Archive for the 'Tips/Advice' Category

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Published by Jeffress77 on 30 Mar 2008

How did you learn about scrapes? – An informative look into the detail regarding whitetail scrapes –

Growing up as a young hunter at the local shop or the 3D range, I would always hear other hunters chatting about rubs, scrapes, shed antlers, funnels, staging areas, and many other terms used about whitetail hunting in the Midwest.   Did I always know what the old guys were talking about?  That can be answered with a very quick “No.”  Now that whitetail hunting has become a passion and obsession that can only be understood by those men and women who also have my affliction, I can look back into my learning experiences to see exactly how and why I have learned so much.

Unlike many of the fine, budding youth hunters on the planet, I didn’t have a mentor.  My father worked hard to take care of my family.  With a newly handicapped mother, my dad found himself working just as hard at home as he did for a paycheck.  Hunting wasn’t a priority in his life.  My only living grandfather wasn’t healthy enough to take me out to the woods in the winter months.  Shooting sports and hunting, in general, were introduced by my uncle whose own family convictions kept him out of the woods for years upon end.  Hunting had no longer become a priority on his end of the line either. 

Although my first two or three outings into the whitetail woods were nothing to be excited about with single digit temperatures, double digit wind speeds, and heavy snowfall on public ground that hadn’t ever been seen by any of the four eyes of my uncle or myself, I was hooked.  The thought that a majestic creature like a deer may actually be that close to me, was more than I could bear.  I never set eyes on live deer that season, but I had to have more of that feeling.  After that, for years, I was forced to learn on my own.  I made my way into the thick brush and the outskirts of the Indiana croplands as often as I could during the season, paying no attention to wind direction, deer sign, or even getting off of the ground.  

Ten years later, hundreds of deer observed, and tons of blown opportunities behind me, I have developed a better understanding of what it takes to be successful “almost” every time that magical fall season starts approaching.  Continuous scouting for the season may just be the single most important tool in a whitetail hunter’s repertoire. 

When I look back to the days that words like scrapes, rubs, and funnels made as much sense as an Indian restaurant menu, I can laugh a little.  With a little more knowledge into the biology, and sexual tendencies of a whitetail deer, your hunting skills can be honed into what you always wanted them to be.  Trying to figure out why, when and where whitetail bucks and does make scrapes will only help in getting that buck you dream about.

Deer utilize a scrape, which is basically a pawing motion on the ground in conjunction with their scent glands and urinary/solid waste, to create a sexual or territorial marking for communication with other deer.  Deer use mainly five different glands to communicate with the other deer.  The pre-orbital (around the eyes), and tarsal glands (inside the hind legs) are familiar to most hunters, but whitetail bucks and does alike utilize the interdigital glands (between the hoof toes), forehead glands, and metatarsal glands (below the tarsal glands).  These scent glands leave a blueprint, unique to each deer, which may arouse curiosity, stimulation, or anger instincts to other deer in a scrape or on surrounding flora.

In the past 20 or so years creating your own scrape or continuing the curiosity or sexual impulses of an existing scrape has become a valuable addition in the hunter’s bag of tricks.  This is a fairly easy way of patterning deer, not only during the pre-rut, but all season. You can actually treat scrapes all year long during the pre/post rut periods by using “non-sexual” scents. By this I mean non-estrus urines or ammonia-based synthetics that are available on the growing scent market.

Sexual scents are present during stages of the rut, but not as effective any other time of the year. Using estrus urine in June or February is going to confuse the deer and possibly provide a means of avoidance in that area. If you are nearing the rut within two-three weeks (second week in October here in the Midwest), it would help to use a buck urine/dominant buck urine/tarsal gland/doe urine combination.  Providing a pre-orbital scent or an overhanging licking branch positioned lower (for use by does) and possibly one higher (for use by dominant bucks) are necessary additions to a good scrape. The buck urine provides a territorial scent, keeping the other bucks interested in who is visiting the same scrape that he is. The tarsal gland scent is another territorial scrape scent on which bucks will urinate in the scrapes to provide another point of territory and communication.  Female deer also often frequent scrapes to leave their urine, pre-orbital, metatarsal, and interdigital scent also. The licking branches are rubbed, licked, and nibbled to provide pre-orbital and forehead gland scent deposit as well.

