Archive for the 'Tips/Advice' Category

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Published by Frank Biggs on 24 Nov 2014

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Poaching of Big Game

The following statements are my opinion on the subject!

What a topic to write about, one could write a novel and it would a non-fiction totally.

This is a pair of trophy Columbia Blacktails that were killed out of season in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

This is a pair of trophy Columbia Blacktails that were killed out of season in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

First off I personally feel there are 3 types of poachers, one that will harvest year round to eat, those that will poach for the horns-rack-antlers-teeth-claws-gall bladders anytime and anyplace, and lastly those that poach for the fun (drunk & other mind-sets), only to have a check mark on a list! The latter is a fact of knowledge, as I know via ranchers and law enforcement that it went on for years in the area of Madras, Oregon (just one local to mention). Some years ago I read and saw the pictures of some 20+ elk lying dead in what looked like a killing field. They were shot for sport and left to rot. The the elk were not salvageable for human consumption.

I would say our first knowledge of poaching would be placed in our minds with the Legend, Myth, or Fictionist Character of Robin Hood who would poach game off of the land of King of England.

Since there were little game laws in the past for hunting or harvesting game for the meat, the hides and whatever else could be used for trade or survive, we will move on to the latter years of the 20th Century and on to the 21st Century.

First off I have no problem for a person or persons to harvest game for survival or subsistence of life!

There is a saying that a famous hunter by the name of Bell Lang who once told to me, “Those that poach by the cover of night shall be caught, and those that poach in broad daylight are less apt to be, though in the end greed will take over and they shall be caught!”

In my early days of hunting or thinking about hunting when I got out of the service, I heard about a great deal of hunts and how the hunts started or ended.

A story that was passed along some 50 years ago from Uncle Dave of a new comer hunting during Elk season shot a monster Mule deer out of season. In the days of past the story only became a story after many years past. In this case it was an accident, yet it still comes under the ORS statues of game violations’.

Poaching for camp meat has been going on for years and was acceptable with hunters in a deer camp or elk camp. “Who’s going to kill us a fat doe for camp meat?” I am sure at least in the 20th Century we all have heard those words from the elders of the hunt, which includes me hearing those exact words. “As long as we eat it all up in camp it is legal!” Personally I was never much into eating fresh deer meat.

Then there is the great group hunting with lots of tags in the camp, with those that didn’t care if they shot anything or not. Hunting was an escapement from the grind of 60 hours plus weeks that many of us know from the past. One or two persons might be the shooters to fill the tags. I once loan a couple of my horses to a man that I once hunted with, later he told me thanks as he drugged out 9 elk with my horses in a single day. He was the shooter of them all and he fed the wild game meat to his care home residents. He has long since left this plant to his happy hunting grounds. Many years ago I told a rancher that invited me to hunt on his ranch that held a great deal of the Rocky Mountain Elk in the sage, Juniper and rim rock country in the Oregon, I had waited a number years to get this bull tag and I will shoot my own bull! I never did hunt in his group of 9 to 12 hunters with him. It was about the meat to him and not the racks, though they did harvest dandy 300+ bulls. It was a free for all when they got into a herd of elk. I do believe that they were pretty lucky as they seem to only harvest the number of elk that they had tags for.

So many times you would hear of stories of Mule Deer hunters hunting the great state of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and even the great Steen’s Mountains in Oregon. Stories would be like the following. “Shot a dandy buck coming down to the wintering grounds, getting ready to gut it and a bigger buck came by and I shot him also.” Now this could all be hearsay or an inflated story, but usually people knowing that they have nothing to worry about, it most likely is the truth. The other line with these same stories, “we got the backstrap and hind quarters out of the canyon”. Many times a great deal of useable meat was left behind… So, is someone hunting deep in a rugged area for big bulls or bucks that only take the rake and backstrap poaching?

Well they are and now there are new laws that have slowed that down. Yet we all know it still goes on out there, just have to read the OSP (Oregon State Police) incident reports that are available on line. I am sure these reports are available to all in other states in the Union.

Here the Willamette Valley I have watched a section of land that has held monster Blacktail deer, prior to me getting permission to take pictures and later hunt the property. I would see these big 4 x 4 bucks and some dandy non-typical bucks, none of them ever carried over to the following year. I believe it was a free for all poachers that were willing to trespass the property. Now that I have put up No Trespassing Signs for more than 4 years, I have been able to watch deer that carryover. I understand that the neighbor is experiencing this in 2014. Access is easy and undetectable by the landowner.

“Come in the darkness and leave in the darkness undetected”

Have to say that some of the most humorous poaching cases are those during archery season, when the hunter has taken the game animal with a rifle and hoisted the animal in their garage or car port to skin the animal, only to have the neighbor call into the authorities that the person or persons have a deer hanging and they don’t bow hunt. It is only humorous because of the ignorance of the hunter!

Poachers can be a trespasser, not just person or persons that harvest game illegal in my opinion. This brings to mind about technology that is now used everywhere and many trespassers and poachers are now being caught. That would be trail cameras that are set out on private property as well as public lands. The new cameras available are undetectable by most, including the game. I have seen a few come onto the property that I hunt in the valley. I have asked the landowner if he know them of course before I pursue the individuals. Recently during the writing of the article, one of my hunters has noticed 2 persons coming into the trail cams range. They even have gone up into his treestand and sat. All is on camera to be seen, strange though as they caught the cams take their pictures, they were out of there. This also allows the hunter, landowners and other concerns the profiling of the game. The old cliché that all they look alike is nonsense.

Poaching will continue and poachers with be caught, they love to brag about their kills with pictures. Most are not old enough to remember a monster bull that was harvest some 30+ years ago in the Mt. Rainer National Park. It was a feature picture in the Oregon Hunting & Fishing Newspaper. It did not last long, as a hiker that frequent the area, knew the exact tree that the bull was posed in front of. It did not take long for the Washington Game Officers to be up to the spot with the picture. Oh! What a fine to poach in a National Park, now the Feds and the State are involved with the crime.

The State of Oregon the Oregon State Police have the finest Forensic Labs in the Nation. I bet most don’t know that they can tell whether a Mule deer came from the Steen’s Mts. or from The Dallas. The 21st Century is upon us and to gamble on taking an animal illegally is a big gamble, as you going to lose more than you can imagine.

Just take a look at Aronson’s in the Bend, Oregon area and thinking he and his wife was getting away with poaching and selling hunts that the animals weren’t his to sell on guided trips. More than $66,000.00 in fines, plus 23 others sited with a total of 1200 illegal game violations against the group. One thing I see he got off easy with 30 days in jail.

One can only get away with for a while; it will always catch up with you, if you don’t stop. I would call it Cold Turkey the process!

Even the once great Kirk Darner got caught in the taking of Boone & Crockett Mule Deer bucks every year for many years. In his case, I do believe his wives of few helped in the process. Be careful who you make enemies of when you are in the practice of poaching.

Remembering a customer once that got busted for harvesting a big Mule deer out of season and bull elk in the wrong area during a given year was busted because he owed money to the fellow that hunted with him on both hunts. The game officers were taken to both spots by the informant.

