Archive for the 'Tips/Advice' Category

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Published by archerchick on 25 Jul 2012

Cornfield Deer – By Richard Martin

Archery World – October 1987

Cornfield Deer

By Richard Martin

Dick, you doing anything right now?”
“Nothing special, why?” “I’d like you to
come out here. Want to show you something? The
man who called was a farmer in north central
Ohio, a longtime friend who lives just a few miles
from my home. And when my pickup lifted the dust in
his driveway he was sitting in his cornpicker waiting
patiently.

“I’m harvesting about a 40 acre patch of corn here,
and it’s just full of deer, just full of them. They did

pretty good around here on the opening day of gun season, then the
deer just disappeared. Well, I know where they disappeared
to.”
I was interested in getting some good closeup
photos of deer, so I readied my camera and climbed up
to the cab, planning to hang on outside and shoot as I
could. Whitetails are notoriously indifferent to tractors, cultivators,
and harvesting equipment, and I expected to get close, but I
wasn’t planning on point blank range!

On the first pass through the com an eight
point buck and two does meandered out,
watched us pass, and faded back into the corn.
On the next a fat six pointer and three more
does walked out and back into still standing
stalks. Finally, I got off the picker and started
hiking in cleared stretches alongside. I could
still get within 20-25 yards of at least a dozen
deer on each pass. They knew that corn was
safe and they just wouldn’t leave until the en-
tire field had been reduced to a few isolated
rows. It was enough to start me thinking.

The Tassel Hassle
Archers don’t seem to give a hoot about
standing corn one way or the other, but gun
hunters hate the stuff. Here in Ohio and
doubtless in other mid westem states when
timber and crops mingle, they like to drive
during the gun season. And once deer have
experienced a drive or two, they head for the
center of big cornfields and stay there.
Most farmers won’t allow hunters to drive
corn for obvious reasons, and those who will
or hunt their own comfields rarely come up
‘with much. The animals ghost from row to
row, circle back around again and again, and
simply refuse to leave unless hard pressed and
hassled to distraction. Corn has kept many a
deer alive for another year.
Once again, archers don’t seem to worry
about standing corn, but they definitely

should because in many places this richly nu-
tritious food supply is an easy way to till the
freezer with venison that’s close to prime
beef. None of your stringy little mountain
deer here, just big comfed bucks that routinely
dress out 150-200 pounds plus. But before
you charge the nearest field of standing
fodder and attempt to fill your tag on a monstrous
buck, there are a few basic points to
keep in mind.

First of all, cornfields are no help at all in
country where everything is com. In areas
where fields of standing stalks stretch on for
miles the deer simply have too much choice.
They can loaf in this 80 acre patch or walk
across a fencerow to visit that 200 acre section,
or hike a few more yards and cavon in
640 acres of good cover. You get the point.

They’ll be in standing com routinely, but you
aren’t going to find them, except by great
good luck.

The situation you’re looking for, and it occurs
often in the midwest, is a good sized
cornfield nestled in among timber, brushy areas,
rolling hills and valleys, in short, mixed
terrain and limited corn. They’re not hard to
find if you’ll do a little looking and I’ve man-
aged to pinpoint quite a few areas where
farmers plant corn at least every other year
and plant it in territory in the middle of prime
deer country. It makes my day when I drive by
and see those young corn shoots coming up in
early spring.

One of these is definitely classic and the
first time I saw it, my mouth simply watered.
The field was about 40 acres of already chest
high corn, and on one side stood a brushy area
that was darn near impenetrable! I walked it
through, left a little blood here and there in
thickets of multiflora rose and blackberry bri-
ers and marveled, while I muttered bad things
under my breath, at the deer trails, droppings
and beds. The north side of that field had a
more open collection of hawthorne and
grasses, good warm weather cover, and again
plenty of deer trails and other sign. The third
side opened onto at least a hundred acres of
tall mixed timber, and the fourth bordered a
small highway for easy access.

Even before the corn fully ripened that
year deer began gathering to take advantage of
the rich feeding. They built trails into that

field from all directions that began to resemble minature four lane highways, and I’m surprised that I didn’t fill my tag during the first
weeks of October.

But except for the timber side there was
nothing suitable for a tree stand so I spent
much of my time ground hunting, checking
wind direction at hunts beginning, dressing in
full camouflage with face paint, and taking a
bath in a deodorizing soap before scenting
myself up with a fox urine cover scent or
whatever else seemed promising. I saw plenty
of does, had several within 10-15 yards, and
reached easy range of a forkhorn who seemed
a little small. I passed on him.

There were big bucks as witness their
tracks among the corn rows, but they were
slipping in and out before dawn and holding
up in the thicket where they were safe as in
church. I couldn’t seem to win. Luckily the
landowner held off harvesting that field until
well after gun season and eventually there
came a stormy Friday night with winds and
rain, a night when deer would feed only intermittently.

Morning brought chill weather and
a light misty sprinkle, one of those dawnings
when you KNOW deer will be running late,
and when shooting light arrived I was waiting.
I don‘t wait long.

A fat eight pointer materialized out of the
mist, easing almost silently through rain
moistened stalks, and starting warily at every
sound. But he didn’t see me and I’d already

drawn my Brown Bear compound at the first
sure sign of his presence. The broadhead sped
true and shortly thereafter I was dragging my
winter’s meat to the pickup. Thanks to standing corn.

Enamored Of Cornfields
There are more things to keep in mind,
once you’ve found an isolated cornfield that
shows obvious signs of use by whitetails.

First, it should be obvious that if you hunt at
dawn, deer will be coming out of com while
in the evening they’ll be heading in. S0 you
scout the surrounding land carefully, decide
where they’ll most likely lie up during the day
and plan your tree stand spot or ground blind
accordingly. It pays to have several to take advantage
of wind direction, then you can make
an on the spot decision as to which place is
best.

If you’re into driving for deer, you’ll find
standing stalks a real challenge, maybe more
challenge than you can handle. It’s a total
waste of time to drive a 100 acre field with
four or five men because, again, the animals
will simply circle. You’ll see one once in a
while, a glimpse here, a flashing tail there,
but any shots you get will be at shadows and
no good archer shoots at shadows. If you post
men outside the field in spots where the animals
are most likely to flee for safety, you’re
going to discover that when they leave corn,
they do so in high gear.

On one of the very few times I participated
in a cornfield deer drive, after assuring the
landowner that we’d ease down the rows and
not disturb a single stalk, we finally put out
three does and a forkhorn. The bowhunter
they ran past said, “They looked like bouncing
grey blurs and there was no chance to
make a certain hit. I let them go .”

Maybe you`re wondering at this point why
deer are so enamored by cornfields and
golden kernels of corn when they have long
acres of tasty acorns and other natural foods
that range from crabapples to sumac berries.
The answer is a simple one; like people, deer
are lazy creatures. Why roam around and for-
age as best you can, especially during late sea-
son when the lush vegetation is long gone,
when you can step into a cornfield and have
unlimited ears of high energy, extremely nutritious
corn. Admittedly, acorns have higher
food value, ounce for ounce, than corn.

They’ve more protein and more fats to go with
a high carbohydrate rating, but it’s the carbohydrate

that provides energy to burn and
maintain body warmth in cold weather, and
corn has plenty. They can probe under an oak
all morning for a fist full of acorns, using almost
as much energy as they gain, but every
stalk in a cornfield has at least one ear and
usually two of tasty provender. Wouldn’t you
make the same choice?

Every archer knows there’s no sure thing
in deer hunting. Whitetails are wild and wary,
have fine sight and chokebore noses, and their
ears can pick up a chipmunk’s belch at 50 ·
yards. But there is one situation in cornfield
hunting that comes close to being a fish in a
barrel situation, and I’ll pass it on for those
hunters who can handle the patience and slow,
careful hunting it demands.

This method won’t work well during the
early season when whitetails move in and out
of com at random. They may feed in com
early in the season, but they seldom lay up for
the day there. But in late season when other
cover is sparse and leaves have fallen to ex-
pose the thickets and usual hiding spots,
they’ll often spend their whole day in corn;
Even more so if they’re being hunted hard. So
you wait for dry conditions and a nice, steady
breeze.

The wind blows through yellowed stalks
then, with a constant rustle that effectively
dampens out whitetail hearing. That steady
wind also limits their sense of smell to one
direction. So picture a late field of standing
com with good cover around, a steady, directional
wind and an archer who feels sure
there’s a good buck or two in there. He heads
upwind and starts walking.

I’ve practiced the business myself more
than once, but I still remember one archer ·
who took his biggest buck ever that way. He
said, “I started in with real care, just step by
step with plenty of time to look up and down
each row. I went about 100 feet that way with-
out seeing anything, then I peeked up and
down one row and saw two deer about 75
yards away. I glassed them with binoculars
and saw they were both does, lying down and
facing away from me. They didn’t even see me
as I slipped across to the next row, probably
because the stalks were tossing in the wind
and they didn’t pick up movement.

“I went another 50 yards before I saw a
grey hump on the ground that turned out to be
a six pointer, and I was tempted then. But it
was still early and he didn’t see me either. I
could always come back. I was clear out in the
middle of the field when I saw a dandy. He
was lying down too, and I could see that bone
white rack. The binoculars said he was a 12
point and I wanted that one bad.

“So I backed up eight or ten rows down-
wind and eased along to where I figured I was
about opposite, then I stepped up a few rows
and saw him just six or eight yards away in an
area where the stalks were thin. He never saw
me very carefully draw the bow and I bet he
never even heard the string snap. That was the
biggest and easiest buck I ever got.”

You can argue ethics here, the question of
shooting a buck that’s lying down, but personally
I have no problem with the situation. To
approach a good sized animal that close on
foot, even with the wind to help, requires at
least as much skill as it does to properly place
a tree stand and take your shot from there.
Either way y0u’re shooting an unsuspecting
animal, and that’s what most archers strive to
do.

