Archive for the 'General Archery' Category

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Published by archerchick on 23 Mar 2010

Trophies in Transitions – By Tim Burres

Trophies in Transitions – by Tim Burres
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.

CONCLUSION

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 Bear – By Rick Combs

Eye Level Black Bears – By Rick Combs

Bow Hunting World Annual 2004-2005

Bowhunting 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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Published by archerchick on 23 Mar 2010

5 Stand Setups To Avoid -By Mike Strandlund

5 Stand Setups To Avoid – By Mike Strandlund
Bowhunting World Annual 2004

No matter how good they seem at the moment, don’t get sucked into setting stands in these tempting situations.

Bowhunting World Annual 2004-2005

Are you familiar with the story of the Sirens in Greek mythology?
They were the beautiful temptresses who sang a wondrous song
that ultimately lured sailors and their ships to a tragic death on
the rocks. The moral of the story? Looks can be deceiving.
Bowhunters have their own Sirens to deal with: treestand
spots that appear ever so attractive on the surface, but will ultimately
break your heart and dash your spirit asunder-onto the rocks, so
to speak. The lure that these five stands present can be nearly over.
powering. Here’s how to identify these sites before you become a proverbial moth,
nose-diving full throttle into the flames of bowhunting disaster.

Ravine Crossings
This tempting location probably claims more victims than nearly all the others combined.
Even experienced hunters can fall for its raw appeal.
Here’s how this site casts its spell: You’re scouting for a stand that will work during the rut. One good choice is a funnel between two bedding areas used by does, so you look for just such a perfect buck trap. In rough country bedding areas are typically on points and short ridges overlooking large ravines or valleys. They’re predictable sanctuaries and will show heavy
signs of bedding activity everywhere they’re found.

When crossing the ravine to check out the points on the other side, you’ll invariably notice some
tremendous trails crossing the bottom. They cut deeply into the soft earth where several trails come together to cross the ditch. Wow! A mother lode of sign! At first glance it appears to be a great funnel between two bedding areas, made even better by the fact that you can sneak up the ditch to get to the stand. They’ll never know what hit them.

You’ve just stepped into the snare that’s going to make you miserable and ruin what could have been a great area. It’s darned tough to walk past such an obviously-attractive location without spending a half hour looking for the perfect tree to place a stand. But, hold your horses for a minute. What’s going to happen when the wind blows, or worse yet, when it gusts? Your scent is going to wash all over that ravine until every deer within a quarter-mile radius knows you’re there. That’s not going to help them feel very relaxed and comfortable around home, is it?

From the number of stands I’ve seen in ravines while I’m scouting, it would appear that many bowhunters fall victim to the tremendous sign found in these places.  Remember this rule of thumb: If the spot you are considering is protected from the direct flow of the wind by features of the terrain, it ls not a dependable spot, regardless of how much sign you find. There are definitely better places to hunt the deer that made that tempting sign. The ravine crossing is a seductive spot, but it’s one you should walk past.

Beware, The “Easy” Stand
Most of us prefer a stand that’s easy to travel to, over one that requires a GPS, reflector
pins, and maybe even a bit of luck to find. Some bowhunters are comforted when they roll out of bed in the morning to know they are heading for a stand they can easily walk to. They may even go out of their way to hunt only such spots-and they pay the price.

I have a friend who loves the easy stand. In the back of Ron’s mind lurks the ever-present fear that he will get lost in the dark woods and end up spending his entire morning hiking up and down hills, trying to find his vehicle. As a result, he makes many mistakes in the type of stands he hunts. And, they are deadly mistakes for old Ron.

The classic blunder occurs when he chooses to approach his morning stands by walking directly across open fields.  Typically, in the agricultural country where we hunt together, that means he’s walking across a harvested crop field- a feeding area. And, where do you think the deer are
going to be a half hour before first light? Right Either they’re still out feeding or on the very fringe of the cover, picking their way slowly toward their bedding area (and maybe toward one of my stands). When my buddy Ron rams right into them, all bets are suddenly off.

On one edge we have treestands placed about 100 yards apart. It takes me about an hour to make my entry the back way (away from the feeding areas), while staying in the timber and using ditches, draws, and creeks to get to my stand without spooking any deer. It takes Ron about five minutes to drive his ATV along the edge of the field, walk the remaining 150 yards across the bean field, and then 100 yards through the woods to his stand. Sure, his approach is a lot easier than mine, but he may as well stay home -that’s easier yet.

Don’t fall victim to the temptation to take the easy route to your stand areas. If you are thinking about hunting a morning stand and plan to walk across a feeding area to get to it, do yourself a favor and reconsider.

“Hot” Scrapes During Peak Rut
In the first place, there is no such thing as a “hot” scrape during the peak of the rut. Bucks don’t use them then-at least not with any consistency. Beyond that, we need to resist the temptation to become too sign-oriented. Granted, buck sign sets our imaginations to churning, and we soon envision thick-necked bruisers ripping up a tree trunk or pawing dirt like some antlered Brahma bull preparing to charge.

Yet despite its affect on our imaginations, buck sign can be a seductive killer. Rarely is it a useful indicator of a great stand location and never is this more true than when you decide to sit over a scrape during the peak of the rut.

Admittedly, I’ve been sucked-in by big scrapes many times. I remember an entire season more
than a decade ago when I hunted them exclusively. All my spring scouting had been focused on finding the biggest and best scrapes on the farms I had permission to hunt. That year for a full two weeks of hunting during the rut I never saw a buck actually freshen one of those scrapes. In fact, most of them became covered with leaves as I stubbornly waited for the buck that made them to return. I became so discouraged that year that I vowed never to hunt a scrape again. And, I’ve Pretty well stuck to my guns.

Once the rut peaks, bucks are far too busy chasing and bird-dogging does to worry about freshening scrapes. If they do hit one it is purely a chance event. Sometimes they just pass through and come upon it-they’d be there with or without the scrape. Once the bucks start chasing does, I stop intentionally hunting scrapes.

There may be a time in late October when bucks actually go out of their way to hit a scrape and make them worth hunting, but during the rut these patches of pawed dirt are worthless. It will also
distract you from hunting the doe concentration areas and the travel routes between them, where the bucks can actually be found at these times.

Unless you have located a good scrape line and plan to sit above it long before the does come into estrous, you are reducing your odds by focusing on scrapes.
When you scout your hunting area, keep your eye on the ball: terrain, bedding
areas, feeding areas, and the best funnels you can find-and forget about scrapes.

Whenever you hunt a high-activity area that isn’t perfect (and very few of them are), you
run the risk of educating nearly every deer in your hunting area.

