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Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

How To Fool A Buck’s Sense Of Smell ~ By Bob Grewell


Bow And Arrow
August 1981

How To Fool A Buck’s Sense Of Smell ~ By Bob Grewell
Here Is A Simple, Inexpensive Secret To Mask Human Odor On Your Way To Your Stand

I was tree standing downwind of a well used deer trail,
completely camouflaged. I had doused the dormant brush
at the base of the large oak tree with a liberal amount of
“essence-of-skunk.” It was late November, cold, with a
light breeze.

I’d spent the better part of four weeks determining one
particular buck’s habits and patterns. I’d finalized his
movements and was positive I had his activities nearly down
pat. Now all I had to do was nurse my patience while I sat
motionless within the oak’s array of limbs.

I rolled back the top portion of the off-brown colored glove
on my right hand, to glance at my watch; seven thirty-eight.
When I sluggishly raised my head to scan the brushy terrain in front
of me, I spotted him! A fair-sized eight-point buck, deliberately
moving toward my stand, coming in-crosswind, about eighty yards out.

He moved along at a somewhat cautious pace, with his now probing the ground.
At first I thought he was searching for a doe.
But after close observation, it was apparent he was
following the same path I’d used to approach my stand. He didn’t seem to
approve of the latent human scent I’d left on the ground.

He was trailing my course through the ankle-high dead grass, snorting
occasionally as if in defiance. When he was within forty yards of my stand, he
stopped, threw his head up and down, snort/whistled again, and stamped the
earth, trying to intimidate me into revealing myself. Then, he veered off to
my right and made a wide berth of the oak, stopping twice and glancing back
over his shoulder in my direction, before disappearing.

In all my preparations, I had omitted using the skunk scent on my
boots on the way to my stand, mainly because the foul odor would have been
absorbed by the leather. But if I had sprinkled the cover scent on my boots
or the lower legs of my coveralls, there was a ninety-percent chance he
wouldn’t have detected my human scent trail.

This has happened to nearly every bowhunter at least one time or another,
you can be sure, whether you were aware of it or not. We are so meticulous
in preparing ourselves, our equipment and our stand area that we too often
overlook one thing; the foreign, human odor we leave on the ground, grass and
brush as we make our way to our stand. What can you do to cover your
human scent trail, yet keep the masking scent from fouling your boots and
clothes? You can use ankle scent drags, two lengths of dark colored wire and a
dull-colored piece of ordinary cloth. So simple and inexpensive to make that I
sometimes think it’s cheating by solving such a common hurdle so easily.

The ankle drags are slipped over your feet and drawn around the ankles
with the piece of scent—absorbing cloth hooked on the trailing end of the wire.
The scent — skunk scent for instance —is applied to the cloth, and as you walk
through the weeds and brush it completely wipes out your scent behind
you. It adds no additional weight to contend with, it’s inexpensive to
prepare and once you make your drags, they’ll last indefinitely.
To make the ankle scent drags, one for each ankle, use a thirty-inch—long
piece of 22—gauge black annealed wire, which may be purchased at any
hardware store. If you can’t find the 22-gauge specifically, you’ll be safe
with any wire diameter from 18 to 22-gauge. Black annealed wire is used
because it won’t reflect available light with its dull finish and won’t rust as
easily as common steel or galvanized wire. The thin diameter is used because
it’s more flexible and isn’t visible to your intended game.

Using a four-penny nail, twist one end of the wire around the body of the
nail so you’ll be able to make a slipknot, or noose. Use a pair of pliers and twist
the excess tip of the wire so that it wraps tightly, leaving no protruding end
to snag on your clothes or brush. Then, remove the nail and slide the opposite
end of the wire through this one-eighth·inch diameter hole, making
somewhat of a snare or hangman’s noose.

Next, fold up a three-inch square piece of drab colored cloth, which will
be used as the scent pad on the dragging end of the wire. Punch the straight end
of the wire through the center of the folded cloth pad, pulling it completely
through the cloth. Bend the end of the wire back and wrap it tightly around the
main length of the wire, being sure to also twist the protruding end. The scent
pad will be secured and won’t be pulled off while walking.

Now, using a three-sixteenths—ounce crimp-style lead fishing sinker, move up
two inches on the main portion of the wire, away from the scent pad, and
attach this lead weight, crimping it tightly with a pair of pliers. This small
weight will not interfere with the drag’s main function and will aid in keeping
the scent pad closer to the ground when you’re raising your foot to take a step.
The scent pad needs to stay close to the ground because the scent on the pad
will rub off on the grass and brush, to invisibly dissipate upward.

These ankle drags serve another function. Upon reaching your stand,
loosen the wire noose, remove both drags and hang them in the brush at the
base of your tree stand. The wire is of fine diameter, the cloth scent pad is of
drab color, and the scent on the cloth will disguise your human odor at
ground level, when you’re in your stand. This way the pungent skunk
scent, or whatever type of scent you choose to use, never touches your
clothing.

The actual cost of making your ankle scent drags is fifteen cents each,
or a total of thirty cents, plus a minimal amount of time. With these ankle scent
drags in your possession, you successfully mask your human scent
trail when moving to your stand site and obliterate your foreign odor at the tree
stand. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 08 Feb 2011

Hunt The Soft Mast ~ By Don Kirk


Bow and Arrow Hunting
August 1990

Hunt The Soft Mast- By Don Kirk
Little Known Whitetail Foods May Attract Large Trophy Bucks

I AM AWAKE five nights a week
devising new ways to take bigger
and better Whitetail bucks. Except
when filling out income tax
forms, boning up on how these
animals live, move about, forage and
breed is my only diversion from thinking
about hunting whitetail.

Acorns long dominated my bowhunting
strategies. Being an Easterner, this is
understandable. But these marble—sized
morsels are an unpredictable food
source. Their relative abundance ebbs
and flows from year to year. It took too
long for me to discover how the many
alternative foods used by whitetail when
hardwood mast is scarce can be used to
my advantage.

It is impossible for whitetail hunters
to know too much about what this
quarry dines on. Wildlife researchers
have identified more than six hundred
items in these animals’ diet. One area
many whitetail enthusiasts know too little
about is other important whitetail
foods, especially the so called soft mast
food group.

Acorns, the fruit of the widely distributed,
diverse oak family, are what is
referred to as hardwood mast. Although
usually less important to whitetail than
acorns, buckeyes, pecans, walnuts,
hickory, beechnuts and chinkapins are
other examples of hardwood mast.
Generally, hardwood mast is summarized
as nuts.

The soft mast food group is more
loosely defined than that of the
hardwood category, although many trees
that are hardwoods produce fleshy, soft
mast. The soft mast category includes
such easily recognized items as wild
grapes, persimmons, peaches, apples and
plums. It also includes lesser known
items like fungi — mushrooms — eaten
by deer, plus legumes such as soybeans
and corn.

Many hunters mistakenly believe the
rut is the only primary behavioral pat-
tern worth considering when formulating
whitetail bowhunting strategies. The mt
is the most driving force in the animals’
life cycle, but it is short—lived. Other
longer, seasonal patterns also exist and
even coincide with the rut. Do not
overlook the fact deer are cyclic, or
seasonal, feeders.

During the summer and winter
months, the whitetails’ food intake is
relatively modest. Socalled feeding
binges are uncommon at that time.
Feeding activity greatly accelerates during
the spring and fall months. The need
to recoup body weight following the lean
winter months explains their increased
interest in nourishment during spring.
Building up body fat reserves to help
them endure the rigors of winter is the
impetus for autumn preoccupation with
feeding.

Deer require diversity in their diets,
almost as much as humans. When
acorns are available in large numbers
during autumn, they account for fifty to
eighty—five percent of a whitetail’s daily
intake. When consuming soft mast, like
ripe persimmons or apples, these
animals may not get the same hefty shot
of protein or fats obtained when foraging
on acorns. However, they do receive
many otherwise difficult—to—find vitamins,
as well as complex carbohydrates
whitetail can easily convert to energy.
Soft mast food covers an incredibly

diverse group of whitetail foods. Contrary
to what many hunters believe, soft
mast augments the food needs throughout
the winter and they are not important
just during the summer and early
autumn months. Identifying the key soft
mast sources and ones used only
incidentally by deer is not simple. Many
of the soft mast foods utilized by deer,
like the beefsteak fungus and oyster
mushrooms, are scattered and considered
incidental to their diet needs.

Other types of soft mast food are
unknown to many hunters. During
autumn, deer eat large quantities of still-
moist, freshly fallen leaves of the flowering
dogwood for the digestive roughage
they provide. When available alongside
the brownish-colored leaves of oaks and
hickories which are high in bitter, tannic
acid, dogwood leaves are much preferred
by deer. Their deep scarlet
coloration gives a clue to the dogwood
leaf s sweet, high—sugar content.
Although they relish dogwood leaves
when feeding on acorns during the fall,
the location of these trees appears to
play only an incidental role in deer feeding
movements.

Many times, soft-mast-producing
plants are only locally important as deer
foods and easily escape notice by
bowhunters. Other soft mast feeding
areas, like a soybean field, are easily
identified by everyone. Cultivated grain
fields certainly concentrate deer, but so
do wild grains. However, success taking
deer from these open expanses requires
special tactics, different from those
available to long—range rifle hunters.
Bowhunters must identify travel routes
to and from these often heavily utilized
feeding sites.
During early winter, the seed—filled
heads of the green amaranth —— a tall,
weedy-looking plant commonly found in
cut·overs, along fence rows and sessionary
fields —— is a favorite deer forage item.
Sometimes referred to as wild wheat,
this widely distributed plant is cultivated
by natives of Central America, who
grind the seeds into flour.
Other sources of soft mast, such as
old apple or pear orchards at abandoned

homesteads, or a backwoods hollow that
is full of fruit-burdened wild grape vines,
can exert a strong concentrating force
on these animals. Whitetail, like
humans, have a sweet tooth. They are
drawn to the fragrant aroma of ripe,
fallen apples on the ground. It is not
uncommon for whitetail to overeat high-
carbohydrate sources of soft mast.
However, when this occurs, they get
rumen overload — or what some old-
timers call “bloat” among domestic
ruminants.

Acknowledging the deer where you
hunt possess remarkably diverse food

lists is the first step to understanding
how to take advantage of the soft mast
factor. In most instances, the importance
of specific types of soft mast is
either localized or important as a food
source for only short periods of time. It
is not uncommon for these two factors
to occur together.

Additionally, the abundance of acorns
where you hunt plays an important role
in deer shifting feeding emphasis from
hardwood mast to soft mast. During the
fall, acorns are the key to building body
fat content for winter. Poor hardwood
mast production forces deer to rely more
on soft mast. Even when acorns are
abundant, soft mast plays a key role in
their feeding, especially where early
bowhunting—only seasons occur.
A few years ago, I was hunting within
bow range of three large, acorn-laden
white oaks. While scouting the area, I
was impressed by the number of large
elderberry bushes that still held their
pungent, bluish-black fruit.
The elderberries would probably have
escaped my notice were it not for
Joann, my wife and photographer. For
years, she has been on a wild edibles
kick, making everything from fiddlehead
stew to her own maple syrup.
Hunting during the first morning near
the white oaks, I did not spot any deer.
At noon, I spied three white throat
patches milling about the dense elderberry
bushes, Although they were within
rock—throwing range of a ton of acorns,
the deer preferred to nibble at these
sweet, little berries.

Once located in significant numbers,
soft—mast—producing flora like elder-
berries, wild grapes, blackberries and
other similar plants can be counted on
to produce fruit season after season.
Called perennials, these plants are either
dormant during the winter, like deciduous trees,
or they will return the
following spring, unless a force such as
forest cutting or plowing changes their
surroundings.

Once the soft, moist flesh of their fruit
becomes dry and hard, many varieties of
soft mast are ignored by all but the
hungriest deer. Others, however, such as
wild rose hips. the bluish·black berries
of common greenbrier or the fleshy blue
berries of the sassafras tree, are
available over most whitetail range for
extended periods of time and they are
out during the hunting season. Such soft
mast items feature thick outer husks
able to retain moisture until spring.
Regions typically sport forests com-
posed of similar species of trees, while
local soft mast plant life varies considerably.
The varieties of soft mast are
maddeningly diverse. One key to solving
the soft mast dilemma is staying alert to
what type forage is locally available
where you hunt.

