers should produce more 35-50 pound bows than the current 60-70 pound range. If I had a dollar for every person who gave up trying to buy a comfortable light weight bow because they couldn‘t find one, I could buy a few more machineguns. Really.
 
I will repeat the self evident truth once again. My svelte, sexy, skinny, gorgeous wife Shemane kills everything she shoots at with her 38# Martin bow and 400 grain Gold Tip tipped with a good old Magnus two blade broadhead. Everything! One arrow, one kill, on huge zebra, wildebeest, warthogs, nyala, kudu, impala, blesbok, deer of every shape and size, rams, antelope, hogs, you name it. She draws, she fires, she kills. 38-40 pound draw weight.
 
And though I can draw an 80# bow, I kill everything I shoot at with 48-53# with the same arrow and broadhead.
 
Stealth, grace, timing, and shot placement makes venison. Know it, live it, enjoy it, and celebrate it.
 
Choice of equipment is unlimited. Every bow, every arrow, every broadhead, every quiver, every release, every arrow rest, every sight, everything in the archery and bowhunting world is killer these days. It all comes down to personal feel and choice.
 
Do not give up. This wonderful bowhunting lifestyle is available for everyone everywhere. Approach it the right way and the mystical flight of the arrow will cleanse your soul. Go ahead, have an arrowgazm. It’s legal.

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Published by admin on 14 Jul 2010

Meet a new exhibition shooter: Chris Hurt

 

Perhaps it’s the eyes.  Rev. Stacy Groscup somehow saw it in my eyes.  He took me under his wing and had me on stage by the time I was 18 years old as his protege’ doing archery shows.  I saw that same look in a young man’s eyes today, July 8, 2010 as Jim and Chris Hurt stopped by my family’s retail archery store for a visit.  Chris Hurt is now doing archery exhibitions and with his father as his assistant the two are starting to travel and entertain crowds.  They’ve done several local shows back in Pennsylvania and this weekend will be at an event here in West Virginia doing exhibitions for the attendees there.

The fact that Chris is only 14 years old means he’s getting a jump start on most of us exhibition shooters.  I was 18.  Rev. Stacy Groscup was in Seminary before he did his first exhibition.  I would venture to say Chris has most exhibition shooters beat.  He was inspired when he was ten years old after seeing Byron Ferguson perform.  I believe Chris’ dad told me he was 10 when he first starting shooting aerial discs from mid air.  Like me, Chris started with large targets and worked his way down to a snuff can, a Lifesaver, and now an aspirin tablet.  At his age this is an impressive feat! 
Chris shoots a custom made recurve bow and shoots instinctively.  He has a routine he does and his father helps him at all the shows.  I heard about Chris and contacted his father awhile back and invited them by if they were ever in the area.  Today they were and so they came by for some lunch and to visit.  Chris is attentive and very well mannered and carries himself well.  You can see that he’s enthusiastic about what he does and the sport of archery.  His father is a good guy and you can tell he is proud of his son, as well he should be.
 
Having someone this young on the exhibition trail is an awesome feat for the sport of archery.  It also tells me something about Chris’ family.  Obviously his father Jim worked with him from a young age and still takes the time to work with his son and guide him.  It was great seeing a father and son working together, and it speaks well of the way Chris has been raised.  Hopefully he will be a positive influence on the sport and help recruit more and more young people and their families into the sport of archery.  Now that the archery bug has bitten Chris, I’ll bet like me at his age he’ll be too busy shooting archery to venture into trouble like some teens.  Having a family support you makes all the difference in the world.
I welcome this young man to the world of exhibition shooting and hope that if he is in your area someday you’ll go see his show.  Like me, he is following the tracks of archery heroes who have gone before.  Men like Bear, Hill, and Groscup to name a few.  All it took for Chris to get the bug was seeing Byron Ferguson do one of his archery shows.  For me it was Bear and Groscup.  And so it goes.  I’d bet Byron would say for him it was Hill.  When I started out, Stacy took me under his wing and gently taught me the ropes.  Like all heroes, Stacy seemed bigger than life but was always willing to listen, answer questions, and offer his wisdom and council, sometimes even when I didn’t seek it but he felt like I needed to hear it.  He turned out to be a best friend, second father, and one of the biggest influences on my life.  And he could have walked away but when he saw my interest, he welcomed me and helped me.  The best role models always do.

Exhibition shooting is a great career.  Other exhibition shooters I’ve met or known have been Ann Clark, Joe Johnston, Galen Shinkle, Byron Ferguson, Bob Markworth, Randy Oitker, and I have talked with Ron LaClair on the phone. Sadly I missed Howard Hill, Dale Marcy, and some of the older exhibition shooters.  We all find a way we feel most comfortable performing and rarely have two shooters have been the same.  We all find a way to connect with an audience and showcase the sport of archery.  Most of us have a signature shot too.  
 
I showed Chris and his dad Jim around the store, shared some advice and stories. It was a good visit and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Then Chris said, “Here you go Mr. Frank” as he handed me one of his signed arrows.   I gladly signed and numbered him one of my stage arrows(#33)  and gave it to him as a thank you for his arrow.  Of my signed arrows, Ted Nugent has #9 and in my 25 year career I’ve signed and numbered less than 34 of these arrows for certain people.  Fred Bear started my interest in collecting signed arrows when he sent me one of his beat up old micro flite arrows back in the 1980’s.  Ever since then I have collected signed arrows from archery legends.   Today I added one arrow to that collection and although Chris may not be a legend just yet, give him time.  Remember, you heard it here first.  This young man will make a mark on this sport.  I could see that in his eyes. 
 
Until Next Time… Adios & God Bless.

Shoot Straight,
Frank Addington, Jr.

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Published by admin on 15 Jun 2010

1st Annual Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot Held in Hulett, Wyoming by Frank Addington, jr.

1st Annual Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot Held in Hulett, Wyoming
by Frank Addington, jr.

“The mission of the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of Wyoming is to create an enduring natural legacy for future generations through stewardship of all Wyoming’s wildlife.”
 
That mission statement is on the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of Wyoming’s website.   I was familiar with their work and when an invitation to participate in their first ever “Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot” came from my pal Dave Lockman, I absolutely said “Yes.”  I thoroughly believe in the work the foundation does to promote shooting sports and hunting to the next generation.   It is a program that many states should follow to ensure future generations follow our tracks into the outdoors.  We must be good stewards of the land and pass that along to the next generation.  
 
Dave Lockman is involved with the Weatherby Foundation International, which provides seed money to help non profit EXPOS around the country.  These Expos are a great way to recruit families and the next generation into the shooting and Hunting Sports.  So  the goals of the Weatherby Foundation and the WHF are very similar. I’ve long been an advocate of the EXPO concept and I first became aware of the WHF while attending an Expo in Casper, Wyoming. 
 
The One Shot Turkey Hunt was the first annual event and I was honored to be the first bowhunter invited.  So when I put the team together I asked my father and family friend Jim Wynne to join me.  We were the only bowhunters at the “first shot” event,  everyone else would be using a shotgun.  The town of Hulett’s population is about 400 give or take a few people, and this little western town was full of good folks.  The event took place near Devil’s Tower and thanks to president Teddy Roosevelt who made it our country’s first national monument.  I could see Devil’s Tower each morning from where our blind was set up, what a beautiful view.

Hunter’s would have special opportunities to attend banquets, social events and other activities during the two day hunt.   Highlights of the trip for me included meeting former Wyoming Governor Sullivan.  The former Governor even bought my breakfast at the Ponderosa restaurant in town.  He got an invite to come to West Virginia and I hope he’ll visit.  I also met many local folks from the area that I enjoyed visiting with including Mr. Jim Neiman, who owns a local sawmill business and golf course. Mr. Neiman is 80 years young and acts 40.  I really enjoyed talking with him.  I also was honored to spend some time talking to Jack Scarlett, who has been involved with the famed One Shot Antelope Hunt in Wyoming.  Turns out Fred and Henrietta Bear were friends of Mr. Scarlett’s family and Fred had been to his ranch to hunt.  Mr. Scarlett and I shared some Fred Bear anecdotes and stories and I really had a great time talking with him.  He was a mutual friend of Dave Lockman’s.  I’ve found that just about anyone that’s a friend of Dave’s is “good people”.  
 