Some years ago while in the famous Fort Rock area of central eastern Oregon, I had spotted a monster Mule deer that had come down off from the Newberry Crater in to the stubble fields to winter. As I was leaving during the Thanksgiving holiday, driving through a foot of snow to the main highway, I noticed a pickup with a couple of guys. I had that feeling they were up to no good. They were in the heart of the wintering grounds for mule deer in this part of Oregon. I waited a couple of minutes and decided to double back, yep they were stopped, glassing and packing. My presence at that time was enough to stop the act of them making a mistake in life. So you are asking if the intent was there! It was as I left out that someone was standing along the truck with a rifle out! For that moment the buck had another lease on life. I hope he made it through the winter.

On last statement from the past in the 20th Century, is the taking of a Pronghorn – Antelope out of a helicopter with a shotgun legal?  We know it is done with wild hogs in some states, but Pronghorn. There once was a world famous hunter with a restaurant that did just that. He has long since left the world, but many of his trophies are still around, though not in the restaurant any longer…

There are all types of poaching, but in most cases it usually in my opinion it is about the rack, horns or antlers as Number 1!

In conclusion game officers’ have to have the mindset of a poacher to catch a poacher!  Law bidding hunters and citizens need to take a state in the wildlife we have and the new environment of anti-hunting and anti-guns and help put a stop to poaching!

Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 05 May 2014

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Equipment – Bow Sights – Single vs Multiple

I like to start with humor in my storyline!

We all remember the Wild West movies of the past, with rifles & Six Shooters blazing away with very few Homo sapiens hitting the hard deck.   Maybe the rifles or six shooters weren’t very accurate or maybe the shooters weren’t focusing on the target at hand!  As we know though, most were accurate up the distance warranted.   Take a minute to think about the sights on most of those rifles and Six Shooters, even going into the 21st Century!  Rear V and Front Post!

Tell if this wouldn't make you focus!

Now you know you’re going to focus on the target with this setup!  Unless you’re shooting from the hip!

There are very few bow hunters or archers that don’t have a firearm in their arsenal of hunting or target shooting equipment.   In all shooting, it is about hitting the target or game with the utmost accuracy and being able to do that we have to be focus in depth on the target.  This is not always about the amount of time to do so, but the accuracy of having all coming together in the moment. Just think about any other sport that may include a single ball and getting the ball into the hoop, a hole in the ground or into the hands of a wide receiver.  The shooter has to focus mentally or have the natural talent to target the target…  

My mind comes to two instances!  I saw this happen, years ago with Brian Henninger hitting balls during a golf tournament practice session.  He was deliberately hitting a tent within inches of the same spot every time at about 260 yards.  One fellow said, “man” he is missing the pin”, little did he know that Brian was having fun.  Brain was quite focused on hitting the spot on the top of the meeting tent. 

What about this year (2014) with the Portland Trailblazer player with .6 tenths of a second to get an inbound shot off and doing so and making the 3 point throw and winning the game for the Trailerblazers.  There was nothing about luck, but a man that was in the zone of focus!

Over the years as I have said before I have had the privilege to shoot with many different bow sights and optics on rifles.   (What the heck, I have the privilege to use lots of hunting and shooting items over the last 40 years)

To this day I still have Duplex Crosshairs on all my rifles, forcing me to focus to the center.   Knowing your weapon of choice and how it shoots is most likely the most important thing.   With the speed of the modern day compound bow we have a greater advantage to make shots at greater distances with less drop of the arrow in flight.

As I write about optics – sights that attach to the rifle, guns, crossbow (legal states) and bows, there are so many that have multiple pins in the archery side and in the rifle or gun side we have tactical reticles and BDC Turrets (bullet drop compensator) which are all great.   I find the BDC and multiple dot reticles in the firearm side to be great when you have time to dial in the yardage out to great distances or a bench shooter working on fractions.   Otherwise most will have a favorite yardage to go by when setting up. 

As for bow sights I personally feel in the days of slower bows the multiple pins were my choice, yet I would have my 40 yard pin, the one pin that was different in color, it was my go to pin to get the job done when I was in the combat field mode of hunting for big game without the rangefinder.   I guess it is good thing I have played some golf in my life.

Those that have shot target bows at the 20 yards with 3 spot & 5 spot targets indoor normally always had a long adjustable bar (extension) with a head and globe sight with a single dot or pin.  We could fine tune the sight to make the X’s!

Martin Target 01 Martin Target 02 Martin Target 03

 This is how my Martin Scepter Pro was setup with a 2x globe sight!

In  my days of shooting small bore indoor rifles (22LR Caliber) at 50 feet competitively, it was all about the International or Olympic globe sights that usually had a circle aperture on the front sight you would have the bull (target bull) centered.   You learn to breath, focus and make sure before squeezing the trigger that the bull was perfectly centered so you could make an X.  

The sight on the front of my target rifle!

The sight on the front of my target rifle!

In 2013 I was introduced to the HHA Sports Optimizer Bow Sights and was I able to shoot the 5519 model after an old hunting buddy told me about the sights.   What is great about the sight, as I chose this particular model as it is a pendulum style adjustment, though HHA Sports has a dial style also, is that it is a single pin on a moveable pendulum and I can shoot accurately from 10 yards to 80 yards.   If I know the yardage I do not have to anything other than move the lever up or down to the marked yardage on the sight with my thumb, yet not lose my grip on the bow.  Otherwise I leave it at 40 yards in the field and 30 yards in a treestand.

The RDS TECHNOLOGY to setup the sight is made easy:

What is R.D.S. TECHNOLOGY

“R.D.S. is a patented sight in tape system that eliminates the need for multiple pins or crosshairs to shoot various distances with vertical bow, crossbow or firearm.  It allows you to focus on a single dot or reticule, dial to the distance of the target and shoot.  The clutter and confusion of 3, 5  and 7 pins on a bow or 5 or 6 lines in a scope are removed and replaced with one aiming point.  This results in increased accuracy and higher confidence in the field and on the range!”

HHA 01 HHA 02 HHA 03This is how my Martin Onza 3 is setup with the Optimizer system that works!

There is a reason why the Optimizer is Number 1

If I haven’t said it before it is always about the optics on any weapon or shooting device.  If the weapon or shooting device is sound, the only reasons not to be able to a hit a “shootable target” is the shooter or the sight for the most part in shootable conditions.

Take the movie “The Greatest Game Ever Played”, you’ll see in the movie how the golf gallery disappears and the golfer sees only the ball in flight to the hole!  As one of my work buddies says “See it before it happens”.

Try one of the HHA Sports sight system on your bow, rifle, gun or crossbow and you won’t be sorry, you might even be able to make that shot you passed up the year before, if the occasion arises!   It will take the complexity of out of the picture and allowing you to focus to the target and accomplish your Mission!  Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 08 Apr 2014

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – How Not To Trespass!

To Trespass Knowingly or Not To Trespass with Technology!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Normal View at National Forest

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

Hunt onXmaps - Deer

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

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

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

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

Knowing is everything!   Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 08 Sep 2013

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Hunting Equipment – GPS & Mapping Systems

The following article are my thoughts and opinions on the subject of GPS & Mapping Systems

Private land in middle of National Forest!
Private land in middle of National Forest!