“Fine—tooth comb” scouting is needed
for acquiring this knowledge. For
instance, a field planted the previous
season in deer food crop, such as
soybeans, may this year lay fallow or be
planted in a crop that is less appealing
to whitetail. Change such as this completely
alters the local soft mast factor
of the preceeding years.
Other sources of soft mast are more
predictable, but they are usually
localized and require scouting to dis-
cover. These include where groves of
persimmon trees are found, or the location
of hillsides covered with tender
honeysuckle, which deer love.

When scouting, the three keys are to
stay alert for soft mast areas, to locate
signs of where berries, fruits or buds
have been nibbled off and the presence
of hoof tracks and droppings. The freshness
of the sign helps in estimating the
current utilization level of this feeding
site. The degree of feeding at a site
enables you to determine how important
this food source is at that time.
Prior to and during the rut, the importance
of knowing what the does are
feeding on cannot be overstated. This is
where quarry will spend considerable
time during the hunting season. It is true
that bucks do not forage much during
the breeding season, but one of the best
ways to locate a trophy-class buck is to
first identify where the does are likely to
spend time.

Does reveal their estrous condition to
bucks, but it is the buck that seeks out
ready-to-breed females. Does choose
where the game will be played. It is
usually near her family group’s bedding
and/ or feeding area. Figuring the soft
mast factor into your strategy can help
you solve problems in projecting elusive
deer movements that stump many archery
hunters.

Does are more challenging to scout
than bucks. They do not leave telltale
rubs or scrapes, indicators of the presence
of a jumbo antlered buck. Determining their
movement patterns includes
following game trails to bedding sites
and exploring forage areas for droppings
and hoof marks. Doe tracks differ only
slightly from those left behind by bucks.
The most reliable difference to distinguish
the sex of the trackmaker is that
the buck often leaves a dragging mark
behind his track.
When a locally utilized soft mast
source is pinpointed, it is hunted much
the same way archers locate around
oaks dropping heavy crops of acorns.
Do not locate a deer stand any closer to
their food source than necessary to
accomplish a clean kill.

If you are using a tree stand, locate as
high up the tree as possible; at least fifteen
to eighteen feet. When the soft
mast you are hunting over is a field,
such as corn or soybeans, locate your
elevated stand a few feet inside an
overgrown fence row.
Scent use confuses many deer hunters
first discovering the soft mast factor.
The inviting aroma given off by wild
grapes, corn, apples, soybeans and other
soft mast partially enables deer to locate
these edibles.

Many manmade scent manufacturers
have expanded their lines of deer urine
and gland scents to include fluids mixed
to imitate many of the most widespread
soft mast items. In this writer’s opinion,
attempting to mask oneself or lure deer
in by using food scents is risky.
Using manufactured food scents differs
from using whitetail urine and gland
scent products. Deer scents are tricky
business, even when using high-quality
deer urine or gland scent products. They
are effective under a narrow band of
conditions, such as applying buck urine/
tarsal gland mixtures to pre—rut scrapes,
or spraying doe estrous urine on cotton
balls when the rut is in full swing.
Deer behavior during the mt generally
is predictable. Manmade food scent
products, on the other hand, vary greatly
in terms of quality and how well they
match local bowhunting conditions.
Using a soft mast food scent such as
honeysuckle at the wrong place or time
can alarm deer. Soft-mast-imitating
scents sometimes work, but sex scents
are more effective in masking human
odor. When used at the right time, they
are less likely to give the wrong
message.
If you are overlooking the subtle soft
mast factor when formulating your deer
bowhunting strategies, think again. They
may not be the most important deer
movement factors around, but like the
old saying goes, every dog has its day.
>>>—>

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Published by archerchick on 08 Feb 2011

Snake, Rattle & Roll ~ By Jerry Gentellalli


Bow And Arrow
August 1975

SNAKE, RATTLE & ROLL ~ By Jerry Gentellalli

The Rattlesnake Never Will Rank With The Big Five As A Game Animal, But Hunting It Can Be A Service To Mankind!

STALKING THROUGH THE
yellow-green landscape, my hunting pants cuffed against the sagebrush, I
spooked the tawny, striped honey bee from his flower bed of sweet. The hot
Southern California morning sun began drying up the sparkling dew drops
that clung to the meadow grass like jewelled fruit. I had just released an
arrow at a running cottontail, over-shooting it. The shaft bounced and
spun off into the underbrush. Silently the cold-blooded creature
with agate·like eyes began its stalk on the colorful fletchings of my arrow.
With each forward footstep, I came closer to the unknown killer hidden in
the cushion of leaf mold. Threatened now by my search for the lost arrow,
the deadly reptile pulled itself into the familiar tight series of coils, keeping its
wedge-shaped head motionless, readying itself to strike the intruder with its
lethal fangs.

I now was parting the grass with my bow tip, looking for the lost arrow.
Suddenly, in a flashing blur, the reptile struck. I jumped sideways, my heart
pounding, panicked by the frightening sound of the buzzing rattle on the tail
of the diamondback rattlesnake. A couple of arrows later the viper bit the
dust.

Rattlesnakes are found all the way from Canada to Uruguay. There are as
many as twenty-eight kinds. They vary only in color and size and have been
known to weigh as much as twenty pounds. The female gives birth to her
young, rather than laying eggs as do most other reptiles. The number of
young will vary among the different kinds of rattlesnakes. The Mexican
West Coast rattlesnake is one of the most prolific, giving birth to the incredible n
umber of fifty at a time. The young snakes are fully equipped to
take care of themselves at birth.

The pit viper is known for the small pits on each side of its wedge-shaped
head, located at the base of its head between the nostrils and the eyes.
These actually are extremely sensitive heat-detecting organs. The vibrations
of these organs can detect the presence of warm-blooded creatures.

The Spring sun activates the rattlesnakes’ thermostat, drawing them out
of the snake den that harbors large groups of reptiles throughout the long,
winter hibernation. Length of hibernation depends on the temperature zone
of the terrain. During late Winter, I have found them basking in the warm
gravel sand, soaking up the hot rays of the sun. The snake dens are located in
the most unlikely places: cracks in rock formations, under wood piles, in
ground-dwelling animal burrows; generally in places where are found the
small game and rodents on which they feed.

The serpent’s diamond-shaped, fish- like scales are polished and camouflaged to
blend into the colorful sand on which they tread. Their pushing, wavy crawl often
leaves shiny tracks that look like those of a flat, crooked
bicycle tire wheeling across the soft sand. Finding their imprints may lead
you to their hunting grounds. My selection of snake-hunting equipment is the
least-expensive cedar shafts and a good, steel broadhead that
can be filed to a razor-sharp edge; as most of the shooting is at close range
and generally in rocky areas. The swaying, retreating head can prove a
difficult target to hit. Sticking the reptile in its rope-like body not only
destroys the skin, but makes it possible for the reptile to fang itself,
contaminating the meat. Because of the nonexistent problem of penetration,
any bow weight can be used.

Needless to say, a good pair of leather high-top boots or knee-high
snake leggings are recommended for protecting the legs. Ranger of Augusta,
Georgia. manufactures two types of snake-proof leggings: one is heavily
woven bronze mesh, covered with heavy canvas? and the other type is of
lightweight plastic.

Of course, a snakebite kit should be carried in one’s pack. One compact,
handy snakebite kit is Cutter’s. It comes with three suction cups. a
tourniquet, antiseptic for sterilization, a razor blade for incision and directions.
This kit can be purchased from most local pharmacies or sporting
goods stores.

Although snake hunting may not be your bag, while out on an outing or
traveling the game trails, your paths may cross. The rattlesnake could turn
a day into a nightmare of terror if you or your retriever are struck with
venomous fangs. One must know immediately what actions to take to
prevent serious illness or even death.

With or without a kit, the field procedure is the same.
First of all, prevent panic. It will increase the flow of venom throughout
the body. Apply a tourniquet between the wound and the heart, and close to
the puncture. The tourniquet can be made from a handkerchief, bowstring
or any piece of cord, A stick can be used to turn the tourniquet for pressure control.

With a sterilized blade, make an incision on top of the bite. Use straight,
lengthwise cuts one-quarter—inch long
and one-eighth-inch deep. Apply suction to the incision. If suction cups are
not available, use suction by mouth, spitting out the venom.

Walk slowly for help, stopping periodically for rest. After each ten to
fifteen minutes, loosen the tourniquet for one minute, allowing for circulation.
A doctor must be reached as quickly as possible for the administration of antivenin.
This life-saving antivenum is made by injecting smaller, then larger doses of venom into a horse
until he becomes immune to it. Then the serum is made from the blood extracted from the horse.

The rattlesnake will not always strike from its familiar coiled position.
It can strike from any position with lightning speed. l witnessed this one
day while bowhunting for rabbits. The sight of the flicker of ears caused me
to change my course slowly, my eyes piercing through the sumac bush.

There I spied a young cottontail less than forty yards away. Suddenly, the
rabbit jumped, did a, full gainer. stiffened and fell to the ground.

As I reached the spot where the rabbit had fallen, I was horrified by
the sight of the diamondback with the bunny’s head in its mouth.
Quickly my broadhead took him. On removing the head of the rabbit
from the rattler’s mouth, I could see that the fangs folded back into the
roof of the mouth when not in use.

The venom is injected through the hollow fangs which spring forward and
erect with switchblade action. The venom is forced into the victim with
hypodermic action. The lower jaw is so designed that it hinges downward,
enlarging the mouth so the reptile can swallow its prey. Digging a deep hole
in the ground, I buried the cottontail and the rattler’s head for safety, so
that other animals would not suffer’ from eating the poisonous carrion.

The old folk tale about snakes wiggling and squirming until sunset is
true, I have discovered. It is an eerie experience to have a snake twisting
around in the game bag until dark. In preparing the snakeskin, I start
from where the head was, peeling the skin back from the body and rolling it
to the end — like removing a long, nylon stocking. The skin now is inside
out. With a pair of scissors or a sharp knife, cut the underside — the belly
side — to the tail. Place the paper-thin skin wet side up, tack it to a flat
board, taking care not to overstretch the constricting skin, sparingly apply
glycerine to the scale side. This gives luster and keeps the skin pliable. Roll `
the skin up like a belt. A taxidermist can tan the skin, making it strong and
soft.

I first sampled canned rattlesnake meat and found it deliciously comparable to
crab meat. There are many ways to prepare the delicate meat. I usually boil it in
a pot of salted water for thirty minutes or longer, then allow it to cool. The white meat can
then be separated easily from the bones. Then I season and prepare it in one of several ways,
frying, sauteeing or serving in a salad or with a sauce.

The season is open year around and there is no bag limit. With the big demand for their hides, meat and venom,
which is used in medicine, the rattle- snake could become an endangered species.
Some states employ snake control to exterminate the rattler. But, now, some states are looking closer at setting
some conservation measures as to hunting seasons and bag limits to protect the future of the rattlesnake,
recognizing its place in the ecological scene.

Both before and since the Revolutionary days, the rattlesnake has been
a symbol of rebellion. With its menacing rattle and lightning-quick
fangs, it is a creature that most people
take great pains to avoid. Hunting the rattlesnake probably
will never become popular or listed with the big five, but cross its path and
it becomes a danger to be reckoned
with. <——<<<

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Published by archerchick on 07 Feb 2011

How Not To Start An Archery Club – By Muriel E Jones


Bow And Arrow Hunting
December 1974

How NOT To Start An Archery Club – By Muriel E Jones

The Techniques Used in Merry Olde England May Apply Here – Complete With Tribulations!

WHAT FOLLOWS IS how a
small group of earnest, dedicated amateurs
tackled the job of beginning a
target archery club. Of course, only
archers know the fun it is; the lay
public need convincing.

There was in our village the nucleus
of a club, which had existed for many
years, although all but a few members
either had expired or drifted away to
other scenes, leaving behind a motley
collection of ancient but serviceable
equipment which was enough for the
purpose. The chairman and secretary
lived in the village and, between them,
stuffed under the doors of each house
invitations for all those interested to
attend a demonstration in the playing
fields, designating the time and date.
The afternoon duly arrived and we
presented ourselves in the field, where
a group of people were huddled together
to keep warm, it being quite
cold and windy with overcast gray
skies — not at all the idyllic scene one
would have wished for. The demonstrators
seemed to be shaking with
cold or nerves and the organizer’s chief
worry was that someone lurking
around the back of the nets would get
hit with a stray arrow.

