Archive for the 'Blog Contest' Category

4 votes, average: 3.00 out of 54 votes, average: 3.00 out of 54 votes, average: 3.00 out of 54 votes, average: 3.00 out of 54 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5 (4 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
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Published by WayBeau on 26 Sep 2008

Why we do what we do

For many of us, myself included, the stories that are told in a hunting camp, living room, or at the dinner table could serve as the only form of entertainment that we need.  It’s not whether the story is entirely true or not, it’s how the story is told that matters.  So as many of us have done in the past, the story teller may embellish the truth.  The statement “no harm, no foul” most definitely applies in this situation.  Anyone who can say that they don’t embellish when they get deep into a good story is no friend of mine.  It’s the story teller that embellishes that tells the best story.  That, my friends, is why we do the things we do.  The more the story gets told, the bigger the size of the fish, animal, cliff, etc.  Seriously, who would be impressed if someone told you that they shot a spike buck that fell ten feet down a three degree slope?  It’s the need to impress and entertain that drives the story onward to its ultimate shape and destination.  That buck mysteriously grows fourteen more points and falls down a one hundred foot rock face only to get caught, by the antlers, in a 60 foot pine tree, with no lower limbs, thirty feet off the ground.  Now which story would you rather hear?  That’s why we do what we do.  It makes for more enjoyable times.  No one does it out of malice or ill will, they simply want to tell a good story.  But in order to be able to tell a good story, one must first put themself into a position to experience a jumping off point for a good story.  Which leads me to my story.

When I was twenty years old, I had the good idea to pack my Ford Exploder, yes I said Exploder not Explorer, and drive to Wyoming with the hopes of doing something exciting and adventurous.  I won’t bore you with the details of my drive west from Virginia, but along the way I did fly a plane, see a cathedral on a prairie, and almost pick up two hippies and their dog (I simply didn’t have room in my Exploder for the hippies).  For the first week that I was in Wyoming I did a lot of driving around the areas between Dubois and Jackson trying to find employment due to the unfortunate fact that I wasn’t independently wealthy.  Late summer in Wyoming may be one of my favorite things about my time there.  But I digress, eventually I found a job as a cook and a wrangler with a local hunting guide in Dubois (if you want to know which one you’ll have to contact me).  Two days later, the adventures began.

To start off, the only hunting I had ever done to that point was a whole lot of waterfowling on the eastern shore of Virginia.  There had never been an occassion for me to saddle a horse or lead a pack train, both things that I was required to do on a regular basis.  That first ride, ten miles into base camp, was like nothing I had ever experienced.  Being the avid horseman that I was how was I supposed to know that you shouldn’t hold onto the saddle horn?  We made it into base camp, my home for the next 23 days and started setting things up.

For the next two months, I would see things that most may never see in their entire lifetime.  I rode over the Continental Divide several times on horseback, and a few times in the Exploder.  I literally climbed straight down a rock face to help retrieve a sheep that a hunter had shot, only to climb straight back up the same face with about 40 pounds of sheep meat on my back, all in a blowing snow storm.  And there was the day that I incidentally got within 12 yards of a cow moose , but the most memorable experience I had during my time in Wyoming was sitting around the camp table listening to the stories that all of the guides and hunters had to tell.  Many of the stories seemed pretty far fetched, but every one of them was entertaining.  The sixteen point buck that fell down a rock face and got stuck actually isn’t far from the truth.  The actual story (I’ve seen the photos) was a six by six elk slid down a snow bank and went tail first over a cliff getting caught by the head in a crack.   The point is, the story was one that I will never forget.  Granted the man telling it could have simply said, “I shot a six by six that slid down a bank and got caught by the head in a crack.”  Instead he embellished a bit, and the story took on a whole life of its own.  It is the embellishment that makes the story what it is.  From my time in Wyoming I have many stories that could easily be told without embellishment.  The thing is though, if I add just a touch of embellishment the story gets a lot better.

And that is why we do what we do.

5 votes, average: 3.80 out of 55 votes, average: 3.80 out of 55 votes, average: 3.80 out of 55 votes, average: 3.80 out of 55 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5 (5 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5)
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Published by Big Shot on 26 Sep 2008

Tools of the Trade

Here I sit, having payed WAY too much to get 5 different bows tuned and ready to shoot. I ask myself, why in the world does it cost that much, and the answer, you pay for ignorance. Not theirs, but ours. Ignorance of how to do it. Ignorance of what all you would need to do it. And in the end, ignorance of the fact that you NEED to know how to do it. What would happen if one day I was on a hunt, and first thing in the day I snap a d-loop or drop my bow and knock my rest out of alignment? My day would be ruined, quite frankly my whole hunting trip could be ruined.

So I add up the money I spent on getting the work done for me and realize that I could have bought all the equipment it would take to just do it all myself. Of course, it wouldn’t be done by now (about a month after the fact), because there’s that ignorance thing I mentioned before. Can’t be that hard though, right?!? So, let the journey begin.

  • Bow press in the mail… check
  • Basic set of allen wrenches… check
  • A few bow specific tools (I’ll get into the details later)… check
  • Places to go to for information… check
  • Basic mechanical knowledge… check
  • Someone to go to when I inevitably mess it all up… not without giving away another arm!!

So, what does it take to set up shop? Not as much as you would think, but there are some must haves. First and foremost among them is a space to work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like you need a large dedicated shop, or even a dedicated corner for that matter. Your space can be as simple as your coffee table or kitchen table. A big word of advice though, get a small folding table to use instead. Nothing will hinder relations with your significant other faster than ruining said coffee or kitchen table!!! It doesn’t need to be big, just somewhere to lay out your bow and tools. If you do have to set up on the furniture, lay out an old towel for a work surface, it will keep your bow from getting scratched as well. Now that you have a work area, on to the tools.

Bow Press
There are lots of options here. You can go portable with something like the Bowmaster, or get a full blown shop style setup with the Apple Press and stand. There are tons of options in prices ranging from ~$40 all the way into the thousands. The most important thing is to make sure it will work for your bow. Some presses will not work for split limb bows without an adapter that you will have to buy. Some will not press parallel limb bows without being modified. The difference here is in the way the limbs flex on a parallel vs. non-parallel bow. Parallel limbs flex vertically when the bow is drawn due to the fact that they are essentially in a horizontal plane. Non-parallel limbs will flex somewhere between vertical and horizontal, roughly at an angle towards the nock of the string. Due to this difference, if you try and press a parallel limb on a press not designed for it, it will not press fully and could damage the bow. Same applies to the non-parallel limb on a parallel press.