I would have to say my interested in the GPS (Global Positioning System) equipment started in or around 1998 after I started to work for a large Sporting Goods Company in the Portland Metro Area in Oregon.

This will be a two part (2) article about GPS Products and then about Topo (Topographical) mapping that is designed for hunters, hikers, walkers, fishermen and anyone else that might use a GPS in the great outdoors of the U.S.A.

Over the course of many years of working with GPS products I have come to the conclusion of what I feel is the best GPS products to use in the field. Now this is my opinion and may not be everyone’s opinion!

Having known many small private plane owner pilots, they all seem to have one GPS product system that they rely on.   I will tell you it is GARMIN and be truthful about it.

I have had the opportunity to try every large name GPS products out there that have Topo mapping that is their branded line of mapping.  There are many good GPS products out there, but they are not the best!

I want you to think about support, updates, ease of putting in waypoints, transferring waypoints to and from the computer!  Garmin is by far the easiest that I have worked with.  With Garmin one can zoom in to about 80’ and that is great when you have detail TOPO (Topographical) mapping to go with it.

As for support it is the best out there via the net or on-line, as I have used both and the last time when I could not get it done on my own, I called support and actually got tech support in my local state, which meant a lot when I was communicating my problem.

Another item of importance is that you need a GPS that has a high sensitivity internal antenna and WAAS system.   It also needs to be a colored screen vice black and white.  It should have capabilities for an SD Micro Card or have enough internal memory.  Much of our hunting, hiking or exploring is done in dense timber, or in areas that there might have a canopy.   My latest GPS Garmin Montana will work inside of my office building.

A well used Garmin Montana with lots of secret spots!
A well used Garmin Montana with lots of secret spots!

Most of my hunters that I help did not realize that Garmin has a free software download called Base Map (Computer interface program to GPS device).  This is a big deal to me and my hunters that are willing to get the proper mapping and GPS.

The mapping is from another company (Hunting GPS Maps) that is not a Garmin product, yet is able to be used with the Garmin Base Map and Garmin GPS products.

I believe that Garmin’s Blue Maps and City Streets mapping is great, but I am not a fan of the Garmin Topo Mapping.  There is not enough detail or no detail of private lands within National Forest and it does not show B.L.M. Lands.   Matter of fact there is only white (no way to know other public lands) for all other lands except National Forest which is green.

The inner face is easy and once you have the software load on both the computer and the GPS you have one of the greatest tools in the world.

If you are not computer sassy you can obtain a Hunting GPS Map on Micro Chip and install it in a Garmin GPS product.  The importance for those using the product is that you will know the public land (BLM, State, and Federal) private lands and in many cases the landowners name, then there are the private timber lands that are white with dots.  Much of the private timber lands in the west are open to the public.  The information regarding which timber lands that is open to the public should be listed with the most State Game Departments, which it is in Oregon.  Everything is color coded for the easy identifying of lands, National Forest is Green, State Lands are usually Blue, Private Lands are White, BLM is Yellow, City Properties can be purple or maroon, and the Private timber lands are White with Dots.

Just think about being out there hunting and crossing into a piece of this land thinking you are hunting National Forest and it is a Gold Mine in Eastern, Oregon or maybe a mine in Utah.   One might not like the experience they might have with an old miner.

A GPS is one of the most important pieces of equipment to have when you are hunting in areas of mixed land.

I will tell you since I first started to write this page, that my friends at HUNTINGGPSMAPS have come out with a new product for those I Pad and I Phone users, such as my son.  You are now able to get the same mapping for their usage.  Hopefully you have a connection when out there, as least you can be legal when working the zones.

My I Pad with the new HUNTING GPS  MAPS installed!
My I Pad with the new HUNTING GPS MAPS installed!

I tell my DIY Antelope-Pronghorn hunters that it is a must for them to have a product that gives the boundaries.  Just look at a place like the famous Steen’s Mountains in Southeastern, Oregon.  There are many parcels of private in the middle of BLM that is hard to tell what is what, since there is so much cross fencing.  Yes you can have a paper map from the BLM, which is fine for reference, but of course you’ve had the map for 20 years or got it from a buddy who had it for 20 yards and BLM had done land swaps.  Don’t get me wrong, I came from old school with paper BLM and N.F. maps.

I know from experience how important a GPS is with trespassing and these products can save a hunt.   How many times do hunters get stopped on B.L.M. or even N.F. by ranchers that might have cattle rights on the public land?  Telling the hunter they are trespassing!  Oh!  It happens a lot in the West!  The Foreman of the famous Hay Creek back in the day would stop hunters on public roads going along the ranch and into B.L.M. and the National Grasslands.  It is one thing to get stopped by law enforcement, but not by a private citizen on the public land!

Private land in the Steen's Mnts of Oregon that may not have a fence or may have a fence and you think it is BLM.
Private land in the Steen’s Mnts of Oregon that may not have a fence or may have a fence and you think it is BLM.

When I help hunters find places at this point for FREE, I expect it to be quick and easy on my part.  The idea of helping hunters in this hectic busy lifestyle we have to shorten the scouting time in land they know nothing about.  Get waypoints to them in good hunting areas and go from there.

There is some much one can learn about a spot that they might only get to hunt a few times in a lifetime, since most special tags take so long to get.   With a Garmin Colored GPS with SD Micro slot, Garmin Base Map (Computer), Hunting GPS Maps and Google Earth, you can go from Novice to Expert in a very short time prior to your outing.

Do you really want to get Coordinates and plug them into your GPS without knowing what you are looking at? 
Be smart and move up in technology and you’ll find new avenues to hunt and be confident in the hunt!

Frank aka Cobra

 

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Published by Frank Biggs on 30 Jun 2013

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – On Being Field Prepared!

This article is about being prepared for the un-expected in the field.  

Then again on a well planned trip, you forget an important item that might just save your life!

Many years ago when I was leaving Vietnam after a tour with the 5th Marines and got into the back to the Duce and Half, which was supposed to be heading to the airbase in DaNang a not so funny thing happened.   As most know, since I was heading back to Naval Communications Station in the Philippines I turned in my M-16, 1911 and my M-3 Grease Gun.  The driver a young Marine E-2 just in kcountry forgot something very important, especially when you get lost and drive into enemy country.   Maybe he thought he was in Conus and it was a trip into the countryside?   We came under fire, with the yelling and moving into the driver’s seat, we all survived.   His M-16 and bandoliers’ were still back at the command up on Hill 327!

In the modern day world I do not believe that anyone that goes out into the Great Outdoors should ever be in a situation of being lost and not being able to get back out on their own unless they are hurt and unable to move!  One can be lost of course, but one should be able to recover easily from being lost in the moment!

Yet so many times we hear of kids, hunters, hikers’, cross country skiers, snow mobile riders, and mountain climbers getting lost for days.   I wonder about the mine set of people, except the kids that should have help from guiding parents in the fundamentals of being in the outdoors.