After a short interval of clapping
one’s hands vigorously around the
body in an effort to keep alive in the
extreme cold while waiting for stragglers,
the demonstration began. This
was conducted by the organizer and
chairman, who very efficiently explained
the rules and terms of archery
and measured us to see what length of
arrow we would require and whether
we should keep our left or right eye
shut; it being advisable to have only
one open for some reason, which I
have since found unnecessary.
We were duly equipped with various
bits of leather which, we were –
told, were necessary to protect our
fingers; those without enough padding
on their arms already were provided
with armguards. We took turns at
shooting three arrows at a target,
strategically placed in the corner of
V the field with a view of missing any
stray passersby enjoying their Sunday I
afternoon walk.

One of the more important
villagers, who rather fancied himself as
a squire, turned up for a lark, I think,
missed all the introductory demonstration
but shot his three arrows,
which the organizer meekly collected
for him. Everyone else, naturally, had
to go and get their own. We all
thought this was a bit of a cheek but,
being English, we’re used to such
carryings-on, and showed our
contempt by not saying a word.
Everyone by now was blue with
cold, so the demonstration ended with
a firm promise that we would all turn
up at an appointed time and date at a
site where the former club used to
meet — this being outside the village
and inaccessible to anyone without
motor transport, which naturally
would curtail the numbers.

The evening of the meeting arrived;
heavy thunderstorm in progress —
skies absolutely black. Hence, only a
few people turned up. The organizer
had thoughtfully arranged a target
some feet from the doorway of the
pavilion and was half-heartedly encouraging
those who had turned up to
shoot from under cover of the pavilion
to save getting absolutely drenched.
He manfully retrieved the arrows for
the same reason.

The practical aspect of the meeting
soon finished, we gathered ’round to
discuss the possibilities of forming a
club while the lightning crackled overhead
and one was initiated into the
more theoretical aspects of target
archery.
I found it somewhat discouraging
to learn that one was expected to
shoot eight or even twelve-dozen
arrows at a match, and I felt this information
should have been kept from
beginners, as merely the shooting of
one arrow seemed to paralyze every
muscle in the body. Encouraging re-
marks that one must be doing it wrong
then, I didn’t find at all helpful.

Happily, the weather improved and
on the following Sunday afternoon we
had many laughs while trying our best
to hit the target only a few feet away.
Some members took it very seriously
and launched into complicated mathematical
analysis of a kind which was
received in silence and awe at first, but
with increasing skepticism as time
went by.

Little by little the targets were
moved off as the weeks went by and
proud members produced super kit
and appeared very knowledgeable
about weight in hand, etc., and the
quality if not quantity of the arrows,
and a few people embarked on the
process of making their own tackle
boxes.
It is true we lost every match that
season, but we came in good seconds;
which impressed Gladys, the barmaid
at the local pub, who had no idea that
there were only two teams participating.

Many jolly times were had
over a glass of beer, as we determined
our faults and how to overcome them.
There was an excitement one
Sunday afternoon during an at—home
match. We were sharing the field with
a cricket club, whose activities were
taking place to the right of the target
archers, when the pilot of a large red
glider decided he couldn’t possibly go
any farther and landed in the field to
our left — making it difficult for even
the most devoted archer to keep his
eye on the target.

Enthusiasm being the strong point
of new archers, we couldn’t possibly
hear of doing nothing all Winter, so we
decided to try and hire a hall for our
purposes. One member’s attempt to
hire an old airship hangar of considerable
dimensions met with little success
and much derision from the other
members. But the more modest village
hall, which allowed us to shoot a full
eleven yards, was at last hired for one
evening per week.
As the young wives used one of the
rooms in the hall at the same time,
very often one was distracted by an
arresting speech or the conversation of
forty women at once. But we
persevered.

On one occasion, owing to our
ignorance, one member whose sight
had slipped unnoticed found her arrow
nearly in the ceiling. There followed
much surreptitious comings and goings
with filler and paint before the care-
taker should return and discover the
damage; as the village hall committee
were not impressed by our prowess
and seemed very anxious, we should
take all precautions.

The most urgent consideration was
to find a site of our own. We had, on
sufferance, been allowed to use the
site of the old club. Much groundwork
had been done on the problem of a
new site by the chairman and secretary,
and we all realized that money
was a necessary factor — not only to
finance the scheme, but to pay for
equipment and ground rent and legal
fees, etc.
The money was raised by running
dances in the village hall and the villagers were pressed to buy tickets.
Fortunately, owing to the exquisite
cuisine supervised by one of our members, the people came in sufficient
numbers, if not to dance, certainly to
eat and our reputation as dance
organizers increased.

Before Summer came ’round again,
we had negotiated the club site and
after much wrangling over the
stupidity of the legal document and
the person designated to attend to it,
it was duly signed, allowing the club
the use of the site until the year 2001.
Hence, one day early in the year
finds us at the site. It is bitterly cold
and raining and the soggy grass flaps
around our knees. The site seems
somewhat overgrown and rather
daunting in prospect. However, rapid
consultation produces a plan of action
which was less than rapid in being put
into practice.

I must mention here that ours was
an exclusive club. Not purposely — we
did not intend to exclude anybody.
But the numbers remained around
twelve. One can imagine, then, that
putting into order this large piece of
ground was a difficult task for such a
small number.

But, by degrees and with
appropriate loss of funds, the site was
reduced to a manageable field. Many
tender little oak saplings were gouged
out of the ground by a machine and
were burned at the stake with appropriate
feeling. It was also easy to deter-
mine one of the boundaries, as the
litter of pigs running loose made it
clear that ground belonged to them.
We earnestly hoped the wind would be
in the right direction when we were
using the field.

Many hands were willing and it
soon took shape. Posts were erected
around the perimeter in preparation
for the endless barbed wire, insisted
upon the the Parish Council, who even
wanted red flags as well. Seemingly,
their opinion of our improvement did
not match our own.

The site not being ready for the
season, it was left sadly to itself while
we adjourned to the site of our former
glories and disappointments. That
season, the English Summer played
havoc with our progress. The
temperature rarely rose above 60
degrees and many a match was post-
poned or abandoned. Most of the kit
purchased that year included water-
proofed garments and umbrellas, as we
thought, in our innocence, how nice it
would be to erect a covered way at the
new site which would afford some
shelter from the weather.

In spite of the dampening weather,
our spirits did not diminish and our
numbers, though not increasing, did
not decrease. Enthusiasm was still
evident and we set about hiring the village
hall for the second year.
At this point I had to leave the club
and accompany my spouse to the
United States. It was with regret at not
having participated, and chagrin at
hearing how well they were progressing
without me, when I learned
the club had won nine matches during
the first season of my absence.

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Published by archerchick on 07 Feb 2011

What You See…Is What You Get! By Roy Hoff


BOW AND ARROW HUNTING
October 1973

I AM WRITING THIS in an effort to be helpful
to the countless bowhunters who travel each year
a couple of thousand miles more or less to bag a deer,
perhaps with braggin’ size, rocking chair antlers, only
to return home and explain to the ever lovin’ how come
he got skunked. I was a member of this nationwide
group of buck-missers until about ten years ago, when
I came to the conclusion there was just no way I could
meet a trophy buck on his own terms and in h·is wild
habitat and come out a winner.

Know what I did? I joined the clan who hunt from
tree stands. This select group all are of the opinion
that using a bow and arrow really is hunting the hard
way. After ten years of figuring all the angles, bagging
a trophy buck deer still is no cinch. But when I learned
to hunt from a tree stand, Lady Luck started looking
my way and with a pleasant smile.
I built my first tree stand on the Wilcox Ranch
in 1960. The site was in a big cottonwood overlooking a
forty-acre alfalfa field. No stand could have been more
comfortable, and as safe as the roof of the nearby ranch
house, but for efficiency, and putting me on an even
footing with the big Utah bucks, it was a total loss. I’ll
tell you why.

I selected a tree with a beautiful view of the field.
I found soon this could be placed last on a list of necessary conditions.
This blind was immediately abandoned except for morning hunting. The field was in a
canyon. Deer, bedded on the canyon walls, could see
everything that was going on in the stand and, of course,
bypassed the spot at a considerable distance.
Lesson number one: select the site for your tree
stand so that the game can not look down through the
branches. All the area round the stand should be well
below eye level of the hunter and well above that of
the deer. Unless you make noise, the chances are a deer
will not look up into your tree. But if he approaches
your tree from any direction which places you eye level,
you might as well return to camp.

I strongly believe that of the deer’s senses, sight
is his best alarm signal. If you can see a certain movement
at a hundred yards, I’d venture to say a deer can
see the same movement at five hundred yards. I am
mindful of a lesson in the Boy Scout manual: If a
person becomes lost in a forest and hears a plane,
he should vigorously shake a young aspen or the limb
of a tree. Rescuers can spot the movement.
On opening morning of the hunting season, as

I make my way to a previously prepared stand, I probably
resemble a junk collector. I carry a gunny sack
over my shoulder in which are: pillow, down jacket,
mittens, large-size plastic bags, binoculars, raincoat,
apple and some Tootsie Rolls. The latter item may
be kids’ stuff, but you’d be surprised how good they
taste when you’re real hungry, even those which were
left over from last year. Another item which is always
good for a laugh is my piece of carpet for the floor
of my stand, to deaden the sound if I shuffle my feet
when a deer is nearby.

When night closes in, I put everything back in the
bag and tie it down for the night. Yes, even my bow. I,
of course, cover the fletching of my arrows with a
plastic bag as a protection from morning dew or rain.
My hunting partners look at me with tongue—·in—cheek
like I was cracking up. I explain to them when I am
returning from my blind at night or going to it in the
morning, it’s too dark for any possible shot. When making
this same journey in daylight, if I were to see a
deer I would pass up the shot. I can’t with any confidence
guess the distance of a shot, and foregoing the
shot would preclude any possibility of a bad hit.
If a bowman hunts from a tree stand, he will
fin·d there is a lot more to the sport than flinging arrows.
He will have an opportunity to see wildlife and
observe much in their kingdom he never previously
realized existed.

Often I have had a bird alight on a limb a few
feet from my nose. Keeping absolutely still, not even
blinking my eyes, I have watched the antics of these
winged creatures. It has often been humorous as a
feathered species cocks its head and curiously ex-
amines the funny—looking nearby object which was
not there the last time this roosting place was visited.
Every hunter knows creatures of our wildlife
kingdom have ways and means of communication. One
afternoon, while sitting in my tree stand on the Wilcox
Ranch in Utah, I had a fascinating experience of observing
a deer family tableau of communicating evidence
of danger followed by a signal that all was clear.
I had climbed into my tree stand shortly before
four -in the afternoon. I knew from past experience
that the chance of seeing a deer before sundown was
extremely remote. But I also had learned that it is
a good idea to arrive at your stand early, get settled
down and give any deer who has spotted you a chance
to convince himself you mean no harm.

To help resist the temptation of looking around
or glassing the area to see if a herd of bucks is approaching,
I take a·long a favorite sporting magazine
and catch up on my reading. After reading two or
three pages, I glanced ahead while turning the page. To
use an old hunter’s cliche, there, on the far side of the
alfalfa field, a herd of deer had appeared as if by magic
There were four bucks and five does, all with their
noses in the feedbag. It was a sight to quicken the pulse
of any bowhunter. It would have taken a patient and
expert stalker to climb down out of the tree, make a
huge circle and approach the herd from the wooded
side of the field. It was a cinch I didn’t have the qualifications.

I continued to watch the feeding animals
with considerable excitement and fascination.
Suddenly the scene was changed. All heads being erect
with eyes focused toward the sound of a jeep engine starting.
Later I learned the card game had broke;
up and for something to do to kill time, Waldo Wilcox loaded the
hunters into a jeep pickup and headed for Cherry Meadows,
a distance of about ten miles up Range Creek Canyon.

The deer held their position until they saw movement
of the vehicle coming toward them. They quickly
dashed across the ranch road, use a draw for a short
distance, then topped out on a small hogback where
they could get a commanding view of approaching
danger.
The four bucks immediately laid down. The does
sort of messed around, nuzzling the ground and making
like they were doing the chores. Several minutes after
the sound of the truck was lost in the distance, all the
does started making their way back to the field. The
bucks, mind you, continued with their siesta. To me,
I imagined one buck, probably the boss of the outfit,
issued a command something like: “Okay, gals, let’s
get with it! Take a run down to the field and see what
gives with those hunters who just passed by !”

The does, upon reaching the road, looked first
up, then down the canyon. Perhaps two minutes later
all five of them walked nonchalantly into the alfalfa
and started grazing. They paid no more attention to
the road or vehicle.