Presses are used for many things. Anytime you need to modify anything attached to the string, you will need to press it so that you can separate the strands of the string to get the accessories in between them. You need it to adjust cam timing (the rotation of the cams) or change draw length mods. Also for when it comes time to change out aging strings and cables, or repair damaged ones. You shouldn’t need it that often, but when you do need it there is no substitute.
Examples….

Bow Vise
A simple device for holding your bow. It can be pretty hard to work on a bow unless you have a third arm!! That’s where the vise comes in. A simple one will hold your bow in one position allowing you to work on your bow. A better one will allow you to rotate the bow in many directions once it is mounted. This will allow you to get the bow in just the right position for the work you need to do.
Example….

Allen Wrenches
or hex keys, whatever you want to call them. You know what these things are. You will need multiple sizes. A decent standard set from any hardware store will do. I have never run across any metric, yet. It couldn’t hurt, though, to have a set of those just in case.

Screwdrivers
You won’t need them all that often, but you will need them. Have a simple set of common and philips on hand.

Levels
Not your daddy’s variety. A string level, and an arrow level.

These will help you in setting up your rest. Place the string level, where else…. on the string!!! Use it to make sure your bow is level vertically (up and down for those that always get them mixed up) when in the vise. Now you place the arrow level on the arrow and adjust your rest until your arrow is perfectly horizontal.

Nock Set Pliers and Brass Nocks
Brass nocks are useful for many things. You can use them to attach your drop away rest cord to your cable. Place them above and below a kisser button to secure it in place. And of course even use them to mark your nock point.

Nock set pliers, obviously, are for attaching those little brass guys. A good pair will also have a lever to pry them off with.

Draw Length Arrow

Basically a long, unfletched arrow with markings toward the end. These markings are distance measurements that allow for checking draw length. It can be used for Three functions. First, draw it back with a recurve bow, or compound with no draw stop, and you can find your draw length (someone needs to help you here to make sure your form is right, otherwise you won’t get the correct draw length). Second, Draw it in your set up compound bow to check the draw length it is set at. Lastly, draw it in the same bow and use it to determine the arrow length that will be safe to use with your setup.  Although not necessary, it can come in handy.

Draw Weight Scale
Many different varieties are available. Simple ones like this that are hand held…

All the way up to digital versions, or ones that are mounted to the ceiling. They are handy if you want to know the exact weight you have your bow set to. However, not all that necessary. Example… Lets say your bow maxes out at 60#, and the company says you can adjust the draw weight by 2# per full turn of the limb bolts. Then you know that if you back the bolts out 3 turns each, then you just roughly set your bow to 54#. I don’t think it is all that important to know that it might actually be 53.2#, or 55#. If you know within a pound I would say your are good. Just get those numbers from your bows manufacturer.

D-Loop Pliers
Last thing you want while our hunting, or anytime for that matter, is for your bow to fail. If you don’t tighten your d-loop tight enough it is a sure fire failure point waiting to happen. The easiest way to tighten it is with a pair of d-loop pliers. These are specially made pliers designed to fit around a d-loop. Then when you squeeze the handle, instead of the two pieces closing tightly together, they spread. The formed head holds the knot ends in place while stretching out the loop and tightening the knots.
Example….

Serving Tool
While I’m sure serving can and has been installed without one of these, I can’t imagine doing it. A simple tool of either metal of plastic designed to hold tension on your serving thread while you wrap your string. You place your spool of thread in the tool, and use a wing nut to get the tension you desire. Then, once you have started the serving, you simply spin the tool around the string until the serving is the length you want, and then wrap in the end of the thread.

Well, that pretty well covers the most common tools you will need and see when it comes to setting up and maintaining your bow. I tried to be as comprehensive as I could, but there are quite a few gadgets out there, and I aim to cover all I can. Those will have to wait for another day however, so stay tuned for more. I’m going high tech in the next installment.  Look for part two covering lasers and more.

3 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5)
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Published by ryalred on 25 Sep 2008

The Day I Shot “Lights Out”

The Culprit

It was a beautiful, crisp, fall day and I wanted to be hunting so badly, but I really had too much work to do. It is so true, “Work really gets in the way of hunting.” So, I decided I’d do a little practicing with my relatively new Browning compound bow. I did have enough time to do that.

I have a really wonderful place to practice tree stand shooting—from my second story kitchen window. As you know the arrow doesn’t drop as much when shot from and elevated position. All I had to do to duplicate my tree stand was to open the window in my kitchen (I had removed the screen for this purpose), which was on the second floor of our home, and shoot at the targets I had set up at various distances in my back yard.

I was having a great shoot—really making me want to hunt because I was shooting “lights out” that day. My wife came into the kitchen and we exchanged pleasantries and she went about her work in the kitchen. I went down to retrieve my arrows for another round of practice. After removing the arrows from the targets I decided to move the targets around a little to give me a new shooting perspective.

I finally came back to the kitchen—my wife was doing something at the kitchen counter—and I picked up my bow and nocked and arrow. I drew and took steady aim and hit the release. What happened for the following few moments is still a blur. Immediately upon pulling the release trigger there was this absolutely awful, deafening CRASH! For an instant or two I didn’t know what had happened. The first thought that came to mind was that by bow had disintegrated. I looked at it and kind of gave my self a once over to see if I was hurt but everything seemed to be alright. About the same time I turned toward my wife and I swear her eyes were as big as half dollars and there was a look of terror on her face. She later said that my eyes were also as wide as half dollars and I too had this awful, panic-stricken look.

I was finally able to gather my wits and take stock of the situation. The bow was intact and the arrow had indeed been launched, but there the arrow lay in the middle of the kitchen floor . . . with broken glass laying all around it. It was now evident. My wife had shut the window (the air being cool) when I went down to get my arrows. She thought I was through practicing. The window was so clean (that was unusual) that I hadn’t noticed she had closed it and she was so involved in her project at the counter that she hadn’t noticed me nock and draw my arrow.