My father and Jim Wynne joined me to make up our “archery team”.   We stayed with Dave Lockman out at the bunk house at the Solitude Ranch.  There was a bath house, cook shack with a lounge area with satellite TV, and a grill on the deck.  Dave and Janet Lockman brought a special request for me… an order of Rocky Mountain Oysters.  We warmed them in the microwave and enjoyed them with homemade hamburgers one day.  I laughed as Jim Wynne and Pop tried this delicacy for the first time.   Dave got me hooked on them many years ago in Casper, Wyoming at Poor Boys.  I’ve had them in Denver, Colorado at the Buckhorn, at Cattleman’s Cut in Montana.  and at Cattleman’s in the Oklahoma City Stockyards.   If you have never tried them I would suggest you do so when in cowboy country.   They are great when properly prepared.
 
Jim bought a target on the way to Hulett so that we could take some warm up shots in camp.  Mid day that first day I warmed up with a few shots.   I put a dandelion on the target walked back to 20 yards.   As an instinctive shooter I wanted to see how my new Hoyt Vantage LTD was shooting.  I had the bow set down to 52# for this hunt and was shooting Easton arrows with Muzzy 145 grain heads.  I prefer a side quiver to a bow quiver and use a vintage Chuck Adams leather side quiver, circa 1992 or so.   I removed an arrow from my quiver, drew the bow and when my pointer finger touched the corner of my mouth I released the arrow.   I saw yellow fly everywhere as the Muzzy head shaved the dandelion in two.  I shot one more arrow at the target and decided that I was ready for a turkey if the right shot presented itself.  I think the guide was shocked when he didn’t see a sight on my bow.
 
Our guide knew the Solitude ranch and had us in birds right off opening morning.  However, the old boss gobbler wouldn’t come closer.  He stayed out about 40 yards.  The guide had only brought a slate call and really didn’t fool with diaphragm calls or box calls.  Luckily Pop had a turkey vest full of calls and decoys.  He would also call in some birds during the two days.  We hunted hard for the two days and called from a blind and also did a few quick set ups while doing some afternoon spot and stalks.   On the second morning we were in a different set up.  The birds came in but the two gobblers stayed out about 40 yards again.  This time after they left I discovered the problem— an old fence line that you could not see in early light.  
 
While the guide napped pop and I still hunted down the ridge and set up on four gobblers.  Pop was working the birds when two hens ran in and left taking all four of the gobblers with them.    Having hunted eastern turkey most of my life, typically you can call the hen in and she will bring the gobblers with her.  In Wyoming, these merriam gobblers seemed a little easier to hunt but the hens were the problem.  Several times a jealous hen would run in and take the gobblers away when she left.  None of the three of us bowhunters drew a bow in the two days.  We all agreed that it would have been nice to have had another day or two but the hunt ended with a big banquet Saturday night.
 
This was a “one shot” hunt, meaning you only get one shot.  If you missed or if the turkey required a second shot you were disqualified from the competition.  Scoring was based on the weight, beard length doubled, and spur length doubled.    I believe about 39 birds were bagged out of aprx. 70 hunters.  There were smiles every where Saturday night so I believe everyone had a great time.  I was impressed when I saw companies like Remington play such a large supporting role in this hunt.  They provided about 17 guns for the event and ammunition.  The two youngest hunters on the team received free shotguns.  A special presentation was also made to a young man who had recently lost his grandfather, who had promised to take the young man turkey hunting.  His grandfather had just passed away and would not be taking the youngster hunting.  When this young man was presented a gun and an opportunity to be taken hunting, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. I really appreciate companies like Remington and Weatherby who give back to try and ensure hunting is passed on to future generations. 
 
This event wasn’t really about the “celebrities”.  It was about seeing these youngsters encouraged and recognized.  To me they were the real celebrities of the weekend.  I appreciate all that the WHF,  supporting businesses and companies, and volunteers did to make this first time event a huge success.  It was a great time and if you get an invitation to support or attend this event, please do so.  They are doing good things in Wyoming and I was proud to be the first archer invited.   If you do go, take some warm clothes for the early Wyoming mornings, a camera for the views, and be ready to meet some fine folks. 

Although a dandelion is all I had bagged in two days of hunting,  my hunt was a huge success.  Like Fred Bear, to me the success of a hunt isn’t always measured by the game taken.  I’d been able to spend valuable time with my father bowhunting, hang out with old pals Jim Wynne, Dave and Janet Lockman, and meet a bunch of new friends.  I enjoyed good food and good company and breath taking views.  I’d seen a huge amount of gobblers, a coyote, countless whitetail deer, mule deer, antelope and other game. My dandelion would have to serve as my trophy until my next adventure into the Black Hills of Wyoming.  I hope one day to take my son Gus there to see the sights and meet the people.  He’s only three but one day soon he’ll be old enough to join me.  I hope he’ll enjoy time with me as much as I enjoyed hunting with my father.
 
Thanks Hulett, Wyoming. I’ll be back.
 
***************************************************************************************************************************************************
 
 It is clear that the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of Wyoming is dedicated to promoting hunting and wise use of our natural resources to the next generation.   To learn more, please visit:
 
Special thanks to Dave and Janet Lockman, Hoyt, Muzzy, Robinson Outdoors, Easton and my other sponsors.  Also, thanks to the WHF, Solitude ranch, and every one of the staff and volunteers for this event. 

Visit my show website at:

Thanks for reading.  Until next time, Adios and God Bless.
Shoot Straight,
Frank
 
Frank Addington, Jr.
The Aspirin Buster

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Published by ejon on 29 May 2010

THE BIG ONE… AND ANOTHER ONE!

Last year, I knocked down one of the biggest bucks I’d ever seen from my favorite hunting area… or so I thought?!

It was the last day of the 2009 hunting season. The plan was to try and  fill my last doe tag. I still had a tag left for a monster buck too, but that was not the plan.

As the clock was winding down on one of the coldest Michigan days of hunting I could ever remember, it seemed like everything was falling right into place. So I waited… and waited… nothing. For hours, I sat in my tree stand, posturing quietly. It was everything I could do to keep the feeling in my toes (and my backside) from chasing me out of my tree. Finally, I gave in… twenty minutes of daylight left …I was done.

I gathered up all of my gear, climbed down from my tree and headed back to the warming shed to meet up with my hunting buddies to reflect on another great season.

As I turned back to look over the area where I just left one last time, I noticed some movement. There she was… the one beautiful doe that would have filled my ticket. As I began to laugh in disbelief– there was another one. Then, a buck… looked like a six-pointer. Then another one… and another. Holy Crap! Suddenly, out of the shadows of the treeline, there he stood… a majestic monster. Like a parade of nobility all on display for me to see. “Why couldn’t I hold out just a little while longer?”

Well, it’s the end of May… still thinking about that moment at the end of the season when I gave in.

So for this coming season, I have made a pact with myself– I will try to last a little longer on those days when I feel like leaving. I will pick up some warmer clothing to be better prepared for battle.  More important, I will always remember this,  “…it’s why they call it HUNTING– NOT gathering!”

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Published by archerchick on 24 Mar 2010

The Perfect Treestand – By Bill Vanznis

The Pefect Treestand – By Bill Vanznis
Bowhunting World Annual 2006-2007
Your odds for success sour with this 15-item checklist!
 

Bowhunting World Annual 2006-2007

The perfect stand should not stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. If it is visible from ground zero, it should look like part of the forest and nothing more. 

There is no doubt about it.Hunting whitetails from an elevated platform is a killer technique! Position a treestand correctly, and you should easily avoid a buck’s sharp eyes, rotating ears and that uncanny sniffer of his long enough to take him with one well-aimed shot. This does not mean, however, that any stand site will work for you. Some setups are simply better than others. Here is how to turn the average treestand into a real killer. 

 

1. SAFETY FIRST!
The perfect treestand must be safe to use treestands that have been left outdoors all 

season long need to be inspected carefully for splits and cracks before you ever step on board again. Extreme weather, claimjumpers, saboteurs, animal rights idiots, and other assorted riffraff can and will raise havoc with any hunting property left unattended in the woods. 