Does one really feel that this mountain has any feeling about you? The fact that Mother Nature determines the out come of weather, one should always be on the ready for anything!  Bwana Bubba

Does one really feel that this mountain has any feeling about you? The fact that Mother Nature determines the out come of weather, one should always be on the ready for anything! Bwana Bubba

Years ago mountain climbers were the direct cause of a National Guard Helicopter going down on Mt. Hood in Oregon, thus costing millions of dollars of equipment lose.

Just the recently there was a young man lost in the rugged Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.  His comment after being found was “I am going right back out”, note that it was raining hard and the area is very steep and heavy timbered with many deep canyons of no return.  Of course he did not have a GPS or any other type of communications that working in the field.  I do not think he had a clue as to the cost, plus the fact he was a flatlander (from the Midwest).

Another one lost on Mt. Hood this week had forgotten this locating beacon.  Everyone said he was a very experience mountain climber.  Mt. Hood as any other mountain doesn’t care how experience you are, as Mother Nature is not forgiving!  The Air National Guard in a Blackhawk Helicopter found his body!  Terrible as he might have fallen and died on impact, but if not maybe he would be telling the story of the climb today!

I am firm believer of modern day GPS products such as Garmin GPS’s that have high sensitive antennas that will work in deep cover.  Many do not realize that many GPS products that don’t have high sensitive antenna or WASS Enabled.  If a GPS does not these features it will not record tracks or even pick up the satellites in deep timber.

Families that take their young children up in the mountains prior to Christmas to look for a tree for Christmas might think about having one of the Garmin GPS or similar products for dogs.  Funny!  Not really, as kids have a habit of moving fast and panic sets in.   Many years ago (1998) in Oregon on such a trip a young boy was lost.  I do not believe he was ever found, so the possibility of him being abducted might be there.  The instance that the parent could not see him, they could have located him quickly.

There are also hand-held 2 way radios that will reach with line of sight for 25+ miles.  Years ago there was a man lost in Oregon and the searchers were able to find him as he had a 2 way radio that he was sending out for help.  It was picked up some 50+ miles away.

Persons that are going mountain climbing on such treacherous places such  Mt. Hood, Mt. Lassen, Mt St. Helens or any other place with glaciers and changing weather at moment’s notice should have a locating beacon at all times with them.  You can rent them on most mountains or just buy one.  It is not required in the liberal state of Oregon.  A few mountain climbing organizations’ feel it infringes on one’s right.  Thou it is ok to bring out a team to find the lost souls and maybe lose a person in the search or equipment.

Have I forgotten about the cell phones, which have become so good with GPS and long lasting batteries?   One can always have a solar cell and recharge the phone when there is some sun.   I know it all about the weight when climbing, hunting or hiking right!?

For some it all about the money, yet how much does a pair of cross country skis cost, the outfit, the Weatherby rifle, and the mountain climbing goggles?   Yet again is about being macho or just knowing you are the best.   I feel the same way, but I know from being turned around a few times, that it better to be safe and make it back to camp then spend the night out.  I have spent the night out in bad weather, not due to being lost, but because the conditions would put me at risk in treacherous rimrock of the John Day River Canyon!

Years ago while hunting in the Snake River Canyon I came out on the ridge road two hours after dark fell upon the Snake River and wondering where my horse was located.  It was such a relief for me that Czar whinnied and I was able to get to him quickly.  I never carried a GPS in those days, as they were new and I only packed a compass.  I could have walked out as there was the ridge road, but how about Czar.  A GPS in hand I could have plugged in the waypoint where I left Czar while I was elk hunting.

My thoughts are the following and if one ever wanted to hunt with me and I don’t have many hunt with me as I do not want the responsibility of them!

The equipment with the following attached is required!

1)      Cell Phone – GPS capabilities if you not going to have a GPS.

2)      A two way handheld communications device, similar to Motorola’s.

3)      GPS – Colored with mapping capabilities – GARMIN is preferred.

4)      Mapping to go with the GPS, such as Hunting GPS Maps that will give you private boundaries.

5)      If in treacherous mountainous areas a locating beacon is required.

6)      Some extra batteries for devices that are not using lithium batteries

7)      Your own toilet paper!

In closing with just the GPS, one can back track to their original starting place and if the GPS has Topographic mapping, one could possibly figure out a direct route back if the terrain is manageable.

Don’t leave home with just your clothes, the basics and your bow or rifle!

Bwana Bubba

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Published by admin on 04 Jun 2013

Springtime Archery Fun

SPRINGTIME ARCHERY FUN

Once again it’s that time of year for everyone to get out, enjoy the wonderful spring weather and all the outdoors has to offer. Unlike in Old England, when archers could not shoot less than 100 yards while practicing and preparing for war, we can shoot just to enjoy the sport. It’s important to keep your main objectives in mind when making plans to go out and fling some arrows. First and foremost, don’t be too serious. Keep it simple, and keep it fun!
Today, when you hear the term “stump shooting” it refers to going out and practice shooting at random targets, but the term originated back when archers would shoot at stumps to practice judging distance. This was a great business for the people making and selling arrows but very costly for archers whose arrows ended up lost, bent or totally broken.

 

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In addition to practicing for accuracy it is also very important to learn how to judge yardage. It doesn’t matter how straight you shoot if your arrow doesn’t reach your target! Judging yardage in itself is a scientific skill all archers need to master. You will want to practice in different environments and weather. Wind, flat areas, water, and hills (uphill verses downhill) can all be a challenge when judging yardage.
Foam technology has made it possible to create so many fun targets and 3D shoots. The foam is significantly lighter than the large, heavy old Indian grass mats used in the past. Now companies are able to create targets of limitless types and sizes. You can get 3D cubes and a long list of life-sized animals including deer, elk, turkey, bear, wild boar, snakes, carp, beaver, coyote and alligator. Some companies have created 3D targets for the fun, adventurous archer like dinosaurs, zombies, and even Big Foot that can be added to the local archery club’s course. Although these make fun targets, I feel if you ever see a real Big Foot it would be better to save it for science, not shoot it with a bow & arrow! We will probably find Big Foot right after we find a jackalope. Yes they also make a 3D jackalope target!!!