For the life of me, I still can’t explain the arrow being in the kitchen floor. Why hadn’t it penetrated the window and gone somewhere outside? The arrow appeared to be in good condition, something I definitely couldn’t say about the kitchen window. This practice session I had done much more than shoot “lights out,” I had shot the window out.

My wife has never let me live this one down—although I still declare her to be at fault for closing the window, but of course, she lays all the blame squarely on my shoulders. It’s bad enough that she won’t let me live it down, but she has made sure all my friends and hunting buddies know what I did that day. Well, we all still get a big laugh out of it.

4 votes, average: 2.00 out of 54 votes, average: 2.00 out of 54 votes, average: 2.00 out of 54 votes, average: 2.00 out of 54 votes, average: 2.00 out of 5 (4 votes, average: 2.00 out of 5)
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Published by cuz24 on 24 Sep 2008

It’s Called Huntin’ Not Killin’

 

 

I have been blessed with many great waterfowl hunting experiences in my lifetime, but other game seems to elude me with great success. Not that I haven’t seen my share of really nice deer or had close encounters with gobblin’ toms, but they always seem to get the upper hand. This past Sunday afternoon was my best chance to date to fill a turkey tag. I got up to the hills at about 2:00 Sunday afternoon, I had never hunted turkey in the afternoon, so I figured what the heck. I headed north from the camp house on foot on the county road. I ducked into the woods on a hilltop about a half mile from camp to see if I could strike a gobbler. After a few minutes of calling with no replies from a turkey, I decided to head further north. Stopping and calling every 100 yards or so still with no success, I ran into one of the guys that work on my family’s farm. He was planning on hunting the north end of the property so after a little conversation I told him I would head back toward the south end around the creek that feeds a lake on adjacent property. There always seems to be some gobblers around that lake. We split and I walked about a half mile back to where  I needed to leave the county road. The county road runs on a hilltop and at the bottom of the hill a field was cleared out of the woods. This is the field my uncle deer hunts in. He has a hydraulic deer stand because he was in a crop dusting crash that left him paralyzed. I have hunted turkey in this field but they have been reluctant to enter it, always staying just inside the woods. About halfway down to the field I heard a gobbler. He was somewhere around the creek. Sweet, maybe I can get on him. I quietly crept through the field and into the woods between the field and creek. I yelped a couple of times and the gobbler fired off again. He knew where I was. I had to move quickly. I have heard that gobblers can come in very fast late in the afternoon. I wanted to get as close as I could without beeing seen so I hit the call again. He fired back at me, seems like he’s moved toward me from where he was the last gobble. I needed to find a better spot to set up. I moved again about 50 yards to the north and found a clear spot about 20 yards wide, this should be perfect. I saw a tree that had been cut down on the edge of the clearing I could sit behind. I quickly set up a hen decoy about 15 yards behind me and to my right. He should be able to see it good. I sat back down behind the tree keeping my vest on. The vest I have has a frame built in the back that you lean against like a chair back and a cushion attached to the bottom to sit on. Within 2 or three minues I see that blue head then his fan. Man, this is going perfect, just like on t.v. His fan looks full but he’s in the edge if the thick stuff. I can’t tell how big his beard is. This is where he tips the scale to his favor. Instead of stepping out into the opening, he starts going to my left. What?! This is the absolute worst thing that can happen. I shoot left handed so I set up for all of my shots to be in front and to my right.  I’ve got all that covered well, but I can’t turn left. It is really thick to my left and no real clear shots. He’s going to make a semi-circle and come up to the decoy from behind me. This has to be a smart mature bird. As he continued to circle to my left, there was enough brush between us, I eased the gun to my right shoulder and turned in that direction at the same time. But I can’t turn far because I have left my vest strapped on. So I’m twisted as for as I can the other way, with my gun on my off shoulder. I’ve got one small opening, not a clear shot, but as close as I’m going to get before he’s too far behind me. I’m waiting, with my sights covering that opening, for him to step into it. He pauses, CRAP, did he see me moving? He starts walikng again, whew, closer, closer, closer, BLOOOOOM, I squeeze the trigger and he starts running. I just missed the best chance I’ve ever had to take a mature gobbler. My heart dives from my throat to my gut. I can’t believe it. Everything was going so good. Why!? Why?! Why?!  This is why, the turkey is the most humbling, frustrating, hardest animal I’ve ever tried to hunt. Just when I think man, I’m finally going to get one, all of the failed attempts in the past are finally going to come to an end, and Murphy’s Law rears it’s ugly head once again. Me and Murphy have become well acquainted when it comes to hunting deer and turkeys. On one hand I can say at least I had the experience, I got the chance to take a mature tom. On the other hand, I could throw this gun as far as I can. But that wouldn’t accomplish anything, just tear up a gun. Live and learn, that’s what they say. It will just make finally getting that ol’ longbeard a little sweeter when it comes. And so they say, “that’s why it’s called huntin’ and not killin’ “

6 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)
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Published by bowhunterswife on 24 Sep 2008

Meat for the Freezer

As the wife of a bowhunter, I have a slightly different viewpoint than he does of hunting.  For me, it is about providing food for the family.  When Donnie comes in with a deer or a turkey, I am ecstatic because I know he is providing for us.  The Lord gave him a talent for hunting and he has developed this talent into a finely honed skill.  The man can hunt!!!

This past week he went deer hunting and usually he takes his cell phone.  However, with a new baby and gas prices so high we disconnected the cell phones (yes, this means something to this story).  So he is out in the field, sees the deer.  Sometimes in the past he will call me and say, “Honey, it’s a four pointer.  Should I shoot it?”  This is because as a seasoned hunter he is constantly looking to hunt deers that are bigger and better than what he has hunted before.  One day I remember he called about shooting an piebald deer that was a spike.  I told him to go ahead and shoot it because he had never shot a piebald before.  He chose not to because he was hopeful it would grow bigger.  Later he wished he had gone ahead and taken that deer because he never saw it again.

So …back to the story.  No cell phone to call on. The evening wears on.  I am in the dark about how the hunt is going.  The phone rings.  He is at his dad’s …with a deer. 

“I wouldn’t have shot it because it is just a little buck,” he says, “but I thought of what you might say if I had called.  I figured you would say to shoot it because we needed the meat.”

“You were right!”  I affirmed happily.