Suddenly, as if the boss buck had wirelessed to
see if the coast were clear, all the does, as if at a command,
turned toward the mountainside and walked
slowly single file to the top of the hogback and joined
the apparently dozing bucks. Whatever means of communication was used it didn’t take long.
The does turned around and started down the hill. The bucks then
got up and joined the procession. When the herd, led
all the way by the does, reached the road they did not
hesitate to look up and down it for possible danger.
They crossed without hesitation, walked a few feet
into the meadow and immediately resumed feeding.
As a sort of epilog to this episode, two of the
hunters, upon their return to the meadow, spotted the
deer and made a successful stalk, Hank Krohn bagged
a buck and Milt Lewis a doe. Doug Easton got some
shooting, but no hits.

I highly recommend hunting from a tree stand.
Before I go into details of construction, I want to
emphasize two conditions: right at the top, as most
important, I want to stress the safety angle. Most any-
one could sit on a stool and watch the birds indefinitely.
But seeing a deer and with quickened pulse take a shot
at your quarry, you could easily step too far or lose
your balance and fall to the ground seriously injuring
yourself, even fatally. So, be a sissy like me and wear
a safety belt of some kind. I merely tie a length of
nylon rope around my waist, with the other end wrapped
around and tied to the tree. If you ever have need
for this device, I’m sure it won’t be very comfortable,
but most assuredly will save your life.

If climbing a ten-foot ladder gives you cold shiv-
ers, then hunting from a tree stand is not for you.
Next would be the comfort part of tree stand
building. My wife, Frieda, has often called me an ol’
wiggle—butt, because I never was able to sit still in a
cramped and uncomfortable position.
Construct your stand so you can occasionally
stand up and shake the kinks out of your lower extremeties.
I don’t mean like a jack-in-the-box, so your
movements might be noticed by a big buck bedded
on a nearby hillside. Even with the luxury of a pillow
I find a brief respite from sitting, about every half-
hour, is a real pleasure.


There are a number of portable stands which have
been advertised in Bow and Arrow magazine. I personally
like Ron’s Porta-Pak. It comes with shoulder
straps, so you can back-pack it into the woods. Best
of all, for me, it comes equipped with a canvas top
seat. Remember, there will be times when you will
have to spend hours in a confined area, and the less
you move around, changing positions, the better off
and more successful you’ll be.

If you are going to hunt within a day’s drive of
your home, I’d suggest you go on a scouting expedition
a week or two before opening day of season.
Look for tracks and other signs of the species of game
you’re going to hunt. For brevity of this article let’s
presume you are going deer hunting. Search for a
spring or other watering place where tracks indicate
the game has been visiting frequently.
Now we need a tree-—one we can climb into and
out of with safety. The tree should be within four
to ten steps from a waterhole, or used deer trail. This
so that when the deer puts in an appearance, you can be
on the alert and not move an eyelash until your game
is almost directly beneath you. This is what makes
tree stand hunting so popular. A deer cannot see you
draw your bow and loose the arrow.
A word of advice: practice shooting nearly straight
down. You will find it a lot more difficult than you
think——even using a sight. Talk your club members
into setting up one tree stand target. Use it for a
novelty event if nothing else. Upon arriving at my
tree stand, I never fail to shoot a few practice arrows,
picking certain spots where I believe a deer might
appear. I have found that a twenty-yard setting will
suffice for anything around the tree, even for an actual
distance much farther.

Let’s say we found a pine tree which was just
what we were looking for. It was forty or fifty feet
high and eighteen inches in diameter. The first limb
was ten feet off the ground. Being in a national forest,
we would not be permitted to nail climbing blocks to
the tree or build a stand of a permanent nature. We
would install a portable stand and use a rope ladder
to climb up to it.

To be sure, there are many ways to climb a tree,
an·d many different kinds of trees, each presenting
a particular problem in climbing. One time I was privileged
to hunt on the Walking Cane Ranch in Texas.
The land was covered with millions of scrub cedars.
All the equipment a hunter needed in this area was:
hammer, saw, two or three nails and a one—by—six two
feet long. No devices were needed to climb these cedars.
There were lots of limbs from top to bottom. After
reaching the top, the hunter would saw off a couple
of feet from the main trunk, then nail on the board for
his seat. An added pillow was for luxury.

In all of our western states, forests are composed
of pine, fir, hemlock, aspen, cottonwood and many
other species. Personally, after I have located a good
spot for a stand, I search for a tree with a natural
opening in the foliage about the right height for a stand.
This precludes the necessity of pruning many branches
in order to see out and get an arrow through. Often
a hunter will find where lightning has struck a tree
and gouged out an opening ideal for locating a stand.
Photographs accompanying this article will give
you a good idea of how to set up housekeeping in some
tree and make like an owl. It was my dream to present
a photo of me drawing a bow and aiming at a live
deer. Sort of having my cake and eating it, too. But
I found this chore more difficult than I thought. Deer
are narrow minded and uncooperative.

One photo depicts what looks like the real thing.
Here is how the shot was accomplished. About ten years
ago, I was hunting in Rock Creek Park, near Monte
Vista, Colorado. My hunting partner was Ernest Wilkinson,
local taxidermist and founder of the Piedra
Bowhunters Club. In his display room I feasted my
eyes on a life~like full mount of a f·our—by-four mule
buck deer.

Last summer en route to Colorado for a bear hunt,
I dragged this picture out of my memory file and stopped
by Ernie’s place to sort of say hi. It took a little
arm twisting, but within the hour we had loaded the
mount into a van, driven to a spot in Rock Creek Park,
where we had long ago hunted deer together, and
set up a realistic shot of Ernie sitting on a tree stand
with bow drawn and aiming at the one—for~twenty spot
on a trophy buck.
Don’t build your stand in the top of the highest
tree. When the wind blows you’ll wish you hadn’t, and
you might get seasick! I’d say the minimum height
should be ten feet, with a maximum of thirty. Remember,
the higher you climb, the more difficult it is to
get in and out of your stand and hoist your gear to

and from. For the latter chore I use a hundred—foot
length of quarter-inch nylon cord.
I recommend you be in your stand about half
an hour before daylight. This will give time for any
body odor lingering below to dissipate. Al-so any deer
who have been alerted by the noise you made getting
to your stand will have settled down and figured that
Whatever caused the disturbance had disappeared.
Hunting from a tree stand can be really exciting
at times. You may spot your deer at a considerable
distance and then observe it slowly making its way
toward your stand. I guarantee it will raise your blood
pressure and increase your heart beat! Have an area
picked where you are fairly sure of getting a good hit,
then wait until the ·deer reaches that spot. It will be a
bit rough, but wait him out.

“The greatest hunting thrill of my life was waiting
for a record—class buck slowly make his way to a spring
near my stand. He only had to cover two hundred
yards, but the way he picked his path, hesitating at
every step, it must have taken him two hundred minutes
to reach the spot where I planned to loose the arrow.
I forced myself to turn my eyes in another direction
from time to time s·o I could not see him and to better
hold back the buck fever which was creeping in. Even
though my bow arm was a bit on the shakey side, the
arrow flew true to the spot, and I had the further
thrill of seeing the big beauty go d·own for the count.
Th·is experience took place on the Lamicq ranch in
the high country, back of Grand junction, Colorado.
John, as an outfitter, is a firm believer in hunting from
a tree stand. Annual kill success of his clients tend·s to
prove this is the only way to go. Much of the Lamicq
property, owned or leased, covers the tops of several
huge ridges. Needless to say, ·if a hunter is thinking of
bagging a trophy buck he’d better go topside.
Ecologists complain that tree stand-s are ugly and
spoil the natural wilderness of a forest. I will admit
some I have seen are an eyesore, but I have been as-
signed to a tree in a certain small area and have had
difficulty finding the tree with the stand in it. The
hunter does not have to chop off limbs with reckless
abandon, even if there were no objection. If you leave
chopped-off limbs scattered around the foot of your
tree stand, forget it! Deer know when things are not
as they were yesterday and sense danger.
A word of caution: check your game laws. There
are a couple of states which prohibit hunting from a
tree. There also are several states which prohibit hunting
except from a tree stand. <——<<<<

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Published by archerchick on 11 Jan 2011

25 Calling Tips-The Right Call At The Right Time ~By Bill Vaznis

Bowhunting World October 2005


BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2005

25 Calling Tips by Bill Vaznis

The Right Call At The Right Time

There are two accessories I always take afield with me
these days.The first is a quality pair of binoculars. They
can help me see deer skulking in the shadows that would
otherwise go undetected. And the second is a deer call.
If I am careful, a single note can lure that buck into bow
range as if I possessed a magic flute – a buck I might add
that could easily walk out of my life forever. Do grunt
tubes work all the time? No, but most experts are pleased
if they can get one out of 10 bucks to respond favorably to
their renditions. Here are 25 tips to help insure that you will
be more than pleased on your next hunt.
?

EARLY SEASON
1. Try starting the opening day off
with a bit of rattling. Not hard
and harsh, mind you, but soft and
easy. You want to imitate two bucks
sparring in order to test each other’s
strength and weaknesses. A rattle bag
seems to work best here. ]ust rub the bag
back and forth between your hands for
1O or 15 seconds at a time, and then
grab your bow. This low-level grinding
is sure to tweak the curiosity of any
passing buck.

2. One of the problems calling to
whitetails during the early season
is the response rate. Bucks are not
worked up enough to be attracted to
a knock down, drag-out buck fight, nor are
they likely to come-a-running to an estrous
doe bleat. They will, however, investigate
a contact grunt from a young buck or doe,
or the plaintive bleat of a fawn. The trick
here is to key in on food sources and then
setup an ambush in a nearby staging area
that offers plenty of cover.
?

3. Or, try calling right outside a
buck’s preferred bedding area late
in the morning or an hour or so
before darkness. This is risky business, but
if you are careful, it can work on your very
first attempt; What call should you use?
A couple of moderately toned contact
grunts could send that bedded buck into
a frenzy. Why? Your rendition might be
interpreted as a younger buck invading
his territory to look for does.

?

BLIND CALLING TIPS

1. Yearling buck grunts, doe bleats,
doe-in-heat bleats, moderately
toned buck grunts, fawn bleats, buck
contact grunts, yearling buck tending
grunts and even fawn-in-distress bleats
are all proven deer calls. Indeed, each
fall knowledgeable hunters who know
how to imitate these basic vocalizations
in the wild tag thousands and thousands
of whitetail deer. It is the buck contact
grunt, doe~in-heat bleat and the series
of moderately toned tending buck grunts
that bag the most bucks however—
three easy calls to master.

2. Don’t be afraid to use your deer
call. Sure, improper calling can
spook a buck into the next
county, but more often than not you will
learn something about deer behavior
that can be used successfully later in
your career. You might, for example, learn
how quickly a buck will pinpoint your
exact location if you and your treestand
are not well·camouflaged.

3. When blind calling, start your
calling sequence with the volume
turned down low. A buck might
be standing nearby and come running
in to investigate. If your rendition
sounds more like a foghorn, however, a
nearby buck might vamoose without
you ever knowing he was close at hand.
?

4. Always have an arrow nocked and
ready to go before you start calling
to unseen deer. It only takes a
second for a buck to step into view and he
will be on high alert, leaving you precious
little time to prepare for a shot. One P&Y
Iowa buck, for example, came in so fast and
stopped so close to me I could not nock an
arrow without alerting him to my presence.
He escaped unscathed.?

5. Just because a buck doesn’t
respond immediately to your
calling does not mean he is not
going to come in for a look-see. He may
take 1O minutes, he might take an hour,
so don’t give up hope. Indeed, more than
one buck has been known to circle
around and show up on the downwind
side of a treestand long after the
bowhunter relaxed his guard.

6. Be sure to test the upper limits of
every grunt tube you plan on
taking into the woods with you
before you step afield. Some models lose
their tonal qualities when you blow hard,
causing a squeak that is sure to alert
any nearby deer. Don’t discard these
odd-sounding calls, however. Sometimes
a simple reed adjustment is all it takes to
bring the grunt tube back up to specs. If
that doesn’t help, save the parts. It is
amazing what authentic sounding deer
calls you can build when you mix and
match barrels, reeds and ribbed tubing!


ADD REALISM?

1. If you should snap a twig while
still-hunting or walking to your
stand and jump a deer, try a confidence
call. I like to imitate the soft
mew of a fawn as they always seem to be
stumbling about, but avoid the use of a
fawn-in-distress call. I can’t imagine a
scenario where this would help you bag
a buck holding steady on red alert. A
single low doe bleat might also calm
down any nearby deer.
?