During the rut, including the week before and possibly a few weeks after the final stages (of the first rut) is a good time to introduce estrus doe urine into the scrape. This will trigger the highly sexual interests of the bucks. The tarsal/urine buck scents from other deer will also trigger an intense anger towards another deer, possibly having the buck wondering “Who is coming here on my turf? Who is trying to get my females?”

Often, making these scrapes early in the season will allow for the deer to tend to the scrapes themselves. If one or two deer are interested in the scrape early on, they will tend to the scrape and leave their REAL scents in the FAKE scrape. Now your original FAKE scrape has become an ACTIVE scrape, the deer are using it regularly, and you may not need to tend to it again.

Since deer also often defecate in or around their scrapes, one technique that Michigan hunters Greg and Fred Abbas of A-Way Outdoors use with their scrapes is to put droppings from another buck in a different hunting area in their mock scrapes. Fred Abbas harvested a nice buck from a different part of the county, but also harvested his droppings and dirt from the scrapes in that area. Fred utilized the distant buck’s scents to make his own success in another area.

Use trail cameras or other forms of monitoring to observe your scrapes.  See what works and what doesn’t for your area. Try these great scent tactics this year, and make sure you use good scent-free methods of treating/making the scrapes. Use rubber boots, possibly gloves, and stay on the outside of the scrapes and never step too close. Maybe, just maybe, you will be able to baffle a kid at the local shop just I like used to be baffled when the good hunters started talking about their scrape success!

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Published by csinclair on 26 Mar 2008

Thoughts on becoming a 3D Archer / Bow Hunter

Hello,

My Name is Craig Sinclair,  I have been an archery enthusiast for many years and a serious archer for the last couple of years.

As of late archery has become my passion and somewhat of an obsession, (eat, sleep, archery comes to mind), and I’d like to use this blog to track my progress  and development as I become a 3D Archer, (mostly due to the fact that I’ve only  been to an indoor range once, see photo), and eventually, when I feel I’m ready after a little more instruction, coaching and lots of practice, a Bow Hunter.

Craig at the Bow-Shop Range in K/W Ontario Canada

Join me if you wish in exploring the world of Archery from the perspective of a newbie, learn with me as I try and err and try again until I get it right.

http://www.youtube.com/cjsinclair

Practice makes perfect,

Craig

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Published by mafriend03 on 25 Mar 2008

Bowhunting Turkey Success Tips!

Bowhunting turkeys can be a challenge in itself, however if you take your time and do things right you should have a set of spurs and a beard on your wall quicker than you think, here’s how!

Do your homework! Typically a week or so before season begins I go out and mow down about an acre of tall grass and weeds, this seems to bring the turkeys in better than anything else. When I have knowledge of turkeys in my area I’ll go and wait about an hour or so before dark outside my truck and attempt to get turkeys to gobble at the sound of my owl call using the cadence “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all”. This will let you know where to set up the turkeys the next day.

Set up on em’ When hunting turkeys with a bow my set up of choice is out of a ground blind such as a double bull Matrix 360 to give me the optimal field of view. With the rapid success of strutting jake/tom decoys on the market I told myself I will never enter the woods again without one after my first attempt to hunt with one! Set up a hen decoy only 5-10 feet out side your blind directly facing your set up followed by a strutting tom decoy (a real tail fan adds realism) only about 10-15 feet away from your set up on a 45 degree angle facing your set up.This set up will ensure you that either a tom will come in to breed with the hen, or face the strutting tom decoy face on to fight.