He was willing to take the jibes and ribbing from his hunting buddies, all of the “bloodthirsty” taunts, in order to provide for our family . And now we have a freezer full of deer burger and steaks!! Yummy!! Thank you, honey, for loving us enough to deal with the ribbing and give us the meat!!

What a hunter!! What a man!!

4 votes, average: 3.25 out of 54 votes, average: 3.25 out of 54 votes, average: 3.25 out of 54 votes, average: 3.25 out of 54 votes, average: 3.25 out of 5 (4 votes, average: 3.25 out of 5)
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Published by ryalred on 23 Sep 2008

The Bloodtrailor Deer

Fog, mist, dark, dreary—perfect deer hunting weather. There wasn’t a leaf moving. It was the last half of muzzle loader season in Southeast Oklahoma and I had already killed a nice buck with my old Jukar smoke pole, but I had taken a week’s vacation and bow season coincides with the primitive arms season, so I thought I’d make the most of my time off and hunt with my bow. And, besides, I was anxious to try out these new Blood Trailer mechanical broadheads (they were new then). I had always had trouble getting my broadheads to fly like field points. I hadn’t yet learned the, what now seems so simple, steps to arrow tuning, and this promise of a broadhead flying just like field point was extremely appealing. My only concern was the killing potential of the Blood Trailers. I’m not a physicist, but the principles behind the mechanics of the Blood Trailer seemed reasonable to me, but the cutting blades seemed a little flimsy, but their ads had been very convincing, so, I’d give um a try.

As usual, I had some difficulty deciding which stand to hunt. I had almost 200 acres all to myself—the weather having scared off my brother-in-law and my father-in-law. I had the option of about a dozen stands from which to choose and the wind was no factor at all. Why I chose the one I did, I’ll never know. It wasn’t my favorite stand. It wasn’t my most productive stand. It wasn’t one that produced the largest deer or the most sightings. Maybe it was because I hadn’t hunted it in quite some time, or maybe the fact that the stand was close to the maximum range I had imposed on myself from the trails the deer usually used. This would be a good range to see just how good those Blood Trailers flew and their down range penetrability. Whatever the reason, it was the most fortuitous choice I had ever made in choosing a location to hunt.

I got there about three hours before dark and climbed into my stand, expecting a couple of hours of waiting before the deer started moving. I had carefully hung by doe in estrus scent bombs in three positions around my tree and now I was ready. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear any deer coming my way because everything was so wet from all the fog and mist. I nocked an Easton 2117 aluminum arrow on the string of my old Ben Pearson compound bow and sat back for the wait. I daydreamed a little about new bows, something with more than 50 % let off would be nice, and those carbon arrows would be great, too, but that would all have to wait till next year.

I had only been there an hour when I caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye. Whatever it was, it was already pretty close and I hadn’t removed my bow from its hanger. It also wasn’t on one of the main trails past my stand. But, I remained motionless for what seemed like 30 minutes waiting for whatever I had seen to step out in my filed of view. Then the wait was over but the excitement was just beginning. The largest whitetail deer I’d ever seen while hunting walked right out into view, maybe 18 yds from my tree and quartered slightly away from me. He stops and began to look all around and he held his head high in the air as if to catch the scent of something, but he didn’t appear to be the least bit nervous—he wasn’t scenting me. He was smelling my scent bombs and was looking for the doe giving off that wonderful odor. He looked to be a 10 pointer with very heavy beams and a massive body. My heart was beating so hard, I was sure he would hear it. He just stood there scenting and looking. I ever so slowly removed my bow from its hanger and clipped my release onto the string. All the time I just kept thinking, “He’s so close—if I miss him I’ll be just sick.” I also kept thinking, “I sure do wish I had a Thunderhead on my arrow instead of that flimsy looking Blood Trailer,” but it was going to have to do. I slowly drew my arrow and aligned to peep and top sight pin to just behind his front shoulder and hit the release. It was a good release and a good shot. I saw the arrow hit almost exactly where I was aiming. It also made that wonderfully sound of an arrow hitting the heart/lung area. Instantly the monster buck turned and ran out of sight.

It was the longest thirty minutes I had ever waited to get down out of my stand, but I had made it a rule a couple of years early to not leave the stand for at least thirty minutes after I had shot a deer with my bow. (I would wait longer if I felt the shot wasn’t too good.) Upon reaching the ground, I walked to where the huge deer had been standing when I shot, thinking I’d find my arrow stuck in the ground where it had passed through, but no arrow. Worse yet, there was no blood. I slowly walked in the direction he ran, looking for blood after each step. I walked 15 steps and found one small drop of bright red blood. I was sure that within the next few steps I’d begin finding large amounts of blood, but not so. I only found a couple more small drops of blood. I marked each spot with a sheet of toilet tissue so I wouldn’t loose the trail and I could get an idea of the specific direction the deer was taking.

I was beginning to worry with all kinds of questions racing through my head. “Did I not make a good shot—was it too high?” “Did the Blood Trailer fail and only cause minimal damage?” “Why, oh why hadn’t I had a Thunderhead on that arrow.” I looked and looked in ever expanding semi circles in the direction I had seen the buck heading, but no deer, and even worse, no blood! It was about to get dark, and I had gone about 50 yards from where I had shot the deer. It was going to be cool that night so I decided to go in and begin searching again at daylight the next morning. I really thought I had killed the deer and it was out there somewhere and I was going to find it the next day.

I could hardly sleep that night and off and on that night I could hear it raining—there would be no blood trail. I was up before daylight and packed my backpack with snacks and water—I was going to make a day of looking for this deer. Upon arriving at the spot where I’d shot the deer the blood, what little there was, had washed away, but the toilet tissue was there, though a little water logged. I decided to make complete circles about ten yards apart beginning at where I’d stopped looking the night before. I thought he could have turned back so I didn’t want to look just in the direction I last saw him going.

By 10:00 a.m. I had made ever widening circles out to 100 yards from the spot of the shot and still no deer. I decided to take a break from that procedure and walk to two nearby ponds since I remembered that injured deer will sometimes go to water, but no deer. I was beginning to feel really sick about the possibility of loosing the best deer I’d ever seen, much lest taken a shot at. The fact that he had been only 18 yds away made me feel even worse.

