Published by The Super Sauce on 06 May 2010
Archive for the 'General Archery' Category
Published by The Super Sauce on 06 May 2010
Published by IL arrow slinger on 30 Mar 2010
i bought a z7 in feb, and the serving by the top string serpresser has come unraveled twice in less than 2 months!! any1 else have this problem? any1 have any sugestions on how 2 stop this from happening?
Published by D.A.Vaughan on 29 Mar 2010
There will be a Mi ASA Outdoor Shoot on 04-17-10 /04-18-10
Shotgun Starts at 9:00 am /1:30 pm Both days
30 3D targets
Rolls and Coffee and Lunch available
Chief Okemos Sportsman’s Club
4667 N Gunnell Rd (note some google maps miss spell this road a gannell)
Contact-Dave Walter 517 646 0701
Published by archerchick on 24 Mar 2010
The Pefect Treestand – By Bill Vanznis
Bowhunting World Annual 2006-2007
Your odds for success sour with this 15-item checklist!
The perfect stand should not stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. If it is visible from ground zero, it should look like part of the forest and nothing more.
There is no doubt about it.Hunting whitetails from an elevated platform is a killer technique! Position a treestand correctly, and you should easily avoid a buck’s sharp eyes, rotating ears and that uncanny sniffer of his long enough to take him with one well-aimed shot. This does not mean, however, that any stand site will work for you. Some setups are simply better than others. Here is how to turn the average treestand into a real killer.
1. SAFETY FIRST!
The perfect treestand must be safe to use treestands that have been left outdoors all
season long need to be inspected carefully for splits and cracks before you ever step on board again. Extreme weather, claimjumpers, saboteurs, animal rights idiots, and other assorted riffraff can and will raise havoc with any hunting property left unattended in the woods.
Even if you pull your stands at the end of each season, field-test each one before the opener. If you have any reservations-as to its safety or effectiveness, get rid of it and purchase a new one. Your life and well-being are worth a lot more than any whitetail.
What is the most dangerous treestand in the woods? The one that is handmade from leftover lumber! Rain, sun, and especially wind can weaken the wood and even help pull nails and screws from support beams causing it to collapse when you set your weight down. Never
The perfect treestand is one you erected, fair, square, and legal. Never hunt from a stranger’s treestand. Not only is it unethical, but it may be defective or not have been set up correctly, which in some cases could be an accident looking for a place to happen.
There are many problems associated with bowhunting out of a stranger’s treestand. You don’t know when the stand was last used, meaning the stand could already be overhunted. Nor do you know if whoever was on board spooked a buck into the next county, was as careful with human scent as you are, or is a meticulous in his approach and departure as you tend to be. Did he urinate off the stand? Did he gut-shoot a deer earlier and spend the morning traipsing about looking for it? If so, you are probably wasting your time. In short, the only thing you know about this is such a hot setup, why isn’t the owner or one of the friends on board?
3. UP-TO-DATE SURVEILLANCE
The perfect treestands is erected only after careful consideration of a host of factors, including food preferences, weather conditions, hunting pressure, stage of the rut, etc. Don’t set up a stand based on last year’s scouting information. Sure, you tagged a nice buck there last fall, but a lot could have happened in the interim. Crop rotation, a poor mast crop, new housing projects and logging operations can all have a negative impact on a deer’s daily routine and cause him to abandon last year’s hotspot.
4.KEEP YOUR SECRET HOTSPOT A SECRET!
The perfect treestand is one only you and a close friend know about. Do not brag about the bucks you are seeing on Old McDonald’s farm, and don’t give details about the stand’s exact whereabouts. Tell the boys at the archery shop you have a stand in the old apple orchard, and sooner or later one of those guys will be setting up nearby —legally or otherwise.
Even if you are tight lipped about your hunting turf, do not park your vehicle near your hunting grounds or an obvious trailhead. Instead leave your vehicle some distance away to help confuse trespassers and claim-jumpers as to the exact whereabouts of your treestand. Remember, loose lips sink ships!
5.TO TRIM OR
NOT TO TRIM
If you must trim branches around the stand, do so sparingly, and only enough to come to full draw without interference. Just remember that the branches that you cut away are the same branches that afford you cover.
The same goes for shooting lanes. Keep in mind that mature bucks do not like to stick their necks out. Wide, open shooting lanes spell d-a-n-g-e-r to an alert buck and are subsequently avoided. Besides, the brush you cut down and remove is often the very same cover that attracts local bucks!
In addition, nothing alerts an incoming buck, or another hunter for that matter, to the exact whereabouts of your setup better than several white “spears” sticking up from the ground. Use an old trapper’s trick, and smear dirt and leaves on the “stumps” of cut saplings to help hide them from prying eyes- Camouflage those shooting lanes!
The perfect treestand approach the site and then climb on board without alerting any deer to your presence. You can start as soon as you park your vehicle by remaining quiet as you assemble your gear. Do not talk, slam doors, or wave flashlights about.
Check the wind and then choose a route that affords you the most privacy. You do not want your scent drifting into suspected bedding grounds or preferred feeding areas, nor do you want deer to see you crossing open fields or gas line rights-of-way either. Nor do you want to
cross any hot buck trails.
Even with all these safeguards in place, wear knee-high rubber boots and be careful what you touch or rub up against. The scent you leave behind can spook a deer long after you are in your stand.
Be sure to walk slowly and quietly, stopping often to listen. In some cases a cleared trail may be necessary. Deer can instinctively tell the difference between man and beast moving about. Humans walk with a telltale cadence and a destination in mind whereas a deer will travel in a stop-and-go manner.
Finally, get into your stand quickly but quietly. Once settled in. use a fawn bleat to calm down any nearby deer.
7. NO HIGHER THAN NECESSARY
The perfect treestand is positioned no higher than necessary. In some cases a
10-foot perch is more than high enough off the ground to be effective, whereas in other situations a stand 15 to 20 feet up is required. Keep in mind that the higher you go, the more acute the shot angle becomes on nearby deer.
The late season has its own set of problems. There is less cover, and those few bucks that somehow survived the fall fusillade are on high alert. You can overcome some of these obstacles by placing your treestand a few feet higher than usual and positioning it so that you take your shot sitting down after the buck passes you by. A quartering-away shot is the best angle for a nervous buck.
8. COMFORT ZONE
You should be able to stay aloft all morning or all afternoon if necessary in a perfect stand. Start by choosing a stand design that allows you sit still without fidgeting. A seat that is too high, too low, or too small can cramp your leg muscles forcing you to stand and stretch. So can a stand that is not positioned correctly. If the stand is tilted, it will throw your weight off balance as will a knot in the trunk pressing against your back. Even facing a rising or setting sun can raise havoc on your ability to remain motionless during prime time.