1 A Article Targets 1a

Our area has a vast amount of archery shoots & events you can attend. Local groups offer a wide variety of archery events such as Field Shoots, Golf Archery, Clout Shooting, 3D archery, Flight Shooting, Olympic Shooting, and Bow Fishing. 3D is currently the most popular, it simulates the real life hunting of many types of realistic animals. Some courses encourage additional challenges like moving targets or shooting under a branch on one knee. Spring archery tournaments are a lot of fun for the whole family. Check out the Walla Walla Blue Mountain Archers website for upcoming local events at www.bluemountainarchers.com
Club shoots usually offer a variety of group classifications to separate traditional, compound and release-aid shooters, and some offer additional classification for different age groups or skill level. Archery is a sport everyone can enjoy so current tournaments and events offer all archers a chance to participate. The U.S.A. has seen a large increase of archers with disabilities, especially shooters in wheelchairs. The archery community has also welcomed one-armed shooters. These amazing athletes draw back the bow by pulling a piece of leather attached to the string with their teeth. A few years ago an archer with only one arm won the bow hunting division at the Vegas Shoot!
You can even create fun shoots of your own. The choices are endless. You can use balloons, clay pigeons, target Tic Tac Toe, or poker deck targets. You can even rig up an old bicycle wheel to create a moving target. Create different challenges for judging distance but DO NOT try to shoot an apple off anyone’s head! Although shooting and judging yardage out in the wild is more difficult, these games can still be great practice. You can use these events to test your equipment and pre-shooting bow inspection is critical for safety and to avoid malfunction during a shoot or while hunting. It may seem obvious, but NEVER shoot straight up in the air ~ what goes up must come down!
Remember keep it fun!
Archery is also a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Don’t hesitate to check out local shoots, clubs, or events. Archers are known for their kindness and willingness to help new archers. Like all hobbies, if you do well you are more likely to continue practicing and enjoying the sport. Increase your odds by joining up with other archers who can help you improve your skills. Your local archery shop can also be a valuable resource, getting a bow that fits you and your needs can make a huge difference.
I remember several years ago when a local gentleman bought a brand new recurve bow. Soon after he called me to complain that the bow did not shoot right. My first question is always “Is the bow set up correctly?”
He replied that he installed the string as directed, stuck on the sight that came in the box and started shooting.
I explained that the bow did not come with a sight. It turned out that he put the arrow rest on the top of the site window instead of the arrow rest shelf on the bottom. As the saying goes “When all else fails, read the directions.” This is a perfect example of when the friendly members of your local archery club can be very helpful.
You can also access unlimited information and how-to videos on www.ArcheryTalk.com
Membership is always free!
ArcheryTalk.com is always creating new sections and the newest is an area for members to submit their ideas and print out free archery targets.
The time spent with family, friends, and other members of the archery community will create life long memories. It’s also a great way to get out enjoy the spring weather, get some fresh air, exercise, and improve your health. As with most sports, put safety first and just have fun!

1 Terry HeadshotCurrent3

Terry grew up in the family archery business building arrows, accessories, and shooting in tournaments from the age six. In the early seventies he began designing and patenting the first Martin compound bows. Many of the features are used throughout the industry today.
In 1997 he started ArcheryTalk.com, the worlds largest online archery community.

 

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Published by Frank Biggs on 18 Mar 2013

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Hunting Equipment – Blacktail Deer Hunt

Oregon needs to get in the 21st Century on Lighted Nocks & Expandable-Mechanical Broadheads

Sweet Baby James’s Oregon Blacktail Hunt of Woes!

Though this is not a long story about a successful so to speak Blacktail Buck hunt in the late season 2012 archery hunt in Oregon, it is about absurd hunting regulations on bow hunting brought upon by the minority to the majority.

When I get into the story you the reader will understand where I am coming from on my logic on hunting regulations that should be changed to improve the experience of hunting.  Much like taking away anchored putters from golfers as technology changes!  As I write that might not happen for pro-golfers…  In their case they still got to get it in the hole!

Sweet Baby James, as his peers called him in the days of his professional boxing is a very good friend of mine.   This past year I got permission for him and his brother to hunt a few days on a small place in rural Oregon in the Willamette Valley to bow hunt for Columbia Blacktail Deer on the late season archery hunt.   His brother was successful in getting a deer for meat and made a great 12 yard shot on the deer.  James would remain un-successful until the last week of the season.

Readers should know that the Columbia Blacktail deer is one of the hardest to hunt and I do believe they are even more nocturnal that the elusive Whitetail deer.  In the Pacific Northwest low light comes earlier than some areas with the heavy brush cover and deep canyons.   Oregon is a mountainous state and Blacktail deer range from 10,000 feet to sea level.  I sometimes feel that the canyons can range the same in footage.   Those that have never hunted in the habitat that Blacktail frequent with the creepers on the ground, blackberries, thistle and deadfall are in for an experience.

As I said before many know James as Sweet Baby James, the professional boxer from Oregon, who has fought clear to Madison Square Gardens, knowing the likes of Ali.  He came from a background, whose father was a world ranked Archer, who should have been in the Olympics 1968, but because took a prize of 73 bucks, he later would be turned away at the Olympic Trials thus not allowed to shoot for the United States of America.   Hmm!  A great deal has changed over the years in that aspect.  He was a good friend of Fred Bear and shot Fred Bear traditional bows before the compound came out.  So growing up with a father that expected the best from his son, James became a great fighter, archer and hunter himself.

It is now Tuesday evening and he is in the treestand about 2 ½ hours prior to the end of shooting time.  He had not been in the stand for very long when from the northern sector of the property he could see a big Blacktail Buck working its way through the maze of vine maple, blackberries and ferns, at 40 yards he could see the buck was the Odd 3 X 3 that seldom entered this area.   Over the course of 6 months I would say the Odd 3 X 3 has been on camera about 20 times in this area.  The buck seems to be on a mission and a direction he was heading for in hindsight would be the deep canyon leading to another property.  The buck did not stop; thou he was walking down the trail to the flat, James made the decision to take the shot at 18 yards with focus and direct eye contact on the boiler room.   The arrow tipped with a 100 grain Thunderhead hit the buck hard a bit back from the heart, which appeared to be in upper lung area.   He could see the arrow hanging out on the opposite side of the buck.  The buck in an instance dug with his hooves and vaulted into forward motion with head down and not missing a step.

James could hear the noise of the buck on the gravel road and anticipated the buck would come around his backside and he would see movement in the trees…

James waited some 30 minutes before leaving the treestand to look for the buck with about an hour of light left to find his trophy Blacktail Buck.   He finds one speck of blood in the dirt, but nothing in the gravel.   There are no tracks to follow as from both sides of the road there is nothing but blackberries and heavy brush.  He felt the buck had entered back behind him and headed into another creek bottom to the east.

I get phone call James while I am down at the coast asking for help, “sorry James but I am long ways away” “did you check to the west of the road”.   Of course it started to rain when he got out of the treestand and there is not going to be any trace of blood to follow.  With no tracks or blood trail and heavy cover James still continues to look for three hours with a flashlight and no help.  Without an extra set of eyes it most difficult on your own to find a downed animal while in panic mode.   If it was legal in Oregon to have a lighted nock on your arrow, James might have seen the travel of the deer through the brush.   More likely if the arrow had fallen out he could see the arrow from an elevated point near the area if he could have used a lighted nock in Oregon.

The next day James looks for more than four hours, but if there was any blood it would be washed away by the rain.   A very distraught hunter not being able to find a big buck that should have gone a very short distance from the hit! If it had been legal in Oregon, an expandable-mechanical broadhead might have help greatly on stopping the buck or leaving a blood trail at the gravel road.

Over the course of months and going out to the farm, this included me to look for the buck’s remains, along with looking for drops we never could find the buck, but still knowing he went down on the property since he was hit hard.