Even if you pull your stands at the end of each season, field-test each one before the opener. If you have any reservations-as to its safety or effectiveness, get rid of it and purchase a new one. Your life and well-being are worth a lot more than any whitetail. 

What is the most dangerous treestand in the woods? The one that is handmade from leftover lumber! Rain, sun, and especially wind can weaken the wood and even help pull nails and screws from support beams causing it to collapse when you set your weight down. Never 

trust them! 

2. STRANGER 

BEWARE! 

The perfect treestand is one you erected, fair, square, and legal. Never hunt from a stranger’s treestand. Not only is it unethical, but it may be defective or not have been set up correctly, which in some cases could be an accident looking for a place to happen. 

There are many problems associated with bowhunting out of a stranger’s treestand. You don’t know when the stand was last used, meaning the stand could already be overhunted. Nor do you know if whoever was on board spooked a buck into the next county, was as careful with human scent as you are, or is a meticulous in his approach and departure as you tend to be. Did he urinate off the stand? Did he gut-shoot a deer earlier and spend the morning traipsing about looking for it? If so, you are probably wasting your time. In short, the only thing you know about this is such a hot setup, why isn’t the owner or one of the friends on board? 

 

3. UP-TO-DATE SURVEILLANCE 

The perfect treestands is erected only after careful consideration of a host of factors, including food preferences, weather conditions, hunting pressure, stage of the rut, etc. Don’t set up a stand based on last year’s scouting information. Sure, you tagged a nice buck there last fall, but a lot could have happened in the interim. Crop rotation, a poor mast crop, new housing projects and logging operations can all have a negative impact on a deer’s daily routine and cause him to abandon last year’s hotspot. 

4.KEEP YOUR SECRET HOTSPOT A SECRET!
The perfect treestand is one only you and a close friend know about. Do not brag about the bucks you are seeing on Old McDonald’s farm, and don’t give details about the stand’s exact whereabouts. Tell the boys at the archery shop you have a stand in the old apple orchard, and sooner or later one of those guys will be setting up nearby —legally or otherwise. 

Even if you are tight lipped about your hunting turf, do not park your vehicle near your hunting grounds or an obvious trailhead. Instead leave your vehicle some distance away to help confuse trespassers and claim-jumpers as to the exact whereabouts of your treestand. Remember, loose lips sink ships! 

 

5.TO TRIM OR
NOT TO TRIM 

If you must trim branches around the stand, do so sparingly, and only enough to come to full draw without interference. Just remember that the branches that you cut away are the same branches that afford you cover.
The same goes for shooting lanes. Keep in mind that mature bucks do not like to stick their necks out. Wide, open shooting lanes spell d-a-n-g-e-r to an alert buck and are subsequently avoided. Besides, the brush you cut down and remove is often the very same cover that attracts local bucks! 

In addition, nothing alerts an incoming buck, or another hunter for that matter, to the exact whereabouts of your setup better than several white “spears” sticking up from the ground. Use an old trapper’s trick, and smear dirt and leaves on the “stumps” of cut saplings to help hide them from prying eyes- Camouflage those shooting lanes! 

6.APPROACH UNDETECTED 

The perfect treestand approach the site and then climb on board without alerting any deer to your presence. You can start as soon as you park your vehicle by remaining quiet as you assemble your gear. Do not talk, slam doors, or wave flashlights about.
Check the wind and then choose a route that affords you the most privacy. You do not want your scent drifting into suspected bedding grounds or preferred feeding areas, nor do you want deer to see you crossing open fields or gas line rights-of-way either. Nor do you want to
cross any hot buck trails.
Even with all these safeguards in place, wear knee-high rubber boots and be careful what you touch or rub up against. The scent you leave behind can spook a deer long after you are in your stand.
Be sure to walk slowly and quietly, stopping often to listen. In some cases a cleared trail may be necessary. Deer can instinctively tell the difference between man and beast moving about. Humans walk with a telltale cadence and a destination in mind whereas a deer will travel in a stop-and-go manner.
Finally, get into your stand quickly but quietly. Once settled in. use a fawn bleat to calm down any nearby deer. 


7. NO HIGHER THAN NECESSARY
The perfect treestand is positioned no higher than necessary. In some cases a
10-foot perch is more than high enough off the ground to be effective, whereas in other situations a stand 15 to 20 feet up is required. Keep in mind that the higher you go, the more acute the shot angle becomes on nearby deer.
The late season has its own set of problems. There is less cover, and those few bucks that somehow survived the fall fusillade are on high alert. You can overcome some of these obstacles by placing your treestand a few feet higher than usual and positioning it so that you take your shot sitting down after the buck passes you by. A quartering-away shot is the best angle for a nervous buck.
8. COMFORT ZONE
You should be able to stay aloft all morning or all afternoon if necessary in a perfect stand. Start by choosing a stand design that allows you sit still without fidgeting. A seat that is too high, too low, or too small can cramp your leg muscles forcing you to stand and stretch. So can a stand that is not positioned correctly. If the stand is tilted, it will throw your weight off balance as will a knot in the trunk pressing against your back. Even facing a rising or setting sun can raise havoc on your ability to remain motionless during prime time.


9. SCENT-FREE
The perfect stand is clean and free of human odors. This means you are careful in your approach and exit routines, and you do not wander around the area looking for more deer sign or pacing off shooting distances. Use a rangefinder and write down the distance to various objects for future reference. Tape them to the inside of your riser if need be.
Some hunters go so far as to spray scent eliminators on anything they touch

or rub up against, including tree steps, pull-up ropes and the tree itself. You can never be too careful in this regard.
10. PLAYING THE WIND
The perfect stand takes advantage of prevailing winds, but you should have a second or even third stand already in position to take advantage of major changes in wind direction brought about by storms and other varying weather conditions. 

You must not be tempted to sit in your favorite treestand if the wind is blowing your scent in the direction you expect a buck to come from. Once a mature buck knows you are lurking nearby, he will undoubtedly avoid the area for several days—or the rest of the season.
11. OUT OF SIGHT
Position your treestand in a clump of trees whenever possible, as opposed to a single tree with no branches. Not only will it less likely be picked off by a passing buck, it will also less likely be stolen by a passing thief. If you are unsure if you are silhouetted or not, view the stand from a deer’s perspective, and then make adjustments as necessary.
12. SHOOT SITTING DOWN
The perfect stand allows you to make the perfect shot by coming to full draw undetected. Sitting down is the obvious choice because it requires only a minimum of movement to complete the act. If you must stand to make the shot, then position your stand so you can use the trunk of the tree as a shield.


13. OVERWORKED
The perfect stand is not hunted on a daily basis. In fact, it is hunted only on the rarest of occasions when all conditions are, well, ideal. And ideally, you would only hunt from that stand once, taking one well-aimed shot at a buck before you climb down from your first time on board.
Otherwise, any more than three times a week would be excessive. Remember, whitetails can pattern you rather quickly and will avoid your stand site as soon as they realize you have been snooping around on a regular basis.
The only exception is during the peak of the rut when bucks from near and far are pursuing does 24/7. Those stands that are set up along natural funnels can be bowhunted almost daily now where any buck you do see will likely walk out of your life forever if you don’t put him on the ground first.
14. PORTABLE OR PERMANENT?
Is the perfect treestand a portable or a permanent setup? Permanent stands have a built-in problem. As soon as a buck picks you off, he will avoid that setup, giving it a wide berth whenever he passes nearby, making the life span of that stand rather short.
Another problem with permanent stands is that they are difficult to fine-tune. You may be in the right church, so to speak, but in the wrong pew, making it impossible to move the 5 or 10 yards needed to get a killer shot.
A third problem with permanent treestands is that they do not allow you to move about as the season unfolds. For example, you want to key in on food sources in the early season, such as alfalfa, corn, beans, peas and buckwheat, but what do you do if things go sour? A good windstorm, for example, can shake the season’s first acorns loose, luring local bucks away from agricultural crops and into the swamp bottoms and steep hardwood ridges to feed on the fallen mast. How are you going to take advantage of this situation if you are relying on permanent stands built during the off season?
15. EXIT STRATEGIES
The manner in which you exit your stand is as important as your approach to your stand. When you step off the stand, push the main platform up against the trunk of the tree to help reduce its silhouette. Weaving a few dead branches into the stand’s frame will also help. You want your stand to remain hidden from deer and human eyes.
Next, get out of the stand quickly and quietly, avoiding all metal clanging. In case an unscrupulous hunter does find your stand, undo the lower set(s) of steps and hide them nearby. He may have found your secret stand site, but it is unlikely he will be able to hunt from it—at least on the day he finds it!
Now choose an exit route that will help you avoid contact with any deer. Keep in mind that you may be able to get to your stand quietly in broad daylight, but what about after dark? Can you sneak out without making a racket or disturbing nearby deer? After a morning hunt, you can cross most openings with impunity, but in the evening you would need to avoid meadows and other feeding areas even if it means taking the long way around.
A common mistake bowhunters make in the evening is walking out quickly and in a forthright manner. As with your approach, you must “bob and weave,” avoiding known trails and probable concentrations of deer. Sneak out, and when you get to your vehicle don’t talk, turn on the radio, or bang gear around. Deer will Patten your exit strategy as quickly as your approach.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to think about before you install a treestand. Think about each of these components carefully, and your chances of scoring will soar.