That’s only my opinion and you can make
your own decision, but either way you’ll find
cornfield hunting worth the effort, and
there’ll be many a freezer filled with venison
this fall by hunters who find the right situa-
tion. Look for fields with good cover around,
set up ambush sites early, walk the rows late in
the season on windy days and I’m betting
you’ll put a fork in venison steaks, too.

They’re the closest I know to a sure thing, and
worth checking anytime. Those golden kernels
are more than a simple money crop,
they’re also a whitetail heaven.

>>—->

Archived By

www.Archerytalk.com

All Rights Reserved

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Published by Casey Stutzman on 11 Jun 2012

Don’t Get Sucked into “Hunting Specific” Training

“Sport specific training” is a big buzz word for any activity. Bow Hunters scour the internet and youtube for “hunting specific” exercises that will increase their ability to harvest deer come fall.  As a fitness professional and international presenter I deal with lots of questions from clients and other trainers regarding how to develop sport specific programs but is “sport specific” really the way to go? Does sport specific training even exist in the fitness world? 

 

A good mechanic looks at the entire truck to make sure everything is working together properly for maximum performance and increased life.  He addresses problem areas as they relate to the whole.  If he does not look at the whole there can be problems, what it I want better off road traction and he decides to put on the best off road tires money can buy but never check to see if they will work well with the vehicle.They might be good tires but if they are wrong for my truck it will kill my gas mileage (performance) and possibly put extra wear and tear on other parts decreasing the life of the vehicle.

 

The body is no different.When we look at training and exercise from a sports specific platform we often miss the forest through the trees and perform exercises that are wrong for us or do not help with our weak points.Here are a couple reasons why to look past those sport specific training articles and videos for bow hunters.

 

·        The goal of any training program should be to create a solid foundation of stability and strength so you can move effectively and without limitations or pain.  All humans move the same, I’m not saying all training programs should be the same but there always needs to be a focus on building the foundations of human movement so it is ready for any sport or activity.

 

·        If you want to be sport specific play your sport!  If I want to be a better golfer I need to play golf!  You can’t exercise your way to increased sports skills.  I see ads all the time for “Bow Trainers” vertical sticks with resistance tubing so you can practice drawing your bow.  Here’s an idea, why not just draw your bow!Using an exercise routine that develop all the systems necessary to draw and hold well paired with lots of target shooting will put you way ahead of the curve.

 

·        Look at the demands of your exercise compared to what happens in real life.  You will read over and over that the bench press is a great sport specific exercise for football linemen because they have to be strong pushing people away.  True; but in a game are they on their backs, supported by a bench, moving an evenly balanced weight a slow steady pace?  If an exercise was truly sport specific it would exactly match the movements and environment of competition

 

 

As a performance and fitness professional when I work with clients and athletes of all sports and activates my goal is to clean up & increase their movement efficiency.Developing sport specific skills is their coach’s job.  For more information on movement based training check out these articles;

 

 

What Should Bow Hunters Look for in Gyms and Fitness Offerings – http://primal360.blogspot.com/2012/04/what-should-bow-hunter-look-for-in-gyms.html

 

Also check out www.TRXtraining.comfor great products and info on movement based training

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Published by mlgunkel on 05 Jun 2012

Distance Compensating Bow Site

I am a math teacher in a small high school in Alaska and we began exploring a concept this year for an idea I had a while back.  The general thought is – if you make a laser site and have it mounted above the arrow can you align it to approximate the trajectory of the arrow?  If you can, how far would it approximate that trajectory?  We took that idea a step further and said, if we add a second laser to start approximating the trajectory where the first one leaves off we can really extend the range of the site.  In fact multiple lasers could be used to approximate the trajectory as far out as desired.  Multiple lasers would project multiple dots on the target but the lowest dot would always be the one to use.

We did in fact develop the theory behind this and built a working prototype.  It works.  The students won best of show at the local school wide district science fair.

It only took two lasers to approximate the trajectory on a Bowtech Allegiance out to 50 yards with a maximum 2″ of error.  The following video is of us testing the site shortly after we set it up.  The first clip show 5 shots at random distances out to 50 yards and the second clip shows popping balloons at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 yards on a bright sunny day.

If you are interested in the theory behind the development we established the following procedure:

This procedure includes a fair bit of math – that was of particular interest to me as a teacher using this as a learning project – but this can be automated with the computer and the initial setup of this site is actually quite simple, fast and effective.

Procedure

Since the flight of an arrow follows a decaying parabola, its trajectory can be approximated with a quadratic equation in the form of y=ax2+bx+c where y=drop and x=distance from the target.

  1. Record arrow drop from three distances covering the effective range of the bow by shooting groups of arrows from each distance and recording average arrow drop from aim point.
  2. Create three different equations using the known x and y values, with x=distance from target and y=arrow drop from aim point.

Y1=ax12+bx1+c

Y2= ax22+bx2+c

Y3= ax32+bx3+c

  1. Solve for the unknowns: a, b and c.  Do this by using a graphing calculator and setting the numbers up into a matrix and transforming the matrix to reduced row echelon form.
  2. Once coefficients a, b and c are solved for they can be plugged into the quadratic equation ax2+bx+c.  This will create the quadratic equation that predicts the arrow trajectory.
  3. Use Excel and the quadratic equation to graph the predicted arrow trajectory.
  4. Once graphed, use lines of best fit over different ranges to follow the trajectory of the arrow with an acceptable margin of error. Ultimately, these will be the lasers.
  5. By using multiple lasers, or lines of best fit, we should be able to approximate arrow trajectory out to the effective range of the bow. Multiple lasers will project multiple dots on the target, but the bottom laser dot will always be the approximating arrow trajectory.
  6. Construct a laser mounting apparatus that can be mounted onto a bow and which allows lasers be adjusted in elevation as well as fine tuned left, right, up or down. This laser mount must be rigid enough to maintain its position on the bow while sustaining the shock of repeated shots.
  7. Take the first line of best fit and find the equation of the line in slope-intercept form. B, or the y-intercept, will be the distance between the laser and the arrow.  Mount the laser at this distance above the arrow.
  8. The line of best fit will cross paths with the arrow trajectory at two places on the parabola.  Solve for the x values, or distances, where this occurs by setting the equation for the line of best fit and the quadratic arrow trajectory equation equal to each other and solve for x.
  9. Site the first laser in at the previously solved for x values by shooting a group of arrows at the two distances and adjusting the laser accordingly. After this step your bow should be striking your aiming point at the two distances.
  10. The next laser can be aligned without shooting the bow at all.  The two lasers will cross at a specific distance. This distance can be solved for by setting the equations of the lines of best fit equal to each other and solving for x.  Simply adjust the top laser so it is on top of the previous laser. Ultimately, at these two distances you will see only one dot.
  11. Repeat the previous step to align any additional lasers.

Now you can test-shoot the bow from essentially any distance that your bow is effective to and see if the lasers allow you to shoot within the predicted margin of error at these distances.

The following is the actual implementation of the procedure on the test bow (Bowtech Allegiance) with the real numbers and generated formulas.

Step 1: Record Arrow Drop.

 

Distance from Target Arrow Drop (Inches)
Group 1 15 Feet or 5 Yards 0.4375 Inches
Group 2 60 Feet or 10 Yards -5.3125 Inches
Group 3 150 Feet or 15 Yards -46.8125 Inches

 

Step 2: Create Equations.

 

0.4375=a(32400)+b(180)+c

-5.3125=a(518400)+b(720)+c

-46.8125=a(32400000+b(1800)+c

 

Step 3: Using spreadsheet program utilizing rref solve for a, b and c.

 

a= -0.0000171467764060

b= 0.00478395061728

c= 0.1319444444444440

 

Step 4: The quadratic equation predicting arrow trajectory is:

 

-0.0000171467764060x2+0.00478395061728x+0.1319444444444440

 

Step 5: Use Excel to make a graph of projected arrow trajectory using the previously found quadratic formula.

Step 6: By graphing trajectory over shorter distance ranges and using line of best fit on Excel, we were able to come up with a combination of two lines of best fit that approximates the projected arrow trajectory from zero out to 50 yards with an error of + or – 2 inches.

First Line of Best Fit:

 Second Line of Best Fit:

 Step 7: We were able to use 2 lasers and have a margin of error of 2 inches and were able to approximate an arrow strike point out to 50 yards. The top laser mount location is 25 inches above the arrow.  With a top laser mount of 33 inches we, we were able to approximate arrow strike point out to 60 yards.

 

Step 8: We chose 1 inch extruded aluminum display rail since it was readily available, rigid, lightweight and laser fixtures could be mounted anywhere along its length. This was mounted to the bow utilizing the bow’s standard site mounting holes.

 

We modified a generic green laser pointer to use as our laser sites. To allow for windage and elevation adjustment of lasers we mounted one end of the laser on a horizontal threaded bolt and the other end of the laser on a vertical threaded bolt in an aluminum square tube.

 

For our power source we made a battery pack using standard plumbing supplies and screwing it into the stabilizer-mounting hole on the bow. The bow was used as the ground and we routed one positive wire through a momentary push-button switch on the bow handle up to each laser.

 

The lasers were mounted onto the bolts by soldering a nut onto a ½ inch copper pex crimp fitting and crimping it onto the laser.

 

Step 9: The equation for the first laser line is y=-0.0137x+4.028.  The laser should be mounted at four inches above the arrow.  Mount second laser at 25 inches above the arrow, the equation for this laser is y=-0.0384x+25.132.

 

y-intercept=4.028=distance laser is mounted above the arrow.

 

y-intercept=25.132=distance laser is mounted above the arrow.

 

Step 10: Find where the first laser crosses at both places on the parabola.  See below.

Step 11: We adjusted the laser fairly close at 8.7 yards and then adjusted it to be right on at the next distance: 21.2 yards.  A quick check showed that the laser was right on at 8.7 yards as well.

 

Step 12: We solved for the distance that the laser crossed.  See Below.

 

We then aligned the lasers as to make one solid dot at 23.7 yards.

 

Step 13: There were no additional lasers.