The perfect stand is clean and free of human odors. This means you are careful in your approach and exit routines, and you do not wander around the area looking for more deer sign or pacing off shooting distances. Use a rangefinder and write down the distance to various objects for future reference. Tape them to the inside of your riser if need be.
Some hunters go so far as to spray scent eliminators on anything they touch
or rub up against, including tree steps, pull-up ropes and the tree itself. You can never be too careful in this regard.
10. PLAYING THE WIND
The perfect stand takes advantage of prevailing winds, but you should have a second or even third stand already in position to take advantage of major changes in wind direction brought about by storms and other varying weather conditions.
You must not be tempted to sit in your favorite treestand if the wind is blowing your scent in the direction you expect a buck to come from. Once a mature buck knows you are lurking nearby, he will undoubtedly avoid the area for several days—or the rest of the season.
11. OUT OF SIGHT
Position your treestand in a clump of trees whenever possible, as opposed to a single tree with no branches. Not only will it less likely be picked off by a passing buck, it will also less likely be stolen by a passing thief. If you are unsure if you are silhouetted or not, view the stand from a deer’s perspective, and then make adjustments as necessary.
12. SHOOT SITTING DOWN
The perfect stand allows you to make the perfect shot by coming to full draw undetected. Sitting down is the obvious choice because it requires only a minimum of movement to complete the act. If you must stand to make the shot, then position your stand so you can use the trunk of the tree as a shield.
The perfect stand is not hunted on a daily basis. In fact, it is hunted only on the rarest of occasions when all conditions are, well, ideal. And ideally, you would only hunt from that stand once, taking one well-aimed shot at a buck before you climb down from your first time on board.
Otherwise, any more than three times a week would be excessive. Remember, whitetails can pattern you rather quickly and will avoid your stand site as soon as they realize you have been snooping around on a regular basis.
The only exception is during the peak of the rut when bucks from near and far are pursuing does 24/7. Those stands that are set up along natural funnels can be bowhunted almost daily now where any buck you do see will likely walk out of your life forever if you don’t put him on the ground first.
14. PORTABLE OR PERMANENT?
Is the perfect treestand a portable or a permanent setup? Permanent stands have a built-in problem. As soon as a buck picks you off, he will avoid that setup, giving it a wide berth whenever he passes nearby, making the life span of that stand rather short.
Another problem with permanent stands is that they are difficult to fine-tune. You may be in the right church, so to speak, but in the wrong pew, making it impossible to move the 5 or 10 yards needed to get a killer shot.
A third problem with permanent treestands is that they do not allow you to move about as the season unfolds. For example, you want to key in on food sources in the early season, such as alfalfa, corn, beans, peas and buckwheat, but what do you do if things go sour? A good windstorm, for example, can shake the season’s first acorns loose, luring local bucks away from agricultural crops and into the swamp bottoms and steep hardwood ridges to feed on the fallen mast. How are you going to take advantage of this situation if you are relying on permanent stands built during the off season?
15. EXIT STRATEGIES
The manner in which you exit your stand is as important as your approach to your stand. When you step off the stand, push the main platform up against the trunk of the tree to help reduce its silhouette. Weaving a few dead branches into the stand’s frame will also help. You want your stand to remain hidden from deer and human eyes.
Next, get out of the stand quickly and quietly, avoiding all metal clanging. In case an unscrupulous hunter does find your stand, undo the lower set(s) of steps and hide them nearby. He may have found your secret stand site, but it is unlikely he will be able to hunt from it—at least on the day he finds it!
Now choose an exit route that will help you avoid contact with any deer. Keep in mind that you may be able to get to your stand quietly in broad daylight, but what about after dark? Can you sneak out without making a racket or disturbing nearby deer? After a morning hunt, you can cross most openings with impunity, but in the evening you would need to avoid meadows and other feeding areas even if it means taking the long way around.
A common mistake bowhunters make in the evening is walking out quickly and in a forthright manner. As with your approach, you must “bob and weave,” avoiding known trails and probable concentrations of deer. Sneak out, and when you get to your vehicle don’t talk, turn on the radio, or bang gear around. Deer will Patten your exit strategy as quickly as your approach.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to think about before you install a treestand. Think about each of these components carefully, and your chances of scoring will soar.
all rights reserved
Published by archerchick on 24 Mar 2010
Bowhunting Superman Archie Nesbitt – By Jason Butler
Bowhunting World 2006-2007
He’s been called “Canada’s Premier Bowhunter,” and in many ways Archie Nesbitt is the most-accomplished bowhunter who ever lived.
With a bow in his hand and an animal to hunt,
Archie Nesbitt is a happy man. Hunting is in his blood. In fact, the Calgary, Alberta, bowhunting fanatic feels best when trudging through the forest or desert. “I’ve been chasing animals all over the place for the last 30 years,” says the
super-friendly attorney. “Long ago I thought
to myself that if you can hunt it, I want to try, it.” Thirty years and counting he’s stuck to that notion like glue. And, boy-oh-boy, have the animals piled up.
“I never stop thinking about bowhunting,” he says. “It’s just tons of fun and I’ve never thought there was such a thing as ‘kicking back.’ Of course, I travel extensively with my job, so that
certainly makes things convenient'” Nesbitt is a bowhunting fanatic for a very simple reason: Challenge. His attitude blends determination and focus into what he loves best. Once You get to know a little about the man, it’s easy to see just how true that is.
Nesbitt, 54, was born to hunt. Growing up as a kid in the wilds of eastern Canada, his family gun hunted to eat much of the time, shooting moose and caribou for their plentiful meat. By age 15,
Nesbitt shot his first big-game animal with a bow, immediately becoming infatuated with the aesthetics of archery. With that single animal his passion was born.
Even back when bows were pretty crude, Nesbitt took animals cleanly, thanks to his sharp shooting and hunting skills. He spent every spare moment he had scouting, hunting, and honing his skills, shooting arrows behind the house. A decade later Nesbitt graduated from
law school and became involved in corporate mining exploration and mineral resources development around the globe. This successful career would reinvigorate his passion and take his bowhunting to a whole new level.
Nesbitt’s bowhunting resume reads like a Donald Trump memoir on real estate. He has taken more animals with archery gear than any other hunter, alive or dead. Jon Shepley, vice president of sales and marketing for PSE archery, knows Nesbitt well. “This guy is the undisputed most-successful bowhunter on the planet,” Shepley states. “He’s arrowed quadruple the number of animals compared to any other bowhunter out there. It would be difficult for someone who is just retired with unlimited resources and time to hunt the animals he has successfully.”