Just recently after going through the winter and the deer moving through the farms or lands in the area, they have made many worn trails.   So this past week in March 2013, I told my son that James’s buck headed to the west canyon a normal route for him to escape.  So with our minds intent on finding the remains, we ventured out.   In know less than 100 yards from the treestand Jr., finds the arrow.  Noted the brush is bare foliage and the blackberries have no leaves on them.   The arrow is completely intact right along the game trail.   Next thing was to scan and split up with me working the lower eastern edge of the canyon and Jr. going to the flat on the western edge of the canyon.  He spots something about 150 yards away, then loses sight and said it must have been a deer.  I tell him to continue to the spot as it is probably what we wanted to find. Low and behold it is the Odd 3 X 3 Blacktail buck.   The coyotes had taken care of the deer and closure was made for all that have hunted the place.

Recovery of the rack is illegal in Oregon, so it will stay until it skull denigrates or grows into a tree ornament as it mends into the V of a tree. Thus only pictures are taken for remembrance of the hunt.

I know myself if I had been shooting an expandable-mechanical broadhead, I might have made a fatal hit on the buck I shot with the arrow passing through the buck and not hitting a vital in front shoulders.  Ok!  He has survived the winter and will be bigger next year as I have vendetta to harvest him.

From my understanding OPS Game Officers have talked and feel that there would be greater recovery on big game with expandable-mechanical broadheads and lighted nocks.   Over 44 other states allow lighted nocks.  All but three states allow the use of expandable-mechanical broadheads.  Oregon, Washington and Idaho have an issue, it is said by some that crossbow users are the problem, but in Oregon they are not allowed…

Did I mention that in Oregon you can use any arrow or broadhead for Game Birds though?  It is said that light nocks and expandable-mechanical broadheads will lead to poaching!  Give me a break, only the stupid would poach at night, thinking they might get away with it.  Poachers are going to do what they do until they get caught.  In Oregon the O.S.P. Game Officers are very talented and educated.  It may take a while but they run a high successful rate on catching the big game poachers.  Poachers should have a clue by now because there are so many trail cams on private and public property out there that the bucks and bulls have names.

Just watch the Outdoor Channel and you see that on every program.

Sort of funny while looking for the buck, we see the landowner and talk about who has access.  She had told us she allow a couple of guys that do business with her they could come out and get some ornamental plants, but said to them “oh we have cameras all over the property”, one of them said “Hmm, I hope you didn’t catch us by a tree..”  They were surprised that the land had surveillance…

Technology in archery or bow hunting has been improved, but the principal of archery and bow hunting remains the same.  You have to be able to hit the target with your talents.  The recovery of game should be in the balance for the hunter, thus I feel that using light nocks and expandable-mechanical broadheads with lead to greater recovery of game.  I am all for a change here in Oregon, as well as everyone that are known in my circles.

Oregon, Washington and Idaho should get out of the dark ages and move forward to the betterment of the sport.

I did do a quick P & Y field measurement on the buck.  To bad he was odd!  He netted out at 92 after setting in the brush for 4 months.  He had 15 inches of penalty with the odd rack.  He has nice symmetry when viewing straight on, most interesting buck…  You would need 95 to make P & Y for Columbia Blacktail!

In closing how many of us can shoot out to 40-50 yards and hit the target, yet miss an easy 20 yard shot?

This is a picture of the Odd 3 X 3 in the velvet.  He would be arrowed within 5 yards of this spot!
This is a picture of the Odd 3 X 3 in the velvet. He would be arrowed within 5 yards of this spot!
This is how the buck was found some 300 yards line of sight from the target area
This is how the buck was found some 300 yards line of sight from the target area

Bwana Bubba aka Cobra

Here he is after rubbing off his velvet in the area!
Here he is after rubbing off his velvet in the area!

 

 

 

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Published by XtremeSportsmanDecal on 26 Sep 2012

Squirrel Bowhunting Tips and Recipe

Squirrel Hunting with a Bow

I grew up eating squirrel.  My grandmother used to catch them with traps, and make delightful meals with squirrel meat.  I didn’t realize that most people don’t eat squirrel!  But anyway, now that I’m a bow hunter, sometimes I bring in a squirrel and replicate one of my grandmother’s recipes.

Bow hunting for squirrel is not the easiest thing in the world.  But if you know how to use a bow, you should be able to handle it.

Here are some quick tips for hunting squirrels with a bow:

  • Don’t use broadheads (especially the nice ones) – they’ll get ruined.
    • Instead, use small game points or Judo points
  • Don’t shoot squirrels in the trees – you may lose an arrow.
    • Use a tree stand and shoot down into the ground.

Squirrel Dip Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. cooked squirrel meat, finely chopped
  • 1 Cup Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 2 TSP Half and Half
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  • Green Onions, finely chopped (Optional)
  • Diced Tomatoes (Optional)
  • Onion, Garlic, Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and blend until thick and creamy.

Season to taste.

Serve with pretzels, chips, crackers, or chunks of fresh bread.  Enjoy!

More Fun for Bow Hunters

Bow hunting for squirrels can be a lot of fun!  It’s very challenging.  Next time you’re out bow hunting for deer or other wild game, and a squirrel gets in your way, take a shot!  You may surprise yourself.

I especially enjoy bows, wild game recipes, and watching videos of squirrel hunting on YouTube.  Great fun!

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Published by archerchick on 25 Jul 2012