 

Step 14: We tested the site by shooting arrows at random distances out to 50 yards, and all the arrows were within the predicted margin of error (+ or – 2 inches in elevation). See video. Further testing was done to demonstrate both the accuracy of the site out to 50 yards and the visibility of the green laser on a bright sunny day by shooting balloons at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. See video.

 

I would certainly like our students to receive feedback on your thoughts about this concept.  We did file a provisional patent on the idea.  I can be contacted at mlgunkel@gmail.com

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Published by Casey Stutzman on 17 May 2012

Real Fitness for Bow Hunters

Here are some great additions you can make to your workout routine to keep your most deadly weapon in tune and ensure it is ready to perform during the moment of truth.

 

Choose athletic exercises

 

Simple or single joint exercises do not teach the body how to move better.  Hunters are athletes and need to train as such, choose exercises that have multiple joints moving simultaneously and require focus and concentration to perform.For example a bicep curl is very will not help a hunter move better, an exercise like a squat & row on a TRX suspension trainer or with a resistance band will have much more value.

 

·        Resistance band squat row

 

o  Loop a resistance band around a stationary object and grab both handles.  Begin standing facing the anchor point with your elbows driven back and your wrists touching the lower portion or your ribs.  Simultaneously squat and reach your arms towards the anchor point until they are straight then stand and return to the row position.  8-12 reps

 

Balance training

 

Simple balance training will challenge your nervous system and strengthen your brains ability to communicate with your muscles which will have a direct positive effect on your reaction time and reflexes.  Another added bonus is you gain better body awareness and control makes your shot routine more consistent and effective.

 

Balance training exercises;

 

·        Simple – single leg balance with eyes closed

 

o  Stand on one leg in an athletic stance and close your eyes.  Stand on a BOSU balance trainer or other unstable surface to increase the level of challenge.  Hold on each leg for 20-30 seconds, this is a great exercise to do between strength or conditioning sets as active recovery.

 

·        Advanced – Lateral bounds with stick holds

 

o  Start on your right leg and explosively bound to your left landing on your left leg covering as much distance as possible.  After landing on the left hold for 2-3 seconds trying to maintain your balance before going back to the right.  Do 8-12 reps

 

Core stability

 

we often think of shoulder strength and core stability as two different things, fact is that they are very interconnected; a stable core equals a stronger shoulders

 

Core stability Exercises;

 

·        Simple – 10 second Planks

 

o  A plank is holding a push up position.  Perform short intense 10 second reps with 3-5 sec rest between.  Make sure your toes are pulled towards your shins, your quads (front of legs) are tight, glutes (butt muscles) are tight, abs are braced (like you are about to take a punch) and shoulders are tucked back and down (towards your back pockets)

 

·        Advanced – Bird Dogs

 

o  Begin in the plank position on your elbows. Keeping the body as stable as possible lift your right arm and left leg a few inches off the ground and hold 1-2 seconds.  Return back to the start and repeat on the other side.For a greater challenge begin with a plank on the hands.  Do 8-12 reps

 

 

Cardio target shooting

 

Next time you are out at the range take a jump rope or hit up some jumping jacks for 45-60 seconds right before shooting a couple groupings.  This will elevate your heart rate and force you to get it and your breathing under control before you shoot.  This will help mimic that excited state most hunters get when they see a deer and will improve your accuracy in those situations.  It will also help strengthen your shot process by making you really concentrate on your breathing in your pre shot routine.  Bow hunters are often also pressed for time; this is a great way to stay up on your fitness while still getting in time to prepare with your bow for the season.  I also like to hold plank positions before shooting or before I start my jump roping.  This will tire out my shoulders and core, at first it might have a negative effect on your accuracy but after a while you will find that you are more sold and stable in full draw and are able to hold the position much longer without shaking.

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Published by Casey Stutzman on 17 May 2012

What should a Bow Hunter look for in Gyms of Fitness Programs

If you are a serious bow hunter than you are serious about your fitness (if not see artice on “why athletes make better bowhunters”).  Whether you are just getting into fitness to improve your hunting skills or you are looking get the most out of your current workout program, here are a couple simple suggestions to steer you in the right direction.  There are TONS of fitness offerings, finding the ones that can be the most beneficial for hunters can sometimes be tricky, use these suggestions below to find what is right for you.

·         All the skills we talked about don’t happen by sitting on machines, find workouts that take place standing and allow participants to “move in space”.  Bow hunters should be looking for more functional fitness offerings, which should not be hard since that is the new buzz in the fitness industry.  Look for places that offer things like TRX, Rip trainer, work with resistance tubes, BOSU balance trainers, medicine balls and performance/athletic training.  I am a huge fan of Kettlebells but make sure you find a place that offers a progressive program for various levels.  Kettlebells are wonderful but are a skill in themselves and take time to master.  I am not a huge fan for Crossfit but feel it can be beneficial for bow hunters if you are able to hook up with a good Crossfit trainer.  Be very careful picking a Crossfit gym, to find the right one for you do your homework and talk to people in your area. Many of the popular Crossfit exercises and workouts require mastery of some basic skills before attempting; when you turn 16 you don’t hit the track at Daytona right after getting your license, find a location that has a progressive system for getting new members involved.   Look for a Crossfit gym that does not have beginners doing any Olympic lifting and encourages short strength workouts and rest days not just met cons day after day.

·         If you are already active take your training to the next level by getting off the machines and incorporating exercises on items like the BOSU balance trainer and TRX suspension trainer into your workout, you can find great TRX trainers and gyms at www.trxdirectory.com  Try doing your cardio by running or bike riding outside for some new variety.   Participating in more performance based workouts will help you increase your athletic machine and vastly improve your bow hunting.  These workout are also fun and very engaging making time at the gym very enjoyable.  A simple way to do this on your own is adding reaction components into your exercises. To find a great local performance trainer look for professionals that hold a Combine360 certification you can find them at www.combine360.com

·         Look into myofascial release techniques to help improve posture and recover from long and numerous sits in the stand.  Lots of personal training studios and specialty fitness business are now offering classes and sessions on the foam roller, some even offer body work by trained professionals.  This is also something you can do on your own where ever you choose to workout but it will take some research.  One of my favorite companies that deliver great MFR products and education for athletes is Trigger Point Therapy www.tptherapy.com

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Published by bowhunter1922 on 01 May 2012

Nocked-Outdoors

Looking for reviews on specific products? Need advice or hunting strategies? Unsure of what to get to help you in the woods? Want answers? Go to www.nocked-outdoors.blogspot.com and ask questions. Make requests for reviews anytime. Always get an open opinion to help you make those big hunting decisions. Check it out today. Leave comments or ask for specific things. Don’t make that big crutial decision alone.

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Published by archerchick on 21 Apr 2012