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Published by archerchick on 23 Mar 2010

Wild Hogs – By Joe Bell

Wild Hogs – by Joe Bell

September 2005

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

Bow & Arrow Hunting September 2005

Few critters match the excitement theses animals offer the bowhunter during the spring and summer off-season.

In June, the California sun is notoriously known for casting out intense heat, particularly 100 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean where tentacles of rugged ridgelines spring out from the immense San Joaquin Valley. Here, the country changes drastically from some of the most robust vegetable- and fruit- growing soils in existence, to towering foothills and mountains dotted with wild oats, valley and blue oak trees, poison oak and various tangles of brush and manzanita. Among this picturesque backdrop live some of the wildest feral hogs known to man.
My hunting partner Chris Denham and I were soaking in the heat and enjoying the landscape as we glued our eyes to our 10-power binoculars. It was a bit early, but with a little luck, we would spot a couple of hogs early enough in the evening to have a legitimate stalk. Earlier in the day, we had walked some steep country and eventually Chris got into some pigs. But as it so often turns out, the kill just didn’t happen.

One of the chief problems with hunting wild hogs during the summer months is dealing with that short window of time you have when pigs are most active. Usually, the last hour of the day is peak hunting time, which means you can’t dally, and long stalks are usually out of the question. So when Chris and I noticed two dark silhouettes only a 3O minute stalk from the truck, I knew luck was finally on our side.

Soon, we were en route, wading through a sea of knee-high grass, across a creek bottom, and up the ridge. My pocket wind indicator was in constant motion. When we got close, I decided to send Chris out ahead. This was his second time hunting with me without the shooting opportunity he was looking for. The crisp under footing told me I needed to back up anyhow, allowing Chris to poke along 50 yards or so in front.

Easing over a rise, the pigs weren’t there. Chris went ahead, while I swung to the right. Soon I caught movement. The two nice boars were feeding along in a perfect place for an ambush. I plodded uphill to search for Chris, and now he was out of sight. I had tried to be unselfish, but these pigs are going to get away if I don’t do something! I went to retrace my steps only to never see the hogs again. Darn! I had let a good opportunity go by…and these moments aren’t abundant with these wild hogs.

Hunting opportunity flourishes today, and you Can find hog hunting places nearly everywhere-Florida, Texas, and in small hunting preserves throughout the Midwest and southern United States, But for my tastes, I like to hunt free-ranging wild hogs in country I’d usually stalk or still-hunt deer. Fortunately I was born and raised in California, which is home to an abundant wild hog population-and this population is spreading in some areas.

I have hunted pig in most sections of the state, but I have yet to find a place that seems as wild and as productive as hunting the famed Taejon Ranch, a historic 270,000-acre cattle ranch home to countless big-game critters ranging from Yellowstone elk, to deer, antelope, black bear, various predators-and a teeming wild pig population. You can seek out hogs in expansive locations, only to hunt an entirely different area come dusk. It all adds up to a true adventure, not casual off-season filler.

The glow of sunset was at it’s peak when Chris and I adjoined. The stalk had been mass confusion, and he was disappointed I didn’t capitalize on the opportunity. I rolled my eyes and mentioned that the boars didn’t show teeth big enough For me. (l was kidding, of course.) By the time we ate dinner, showered and rolled into bed, it was pushing 11 p.m. or so. The nights are short when bowhunting this country in the summer. That 3:30 a.m. wakeup call is ruthless. After coffee and two Pop-Tarts the feeling of aching sleeplessness was beginning to give way to visions of big-tusked wild boar, exposing that perfect quartering-away shot. What would we do without such aspirations?

After pursuing wild hogs for nearly 10 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are lots of different ways to hunt these critters. Classic spot-and-stalk hunting in rolling oak woodland-type country is the most enjoyable-but you’ll find that this hunting can be somewhat of a fairy tale at times. California hogs are truly wild-and even much wilder when hunting pressure hits. When this happens, they tend to roam about terrain with more cover, at least during hunting hours. In this case, you’ll have to really become a hunter, seeking our wily hogs in awkwardly dense locations.
Wild hogs are actually very intelligent creatures. Even farm hogs have proven to be the smartest among all domestic livestock. Now when you take a hog that lives in the wild, one that perhaps has been shot at by hunters, you’ve got yourself one crafty critter.

As we drove up the road, we came across a familiar location. Years ago, I saw a group of hogs cross this exact dirt pathway and amble off into an adjacent creek bottom. Moments later. I still-hunted my way up the cut and found myself face to face with a monstrous pig running unknowingly right at me. I drew my bow more so in self-defense and let the string slip from my finger tab as soon as I hit anchor. Fortunately the arrow hit the proper spot below its throat and drove to the fletching. It was one of the fastest kills I’d witnessed.

Now as we sped along, I couldn’t believe my eyes. About 15 or so hogs kicked up dust across the same bit of real estate and raced into an endless valley of grassland. Immediately, I recognized our opportunity. A narrow ravine slicing through the field would allow us to make an ambush. I banked the truck, and Chris and I scrambled to get our bows. Then we jogged as quickly as we could, eventually changing our clip to a fast walk. It worked like a charm, and Chris triggered a well-placed shot from 30 yards. Soon he was admiring his first California wild pig – a nice 150-pound boar.

To be successful on wild pigs, you must grasp their habits first and realize they do change depending on the season. Of course there are many factors at play here, but food and water are the primary ones, followed by hunting pressure. During the late winter/early spring months, water, and food usually aren’t much of a concern. Wild grass, roots, forbs, berries and other stuff are prevalent and moisture saturates these items at nightfall. With this being the case, wild pigs usually venture toward higher, more secluded ground when hunting pressure is existent. With low hunting pressure, they can still be in more of a “roaming” mode, which could make them difficult to locate.

When temperatures are on the rise, like in late spring and summer, wild pigs are likely to be found concentrated around water and food sources. Early-spring food is diminishing rapidly, and this is when hogs turn to other food like man-made such as walnuts and fruit. Keep in mind, wild pigs are omnivorous, so they’ll consume just about anything including meat from animal carcasses-even their own kind. In a nutshell, summer months can make for great hunting. Just hunt near water. I shot my biggest wild boar in early August as I saw the animal descending from rocky hilltops to a muddy waterhole.

However, during the summer months, if hunting pressure is existent, hogs may only lurk during the wee bit of daylight hours, leaving hunter with maybe a 45-minute window of opportunity to make a stalk- not always enough time. These are all generally based rules. I say this because I’ve glassed up lots of pigs in July roaming towering hillsides, miles away from their watering sources, so you just never know.

When in hog country, look for fresh sign. Tracks are always helpful, but make sure they are fresh, and then try to draw up some conclusions on ways of travel. I’ve read that wild pigs prefer to make their way straight up trails, not at an angle like deer do. Better yet are fresh droppings. These are a sure indicator that pigs are around. Pig scat is shaped much like horse droppings; only they aren’t as firm and not as long and copious.