Ridges in the Evening

I love hunting along ridge top bedding areas during the morning, but I’ve stopped hunting them anymore during the afternoon. I’ve tried, and I’ll probably try again. And, I’ll come away with the same conviction: I just wasted a good afternoon hunting a dead area. It’s not like bucks don’t walk through the bedding areas in the afternoons looking for does-they do, but not for very long. The real action is already up on its feet and walking toward a feeding area.

Hunt the places the deer are moving toward, not the places they are coming from. This simple philosophy can nearly double the length of time the deer are active around your stand. Suppose the deer get up from their beds an hour before sunset and start drifting toward their feeding areas. You have a brief flurry of activity and then everything is moving away from you. Within a half hour everything is pretty well finished in the area near your stand.  That little dab of activity is just not worth the risk you take of bumping and educating deer when you try to enter the stand spot.

That brings up the second reason why you should skip bedding areas in the afternoon: it’s nearly impossible to approach them during the day without blowing the hunt.  Deer don’t pick their bedding areas randomly-they are the safest places within their home range and where they have the ultimate advantage. Your approach can either be seen or smelled by every deer within a pretty large area. You might as well just drive to your stand on your four-Wheeler trailing 10 feet of your dirty laundry behind.
These are my favorite morning spots. You can sneak in easily while the deer are close to their feeding areas and be waiting for them. But don’t let the great action in the a.m. tempt you into thinking these are good afternoon stands. You’ll be sorely disappointed.

Early Season Bedding Areas
The temptation to hunt your best morning and evening stands as soon as the season opens is almost irresistible. I used to do it, but discovered it’s another deadly mistake. Accelerating the education of your deer well before the rut means they will be tougher to hunt when prime time finally arrives.

It is only natural after being away from the hunt for several months to want to jump right into it with gusto. On top of that, you’re accustomed to a normal hunting day that includes a morning and an evening session. Unfortunately, there are few spots for a decent morning hunt during the early season, other than in a bedding area. The desire to hunt mornings will have you invading bedding areas without a clear idea of their patterns at a time when the deer are living fairly close to home and highly sensitive to hunting pressure. That’s not such a good idea.

Ramming around in bedding areas early in the season may seem logical on the surface (where else are you going to get them in the morning?), but the damage you can do to your hunting area and your odds later in the season outweighs the benefits of being in the woods a few more hours each day. Besides, if you keep them acting naturally and on a Patten, you’ll have a decent chance of taking the buck you want in the evening by hunting only where he feeds.

When deer are in feeding patterns, concentrate on your home-front honey-dos in the morning, so you’ll have them out of the way before the rut Instead, focus all your efforts on hunting the feeding areas in the evening. You can Patten them from a distance, producing almost no impact until you move in for the kill. If that honey-do list is already complete, spend your mornings watching the deer leave feeding areas from a distance. This will give you the best possible feedback about where the bucks will be found that afternoon. If you insist on hunting in the morning, definitely
stay away from your best areas and hunt bedding areas in places that you don’t plan to hunt much later in the season.

I hunted the Milk River in northern Montana a few seasons back. It’s a river bottom with very limited cover, most of it located inside the river bends and in low swampy areas nearby. The bucks are very visible from the bluffs over-looking the river and we spent our mornings watching them leave the alfalfa fields so we could peg the trails most likely to produce action when they came back out in the afternoon. It would have been hunting’s version of suicide to sit back in those river bends in the morning. Sure, we might have gotten lucky and picked off a buck when he
came back to bed, but the impact more likely would have pushed them into the surrounding coulee country or at very least made them nocturnal.

Four or five bowhunters may hunt that stretch of river during a week, but almost no one actually sits in a treestand during the mornings. The odds of ruining whatever feeding patterns we’ve been
able to uncover are too much of a risk.  We focused on the easy patterns (where they feed) and forgot about the hard patterns (where they bed). It’s good advice for anyone hunting early-season bucks.

Conclusion
Obvious spots are often the worst locations for a stand-not because they don’t contain deer, but just the opposite.  These spots are high-activity areas, loaded with sign, and probably the best
hotspots your hunting area has to offer.  But, as you’ve hopefully gathered from my observations, therein lies their greatest seduction. Whenever you hunt a high-activity area that isn’t perfect (and
very few of them are), you run the risk of quickly educating nearly every deer in the neighborhood.

There are few things you can do that will have a more damaging affect on your chances for success than spending time hunting any one of these five deceitful stands. If you resist their temptations, your success rate will reap great benefits from your discipline.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010

Funneling Deer – By Steve Bartylla

Funneling Deer – By Steve Bartylla

Bowhunting World Annual 2004-2005

It was one of the most frustrating experiences of my young bowhunting life but it was also one of the most important. As soon as school would let out, I’d grab my stuff and, brimming with anticipation, head for the stand on the alfalfa field. Yet, as darkness fell, I’d leave feeling dejected once again.

It wasn’t that I didn’t see deer. I saw plenty when walking across the field
after dark.The problem was that they were playing “musical trails.” No matter which trail I’d set up on the deer would use another.  After a week of this, the breakthrough I needed finally came to me.

Truth be told, it was my trapping that led me to it. I was constructing a trail set for mink. To funnel mink movement down the main travel way, I had blocked several minor trails. As I set the trap, it occurred to me: Why couldn’t I apply the same technique to deer movement? From that moment on, I began to apply many of the trapping principles that focus animal travels to bowhunting.

BLOCKING TRAILS
initially, it was blocking deer trails. The alfalfa field boasted five heavily used deer trails. With the landowner’s permission, I headed out with a saw and began my task The first step was choosing the trails I wanted to hunt. Because of the level of use and flexibility for wind directions, I selected the two that exited the woods on opposite inside corners. Next, I blocked the remaining trails
along the field. To accomplish that, I piled brush and limbs at the entrances. Of course, deer still could go around, but it encouraged them to use mine.

To further encourage the use of my trails, I raked the grass and debris along the first 20 yards from the point the trail entered the woods after completion, it gave the illusion that they were the field’s only primary entrance and exit routes.  And, as important, they appeared as the easiest and most popular routes.

Finally, I followed the chosen trails into the woods. Where lesser-used trails splintered off toward the field, I blocked them as well. Unlike the trails entering the field, I only used enough branches to make it inconvenient to cross Because the splinter trails ran to the same field, it didn’t take as much encouragement to get deer to continue to follow the main trail.

Although these alterations may seem minor, they did make a positive difference Deer are lazy by nature. When everything else is equal, they will take the path of least resistance to where they want to go. After giving the farm a week off, sightings on the corner trail were noticeably up. On my third sit, even that young kid was able to arrow a deer.   The best part of this technique is that it can be used in any situation where trails break off before hitting your stand. Furthermore, the further ahead of season this is done, and the more the blockades that are maintained, the better the results.

SETTING THE TABLE
ln later years, I began creating food plots to help funnel deer activity. Outside of the rut, most deer movement consists of traveling between bedding and feeding. Therefore, introducing a prime food source can lead deer past more advantageous stand locations.