My Introduction To ELK ~By Tim Dehn

My Introduction To ELK By Tim Dehn
Bowhunting World FEBRUARY 1990
Like many bowhunters, I’ve dreamed for years of hunting elk. That’s an appetite increased by the elk hunting manuscripts I review each month for possible use in Bowhunting World.
Some of the best have been submitted by Pat Meitin, who grew up in New Mexico and today lives part of the year there, part of the year with his parents in Lubbock, Texas.  Meitin wrote Choose When To Bugle for the October 1989 issue and Elk Hunting’s Agony And Ecstasy for our 1989-90 Bowhunting Guide.
What came through both those articles, and through letters and calls back and forth, was Meitin’s respect for the quarry and considerable skill in hunting them successfully.  So when Meitin offered to introduce me to New Mexico’s elk, my only concern was whether I could meet the challenge.
This would be nothing like hunting whitetails or small game in my native Minnesota.  If we drew permits for a game rich area of the Gila wilderness, we’d be camping on the perimeter and hiking the better part of each day in search of elk.  In the semi open country I’d need to be able to shoot well at least to 40 yards, Meiten said, and 50 would be better.  He warned me to expect plenty of walking.
Yes the staff here could spare me for a week, And yes, I assured my wife, most of the gear I’d need to buy would be put to use later for family camping trips.  I made the April 27 permit application deadline and a few weeks later got the word we’d been drawn.  Then I started whittling away at a rather considerable equipment list.  Obviously I couldn’t hunt a magnificent animal like elk in the camo clothing I’d bought piece-meal over the past few years.  Two shirts, fleece and poly/cotton pants, and lightweight gloves came out of the checkbook.  Hiking boots, an external frame backpack and  the camping gear to fill it were put on the charge card.
The card came out again when I found that boosting my bow’s draw weight by 10 pounds totally destroyed the good braodhead flight I’d enjoyed the previous year.  With the extra string, tab, broadheads and sight pins I needed anyway, the pro shop visits set me back $120. I had to invest in a better rest and new arrows to solve my tuning problems, but the people at Bwana Archery in St. Paul made sure that bow could shoot!
Ready To Hunt
And so could I, at least good enough to satisfy Meitin I’d have a chance at a bull if they were still in the areas he’d scouted the previous two weeks.  Meitin had met me at the Albuquerque airport and then stopped at a friend’s house in Socorro to pick up his own gear and get in some last-minute practice.
“Let’s see how your bow shoots at altitude,” he said, meaning, I think, “Let’s see if this desk jockey can hit anything? I found his cam bow, Catquiver, single pin, ultra-light shafts and Zwickey broad- heads a strange combination of high-tech and traditional. He shook his head over my launcher-style rest, wrist sling, bow sling, bow quiver and four pins set for 20 through 50 yards.
“You sure do have a lot of gadgets on that bow.” Stocking up on gas and food, we filled the back of the 4-wheel-drive Toyota and headed west toward Magdalena. The 1988 rig was on loan from Steven Tiesdale, Meitin explained, a friend from Lubbock who would be up to hunt the following week. Quiet and comfortable, it would have lulled me to sleep without Meitin’s lively tales of trapping and guiding in the Gila National Forest we were winding through. Camp was an abandoned shack a few miles from the boundary of the sub-unit we’d drawn.
We tumbled into our sleeping bags under a sky filled with more stars than I’d ever seen before, thanks to the 7,000 foot elevation. Hours seemed more like minutes before the 4:15 alarm brought hurried preparations for a morning afield. It was opening day of New Mexico’s 1989 archery elk season. Meitin had spotted a herd the week before on a mesa within a couple miles of the wilderness boundary. Hiking past another camp we headed out on one of the many marked trails used by hikers and the ranchers who lease grazing rights there.
As the sky began to lighten we heard hunters bugle behind us, but no elk. So we kept moving farther from the road, deeper into the wilderness where motorized traffic is banned. And then we saw them. Distant dots on a hillside resolved into feeding elk as we focused our binoculars. They were a mile and half away, across at least two ridges and three draws. We trotted downhill, and I labored up, suddenly conscious of the altitude and the weight of my well-equipped bow. By the time we reached the peak of the second ridge I was drenched in sweat and struggling to try and match Meitin’s combination of speed and stealth.
Then I heard him. Awesome, thrilling, magical — how do you describe the first moment you hear an elk bugle? I stood there transfixed till Meitin whispered. “Come on. He’s right up ahead .” The bull was upwind not more than 100 yards from us. We could smell elk, and I confess to thinking “Hey, this is easier than I thought.” We quietly cut the distance to 40 yards, to where we could see the waving top of the cedar he was shredding just over a rise. But we could also see four cows and a calf between us and the bull, and as they moved slowly in front of our still forms the wind changed. One of the cows winded us and the whole group trotted down the canyon. We were in hot pursuit, keeping brush between us and them, when Meitin signaled a sudden halt.
Bedded in the bottom of a canyon, ignored by the elk striding by, was a solitary cow elk. We climbed a ridge to skirt the cow, then we had a bit of luck. The small herd we were chasing bumped into another group of elk in the same canyon and as the bulls bugled back and forth to keep their cows collected, we caught up to them. We crouched under the limbs of a tree, arrows nocked, as one of the herds moved in front of us. They were alert, but unsure of our location.
We were pinned, with no cover for approach and no way way to retreat. Meitin hissed at me when I started to draw on the bull, so I waited, only to watch the monarch round up his ladies and head further down the canyon. All we could do was lay back and stretch our cramped and aching legs. “Why didn’t we shoot?” I asked. “They had to be within 30 yards .”
“Didn’t you hear me whisper 60’?” he replied. We had to pace it off before I would believe it: 63 yards from where we crouched to where the 5×5 bull had stood broadside. lt’s size had fooled me. The elk disappeared as they bedded, and Meitin and I did the same. I dozed fitfully in the heat, dreaming of elk all around me. I could hear them walking and munching grass, but couldn’t wake up. When I did, Meitin and I shared some crackers, a candy bar and a few swallows of water.
We hunted back towards the truck, a distance that seemed far further because there were no elk to lure us on and there was so little in our stomachs. The spring had long ago gone out of my steps and by dusk my right knee was signalling a halt. We reached the truck two hours later. The next morning when the first of Meitin’s three alarms began to chirp I awoke to find my knee red and swollen. I had visions of spending the rest of the hunt hobbling around camp but a few aspirin and a few hours later I was mobile again.
Meitin told me about a far mesa where he`d scouted a bachelor herd of bulls, if l didn’t mind getting wet. We parked our rig by two others and dropped down a 20-foot sheer cliff into a river bottom, fording and refording the water that wound down between the distant banks. The sun was shining, there were wild flowers all about and the periodic dunkings actually felt good. We left the river to follow a rocky streambed toward the mesa, then cut up the hillside toward the top. My lungs were burning as I breathed fast and deep in the thin air.
Glassing across the canyon we were climbing out of, Meitin spotted one bull bedded below a dead tree and four others feeding about it. The next 90 minutes were the most exciting I’ve spent as a hunter. We skirted the head of the canyon and tried to pick a route to the bedded 5×5. The mesa had few trees and we kept having to retreat to keep cover between us and our quarry, as additional elk seemed to sprout from the trees and threaten to expose us.
“There’s too many bulls,” Meitin smiled ruefully, heading back toward the canyon rim where we could use the slope of the land to cover our approach. Now most of the feeding elk were to our right, the dozing bull straight ahead. We dropped our packs and made the last 300 yards on hands and knees, avoiding the loose rocks and small cactus. Our last cover was a cedar no taller than ourselves. Meitin whispered the range. “Forty yards. When that feeding bull lowers its head, take your shot .” I tried to still my pounding heart as I rose and the bedded bull came into view. The arrow bounced off the rest but the moleskin saved me. I was able to draw without being spotted.
I picked a spot about one-third of the way up the bull’s chest, finished a prayer, re-leased.  And watched in disbelief as the arrow struck the bull ’s hind hoof where it lay folded against his chest. He was up and away before I could connect with a second shot, and if Meitin had suggested digging a grave I would have climbed right in. The angry bull led eight others off the mesa. We followed for half a mile, to pick up the arrow and satisfy ourselves the wound was not serious, then climbed back up to figure out what had gone wrong.
“You were shooting good this morning. Maybe I had the range wrong,” Meitin said. I was convinced he had, but kept my mouth shut about it. A few minutes later I was glad I hadn’t tried to duck the blame. I paced the distance off at 41 yards. Meitin’s long legs made it 39. I’d simply used the wrong pin. There wasn’t much time to worry about it. The thunderstorm we’d seen building for the past hour was starting to sweep across the mesa, and Meitin claimed an aversion to being struck by lightning.
The rain-slicked slopes wouldn’t support us so we followed the streambed down. Water slides can be fun, but not in the gloom when you’re carrying a bow and pack. The moss-covered rocks were treacherously slick. The third time I fell it was in a pool up to my chest. I had decided the night before that Meitin could see in the dark. Now I accused him of being part mountain goat.
Wet and cold, we pushed through the willows that choked the lower part of the stream bed and found where a mountain lion had pulled a big mule deer down. “Great,” I thought, “If if do break my leg I’d probably get eaten before morning.” We huddled under a tree in the river bottom, ate the last of our trail food and began the long walk downstream. The water was higher, faster, and colder and I counted how many crossings we made on the way out. Seventeen.
In The Fog The next morning we awoke to a thick blanket of fog. We were out before dawn anyway, following game trails through the dew- laden grass where elk had gone before us as they climbed out of a river bottom. Fresh rubs enticed us on, but the bulls weren’t bugling and there was no way to find them in the fog. Instead of spooking what might be just ahead, we huddled beneath some bushes until the mid-morning sun broke through. I was glad I’d followed Meitin’s advice about bringing something warm and waterproof — a Stormtek fleece parka from Fieldline.
It was late afternoon before we spotted elk, three cows and calves feeding in a valley. Constantly checking the wind with a plastic scent bottle he’d refilled with talcum powder, Meitin led the stalk. We froze when a 250- pound calf appeared on the opposite side of a
 bush, 8 yards from me and even closer to my partner. “If you want to take a cow, that’s okay with me,” Meitin had whispered minutes before. So I drew as one stopped in a downhill opening 35 yards away. and mentally chalked her up. We’d been seeing bulls everyday and midway through the hunt it was too hard to give up the hoped-for rack.
We headed back through another rain-storm, lightning striking the high mesa around us. Warming up with a cup of hot chocolate back at camp, Meitin checked the map of our hunting area. “You know where we saw the cows, and then crossed the fence at the bottom of the canyon. The map says that ’s eight miles from where we parked the truck.” “So we walked 16 miles today?” “Plus some wandering around  he responded.
Tuesday started off with promise. Driving to an area we’d hunted two days before, we caught elk in the headlamps. A small herd, including an average bull, was leaving a river- bottom pasture and a frantic calf couldn`t find its way through the fence. We parked the truck out of sight and hurried uphill, hoping to catch up with the bull at dawn. Waiting on the ridge we heard him bugle below us and decided to give chase. The herd passed us halfway down and it turned into an uphill race again, with more hunters joining from the road below.
Meitin fumed at their repeated bugling and cow talking; it seemed to quiet, not encourage the bull in front of us. We were within 60 yards of the 240 bull, a spike and two cows when the leader decided he had enough and chased his charges over the hill. They were out of sight down the ridge when we reached the top. Two receding bugles kept us pounding along until Meitin screeched to a sudden halt. We’d burst into a herd of cattle and with a stomp and a snort an old cow stampeded the lot of them down the ridge, directly after the elk.
There followed a short discussion on the merits of cattle and of how satisfying it might be to blunt a particular cow. There were still elk to be hunted. With Meitin`s direction I could pick out the tan blobs with my Steiner’s at a range of three miles. but we needed a break.
We drove 40 miles into town and filled up with gas and cheap burritos, then returned to our unit to check two hunting areas close to the road. Both had plenty of bowhunters. Dirty and a little discouraged, we decided to take a rancher up on an earlier offer of a hot shower. We got wet all right, but it wasn’t quite what we expected.
Blocking a river crossing in front of us was an older El Camino with Wisconsin plates. Pulling it out was a new four wheel drive Chevy pickup and three helpful Florida bowhunters. We smiled as the Toyota cruised through with no problems, but 30 minutes later our expressions had changed. The rancher wasn’t home, and the river had doubled in size by the time we returned to the crossing. Rain upstream was swelling it by the minute.
Bowhunters from two rigs watched as we eased into the water and then punched it.  We made it all of one-third of the way across before the engine drowned. Water was lapping at the hood as we crawled out of the windows. It took agonizing minutes for our would-be rescuers to hook together their chains and tie a rope to the end. When Meitin leaned into the torrent to catch the rope his feet were swept out from under him. He caught at a bush; I caught his wrist. Then we both fought the current and the branches it was sweeping along to get the chain hooked to the top of the bumper.
Moments later we were out of the flood with the Toyota bumper bent a crazy angle. The engine compartment was packed with pine cones, sticks and bark. It took us 30 minutes to get the motor going, rising water lapping at our feet like a reminder of the mistake we’d made in challenging this rugged land.
Down To The Wire
We slept-in the next moming. I was down to two days but not yet discouraged. Meitin had been getting us within range every day; now all we needed was a change in luck that would bring him another trophy bull or me my first elk. That afternoon we parked near a roadside hunting camp and headed up a dry wash, then followed a winding ridge into the wilderness area.
We skirted a video crew and followed the fresh tracks past wallows and beaten cedars. It wasn`t long before we heard, then saw. cow elk just over a rise. They were 35 yards away and should have been easy targets, but our greed got in the way. The herd bull was approaching and we stayed crouched over, then slowly rose when he passed behind some cover 40 yards away. Not slowly enough, apparently.
The bull took his herd out of there in a hurry. We blew a second stalk, this time on a lone cow. That was too much for Meitin. “I couldn’t stalk a dead dog this week,” he said, throwing his bow to the ground. But the elk weren’t through with us.
Turning for home we stopped on top of a ridge and spotted more elk across a canyon. We hurried after them and snuck within 80 yards before running out of cover. Crouched behind a tree, Meitin alternately bugled and cow talked to try and bring the elk off the wooded hillside and within range. There was a rag bull, about 10 cows and a wall hanger that Meiten estimated would score 340 or better.
Every time one of the cows would head our way the big bull would round it up like an angry sheepdog. Before long he got them into a bunch and literally prodded them over the hill and out of sight. It was getting dark fast, and we were in for a nasty surprise. A shortcut back to the truck turned into one canyon after another, some so steep they sent us doubling back. It didn’t help that my compass and Meitin`s dead reckoning didn’t agree.
“I don’t know which direction North is. I just know where the truck 1s.” He was right, but it was midnight before we knew it. If grit alone were rewarded, we should have gotten an animal the next day. Because dawn found us in the woods again, trailing elk up from the river bottom. We caught the group within a mile of the road, close to a fresh rub we’d seen the day before. But there ’s a big difference between seeing elk and getting close enough to shoot.
We were still 50 yards from the cows and another 30 from the bull when they got suspicious and moved out. Meitin kept us on the fresh trail and four miles later we caught them moving up a wooded valley. We moved down the hillside, keeping in the sun so the rising thermals would carry our scent from them. Then, some motion or sound betrayed us and again our quarry strode over the ridge. We hunted into evening, but not as intensely. I tried to drink in the scenery, the majestic pines, the blue mist on the distant mountains, the rosy sunset. They were part of the memories that were all I would be bringing back. They were enough.
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Published by archerchick on 13 Apr 2012