2. If you are hunting from ground
zero, and a buck hangs up just out
of range, try grunting, bleating,
mewing or rattling from a different location.
This is a killer maneuver if you can
pull it off without being seen. Raking
an antler up and down a tree trunk, or
pawing at the ground with a stick might
be all it takes then to get that buck to
finally commit himself to the setup.
?

3. Learn to double up on your calls.
For example, try a doe-in-heat
bleat followed by a short series
of tending buck grunts. This is a hot
combination during the pre-rut as well
as the peak of the rut. A lost fawn bleat
followed by a doe-in-heat bleat and
then a tending buck grunt can be the
ticket when the rut is in full swing.
Why? A nearby buck will “think” a hot
doe is about to be bred by a buck in
attendance. The “lost” fawn only adds
realism to the ruse as does routinely
abandon their fawns while being bred.

4. When doubling up on your vocalizations,
use a single-purpose call
and couple that with notes from
a variable grunt tube. It adds a bit of realism
to your calling strategy as it sounds like
two distinctly different deer.


PEAK OF THE RUT
1. You will know the rut has kicked
in when you see bucks lingering
around feeding areas preferred
by family groups of does and fawns well
after sunrise. They will be searching for
does by scent-checking the edges of openings
and by staring off into thick wooded
areas for several moments at a time. This
is a good time to give a roving buck what
he is expecting to find—a family group
of does and fawns. He will quickly zero
in on a couple of fawn bleats followed by
a doe bleat or two. Keep your eyes and
ears open, but don’t be afraid to blind call
every 15 minutes or so, either.

2. Bucks love to cruise the edges of
major waterways during the rut
in their seemingly never-ending
search for a doe in estrus. To narrow
your search and pinpoint an exact calling
location, look for inlets and bays that
funnel bucks close to the shoreline or
“around the horn” as they trot from one
side of the bay to the other.

3. You can set up a treestand on a
downwind edge of the bedding
area, or still-hunt in and around
the thick stuff. Either way, calling blindly
to bucks by using doe-in-heat bleats
followed by moderately toned tending
buck grunts will work. Stay alert and be
ready to shoot at all times because the
action can be fast and furious!

?
SPECIALTY CALLS
1. When a buck is in the company
of an estrous doe near the very
peak of her cycle, he will often
make a clicking noise just moments prior
to copulation. It sounds much like someone
dragging their thumbnail across the
teeth of a plastic comb, with each individual
click separate and distinct.

When the rut is in full swing, this
clicking will signify to a passing mature
buck that a hot doe is somewhere nearby,
and that mating is about to take place. Use
a moderately toned or high-pitched series
of clicking, and a sexually experienced trophy
buck just might believe that a younger and less-mature
buck is about to breed, and rush in to
take over the breeding rites. A buck
decoy with a small to medium rack
might just help you complete the ruse.

2. A snort-wheeze is made by a
buck exhaling air through his
nose in a very specific cadence.
Once you have heard it, you won’t forget
it. It occurs when two bucks of similar status
suddenly encounter each other
around a food source or a doe near estrus,
and serves as a warning to the intruder
buck to back off or there will be a fight.
A buck will also emit a loud snort-
wheeze when a hot doe refuses to stand
still long enough to allow breeding to
take place. The buck is undoubtedly
warning the doe to stand still—or else!
The snort-wheeze seems to work best
during the peak of the rut when mature
bucks are tending does. Your rendition
of a snort-wheeze, either alone or added
to a tending buck grunt or an estrous doe
bleat, may be all it takes to pull a mature
buck away from a hot doe. But be pre~
pared, however, as any nearby buck will
probably come in looking for a fight!

3. If you prefer to still-hunt, as I do,
and want to call a buck in closer for
a clean shot, try a few contact buck
grunts followed by your
version of a buck making a rub—complete
with swaying sapling. lt sounds
gimmicky, but it works for me at least
once a year!
?

WHEN NOT TO CALL
Do not keep calling if the buck
does not respond in a timely
manner. He may simply not
want to come over for a look-see, so let
him go for another day. The last thing
you want to do is educate him on your
imitation grunts and bleats.

2. Do not call again if the he
appears to have heard your call
and is already working his way
toward you. Additional grunts or bleats
may only serve to confuse him or, worse
alert him to the fact that you are not
another deer.
?

3. Do not call if the buck is already
in bow range, or is looking at
you or for you just out of range
If he pegs you, the game is over. Instead
hold your ground, and let him make
the next move. lf he turns to walk away
hit him with another note. This is
another case where a decoy, buck or a
doe, can help as the buck’s attention will
be riveted on the decoy.
?

LATE-SEASON STRATEGIES

In most late-season hunts, “doe
tags” are still valid and, in fact
antlerless deer are often the
main quarry. Fawn bleats can stir a doe’s
curiosity to the point where she will
come in for a cautious look-see, whereas
a loud blast from a fawn-in-distress specialty
call can still bring a doe charging
in to rescue a stricken fawn.

2. Of course, if it is a buck you are
after, then you really have your
work out out for you! In most
cases as long as he has his rack, he is
willing and able to breed. Thus an estrous
doe bleat is always a good choice, with or
without an estrous doe decoy, positioned
facing the buck with her back legs askew.
With this setup it is imperative you
choose your treestand site carefully,
making sure you are high above the
ground and well concealed.
If your call freezes up during the
late season, you are calling too
much. Slow down, and call
more sparingly. A squeaking note now
will undoubtedly end your season.

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Published by archerchick on 11 Jan 2011

Bulls At The Buzzer ~By Jeff Murray

Bowhunting World October 2005


BOWHUNTING WORLD
OCTOBER 2005

BULLS AT THE BUZZER By Jeff Murray

A golden sunset should have been framed with the sound of elk music. But the only thing golden
about my day was that it was about to be over. Where were all the bulls? How
can l be in two places at once? My mind races with questions that beg answers.
But all l can do is slump forward to catch my breath and try to clear my mind.
indeed, clear thinking is the name of the game when the pressure’s on. You see,
my Colorado elk archery season is slipping away. In fact, my hunting season now
boils down to 13 hours of hunting light. In bowhunting terms, that’s 780 minutes (or 46,800 seconds) to pull off an upset at the buzzer. If you ever find yourself in this predicament, here’s what to do when you think you’re one neuron short of a synapse.

WHY BETTER LATE
THAN NEVER LATE

Sound game plans consist of sound components. One of them is flexibility. (I’ve
killed a lot of bulls on the 10th day of a seven-day hunt) But when you’re down
to the wire, you can’t just sit there. You have to do something! Which begs the
question: Why would anyone pick a hunt that ends when a state legislature or conservation department says so? I’ll tell you why: Because the bottom end of archery
season is better than the top end for, well, top-end bulls. While I’ve always suspected
this was true. the last couple of seasons taught me how true it is. All you need is
one good reason, but here are three:

First, weather is almost always more
of a help than a hindrance at the tag end of the season. You simply cannot ignore
the fact that searing temperatures put bulls down. And it goes from bad to
worse when a drought overlaps a heatwave. Give me frost or a little dusting
snow and l promise you elk will be on the move, oftentimes migrating predictably
from summer ranges at timberline to winter ranges at lower elevations.

Second, aggressive calling tactics rule the roost this time of year. In fact
there are so many strategies to choose from that l might have too many in my
quiver of tricks, More on this later and third, the biology of this phase of the rut makes bulls more susceptible to bowhunters than at any other time of year (again, lots more below). Add it up,
and the math is sound: The last week is the best week. That being the case,
here’s a fistful of strategies for ending the season with a bang.

THE BUDDY MANEUVER
l used to hunt with a guy who was a recluse. He avoided hunting with other
guys mainly because he thought it compromised his hunting opportunities.
Yet lied often complain about monster bulls tied call within bow range but couldn`t
get broadside. l’m wired differently. lt`s no secret that l relish the opportunity to
double -up on elk with my like·minded buddies. We’re an unselfish crew and
seem to have matured into enjoying each others’ successes as much as our
own. lf that describes you, then you’re in a good place. Now’s the best time to
buddy-up on a bull.

“[The late season] is tailor-made for aggressive calling, and that means the
more callers, the better,” says Ralph Ramos, a veteran New Mexico guide
appearing often in these pages over the years. It’s not uncommon [for me] to set up two hunters with two or more callers. You need good communication, and you need to read the situation properly, but it’s a tactic that’s loaded with potential for
this time of year.” It’s been said that a pessimist sees a calamity in every challenge, and that an
optimist sees a challenge in every calamity. There’s a challenge here, all right, but how you handle it determines whether or not it ends in calamity. So let’s set up the setup. “Most bowhunters don’t separate themselves far enough from the callers,” Ramos began. “When [l`m calling] l like to get anywhere from 90 to 150 yards away from my hunters. Most guys set up 30 to 40 yards away, like they’re hunting turkeys. This simply doesn’t allow you to maneuver the bulls.”
Man, is Ramos ever right on.

Early in my bowhunting career l`d routinely get stuck in the proverbial 150-yard hangup: I’d get pinned as I watched the bull I desperately wanted pace back and forth out of bow range. Occasionally he’d bluff·charge 40 to So yards closer, giving me false hopes he’d end up in my lap. But he rarely did. Now I realize it was my fault. I needed better separation from my buddy’s calling. One-hundred-fifty yards may seem like a long way, but take Ramos’ advice: Better to be too far apart than too close. Next, you need to decide how aggressive you want to get and how soon you want to get aggressive. This is a critical decision, especially with the waning
season on the line. “When the caller keeps the proper distance from the hunter, you’ve got options,” Ramos continued. The hunter should be thinking how best to close the gap while his
caller concentrates on distracting the bull. I want to really work over the bull so he thinks he’s got plenty of space to protect his cows and bugle back at me. I make no attempt to keep quiet while I’m calling; I like to sound like an approaching is herd of cows with a straggling bull or two. I’m as aggressive as I can be.

Now here’s where things get dicey. If the bull appears to be drawing closer, great—you’re about to experience the moment of truth. All you have to do is get the caller to back off a little bit to make
the bull think he’s got the invading, rival bull on the defensive. The risk, of course, is challenging the bull beyond his comfort zone, which may trigger him into retreating with his harem. But drawing this line in the sand is what separates the pros like Ramos from the rest of the elk crowd.
Master this technique, and you’re about to graduate to the big leagues!

A final word on maneuvering bulls. Use common sense and you should be able to broadside a bull: If the bull is bugling to the right of the shooter, swing around to the left and call away from the
bull. Do the opposite if the bull seems to be circling wide left of the shooter. Pay strict attention to what you hearing don’t let the wind fool you—and stick with the program. It takes some practice,
but you’ll learn from every mistake. Finally, remember to make plenty of elk noise as you call.

NEW LIGHT ON DARK TIMBER
In the Desert Southwest, bulls don’t begin losing their harems till mid-October—after the completion of archery seasons—and the weather tends to remain quite balmy throughout the bow
season down there. But things are different further north, particularly in states like Wyoming, Colorado and Montana. As the bow season matures, the elk landscape transforms into a new season. For one, late September stimulates elk migrations: for another, rut dynamics change. Guide Roger McQueen notes these changes and keeps one step ahead.

“The whole key this time of year is anticipation.” he says. “You can never chase elk. You’re way better off intercepting them. That is why I do so much better scouting in dark timber; I want to be ready when the herd drops down [from] timberline.”

In a sentence, McQueen is looking for telltale clues that elk are at mid-slope. A carpet of snow certainly helps. But a sudden artic blast coud affect the location of elk bedding areas. “It’s well
known that north-facing slopes are preferred, ” he said. “That’s where the cover is thickest. But bulls will occasionally sun themselves [on the south side] if the thermometer really plummets. An elk magnet would be the head of a basin, say 7,000 feet where bulls can slip over either side of the top.”

Another dark timber axiom is cherry-picking benches -where the terrain briefly flattens out before dropping off again – along extremely steep slopes. Elk concentrate here, and it’s easier to call in bulls for broadside shots.

“Calling in the timber can be frustrating,” admits McQueen. “You have to scramble a lot to make sure the thermals don’t betray you. And it’s easy to get caught out of position because you can’t see bulls until their almost on top of you. On the flip side, you probably won’t get many 100 yard hang ups.”