Calling is overused and overrated! Most guys will go out and call and call and call just to feel macho that they can get a Tom to gobble… Put your ego aside if you really want to bag a long beard. While the Tom is still oh his roost (from the previous night you should know where this is) give him just a few SOFT yelps and purrs, nothing more because you don’t want to throw your whole bag of tricks at him all at once. Just let that Tom know there is another Hen in the area. Yelp approximately 4-6 times SOFTLY depending on how vocal the gobbler is. Once the Tom pitches from his roost give him a few (2-4) more yelps this time let him know your serious with a higher pitch. If the gobbler sounds like he is without a hen there should be no need to give him anymore than 2-10 yelp sequences in order to make that gobbler commit. If your gobbler is hened up (with a hen) you might need to do a bit of cutting on your call, this will excite not only the Tom but more importantly the Hen! Wherever the Hen goes you can expect the long beard to follow. Once the Tom spots your decoy set up, be prepared with your bow in hand and your release clipped on! It would be a huge benefit if you mastered a few calls on your diaphragm (mouth) call because once that gobbler comes running in to fight you may not get a chance to reach down and pick up your favorite call without being spotted.

Tips Wear black in the ground blind, remember the closest part of your body to the turkeys will be your hands, so cover them up! Put your fancy wrapped arrows away, again try to make your arrows as dark as you can (fletching also). Lower your bow poundage if you can, its better to have your arrow stuck in the bird rather than blowing right through it. “Hit em’ high, watch em’ die, hit em’ low, watch em’ go” is the old saying when shooting at turkeys with a bow. Try a large expandable broadhead, or even a broadhead designed to hit the bird in the head/neck if your confident in your shooting.

 

Best of luck!

M.Friend

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Published by Pabowhunter29 on 25 Mar 2008

5 ways to use Bow wax

1. Of course number one will be to wax your string and cables.

2. Put it on the threads of your field tips. ( so you dont have to keep checking to see if there loose and so your field tips won’t come out in your targets)

3. Put it on the threads of your Broadheads. How many times did you nock an arrow, only to hear your broadhead rattle because it was loose? This will happen no more, with the wax your broadhead will not back out.

4. Put it on the threads of any screw, so they dont back out. How many times did have your sight dead on and a week later, when the screw loose? Just put a little wax on the treads, then sight it in and your good to go.

5. Last but not least, i but a little on my rangefinder. How many times have you had to quickly check your distance, when that trophy of a life time is coming in, you dont want to drop it. If you but a little wax on your rangefinder, it will make it tacky. This way you have a better grip on it.

  I hope you take these tips to heart and try them this fall.

                                                    Pa

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Published by slbeasley on 23 Mar 2008

ACE IN THE HOLE

 Hunting Over Waterholes For Elk May Be Your Best Bet

By Stacy Beasley  

elk drinking     Bob Brown is new to bow hunting. In fact, prior to the 2003 season he had only a year’s worth of archery experience under his newly purchased camouflage. In that year he was able to tag a turkey – at 40 yards, his only game with a bow. From that point forward, Bob began to dream of bigger and better pursuits. His dream led him and two friends, Jody Baugh and Scott Trent, to northeastern New Mexico to Milligan Brand Outfitters for the opening morning of the 2003 New Mexico elk season. Little did Bob know, his winning hand was about to be dealt.

      On the first morning of the hunt, Bob quietly made his way to his stand overlooking one of Milligan’s waterholes. When he got within a stone’s throw of the waterhole he heard a lot of splashing and commotion. “I did not know if it was a bear or an elk.” Bob approached the waterhole cautiously. Every time the animal splashed Bob would move. With the wind in his face and the sun sneaking up behind, he quietly crawled up the dam. Suddenly the splashing stopped. At the top, Bob carefully peeked into the waterhole. “Whatever was making the commotion was gone,” said Bob, he climbed into his stand and waited for his shot at a waterhole wapiti. By noon Bob was headed back to camp. He told his story to his guide. The guide was certain that what Bob had heard that morning was a bull elk and that he would be back for an evening drink. Now it was up to Bob to play his cards right. By 2:30 p.m. he was back on the same stand. Soon he spotted several elk in a meadow to his left. He pulled out his Hoochie Mama cow call, squeezed it, and a bull raised its head. “The call got his attention and made him very curious.” Bob watched as the curious bull approached the waterhole. “He looked around for the cow, then decided to take a drink.” The bull spread his front legs, lowered his head and went down for a drink. Just before his lips touched the water, he raised his head. Again he went down for a drink, and again he raised his head. On third time he lowered his head, he began to suck in the muddy water. “That is when I drew back my 165 pound Martin Prowler,” smiled Bob. “Actually its only 65 pounds, but it sure felt like 165 pounds when a magnificent animal like that is only yards from you.” Bob lightly touched the release trigger, and then a smile lit up his face when he saw the arrow hits its mark. The following morning Bob was able to wrap his tag around the antler of his first waterhole wapiti.