I decided to try one other thing before I went back to making the every expanding circles—thinking I’d go out to at least 200 yards with them. I went back to the spot of the shot and got a line with the three sheets of toilet tissue I’d used to mark the blood spots. I decided to walk in a straight line, that direction, for at least 300 yards. At 150 yards I looked up ahead and there in a large area of grass—could it be—yes it was, the deer of a lifetime. He had run as hard as he could go and then just fell in a heap. He had been dead before I left the stand the day before.

Upon investigation I found that the arrow had penetrated the upper chest, just behind the front leg and had passed through both lungs, but had not exited on the other, lower side. My Thunderheads would have passed through and there would have been gushers of blood. Yes, the Blood Trailer had done its job properly but had fallen short of its name—leaving no blood trail. (I would never use one again.)

The deer was so huge I could not move it. I had to get my father-in-law to help. The buck’s field dressed weight—a whopping 185 lbs (for Southeast Oklahoma that is huge). Its rack was a wide, heavy beamed 10 point that I have never had scored. I’m extremely proud of it. It larger than most deer I see hanging in guys’ living rooms AND I GOT IT WITH A BOW!!!

5 votes, average: 3.60 out of 55 votes, average: 3.60 out of 55 votes, average: 3.60 out of 55 votes, average: 3.60 out of 55 votes, average: 3.60 out of 5 (5 votes, average: 3.60 out of 5)
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Published by dworakma on 22 Sep 2008

2008 Bivy Trip

2008 Elk Hunt

Friday – September 12, 2008

I left town around 1:30 pm and met Jeff’s friend Nate (AKA SuperNacho) at Ted’s Place at the mouth of the Poudre Canyon.  Nate hadn’t been up to our spot before and it’s tough to get back in there if you haven’t been, so I volunteered to caravan up with him.  It was spitting snow on the drive up and the mountain passes had several inches on the ground, it was looking like it might be a tough trip!

Cameron Pass

Cameron Pass

Got to the trailhead and Big Ron’s truck was there but he wasn’t around, which meant he was running a load of gear up the trail on the four-wheeler.  Hung out for a little bit while another afternoon shower blew threw, it was definitely looking like I might be in for a long week.

Loading Up

Loading Up

Got up to camp after dark and setup up my tent in the rain.  Had a few beers with the fellas and went to bed.

Saturday – Sept 13 (Full moon, 65-70 degrees clear skies)

Woke up at 5:00 am.  Drew and I were the only ones to make it out of camp early and we were planning on staying out for five days with our bivy gear.  By the way, after adding “a few odds and ends” my pack, water, bow all weighed in at 55 lbs.  As we were walking out of camp we noticed three muzzleloader hunters were heading in the same direction as we were.  They ended up getting in front of us which was fine, that way we could see which way they were headed and hunt some place else.  But as soon as we got to the big meadow outside of the old horse camp, we heard elk crashing thru the trees.  Since we’ve encountered elk here many times we had a pretty good idea which way they were headed and took off running, hoping to keep ahead of them.  We heard the muzzleloaders bugling to the elk and had to laugh because we knew they didn’t have a chance.  We only know this because we’ve been outsmarted at this very spot too many times.  It turns out we lucked out and made the right call.   When we approached “the knob” after jogging about 1.5 miles, it was awesome.  We had about six bulls all bugling within 200 yards.  I sat back to call for Drew and happened to get a bull on video while I was sitting (I know my video skills are pretty rough, to say the least.  If you get seasick easily you’ll probably get queasy watching).  You can hear the bull do the popping/nervous grunt at the end of our face off.  He came to within 45 yards and all the while I was waiting for Drew to shoot.  Unfortunately he was chasing one of the other five bulls, which he never caught up with.  It’s too bad my video camera doesn’t do so good capturing audio, because those bulls were close and it was amazing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYgxGCGu3VQ

After catching the bull on video they seemed to quiet down a bit and we sat down to relax with a hot cup of coffee and some granola.  Afterward, we heard a few more bugles, which gave us an idea which direction they were headed and kept following.

Checking out the map

Checking out the map

Drew with a Full Pack

Drew with a Full Pack

Around mid-day we stopped for lunch.  Actually I stopped.  Drew was going to continue another 400-500 yards up the hill and I was going to call again hoping a bull would respond and he’d be close enough to sneak in.  I’m not sure what exactly happened but I didn’t see Drew for another couple hours.  Apparently during that time he saw 35-45 elk and almost had a couple shots but it never panned out.  The last part of the afternoon we climbed out of the bowl we hunted all morning and proceeded to see another 16 elk on the adjacent hillside.  Of the 16, there was a fairly nice bull with the bunch.  He’s the other elk on the video.  I shot the footage for about ¼ mile so it’s fairly shaky but we ended up getting to within about 30 yards of that bull before I ended up getting busted.  It was pretty disappointing since he would have been a great bull and it had been an awesome stalk up to that point.

We set up bivy camp on the hillside that night about 4-5 miles from where we started out that morning.  Drew wanted to give one last bugle before calling it a night.  And wouldn’t you know it, he called a bull to within 30 yards of our sleeping bags.  The elk sang us to sleep that night, we couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Bivy Camp

Bivy Camp

Since the elk had been bugling all night and had woken us up multiple times we had a pretty good idea where to head in the morning.  As we were trying to get ready we had a bull bugling within about 200 yards of camp, so we got dressed as quickly and quietly as possible.  We ended up getting into a heard of maybe 10 cows, a herd bull and several satellite bulls.  It had gotten down to about 25 degrees that night and unfortunately my video camera was too cold to turn on so I didn’t get any footage.  We ended up chasing the herd down the side of the mountain before they lost us.  Drew got a glimpse of the herd bull and said he was big (300 inches?).

After all the excitement that morning we headed back to our bivy camp for coffee and breakfast.  Granola, powered milk and protein power for me, Drew had dehydrated Mountain House eggs, ham, and green pepper.  His was starting to look better than my granola mix; I’ll have to add some variety for breakfast next year.  We also dropped down to a natural spring to refill our water supplies.

We finally got a hold of Big Ron on the radio around 10:00 that morning and talked him into heading out to bivy with us.  He ended up showing up later that afternoon.

