Archive for the 'General Archery' Category

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Published by Frank Biggs on 24 Nov 2014

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Poaching of Big Game

The following statements are my opinion on the subject!

What a topic to write about, one could write a novel and it would a non-fiction totally.

This is a pair of trophy Columbia Blacktails that were killed out of season in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

This is a pair of trophy Columbia Blacktails that were killed out of season in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

First off I personally feel there are 3 types of poachers, one that will harvest year round to eat, those that will poach for the horns-rack-antlers-teeth-claws-gall bladders anytime and anyplace, and lastly those that poach for the fun (drunk & other mind-sets), only to have a check mark on a list! The latter is a fact of knowledge, as I know via ranchers and law enforcement that it went on for years in the area of Madras, Oregon (just one local to mention). Some years ago I read and saw the pictures of some 20+ elk lying dead in what looked like a killing field. They were shot for sport and left to rot. The the elk were not salvageable for human consumption.

I would say our first knowledge of poaching would be placed in our minds with the Legend, Myth, or Fictionist Character of Robin Hood who would poach game off of the land of King of England.

Since there were little game laws in the past for hunting or harvesting game for the meat, the hides and whatever else could be used for trade or survive, we will move on to the latter years of the 20th Century and on to the 21st Century.

First off I have no problem for a person or persons to harvest game for survival or subsistence of life!

There is a saying that a famous hunter by the name of Bell Lang who once told to me, “Those that poach by the cover of night shall be caught, and those that poach in broad daylight are less apt to be, though in the end greed will take over and they shall be caught!”

In my early days of hunting or thinking about hunting when I got out of the service, I heard about a great deal of hunts and how the hunts started or ended.

A story that was passed along some 50 years ago from Uncle Dave of a new comer hunting during Elk season shot a monster Mule deer out of season. In the days of past the story only became a story after many years past. In this case it was an accident, yet it still comes under the ORS statues of game violations’.

Poaching for camp meat has been going on for years and was acceptable with hunters in a deer camp or elk camp. “Who’s going to kill us a fat doe for camp meat?” I am sure at least in the 20th Century we all have heard those words from the elders of the hunt, which includes me hearing those exact words. “As long as we eat it all up in camp it is legal!” Personally I was never much into eating fresh deer meat.

Then there is the great group hunting with lots of tags in the camp, with those that didn’t care if they shot anything or not. Hunting was an escapement from the grind of 60 hours plus weeks that many of us know from the past. One or two persons might be the shooters to fill the tags. I once loan a couple of my horses to a man that I once hunted with, later he told me thanks as he drugged out 9 elk with my horses in a single day. He was the shooter of them all and he fed the wild game meat to his care home residents. He has long since left this plant to his happy hunting grounds. Many years ago I told a rancher that invited me to hunt on his ranch that held a great deal of the Rocky Mountain Elk in the sage, Juniper and rim rock country in the Oregon, I had waited a number years to get this bull tag and I will shoot my own bull! I never did hunt in his group of 9 to 12 hunters with him. It was about the meat to him and not the racks, though they did harvest dandy 300+ bulls. It was a free for all when they got into a herd of elk. I do believe that they were pretty lucky as they seem to only harvest the number of elk that they had tags for.

So many times you would hear of stories of Mule Deer hunters hunting the great state of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and even the great Steen’s Mountains in Oregon. Stories would be like the following. “Shot a dandy buck coming down to the wintering grounds, getting ready to gut it and a bigger buck came by and I shot him also.” Now this could all be hearsay or an inflated story, but usually people knowing that they have nothing to worry about, it most likely is the truth. The other line with these same stories, “we got the backstrap and hind quarters out of the canyon”. Many times a great deal of useable meat was left behind… So, is someone hunting deep in a rugged area for big bulls or bucks that only take the rake and backstrap poaching?

Well they are and now there are new laws that have slowed that down. Yet we all know it still goes on out there, just have to read the OSP (Oregon State Police) incident reports that are available on line. I am sure these reports are available to all in other states in the Union.