     Ray Milligan, owner and operator of Milligan Brand has taken over twenty bulls at waterholes and has been outfitting elk hunters for over fifteen years. When it comes to hunting elk over water he knows his stuff. He is confident that water can be the elk hunter’s ace in the hole, if he/she plays by the rules.

 Rule #1: Find a Prime Location

“Don’t try to hunt over waterholes that are near rivers, streams, and lakes,” advises Milligan. “Rather look for waterholes in arid areas with an abundant food source, especially acorns, and heavy cover. If the hunter is not able to hunt arid places but only higher elevations they should hunt springs as a main water source. Look for springs on the east and north faces of the mountains because these areas are cooler and are prime bedding locations.”

      “Elk need a minimum of 10 gallons of water in them at all times. A hunter can bet on an elk visiting a water source at least twice a day,” says Ray. “They are more likely to drink just before bedding or after they get up from their beds.” If Ray had to choose to hunt elk over waterholes in the morning or evening, he would choose an evening hunt. “Hunting over waterholes in the evening is three times better because the elk seem to come to waterholes more often in the evening.” 

Rule #2: Make a Good Set Up

     Hunting elk over water is best done in a tree stand. All of Milligan’s stands our set between 12 and 15 feet. “Any higher than that and the hunter can expect less penetration especially if shooting an expandable broadhead,” says Ray. When hunting elk over water the bowhunter must pay attention to the sun and wind thermals.

     The sun can be your worst enemy, so use it to your advantage. Ray says, “Never set your stand over a waterhole with the sun in your face. If it reflects off your clothes, skin, or your bow, it will give your position away. Also, if the sun is shining in your face, it will hinder you from seeing an approaching elk in time for you to get ready for the shot. Always set your stand with the sun at your back.”

The most common mistake that the flatland deer hunter makes when hunting mountainous areas is in not knowing about the thermals and how to use them to their advantage. Thermals are simply air currents that rise and fall with the temperatures. Troy Peterson, avid elk hunter and owner of Conejos Cabins in Antonito, Colorado, testifies that wind thermals may be the number one reason why most bow hunters fail to connect with an elk. “The wind may be in your favor one moment and your worst enemy the next,” claims Peterson. The flatlander needs to know the thermal rule of thumb: In the morning western air currents are usually calm until the sun rises over the mountains and warms the air. As the temperature rises, expect the air current to rise. In the evening as the temperature drops, the air currents generally flow downward.

     Therefore, when hunting elk over a waterhole in the evening it would be wise, says Ray, to place your stand on the drainage side of the waterhole so that the thermals will pull your scent down the drainage and away from an approaching elk.

Rule #3: Know When to Shoot

     Elk will approach the waterhole fully aware of danger. They will relax a little when they go down for a drink; yet don’t draw back just yet. Ray advises his clients to wait until they hear the elk drinking, then slowly count, one . . .two . . . three. Then draw back, relax, aim, and shoot. “Oftentimes the elk will go down to drink, then suddenly raise its head, doing this two or three times. So wait until it is committed to drinking.”

     If you are interested in hunting elk over waterholes, Milligan advises an early season hunt because that is when the bow hunter will see the most elk coming to a waterhole. However, if the hunter cannot make an early season hunt, he says the late season is good also and that many big bulls have been taken over waterholes during the peak of the rut.

     For more information on hunting elk over waterholes contact Ray Milligan at Milligan Brand Outfitters phone 1-505-756-2630 or visit them on the web at www.milliganbrand.com.

 

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