Big Ron heading our way from over 1/2 mile

Big Ron heading our way from over 1/2 mile

Drew and Big Ron

Drew and Big Ron

That night we returned to where we lost the herd earlier that morning but didn’t have any luck.  They finally started bugling after dark and we thought one was going to walk right up to us.  It was pretty cool to sit there in the moonlight listening to the bulls bugle.

Full Moon on the Mountain

Full Moon on the Mountain

Monday – Sept 15

Woke up at 6 am and packed up our bivy’s.  We gave a few locate bugles off the top of the mountain trying to determine which direction to travel.  We heard a couple bugles from the “triple-nipple” to the north and a single bugle down the mountain to the west.  Since heading west kept us closer to base camp that’s where we headed.  Of course when we got to the bottom of the mountain he quit bugling.  We sat down around 9:30 for breakfast and to figure out a new plan.  As were screwing around boiling water for coffee and jabbering away I saw a couple cows walking thru the trees about 45 yards away.  I told Drew to cow call, grabbed my bow and headed towards them.  Unfortunately, I think they were wise to our mid-mountain breakfast buffet and ran out of there.

About that time we heard the bull that brought us down the mountain that morning bugle again, but he was getting further and further away.  Big Ron and I decided to stay put and keep calling while Drew took off after him.  The plan was working great until we called in another hunter.  We never did see the guy but his calling was horrendous and we knew it wasn’t an elk, I think Beau (my 2 yr. old) is probably better than this guy was.

We sat in that area for a little while and eventually decided to head north.  We walked a couple miles and then hung out for a couple hours in an “elky” looking area before the evening bulging would hopefully start back up.  Nobody saw anything, we figured we’d cook an early dinner, since we would likely hunt until right before dark.  As we were cooking dinner elk started to bugle, and one seemed to keep getting closer.  We quickly finished up and headed towards the nearest bugle, which wasn’t far off.  It turns out the bull was bugling from a great wallow and was raking the tress with his antlers.  All three of us were watching from about 50 yards when the elk called in yet a bigger elk, which chased him out of the wallow.  Big Ron had been bugling which kept both the elk fired up and Drew took off chasing them again.  We talked to him on the radio after about ½ hour and he said he had shot a bull.  We went to help him track the bull and luckily found he didn’t go far.  We all worked in the dark by headlamp skinning, boning and hanging the elk meat to cool.

Big Ron, Drew & Matt

Big Ron, Drew & Matt

Tuesday – Sept 16

Drew in his Bivy

Drew in his Bivy

We knew it was going to be a long day.  It was five miles to the nearest four-wheeler trail.  Those five miles included a thousand foot vertical decent through some nasty blow-down, followed by several miles of halfway flat wilderness trail and finally a couple tough miles with another thousand-foot climb back to the top.  The worst part was we knew it was going to take two trips!  The first trip Drew and I packed half our bivy gear, and a sack of boned out elk meat, total of 75-80 lbs.  Big Ron packed out all his bivy gear and the antlers.

Big Ron Packing Out

Big Ron Packing Out

After the five-mile first trip, Big Ron heading down another trail back to base camp to get the four wheeler and Drew and I dropped back down for another load of meat and the rest of our gear.  We ended up crawling out of the bowl at about 8:30 that night by headlamp, sweating and dragging having walked 15 miles that day.  It was brutal! Seeing that Big Ron had dropped off a four-wheeler and a cooler of beer and cold burritos was quite possibly the best thing we’d ever seen.

Wednesday – Sept 17

Slept in.  Woke up and screwed around camp drinking coffee and eating breakfast burritos.  Packed up and heading down the trail by 11:00am.  Other than some awfully sore legs we had an unbelievable trip.

Packing Out

Packing Out

On a side note, we talked to a lot of guys on the trails.  Nobody had seen any elk or heard any bugles, while we had had the best trip of our lives.  Goes to show that a little boot leather is an amazing thing.

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Published by Buckeyehunter12 on 21 Sep 2008

My First Deerhunt: Whether to cry, laugh, or just soak up the moment.

  Well my first deer hunt was different I suppose you could say.  Everytihng and anything that you could imagine happening happened.  There was near death, a chance at a buck of a lifetime, blood, tears, and most of all a great memory that will never be forgotten.

       Lets start at the beginning shall we.  I was 12 when I received my hunting license.  I had squirrel hunted a couple of times and enjoyed it, but it was nothing special.  I figured I had at least a couple of years before my dad would allow me to deer hunt but boy was I wrong.  One night when we were sitting around the television watching football my dad asked me if I wanted to go hunt the early season muzzleloader hunt.  I thought he was kidding and was even in disbelief but sure enough he was serious.  Of course I screamed yes and started dreaming of what it would be like to see a deer in the wild.  The hunt was in southeastern Ohio at a wildlife area my uncle had hunted before.  He told my dad the general area of some spots he had as we pulled out of town.  The drive was long but when we finally got there I was in shock.  The wildlife area was covered in massive hills and ravines.  I thought how in earth are we supposed to hunt with that kind of terrain?  We got  there just in time to do some scouting before dark.  We had walked about a mile or so into the timber when the worst sound I have ever heard in my life went off.  We were headed up a rocky hill when a very loud rattling noise sounded out.  My dad froze and said son, dont move!  I froze and listened for further directions.  He told me to back away slowly and I followed his command.  After I was back aways he jumped backwards.  My dads foot was right above the head of a timber rattlesnake.  It struck at him as he jumped away but missed.  If he would have been bitten it would have been sure death, as I would not have been able to help him out to the truck, or drive, or even find my way to a hospital!  After that hairy incident we decided we should call it a night and head back to the truck.  My dad had a couple of spots in mind for the next morning and there was no need to go further.  That night was among the longest in my life.  I could not stop thinking about that hunt (not to mention the cot that my dad made me sleep on, while he was in a comfy bed, was nothing to brag about).  Finally, morning came after a slim couple hours of sleep.  I was so excited.  I could not believe I would actually be deer hunting!  We ate breakfast at a local tavern and headed to the woods.  The morning hunt was uneventful until later in the morning when a couple of does came feeding through the timber on the way to a thicket behind us.  The deer presented many shots for me but I could not seem to get them in the scope!  Finally they moved on out of sight and I did not get a shot.  My dad began talking to me saying I need to try hard to get them into the scope.  I realized I may never get another chance like that this year!  Just as my dad stopped talking to me there was a huge ruckus in front of us.  A deer was running towards the thicket but I could not see what it was.  Finally as he ran past us I could see it was a monster buck!  Back then I had no clue exactly how big he was but today I can tell you that he was well past 160″.  Obviously the deer had heard my dad talking to us and had taken off.  I began to tear up but realized I did not have time as I caught movement in front of me.  It was three does working their way towards us.  The lead doe finally turned broadside and I had her in my crosshairs.  I jerked the trigger ( I know your not supposed to but I was young!) and smoke filled the air.  Leaves were rustling and all heck was breaking lose!  When the smoke finally cleared I was looking directly into the sky.  I, being 100 pounds and no muscle at the time, had been blown backwards off of the five gallon bucket I had been sitting on and onto the ground.  My dad was in tears laughing and I couldnt help but laugh too.  Finally when we could breathe we got up and went to the spot where I had shot at the deer.  There was blood covering the ground and we began to track her.  Finally about 100 yards into the tracking job my dad looks at me and says that the blood is drying up.  I looked at him and asked wahat in the world that meant. He said the deer may live.  He told me to take the trail.  My heart sank as I began following the blood trail.  Almost 30 yrds later I looked up and there she was.  I turned around to look at my dad and he was laughing again.  He had lied to me.  A huge smile spread across my face as I ran up to her.  I could not believe that I had killed a deer.  After all that we had been through that weeked I actually got a deer.  My dad had almost been fatally bitten by a rattlesnake, we had missed an opportunity at a buck of a lifetime, I had been physically abused by my muzzleloader, I had been tricked, and finally I had been rewarded with my first deer.  The weekend was a rollercoaster of emotions, a rollercoaster that I would gladly ride again if I had the chance.  That weekend is what hunting is supposed to be about!  I will never forget that weekend!