Erv Plotz Hard to Keep this Bowhunter Down on The Farm by Jay Strangis

Erv Plotz Hard to Keep this Bowhunter Down on The Farm by Jay Strangis
Bowhunting World April 1990
Erv Plotz says he’s had his hunts and he’s settling down. No more playing tag with grizzly bears. No more chasing ghosts in the desert. No more freezing toes with Eskimos or fistfights in frontier lodges. No. Erv Plotz is fifty years old and he’s giving up the wild life. And why not? Not every world-class bow-hunter is able to retire to the peace of a Minnesota farm when he’s given up the chase. Just because that farm is home — always has been. It`s where he plans to live quietly the rest of his days, he says. And if anyone believes that, they also must believe muskox can fly.
An unlikely combination of farmer-trophy hunter, Plotz  has bowhunted on two continents, taken countless big game animals, placed nine trophies in the Pope and Young record book and notched several bow hunting firsts. People like Erv Plotz don’t just fade away. Try as he might to act reserved, the man still has  an uncontrolled “let’s go hunting”  look in his eye. A gleam that he’s no doubt carried throughout his 36 years as a bow-hunter, and one that’s not likely to dim. He probably displayed that gleam at age 14, while making his first bow.
Denied any use of guns, the farm boy decided he’d do like Native American Indians. The lemonwood limbs he fashioned were crude, as were the arrows he carved from dowels, with chicken feathers for fletching. But by the time he reached ninth grade, he had bow-killed his first deer. The man with a passion for bow-hunting and adventure has bow-killed 46 whitetails since.
Throughout Plotz’ life, others have seemed to identify his adventurous spirit, and the connection has resulted in some memorable experiences. When he joined the military in the l950s, he was sent to Europe. Of course, his bow accompanied him and his target shooting time actually increased. Plotz shot every day, and the longbow became a trademark of the young man. Native Europeans witnessing his skill and hearing of his passion for hunting, couldn’t resist inviting him into the field.
One such invitation came in France, where Plotz earned honors as the first modern bowhunter in Europe to kill a wild boar. He also arrowed a roe deer. Good fortune never has been in short supply for Plotz. An Austrian man whose family survived on American
C-rations during World War II met Plotz and his commanding sergeant, insisting that he take the two on a chamois hunt as a token of his gratitude. They accepted, and Plotz took a 13-year-old chamois ram in a hunt amidst the Austrian peaks. Today such a hunt is comparable to that for North America’s desert bighorn sheep, accessible only to the very lucky, or the very rich.
License To Brag
At home in the sleepy town of Clements, Minnesota, Erv Plotz sits at a dining room table, and directs his eyes past the buildings that house his hogs, across the sweeping soy-bean fields that line the horizon. He grew up in that direction, just two miles away, and like an old buck, he`s spent his life in the same territory, with an occasional foray beyond. Behind Plotz, on the other side of the farmyard, is a grassy area he uses to practice archery. He’s fired many arrows over that ground, most with a bare bow, the way his childhood idol, Howard Hill, had.
Only in the last two years has he shot with a compound bow. As a matter of fact, of the 14 bow-killed animals in Plotz’ trophy room, only his pronghorn antelope was taken using sights. Plotz still likes to handle the bow he used for many years, a 102—pound longbow made for him by Martin Archery. He’s also shot recurve and longbows by Bear Archery and Paul Bunyan Archery, but the Martin bow is a part of Plotz’ most memorable adventures. In fact, the bow itself, combined with Plotz’ ego, earned hunts in some very strange ways. On a hunt for stone sheep in British Columbia, Plotz first turned the bow to his advantage, even though his sheep hunt was a rifle kill.
Outfitter Frank Cook, Plotz` host and one of the most notable guides of the region. took a look at the longbow Plotz carried with him and scoffed at its 102-pound draw weight and slender design. Cook called the bow “a stick” and offered to wager that his son who would arrive in a few days could break the bow. Never one to avoid a good argument. Plotz accepted, but changed the terms of the wager. All Cook’s son had to do was pull the bow to win. At stake was the cost of a moose hunt. Plotz shot his stone sheep on the eighth day of the hunt. He was elated, but that soon turned to a case of nerves after Cook`s son arrived. The boy weighed more than 250 pounds and was as strong as an ox. The moment of truth had arrived. The bow looked like a toothpick in the hands of the overgrown youth. But as he prepared to draw he made one mistake. Instead of raising his elbow to draw the bow, he held the joint against his body and tried to draw from the hip, without raising the bow at all.
After the second attempt Plotz said he knew the moose hunt was his. The boy tired so much in the first two tries there was no way he would succeed if he pulled all day. Only a few years later, another run-in with a critic of Plotz’ bow would lead to a hunt for a trophy mountain lion. The “doubting Thomas” this time turned out to be a Canadian government cat hunter from the Kettle River area of British Columbia. Plotz met the man in a bar and had to listen to him cast insults at the bow’s ability to still a lion. Plotz argued with the man and invited him to “bring on the cat.”
The next day Plotz found himself waist deep in snow following a bunch of rough and ready cat hounds. He reached the treed lion first, but as agreed, had to wait for the government hunter and his pals to arrive to witness the shot. The cougar turned out to be the largest cat taken in Canada up to that time, scoring 14 11/16 P&Y points, weighing 147 pounds and measuring 92.5 inches from nose to tail.
Getting Physical
Plotz and his wife, Donna, have five children. Erv Plotz is especially proud of his sons. He says the boys are tough, and it`s obvious that’s important to him. Erv Plotz is a pretty tough customer him-self. At 50, he’s in better shape than many people half his age. Hard work has kept him that way. When the farm economy slumped. Plotz started a part-time hardwood logging business, a job which nearly cost him his life last year.
Felling huge ash trees in a boggy area with one of his sons, Plotz was struck by a misguided tree. The trunk pinned his leg against the ground, breaking it, and as the angered logger thrashed to pull himself free, he broke his arm against another tree.
One might say Erv Plotz is the physical sort. He also makes friends in strange ways. In a lodge at God’s Lake, Northwest Territories. Plotz happened to mix words with a stranger, another U.S. citizen. The two finished their debate with fisticuffs, but parted company  peacefully. So much so that months later Plotz got a call from another man inviting him on a Canadian fishing trip, and eventually their friendship led them to plan an Alaskan sheep hunt.
Plotz response:    ” When you go hunting you really meet super guys. I think hunters are a very elite group, the best people, especially bowhunters.”
Bringing ’em Back
Erv and Donna Plotz’ traditional attractive farmhouse looks like many other Mid-western country homes – until one gets inside. Past the friendly kitchen and through a warm dining room a menagerie of critters wait to greet the visitor. More than a trophy room, the Plotz’ living room resembles a natural history museum.
A full mounted grizzly bear guards the door to the patio, closely attended bythe full mount of Plotz’ British Columbia lion. On other walls, whitetail, caribou, pronghorn, mountain goat and sheep heads keep watch, while a full-mounted desert bighorn sheep perches on a corner rockpile, replete with a barrell cactus.
Perhaps the strangest creature of all, and certainlythe only one ever to grace the town of Clements, dominates the room: A full-mounted muskox. The muskox holds special significance for Plotz.
It is , he says, the first muskox ever killed by a white man in the Northwest Territories of Canada. It also ranked second in the world, at one time, among Pope and Young records. Plotz got a tip about the special muskox hunt from Jack Atcheson, a taxidermist in Butte Montana.
In February 1980, Plotz found himself accompanied by three rifle hunters who also held permits, two game wardens and seven Eskimos on a wild trip across the frozen tundra on 12-foot wooden sleds pulled by snow-mobile, with only snow drifts to guide them. The natives don’t use compasses, Plotz notes, finding their way by observing the prevailing winds’ imprint on the drifts.
That night, among a village of Eskimos, Plotz` and his bow attracted considerable atention. The natives were fascinated by the idea of a man who might kill a muskox with an arrow. The flattery couldn’t stem P1otz’ worries. He wasn`t sure what would happen when he loaded-up the 102-pound bow at 38 degrees below zero. The next day he got his answer.
Travelling with a native guide, Plotz and the man spotted a dark figure alone on the sea of white. Muskox! They circled for an upwind stalk after identifying the animal as what looked to be a large. bedded bull. They got within yards of the beast and the guide told Plotz to shoot as soon as the animal gained its feet. But at a temperature of almost 40 below, even the guides hollering couldn’t bring the animal from its bed.
When it finally arose, Plotz killed the 103 2/8 trophy. Only one other hunter succeeded in killing a muskox on that hunt, that with a rifle. Plotz` ever-changing luck took a sudden turn when he developed food poisoning from the native cuisine. He left camp only to be detained later by customs officials at Edmonton. Alberta, who confiscated his trophy and gear. Seems they hadn’t heard a rare muskox hunt had been established. It took Plotz more  than a day to resolve the situation.