Donnie Mc0lellan runs a very successful guide service in Grant City, Missouri Bucks
& Beards Outfitters consistently sends high percentage of their bowhunters home with trophy whitetails. One of the key reasons for this is the food plot strategy they employ.
“Finding big deer has never been a problem for me,” states Donnie. “They are here.’

It is getting my hunters into stands without tipping any deer that takes work. To avoid that, I spend countless hours walking ditches.  They are one of the best ways to get in and out. In areas that don’t have good routes, I put in food plots so they draw deer through areas I can get my hunters into. I put a lot of work into it, it  is worth it, though.  A lot more hunters go home happy ”

To get the most from a new food plot, several factors should be considered. Because they can alter deer travels, the plots should be positioned to provide the most productive hunting. To do so, identifying bedding areas is key The plot should be located so stands can be positioned between bedding and feeding.  Positioning the plot so a funnel lies between it and bedding is also advantageous. Also, undetectable routes to and from the stand should be available.

Donnie agrees with these food plot placement strategies wholeheartedly. “It all keys off of the bedding areas,” he says “I’m often shocked at how many people slap food plots out without first analyzing how they will affect deer movement and how they can place them to their own advantage. If I’m going, to go through the work to put one in, my plantings are going to be positioned so they funnel deer through areas that will do my hunters the most good !”

Additional steps can be taken to make them even better. Locating plots where deer feel safe leads to better hunting.  Openings within the woods, remote corners of fields and areas bordered by thick cover all help provide the illusion of safety. If plots are positioned between 100 and 500 yards of the bedding areas, that also increases the likelihood of catching daylight movement.
Although plantings are more common, natural food sources can be manipulated to accomplish the same effect.

For example, spring fertilizing and removing competing species can increase a mast tree’s food production. Even overgrown meadows can be made more desirable through applying a lawn fertilizer and cutting them as a farmer would a hayfield. Taking these steps helps keep the grasses and weeds more digestible and nutritious, which will draw more deer. Like creating a new food plot, hunters can enhance existing food sources on locations that help funnel deer past potential stand sites.

MAKING THE BED
As stated previously, most non-rut deer travels are between bedding and feeding. Just as we can affect feeding locations with food plots and more desirable native forages, surprisingly we can also have an affect on bedding locations.  Creating a bedding area can be created with a chain saw.   First, select an are of woods and proceed to cut the trees within. When making the cut, begin it about three feet from the ground and cut down at a 45- degree angle, stopping about three-fourths of the way through. Now, the tree can be pushed over or left for the wind to do it.

One of the goals is to allow the branches  to maintain a connection to the root system.  Using this technique allows certain species such as maples and oaks, to bend without completely breaking. With the connection,  the tree will to continue to grow, albeit at a much slower pace. To increase chances of survival, the cutting should be done in the winter , well before leaf-out. Keep in mind that some trees, such as poplar, birch and most pines, will snap every time, but their tops still provide food bedding cover.

This technique immediately creates a thick tangle of cover, as well as a bounty of food. The forest floor receives increased sunlight, which promotes the growth Of new greenery and
saplings. Along with that, the trees that retain the root connection provide Leafy growth for browse and buds for winter months.

To make these locations better still, we need to understand what deer seek for bed ding. Although there are exceptions, you will find that most bedding sites offer a combination of:
At least two escape routes.
Either thick cover or good visibility
Conditions allowing them to use their
sense of smell to cover their back.

These cutting technique provide the cover deer seek. Putting these efforts into locations that meet the other criteria on our list almost guarantees that deer will use them for bedding.

For example, let’s say we have a food plot along a creek bottom, flanked by ridges on each side. Applying our cutting technique the ridge side, just below the crest, would give them everything they desired. Not only do they have the thick cover, the slope also provides visibility.

By creating a bedding area on the sides of both ridges, deer would be able to choose which allowed the wind current to best cover them from the backside of the ridge. If they sensed danger, they could drop down, cut over, or dash along the ridge in either direction.

Because Nature rarely provides all of this, deer will pack into our constructed bedding sites.

Creating Trails
As in every technique discussed up to this point, knowing how the resident deer use the area is very beneficial. However, in creating trails, knowing whitetail travel patterns is essential. In order for this method to work best, you must know where the bedding and feeding areas are. Before we discuss how to create such trails, we should discuss what deer look for in selecting a travel route:

* Cover: Deer feel safest when traveling
in heavy cover.

* Gentle corners: Because they like to
see the path ahead of them, deer don’t like
taking 90 degree turns on their trails. Gently
sweeping corners allow the whitetail to see
the path before them and anticipate the dangers
that may lie ahead

* Ease of travel: Deer are lazy creatures by nature and,
all else being equal, will take the easiest route between
two points.

* Quickest route: The quickest route
between two points is a straight line. Deer
will usually select the straightest route that
provides cover, gentle corners, easiest travel
and a favorable wind direction.

With these factors in mind, we can now begin connecting food sources and bedding
areas By cleaning 5 foot-wide trails through the thickest cover between bedding and
feeding areas, we create trails that offer ease of travel, the feeling of safety and a
corridor that will be used heavily by deer. In areas that receive significant snowfalls, pulling a weighted sled along the.- trails can achieve outstanding results. In the winter months, two of the Northern whitetail’s top priorities are conserving energy and acquiring nutrition. During this difficult season, a whitetail’s life depends heavily on the amount of energy expended compared to nutrition taken in.

Creating trails through the snow that lead to the food sources creates an irresistible draw to deer enduring these conditions. So much so that once a trail is established, the heavy traffic from the deer will keep it open all winter long Because of this, the greater the snow depth, the more concentrated the deer activity becomes.  Although it may seem like a lot of effort to create these trails, they are worth the effort.

FENCING
Yet another method of funneling deer is altering fences. Deer often travel significant distances to cross at the easiest point in a fence. For hunters, this is an advantage.

My first attempt at creating  a fence crossing occurred many years ago on my uncle’s dairy farm I had spent a summer’s day walking a barbed wire fence line that cut through the middle of his woods About every 100 yards, I would intercept a trail that crossed the fence The problem was that no trail seemed better than any other.

Luckily, I took care of this with a little work. After selecting the fence crossing that was best for hunting, I invested a day in discouraging deer to use any other. To do that I clogged the other spots where deer crawled under and fixed up the places where the top wire strand was broken or drooped.

Finally, I made the crossing by my stand even better Wrapping a strand of wire around the fence and cinching it tight created both a low spot over which deer could jump and an easier path to crawl under.