Creek bottoms that have wallows in them are another good sign pigs are nearby. Recently used wallows are filled with mud, never clear water. Though I have no scientific claim to support this, I’ve noticed that a spring or summer rain seems to somehow increase the level of pig activity. Last April, rainy, drizzly weather appeared to threaten the outcome of my hunt, yet the exact opposite was the case. Each morning, I slid into my Cabelas Rain Suede raingear and still-hunted the hills. The very first evening I glass up animals on every hillside, eventually stalking in on a nice hog. However, I missed the 40-yard shot. The falling light and downhill shot got the best of me. Fortunately, the very next morning I set up a 25-yard shot I couldn’t miss. There were other trips in which I detected this “triggering” affect.

When you finally spot a hog you want to go after, keep in mind that wild hogs have one of the best noses in the business. You have to constantly check wind thermals, preferably with a wind-detector bottle. Depending on the situation. your stalking noise may or may not break your chances. During late-morning or early-evening hours, animals are naturally more alert, but as light diminishes. they feel more safe and are accustomed to their own and other pigs’ noisy feeding habits.’

Just a few weeks ago I was hunting an area along the central-coastal foothills. Conditions were hot, yet springtime rains hovered over the area for nearly a week before my hunt. I knew I’d have to hike far to find pigs, I detected intense hunting pressure in the area. too. On the second evening of the hunt, I climbed to a prominent vantage point and began glassing. About 45 minutes before dark, I noticed odd blemishes against a hill-side that I had been overlooking all evening. In a flash I was off on the stalk.

About 20 minutes later, I stripped my pack and slithered in line with the feeding hogs. The vegetation was much denser than what it appeared like at long range, and I found myself crawling through tunnels and cutting away wild vines with my broadhead-tipped shaft to
gain progress. As light was fading, the sound of the animals grinding their noses across the firm ground digging up dirt and roots grew more and more intense. Soon, I was plum out of walking room-about 10 yards from the feeding boar, but I had no clear shot. I didn’t want to rush the situation, but 10 minutes went by and eventually the boar sensed or smelled something. Soon he began chopping his mouth, making growl sounds and other threatening noises. Is a charge on its way, I thought? Soon the dual ended as I made a hasty move into a wall of brush to attempt a shot. Even so, the moment was well worth it.

If you’re into year-round bowhunting thrill, yet you don’t want to drop loads of money on a remote trip for exotics in New Zealand, Africa or some other hot destination, I’d recommend giving California’s wild hogs a try. They’re loads of fun. and the thrill-well, you just have to judge it for yourself.

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Published by tddroptine7 on 23 Mar 2010

Blood Trails

In my opinion, tracking a blood trail after that shot was made is the second most exciting time of the hunt.  Nothing can top the first excitement, which is the watching of the animal and then the shot.   I have tracked many blood trails during the short 24 years of my life and it wasn’t till last year that it hit me while tracking the blood trail to a buck.  I took my time following the spots of blood on the ground as I eventually walked up on the deer that I put long, hard hours in to get.  Everyone has seen the excitement in someone’s eyes as they follow that blood trail to their trophy and the anticipation is almost unbearable at that point.  A sigh of relief is made and the feeling of an accomplishment in life is felt inside that bowhunter.  No one can argue that this is yet another success story in their hunting career, whether the hunter is professional or not.

This most recent blood trail that I followed made me realize that I followed a blood trail once when I was young.  The blood trail that I am talking about is the one that leads to Jesus Christ, the one who has changed my life.  I could only imagine that the blood trail He left as he was beaten and whipped before he was led the cross to pay for mine sins and yours.  Every beating and every nail that was forced into the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus, screamed that he loved me so much that He would take my place on that cross.  You see, God is perfect and we are not, therefore, He had to send his only Son to die for our sins on that cross and it is only through the blood of Christ that one can be saved.  In Romans 3: 23 it says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  But God made a solution to this sin problem.  In Romans 6: 23 it says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The Blood Trail that my savior had was a trail to the cross where my sins were forgiven.  Have you taken the step of faith and followed that same blood trail?  If not I encourage you to do so.  If anyone has any questions reguarding this topic please drop me a reply or an email.

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Published by archerchick on 23 Mar 2010

5 Stand Setups To Avoid -By Mike Strandlund

5 Stand Setups To Avoid – By Mike Strandlund
Bowhunting World Annual 2004

No matter how good they seem at the moment, don’t get sucked into setting stands in these tempting situations.

Bowhunting World Annual 2004-2005

Are you familiar with the story of the Sirens in Greek mythology?
They were the beautiful temptresses who sang a wondrous song
that ultimately lured sailors and their ships to a tragic death on
the rocks. The moral of the story? Looks can be deceiving.
Bowhunters have their own Sirens to deal with: treestand
spots that appear ever so attractive on the surface, but will ultimately
break your heart and dash your spirit asunder-onto the rocks, so
to speak. The lure that these five stands present can be nearly over.
powering. Here’s how to identify these sites before you become a proverbial moth,
nose-diving full throttle into the flames of bowhunting disaster.

Ravine Crossings
This tempting location probably claims more victims than nearly all the others combined.
Even experienced hunters can fall for its raw appeal.
Here’s how this site casts its spell: You’re scouting for a stand that will work during the rut. One good choice is a funnel between two bedding areas used by does, so you look for just such a perfect buck trap. In rough country bedding areas are typically on points and short ridges overlooking large ravines or valleys. They’re predictable sanctuaries and will show heavy
signs of bedding activity everywhere they’re found.

When crossing the ravine to check out the points on the other side, you’ll invariably notice some
tremendous trails crossing the bottom. They cut deeply into the soft earth where several trails come together to cross the ditch. Wow! A mother lode of sign! At first glance it appears to be a great funnel between two bedding areas, made even better by the fact that you can sneak up the ditch to get to the stand. They’ll never know what hit them.

You’ve just stepped into the snare that’s going to make you miserable and ruin what could have been a great area. It’s darned tough to walk past such an obviously-attractive location without spending a half hour looking for the perfect tree to place a stand. But, hold your horses for a minute. What’s going to happen when the wind blows, or worse yet, when it gusts? Your scent is going to wash all over that ravine until every deer within a quarter-mile radius knows you’re there. That’s not going to help them feel very relaxed and comfortable around home, is it?

From the number of stands I’ve seen in ravines while I’m scouting, it would appear that many bowhunters fall victim to the tremendous sign found in these places.  Remember this rule of thumb: If the spot you are considering is protected from the direct flow of the wind by features of the terrain, it ls not a dependable spot, regardless of how much sign you find. There are definitely better places to hunt the deer that made that tempting sign. The ravine crossing is a seductive spot, but it’s one you should walk past.

Beware, The “Easy” Stand
Most of us prefer a stand that’s easy to travel to, over one that requires a GPS, reflector
pins, and maybe even a bit of luck to find. Some bowhunters are comforted when they roll out of bed in the morning to know they are heading for a stand they can easily walk to. They may even go out of their way to hunt only such spots-and they pay the price.

I have a friend who loves the easy stand. In the back of Ron’s mind lurks the ever-present fear that he will get lost in the dark woods and end up spending his entire morning hiking up and down hills, trying to find his vehicle. As a result, he makes many mistakes in the type of stands he hunts. And, they are deadly mistakes for old Ron.

The classic blunder occurs when he chooses to approach his morning stands by walking directly across open fields.  Typically, in the agricultural country where we hunt together, that means he’s walking across a harvested crop field- a feeding area. And, where do you think the deer are
going to be a half hour before first light? Right Either they’re still out feeding or on the very fringe of the cover, picking their way slowly toward their bedding area (and maybe toward one of my stands). When my buddy Ron rams right into them, all bets are suddenly off.

On one edge we have treestands placed about 100 yards apart. It takes me about an hour to make my entry the back way (away from the feeding areas), while staying in the timber and using ditches, draws, and creeks to get to my stand without spooking any deer. It takes Ron about five minutes to drive his ATV along the edge of the field, walk the remaining 150 yards across the bean field, and then 100 yards through the woods to his stand. Sure, his approach is a lot easier than mine, but he may as well stay home -that’s easier yet.

Don’t fall victim to the temptation to take the easy route to your stand areas. If you are thinking about hunting a morning stand and plan to walk across a feeding area to get to it, do yourself a favor and reconsider.