Versatile Hunter
Erv Plotz loves to bowhunt. But over the years he’s also developed skills as a rifle hunter. One of the accomplishments that brings him the most pride is the completion of a Grand Slam for sheep in just three and one-half years. To complete the Grand Slam, Plotz needed 1 desert bighorn. In a wild piece of luck, he was one of six hunters drawn to hunt the trophy   animals in Arizona, and he hoped that his fourth sheep species would be the first he would take with a bow.
Plotz prepared for the hunt for four months, running over 12 miles each day on the dusty roads surrounding Clements, contacting  any  person who might help narrow down locations for a trophy desert bighorn,   practicing with his bow. By the time the December hunt came along, he was ready. Plotz learned that an Arizona game warden knew the general location of a ram with world record potential.
The warden had photographed the sheep in the Mount Wilson area. Upon seeing the photo, Plotz became obsessed. Interested in the novelty of bowhunting desert sheep, a crowd organized to assist Plotz in his pursuit. The game warden with the photograph took two weeks vacation to attend the hunt. The president of the Bighom Sheep Society would serve as guide and a flock of outfitters would come along to assist.
It was a big sheep camp to chase just one ram, but this was big territory. According to the game warden, the 2,000 square miles they could hunt held just 12 legal rams. The party never did find the once-photo- graphed monster sheep, but did manage to locate a very large ram which Plotz, bow in hand, stalked unsuccessfully four times before the animal finally left the territory.
Days later, when they finally spotted another good ram, Plotz knew the time had come to put away the bow and take out the rifle. His companions were furious. They had come all this way to see the sheep bow-killed. Plotz resisted the pressure. His permit allowed him to take the ram with a rifle, and he was through risking a rare Grand Slam just to appease his ego and the egos of his companions. He might never have this chance again if he lived 10 lifetimes. The next day, he carried the entire sheep, gutted, out on his back — Erv Plotz style.
Wh0’s Stalking Whom
The moose hunt Erv Plotz won years earlier never did produce an animal for him. A world-record class bull had been spotted, but between tangled country and overly aggressive young guides, Plotz’ yearning for a record book moose continued to be only that, a yearning. Seventeen days of brush-battling scratches and frozen toes sent him home only hungrier.
He returned to the northwest several years later. this time Alaska. with hopes of hanging that moose and a grizzly bear. Bowhunting the Christmas Creek area near Nome, Plotz sighted many grizzlies, and one morning saw a path to a stalk. The bear was out in the muskeg, a spongy area where travel was slow, but the low brush offered a chance for an open shot. After sneaking within range, he let go an arrow that zipped low, parting the belly hairs of the giant bruin. Startled, the bear began looking for its adversary, advancing in a slow, circling stalk of its own.
Plotz was unnerved. He managed to escape, but vowed not to put himself in such a spot again. Several days later he bagged a grizzly with his rifle. In the same camp, several hunters returned one day to report seeing a large bull moose on a small lake a short plane flight away. Plotz and the bush pilot took off immediately, knowing if they could spot the animal and land, they would have to sit out the r quired waiting period before legally pursuing the bull. Wind and bad weather greeted them as they reached the lake and spotted the bull. The pilot refused to land under the conditions. With no way to estimate the direction of mountain wind currents on the way down, an attempted landing could prove fatal.
Plotz would likely have jumped from the plane if he hadn’t had another idea. Snatching an arrow from his quiver, he tied a long ribbon to the fletching and dropped it over a gravel slide. The arrow planted itself firmly in the escarpment and the ribbon tailed away with the wind. With their windsock in place, the two put down safely on the lake. Plotz arrowed the bull, a 182 2/8 trophy, the next day, but the weather worsened and for three more days the hunter and pilot remained trapped with the moose carcass under the Alaskan fog.
Closer To Home
In addition to his adventures shooting three P&Y caribou and a P&Y pronghorn antelope with his bow, Erv Plotz takes great pride in the hunting he grew up with near home. Redwood County, Minnesota, is whitetail deer country — farmland, that holds more crop than anything else —where fence-lines mean cover and tiny sloughs hold giant bucks. Several miles away is the lush, forested Minnesota River valley. But Plotz says the bucks prefer the sparse upland habitat most of the year. He might know. Plotz’ many whitetail bow-kills include three P&Y qualifying bucks, with the best two of the three listed in the record book. Vacant groves, creeks and other islands of habitat hold the biggest deer in Redwood County, by Plotz’ estimation. The bucks may like to visit the vast river bottoms on occa- sion, but they don’t like to stay there, he says. He prefers to stalk the deer when he can, or take a ground blind where line fences meet small sloughs.
Last year he spotted what he called a “super buck,” but was unable to bowhunt following his logging accident. The gleam returns to the wild man ’s eye — he ’s checked with every meat locker in the county — the buck wasn’t taken before the season came to a close.
Always Something More
Cutting through the reserved exterior of the new Erv Plotz isn’t difficult, just mention elk or carp, two critters that light him up like a firecracker. For seven years Plotz has been chasing bull elk on an acquaintance’s 10,000-acre spread in Montana, and for seven years he has failed to score. Of course, he doesn’t want to just kill any elk any way. He wants a six by six or better, and he’s going to kill it with a bow.
He’s already practicing with one of his sons for the fall trip, and advising the boy that if he can’t hit the vitals at 60 yards, don’t bother coming to hunt. The area Plotz hunts is wide open country, with lots of bulls and very little cover.
Plotz now shoots an Oneida Screaming Eagle compound, something he picked up a couple of years ago, the same time he first began using sights. He says it just seemed like the time to start catching up with the advantages most other bowhunters enjoyed in speed and range. The feeling is enforced by his experiences watch- ing bull elk on the outside of his bow range.
Elk and a funny looking fish have little in common, except to Plotz. He`s been bowfishing carp for years in the springtime, and gets that crazy look when the subject arises. He wants a big carp as much as that big bull elk. As a matter of fact, he’s planning to shoot a new state record carp to add to the 40 and 42- pound fish he’s already harvested, and he says he knows where the big carp lives.
Seated at his dining room table under a mounted 40 pound carp, Plotz seems almost relaxed as he summarizes his career. “The farming hasn’t been as good as the hunting,” he quips. And he speaks of his 50 years as if it’s a lifetime come to an end —all the good luck and bad luck, close calls and the many people he’s met over the years. Suddenly, he perks up. Seems there’s this giant muskie waiting for him up at Lake of the Woods, Ontario, and he’s just got to get up there as soon as possible and catch that fish. The gleam is back.
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Published by archerchick on 12 Apr 2012

Texas Record Book Weekend- By Thomas L Torget

Texas Record Book Weekend – By Thomas L. Torget
Archery World February 1989

Two Florida Archers Arrive At A Sprawling South Texas Ranch For a Weekend Bowhunt. They leave with THREE Pope and Young Whitetails. Is This Place Special?

For George Cooper, “buck fever’”, is
something that happens to the other
guy. After taking almost 100 deer during
the last 30 years of hunting, George is pretty relaxed
when facing yet another routine shot at yet
another routine buck.

At least, that’s how it used to be. Things changed dramatically at 9 a.m.
last October 11. That is when George was overwhelmed
with all the classic symptoms of this dreaded

hunter’s disease: dry rnouth, pounding heart
high blood pressure, shortness of breath,
sweaty palms and trembling fingers.

ln short, Cooper was completaly unglued.
“I had adrenaline up to my eyeballs!” admits
the veteran Florida bowhunter, “I.was so
shaken up I Was sure I’d have a heart attack
and crash right out of my, stand, I’ve.never
been so rattled in my life. It was horrible.”
The cause of all this emotion was a solitary
whitetail buck. When the deer lifted its, head
high as it stood 80 yards away, Cooper knew
this buck was special. Its thick rack sported
10 enormous tines that seemed to reach toward
the south Texas sky. As the buck stepped
out and began moving down the trail, the bow
hunter eased into position fo ra shot.

“There were several does and smaller
bucks nearby when I first saw him,” he
explains. “He walked slowly toward the pond in
front of my stand. When he reached the water’s
edge and lowered his head for a drink, he
was just 15 yards away. I tried drawing my 80-
pound bow, but l was shaking badly. The arrow
rattled against the rest and the sudden
noise spooked all the deer.”

The big buck, however, did not panic. He
slowly trotted off, stopping 45 yards away.
When the deer tumed broadisde and glanced
back toward the pond, Cooper didn’t hesitate.
He held his 40-yard sight pin behind the
buck’s shoulder and let the arrow fly.