Shoveling out some dirt underneath the fence was the icing on the cake. With that, I had the best fence crossing point. Opening day of bow season found me perched in the tree that overlooked my new fence crossing. Because of the deer sign I saw during the times I inspected and maintained my fence blockades, I was brimming with confidence So much so, that I passed
shots on the first four deer that came through That may not sound like much, but in those days shot opportunities were rare and they were the first deer I had ever taken a pass on. By the fifth, a large doe, I couldn’t resist any longer and shot as she paused before crossing.   This demonstrates another advantage of these fence crossing funnels: Deer often pause, posing for the shot, before attempting to cross The result is often a perfect shot opportunity.

As productive as that technique is, we can take it a step further to promote the use of our crossing. Adding a strand to the top and bottom of the fence goes a long way towards discouraging crossings at other locations. It is best to use barbed wire when adding an extra
strand; however, bailing twine will also work.

Another way to use fencing is to erect it to funnel deer activity. A mere 20 to 50 yards is all I generally use.  Both snow fence and chicken wire work very nicely for this.

Although I use this technique very sparsely, it can be extremely effective.

For example, I have a stand that is 75 yards south of a river The most commonly used trails are within 30 yards to the south of the stand. However, every now and the- . buck skirts the river without offering me a shot opportunity. Still, if I relocated closer to the river, I would miss more opportunities.

Then, one day it hit me. Just make it so that the deer couldn’t skirt me along the riverbank. Although I could have piled brush, placing 50 yards of chicken wire from the river toward my stand was much easier.   Doing so has resulted in harvesting several three-year-old bucks that would have otherwise escaped unscathed.

The techniques discussed here all are proven for focusing deer movement When combined in a thorough plan, they provide a hunter the ability to dictate movement patterns to deer. Obviously, this greatly benefits those who want to make their lands produce the best possible hunting. However, without exception, the landowners permission must be sought before taking any of these steps.  To not do so is simply wrong.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010

Mulie Magic – By Steve Byers

Mulie Magic – By Steve Byers
September 2005

Bowhunting  trophy mule deer is no cakewalk, but every now and then it all comes together oh so sweet.

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

Bow & Arrow Hunting September 2005

The trek one makes to a true trophy animal can take many twists and turns. I have been on hunts where it can take weeks, sometimes months, for that one shot to happen. On the flip side of that is where Bruce Barrie’s hunt lies for mule deer and elk in western Colorado last season. Bruce hunted with my wonderful wife, Cassie, and me. As Bruce and I spoke on the phone countless times over the summer, I assured him that getting a nice mulie in the 160-plus range wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. (I think Bruce thought I might not know how to field-judge mule deer!) Our phone conversations consisted of me telling Bruce that I had just seen another 180-inch monster and him going “Really?”
I scouted a farm area near my home we call the “strip.” It consists of four large farms and is about 5 miles long and 3 miles wide. This area has turned out six “book bucks” in the past four years, with the smallest being a 161-inch 4×4. To see a group of bucks all in the 170s is not uncommon. I grew up hunting these farms as a kid, and I have had many encounters with some true giants. With only my family having access to bowhunt, we have gone on a very strict management program. We have decided on shooting only deer that we think will make it to 150 or higher. My summer scouting had turned up many “shooters,” and I was feeling confident we would get the job done. I felt like Bruce’s best chance at a buck would be on the ground doing some spot and stalk attempts.

Bruce was set to arrive in Montrose on Aug. 27, and I was sure his best chance at a “wall hanger” would be the first week of the season. When Bruce got here, he shot his bow to reassure that everything made it OK, and we went and got him an elk tag.

With the best time to hunt these bucks being in the evening, we would do some elk hunting in the mornings. I also have a ranch on the Uncompahgre Plateau, which harbors many elk and mule deer. We would spend our mornings chasing bugling bulls here. The evening before season started, I took Bruce on a short drive through some of the property we would be hunting. I have been after a large 3×3 on the strip for about five years now. Encounters with him are so common that my good friend Evan Baise began calling him “Pot Belly,” aptly named for his 350-pound frame. As we drove along the dirt road, I pointed out different fields where many large bucks had been taken over the years. When we approached a particular alfalfa field, I warned Bruce to keep an eye out for “Pot Belly,” because we had spotted him there all summer long. There he was, 40 yards from the truck, just feeding away. Bruce was amazed by the sheer size of this old mature buck. I urged Bruce to take him whenever the chance presented itself. Bruce laughed and said “Sweet!”

After a fairly uneventful first day, our second morning dawned with bulls bugling in a distant draw. We quickly cut the distance to about 400 yards of the screaming bulls. The bulls seemed to be heading toward a large ravine on a neighboring ranch. After setting up three or four times, we were nearing the fence line ourselves. I decided that we needed to get to a stand of aspens, near the lip of the large ravine . Bruce and Cassie quickly raced forward to set up, and when they got about 50 yards in front of me, I began cow calling. The bull responded with a low guttural roar from about 150 yards through the aspens.

Almost instantly another bull in the bottom of the ravine answered him. We were in the driver’s seat now! It seemed that the two bull elks were racing to see who could get to me first. I was pleading frantically with my cow call for the closest bull to come in. He responded by coming to the fence line about 30 yards in front of Bruce. When the bull jumped the fence, Bruce seized the opportunity and drew his bow. The bull was now 25 yards and nearing broadside. When the shot went off, Bruce’s setup was so quiet, the bull barely even moved. I assumed Bruce must have missed, so I took my cow calling into overdrive. I was so focused on watching the bull that I didn’t notice that Bruce had nocked another arrow. This time I watched as another arrow passed completely through the bull from only 35 yards this time. The bull stumbled stiff legged a mere 60 yards before expiring. Bruce had hit the 5×6 the first time, but an extremely quiet setup allowed a follow-up shot to be made.

I can’t begin to explain how impressed I was with Bruce’s choice of a broadhead, the 100-grain Turbo. I think it is one of the best penetrating heads that Barrie Archery has ever designed. After 20-plus years in the wapiti woods pursuing these beautiful animals, I can clearly say that the single most important aspect I look for is a broadhead that provides excellent penetration. With a large bull sometimes tripping the scales near 1,000 pounds, everything is bigger, so you need good penetration just to get to the kill zone.

It was time to shift our focus to chasing mulies the following morning. This for me, is bowhunting in its rawest form – you versus an animal with extremely keen senses on level ground. I cut my bowhunting teeth spotting and stalking mule deer, and I am proud to say that I am a much better bowhunter because of it. After blowing thousands of stalks, you become much more aware of the noise you may be making and things going on around you.

It was Aug. 30, a cool snap had hit, and we had a full moon. It seemed like everything was going our way. With a southwest wind, the game plan this morning was to slip south, with the wind in our faces, along the edge of a large marsh. Hoping to ambush a mature buck there, we set out. We quickly covered a mile or so, and as we were nearing a field edge , suddenly a large buck appeared 200 yards to our right. It was apparent that he was already aware of our presence. A mature 4×4 with good width and deep forks, I quickly judged him at 180 gross.