“Hot” Scrapes During Peak Rut
In the first place, there is no such thing as a “hot” scrape during the peak of the rut. Bucks don’t use them then-at least not with any consistency. Beyond that, we need to resist the temptation to become too sign-oriented. Granted, buck sign sets our imaginations to churning, and we soon envision thick-necked bruisers ripping up a tree trunk or pawing dirt like some antlered Brahma bull preparing to charge.

Yet despite its affect on our imaginations, buck sign can be a seductive killer. Rarely is it a useful indicator of a great stand location and never is this more true than when you decide to sit over a scrape during the peak of the rut.

Admittedly, I’ve been sucked-in by big scrapes many times. I remember an entire season more
than a decade ago when I hunted them exclusively. All my spring scouting had been focused on finding the biggest and best scrapes on the farms I had permission to hunt. That year for a full two weeks of hunting during the rut I never saw a buck actually freshen one of those scrapes. In fact, most of them became covered with leaves as I stubbornly waited for the buck that made them to return. I became so discouraged that year that I vowed never to hunt a scrape again. And, I’ve Pretty well stuck to my guns.

Once the rut peaks, bucks are far too busy chasing and bird-dogging does to worry about freshening scrapes. If they do hit one it is purely a chance event. Sometimes they just pass through and come upon it-they’d be there with or without the scrape. Once the bucks start chasing does, I stop intentionally hunting scrapes.

There may be a time in late October when bucks actually go out of their way to hit a scrape and make them worth hunting, but during the rut these patches of pawed dirt are worthless. It will also
distract you from hunting the doe concentration areas and the travel routes between them, where the bucks can actually be found at these times.

Unless you have located a good scrape line and plan to sit above it long before the does come into estrous, you are reducing your odds by focusing on scrapes.
When you scout your hunting area, keep your eye on the ball: terrain, bedding
areas, feeding areas, and the best funnels you can find-and forget about scrapes.

Whenever you hunt a high-activity area that isn’t perfect (and very few of them are), you
run the risk of educating nearly every deer in your hunting area.

Ridges in the Evening

I love hunting along ridge top bedding areas during the morning, but I’ve stopped hunting them anymore during the afternoon. I’ve tried, and I’ll probably try again. And, I’ll come away with the same conviction: I just wasted a good afternoon hunting a dead area. It’s not like bucks don’t walk through the bedding areas in the afternoons looking for does-they do, but not for very long. The real action is already up on its feet and walking toward a feeding area.

Hunt the places the deer are moving toward, not the places they are coming from. This simple philosophy can nearly double the length of time the deer are active around your stand. Suppose the deer get up from their beds an hour before sunset and start drifting toward their feeding areas. You have a brief flurry of activity and then everything is moving away from you. Within a half hour everything is pretty well finished in the area near your stand.  That little dab of activity is just not worth the risk you take of bumping and educating deer when you try to enter the stand spot.

That brings up the second reason why you should skip bedding areas in the afternoon: it’s nearly impossible to approach them during the day without blowing the hunt.  Deer don’t pick their bedding areas randomly-they are the safest places within their home range and where they have the ultimate advantage. Your approach can either be seen or smelled by every deer within a pretty large area. You might as well just drive to your stand on your four-Wheeler trailing 10 feet of your dirty laundry behind.
These are my favorite morning spots. You can sneak in easily while the deer are close to their feeding areas and be waiting for them. But don’t let the great action in the a.m. tempt you into thinking these are good afternoon stands. You’ll be sorely disappointed.

Early Season Bedding Areas
The temptation to hunt your best morning and evening stands as soon as the season opens is almost irresistible. I used to do it, but discovered it’s another deadly mistake. Accelerating the education of your deer well before the rut means they will be tougher to hunt when prime time finally arrives.

It is only natural after being away from the hunt for several months to want to jump right into it with gusto. On top of that, you’re accustomed to a normal hunting day that includes a morning and an evening session. Unfortunately, there are few spots for a decent morning hunt during the early season, other than in a bedding area. The desire to hunt mornings will have you invading bedding areas without a clear idea of their patterns at a time when the deer are living fairly close to home and highly sensitive to hunting pressure. That’s not such a good idea.

Ramming around in bedding areas early in the season may seem logical on the surface (where else are you going to get them in the morning?), but the damage you can do to your hunting area and your odds later in the season outweighs the benefits of being in the woods a few more hours each day. Besides, if you keep them acting naturally and on a Patten, you’ll have a decent chance of taking the buck you want in the evening by hunting only where he feeds.

When deer are in feeding patterns, concentrate on your home-front honey-dos in the morning, so you’ll have them out of the way before the rut Instead, focus all your efforts on hunting the feeding areas in the evening. You can Patten them from a distance, producing almost no impact until you move in for the kill. If that honey-do list is already complete, spend your mornings watching the deer leave feeding areas from a distance. This will give you the best possible feedback about where the bucks will be found that afternoon. If you insist on hunting in the morning, definitely
stay away from your best areas and hunt bedding areas in places that you don’t plan to hunt much later in the season.

I hunted the Milk River in northern Montana a few seasons back. It’s a river bottom with very limited cover, most of it located inside the river bends and in low swampy areas nearby. The bucks are very visible from the bluffs over-looking the river and we spent our mornings watching them leave the alfalfa fields so we could peg the trails most likely to produce action when they came back out in the afternoon. It would have been hunting’s version of suicide to sit back in those river bends in the morning. Sure, we might have gotten lucky and picked off a buck when he
came back to bed, but the impact more likely would have pushed them into the surrounding coulee country or at very least made them nocturnal.

Four or five bowhunters may hunt that stretch of river during a week, but almost no one actually sits in a treestand during the mornings. The odds of ruining whatever feeding patterns we’ve been
able to uncover are too much of a risk.  We focused on the easy patterns (where they feed) and forgot about the hard patterns (where they bed). It’s good advice for anyone hunting early-season bucks.

Conclusion
Obvious spots are often the worst locations for a stand-not because they don’t contain deer, but just the opposite.  These spots are high-activity areas, loaded with sign, and probably the best
hotspots your hunting area has to offer.  But, as you’ve hopefully gathered from my observations, therein lies their greatest seduction. Whenever you hunt a high-activity area that isn’t perfect (and
very few of them are), you run the risk of quickly educating nearly every deer in the neighborhood.

There are few things you can do that will have a more damaging affect on your chances for success than spending time hunting any one of these five deceitful stands. If you resist their temptations, your success rate will reap great benefits from your discipline.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010

Funneling Deer – By Steve Bartylla

Funneling Deer – By Steve Bartylla

Bowhunting World Annual 2004-2005

It was one of the most frustrating experiences of my young bowhunting life but it was also one of the most important. As soon as school would let out, I’d grab my stuff and, brimming with anticipation, head for the stand on the alfalfa field. Yet, as darkness fell, I’d leave feeling dejected once again.

It wasn’t that I didn’t see deer. I saw plenty when walking across the field
after dark.The problem was that they were playing “musical trails.” No matter which trail I’d set up on the deer would use another.  After a week of this, the breakthrough I needed finally came to me.

Truth be told, it was my trapping that led me to it. I was constructing a trail set for mink. To funnel mink movement down the main travel way, I had blocked several minor trails. As I set the trap, it occurred to me: Why couldn’t I apply the same technique to deer movement? From that moment on, I began to apply many of the trapping principles that focus animal travels to bowhunting.

BLOCKING TRAILS
initially, it was blocking deer trails. The alfalfa field boasted five heavily used deer trails. With the landowner’s permission, I headed out with a saw and began my task The first step was choosing the trails I wanted to hunt. Because of the level of use and flexibility for wind directions, I selected the two that exited the woods on opposite inside corners. Next, I blocked the remaining trails
along the field. To accomplish that, I piled brush and limbs at the entrances. Of course, deer still could go around, but it encouraged them to use mine.

To further encourage the use of my trails, I raked the grass and debris along the first 20 yards from the point the trail entered the woods after completion, it gave the illusion that they were the field’s only primary entrance and exit routes.  And, as important, they appeared as the easiest and most popular routes.

Finally, I followed the chosen trails into the woods. Where lesser-used trails splintered off toward the field, I blocked them as well. Unlike the trails entering the field, I only used enough branches to make it inconvenient to cross Because the splinter trails ran to the same field, it didn’t take as much encouragement to get deer to continue to follow the main trail.