“I flubbed the shot badly,” he concedes.
“I was sure he was 40 yards out, but he was
actually closer to 50. My arrow sailed right
under his chest and off he went. I felt totally
miserable about screwing up such an opportunity.
Bowhunters don’t get chances like that
every day. In fact, most of us never see a buck
that big, much less get a shot at him.”
Five minutes later, the impossible happened:

The big buck came back. As the
whitetail paused at the water’s edge just 18
yards from Cooper’s stand, the shaken bow-
hunter was determined not to miss again. The
buck was quartering slightly toward the
hunter as his arrow drove through both lungs,
putting the buck down for good after a 150-
yard sprint.

As Cooper stood over his magnificent trophy,
he had to pinch himself to be certain all
this was real and not just a bowhunter’s
dreamland fantasy. The events of the past
three days certainly seemed unreal. Cooper
and his hunting companion, Hal Arve, had
come to the Kenedy Ranch in south Texas for a
weekend bowhunt. They fully expected to see
plenty of deer and they were optimistic that
they’d locate some good bucks. But these veteran
bowhunters knew how slim the odds
were they’d be able to arrow a Pope and
Young record-book whitetail. So as Cooper
stared down at his incredible trophy, their
third of the weekend, a reality test pinch
seemed appropriate.

Reality Strikes
The adventure began several months ear-
lier when Cooper and Arve decided to travel
to Texas to hunt the largely unknown Kenedy
Ranch. From the perspective of a whitetail
deer hunter, this place is like no other. Headquartered
60 miles south of Corpus Christi,
the ranch covers 400,000 acres of some of the
finest deer habitat in Texas, a state that’s home
to more than 20 percent of all America’s
whitetails. And most amazing of all, the ranch
went virtually unhunted for more than a century. Hunting by anyone other than family
members and friends didn’t begin until 1986
when Sarita Safaris, Inc. , an outfitter based in
Corpus Christi, obtained commercial hunting
rights to some 66,000 acres of the ranch. That
year, 52 rifle hunters harvested 62 bucks that
averaged 6.5 years of age. Almost 30 percent
of the bucks taken scored between 145-166
Boone and Crockett points. Only seven of the
62 bucks taken scored fewer than 130 points.
How ’s that for a season’s harvest?

As the 1987 whitetail season drew near,
Sarita Safaris began receiving inquiries about
bowhunting opportunities on the ranch. A
bowhunting program was established and
Cooper and Arve were told they’d be welcome
to test their luck during Texas’ October
archery season.

“We arrived Thursday night, October 8,”
says Arve, a 36—year-old insurance salesman
from Homestead, Florida. “George had
hunted the ranch with a rifle the year before
and had told me it had plenty of big bucks. We
were really excited about the prospect of taking
a record—book whitetail with our bows.”

“This may sound crazy,” adds Cooper, a
50-year—old farm machinery dealer from
Princeton, Florida, “but the toughest challenge
we faced was making sure we didn’t
shoot the wrong deer! There are plenty of
young bucks on the ranch in addition to the
very mature bucks that are six to eight years
old. When you’re not used to seeing so many
mature whitetails, a three or four·year-old
eight—pointer can be very tempting. So we
made sure we spent the first day just looking
over what was available. We kept reminding
ourselves to be patient.

Friday morning Cooper and Arve were
both in treestands before daylight. Perched
high in their mesquite trees, they saw plenty
of deer, including several excellent bucks. But
neither archer was offered a close-range shot
at the buck he wanted. Arve watched a mas-
sive 10-pointer pass within 25 yards of his
stand, but a limb obstructed his shooting lane,
preventing a shot.

Saturday afternoon Cooper drove around
the ranch with guide Mike Mireles in an effort
to locate a big buck that might be stalked. The
pair found a handsome 10-point buck and
Cooper managed to sneak to within 40 yards.
After evaluating the buck’s rack, however, he
chose to let the deer pass in hopes of finding
something better on Sunday morning.
Arve, meanwhile, was back in his treestand.
At 7 p.m., he watched a beautiful 10-
point buck approach slowly toward the water
hole in front of his stand.

“He sparred pretty good with a big nine-
pointer,” says Arve. “He really intimidated
that other buck. After their bout, the 10-
pointer walked to the edge of the water and
lowered his head to drink. He was 20 yards
away and I knew this was my chance.”

The arrow launched from the 75-pound
overdraw bow struck the buck in the neck,
severing the jugular. The deer raced around
the pond and into the thick grove of oaks before
piling up 150 yards from Arve`s stand.
The whitetail’s rack scored 135 Pope and
Young points, easily surpassing the 125-point
minimum for a typical whitetail.

“I was really proud of that deer,” beams
Arve. “I’d taken 10 whitetails with a bow pre-
viously, the best being an 11-pointer I arrowed
near Lake Okeechobee in central Florida.
But none of those deer compared to this
one. This was a real mature trophy — six and
a half years old.”

Don Quixote
Sunday morning found Cooper perched
atop a unique “treestand” he’d constructed
out of a pair of two-by-ten boards.
“I wanted to hunt a spot where a game trail
passed close to a water hole,” he explains.

“The weather had been extremely dry for
months and the deer were really coming to the
water. The best spot seemed to be atop a metal
windmill. So I lashed two boards together
near the top of the structure and made what
looked like a swimming pool diving board. It
was a one-of-a-kind treestand, that’s for sure.
It may not have been pretty, but it sure
worked!”

It was from this stand that Cooper arrowed
his trophy buck. It was six and a half years old

and scored 149 3/6 Pope and Young points,
ranking it among the top five whitetails ever
arrowed in Texas.

Arve, meanwhile, decided to return to his
mesquite tree for Sunday morning’s closing
hunt. “l had been watching a big 10-pointer
come and go over the weekend,” he recalls.
“For the past two mornings, he’d come
across the field to the same spot at the edge of
the pond. He was never in a good position for
me to shoot from my treestand, so I moved to
a ground blind about 25 yards from the mesquite
tree. It was nearer the water and I
thought it might give me an opportunity for a
shot if that buck came by again.

Hunched low in the branches of his makeshift
blind, Arve squinted through dawn’s
first light at a faint movement near the mes-
quite tree 25 yards away. The 10-pointer appeared.
“The first time I leave my treestand,”
laughs the bowhunter, “the buck comes down
the trail next to that tree and stops tive yards
away — broadside! There was a lot of high
grass between us, so I didn’t have a shot right
away. I eased up on my knees and waited for
him to move into a gap in the grass that would
give me a clear shot. When things looked
right, I drew back and released. The shot
looked perfect, but I couldn’t be sure where it
hit. He only ran about 20 yards and stopped. I
tired another arrow and this one hit him in the
neck. He went down for keeps. My initial
shot, it turns out, was a good lung shot.”
Arve’s second buck was an amazing eight
and a half years old. Its rack tallied 144 4/8
Pope and Young points, placing it among the
top 10 bow-killed whitetails in Texas.

Whitetail Heaven
How can one ranch have so many high-
scoring whitetail bucks? The answer lies in
both the ranch’s location and its history. The
property is located in one of the best trophy
whitetail areas of the South, the well-known
“brush country” of Texas. More than 80 per-
cent of all Texas whitetails listed in the Boone
and Crockett record book were taken in counties
located south of San Antonio. The Kenedy
Ranch lies near the southern tip of the state,
where the terrain is a mixture of oak groves
and rolling grassland pastures. Much of the
ranch ’s eastern and northern borders lie along
either Baffin Bay or Laguna Madre, waters
which connect to the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a
unique experience watching trophy whitetail
stroll along a sandy beach, but it’s a scene
often witnessed on the Kenedy Ranch. And,
there’s plenty to see in addition to whitetail
deer.

“The ranch is loaded with wild turkeys,
javelina, feral hogs and nilgai,” says Gerald
Ashbrook, a member of Sarita Safaris’ board
of directors. “The nilgai is an antelope im-
ported from India. It’s a huge animal, almost
as big as an elk. We have about 10,000 bulls
and cows on the ranch. They’re tough _to hunt
so they make excellent trophies. The meat is
delicious, too, tasting much like beef.”

Ashbrook says the ranch was founded in
1866 when Mifflin Kenedy dissolved his part-
nership with Richard King. The result was the
formation of two enormous ranches, the
Kenedy ranch and the more well-known King
Ranch.

Until 1986, hunting on the Kenedy Ranch
was limited to the Kenedy family members
and a few friends. Much of the property is
now owned by a foundation established by the
Kenedys, and it is that foundation which
leases commercial hunting rights to Sarita Safaris.

“We’ve had two terrific seasons so far,”
says Ashbrook, “and we’re looking forward
to many more. Obviously, we’ve got lots of
land to hunt and we’re careful not to overhunt .
any part of it. Next season, we’ll use some
new areas and we’ll ‘rest’ some of the areas
we’ve hunted in 1986 and 1987.”

Ashbrook noted the ranch includes
230,000 acres that are off-limits to all hunt-
ing. “That area is a permanent game preserve
that will never be disturbed by hunting,” he
says. “We realize we’ve got something spe-
cial here. Our challenge is to maintain the
high percentage of mature deer that we have in
our whitetail population. The high numbers
of six, seven and eight-year-old bucks is what
makes this ranch unique. There just aren’t
many places where deer have the chance to
live that long. When they do, they can grow
some pretty impressive headgear! ”

George Cooper and Hal Arve agree. Even
before departing the ranch last fall, they made
reservations for a return trip in 1988.
“We saw more Pope and Young-caliber
deer in three days last October than we’ve
seen in decades of hunting elsewhere,” says
Cooper. “You can bet we’ll be back next October.
If there’s a better place in the world to
bowhunt whitetail deer than the Kenedy
Ranch, I sure don’t know where it is.”

Author’s Notes
Information about bowhunting the Kenedy
Ranch is available from Sarita Safaris, Inc.,
PO. Box 8995, Corpus Christi, TX 78412.

The ranch is located in Kenedy County and is
headquartered 60 miles south of Corpus
Christi. Out-of-state bowhunters can reach
the ranch via commercial airline service to
either Corpus Christi or Harlengen.