With the buck already aware of us, we decided to leave him alone and possibly look for him later that afternoon. We then turned and went straight east for a mile or two to a large draw. The west-facing slope of this draw is covered with a jungle of large cottonwoods and small willows, and I had seen many bucks in here all summer long.

To get to this draw we would be crossing the same field where we had seen Pot-Belly a few days before. We were both optimistic, it was still early, and we just knew good things would happen. We slowly crept our way to a large drainage ditch in the bottom of the draw. Just as quickly as we arrived, I spotted bucks, sky-lined by the rising sun. Bruce looked at me and said, ” What should we do?” I quickly replied, “I think we are in a good spot.”

Bruce must have thought I was nuts! These bucks were 300 yards away, and still showing no signs of coming our way, but over the course of scouting this draw, I had seen this same group of bucks work their way to the drainage ditch that we were now hidden by. There were six bucks in this group, and while not our largest, some showed potential. The bucks were just about parallel to us when they started down into the draw. we agreed that the largest buck might go 170 gross. I asked Bruce if he was interested in taking this buck and he gave me the combination head-nod and “Uh-Huh.”

When the bucks reached the bottom of the draw, tamaracks and willows engulfed them. We weren’t sure where they were when suddenly Bruce muttered, “Here they come.” All we could see were velvet-covered antler tips until they stepped out 30 yards from us. The big buck was the fourth to come out into the open, and he moved toward us slightly and then turned perfectly giving Bruce a quartering-away 25-yard shot.

As he drew his bow, all of the bucks peered at us. Luckily for us, there was a huge cottonwood behind us and there must have been a glare from the rising sun. With this glare in their eyes, Bruce reached full draw. When the shot broke, I could clearly see the arrow strike through the buck.

We hadn’t gone 30 yards on the blood trail when Bruce yelled, “There he is!” Bruce couldn’t wait to get his hands on him! With nearly 40 inches of mass, and 4-inch brow tines, this buck is truly magnificent! As a testament to the great habitat on the Strip, this was only a 3 1/2-year-old buck. They say give your bucks time and food. Well, I like to say give my bucks sweet corn and alfalfa, and me some time to hunt them!

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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010

Bowhunter’s Bonanza -Ben Pearson’s National Contest 1970

Bowhunter’s Bonanza – March 1970
Five Lucky Hunters Win Trip To Fabulous Alaska In Ben Pearson’s National Contest

James Marcoux of Fox Lake, Wisconsin had often dreamed,
as have most bowhunters, of making a trip to Alaska for moose and caribou. Imagine the thrill experienced by Marcoux and four other men scattered across the United States when they learned they had won a place on Ben Pearson’s fantastic Bowhunters Bonanza.
Stanley Spilecki, New Britain, Connecticut; Al Miller, Rockwood, Pennsylvania; Dave
Pederson, Landing, New Jersey; and E.L. Knight of Pryor, Oklahoma all received word that
they would accompany Ben Pearson’s Jim Dougherty on an all-expense trip to a remote camp on the Mishik River, 160 miles west of King Salmon on the Alaskan Peninsula.  Winners were selected by a drawing after entering the Bonanza Contest.

Also accompanying Dougherty were three members of the famed Ben Pearson
Bowhunting Staff: Don Mclntosh of Billings, Montana; George Wright of La Crescenta,
California; and Danny Lloyd of Columbus, Ohio, Lloyd is also a Ben Pearson sales representative.

The week-long hunt was headed by guide Ed King of Naknek, Alaska who guided Dougherty to his record class moose and caribou in 1969 for the filming of Record Book Bowhunting – Alaskan Style recently released by the Ben Pearson Film Library.

Led by King, Dougherty and the Staff Members, the hunt was action packed from the first day
in spite of worsening weather that ranged from winds to 70 knots, rain, sleet and snow.
While not stalking moose and caribou, the group fished for salmon with marginal success in
the flooded Mishik River and hunted ptarmigan in the vicinity of camp.

In terms of hunting success the trip was fabulous with a 60 percent success ratio, three moose and three caribou for ten hunters. AII participants got good shooting, getting chased by several belligerent moose in the process and on one occasion literally tripping over a brown bear laying up on a caribou kill.

It was for all involved the trip of a lifetime into the last big game frontier, an adventure that will long live in the memories of those that found it was truly a Bonanza.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010

Dream Buck- By Randy Templeton

Dream Buck- By Randy Templeton

September 2005

Here’s the story about a magnificent Illinois monster buck.

Bow & Arrow Hunting September 2005

When Dan Nordstrom of Coal Valley, Illinois. crept into the woods one afternoon last November, he had no idea what was in store for him. For sure Dan didn’t know what he’d see, much less shoot one of the largest bucks, killed by any archer in the state during the 2004 season.When Dan started bowhunting 14 years ago, he had a dream of someday shooting a buck that would break the 200-inch barrier. That dream became reality when a giant non-typical stepped into a clearing this past fall. Let’s take a look at the exciting events that led up to Dan scoring on this buck of a lifetime.

Post season Scouting Pays Off

“I spend a considerable amount of time in the woods during the post-season, and I don’t worry too much about spooking deer since the season is still several months away, and any intrusion will be forgotten Dan explained. ‘That’s why the off season is a good time to thoroughly dissect a piece of land. I typically search for rubs, rublines, old scrapes, bedding areas and trails that lead to and from feeding and bedding locations.”

In the late winter and early spring, Dan also spends time hunting for shed antlers. In fact, in the spring of 2003 he picked up a set with striking similarities to those on the buck he shot this past season” Although Dan said he can’t be certain, it’s quite possible the sheds are from the same deer or perhaps from another in the same gene pool.

In addition to scouting, Dan utilizes the post-season to clear shooting lanes or drop trees to create a funnel. By the time the season rolls around the deer are pretty much programmed to travel where he wants them. For example, if a buck is traveling just out of bow range, Dan says, dropping a tree in the trail can shift his travel pattern enough to put him within range.

Dan continued; ‘Late winter is also a good rime to identify potential locations for food plots. When planting time arrives in April or May, I’m ready to get started. I’m still experimenting with food plots, like clover, alfalfa and recently chicory.

“Several years ago I purchased 90 acres from a friend of mine who’s a logger by trade. The property is unique- there’s about 25 acres of creek-bottom marsh that borders 65 acres of hardwood timber. The big, mature trees were logged off, but it sparked a lot of new growth, and it’s gotten pretty thick since. It’s become real deer habitat.

“A couple of years later I bought an additional 10 acres that butts up to the other” Dan added. “That piece consists of 20 acres of pasture and 10 acres of timber. It might be only 120 acres total but it’s got a little bit of everything to offer in terms of habitat. When considering how the land is laid out, plus all the improvements I’ve made with adding food plots, it’s a hunter’s dream come true .”