Once again, the late season challenge boils down to call tactics. It all
depends on how desperate you are, says McQueen: Conventional wisdom calls for
answering a bull after he’s had a chance to speak his mind: get the conversation heat»
ing up gradually But I find that in dark timber, for some reason, I can cut off the bull- interrupt him in the middle of his bugle-with a bugle of my own. This ticks him off and often brings him in on a trot; however, in more open terrain its a big gamble and often sends the bull packing.


SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

Dan Evans sells Trophy Taker arrow rests for a living, but that’s just an excuse to
hunt elk in as many states as he can each fall. Evans has racked up multiple-state
kills for the past several years essentially because he hunts like respected 3-D
archer Randy Ulmer does. What do the two have in common? They sleep with elk. Evans will even bunk out in a tree if that’s what it takes to down a monster bull and Ulmer, an Arizona resident fortunate enough to hunt bulls in that state more than once in a lifetime, knows this
is the best way to score on bulls topping the 375 Pope and Young mark.

So how can the rest of us get in on the bit? First learn how to bivouac. Start
by getting yourself a backpack that’s small enough to pack inside a bigger
camp pack. The bigger pack gets you to set up at your spike camp, and the small·
er pack equips you for a two» or three day rendezvous. Now you can bed down
where the elk take you, which could be a mile or four from base camp.

“Bivouacking is made to order for the late season,” says Bryan Leck, a wiry
Colorado bowhunter who lives out of his pack for weeks on end each September.
“You waste no time and lose no sleep traveling back and to camp each day, I mean the instant
you wake up, you’re close to an elk and can start hunting. You can hunt at a higher pace from the sunrise to sunset. “While this is true, the key to this technique is securing a good water supply

Don’t Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
And speaking of not wasting time (when there’s no time to waste) I learned a valuable lesson a few years ago from New Mexico outfitter Tom Klumker. He taught me not to waste precious hours. l was obsessive compulsive about
thermals mining a hunt but, like he says, theres no hunt to ruin unless you try.

Sure, you can’t rely on down drafting thermals [like sunrise and sunset], he told me. But if you can determine the
flow of localized air currents, you can still stay downwind from elk most of the time.
Ralph Ramos agrees: “l really like midday during the last few days of the season, because a bedded bull is pretty likely to respond to your bugle. It he’s preoccupied with cows, on the other hand, he might not answer.” Ramos adds a cautionary note on exactly what a bedded bull is apt to sound like. “It’s more like a moan: oah-ah. So if you sharpen your ears and listen for this sound, the bulls are going to give up their location. And that’s what it’s all about.”

RATTLE UP A RUTTING BULL
I’ve saved the best tactic for last—rattling. My Cutting Edge column covers this hot new tactic, but here are some additional pointers to keep in mind”
• You can rattle any time, anywhere.just be sure to start with subdued sparring sounds before replicating a donnybrook encounter. Sometimes that’s all you need.
• The Sparring Bull call, pioneered by seven-time Elk Call Champion Audrey Hulsey, is for real. This intrigueing vocalization is what bulls make when they push and shove. And it can’t be effective without having to rattle.

Hot tip: To help position bulls for a quality shot, Hulsey jury-rigs an oversized plastic baseball bat to cast the:
Sparring Bull calls.
• Rattling works best when the demand for cows exceeds the supply. The
tag end of the bow season in northern elk states is about as good as it gets, since this is when bulls run out of estrous cows ,and harems become harder to manage. ;
• Satellite bulls are suckers for rattling and the spar call If you’re hunting where the satellites are impressive specimens—wilderness areas, limited entry units, private ranches——you’re in for a
real treat.
• Like bugling, two bowhunters can be more effective at rattling than one. But take Ramos’ advice and separate the rattler from the Shooter by at least 100 yards. And don’t forget to make may ruckus. Stomp your feet, shake bushes, break sticks, even tumble rocks down the slope!

About the only thing that can ruin a late-season hunt is the season ending before your tag is filled. But that shouldn’t happen if you plan ahead and make every minute count! >>—->

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Published by archerchick on 11 Jan 2011

The Perfect Morning Stand~ By Mike Strandlund

Bowhunting World October 2005


BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2005

THE PERFECT MORNING STAND ~ By Mike Strandlund
?

On cool mornings during the rut, bedding areas may be your best bet.

If you hang around bowhunters enough, you’ll eventually hear some-
one say they were in the right place at the right time. Everyone nods
their head. The notion of time intersecting location is a well accepted
principle of bowhunting success. Nodding your head is easy, but really,
putting those two together is no simple matter. There are a lot of
trees out there and a lot of hours in the day. Making it happen by
design rather than by pure luck takes a little thought.

Big bucks can be taken at any time during the season and any time
during the day. They are always somewhere, even it you aren’t. If you
understand their behavior well enough to put yourself between their Point
A and Point B, you can manufacture your own right time and place. The
problem is, during most of the season they aren’t moving very well,
during the day, and these smart old deer are anything but predictable.
Year after year the rut comes to the rescue to put a little life into our
dreams. For a high percentage of hunters, the rut is the “right time.” But,
we deed to go a step farther. ?

In my experience, morning hunts produce more big buck sightings than
evening hunts. Hunters who spend a lot of time on stand will agree. Bucks
learn to let their guard down more in the morning and are on their feet
longer during daylight than they are in the afternoon. So, the “right time”
becomes a morning during the rut. But, why stop there? There’s more
we can use to narrow this down.

Studies I’ve read suggest that daytime buck activity north of the
Mason-Dixon tine starts to decline when the temperature gets above 45
degrees. It almost comes to a stop when the temperature reaches 60
degrees. So now the right time is a cool morning during the rut. Now all
we need is the right place.


The Right Place
For 50 weeks out of the year, bedding
areas are among the worst places you
could hunt. Try sneaking into Fort Knox
sometime. It won’t be long before the
alarms start sounding. That’s the level of
security deer exhibit in a bedding area for
most of the year. If a buck catches you
sneaking around his bedding area, he’s
gone. Just as a good burglar knows that
the best time to make a raid is when the
residents are out of town, we have our
own window of opportunity to hunt bedding
areas effectively during the rut.
During the two weeks that comprise
the peak-breeding phase of the rut, a high
percentage of the bucks are “out of town.”
They’re distracted from normal wariness by
the hope of cornering a doe, and they’re moving
more in the process spending time in places
where they haven’t taken a stick-by-stick and
leaf-by-leaf mental inventory.?

The one you see today may be miles away
tomorrow. You can afford to push a little
harder when the buck turnover rate is high.
When does are in estrus (characterizing
the peak breeding phase), mature bucks
spend most of their time looking for them.
Where do they go? Where would you go?
Feeding areas in the evening and bedding
areas in the morning.
Choosing the bedding areas you will
hunt depends a lot more on how you will get
in and out than on any other single factor.
Start with access, then move on to wind
control and finally worry about the specific
tree you’ll hunt.

Access
Bucks are slow to arrive in bedding areas
in the morning, so they won’t be the ones
that bust you if you make a sloppy approach.
Maybe you are thinking, “So what if I blow out
a couple of does?” It’s a big mistake because
if you push the does out, the bucks will stop
using the whole area eventually, plus any
deer that remain will display tense body
language that will bring the bucks to a
greater state of caution. Soon they will
stop moving naturally through the area. If
you can’t get to and from the stand without
spooking deer, you are actually hurting
your entire hunting area. That’s why getting
in clean is so important.


?

Bedding areas generally have a back
door that makes access easy. You have to
approach from the opposite direction as
the deer. In other words, you have to come
in from the direction away from the primary
food source. Surprisingly, some bedding
area stands can be hunted day after day if
the entry and exit routes are well-selected.
The only way you burn out a stand is if the
deer know you are using it. Keep them in
the dark and the stand can be productive
for the entire two weeks.
Take advantage of every trick to keep
deer from seeing you, smelling you and
hearing you as you approach the stand.
I’ve learned the value of setting stands
close to high-banked ditches and creeks. I
use the bank for cover as I walk right down
in the bottom, beneath the surrounding
terrain. I’ve walked right past deer this
way many times.
?

Another trick is to approach your
morning stands right at first light. It may
sound like heresy to hard-core bowhunters,
but I’ve found that sleeping in actually
works to your benefit when the woods are
dry and noisy underfoot. Wait until you can
just see the ground before heading to the
stand, and then walk rapidly. Rapid-fire
movements spook deer less than quiet
sounds of stealth. Also, there is a time
right at daybreak when the forest comes
to life and the sounds you make aren’t
singled out as easily.
?

Wind
The best bedding area stands
are located near ridge tops. Of course, you
have to go where the deer are, but given a
choice, hunt high where the wind is steady.
The wind is always steadier on high ground
than in areas that are protected and subject
to swirling. As a bonus, when you set up on
the downwind edge of a ridge top, the wind
will carry your scent above the deer down-
wind of your stand for a long distance. With
attention to eliminating odor, you should
be able to prevent most of the deer from
ever scenting you while on stand. If you’re
looking for a way to make your best start
productive for longer, this is a big one.

Be Conservative
While scouting I’ve seen a lot of stands
that are “one-hunt wonders.” I know
perfectly well what they look like because
I’ve put up my share of them over the years.
They are great for one hunt and then they go
downhill because too many deer scent you or run
across your ground scent. Generally, these
stands are the result of a combination of
greed and naivete. We long to be right in
the middle of the action, but that always
comes at a high cost. You will get busted
often – plain and simple. And, soon deer
will stop using the area around the stand.

There is no place I’ve ever hunted
where wild whitetails will tolerate human
presence without avoiding the area in the
future. Instead of hunting right in the Middle
of a bedding area and educating deer,
choose a tree on the fringe. Put your stand
on the backside of the tree, away from the
deer. You will have to stand facing the
tree most of the time, but the tree will
serve to keep you well-hidden even
from short range.
?

Accept the fact that you’ll have to watch
a few deer pass out of range. Be patient;
eventually one will come to the downwind
side of the ridge (your side) and you’ll get
a good shot. In the meantime, you will keep
the deer relaxed and moving naturally. Over
the long haul, that’s the key to successful
bowhunting.

Picking The Tree
Choosing an actual stand location in a bedding
area can be as much luck as skill. There is almost
no buck sign to guide you. By their very
nature, bedding areas aren’t travel routes.
You won’t find many trails or traditional
funnels to suggest the best stand location
There isn’t a single big rub, scrape or
trail visible from any of my best morning
stands. This is the hardest part for many
bowhunters to overcome. Too often, sign
becomes our only focus and we overlook
great stand locations as a result.

Buck movement patterns through bedding
areas seem on the surface to be
random. In most cases, the bucks follow
some kind of a pattern even if the pattern
is known only to them. In time, you will see
it start to develop. Certain places will seem to
be visited more often by bucks on the move,
or a certain tree will just seem to be common
to many of the paths taken by cruising bucks.
lt may take a couple of years for this to gel, but
you will end up with an awesome stand if you
are patient and watchful.

Occasionally you’ll actually find funnels
in bedding areas, though they tend to
be broad and very general in form. When
hunting ridges l look for areas where narrow
hogbacks in the ridge force traveling
bucks to come closer together. This simply
increases your odds that a buck passing through
the area will be within range.
Often, in other types of bedding areas,
you’ll find something subtle that pushes
deer toward one side or the other. It may
even be as simple as a big fallen tree
deer have to go around. Anything that
funnels movement (no matter how slightly)
tips the odds a little more your way and
is worth using to your advantage.

A saddle is another feature that really
improves ridge hunting success. Bucks
use the saddle to cross over the ridge
serving as a second travel route when hunting
bucks that are cruising along the ridge itself.

Remain Undetected
Does often browse for an hour or more
when they get back into a bedding area.
They rarely bed right down. This can be a
tough time because as the does mill around, a few
invariably start to drift over to your stand.
If the setup isn’t perfect you will get busted.

I’ve also had entire family groups bed
down for hours at a time within 10 yards
of my tree. That makes life miserable
because you can’t move to stretch or even
change positions. This is rare, however
because you can usually count on some
kind of buck to come along and run them
out before too long.

?

More Thoughts On Timing

When you start noticing bucks seriously
chasing does, it’s time to start spending
your mornings hunting bedding areas
Here‘s what you can expect.

The bucks that visit doe bedding areas
aren’t interested in bedding down, at least
not until late in the morning. After several
years of hunting bedding areas in the morning,
I’ve only seen a few bucks actually bed
down. instead of bedding, the bucks cruise
through with the intention of checking as
many does as possible before moving on.
They jump them up, sniff around and then
move on.