Bowhunting fees are $125 per day, plus a
trophy fee for each animal harvested. Trophy
fees range from $100 for a whitetail doe or
javelina to $3,000 for a whitetail buck. The
daily fee includes all meals and lodging in
modern cabins at either of the two hunting
camps operated by Sarita Safaris.

Texas’ archery deer season usually opens
the first Saturday in October and runs about
30 days. The state’s general deer season (gun
or bow) usually opens the second Saturday in
November and ends the first Sunday in January.
ln most counties, the fall turkey season
runs concurrently with deer season.
A Texas hunting license costs $10 for
residents and $200 for non-residents. A $6 arch-
ery stamp is also required of anyone bowhunting
deer or turkey during the October archery
season, In Kenedy and most other counties, a
hunter may harvest four whitetails,
two of which may be bucks. A copy of Texas` hunting
regulations is available from the Texas
Parks and Wildlife Department,
4200 Smith School Rd.,
Austin, TX 78744.

>>—>

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Published by archerchick on 12 Apr 2012

Bowhunting The Midwest -By Randall P Schwalbach

Bowhunting The Midwest

By Randall P Schwalbach
Archery World Bowhunting Guide ’88
Is that a deer, or is that a horse?” Ben I exclaimed as the eight-point whitetail buck leaped in front of the truck. “Just an average Wisconsin buck,” my father replied. Two hours earlier, I had picked Ben up at the airport, and now we were within a couple miles of camp. Ben had come up from Texas for a November hunt with my father and I, and he couldn’t believe how large the first deer he saw in Wisconsin was. That deer didn’t stop and let us weigh it. but l said it might go 140 pounds dressed. Just an average Midwest whitetail. Now to put that in perspective; two weeks later, Ben killed an east Texas buck that scored 126-1/8 Typical — and weighed 88 pounds.
That’s why the Wisconsin buck we saw leap across the road surprised and impressed Ben. Midwestern deer not only have large bodies, they also have the potential for trophy antler growth. The all-time high scorer (206 1/8) was taken by Jim Jordan in 1914 in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. In the number-two spot is a Missouri buck (205) taken in 1971 by Larry Gibson. Next comes an Heinous buck, a bowkill that scores 204 4/8, taken by Mel Johnson in 1965. Just last year, another big Wisconsin buck came to the attention of Boone and Crockett scorers. Taken by Joe Haske in 1945 in Wood County, the buck scores 204 2/8 and ties for fourth place. Wisconsin is the only state to have produced two trophies scoring over 200. Not to mislead anyone, I must also point out that most midwestern deer never reach trophy size.
In Wisconsin, for example, the average whitetail supports a small six or eight-point rack. That’s because an average Wisconsin buck is a year and a half old. Very few bucks make it through their second winter because they are shot during the November gun season; a fact that archers who like to hunt bigger bucks have to deal with. If hunting big deer is your primary objective, your first challenge is to identify habitat that will hold big deer. Such habitat will have one characteristic: It must be overlooked  most deer hunters.
Finding The Bucks
To use my home state of Wisconsin as an example, some of the largest deer are taken from the southeastern counties surrounding the city of Milwaukee. Don’t let the number of subdivisions fool you. There are deer here Big deer. They become big by living in areas
where hunters typically don’t look for deer – in the shadow of development.
Gaining access to urban areas is admittedly difficult. To go out the week before hunting season and ask permission to hunt such farms is usually futile. But if you keep your eyes and ears open, you may learn of an opportunity not far from your doorstep. The point is, you are looking for a place that everyone else has overlooked.
Public hunting areas are sometimes also in the overlooked category, especially those places that are primarily marsh and river bottoms. It is likely that the only hunting pressure these areas get is from duck and pheasant hunters. Often you can use the waterfows and upland hunters to your advantage, by being there on opening day and letting the brush pants brigade drive the deer to you.
A third area in which to look for trophy bucks is the wildest, most rugged country you can find. In Wisconsin, steep hills, such as the breaks of the Mississippi river, and the big woods and swamps of the Nicolet and Chequamegon National Forests tend to keep hunter pressure at low levels. A standard rule of thumb I use in wilderness-like areas is: If you can get there by road, somebody else already has. Find a place where the roads are few, and then walk in.
Hunting the Midwest has a different flavor from deer hunting in other areas of the country. Unlike southern states, where liberal bags (some allow a deer a day) are common, the seasons in the midwest are far more restrictive. In Wisconsin, an archer is allowed one deer of either sex per season. This leads to a hunt where the bowhunter is likely to place more emphasis on killing a trophy buck. After finding an area where deer can live long enough to become trophies, the second step to shooting a big buck is to learn to pass up smaller bucks.
This should be obvious. But I know of many good hunters who do everything else right, and who always end up shooting deer with average size antlers. Then they ask why they’re never seeing trophy deer.
My first shot at a trophy was not by design. It was September, and the evening was hot. So hot that I began to feel ill while perched on an oak branch and had to kneel down on the branch (it was a big branch) and put my head low. While in this position, I heard a deer approach and looked up to see an eight-point buck, probably a yearling or 2 1/2 year old, walk by within five yards. Unable to get into position to shoot, I watched him walk away. Once he was out of sight, I regained a standing posture, in the hopes the buck would circle back. He didn’t. But on his backtrail came a much larger buck. I counted 14 tines, some of them appearing to be a foot long. I missed a five yard shot. Lesson one: Early in the season bucks travel together, so let the smaller buck pass if you’d like to see a trophy.
Time It Right
September is my favorite month to hunt the midwest. It is a perfect time of year,  when there is still abundant natural camoflauge left in the trees (leaves), yet the nights are cool enough to slow down the majority of flying insects. During the middle of these early autumn days, it warms up enough t0 make a nearby trout stream the place to be.
Beyond the  weather, I like September because the deer are still feeling relaxed from a long summer of undisturbed feeding. The first week of the bow season is when the element of surprise is in the hunter’s favor. I have taken more bucks with a bow during this first week than any other time, including the rut.
During the first week of the season, usually, the third week of September in Wisconsin, I concentrate my efforts on the oak  woods. That’s when the acorns of the white oak begin to fall.   These acorns are the sweetest of all the oaks, and they will also not last long on the forest floor before they begin to decompose. The deer know this, and they some to eat these acorns at all hours of the day.
The rut is probably the second best time to score on a buck. In the midwest, the rut occurs during the first two weeks of November. In central Wisconsin, the eighth through the 11th is when I look for the rut to peak. Given the recent increase in bowhunter pressure, however, the rutting behavior in my area has become more and more nocturnal. On the other hand, late-season hunting in December seldom sees crowded woods. A week or two after the gun season closes, the deer resume their normal feeding schedules.
The closer to winter, the more active deer seem to become, as if they are trying to put on a few more pounds before the real cold starts. This is especially true of big bucks that burned their energy reserves during the rut. If they are going to make it through the winter, they have to replenish those reserves.
Bucks start to travel together again in the late season. In this regard, it’s a lot like the early season. Don’t try and hunt the whole day during the late season. I find mornings unproductive then, because that’s the coldest time of the day and the deer remain in their beds. Afternoons when the wind dies early have been best for me in the late season.
Hunting the midwest has a charm because of the large variety of habitat types. This forces a bowhunter to be flexible in his hunting style. In wide open farm country, for example, the best use of a tree stand is not for hunting, but rather for scouting. If you spend a few evenings or mornings in a tree in a fence line, you will likely discover some patterns to deer movement. Perhaps you’ll see a small herd of deer using a corner of an alfalfa field. Try to determine the best natural funnel to that feeding area, and set up a ground blind in it.
Make sure you’ve practiced shooting from a sitting position, because you’ll probably use a stool in your blind. For a good blind, wear camouflage that matches the background, and make sure you can shoot over any kind of screen of brush that you place in front of you.
Another way to hunt farm country is to still-hunt through standing corn. This technique is best employed on windy days, when the corn is noisy. By moving across the rows, looking up and down each row before you proceed to the next, you will get amazingly close to deer, some of them bedded down.
Although I don’t personally own one, a suit of corn stalk and cattail camouflage would seem ideal for this type of hunting. Skyline or winter camouflage, with a lot of white in it, also works well, because bedded deer are looking up at the sky.
Midwestern states are full of rivers, and boat hunting is some of the most enjoyable hunting I’ve ever done. Both my father and I made our first bow kills from a canoe slipping
 silently by the alders, and both deer were shot in their beds. This technique is dynamite if nobody else is doing it. Once locals caught on to our technique, they gave the deer on that river a thorough education in what paddles banging on gunwales sound like.
The best river for floating is one small enough that allows you to shoot to either bank. However, I find it works best just to watch one bank, and let the person paddling watch the other. On my first bow-kill, Dad actually whispered to me, “Right bank,” and I still had time to locate the deer and release. One of the disadvantages of hunting from a canoe is not having prepared shooting lanes. You’ll get extremely close to a lot of deer that you’ll just have to pass up because there’s no shot. Wait it out. As you drift past, a lane may open up, or the deer may step into one on its own.
Probably the most unorthodox tactic I ever employed in a farm country situation was an amphibious ambush from a drainage ditch. I used the ditch as an approach to a cornfield where I knew the world record whitetail was hiding, then submerged my folding stool in a clump of reeds, and sat down with waders above my waist. Mallards whistled over me and sandhill cranes exulted the dawn with raspy, prehistoric voices. A family of raccoons wandered past, busy poking their hands into silt at the waters edge and never noticing me. And finally, the sound of deer feet, precisely placed on the sandy bottom of the ditch. Slow but steady, the deer approached.
I could see the reflection of his antlers in the ripples that pulsed toward me. And then, 10 feet away, his gaze met mine, but not for very long. There was no shot opportunity as the buck raced straight away from me, up the ditch and back into the safety of the corn. By that time, I was fairly chilled from the water (what did I expect from wet wading?) and went back to the car for a cup of coffee and a sandwich, which I chewed very slowly while planning my afternoon hunt. Finding a dry, leafy oak tree was what I had in mind.
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