To put that into perspective, consider this: In 2001, Nesbitt became the sixth man to make the North American Super Slam, harvesting all 28 species of North American big game recognized by the Pope & Young Club. More recently, however, he became the sole bowhunter to take the triple Slam, a tremendous accomplishment.
The Triple Slam consists of four separate North American sheep species, 12 additional sheep species from around the world, and 12 additional species of goats from around the world. This feat is recognized by the Grand Slam
Club/Ovis. At a conference in early ’06, the Grand Slam Club awarded Nesbitt a certificate and congratulations for his unprecedented achievement.
However, for his Triple Slam, much like the Super Slam, Nesbitt did not start out hunting these animals with a “slam” in mind. “After several decades of hunting a whole bunch of animals, things just sort of ended up that way,” says Nesbitt. “This took many hunts and much energy. I didn’t get all of these animals the first time out. For many of them I had to go back a number of times.” But the “slams” are just the tip of the iceberg. Nesbitt currently holds 46 combined world records recognized by Safari
Club International (SCI) from North America and around the world. His tally of Pope & Young animals nearly reaches triple digits; many are listed in the top 10. In North America alone Nesbitt’s tally includes: two polar bear; a 1O-foot, 3-inch brown bear in Alaska; two Dall
sheep; a grizzly bear in British Columbia; two bighorn sheep; three musk-ox; a Shiras moose in Utah that was the state record for 15 years; truckloads of deer; the SCI world record Roosevelt elk on Vancouver Island; and more moose and caribou than some see in a lifetime. In Africa, the list gets longer.
Africa is one of Nesbitt’s favorite bowhunting destinations. In approximately 20 trips to eight countries, his list includes: four Cape buffalo; two Western buffalo; three lions; three leopards; two hippos; an elephant; a crocodile; and
hundreds of plains game. Nesbitt says that everybody should experience Africa at least once.
“Africa is magical. You see so many animals up close that it’s just incredible. I’ve been fortunate to arrow a pile of different game over there. and I tell you I never grow tired of it. You can go over and shoot eight to 10 animals for a reasonable price. Usually l take my family and make a good vacation out of it. I’m always thinking about Africa!”
In other parts of the world, his list is even more mind-boggling. Abroad he
has hunted in 20 countries-Spain, New Zealand, China, Pakistan, and Iran,
just to name a few—-on six continents’ He once hunted for a solid month in North Africa atop camels. In Kyrgyzstan, he spent three three weeks hunting Marco Polo sheep and Ibex at 15,000 feet. On hunts like these, there’s no room for error.
A few years back Nesbitt was planning a two-week hunt in the Middle East. Because of the unstable political situation, it’s not a place many hunters would want to go these days. Naturally, he called some colleagues to see if they wanted to tag along-But all told him he was nuts. Yet, that didn’t dampen his parade one bit. He went alone, despite their hesitation, and bloodied up a few arrows. lt went over without a hitch.
So, with all these accomplishments under his belt, why haven’t you seen Nesbitt’s face plastered all over archery magazines and advertisements? Nesbitt has very few ties to the archery- industry. He is a PSE pro staffer. “I started shooting PSE bows,around 1980. When PSE founder and innovator Pete Shepley approached me in the mid’90s to ask me to join the pro staff there, I was more than happy. I’d already been using his product for almost 20 years. I really think he is an archery pioneer, and I was happy to come aboard.”
With a PSE bow in hand, most of Nesbitt’s hunts have run smoothly, but predictably, there are exceptions. There was the time when a big musk-ox busted out of the large pack and charged
toward him like a freight train. Reacting quickly and jumping sideways for dear life, Nesbitt walked away after the animal missed him by mere inches. In Alaska, ominous grizzly bears have popped their teeth and circled at spitting distance many times.
These incidents were dicey. But encounters with elephants in Africa were cutting hairs, situations Nesbitt considers much more frightening. “For my money, the most dangerous animal on the planet is an elephant,” he says. “Elephants have the temperament of a junkyard dog, and when they charge you better start praying. I came within 4 to 5 feet of sheer disaster a couple of times. I finally killed an elephant in 2OO2 using a custom 100 pound-draw weight bow. I was thrilled!”
“In A League Of His Own”
The Pope & Young Club recognizes 28 species of big game. But Nesbitt’s North American resume reveals that he’s done them a few animals better with 32 species. Pope & Young Records Chairman Glen Hisey says, “Nesbitt is in a league of his own. It’s hard to fathom how a guy can hunt so much and be so darn good at it.
I know a lot of successful bowhunters. And, believe me, none of them are close
to walking in his shoes.”
Just how many animals can one guy kill? Well, out of the other species Nesbitt has bow bagged on our continent, the Boone & Crockett Club recognizes two of them. The first is a Boone &
Crockett Tule elk from California. The latter is a Boone & Crockett Atlantic walrus. Nebitt’s is the biggest ever shot by a hunter-gun or bow.
Natives have found bigger walruses that died by natural causes. However, the few gun-shot animals pale in comparison to Nesbitt’s. He’s also shot lynx and bobcat with broadheads. No record keeping organization claims these. They say they can’t justify it because they can’t tell 100 percent whether the animals were trapped or nor. Nesbitt has a handful of witnesses to prove it.
For a man who has bowhunted and shot just about everything under the sun, what’s next? For Nesbitt, there’s no letting off the throttle. “Over the next several years I plan to concentrate on
several species of Asian sheep, the ibex and argali. Also elk and mule deer around home will get plenty of attention. They’re my favorite North American animals to bowhunt, and I can chase both right out of my back door.”
Nesbitt is very involved with SCI and has been for the past 12 years. He considers the organization outstanding and a great support for hunters.
Currently he’s the Alberta chapter president. “I’ve got some great friends in SCI. I plan on being affiliated with this community for a long time.”
Archie Nesbitt is a hunting machine, a pure predator on two legs. Many call him “Canada’s Premier Bowhunter.” His considerable accomplishments aside, the bottom line is that Archie Nesbitt hunts for personal enjoyment and fulfillment, not for sponsor money or bragging
rights. It’s that simple. You can’t help but appreciate a guy like that.
all rights reserved
Published by archerchick on 24 Mar 2010
Jared’s Buck -By Jeff Murray
BOWHUNTING WORLD Annual 2006-2007
A Father and Son Bond Through The Best Moments in Bowhunting
For many years, I’ve read about what it’s supposed to be like to.”pass on” the legacy of
hunting. But instead of reading about it, I’m finally experiencing it. Yes, I’m talking about a father-and-son story with a happy ending, but I have to admit it didn’t start our that way. If you’ve ever listened to the enchanting tune, Cat’s in the Cradle by the late Harry Chapin, you’ll understand and appreciate my perspective.