As the sun begins to rise, the does will
start to show up first, usually right after first
light. Generally, they are by themselves or
in small family groups with another doe or
two and a few fawns. The bucks usually
don’t start coming through until well after
sunrise. Some mornings they were so late
in arriving that l figured the show was over
before it even started only to see the first
buck about the time l would normally think
about climbing down. In other words, don’t
give up too early—bedding areas can produce
action well into the late morning.
Possibly the best part about hunting
bedding areas at this time of the season
is the sheer number of hours that bucks
are active. lf you’re hunting edges, the
activity slows shortly after sunrise. When
the deer disappear from these places,
where do you think they are heading?
That’s right, toward doe bedding areas.

Deeper in the cover the bucks keep
moving for hours. The majority of the action
occurs during the first four hours of the
morning—actual|y the second, third and
fourth hours. I challenge you to find another
stand location where you can expect three
hours of activity each morning.

I remember hearing a humorous remark
by noted gun writer Craig Boddington. He
said, “Bowhunting is like shopping. Gun
hunting is like buying.” Some mornings the
action in these bedding areas makes
bowhunting seem a lot more like buying, too.
At its best, the morning action is awesome
bordering on unbelievable, like the morning
I spent covered up by more than a dozen
bucks trailing two hot does that passed
right under my stand. The right time? That’s
easy; a cool morning during the rut. The
right place? That’s easy, too; A doe bedding
area is the handsdown pick. <–<<

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Published by archerchick on 06 Jan 2011

Ground Attack ~ By Jeff Murray

BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2006

GROUND ATTACK – By Jeff Murray

When it comes to getting close, your tactics toolbelt should include blinds.  No longer the cumbersome contraptions they once were.  Today’s innovative blinds are proving their worth with top guides and outfiitters.

According to recent Pope and Young records, about three-fourths of all
whitetail entries involve treestands. But as much as I love a “height advantage”
I find myself land-lubbing it more and more each year. In fact, I’m just about convinced
that the portable ground blind—which used to be an oxymoron I0 years ago—is as
effective as the portable treestand.

Have I lost my mind? Some of it. I know I’ve lost my narrow-mindedness, not to mention
a few staunch opinions. And I’m also losing some habits, such as fighting with treesteps
in my sleep; dreaming about falling out of trees, and nightmares about swaying in wind
and rain from dark-dawn to dusk-dark.  My new outlook is fueled by two key factors.

First, the latest portable designs are, well. more portable than ever. And second, we’ve
learned a lot about ground pounding from a decade of hardcore experience. We’ve
learned for example that blinds are ideal for turkeys. But blinds are equally deadly on
pronghorns, mule deer and elk. We’ve even learned that whitetails are susceptible to the
right blind at the right place with the right tactic.

Need proof? How about the 200—inch 5×5 buck that Mike Wheeler guided New Jersey
bow hunter Aaron Moore last year.   If that deer isn’t big enough for you, consider the 2003 monster (38 points, 307 5/8
harvested by 15—year-old Tony Lovstuen.
Yes, it was taken from a ground blind.

OLD VS. NEW

The first portable blind I hunted out of was an Invisiblind that Mark Mueller asked me to
field-test. Erection and disassembly were a little time-consuming, no doubt, but it was a
leap in the right direction. Mueller figured out back then that camo netting goes
with portable blinds like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches go with kids. He relied on the
netting mainly for concealing hunters inside and the ability to shoot broadheads through
the material. But the netting proved to serve another important purpose .

In 1995 I first heard about Double Bull Blinds and I got my hands on a lightweight
model the following year. This blind date was made in heaven. The pop—out hubs
locked rods in place that, in turn, stretched the walls of the tent-like structure neatly
into place. In seconds l was up and running and down ‘n’ dirty bowhuntin’. My new blind
was a constant companion in turkey country, and I was madly in love with it.

Shortly thereafter I discovered the “coiled” spring steel concept. Today, anyone can stow
away, say, on Ameristep Doghouse portable, even if an airline ticket is part of the hunt; the
blind’s dimensions are a mere 2×24 inches. And blinds keep getting better and better.
Double Bull now offers the Matrix, a 360-degree viewing and shooting blind that has all
the bells and whistles. Not to be outdone,  Ameristep is promoting the Brickhouse Half-
N-Half that features two complementary camo patterns on opposite sides, just in case the
scenery calls for flexibility. Underbrush incorporates  3-D leafy material that blends naturally
with surroundings and moves in synch with Natures wind currents; the Bowhunter spans 5×5 feet and weighs—what else?—5 pounds.
Then there’s a series of Excent (carbon-activated fabric lined) models from Eastman Outfitters to help deal with scent buildup.

GETTING GROUNDED

Blinds offer several distinct advantages. Most are strategic, but the one topping my list
is psychological: l’m addicted to eye-to-eye combat, with game being clueless to my
presence. I feel like the Invisible Man inside a portable. Other advantages include:
*Extreme portability (no treesteps, no ladders, no safety belts).
*Surprising scent—control (top models sporting a roof and four walls confine scent
with remarkable efficiency).
*No trees, no sweat (set up where you want, not where a tree says so).
*Deke out turkeys and deer with a well-placed decoy.

*Hunt aggressively while relaxing (ignore wind, rain, snow; relax in a folding camp chair or recliner).
* Hunt trophy elk and pronghorns near waterholes without a pick and shovel.
*Make a mule deer’s frontline defense- acute eyesight—his Achilles’ heel.
This is all possible if you follow the rules. Start with no flappin’. lf your blind flaps in the breeze, it will spook game. Period. So
make good use of tent spikes, but also make a discerning purchase and eliminate models
that are loose-fitting and baggy. Another bugaboo associated with ground blinds is the Black Hole Syndrome. Deer are
especially spooky when confronted with a small, dark object. Perhaps its because critters such as fox, coyotes and wolves prey out of
dens. Regardless, the best antidote is camo netting. Because it reflects sunlight, it replaces dark shadows with greens, browns and grays.
“I remember the day we finally saw the Iight,” recalled Brooks Johnson, of Double Bull
Archery. “We got a tip from Mike Palmer, a custom bowyer from Texas with a ton of experience
hunting whitetails from the ground. He told us about the netting, and over the years we’ve
continually improved ways to eliminate the dark openings on our silent windows.
Ironically, after removing black from the setup, the next critical step is adding black-
today, all Double Bull blinds are jet black inside, as are the carbon-fabric-lined models
from Eastman Outfitters and Ameristep. “If a bIind’s interior is camouflage material
and you wear camouflage clothing,” adds Johnson’s partner, Keith Beam, “you’re fine
as long as you don’t move. But the instant you draw your bow, deer will usually spot
you. We learned that from twin-blind setups we filmed out of. Nowadays, we always wear
black inside—we even customize the upper limb of our bows—because black against
black is virtually invisible. You’ve got to experience it to believe it ”
To that end, Double Bull offers a complete  line of “Ninja” accessories, including a black
head cover and a black fleece jacket. When  the weather is warm (a little greenhouse
effect can really heat up these blinds), a   Scent-Lok Base layer long-sleeve top is ideal.
This ultra-lightweight polyester garment  contains scent-eliminating activated charcoal
plus an anti-microbial bacteria fighter.   “You get a great one-two punch,” says veteran
bowhunter Tod Graham. “Invisibility plus  personal odor elimination. But you still need to
go the extra mile, scent-wise, on the outside [of  the blind]. For example, when hunting out West,
cut some sage brush and place it on the roof.   In farm country, fresh cow pies will do. In deep
woods, cedar and pine boughs are great.”

SETUPS FOR BLIND LUCK

How you set up a blind is as important as  where you place it. What works for one
species likely won’t work for another. Let’s start with turkeys. l recently asked Ameristep’s
Pat McKenna if their blinds helped beginners with gobblers. He sent me a stack of testimonials.
Consider that 15-year-old Ashely Cole   shot her first big tom with her father on a
Wisconsin hunt; Justin Temple scored on   his first tom in Michigan; Mike Gaboriault, a
disabled Gulf War veteran from Vermont,  followed suit. These turkey success stories
seem to have no end!  Set up a blind where turkeys are likely to pitch off a roost, and
return to it toward evening (where legal hunting hours apply). Or, find a travel route
connecting loafing and feeding areas. You’ll see for yourself if you watch a little TV and
let Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo (Archers Choice), Mike Avery (Outdoor Magazine), or
the Scent-Lok gang take you along for the ride.   The antelope, according to guide and
outfitter Fred Eichler, is the perfect big game if species to take portable blind—hunting to
the next level. “From 10 years of antelope  guiding, l’d say you get the best of both
worlds—a good challenge, yet good odds if you do your homework.”
Eichler offers these tips for the prairies:

*When setting up a blind on a water hole or cattle tank, first determine the side
with the most tracks along the shoreline. To further tip the odds, pile up some
sagebrush on the opposite side to discourage antelope from drinking there. Even an
arrow in the mud with a flapping sock can redirect antelope to your side of the pond.
“*Wind can be a factor, but antelope usually rely more on their eyes than their noses,
especially where there is little human activity.  Although Eichler has harvested antelope
on the same day he’s set up his blind, its usually best to give them time to acclimate to the
setup—as much as four weeks, if possible.

Whitetails are the big leagues of the ground attack game. Start by mastering the
“50/100 Rule. Interestingly, in dense cover where visibility is limited to 50 yards or less,
it’s critical that the blind not be recognizable.  The best tack, according to outfitter extraordinaire Steve Shoop, is building a brush
pile during the off season, then sawing a hole inside and placing the blind within. This hides the blind, all right, but also gives deer
a chance to get used to the brush pile.

Popular TV host Jay Gregory tried blind-hunting last year and arrowed a fine whitetail. “If you’re lucky enough to
hunt an area with cedars, try this,” Gregory says. “Prune just enough boughs to wedge your blind up against the tree trunk. Then
place the boughs on top and in front of the blind. The scent of the fresh [cuttings] seems

to help, and cedars are usually thick enough to obscure the blind. I shot my buck on the
same day I set up my blind!”
Now for the “100” part of the 50/100 Rule.
Ironically, deer tend to ignore a blind when they can spot it from 100 yards or more.
Apparently, they eye it over and, if nothing moves and no scent alerts them, they consider
it a part of the landscape much like, say, an abandoned truck or tractor in a field. ln fact, wherever man-made
structures are common, ground blinds are ideal, according to a noted whitetail guide like Wheeler. Zero in
on windmills, abandoned buildings, farm machinery, center pivot irrigation stations, old tires, hay bales, silos, fences, gates—you
name it. “Deer are already used to something  different in their area,” Wheeler maintains, “and a blind just seems to fit right in.”
Elk are particularly vulnerable to a discriminating blind setup. A few years ago,  Nebraska buddy Doug Tryon shared a secret
mountain-top burn in southern Colorado where elk fed predictably on the lush vegetation. But they showed up only when the wind kissed
their noses, and it was impossible to get below them. So I came prepared and tucked a portable
blind into a clump of junipers. Blind luck!  Cows meandered within feet, and a raghorn wandered with in 10 yards. Soon a nice bull
showed up and took the whole herd with him, but here’s betting he’ll be there again this fall ….

Levi Johnson, from Winnette, Montana, guides elk for Flatwillow Creek Outfitters
considers a ground blind a top tactic for arrowing big bulls:
“Once our bulls gather cows,   there are too many eyes and  noses for the average hunter
to deal with. But setting up over water, especially on a  hot September afternoon,  can simplify a complicated
hunt. ln 2005, Mike Huff  and l watched a nice 300- class 6X6 steer his cows
into a steep draw where the wind was all wrong  for a morning hunt. So we backed out and returned in
the afternoon, set up our blind on a waterhole at the end of the draw and, in the scorching
100 degree heat, watched the bull jump into the pond with a cow and calf next to him.
They were clear up to their bellies when I shot the bull at 45 yards.
“Last fall, I set up my blind near a different waterhole on the second evening of archery

season. I’d tried in vain to hunt this waterhole with a treestand, but the wind was always giving me away. Well, I heard what sounded like
hooves pounding turf, and when I peered out of my window I saw about 20 cows and a big 7×7 heading straight for me. I let all of the elk
drink, and the bull was within easy bow range when my arrow found its mark.”