Although these alterations may seem minor, they did make a positive difference Deer are lazy by nature. When everything else is equal, they will take the path of least resistance to where they want to go. After giving the farm a week off, sightings on the corner trail were noticeably up. On my third sit, even that young kid was able to arrow a deer.   The best part of this technique is that it can be used in any situation where trails break off before hitting your stand. Furthermore, the further ahead of season this is done, and the more the blockades that are maintained, the better the results.

SETTING THE TABLE
ln later years, I began creating food plots to help funnel deer activity. Outside of the rut, most deer movement consists of traveling between bedding and feeding. Therefore, introducing a prime food source can lead deer past more advantageous stand locations.

Donnie Mc0lellan runs a very successful guide service in Grant City, Missouri Bucks
& Beards Outfitters consistently sends high percentage of their bowhunters home with trophy whitetails. One of the key reasons for this is the food plot strategy they employ.
“Finding big deer has never been a problem for me,” states Donnie. “They are here.’

It is getting my hunters into stands without tipping any deer that takes work. To avoid that, I spend countless hours walking ditches.  They are one of the best ways to get in and out. In areas that don’t have good routes, I put in food plots so they draw deer through areas I can get my hunters into. I put a lot of work into it, it  is worth it, though.  A lot more hunters go home happy ”

To get the most from a new food plot, several factors should be considered. Because they can alter deer travels, the plots should be positioned to provide the most productive hunting. To do so, identifying bedding areas is key The plot should be located so stands can be positioned between bedding and feeding.  Positioning the plot so a funnel lies between it and bedding is also advantageous. Also, undetectable routes to and from the stand should be available.

Donnie agrees with these food plot placement strategies wholeheartedly. “It all keys off of the bedding areas,” he says “I’m often shocked at how many people slap food plots out without first analyzing how they will affect deer movement and how they can place them to their own advantage. If I’m going, to go through the work to put one in, my plantings are going to be positioned so they funnel deer through areas that will do my hunters the most good !”

Additional steps can be taken to make them even better. Locating plots where deer feel safe leads to better hunting.  Openings within the woods, remote corners of fields and areas bordered by thick cover all help provide the illusion of safety. If plots are positioned between 100 and 500 yards of the bedding areas, that also increases the likelihood of catching daylight movement.
Although plantings are more common, natural food sources can be manipulated to accomplish the same effect.

For example, spring fertilizing and removing competing species can increase a mast tree’s food production. Even overgrown meadows can be made more desirable through applying a lawn fertilizer and cutting them as a farmer would a hayfield. Taking these steps helps keep the grasses and weeds more digestible and nutritious, which will draw more deer. Like creating a new food plot, hunters can enhance existing food sources on locations that help funnel deer past potential stand sites.

MAKING THE BED
As stated previously, most non-rut deer travels are between bedding and feeding. Just as we can affect feeding locations with food plots and more desirable native forages, surprisingly we can also have an affect on bedding locations.  Creating a bedding area can be created with a chain saw.   First, select an are of woods and proceed to cut the trees within. When making the cut, begin it about three feet from the ground and cut down at a 45- degree angle, stopping about three-fourths of the way through. Now, the tree can be pushed over or left for the wind to do it.

One of the goals is to allow the branches  to maintain a connection to the root system.  Using this technique allows certain species such as maples and oaks, to bend without completely breaking. With the connection,  the tree will to continue to grow, albeit at a much slower pace. To increase chances of survival, the cutting should be done in the winter , well before leaf-out. Keep in mind that some trees, such as poplar, birch and most pines, will snap every time, but their tops still provide food bedding cover.

This technique immediately creates a thick tangle of cover, as well as a bounty of food. The forest floor receives increased sunlight, which promotes the growth Of new greenery and
saplings. Along with that, the trees that retain the root connection provide Leafy growth for browse and buds for winter months.

To make these locations better still, we need to understand what deer seek for bed ding. Although there are exceptions, you will find that most bedding sites offer a combination of:
At least two escape routes.
Either thick cover or good visibility
Conditions allowing them to use their
sense of smell to cover their back.

These cutting technique provide the cover deer seek. Putting these efforts into locations that meet the other criteria on our list almost guarantees that deer will use them for bedding.

For example, let’s say we have a food plot along a creek bottom, flanked by ridges on each side. Applying our cutting technique the ridge side, just below the crest, would give them everything they desired. Not only do they have the thick cover, the slope also provides visibility.

By creating a bedding area on the sides of both ridges, deer would be able to choose which allowed the wind current to best cover them from the backside of the ridge. If they sensed danger, they could drop down, cut over, or dash along the ridge in either direction.

Because Nature rarely provides all of this, deer will pack into our constructed bedding sites.

Creating Trails
As in every technique discussed up to this point, knowing how the resident deer use the area is very beneficial. However, in creating trails, knowing whitetail travel patterns is essential. In order for this method to work best, you must know where the bedding and feeding areas are. Before we discuss how to create such trails, we should discuss what deer look for in selecting a travel route:

* Cover: Deer feel safest when traveling
in heavy cover.

* Gentle corners: Because they like to
see the path ahead of them, deer don’t like
taking 90 degree turns on their trails. Gently
sweeping corners allow the whitetail to see
the path before them and anticipate the dangers
that may lie ahead

* Ease of travel: Deer are lazy creatures by nature and,
all else being equal, will take the easiest route between
two points.

* Quickest route: The quickest route
between two points is a straight line. Deer
will usually select the straightest route that
provides cover, gentle corners, easiest travel
and a favorable wind direction.

With these factors in mind, we can now begin connecting food sources and bedding
areas By cleaning 5 foot-wide trails through the thickest cover between bedding and
feeding areas, we create trails that offer ease of travel, the feeling of safety and a
corridor that will be used heavily by deer. In areas that receive significant snowfalls, pulling a weighted sled along the.- trails can achieve outstanding results. In the winter months, two of the Northern whitetail’s top priorities are conserving energy and acquiring nutrition. During this difficult season, a whitetail’s life depends heavily on the amount of energy expended compared to nutrition taken in.

Creating trails through the snow that lead to the food sources creates an irresistible draw to deer enduring these conditions. So much so that once a trail is established, the heavy traffic from the deer will keep it open all winter long Because of this, the greater the snow depth, the more concentrated the deer activity becomes.  Although it may seem like a lot of effort to create these trails, they are worth the effort.

FENCING
Yet another method of funneling deer is altering fences. Deer often travel significant distances to cross at the easiest point in a fence. For hunters, this is an advantage.

My first attempt at creating  a fence crossing occurred many years ago on my uncle’s dairy farm I had spent a summer’s day walking a barbed wire fence line that cut through the middle of his woods About every 100 yards, I would intercept a trail that crossed the fence The problem was that no trail seemed better than any other.

Luckily, I took care of this with a little work. After selecting the fence crossing that was best for hunting, I invested a day in discouraging deer to use any other. To do that I clogged the other spots where deer crawled under and fixed up the places where the top wire strand was broken or drooped.

Finally, I made the crossing by my stand even better Wrapping a strand of wire around the fence and cinching it tight created both a low spot over which deer could jump and an easier path to crawl under.

Shoveling out some dirt underneath the fence was the icing on the cake. With that, I had the best fence crossing point. Opening day of bow season found me perched in the tree that overlooked my new fence crossing. Because of the deer sign I saw during the times I inspected and maintained my fence blockades, I was brimming with confidence So much so, that I passed
shots on the first four deer that came through That may not sound like much, but in those days shot opportunities were rare and they were the first deer I had ever taken a pass on. By the fifth, a large doe, I couldn’t resist any longer and shot as she paused before crossing.   This demonstrates another advantage of these fence crossing funnels: Deer often pause, posing for the shot, before attempting to cross The result is often a perfect shot opportunity.

As productive as that technique is, we can take it a step further to promote the use of our crossing. Adding a strand to the top and bottom of the fence goes a long way towards discouraging crossings at other locations. It is best to use barbed wire when adding an extra
strand; however, bailing twine will also work.