Here the Willamette Valley I have watched a section of land that has held monster Blacktail deer, prior to me getting permission to take pictures and later hunt the property. I would see these big 4 x 4 bucks and some dandy non-typical bucks, none of them ever carried over to the following year. I believe it was a free for all poachers that were willing to trespass the property. Now that I have put up No Trespassing Signs for more than 4 years, I have been able to watch deer that carryover. I understand that the neighbor is experiencing this in 2014. Access is easy and undetectable by the landowner.

“Come in the darkness and leave in the darkness undetected”

Have to say that some of the most humorous poaching cases are those during archery season, when the hunter has taken the game animal with a rifle and hoisted the animal in their garage or car port to skin the animal, only to have the neighbor call into the authorities that the person or persons have a deer hanging and they don’t bow hunt. It is only humorous because of the ignorance of the hunter!

Poachers can be a trespasser, not just person or persons that harvest game illegal in my opinion. This brings to mind about technology that is now used everywhere and many trespassers and poachers are now being caught. That would be trail cameras that are set out on private property as well as public lands. The new cameras available are undetectable by most, including the game. I have seen a few come onto the property that I hunt in the valley. I have asked the landowner if he know them of course before I pursue the individuals. Recently during the writing of the article, one of my hunters has noticed 2 persons coming into the trail cams range. They even have gone up into his treestand and sat. All is on camera to be seen, strange though as they caught the cams take their pictures, they were out of there. This also allows the hunter, landowners and other concerns the profiling of the game. The old cliché that all they look alike is nonsense.

Poaching will continue and poachers with be caught, they love to brag about their kills with pictures. Most are not old enough to remember a monster bull that was harvest some 30+ years ago in the Mt. Rainer National Park. It was a feature picture in the Oregon Hunting & Fishing Newspaper. It did not last long, as a hiker that frequent the area, knew the exact tree that the bull was posed in front of. It did not take long for the Washington Game Officers to be up to the spot with the picture. Oh! What a fine to poach in a National Park, now the Feds and the State are involved with the crime.

The State of Oregon the Oregon State Police have the finest Forensic Labs in the Nation. I bet most don’t know that they can tell whether a Mule deer came from the Steen’s Mts. or from The Dallas. The 21st Century is upon us and to gamble on taking an animal illegally is a big gamble, as you going to lose more than you can imagine.

Just take a look at Aronson’s in the Bend, Oregon area and thinking he and his wife was getting away with poaching and selling hunts that the animals weren’t his to sell on guided trips. More than $66,000.00 in fines, plus 23 others sited with a total of 1200 illegal game violations against the group. One thing I see he got off easy with 30 days in jail.

One can only get away with for a while; it will always catch up with you, if you don’t stop. I would call it Cold Turkey the process!

Even the once great Kirk Darner got caught in the taking of Boone & Crockett Mule Deer bucks every year for many years. In his case, I do believe his wives of few helped in the process. Be careful who you make enemies of when you are in the practice of poaching.

Remembering a customer once that got busted for harvesting a big Mule deer out of season and bull elk in the wrong area during a given year was busted because he owed money to the fellow that hunted with him on both hunts. The game officers were taken to both spots by the informant.

Some years ago while in the famous Fort Rock area of central eastern Oregon, I had spotted a monster Mule deer that had come down off from the Newberry Crater in to the stubble fields to winter. As I was leaving during the Thanksgiving holiday, driving through a foot of snow to the main highway, I noticed a pickup with a couple of guys. I had that feeling they were up to no good. They were in the heart of the wintering grounds for mule deer in this part of Oregon. I waited a couple of minutes and decided to double back, yep they were stopped, glassing and packing. My presence at that time was enough to stop the act of them making a mistake in life. So you are asking if the intent was there! It was as I left out that someone was standing along the truck with a rifle out! For that moment the buck had another lease on life. I hope he made it through the winter.

On last statement from the past in the 20th Century, is the taking of a Pronghorn – Antelope out of a helicopter with a shotgun legal?  We know it is done with wild hogs in some states, but Pronghorn. There once was a world famous hunter with a restaurant that did just that. He has long since left the world, but many of his trophies are still around, though not in the restaurant any longer…

There are all types of poaching, but in most cases it usually in my opinion it is about the rack, horns or antlers as Number 1!

In conclusion game officers’ have to have the mindset of a poacher to catch a poacher!  Law bidding hunters and citizens need to take a state in the wildlife we have and the new environment of anti-hunting and anti-guns and help put a stop to poaching!

Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 05 May 2014

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Equipment – Bow Sights – Single vs Multiple

I like to start with humor in my storyline!

We all remember the Wild West movies of the past, with rifles & Six Shooters blazing away with very few Homo sapiens hitting the hard deck.   Maybe the rifles or six shooters weren’t very accurate or maybe the shooters weren’t focusing on the target at hand!  As we know though, most were accurate up the distance warranted.   Take a minute to think about the sights on most of those rifles and Six Shooters, even going into the 21st Century!  Rear V and Front Post!

Tell if this wouldn't make you focus!

Now you know you’re going to focus on the target with this setup!  Unless you’re shooting from the hip!

There are very few bow hunters or archers that don’t have a firearm in their arsenal of hunting or target shooting equipment.   In all shooting, it is about hitting the target or game with the utmost accuracy and being able to do that we have to be focus in depth on the target.  This is not always about the amount of time to do so, but the accuracy of having all coming together in the moment. Just think about any other sport that may include a single ball and getting the ball into the hoop, a hole in the ground or into the hands of a wide receiver.  The shooter has to focus mentally or have the natural talent to target the target…  

My mind comes to two instances!  I saw this happen, years ago with Brian Henninger hitting balls during a golf tournament practice session.  He was deliberately hitting a tent within inches of the same spot every time at about 260 yards.  One fellow said, “man” he is missing the pin”, little did he know that Brian was having fun.  Brain was quite focused on hitting the spot on the top of the meeting tent. 

What about this year (2014) with the Portland Trailblazer player with .6 tenths of a second to get an inbound shot off and doing so and making the 3 point throw and winning the game for the Trailerblazers.  There was nothing about luck, but a man that was in the zone of focus!

Over the years as I have said before I have had the privilege to shoot with many different bow sights and optics on rifles.   (What the heck, I have the privilege to use lots of hunting and shooting items over the last 40 years)

To this day I still have Duplex Crosshairs on all my rifles, forcing me to focus to the center.   Knowing your weapon of choice and how it shoots is most likely the most important thing.   With the speed of the modern day compound bow we have a greater advantage to make shots at greater distances with less drop of the arrow in flight.

As I write about optics – sights that attach to the rifle, guns, crossbow (legal states) and bows, there are so many that have multiple pins in the archery side and in the rifle or gun side we have tactical reticles and BDC Turrets (bullet drop compensator) which are all great.   I find the BDC and multiple dot reticles in the firearm side to be great when you have time to dial in the yardage out to great distances or a bench shooter working on fractions.   Otherwise most will have a favorite yardage to go by when setting up. 

As for bow sights I personally feel in the days of slower bows the multiple pins were my choice, yet I would have my 40 yard pin, the one pin that was different in color, it was my go to pin to get the job done when I was in the combat field mode of hunting for big game without the rangefinder.   I guess it is good thing I have played some golf in my life.

Those that have shot target bows at the 20 yards with 3 spot & 5 spot targets indoor normally always had a long adjustable bar (extension) with a head and globe sight with a single dot or pin.  We could fine tune the sight to make the X’s!

Martin Target 01 Martin Target 02 Martin Target 03

 This is how my Martin Scepter Pro was setup with a 2x globe sight!

In  my days of shooting small bore indoor rifles (22LR Caliber) at 50 feet competitively, it was all about the International or Olympic globe sights that usually had a circle aperture on the front sight you would have the bull (target bull) centered.   You learn to breath, focus and make sure before squeezing the trigger that the bull was perfectly centered so you could make an X.  

The sight on the front of my target rifle!

The sight on the front of my target rifle!

In 2013 I was introduced to the HHA Sports Optimizer Bow Sights and was I able to shoot the 5519 model after an old hunting buddy told me about the sights.   What is great about the sight, as I chose this particular model as it is a pendulum style adjustment, though HHA Sports has a dial style also, is that it is a single pin on a moveable pendulum and I can shoot accurately from 10 yards to 80 yards.   If I know the yardage I do not have to anything other than move the lever up or down to the marked yardage on the sight with my thumb, yet not lose my grip on the bow.  Otherwise I leave it at 40 yards in the field and 30 yards in a treestand.