Watching The Woods Change -By Randall Schwalbach

Archery World – October 1987
Watching The Woods Change
By Randall Schwalbach
The freedom of exploring wild places is one of the joys of hunting. There’s nothing like the anticipation of going out of state on the big hunt. New country, new faces, new challenges — that’s what turns on bowhunters like you and me. At the same time, however, many of us enjoy returning to a favorite hunting spot year after year. I enjoy roaming a woodlot in central Wisconsin where I started bowhunting whitetail deer 15 years ago. It has become sort of an annual pilgrimage, and come mid-September my thoughts converge on this chunk of heaven I call the Big Hoods.
The Big Woods
What I find most amazing about the Big Woods is that it is in a state of constant change. Not only does habitat evolution/ alteration affect deer movement on a year to year basis, but also new generations of deer acquire new patterns and survival techniques. In order for you to enjoy continuous success at your own “old faithful ,” I’m going to share some of my experiences with this evolution at my own tried and true Big Woods. Did you ever marvel at how fast a tree grows? Just look out your window at that maple you planted in the backyard when your irst son or daughter was born. Amazing, isn’t it! Now, consider that a tree is useful to deer for different reasons during the course of its life, and you’ll see why no woods can ever stay the same. When it is small, a tree is likely to be either (1) eaten or (2) used as cover – or quite possibly both. Toward the end of its sapling status, it serves as a good place to polish antlers and test brute strength. Between this and the fruit bearing stage, say, if it is an oak, the tree as an individual is not highly useful. The point is, the woods are a collection of many trees, either in a process of growth or death, and as a unit the woods are indeed constantly changing – right before your eyes.
When I first started hunting the Big Woods, the northern edge was well defined. It butted up against a 20 acre farm field that lay fallow and consisted of thick canary grass and tall goldenrod, with a few small aspen and birch scattered through. In the past 15 years, however, the oaks and maples of the Big Woods have grown out into the field, producing a “zone” rather than a strict delineation or “edge.” The deer used to cross the 20 acre field rather quickly to go between cornfields and the woods. They entered the woods at the corners and at a few select points along the edge. The sign they left was concentrated at these entrances. Now the deer actually “live” in the field and in the “zone” created by the advance of the Big Woods. The cover is much thicker and there are many more lanes of safe travel for deer. Individual trails, however, are not as prominent, and the sign is less concentrated. I think there are more deer now, but they make less impact.
How has my hunting strategy changed? For starters, I alarm too many deer if I walk
 through the zone between woods and field, which is where my old walking trail is. I now enter the woods from a different side. Because the deer come into the woods from any point along the north boundary, I now have better luck hunting farther into the woods itself, where main trails are still in use and sign is concentrated. For nostalgic reasons, I sometimes sit in my old stands along the “edge,” but my luck there is seldom good. It is important to understand that the Big Woods itself is used primarily for three things: (1) acorns, (2) a rutting area and (3) a lane for quick travel to a major swamp/bedding ground to the south. As the only major highland in the area, the Big Woods is strategic for the hunter with a discerning eye.
There is an annual adjustment in deer movement directly related to farm crop rotation. Although my woods are not bordered by any tilled land, there are fields in three different directions. The field to the west is 100 yards distant and is always planted in corn. Encompassing a half section of land, the corn planted there often becomes primary escape cover as well as a food lot. In alternate years, roughly, there is corn to the north and to the east, within a quarter to half mile of my woods. Because deer seem to enjoy variety just as much as we like to try out different restaurants, they will travel the extra distance between these fields and my woods. This is in favor of the deer, from a biologist’s point of view, for it decreases social pressure and interaction. From a hunter’s standpoint, deer sign spreads out and hot-spots become less of a factor. The deer are everywhere, and they approach the woods from all sides, complicating the matter of placing a stand, particularly in relation to wind direction.
The availability of natural food supplies also changes from year to year. During the fall, one of the most important deer foods to look for is the acorn, fruit of the oak tree Since one species of oak may produce more acorns than another in a given year, pay attention to the different groves of oak in any one woods. Furthermore, mast producing capabilities of individual trees within a species also vary. (See my article, “Acorn Time ’s the Time” in Archery World August, 1986, for the complete lowdown on oaks and acorns. Differences in food supply, remember, affect not only where the deer eat, but also where they bed and from which direction they approach the woods.
Natural events such as a violent windstorm can change deer patterns dramatically. Several summers ago one storm took more than 100 of our big oaks. The deer had formerly been accustomed to a clear view in the mature timber, which they traveled through at a quick walk. When the trees came down, it gave predators (like me) good places to hide. so the deer had to slow down and move through the area with greater caution. ln effect, this gave them more time to detect my presence.
In many instances, downed trees also obscured my vision, making it harder for me to spot deer approaching favorite stands. My father and I used to love one open glade in the late afternoon as the deer approached through the slanting rays of sunshine. This perennial stand suddenly became a poor hunting locale. It remained that way until we got in there with a chain saw and restored some order to the area. Shortly the deer returned to using their old trails with confidence. A further outcome of the windstorm was the creation of a new hunting strategy for me – the pit blind. In a nutshells, the upturned root end of a windblown oak created a natural hole for a hunter to crawl into. A little improvement with a spade, and I had a first-class blind that put me as close as I’ve ever been to wild deer. For example, six inches between my face and the antlered end of one whitetail buck was CLOSE!
Another kind of evolution that can force a hunter to revise his strategy is a change of land ownership. When my father first purchased the Big Woods in the early 60’s, all the adjacent lands were owned by farmers. As they subsequently sold off of small parcels (split off the big farms) to non-farmers, the result was a loss of hunting grounds for us and a decline in the hunting potential on our own land. One person put an old mobile home smack dab on the edge of our property, ruining one area totally. Another routinely invites more people to hunt his land than he actually has room for, producing the added headache of a trespass problem for us. We have made the necessary adjustments for these changes, however, and fortunately we still have excellent hunting at the Big Woods.
Possibly you are contemplating buying your own land for hunting. The best advice I
have for you is to locate an available parcel adjacent to a large tract of land that is least likely to be split up and sold off in small parcels. By the same token, don’t purchase hunting land with the idea that it will provide instant and easy access to other peoples’ lands. Neighbors may be willing to grant you hunting rights on their land, but don’t assume this. Acquire enough land of your own to provide for your sporting needs.
In addition to habitat evolution, food availability and change of land ownership, there is the possibility of new generations of deer acquiring new habits – that is, adapting new ways to avoid you. I believe that due to wide-spread use, the overall effectiveness of the tree stand has diminished significantly over the past 10 years. When I first started hunting out of trees for deer, the results were fabulous. Most of the stands I used were no more than 10 feet off the ground, and deer were always walking right underneath me. Rare indeed were the occasions the deer looked up out of natural curiosity, even after detecting a strange odor or hearing a sound that was out of place. I used one tree in particular over and over, year after year, with excellent success. Gradually, however, the deer became wise to my strategy, forcing me to become more of a specialist at the arboreal ambush. Indeed, trees were still good places to hide, but the deer were starting to check out the various trees as they went about their business. I learned to pay more attention to camouflaging myself with natural materials and shadows, whereas before I had relied upon sheer elevation.
Also, once the deer spotted me in a tree stand, it seemed to make a larger impact on their memory, and the effectiveness of any given tree stand diminished through usage. Today, I still use tree stands, but I change their locations more frequently, and I generally go much higher – 22 feet is about average. For all purposes, I have abandoned the permanent, wooden platform made of 2×4 lumber in favor of the portable, aluminum stand which I can backpack in and out of the woods. The latter are more effective as they can be put in almost any tree. They also create less of an eyesore when I leave, for I take them with me.
In addition to tree stands, I spend more time these days still-hunting and waiting in ground blinds. The end result of all this is a continuous, intensive scouting program to keep abreast of the natural changes in the woods as well as man-made-alterations. We always think to ourselves, “Wouldn’t it be nice if some things would just stay the same forever?” But the truth is, that old hunting spot of yours is bound to change; it changes a little bit every day. Spend some time revising your bowhunting strategies to suit the new conditions and it will pay you off with the one thing that doesn’t change – the satisfaction of making a kill with the bow and arrow.
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Published by archerchick on 25 Jul 2012

My “Dream” Buck by Michael Henson

Archery World – October 1987

My “Dream” Buck by – Michael Henson

 

Well concealed and silent, the westerner stalked his trophy steadily for more than three hours; like a magnet, it attracted more and more deer. Suddenly, his bowhunting partner appeared and spotted the deer, pulled his bow out of the truck and loosed the perfect arrow.

 

I refocused my rangefinder and looked at  the yardage indicator once again.   “Sixty-two yards. I don’t dare move any closer,” I said to myself. Glancing at my watch, I realized that three hours had gone by since I first spotted this record book mulie. My thoughts quickly faded though as my eyes again were drawn to the bedded-buck’s wide 5×5 rack, still in velvet. It moved periodically as he nibbled at the grass around him and methodically chewed his cud.