Dan’s Bowhunting Strategy

“Face it, in the Midwest we’re not hunting Large-timber whitetails. The woods are typically small ranging from 25 to l00 acres. We have the upper hand after harvest, mainly because most of the deer are funneled into and concentrated in these small wood lots, and we’re able to take advantage of that. Our biggest challenge is getting to and from stands undetected. I do a lot of edge hunting to avoid burning out my timbers.

When it comes to hunting big deer I think we’ve all got different opinions on how to go about it. Likewise, I’m confident that we can all pretty much agree on what not to do. For example, if I already know there’s a big deer running on my property, it doesn’t make any sense to penetrate his bedroom or private area and risk bumping him out altogether. Throughout the summer and until the season starts, I stay completely out of the woods. Instead, I spend a lot of time glassing crops from a safe distance to learn where and when deer enter the fields to feed. “My favorite time to hunt whitetails is during the hard pre-rut, which begins about Oct. 25 and ends around Nov. 10 in Illinois. I think it’s the best time to identify a big buck’s pattern, which makes it possible to
close the distance.”

Scent Control A Must

Although I’d like to believe most hunters throw caution to the wind and take measures to avoid detection, Dan suspects that some hunters are more concerned about what the wind is doing at their stand, rather than what it’s doing as they go to and from it. The savvy hunters feel that it’s important to know and understand what the wind is doing all the time. Like many, Dan takes all the necessary precautions before a
hunt, showering with unscented soap and storing his outer clothes in a scent-free bag or container. Most important, Nordstrom claims that wearing a full-length Scent-Lok suit, rubber boots, and spraying himself down and gear with HS Scent-A-Way spray has been the key to bearing a whitetail’s keen sense of smell.

The Season Begins
Here is Dan Nordstrom’s account of the start to his season: “For years, my friend Dan Coons and I have always hunted together on opening weekend. We both try to put a doe in the freezer early so we can then concentrate on hunting a buck. As it turned out, Dan shot a doe
the first afternoon and I killed mine during the second. “l actually hunt several places, but to avoid burning any of them out too early, I typically spend the first three weeks of the season spreading out my days hunting different spots.

“On Halloween my brother, Mike, and my nephew, Ross Nordstrom, came in to town and wanted to do some deer hunting. I took them out and tried to put them on a deer, but it just didn’t happen. ‘A friend, Jonathon Lujan, was up from New Mexico that same week hunting with another friend of ours, Jeff Campagna. It was Nov. 1 and I remember it was raining that day. We all got together for lunch and sat around dis-
cussing whether or not we were going out. The rain let up a little, so I ended up going out that afternoon and it paid off.
“I gathered up my gear and headed for a stand along the edge of a small picked cornfield. About 3:40 that afternoon,
three big bucks entered the secluded corner on the far end of the field to feed. The deer seem to like that corner because
it’s isolated and hidden from any roads. It’s not unusual to see 15 or more does feeding there in the evening. During the pre-rut and rut, the bucks seem to hang around the edges and come out every so often to check on the ladies.
“Unfortunately, I d forgotten my good binocular. Using my small compacts it was difficult to tell just how big the bucks were, but one was exceptionally bigger than the others and definitely a shooter. “The bucks fed for a while, then slipped back into the woods using the same trail. I already had a stand set up close to where the biggest buck went in. In the worst-case scenario, I figured my longest shot would be 30 yards.

The wind was out of the northwest and if it stayed steady, I’d hunt the stand the next evening. If the buck came from the west again, the wind would be at his back, so chances are I’d get a shot off long before he winded me. “The next afternoon, I was running a bit late. When arriving, I quickly slipped into my Scent-Lok suit and sprayed down my outer clothes and gear with Scent-A-Way.

I made way toward the stand and arrived about 3:20. “After getting settled in I bleated a few times on ‘The Can.’ I normally do this because I think it has a calming effect on any deer that might have heard me walking in. Chances are they think it’s just another deer and not a threat.
“Shortly afterward, a doe and button buck cautiously moved through and began feeding. I don’t think they smelled me, but the doe knew something wasn’t quite right. It was exactly 20 minutes after climbing into the stand (3:40) when I spotted a buck walking up the fence
line. He was coming so fast I didn’t have a lot of time to look him over, but he was definitely a shooter! It looked like the same buck I’d seen the afternoon before.

“I got in position to shoot, but just two or three steps short of giving me a broadside shot, he stopped. Only a few seconds passed before he turned and started walking away. I quickly drew the Hoyt UltraTec bow and mouthed a murrp. The buck stopped quartering away, so I tucked the pin behind the last rib and punched the release. The arrowed buried itself to the fletching and the buck charged off with his tail tucked between his legs. I visually marked the location 50 yards away where I’d last seen him. Seconds later I heard a crashing noise that led me to believe he’d gone down.

“I waited maybe 30 minutes or so before climbing down to take up the trail. I went to where I last saw him, but didn’t find any blood right away.
With my binocular I scanned the area ahead and spotted his white belly just 40 yards further down the hill. I approached cautiously, but he was down for good. It wasn’t until I walked up on him and grabbed the antlers that I was able to grasp how big the buck reality was. I’ve been waiting a long time to shoot a buck like this, and words can’t express how I felt at that moment. This was the fourth buck I’ve shot that will qualified for the Pope & Young Club record book, but also my biggest to date and a dream season come true!”

One thing that’s interesting to note is the time of day Dan killed his deer. The giant came meandering down the same trail heading toward the
field to feed and check on the does at exactly the same time as he did the previous day. It goes to show that big bucks can be patterned and killed during the pre-rut.

After the mandatory 60-day drying period, Dan took his Warren County giant to Tim Talmsley and had it officially measured. The buck had 18 scorable points and gross scored 203 6/8 and netted 194 0/8 inches. There were a couple of deer killed in 2004 that scored higher than the Nordstrom buck, but from a personal viewpoint, none were nearly as impressive.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010

Understanding Arrow Trajectory – By Roy Marlow

Understanding Arrow Trajectory – By Roy Marlow
Bow Hunting World  – February 1995

The Effect of Arrow Speed and Weight

Bow Hunting World - February 1995

On a pretty autumn day several years ago. I was cooking breakfast  after a morning’s deer hunt when I looked up and noticed a nice buck several hundred yards away. I watched him for several minutes before realizing that if he kept to his course, he would pass on a trail only about a hundred yards from camp. When he moved into the woods, I quickly donned my camouflage, grabbed my bow, and moved into the timber across the creek to intercept him.