Here’s the chorus:
“And”the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
‘When you coming home, dad?’ ‘I don’ t
know when, but we’ll get together then.”
You know we’ll have a good time then.”
It’s a familiar refrain for many dads. We have to work hard to support our families; kids grow up before we know it; they become adults and get busy before they know it. Today’s life cycle just
doesn’t seem very friendly to endearing and rewarding relationships. And Lord knows I’m as guilty as the rest: It wasn’t until the death of my step-father that I realized I’d cheated him out of precious intimate times together. Now it seemed to be happening to me. Hear the confession of my now-27-year-old son, Jared: “While I admit to wanting to spend more time hunting with my dad, I find myself too busy to make good on my promises. At first, it was a high school and college football career. Then I got married early and we had a daughter. Life is good but tough.”
Though I tried raising Jared with a bow in his hand, he was born an athlete. He was remarkably fleet. He ran (not walked) at eight months and had a chiseled physique right from the cradle. Even as a toddler he lacked so-called baby fat, and his biceps looked like golf balls. He was destined to pump iron in preparation for the gridiron, which ended up out-muscling time on the target archery range during his teen years. But there was always a spark in his eye when we’d shoot our bows. He’d anguish over every shot that didn’t find the 10 ring. I was confident this trait would eventually drive him to become an accomplished archer and bowhunter.
I just hoped it would happen during my lifetime! If it didn’t, however, I had nobody to blame but myself. As a full-time journalist, I wrestled with projects and deadlines that always seemed to steal weekend hours. So as Jared pursued a football career, I pursued my writing career. We
just couldn’t get on the same page….
THE BIRTH OF A
When Jared graduated from college in 2001, we were finally able to hook up together in the deer woods. Jared went
antler-less that year, but it taught him bowhunting’s most valuable lesson: the role of commitment. In 2002, we spent time together scouting a patch of woods that produced some impressive rubs. I remember turning Jared loose, challenging him to hang a stand at the highest percentage spot he could find. When we reconvened a week later, I congratulated him on finding the second best spot.
“But this is a super treestand [location],” he protested. “What are you thinking?”
“You made a classic mistake of stopping where you thought it couldn’t get any better,” I said.
“Follow me and I’ll show you where you can’t miss.” We walked about 100 yards, stopped
where four trails came together like a tic-tac-toe grid, and soaked in the fresh deer sign surrounding us. If that weren’t enough, an aspen tree grew tall and straight in, about 25 yards away.
The only remaining question was when. I remember counseling Jared to plan on some vacation time in October instead of an all-November schedule. From decades of studying the timing of the rut I was positive it would hit
early that year, and I didn’t want Jared to miss out. Fortunately he listened to me. He ended up
arrowing the biggest-bodied buck I’d ever seen. I still remember getting the call at dinnertime.
The date was October 23rd. “Dad, I need help,” Jared said. “l shot a really nice buck!”
“Great, son,” I said. “But what do you need me for? Call one of your football buddies. I’ll meet you later at-.”
“You don’t understand,” Jared interrupted. “He’s huge. I mean, he looks more like a Clydesdale than a whitetail.”
The buck was big, all right. Everything-from his head to his hooves-was enormous. The dressed-out 1O-pointer bottomed out the scales of a local check station at 260 pounds. He was Jared’s first Pope and Young buck, and that magic moment hooked him for life on the cat-and-mouse game of bowhunting trophy whitetails.
But like so many young bowhunters today, it took awhile for the lad’s dedication level to match his expectation level. The next year, for instance, I managed to score on a nice buck while hunting weekends with Jared. He got out early and got out a lot, but by the time we could put things together, some other hunters moved into our two best spots. The following year, Jared ended up shooting a buck that he was convinced would make the Pope and Young minimum. He shot it at first light from a treestand we’d just hung the day before, which was prompted by a week of steady southeast winds. Long story short: the buck shrank by the time he hit the ground. I’ll never forget the look on Jared’s face when we recovered the deer. You could read his mind like a book: Is this really my buck?
Ironically, Jared would be asking the same question this past fall, but for a completely different reason. I’m getting a bit ahead of myself ( but instead of witnessing ground shrinkage, his 2005 buck would grow about 35 inches.
Finally, the two of us were able to hunt
together as a team. The rules of a local deer
-control hunt prevented us from scouting the way we’d like, but we still managed to set up a few stands that looked promising. Truth be told, my whole game plan revolved around anticipating where rutting bucks might cut corners. None of our stands were high-traffic spots.
On opening weekend, we each harvested a doe in compliance with one of the management hunt’s requirements. We spent the next month hunting the “fringes”-observation stands- while we knocked off some more does for a local venison donation effort. Predictably, as the days of October came and went, so did Jared’s confidence. I knew what he was thinking before he said it.
“I haven’t seen a single decent buck, not even next year’s shooter” he complained. “I really think we need to make a move, Pa ”
I’ve been there and blown that. The last thing a serious bowhunter needs to do is make a move for the sake of making a move. “Jared, that’s the best way to mess up a perfectly decent setup,” I lectured.
“These are our best spots, based on our best guesses. Second-guessing ourselves right now
with no new evidence isn’t going to get us anywhere.'”
That evening, I looked at my contour map one more time “just in case.” I found a subtle
bottleneck that I hadn’t seen before. The next time it rained hard or the wind howled I’d toss
a Lone Wolf over my back and hang a backup stand. As luck would have it, the very next day
a northeaster blew at 35. I found what l was looking for right away, and this stand location became Jared’s personal favorite the very first time he hunted it. A narrow ridge paralleling a gurgling creek proved to be a deadly combination: the ridge funneled deer, the creek muffled the kid’s comings and goings.
Now all we needed was a cycling doe or two to pull the bucks out of their aspen and pine woodwork. Bingo! Jared sat the next three mornings and watched the woods explode overnight with sniffing and grunting bucks. The first day for instance, he saw five different bucks,
including one that was about twice the size of his “ground-shrinkage” buck of the previous year. On the next day, Jared passed on a buck that, ironically, I ended up arrowing about week later
(another story for another day). I had to give the kid credit: He was willing to go antler-less if that’s what his quest for a record-book buck ended up dishing out.