“He’s gotta be Pope and Young material ,” I thought. Feeding below this buck was a respectable 4×4, approximately 40 to 50 yards away. He was nice, but definitely not the quality of the bedded, larger one. Occasionally, I would also catch glimpses of a 3×3 and a doe who were also browsing a little further downhill. No matter what else was going on, my attention went quickly back to the big 5×5. What a nice animal! In 20 years of hunting deer, with both rifle and bow, I had never been this close to such a fine buck. This truly was a deer hunter’s “dream come true.” But could it come true for me?

 

 

Fallen Log?

 

This whole dream began in the fall of 1985 after I had moved to Aztec, New Mexico, which is located in the northwestern corner of the state. I relocated there on a job transfer from Minnesota, knowing full well I was leaving excellent whitetail country. However, I knew that I was headed for superb mule deer and elk hunting just north of Aztec, in the San Juan National Forest of southern Colorado. After moving there, it didn’t take long for me to meet the person responsible for my being on this particular mountain — his name — Peter Akins. It seems like the good Lord planned our introduction, so when Peter and I met we found out we talked the same language: archery hunting, specifically, the deer and elk dialect.

 

 

Peter himself, has never shot a big-game animal with a rifle. I don’t think he even owns one. However, with bow and arrow it’s a different story. He rarely fails to fill his elk and deer tags. I think he felt sorry for this Minnesota boy, subsequently inviting me to join him and his brothers, Russell and Mark, for the 1986 hunting season in Colorado. I was able to squeeze in my brother Jim, from back in Silver Bay, Minnesota, who ultimately plays a major role in this story. So now here I am, a little over 30 yards from a bedded-down, big 5×5 mulie.

 

Every time he moves a muscle or turns his head, my pulse quickens. Who would ever think a deer chewing it’s cud could get you so excited! I thought to myself, “Couldn’t I sneak my arrow by those broken trees, partially obscuring his body? This might be my best chance. The wind might change, or simply quit due to an approaching thunderstorm.” But a wee small voice said, “Patience. Just wait — let’s don’t blow it .” So I again relaxed, resting my 65 pound Golden Eagle compound in a small loop on my camouflaged pant leg.

 

Blow it?

I almost had already. Earlier, around 11:00 a.m. I was still hunting back toward camp, where I was to meet Jim for lunch at noon. It was a perfect day. A slight breeze in my face from below, and the aspen leaves overhead making a slight rustling noise in the background. During the preceding night a much needed rain shower made the walking almost noiseless. I had just moved out of some dense, dark spruce and pine trees into an area of open, mature aspen. I was slowly working my way down to a gravel road, where I would quickly walk back to camp. So far, this morning had been unproductive. I had seen neither elk nor deer, so when I looked downhill and saw a horizontal form approximately 100 yards away, I didn’t think too much about it. My first impression was that it was just another fallen log, but was it? There he was. Moving ever so slightly as he browsed on the lush green foliage. What a magnificent rack! My first thought was, “How in the world am I gonna get close enough in this open aspen for a decent shot?”

My problem compounded immediately when I noticed a 4×4 mulie bedded down a short distance away from this big one. He was a little closer and it was much more open for a possible shot. Then the 5×5 decided he wanted to lay down. “Great,” I thought, “two sets of eyes, open cover and considerable distance to make up. Tough odds.” Somehow though, step by step, using my small 8×35 binoculars, watching closely and keeping as many trees between us as possible, I closed to within about 60 yards. That was as close as I could go, and the only shot possible was at the 4×4. Instead of being patient, I attempted a shot, my arrow hitting a tree on the way. WHAM! I just new I had blown it. The deer jumped up, and trotted away. Then they stopped, looked around for what seemed forever and started feeding again. “I can’t believe it! Just be cool, Mike” , I told myself. Both bucks moved slowly away and got almost out of eye contact. Moving slowly in their direction about 40 yards, I realized there were now four deer. Here’s where they apparently picked up the 3×3 and the doe. Now four sets of eyes.
Moving ever so quietly, one step at a time, I was able once more close to about 60 yards. Then it happened again. First the big 5×5, then the 4x4 – they both lay down. By this time I had lost sight of the 3×3 and doe. Apparently, they both moved downhill toward the gravel road about 100 yards below me. After about 10 to 15 minutes, the 4×4 got up and began feeding away from me with the 5×5 still bedded down. This turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. With the 5×5 looking downhill at the other deer’s activity, I was able to move behind the big boy. I continuously checked the distance with my rangefinder just in case I needed a quick shot.
 Two broken trees, bent over almost touching each other, made it difficult to try a shot. I told myself, “Patience, Mike – just wait.” By now a little over three hours had elapsed. Jim, I knew, would be wondering where I was since I hadn’t made it to camp for lunch. What a surprise and shock when the sound of a diesel engine coming, turned out to be Jim driving my truck on the road below. “He must be looking for me,” I thought. “Now what’s he doing?” I couldn’t believe it, but my truck stopped. “There’s no way he can see me up here, and for all he knows, I could be six miles away.”
 I didn’t find out until later but here’s what took place…Driving around the corner, Jim saw the 3×3 buck standing about 10 yards off the mountain road about 75 yards away. Jim stopped the truck, slid over to the passenger side, got out and walked to the back of the truck, opened the topper and got out his Golden Eagle compound. Peeking around the corner of the truck, he couldn’t believe what he saw! The buck was still there trying to figure out what was going on. Guessing the distance at around 75 yards, and knowing he couldn’t get any closer without spooking him, Jim drew back. Releasing his 2117, XX75 arrow, the 140-grain, 4-blade Rocky Mountain broadhead flew perfectly, hitting behind the 3×3 buck’s front shoulder.
He ran 50 yards and then piled up. Now remember, I had no idea what was going on. I couldn’t hear or see anything except my truck way down there. The only thought in my mind was about my deer getting spooked – for both buck’s ears were up, as they looked downhill. Then it happened! Apparently when Jim’s deer took off after being solidly hit, the big 5×5 stood up. Still not knowing what just took place down below, I reacted instinctively and came to full draw. The 5×5 and 4×4 were now standing together, butl still didn’t have a shot because of four aspen. “Come on, make a move. I can’t hold it much longer,” I thought. Then, just as I was about to relax, the 5×5 moved just enough to give me a shot. Shaking as I released my arrow, it went just underneath him! But he didn’t move, and he was still looking downhill. I couldn’t believe it! In one motion I nocked another arrow; came to full draw, and sent my Rocky Mountain broadhead on its way. This time it was perfect.
The arrow hit him solidly behind the front leg, he barely moved. He managed to walk slowly though about 20 yards; then stopped; wobbled and fell; rolling over twice. I couldn’t believe it! But there he was – a trophy of a lifetime. Saying a quick prayer of thanks, I hurried down the mountain to see what Jim was up to. Was he surprised to see me coming! Each of us had quite a story. No way could either of us easily comprehend what had just happened. I didn’t know what he was doing, and he didn’t know what I was doing, nor even where I was. Unbelievable as it was, we both filled our deer tags within about 60 seconds of each other. Somehow, we each helped the other without even realizing it.
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