Just as I got to the edge of a small opening, he appeared at the far edge. The setup was perfect except for a large oak tree in the middle of the clearing which had a tangle of low limbs right in line with the deer. I knelt down to allow for the estimated trajectory of the arrow under the tree and made what I thought was a perfect shot. Unfortunately, I did not allow enough room, and the arrow neatly centered a 3-inch branch. So much for that opportunity!

In reviewing the situation over my cold breakfast, I realized that I had not clearly known the arc of my arrow. In this regard, I was probably not much different from many bowhunters. A lot has been written in the last few years about depth-of-kill for different arrow speeds, and most serious bowhunters have a pretty good feel for the trajectory of an arrow just in front and behind an animal.

But very few hunters have an intimate knowledge of an arrow’s trajectory over its entire flight path. I know I didn’t, and this cost me a nice buck that morning.  In this and the next issue of  Bowhunting World, I will be discussing arrow trajectory.  I will cover the general effects of arrow
speed and weight in the absence of wind drag. The examples given are the flattest trajectories that can be obtained for the speeds listed. Drag can dramatically affect trajectory, but many clean-flying, low-drag arrows used today can come very close to the trajectories given. In each example, I am assuming that the shot is over level ground and that the shooter is anchoring three inches below his eye at the comes of his mouth.

The Effect Of Speed
The trajectory of an arrow is determined solely by its speed at any point in time. In the absence of wind drag, it will have a constant speed, and its path can be described by a type of curve called a parabola.
The only force on an arrow between the time it leaves the bow and it hits the target is
gravity. Since gravity is pulling it downward, the arrow must be shot at a slight upward angle with respect to the line-of-sight. This is called the angle of departure. The initial direction of the arrow before it starts dropping is known as its line of departure. An arrow will usually start off below
the line-of-sight and will cross it several yards in front of the bow. It will then rise to its maximum height about mid-range before starting its descent to the target. If shot corrects, the point where it crosses the line-of-sight the second time is where it will hit the target.


Table 1 and the accompanying graph shows the trajectories and several other items of interest for three different speeds of arrows shot at several different distances. I used 180 feet per second (fps) to represent a recurve or longbow, 210 fps to represent an eccentric-wheeled compound, and 240 fps to represent an overdraw cam bow. These are typical speeds for most hunters using
average-weight hunting bows and average arrow weights.

Trajectory Height
Most hunters today shoot bows that are faster than those of a few years ago, but still, their trajectories are anything but flat. At 20 yards, a 180-fps arrow will rise about four inches above the line-of-sight. A 240-fps arrow will rise by almost two inches. At 60 yards, the 180-fps arrow will rise by a whopping 47 inches while the 240-fps arrow will rise by 26 inches.

These values are interesting in light of the opinion that some hunters have of their equipment. At a 3-D shoot a couple of years ago, I heard one shooter tell another that his speed bow would shoot as flat as a bullet out to 50 yards. After listening to the conversation a few more moments, I realized that he actually believed this. I have often wondered how he would have explained the multiple pins on his bow.

Depth-Of-Kill:
For hunters who use sights, knowing the depth-of-kill of an arrow is usually much more important than knowing its maximum arc. This is the distance over which the arrow will pass through an
animal’s kill zone if the shooter misjudges the range. Most whitetail deer have a vertical kill zone of 1 to 8 inches. However, it is common to assume a 6-inch kill zone to insure that the arrow hits the vitals solidly instead of just nicking the edges.

The right-hand columns of Table 1 show depths-of-kill for a 6-inch kill zone. If a hunter using an average 210-fps bow shot at a deer that he thought was 30 yards away, he would kill the deer if it was actually standing anywhere between 26.8 and 32.4 yards. At the closer distance, he would hit the top of the lungs while at the farther distance, he would cut through the bottom of the heart.
(this assumes, of course, that the deer cooperates and doesn’t jump the string.) This gives a margin of error of 3.2 yards on the close side and 2.4 yards on the far side of the animal, or a total of 5.6 yards. For the 180- fps bow, the total margin of error would be 4 yards, while for a 240-fps bow, it would be 7.8 yards.

Because an arrow is always dropping faster at the tail end of its arc, the margin of error in range estimation is always greatest in front of the animal, as shown in the “In-Front-Of-Target” and the “In-Back-Of-Target” values in the table. At long distances, this difference is minor, but closer in, it can be significant. For example, using the 210-fps bow above and shooting for an estimated distance of 20 yards, the maximum rise of the arrow would be 2.6 inches above the line-of-sight.

If the deer were actually standing anywhere between zero and 20 yards away, we will kill it. If he was beyond 20 yards, however, we would have to guess the range correctly to within 3.8 yards to kill it.

Time Of Arrival:
One reason frequently given for using faster equipment is to minimize movement of the animal due to the sound of the shot. Even the fastest equipment, however, falls short of meeting this goal totally. Humans have a simple reaction time to sound of about 0. 15 seconds. This is the time required for our brain to receive and process the sound and instruct our body to start moving. Although a deer’s reaction time has never been scientifically measured, evidence suggests that it is significantly faster than this. Once he hears the string, a deer still has to have time to move out of the way of a shot. Videos have shown that a deer can drop by over twelve inches at 20 yards
and can completely duck a 200+-fps arrow.

As shown in the second column of Table 1, a 210-fps arrow will take almost three-tenths of a second to travel 20 yards. This is twice the reaction time of a human and probably several times faster than a deer’s reaction time. At 20 yards, a 180-fps arrow has an arrival time of one-third second while a 240fps arrow will take a quarter of a second to cover the same distance.

At 60 yards, a 240-fps bow will take three-quarters of a second to reach the target. This is about four times longer than a subsonic .22 Short bullet. A 180-fps bow will take a full second. Even for the fastest equipment shot at normal bowhunting distances, a deer can react to the sound of a shot by enough to spoil the best of aim.

Effect Of Weight
Just as many hunters often don’t have a good feel for an arrow’s arc, they often fail to appreciate fully just how much the weight of an arrow can affect its trajectory. On a Westem mule deer hunt a few years ago, a good friend of mine leamed this point the hard way. Bill normally shot heavy 650-
grain arrows for his close shots on whitetails.  For this hunt, however, he switched to 500-grain arrows to give him a little flatter trajectory at the longer ranges he expected. When he packed for the nip, he threw the 650-grain arrows in the truck to use as backups. He had sighted in his bow with the lighter arrows but had no idea how the trajectories of the two shafts differed.

We got to the hunting area late at night and assembled our equipment the following morning by flashlight. Unknowingly, Bill put the hear,y arrows on his quiver and did not realize the mistake until it got light.  About mid-morning, he spotted a beautiful buck and was able to work his way to within 40 yards without alerting him. He was shooting what he considered to be a pretty fast bow and figured that the difference in arrow weights wouldn’t make that much difference. He aimed a few inches higher than normal, released, and watched as the arrow passed just under the deer’s chest. Later, back at camp, we found that the difference in trajectories between the two arrows was almost a foot at 40 yards.