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Published by Louisianaboy on 20 Sep 2008

A Skull Mounting “How to”

I get asked all the time the steps I use when skull mounting a deer, hog or just about any critter. There are several different ways to accomplish this from start to finish and I thought I would share a few for anyone wanting to try this on their own. I am not an expert by any means, but this is the process and tips that have worked for me. I will explain things using a whitetail as example but there are some things that are a little different when skull mounting a hog, coyote or bobcat.

I have boiled many skulls and hate it! It is time consuming because you have to be attentive to the skull when boiling and it takes a lot of time to cut and scrape the skull clean. Boiling is also more expensive since you have to supply fuel to get that water boiling! I began macerating (rotting) after a friend brought me a ten point that he had hung on the fence for about a week. The only thing I could do was macerate rate since it was well on its way to being rotten.

Maceration

I begin by cutting all the hide of off the deer. I use a scalpel and start by making an incision down the middle of his nose, between the eyes and all the to the end of the hide on the neck. Be careful not to cut into the skull with the scalpel or knife and scar the bone. I then strip the hide from the nose and then go around the horns to the back of the head. Once the hide is removed I cut off as much meat as possible. I leave the lower jaw bone on until after the maceration because it is much easier to remove at that point. I then take a hacksaw and cut the neck off right behind the skull. You can feel the ridge on top of the skull; move down the neck about 2 inches and make the cut.

I then submerge the skull in water up to the base of the antlers. I have found that the blue tupperware bins at Wal-Mart work wonders for this or you can use an old crawfish pot, five gallon bucket or just about anything that is large enough to soak the skull in. I have been told to pour a bit of yeast or beer in the water and it will speed up the growth of the bacteria. I have used both and macerated without and could not tell the difference. Being from Louisiana, I hate to waste cold beer on a rotting deer skull! Also make sure the you have this set up away from the house or at least downwind cause trust me….. it will stink!

It is a waiting game at this point. You should check on the skull about every 3-4 days and replace the nasty water with fresh water. When draining the water, leave about half or a quarter of the water in the container. This will keep the colony of bacteria you have grown in the container and speed up the process. The bacteria need warm water to grow and feed so during the winter I place aquarium heaters on the side of the container to aid in the process. Aquarium heaters at Wal-Mart work well but the best I have found are Elite Glass Heaters (internet). The maceration process normally takes about two to three weeks depending on the water temperature. I place my bins in an old chest freezer and run the extension cords in there to keep the heat contained. By doing this I cut my maceration process down to about 10-12 days.

This is where it gets nasty! Once the maceration process is complete I use a scalpel and pair of long needle-nose pliers to pull the meat off. The rotten meat will easily pull off the bone leaving a nice clean skull. Be sure to pull the cartilage out of the nasal cavity and you might have to do some scraping on the back of the skull to detach some of those tough pieces of tissue. Once all the meat and tissue is remove spray the skull down with a water hose and be sure to wash the brain out of the brain cavity. Be careful with the tips of the nose. They might detach but can be glued back in place once the skull is dry.

The next step is the most important in the entire process of skull mounting an animal. DEGREASING! I have learned this lesson the hard way. If all the grease is not gotten out of the bone then it will begin turning yellow or have dark yellow spots throughout the skull. I degrease by using the same tupperware container as above. Place the skull in the container and fill with water up to the burr of the antler. I use the clear Dawn Dishwashing Detergent (Bleach Alternative on the label) but pure ammonia can also be used. Again, an aquarium heater will speed up this process but is not required. I normally change the water and about every 2 days. Each skull is different and the change can be determined by the cloudiness of the water which is actually fat deposits. When changing the degrease solution be sure and rinse off the skull and container completely. Repeat this process for about ten days or until the water is beginning to stay clear. Let the skull dry and if there is dark spots still present the repeat the degreasing process again. The longer you degrease the whiter the skull you will have.

The last step is whitening the skull. DO NOT USE BLEACH! Bleach will break down the bone and eventually turn the skull yellow. I whiten with 30% peroxide and Basic White (both found at any beauty supply store). I make a paste by combining the peroxide and BW and use a small paintbrush to cover the skull. Do not get the paste on the antlers! It will stain them! Let the skull sit over night and wash the paste off with a water hose. Place the skull in the sun for a couple of days and you should a finished skull mount. If there are any dark or dull spots on the skull you can repeat the whitening process again.

Hogs, Coyotes ,Bobcats, etc.