Another way to use fencing is to erect it to funnel deer activity. A mere 20 to 50 yards is all I generally use.  Both snow fence and chicken wire work very nicely for this.

Although I use this technique very sparsely, it can be extremely effective.

For example, I have a stand that is 75 yards south of a river The most commonly used trails are within 30 yards to the south of the stand. However, every now and the- . buck skirts the river without offering me a shot opportunity. Still, if I relocated closer to the river, I would miss more opportunities.

Then, one day it hit me. Just make it so that the deer couldn’t skirt me along the riverbank. Although I could have piled brush, placing 50 yards of chicken wire from the river toward my stand was much easier.   Doing so has resulted in harvesting several three-year-old bucks that would have otherwise escaped unscathed.

The techniques discussed here all are proven for focusing deer movement When combined in a thorough plan, they provide a hunter the ability to dictate movement patterns to deer. Obviously, this greatly benefits those who want to make their lands produce the best possible hunting. However, without exception, the landowners permission must be sought before taking any of these steps.  To not do so is simply wrong.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010

Mulie Magic – By Steve Byers

Mulie Magic – By Steve Byers
September 2005

Bowhunting  trophy mule deer is no cakewalk, but every now and then it all comes together oh so sweet.

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

Bow & Arrow Hunting September 2005

The trek one makes to a true trophy animal can take many twists and turns. I have been on hunts where it can take weeks, sometimes months, for that one shot to happen. On the flip side of that is where Bruce Barrie’s hunt lies for mule deer and elk in western Colorado last season. Bruce hunted with my wonderful wife, Cassie, and me. As Bruce and I spoke on the phone countless times over the summer, I assured him that getting a nice mulie in the 160-plus range wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. (I think Bruce thought I might not know how to field-judge mule deer!) Our phone conversations consisted of me telling Bruce that I had just seen another 180-inch monster and him going “Really?”
I scouted a farm area near my home we call the “strip.” It consists of four large farms and is about 5 miles long and 3 miles wide. This area has turned out six “book bucks” in the past four years, with the smallest being a 161-inch 4×4. To see a group of bucks all in the 170s is not uncommon. I grew up hunting these farms as a kid, and I have had many encounters with some true giants. With only my family having access to bowhunt, we have gone on a very strict management program. We have decided on shooting only deer that we think will make it to 150 or higher. My summer scouting had turned up many “shooters,” and I was feeling confident we would get the job done. I felt like Bruce’s best chance at a buck would be on the ground doing some spot and stalk attempts.

Bruce was set to arrive in Montrose on Aug. 27, and I was sure his best chance at a “wall hanger” would be the first week of the season. When Bruce got here, he shot his bow to reassure that everything made it OK, and we went and got him an elk tag.

With the best time to hunt these bucks being in the evening, we would do some elk hunting in the mornings. I also have a ranch on the Uncompahgre Plateau, which harbors many elk and mule deer. We would spend our mornings chasing bugling bulls here. The evening before season started, I took Bruce on a short drive through some of the property we would be hunting. I have been after a large 3×3 on the strip for about five years now. Encounters with him are so common that my good friend Evan Baise began calling him “Pot Belly,” aptly named for his 350-pound frame. As we drove along the dirt road, I pointed out different fields where many large bucks had been taken over the years. When we approached a particular alfalfa field, I warned Bruce to keep an eye out for “Pot Belly,” because we had spotted him there all summer long. There he was, 40 yards from the truck, just feeding away. Bruce was amazed by the sheer size of this old mature buck. I urged Bruce to take him whenever the chance presented itself. Bruce laughed and said “Sweet!”

After a fairly uneventful first day, our second morning dawned with bulls bugling in a distant draw. We quickly cut the distance to about 400 yards of the screaming bulls. The bulls seemed to be heading toward a large ravine on a neighboring ranch. After setting up three or four times, we were nearing the fence line ourselves. I decided that we needed to get to a stand of aspens, near the lip of the large ravine . Bruce and Cassie quickly raced forward to set up, and when they got about 50 yards in front of me, I began cow calling. The bull responded with a low guttural roar from about 150 yards through the aspens.

Almost instantly another bull in the bottom of the ravine answered him. We were in the driver’s seat now! It seemed that the two bull elks were racing to see who could get to me first. I was pleading frantically with my cow call for the closest bull to come in. He responded by coming to the fence line about 30 yards in front of Bruce. When the bull jumped the fence, Bruce seized the opportunity and drew his bow. The bull was now 25 yards and nearing broadside. When the shot went off, Bruce’s setup was so quiet, the bull barely even moved. I assumed Bruce must have missed, so I took my cow calling into overdrive. I was so focused on watching the bull that I didn’t notice that Bruce had nocked another arrow. This time I watched as another arrow passed completely through the bull from only 35 yards this time. The bull stumbled stiff legged a mere 60 yards before expiring. Bruce had hit the 5×6 the first time, but an extremely quiet setup allowed a follow-up shot to be made.

I can’t begin to explain how impressed I was with Bruce’s choice of a broadhead, the 100-grain Turbo. I think it is one of the best penetrating heads that Barrie Archery has ever designed. After 20-plus years in the wapiti woods pursuing these beautiful animals, I can clearly say that the single most important aspect I look for is a broadhead that provides excellent penetration. With a large bull sometimes tripping the scales near 1,000 pounds, everything is bigger, so you need good penetration just to get to the kill zone.

It was time to shift our focus to chasing mulies the following morning. This for me, is bowhunting in its rawest form – you versus an animal with extremely keen senses on level ground. I cut my bowhunting teeth spotting and stalking mule deer, and I am proud to say that I am a much better bowhunter because of it. After blowing thousands of stalks, you become much more aware of the noise you may be making and things going on around you.

It was Aug. 30, a cool snap had hit, and we had a full moon. It seemed like everything was going our way. With a southwest wind, the game plan this morning was to slip south, with the wind in our faces, along the edge of a large marsh. Hoping to ambush a mature buck there, we set out. We quickly covered a mile or so, and as we were nearing a field edge , suddenly a large buck appeared 200 yards to our right. It was apparent that he was already aware of our presence. A mature 4×4 with good width and deep forks, I quickly judged him at 180 gross.

With the buck already aware of us, we decided to leave him alone and possibly look for him later that afternoon. We then turned and went straight east for a mile or two to a large draw. The west-facing slope of this draw is covered with a jungle of large cottonwoods and small willows, and I had seen many bucks in here all summer long.

To get to this draw we would be crossing the same field where we had seen Pot-Belly a few days before. We were both optimistic, it was still early, and we just knew good things would happen. We slowly crept our way to a large drainage ditch in the bottom of the draw. Just as quickly as we arrived, I spotted bucks, sky-lined by the rising sun. Bruce looked at me and said, ” What should we do?” I quickly replied, “I think we are in a good spot.”

Bruce must have thought I was nuts! These bucks were 300 yards away, and still showing no signs of coming our way, but over the course of scouting this draw, I had seen this same group of bucks work their way to the drainage ditch that we were now hidden by. There were six bucks in this group, and while not our largest, some showed potential. The bucks were just about parallel to us when they started down into the draw. we agreed that the largest buck might go 170 gross. I asked Bruce if he was interested in taking this buck and he gave me the combination head-nod and “Uh-Huh.”

When the bucks reached the bottom of the draw, tamaracks and willows engulfed them. We weren’t sure where they were when suddenly Bruce muttered, “Here they come.” All we could see were velvet-covered antler tips until they stepped out 30 yards from us. The big buck was the fourth to come out into the open, and he moved toward us slightly and then turned perfectly giving Bruce a quartering-away 25-yard shot.

As he drew his bow, all of the bucks peered at us. Luckily for us, there was a huge cottonwood behind us and there must have been a glare from the rising sun. With this glare in their eyes, Bruce reached full draw. When the shot broke, I could clearly see the arrow strike through the buck.

We hadn’t gone 30 yards on the blood trail when Bruce yelled, “There he is!” Bruce couldn’t wait to get his hands on him! With nearly 40 inches of mass, and 4-inch brow tines, this buck is truly magnificent! As a testament to the great habitat on the Strip, this was only a 3 1/2-year-old buck. They say give your bucks time and food. Well, I like to say give my bucks sweet corn and alfalfa, and me some time to hunt them!

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