Johnson’s keys to hunting elk with ground blinds;

*Since elk don’t seem too bothered by blinds, don’t waste a lot of time brushing them in. In fact, you can hunt out of a blind
the day you set it up over a waterhole.
*Always stake your blind down no matter the weather. In Western states like Montana, it can be calm one second and a tornado the next.
*Open only the windows you intend to shoot out of, and leave the others shut tight; the less light inside the blind the better.
Stay calm and wait for a good shot.  When Johnson’s friends watched the video of last year’s hunt, they wondered why it took
him so long to shoot. The longer you let a bull relax at a waterhole, the better the results. Be patient. Resist the urge to leave the
blind for any reason. Stay put and stay tuned.
Mule deer, like the one whitetail expert Tod Graham is posing with above, can be had
for the right price The price is mainly scouting for details. “Glass fields early and late to
locate a worthy buck, figure out his bedding area with different winds, and take good
notes Graham says. “Once you see a buck use the same trail twice, you can kill him
with a blind. The third time’s the charm.  “I don’t worry much about cover, because
it usually doesn’t exist in good muley country.

Just put your blind where you can get off a good shot—even in the middle of a field.
Mulies must think it’s a hay bale the farmer has relocated because they don’t veer
around it. I remember telling this to my guide in Alberta last year. I’d suggested we
set up my portable blind on the downwind side of a wild oat field where a big buck

was hanging out with a bachelor group of six other bucks. The guide chuckled at my suggestion, but l got the last laugh when he
helped me drag 195 inches of muley antlers back to his truck.”
Drew H. Butterwick, Double Bull pro staffer and host of Art of Deception (Men’s Channel), loves bowhunting black bears out
of a portable ground blind. “Close contact is why we bowhunt, and a blind can put you in the heart of the action,” he says. “But blinds
are superior to treestands for bear hunting. It is easier to intercept ’staging’ bruins that
hang back from a bait as darkness  approaches. And you get a 360-degree view that usually allows you to see under tree
branches that would otherwise obstruct  your vision from an elevated stand. l also believe you can do a better job of judging
bears at eye level. Last and maybe not least, mosquitoes and blackflies can be kept to a minimum – the shoot through camouflage
netting on my Matrix model acts as bug netting.”

Final footnote; While bears don’t associate blinds with danger, they are inquisitive creatures and could do some
serious damage if you don’t remove the blind after each day’s hunt.

lf an African safari is on your crosshairs, Butterwick recommends stowing away a  portable blind in your luggage.“A moveable
pop-up blind offers many more options than pits and fixed setups,” he says. “The wind is always shifting, and swapping sides of a
waterhole really increases the odds. Portable  concealment can mean the difference  between no shot and a record-class animal.”

THE ART OF BLINDSIDING:
HOW TO SHOOT

Tod Graham hunts exclusively from ground blinds and has blindsided more than 20
Pope and Young whitetails. Learn from his proven shooting tips;
*Practice drawing your bow inside the blind to gauge how much clearance you need for bow limbs and arrows.
*Always double-check the gap between  the window opening and your sight pins. If you don’t rehearse the draw, you could end up
missing the window and shooting the wall.

Visualize where the shots are most likely to occur; you’ll probably be right more

times than not. Position your chair carefully; Graham likes to shoot at a 45edegree angle to the window.
* Practice shooting arrows out ofa blind, including through the netting, especially if you aren’t used to shooting from a sitting or —
kneeling position.
* Always use a rangefinder if time permits; depth perception is affected by the netting.

For ideal blind placement, avoid a rising and setting sun in your face. Also, setting
up in the shade improves your ability to see through netting.
Use a bow holder, such as the one Double Bull Archery markets, to keep your bow
in a handy position. (You may have to be quicker on the draw from the ground than
from a treestand)
*Practice shooting from inside the blind at different distances, angles and times of
day. Be sure to dress in hunting garb.  The dark interior of a ground blind reduces the amount of light available to your
sight pins. You may need a larger peep and possibly a light (check local regulations).
•Blinds can often accommodate two hunters. Practice together ahead of time to avoid the proverbial Chinese fire drill.

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Published by archerchick on 05 Jan 2011

Fun With Draw Length ~By Richard Combs

BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2006

Home Bow Mechanic- Fun With Draw Length
by Richard Combs

Archers are often advised to let their sight pins “float,” or wander over ,
the bull’s-eye, and let the precise moment of release come as a surprise.
The subconscious, or so goes the theory, is constantly attempting to center the
sights on the target, and any conscious attempt to center the sights or time the
release will result in flinching, punching the release, target panic, or other accuracy-robbing problems.

This approach works very well for a great many bowhunters, but it is based on
the major assumption that it is impossible to hold a bow steady. Bowhunters are not machines, of course, and holding a bow immobile for any period of time, shot after shot, probably is impossible. On the other hand, it is certainly possible to hold a bow steady for short periods, or (if
you can’t buy the notion of complete steadiness, to at least minimize the size
of the wobble. Look at it however you like, but holding a bow steadier is a very good thing for accuracy.

A major factor in that steadiness is correct draw length. lf you find that you have a difficult time keeping your sight pin on a 3-inch bull’s-eye at 20 yards, and if you are not pulling a draw weight that is too heavy for you, there is a very good chance that the problem is incorrect draw length. More often than not, incorrect draw length means a draw length that is too long. The conventional explanation for this is that archers tend to stretch their draw lengths to get greater speeds. As a general rule, one additional inch in draw length generates almost 10 fps in arrow speed. Competitive 3-D shooters, in particular, often attempt to maximize speed to flatten trajectory, and even bowhunters who do not shoot 3-D competitively have been influenced by those who do.

No doubt there is some truth to all this, but over the years I’ve observed that beginning bowhunters, including those who have only a vague idea what 3-D shooting is all about and who are unaware of the relation between draw length and arrow speed, still have a strong tendency to shoot at excessively long draw lengths. For whatever reason, selecting the correct draw length
seems to be a learned and even slightly unnatural thing.

A long overdue trend in recent years has been to back off on draw length.
With today’s more efficient bows, many bowhunters-and some 3-D shooters—
have discovered that they can achieve as much speed as they want without resorting to longer draw lengths. In any case, smart hunters have always been willing to trade a little speed for greater accuracy. While it is certainly possible to over compensate and move to a draw length
that is a little too short, most top shooters agree that a too short draw length is
preferable to a too long one. How critical is it to achieve precision in draw length? The better shots of my acquaintance, including the most serious 3-D competitors, have a draw length tolerance of
a quarter-inch. Anything shorter or longer than that is immediately noticeable, and they will make adjustments.

Draw Length And Draw Weight
Holding the bow steadier is not the only reason the correct draw length is
important. We mal<e reference to draw length and draw weight as separate characteristics—-which they are—but they are not unrelated. It shouldn’t be surprising that the same draw weight will
be perceived differently at different draw lengths. imagine holding your bow at full draw from a position as far back as you can reach. A draw length that is too long increases the difficulty of holding the weight comfortably, which is one reason the bow is more difficult to hold steady at longer draw lengths. The difference is less noticeable in the case of a too short draw length, but holding bow at full draw from a position in front of the optimum anchor point is also
more difficult. And either position can increase the likelihood of the arm or shoulder problems that plague too many bowhunters.
Perceived draw weight aside, it is difficult to achieve proper and consistent shooting form outside the parameters of correct draw length is a much greater tendency for the string to slap the bow arm. For purely anatomical reasons, this can be a chronic problem for some bowhunters, but excessive draw length is often a major factor. For years I watched a hunting buddy struggle with the problem. He bought custom grips, purchased bows with very high brace heights, modified his stance to an extremely open position, and experimented with some difficult and unusual shooting forms. Finally he tried a draw length that was nearly two inches shorter and the problem disappeared.

Among the more pernicious inconsistencies in shooting form is the tendency to creep forward from the wall before release. Pros have come up with all sorts of antidotes to this, including creep tuning and stops on rests and cams. Clearly incorrect draw length will magnify the problem. Not only is it initially less comfortable to hold a bow at full draw when draw length is off, but the arm, shoulder, and back become fatigued more quickly at improper draw lengths. Fatigue is a major factor in creep.

WHEN THE RIGHT DRAW LENGTH IS WRONG
You might assume that draw length is draw length – that if your optimum draw length is 28 inches on one bow, then it should be 28 inches on any bow. That is conventional thinking, but the folks at Spot-Hogg are not very good at thinking conventionally, and as they so often do, they have a different idea. As Spot-Hogg’s Cabe Johnson recently observed, differences in axle-to-axle length can make a significant difference in optimum draw length. The reason is that shorter bows have a more acute string angle at full draw than do longer bows.

Assume for instance, that you draw your string back to touch the tip of your nose at full draw, with two bows one short and one long. The distance between grip and nock point may be the same on both bows, but the distance between the riser and the string where it touches the nose will be different because of the different string angles. The tendency will be to change the shooting form to compensate- to modify the head angle, change the anchor point, extend or bend the bow arm
more. Those adjustments will probably decrease the ability to hold the bow steady and increase discomfort, not to mention reinforce inconsistencies in shooting form. The bottom line is that,
contrary to conventional thinking, there is no “right” draw length for a given individual. The optimum draw length will depend in part on the bow.

Adjust Draw
Many—though by no means all—compound bow designs offer a range of draw length adjustment accomplished by moving the end of the string to one of several different posts on the cam. Often
the range is three inches, with changes in half-inch increments. With other bows, changing draw length requires changing modules on the cam. However these adjustments are made, they may
have slight effects on let off or bow efficiency, but any loss in these areas will be more than compensated for by the advantages of shooting at the correct draw length. In most cases the bow will have to be pressed to make these changes. Changing draw length will usually require that the bow be returned. (In some cases, simply pressing the bow will require that it be returned.)
For more precise adjustments, strings or cables can be shortened by twisting. Lengthening the string lengthens the draw, and shortening the string shortens it.

The opposite is true for cables:Lengthening cables shortens the draw and vice-versa. Manufacturers of modern, high quality strings usually warn against shortening a string more than a quarter inch or so by twisting, but usually this is enough, especially if done in conjunction with moving the end loop
to another post, or changing modules. One way to reduce the number of twists necessary to accomplish the desired change is to adjust both strings and cables. To shorten the draw length, for
instance, untwist the cable a few turns, then twist the string a few turns.

Draw Length Alternatives
Repeatedly pressing the bow and making adjustments until the precise draw length is arrived at can be a frustrating and time-consuming affair, and not every bowhunter owns a press. Fortunately, there are better ways to experiment with draw length. For starters, the length of many release aids can be adjusted. Almost all wrist caliper releases are easily adjusted. You might object that adjusting the release aid is not really changing draw length, and you would be correct. Shortening the length of a release aid does move the anchor point forward, though. In fact, it accomplishes
all the objectives of shortening the draw length, without the disadvantage of reducing arrow speed. I’m all in favor of maintaining, or even increasing, arrow
speed if it can be done without a downside. ln effect, achieving the proper
anchor point without shortening the power stroke of the bow is a free lunch.
The only caveat, of course, is that the release itself should not be uncomfortably short. Many bowhunters touch the trigger with their fingertips anyway, which is not the best form. In that case,
shortening the release aid is a “twofer,” providing a better anchor point and a positioning of the finger on the trigger that is less likely to contribute to punching the release or even target panic.

Some bowhunters looking for extra 10 fps or so of speed might find that by shortening their release aid, they can actually extend their draw length without changing their anchor point. Don’t need an extra 10fps of speed? Shorten the release aid, extend the draw length, and back off on the draw weight by five or six pounds. Speed will be about the same, but you’ll be pulling and holding significantly less weight.

Bowhunters who feel that their release aid is already as short as it should be can switch to a forward trigger design release. By using a release aid with a trigger farther forward, and much closer to the jaws of the release, it is possible to shorten the release without changing the position of the trigger relative to the wrist caliper to another to another shorter style of release aid.

A similar option is to alter the size of the string loop. (If you’re not using a string loop, you should be) As with the release aid making the loop shorter will move the anchor point farther forward, while making it longer will move it back. If a longer loop makes for a better anchor point, then lengthen the draw length by changing string posts or modules, or by untwisting the string a few turns then shorten the loop. Perceived draw length will be unchanged, but real draw length will be longer with a longer power stroke and more speed.

Finally, bowhunters shouldn’t overlook the effect of grip on draw length.
We’re talking an optimum range of quarter inch in draw length for most shooters. The difference between a wrist high grip, in which the riser touches only a small bit of skin between the thumb and forefinger, and a low grip, in which it is in contact with much of the hand, can easily make a difference of half an inch.

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