Slow-forward to November 3rd. This date’s right up there with the day I married my wife and the days our children were born. I slept in Jared’s basement the previous night, and I remember beating the alarm clock that morning. Before I
hit the shower, I walked outside and tested the elements. It was cool and still-a perfect morning for rattling.
We were situated about a quarter-mile apart and comfortably perched in our treestands long before sunrise. As the eastern sky began to light up, I was seconds away from a hard-core rattling session.
That’s when a vibrating cell phone intervened.
The phone number was Jared’s. I knew something very good or very bad had just happened.
“l think I just shot a
“‘What do you mean, think?”
After some awkward silence that made me real
nervous, Jared said he was nervous. “I’m not sure about the shot. It was a little high and a little far back.”
Frankly, I wasn’t concerned one bit about how
far back the shot was-I’d find that darn
deer if it took us all day and all night. But
a too-high shot can be a buck of a different color. -The”undead zone”of the backstrap area is a non-lethal shot. I didn’t want to go there, but I had to. “How High?” I asked. “Do you think you penetrated the cavity?”
Well, Jared admitted he rushed the shot a bit, but he didn’t think it was that high. After mulling it over we decided to wait till after lunch to track the buck. That’s when I discovered a new rattling technique, compliments of my son. Turns out he rattled before sunrise. His reasoning was that he’d heard deer running around in the dark, and he wanted to keep them in the immediate area till it was legal shooting hours. It worked! His third rattling session produced a big buck, standing motionless in a thicket, behind his right shoulder. The buck was directly down-wind from a well-placed tarsal gland, and he was ticked off. As he tore into a fresh scrape, Jared quickly and quietly exchanged his rattling antlers for his Mathews Switchback.
“l tried focusing on a narrow opening’ about 20 yards away, instead of on the buck’s rack,” Jared recalled. “When his head disappeared behind a tree, I drew and timed the shot when he slipped into the opening.” As I heard those words, I swelled with pride. That’s the
only surefire recipe for meeting the challenge of the Moment of Truth, and my son had mastered it.
The blood trail wasn’t exactly copious, but with each step I grew more and more confident that we’d find this buck-it was a liver-shot blood trail if I’d ever seen one. Indeed, all of our anxiety proved to be a waste of adrenaline.
The buck didn’t make 75 Yards from the impact of the shot. I spied him first. I had to bite my tongue when I got a good look at the rack. Wow I knew this was going to be a whale of a moment,
and I wanted to squeeze every drop of endorphin out of it. We’d split up with Jared examining the last speck of blood, while I monitored the trail and scanned the landscape ahead of us. When I told Jared to come closer for a better look at a new spec of blood, I grabbed him and told him to look over my shoulder. “There! What do you see?” I said. The whites of his eyes widened, we hugged and kissed, and he sprinted for the buck without hesitating. I paused to give thanks and let the kid soak up the ambrosia. Man what a rack. Earlier Jared said he thought it was “150-something.” Now we could not believe our eyes. All we could do was
stand and stare in a daze.
“Are you sure this is the buck you shot, boy?”I teased. “This ain’t no 150-buck … this is a booner!” Instead of ground-shrinkage, this buck enjoyed ground-growth: we later green-scored the rack at 184 1/8 inches! What’s more, it was impressively unique. The tines looked like menacing daggers; they were bladed and sharp-edged, not round and smooth.
Simply put, the score doesn’t come close to reflecting the mass of the tines. As I said, our story ends quite happily, no small thanks to a buck of many lifetimes.
But here’s the main point I want to leave you with: Experiencing another hunter’s triumph can be many times more gratifying than experiencing it yourself. It doesn’t hurt if it’s your son or
daughter, of course, but it shouldn’t matter if it’s a neighbor, a buddy or even a new acquaintance. Perhaps this is the quintessence of “passing it on.”
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Published by archerchick on 23 Mar 2010
Wild Hogs – by Joe Bell
Few critters match the excitement theses animals offer the bowhunter during the spring and summer off-season.
In June, the California sun is notoriously known for casting out intense heat, particularly 100 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean where tentacles of rugged ridgelines spring out from the immense San Joaquin Valley. Here, the country changes drastically from some of the most robust vegetable- and fruit- growing soils in existence, to towering foothills and mountains dotted with wild oats, valley and blue oak trees, poison oak and various tangles of brush and manzanita. Among this picturesque backdrop live some of the wildest feral hogs known to man.
My hunting partner Chris Denham and I were soaking in the heat and enjoying the landscape as we glued our eyes to our 10-power binoculars. It was a bit early, but with a little luck, we would spot a couple of hogs early enough in the evening to have a legitimate stalk. Earlier in the day, we had walked some steep country and eventually Chris got into some pigs. But as it so often turns out, the kill just didn’t happen.
One of the chief problems with hunting wild hogs during the summer months is dealing with that short window of time you have when pigs are most active. Usually, the last hour of the day is peak hunting time, which means you can’t dally, and long stalks are usually out of the question. So when Chris and I noticed two dark silhouettes only a 3O minute stalk from the truck, I knew luck was finally on our side.
Soon, we were en route, wading through a sea of knee-high grass, across a creek bottom, and up the ridge. My pocket wind indicator was in constant motion. When we got close, I decided to send Chris out ahead. This was his second time hunting with me without the shooting opportunity he was looking for. The crisp under footing told me I needed to back up anyhow, allowing Chris to poke along 50 yards or so in front.
Easing over a rise, the pigs weren’t there. Chris went ahead, while I swung to the right. Soon I caught movement. The two nice boars were feeding along in a perfect place for an ambush. I plodded uphill to search for Chris, and now he was out of sight. I had tried to be unselfish, but these pigs are going to get away if I don’t do something! I went to retrace my steps only to never see the hogs again. Darn! I had let a good opportunity go by…and these moments aren’t abundant with these wild hogs.
Hunting opportunity flourishes today, and you Can find hog hunting places nearly everywhere-Florida, Texas, and in small hunting preserves throughout the Midwest and southern United States, But for my tastes, I like to hunt free-ranging wild hogs in country I’d usually stalk or still-hunt deer. Fortunately I was born and raised in California, which is home to an abundant wild hog population-and this population is spreading in some areas.
I have hunted pig in most sections of the state, but I have yet to find a place that seems as wild and as productive as hunting the famed Taejon Ranch, a historic 270,000-acre cattle ranch home to countless big-game critters ranging from Yellowstone elk, to deer, antelope, black bear, various predators-and a teeming wild pig population. You can seek out hogs in expansive locations, only to hunt an entirely different area come dusk. It all adds up to a true adventure, not casual off-season filler.