If there is no wind drag, two weights of arrows which are shot at the same speed by different bows will have identical trajectories. But if shot from the same bow. their speeds will be different, and they will have different trajectories. Table 2 compares the trajectories of different weights of arrows to a 500-grain arrow that was sighted in correctly. The launch speeds are typical of a 60- pound eccentric-wheeled compound.

At 20 yards, a difference of 50 grains in arrow weight will move the impact point by over an inch. A difference of 150 grains will move it by 3 to 3-1/2 inches. As distance increases. the effect of weight differences becomes much greater. At 60 yards, adding or removing 50 grains of weight will change the impact point by over 10 inches while for 150 grains of difference it will change the
impact point by about 30 inches.

Small differences in arrow weight should also be addressed. For example, I shoot resharpenable broadheads, and I will often use the same heads for several years as long as they don’t become dinged up or bent. Before every hunting season and several times during, I will resharpen them. Recently, I went back and reweighed a dozen arrows that started out with identical weights and was surprised to find that several of them had changed by 20-25 grains due to resharpening. I usually shoot at close ranges, so this has never caused a problem. But if I had taken a little longer shot-say 40 yards- this difference would have been enough to throw my aim off by a couple of inches or so. In some cases it could have been enough to cause problems.

Measuring Trajectory
In the real world arrows have drag, and their trajectories will be a little higher than the examples -given above. For this reason, it is always a good idea to test your equipment so that you have a good feel for what it is  actually doing. This is especially important for hunters who use a single sight pin.

Measuring trajectory is a simple task that can be done as part of your normal sighting- in procedure. First, find a piece of cardboard or other material that is 1 to 3 feet wide and
several feet long. Three-foot by 5-foot panels work well and can be bought at businesses that sell packing supplies.

Next, put an aiming spot in the center of the cardboard and sight in your bow at a given distance. Then aim at the spot from several different distances and see where your arrow hits. For example, if you have sighted in a pin at 30 yards, you might shoot at distances of 7.5 yards (1/4
range), 1 5 yards (mid-range), 22-1/2 yards (3/4 range), and at something beyond 30 yards.
Shoot several arrows from each distance to get an average, and then commit these figures to memory.

To determine depth-of-kill for deer, find the distances where your arrows hit 3 inches high and 3 inches low. For larger or smaller animals, you can adjust these values to correspond to the different-sized kill zones.

Summary
With the increasing interest today in long- range shooting, some of the examples given above are very sobering. They show fairly dramatically that even with today’s fast equipment, bowhunting remains a short range sport.Even the fastest equipment will have trajectories at longer ranges that
are high and looping and that will require the ability to estimate range at very exacting levels. Taking the time to become intimately familiar with the trajectory of one’s equipment should help any bowhunter to understand its limitations and to capitalize on those hard-earned opportunities.

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Published by admin on 22 Mar 2010

Aspirin Busting at the Famous Iowa Deer Classic

Aspirin Busting at the Famous Iowa Deer Classic

(Des Moines, Iowa) The Iowa Deer Classic is one of the country’s premier hunting shows.   This event is held the first weekend of March and is always a popular show for TV hunting celebrities, well known seminar speakers, and features booths with everything the sportsman needs.  You can see trophy whitetail bucks and talk to expert taxidermists, deer hunters, and outfitters.  There are also manufacturers at this event.
 
There were three big seminar rooms and there was a variety of speakers each day.  The stage set up at this event was first class.  Each show started with Ted Nugent’s “My Bow and Arrow” song playing on the PA system. I like Ted’s “Fred Bear” song but his “Bow and Arrow” song is perfect to play before each performance.  We had good sized crowds at each show even though Saturday’s 2 shows  were scheduled at the exact same time as my friends Nic and T-Bone with the Bone Collector Crew.  My assistant Garrett did a super job tossing targets for me.  At the end of the shows I did a Question & Answer session which the audiences seemed to enjoy. 
 
The Bone Collector crew is a great buch of guys and my parents enjoyed having the gang in bear camp last Spring.  Nic and T-Bone told me Michael Waddell was at the Dixie Deer Classic in Raleigh, NC while they were in Iowa for this event. 
 
I also ran into Myles Keller,  Pat Reeves and Nicole Jones, and several other well known hunting personalities.  I also got to visit with Tom Hoffman, a well known bowhunter who took the SuperSlam with his bow.  Tom had been the guest speaker at a bowhunter banquet and stopped by the show to look around.

Antler Dog’s Roger Sigler and I had dinner one evening.  Roger’s seminars are always popular and he was there Friday night.  Roger tells his audience how to train their dogs to find shed antlers.   These are entertaining seminars and I always enjoy seeing Roger.
 
The new Hoyt Formula RX bows are shooting great!   The audiences seem to like the six arrow shot, the two balloon shot, and the smaller balloons.  During Sunday’s performance I nailed the baby aspirin the second shot and then it was time to wave so long and head for home and get ready for the next show.  The Iowa Deer Classic is a legendary show and is a great time.  I look forward to getting back to Des Moines and this show.  Special thanks to John,  Garrett, and the rest of his family & staff for the great time.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010

Martin Pro Series Scepter – February 1995

Martin Pro Series Scepter – February 1995
Bow Hunting World

Bow Hunting World - February 1995

New level in Bow Design
The Ultimate Bow Available in Hunting or Target Colors

Discover the Magical Wizardry of Martin’s New Scepter
DISCOVER THE MAGICAL WIZARDRY OF MARTIN’S NEW SCEPTER!

The R & D Wizards of Martin Archery have produced a riser that is so well
balanced, so vibration free and so accurate that you won’t need to ask the
mystics why your scores have improved!

A new level of machined aluminum riser design! The Scepter riser
features Martin’s new Tru-TrackTM Arrow Rest System (patent pending) as an integral part of it’s design, Like no other Arrow Rest System, the Tru-Track (patent pending) incorporates on extendable arrow rest mount that extends from within the riser in any position.
Shoot full length, long overdraw or anywhere in between for ultra fine tuning!

An arrow shelf pocket enables the Tru-Track rest to recess completely below the path of the arrow’s flechings,  No other riser design provides this level of clearance!

The Scepter owes it’s total lock of noise and vibration to Martin’s new V.E,C, System (patent pending), The V,E,C, (Vibration Escape ChamberTM) system incorporates a vented riser chamber that is designed to accept optional vibration absorbing inserts.

As the Wizard wields his staff of power, this year’s top shooters will be wielding the new Martin Scepter

Speed Rating: Equipped with new “Z” Cams

the Scepter provides on IBO rating of Over 300 f.p.s.
Machined Aluminum riser in anodized brite blue, red, violet, and hunter grey

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