Hogs will take longer to degrease. They have a ton of grease deep in the bone and I have actually degreased boar skulls for two months. The tusk on a boar is hollow until it gets to the tip and is filled with tissue and fat. Be sure and pull the tusk completely out to make sure it is clean. It can be glued back in and I usually “pull” the tusk to make them look a little longer.

When macerating small critters such as bobcats and coyotes be sure to watch for loose teeth when dumping the water. They tend to fall out but can be glued in when finished.

I hope this helps ‘yall.

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Published by Louisianaboy on 18 Sep 2008

“Whitetail Addict”

I am an addict.  It is plain and simple.  That has become the only way for me to describe my actions, my thoughts, and way of life.  It seems I have to have it.  I have to get my “fix” and it doesn’t matter what I have to do or where I have to go to get it.  What am I talking about?  Hunting!  Just about any kind will do but specifically the whitetail.  The mature whitetail buck is my drug of choice and I have to have a dose at least a couple of times each day.  This addiction has caused trouble in many lives emotionally, financially, and in the marital department and does not discriminate by geography, sex or age.  It is time I look at my actions and fight this “demon” head on.

 

 

 

 

I started noticing a change many years back.  It started for me back in high school.  My junior year I began dating a girl whose Dad owned around 2,000 acres.  A little over half of that land was hardwood timber surrounded by agriculture fields.  For me to say the deer population was abundant would be an understatement.  During this time I was introduced to the world of archery.  I had grown up deer hunting and had killed several deer with a gun but archery was new and exciting.  I tried to soak it all in and listened intently when anyone began talking of shooting or almost having a shot at a whitetail with a bow. I shot a borrowed bow but practiced with it daily until I felt comfortable.  I soon learned the ins and outs of shooting enough to venture into the woods on October 1st.   The year was 1993 and this is the year that my addiction began.

 

My first bow hunt was on the morning of October 1st, 1993.  I had been in the stand for an hour when I noticed movement from my left.  I was hunting a dim road between two cypress brakes that lead to the fields surrounding the woods.  The movement that had caught my eye was a doe that had taken the easy route back to her bedding area and decided to make the stroll down the road.  I stood up in the homemade climbing stand that I had made in Ag shop in High School and tried to contain the excitement that had my whole body trembling.  The questions raced through my mind.  How was I going to draw my bow?  How far was she?  Could I make the shot?  As the doe walked behind a pin oak tree I drew my bow back and settled the 20 yard pin right behind her shoulder.  I released the arrow and to be honest I really don’t remember much after that except for the hellacious briar thicket that she ran into.  I give her about 15 minutes and got down in search of blood.  I trailed her for about 50 yards on my hands and knees through the thicket until I stumbled upon her.  Although I don’t remember the shot it was perfect!  I went on to kill a 4 pt buck two days later.  I shot him at 10 yards and he fell in my sights.  Bow hunting is easy I thought.  I would be proved wrong in the years to come and it only fueled the fire for my addiction.

 

What makes me a whitetail addict?  I have asked that question many times and still have not come up with a logical solution.  Is it the chance of killing a record book buck or just my personal best?  Is it bragging rights?  Is it the peacefulness of sitting 20ft in a tree watching the sunset?  Is it the preparation the season brings in hopes of running an arrow through the boilermaker of a whitetail and feeling the success?  I have searched for the answer since that day fifteen years ago and each year it seems to get worse.  I find myself doing things and going places that will help me feed my addiction.  Let me explain some things that my self, family and other addicts have noticed.

 

This so called “whitetail addiction”, as I describe it, is the only excuse that I can come up with to explain what begins to happen around the end of July or first of August.  It is the only way that I can explain the sudden transformation that tends to take place.  Make no mistake, bow hunting whitetails are on my mind 365 days a year but it is at this time that the thoughts become more frequent and began to control my actions.  It is this addiction that has me bush hogging roads, fighting wasps at the camp and on stands, watching the ground intently for rattlesnakes and cottonmouths and moving and adjusting lock-on stands.  All this preparation is done in the hot, one-hundred degree summers in Louisiana.  There have been many times that I have looked at my buddy, Greg, and asked, “Why?  Why do we put ourselves through this?  We must be crazy”!  No, we are just addicted to shooting whitetails.

 

Not only does this “disease” affect me but it has a tendency to reach out to loved ones.  It has caused numerous squabbles and fights between me and my wife.  During hunting season, I have a tendency to get in what athletes call the “zone”.  Each waking moment is concentrated on my next hunt, where the acorns are falling or where that smasher buck can be ambushed.  It consumes me until I tend to lose track of the important things in life, such as my wife and kids.  My wife will let it go for a while but the time often comes when she must have an “intervention” and put me back on the straight and narrow.  This is done by either a soft spoken, “baby, you need to stay out of the woods for a while” or the serious verbal “slap in the face” to get my attention.  She does her best to understand but until a person actually suffers from this ailment there is no way to completely comprehend. For example, a couple of years ago I woke up on opening morning of bow season after a restless night.  I got dressed and kissed my wife goodbye and whispered in her ear, “I will see you in February”!  It was time to feed the addiction; however, she did not find that to be as comical as I did.

 

During the spring and summer, there is little to do concerning whitetails besides shed hunting or some scouting after the season.  To fill this void, I have found several internet sites that contribute to my addiction.  These hunters suffer from the same thing as myself and offer some relief during the long summer months. Whether it is giving advice on equipment, swapping stories or just chatting about last years hunts, they fill a void that the hot weather brings.  I have made numerous friends the last few years which has allowed me to extend my bow hunting opportunities outside of Louisiana.  These trips to Georgia, Alabama and Illinois have allowed me to test myself against different terrain and different species of whitetails.  Just another way for an addict to get his “fix”!

 

Will this desire to hunt ever end?  For me, I hope not.  It is one of the things that make me feel alive.  So each year I will keep preparing the camp, food plots and stands in the Louisiana heat in hopes of harvesting a trophy buck.  I will keep discussing last year’s hunts with friends who understand what it means to suffer from “buck fever”.  Each October will find me perched 20 foot off the ground with my bow in hand in hopes of satisfying my “whitetail addiction”.   

My first deer with a bow (me on the right).  This doe had now way of knowing that she would fuel my passion for bowhunting.

My first deer with a bow (me on the right). This doe had now way of knowing that she would fuel my passion for bowhunting.

 

 

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