The glow of sunset was at it’s peak when Chris and I adjoined. The stalk had been mass confusion, and he was disappointed I didn’t capitalize on the opportunity. I rolled my eyes and mentioned that the boars didn’t show teeth big enough For me. (l was kidding, of course.) By the time we ate dinner, showered and rolled into bed, it was pushing 11 p.m. or so. The nights are short when bowhunting this country in the summer. That 3:30 a.m. wakeup call is ruthless. After coffee and two Pop-Tarts the feeling of aching sleeplessness was beginning to give way to visions of big-tusked wild boar, exposing that perfect quartering-away shot. What would we do without such aspirations?
After pursuing wild hogs for nearly 10 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are lots of different ways to hunt these critters. Classic spot-and-stalk hunting in rolling oak woodland-type country is the most enjoyable-but you’ll find that this hunting can be somewhat of a fairy tale at times. California hogs are truly wild-and even much wilder when hunting pressure hits. When this happens, they tend to roam about terrain with more cover, at least during hunting hours. In this case, you’ll have to really become a hunter, seeking our wily hogs in awkwardly dense locations.
Wild hogs are actually very intelligent creatures. Even farm hogs have proven to be the smartest among all domestic livestock. Now when you take a hog that lives in the wild, one that perhaps has been shot at by hunters, you’ve got yourself one crafty critter.
As we drove up the road, we came across a familiar location. Years ago, I saw a group of hogs cross this exact dirt pathway and amble off into an adjacent creek bottom. Moments later. I still-hunted my way up the cut and found myself face to face with a monstrous pig running unknowingly right at me. I drew my bow more so in self-defense and let the string slip from my finger tab as soon as I hit anchor. Fortunately the arrow hit the proper spot below its throat and drove to the fletching. It was one of the fastest kills I’d witnessed.
Now as we sped along, I couldn’t believe my eyes. About 15 or so hogs kicked up dust across the same bit of real estate and raced into an endless valley of grassland. Immediately, I recognized our opportunity. A narrow ravine slicing through the field would allow us to make an ambush. I banked the truck, and Chris and I scrambled to get our bows. Then we jogged as quickly as we could, eventually changing our clip to a fast walk. It worked like a charm, and Chris triggered a well-placed shot from 30 yards. Soon he was admiring his first California wild pig – a nice 150-pound boar.
To be successful on wild pigs, you must grasp their habits first and realize they do change depending on the season. Of course there are many factors at play here, but food and water are the primary ones, followed by hunting pressure. During the late winter/early spring months, water, and food usually aren’t much of a concern. Wild grass, roots, forbs, berries and other stuff are prevalent and moisture saturates these items at nightfall. With this being the case, wild pigs usually venture toward higher, more secluded ground when hunting pressure is existent. With low hunting pressure, they can still be in more of a “roaming” mode, which could make them difficult to locate.
When temperatures are on the rise, like in late spring and summer, wild pigs are likely to be found concentrated around water and food sources. Early-spring food is diminishing rapidly, and this is when hogs turn to other food like man-made such as walnuts and fruit. Keep in mind, wild pigs are omnivorous, so they’ll consume just about anything including meat from animal carcasses-even their own kind. In a nutshell, summer months can make for great hunting. Just hunt near water. I shot my biggest wild boar in early August as I saw the animal descending from rocky hilltops to a muddy waterhole.
However, during the summer months, if hunting pressure is existent, hogs may only lurk during the wee bit of daylight hours, leaving hunter with maybe a 45-minute window of opportunity to make a stalk- not always enough time. These are all generally based rules. I say this because I’ve glassed up lots of pigs in July roaming towering hillsides, miles away from their watering sources, so you just never know.
When in hog country, look for fresh sign. Tracks are always helpful, but make sure they are fresh, and then try to draw up some conclusions on ways of travel. I’ve read that wild pigs prefer to make their way straight up trails, not at an angle like deer do. Better yet are fresh droppings. These are a sure indicator that pigs are around. Pig scat is shaped much like horse droppings; only they aren’t as firm and not as long and copious.
Creek bottoms that have wallows in them are another good sign pigs are nearby. Recently used wallows are filled with mud, never clear water. Though I have no scientific claim to support this, I’ve noticed that a spring or summer rain seems to somehow increase the level of pig activity. Last April, rainy, drizzly weather appeared to threaten the outcome of my hunt, yet the exact opposite was the case. Each morning, I slid into my Cabelas Rain Suede raingear and still-hunted the hills. The very first evening I glass up animals on every hillside, eventually stalking in on a nice hog. However, I missed the 40-yard shot. The falling light and downhill shot got the best of me. Fortunately, the very next morning I set up a 25-yard shot I couldn’t miss. There were other trips in which I detected this “triggering” affect.
When you finally spot a hog you want to go after, keep in mind that wild hogs have one of the best noses in the business. You have to constantly check wind thermals, preferably with a wind-detector bottle. Depending on the situation. your stalking noise may or may not break your chances. During late-morning or early-evening hours, animals are naturally more alert, but as light diminishes. they feel more safe and are accustomed to their own and other pigs’ noisy feeding habits.’
Just a few weeks ago I was hunting an area along the central-coastal foothills. Conditions were hot, yet springtime rains hovered over the area for nearly a week before my hunt. I knew I’d have to hike far to find pigs, I detected intense hunting pressure in the area. too. On the second evening of the hunt, I climbed to a prominent vantage point and began glassing. About 45 minutes before dark, I noticed odd blemishes against a hill-side that I had been overlooking all evening. In a flash I was off on the stalk.
About 20 minutes later, I stripped my pack and slithered in line with the feeding hogs. The vegetation was much denser than what it appeared like at long range, and I found myself crawling through tunnels and cutting away wild vines with my broadhead-tipped shaft to
gain progress. As light was fading, the sound of the animals grinding their noses across the firm ground digging up dirt and roots grew more and more intense. Soon, I was plum out of walking room-about 10 yards from the feeding boar, but I had no clear shot. I didn’t want to rush the situation, but 10 minutes went by and eventually the boar sensed or smelled something. Soon he began chopping his mouth, making growl sounds and other threatening noises. Is a charge on its way, I thought? Soon the dual ended as I made a hasty move into a wall of brush to attempt a shot. Even so, the moment was well worth it.
If you’re into year-round bowhunting thrill, yet you don’t want to drop loads of money on a remote trip for exotics in New Zealand, Africa or some other hot destination, I’d recommend giving California’s wild hogs a try. They’re loads of fun. and the thrill-well, you just have to judge it for yourself.
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Published by archerchick on 23 Mar 2010
Bowhunting World October 2005
Most bowhunters try to hunt these same spots when the season opens. While this is a worthwhile starting point, it is important to note that a buck’s summer range and fall range can be quite different. For example, Mark Drury with Drury Outdoors videos, has been monitoring deer on his Midwest farm with trail cameras for three years. He feels that roughly 60% of the bucks he becomes familiar with have the same summer
and fall ranges. That means that a full 40% of the bucks relocate at least slightly after they shed their velvet.
In other words, you can’t be sure you are hunting a certain buck until you see him in that area at least two weeks after velvet shedding, which occurs around the first week of September in most areas.
Even with that uncertainty factored in, you still have a chance at shooting a trophy the first week of the season. Mature bucks are often still on rough patterns at this time. Through the summer, they’ve become almost predictable, and a part of this lifestyle carries over into the first week of the bow season.
World OCTOBER 2005Bowhunting
Usually these feeding patterns are short-lived, but you may get a full week of excitement before a number of factors, not the least of which is your presence, make the bucks more reclusive.
If you are having trouble finding the bucks during the week before opening day, forget the agricultural flelds and go deeper into the timber. Without a doubt, acorns are the number-one
attraction at this time. Where you find acorns, you will find the deer even if there are abundant agricultural crops nearby. They will literally run to a good acom-bearing tree after a windstorm brings down a load of nuts.
There are two categories of oak trees where most people hunt: red oak and white oak. Each of these categories has several subspecies, but within each category the trees are similar in their application to deer hunting. White oak trees have the potential to drop acorns every year though some years are definitely more bountiful than others are. Red oak trees only drop their acoms every other year. It pays to be able to identifiy each subspecies of oak.
After the acorns play out, the deer will generally drift back to the agricultural crops. They will still hit the alfalfa and clover, but soybeans tend to lose their attractiveness when the leaves and
beans are both drying down. You will see the deer also moving more toward corn and other carbohydrate-rich food sources.
I’ve also sat in some pretty incredible stands when apples and pears were dropping. Bucks zeroed in on the trees moming
and evening, seemingly trying to grab the freshly dropped bounty before other deer beat them to it. Unfortunately, you have to be on the buck’s pattern as soon as the season opens because pressure from other deer hunters and small-game hunters and the buck’s increasing
testosterone level make them change patterns. Even without any hunting pressure, a buck will begin turning into a ghost in early October.
tagging a nice buck during the first week of October depends on your ability to keep the buck from knowing he’s being hunted while you observe and tweak your stand location.
You have to become ultra-sneaky-much more so than is required for success during the rut.
Focus on Afternoon Hunts:
It may be tempting to try to hunt the buck in
the morning near his feeding area, but doing so is going to hurt your chances. You run the risk of moving him off his pattern before you can get enough information to take advantage of it. If you simply have to get into the woods, hunt somewhere else.
Cautious Scouting: Hunting a big buck during the first week of the season is a lot easier if you have seen what he is doing. Hang back with binoculars and learn as much as you can
about the overall situation before committing yourself to a plan. You have to fool many other eyes, ears and noses before the biggest bucks will reach the field. Consider how you will beat
all the deer in the herd before you pick a stand location.
Get Out Clean: More than likely you won’t get the buck you are hunting the very first evening you try for him. That means you will need a good way to get back to your vehicle without spooking the other deer in the feeding area. This is by far the
biggest challenge you will face when hunting food sources. Use the terrain and cover to your advantage. Make a wide circle around the field. Also, if it is impossible to get out clean, have
someone drive up to the field in a truck or ATV and move the deer off before you climb down.
MID-OCTOBER DOG DAYS
The middle of October is the hardest part of the month for tagging a nice buck. Hunting pressure, changing food sources and rising testosterone make bucks very unpredictable and reclusive. They’ll still feed but not in the open, and seeing them during daylight becomes harder.
It is common for a big buck to change pattems shortly after he sheds his velvet and certainly by early October. He seems to disappear from the face of the earth when he was once visible every single evening in his favorite soybean and alfalfa fields. They are still around and they are still active. If you aren’t seeing them you are hunting the wrong places. All deer change their behavior as they go from summer patterns to fall patterns, the main reason for this change is a change in food preferences. Telemetry studies by top research biologists show that the bucks continue to feed during these so called dog days of October. In other words, where is no biological basis for what I have referred to as the “dog days.”
Bucks love to scrape in the cool, damp earth found at the bottoms of draws and ravines. This is a great place to find sign, but a tough place to hunt. When the wind blows, it will swirl through these hollows until every deer in the area knows a man is nearby. Avoid these ravines and draws and focus instead on scrape lines on ridges and in other locations where you can better
control where your scent blows. You may have to hunt the best scrape areas from a distance on routes you feel the buck may use as he goes to freshen them.
October is not traditionally a bowhunter’s trophy time, but it is a fun month ro be in the woods. lt is also an excellent time to do your part by shooting a few does to keep the herd in check and supply winter meat.
While October is not as exciting or as productive as the first week of the primary rut, at least you’re hunting. As long as you are in the woods sticking to a sound strategy, anything can happen. It only takes one buck to change the entire season and he can come past at any time – even in October.
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Published by archerchick on 23 Mar 2010
Eye Level Black Bears – By Rick Combs
Bow Hunting World Annual 2004-2005
The Scenario I had envisioned entailed spotting the bear in a clearing, mapping out a strategy, then hunkering down and executing the perfect stalk. What really happened was more like this: We spotted the bear at about 30 yards in a thicket of spruce and aspens just before it dropped out of sight into a small drainage, and my guide was shoving me toward it as I struggled to knock an arrow.
“Go! Go! Go!” he hissed. “That’s a good bear! That’s a good bear! That’s a good bear! Get up there!”
Half expecting the bear to have vanished, but fully aware it could just as easily be moving my direction, I began walking carefully toward the lip of the ravine, bow at full draw. As I peeked over and looked down on the gradual slope, the bear was standing broadside 10 steps away. He ran forward a few yards, and I thought he’d be in the thicket before I could get off a good shot. But then, inexplicably, he stopped and looked back.
I won’t pretend to know what goes through an animal’s mind at such a moment, but at the time it appeared for all the world he was thinking, “Wait a minute, I’m the bear. I’m not the one who is supposed to run” I swung the sight pin to the crease behind the shoulder, released the arrow, and watched the fletching disappear in the sweet spot.
The bear lunged forward, running further down into the ravine to a slough. Crossing it on a log, he stumbled once, nearly falling in, but made it to dry ground. Every bowhunter’s instinct after arrowing an animal is to keep it in sight as long as possible, but as I attempted to move forward and to one side to do that, my guide was tugging me away from the action, fearing that I was trying to follow the bear immediately.
That bear was not the first I’d seen on this trip, and it would prove to be far from the last. While in some ways the reality of my close encounter with a BC black bear did not live up to my fantasy, in all the ways that mattered British Columbia bear hunt was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.
To begin with it was a spot & stalk hunt. There is a lot to be said for baited bear hunting, beginning with the fact that in some areas, hunting over bait is the only feasible way to go about hunting bears. Hound hunting, too, has its following where legal. Man and dog have hunted cooperatively for thousand’s of years, and for more than a few hunters, enjoying that primal link is the main reason for hunting. My fantasy, though, was a spot & stalk hunt. I wanted to do it on the ground, eye-to-eye, so to speak, with the bear.
Pick The Right Outfitter
Nonresident hunters are required to
hunt with one of the 240 licensed guide-outfitters in British Columbia. Barring extremely bad luck (record late snowfall and low temperatures, a major forest fire in your hunting area), most any of them will show you bears, and your chances of getting a shot at a respectable
bruin are excellent. Even the most experienced trophy hunter with very high standards has a relatively good chance at shooting opportunities for trophy black bears or color phase bears in
British Columbia. The real question is,
what kind of overall hunting experience are you seeking? Are you interested only in a remote wilderness hunt from a spike camp, or would you prefer to stay in a comfortable lodge with hot tubs and other amenities! Either is available, as well as nearly every variation in between, from snug cabins to heated wall tents to bed & breakfast ranches.
Baiting bears is not legal in British Columbia, and though it is legal to hunt with hounds, spot & stalk hunting is far and away the most popular approach.
Still, “spot & stalk” is not a particularly specific term. At one end of the spot
& stalk spectrum, the hunter can hunt exclusively on foot in remote, fly-in or pack-in areas, scouting for sign and glassing mountainside, aualance chutes, or natural openings.
On the other end of the spot & stalk
spectrum, there is cruising logging roads on ATVs or in 4-wheel-drive vehicles.
Logging is a major industry in British Columbia, which means, that in much of the province there are miles and miles of dirt logging roads, not to mention clearcuts. Clearcuts and logging roads produce copious quantities of the fresh green growth bears love to eat.
Of course, logging roads and clearcuts can be hunted on foot. The vehicles, obvious advantage is the opportunity they afford to cover great amounts of territory in short order.
Yet another alternative is hunting waterways from boats. In the case of
both wheeled vehicles and boats,glassing the area and moving on. If bears are spotted from vehicles, hunters exit and stalk on foot to within bow range.
I spent a great deal of time researching my BC black bear hunt. With so many top-notch outfitters in the region picking one was difficult. In the end, I settled on Brett Thorpe and Bowron River Outfitters. My homework paid off. Though I’m perfectly happy to hunt from a tent camp in a spruce thicket, I have to admit the picturesque setting of Brett’s cabins on a lake reflecting surrounding snow capped mountains was a factor.
Brett himself was a factor, too. I think it’s important that a hunter “click” with his guide or outfitter, and I knew I’d enjoy hunting with Brett from the moment we first made contact. An avid bowhunter himself, Brett is intense about hunting, and his enthusiasm strikes a spark with anyone who is passionate about the sport. Though he is new to the outfitting business, having only purchased his BC hunting concession two years ago, he has years of experience as a hunter and a guide. He spent several years guiding and videotaping hunts for well-known black powder hunter and outfitter Jim Shockey. Depending on the needs and wishes of his clients, Brett will make use of wheeled vehicles on logging roads, hunt the nearby Fraser River by boat, hunt strictly on foot, or use some combination of these methods.
Short of references from hunting buddies whose opinion you respect, the Internet and email are great places to begin finding an outfitter. They’ll provide huge amounts of data in a hurry at little or no cost. It’s a good idea to write out a list of questions and issues that you
feel are important. Without a written list, you’ll quite likely get sidetracked on discussions of peripheral issues and forget to cover some thing essential. Make sure you understand what costs are covered, and ask specifically about any additional costs you are likely to incur.
Ultimately there is no substitute for more personal modes of communication, so after narrowing the field to several possibilities, you’ll want to make some phone calls. And though you’ve heard it before, it bears repeating. Get references from hunters who did not fill a tag, if possible. Then contact the references.
How Stalkable Are Bears?
I hate to say “that depends,” but that depends. In my experience, hunting pressure is a major factor in stalking any species. I have greatly enjoyed spotting and stalking wild hogs in relatively remote parts of Florida, but have hunted them in other areas where heavy hunting pressure made them almost entirely nocturnal and all but stalkable.
On the flip side, wild turkeys are often regarded as unstalkable, but on a memorable morning in Wyoming, I followed a flock of Merriams with my camera, back and forth along a ridgeline, several times getting within 20 yards of the birds.
Hunting pressure in BC is relatively light. Bears in remote areas are accustomed to being at the top of the food chain, and though black bears are rarely aggressive toward people, many of them are not easily intimidated, either.
The chief vulnerability of bears anywhere is their eyes; they can see alright, especially movement. Their sense of smell is excellent, and it is usually what betrays the hunter. Their preoccupation with food, both in the spring when they’ve just come out of hibernation, and in the fall when they’re bulking up to prepare for a long winter, is another vulnerability. In any case, the hunter who gets downwind and approaches carefully -using foliage and terrain for concealment, freezing when the bear looks up and moving cautiously when its head is down or hidden – should sooner or later get within bow range of a bear. After that, it’s a matter of not coming unglued long enough to make the shot.
A few hours prior to the incident recounted earlier, I muffed my first opportunity: a 40-yard shot at a good bear. Forty yards is a long shot for me, but not beyond my range if conditions are right and I don’t have to rush. The bear was up a hill and looking back at me, and my arrow went a good five inches to the right of my aiming spot. Luckily a spruce tree intervened to prevent a gut shot. I’ll blame the steep uphill angle, but I can’t deny pure excitement probably was a factor.
Reality may never live up to fantasies in all the particulars, but with a little homework to find the outfitter who will best meet your needs and desires, along with some planning and preparation, a British Columbia spot & stalk black bear hunt can be a reality you’ll look back on fondly for the rest of your life.
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