The RDS TECHNOLOGY to setup the sight is made easy:

What is R.D.S. TECHNOLOGY

“R.D.S. is a patented sight in tape system that eliminates the need for multiple pins or crosshairs to shoot various distances with vertical bow, crossbow or firearm.  It allows you to focus on a single dot or reticule, dial to the distance of the target and shoot.  The clutter and confusion of 3, 5  and 7 pins on a bow or 5 or 6 lines in a scope are removed and replaced with one aiming point.  This results in increased accuracy and higher confidence in the field and on the range!”

HHA 01 HHA 02 HHA 03This is how my Martin Onza 3 is setup with the Optimizer system that works!

There is a reason why the Optimizer is Number 1

If I haven’t said it before it is always about the optics on any weapon or shooting device.  If the weapon or shooting device is sound, the only reasons not to be able to a hit a “shootable target” is the shooter or the sight for the most part in shootable conditions.

Take the movie “The Greatest Game Ever Played”, you’ll see in the movie how the golf gallery disappears and the golfer sees only the ball in flight to the hole!  As one of my work buddies says “See it before it happens”.

Try one of the HHA Sports sight system on your bow, rifle, gun or crossbow and you won’t be sorry, you might even be able to make that shot you passed up the year before, if the occasion arises!   It will take the complexity of out of the picture and allowing you to focus to the target and accomplish your Mission!  Bwana Bubba

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Published by admin on 26 Feb 2014

Calling in Whitetail Deer By Bruce Hancock

Calling in Whitetail Deer

By Bruce Hancock

To successfully rattle in a whitetail buck into shooting range, you need to have patience, knowledge, and skill. It’s never too early to begin preparation for a successful hunt this fall. Right after the hunting season has finished is a premium time to begin. When you are out hunting predator animals in the winter months, while driving around areas that hold deer, or during the spring turkey season, there are good times to be out there looking and scouting for deer sign.

In fact, I rank “looking and scouting” as key steps to successful hunting and calling. I also advocate a more complete strategy, one that involves using the available hunting technologies that exists to give you the hunter an even break against a deer’s superior sense of smell.

Many hunters don’t realize that it has been shown scientifically that the deer family have about 500 million scent receptors in their noses. A deer smells about 400 times more efficiently than a person and can distinguish between 20 or so scents with a single sniff. When you have an animal with a nose like this, you’re at a major disadvantage. So it’s very important to use a 1-2-3 punch to this whole thing.

This 1-2-3 punch thing includes a combination which includes gland scent on a licking branch, urine scent in the deer scrapes they make, and no scent on yourself. Then, you’re going to be making deer calls to attract deer into your setup.

Deer scrapes, rubs and licking branches will be key signs to look for when scouting your territory. A deer scrapes the ground with its hooves, usually 3-5 feet below a tree limb that hangs above the scrape. The deer will rub its eye and forehead gland scents on the licking branch. The deer usually deposits urine and feces into the scrape. This compliments the scents from glands in the forehead and eyes that are found on the branch. These scrapes and licking branches can be found along deer trails, often where two or more trails converge.

Deer rubs may also be present near deer scrapes. Deer create rubs by scraping their antlers and forehead on shrubs, and low tree branches. When doing so, the bark of the tree or shrub is usually rubbed off, leaving a distinguishable rub mark laced with deer gland scent on the affected tree rub.

Bucks leave the scents this way to mark their home territory, by announcing their presence to other deer in the area, or those who are passing through to either attract them in (does), and to warn other bucks that they are intruding and a confrontation is likely. When I find deer scrapes with licking branches hanging over them, and the surrounding area shows signs with rubs as well, I use these give-away signs to improve my rattling setup success.

When I say use whatever hunting technologies that are available, I am talking about game calls, scent killers, attractant lures and scents, camo clothing, trail cams, tree ground blinds, and the like. For me, I make it as simple and effective as I can. If I’m entering blindly into new territory, I will always have my rattling antlers, my Calls-M-All game call (www.gamecall.net), buck and doe deer urine scents, and , and I make sure that the clothes that I’m wearing are as scent free as possible. Several scent killer products are available. For my deer call I use the Calls-M-All game call because it produces both the deer “bleat”, and “tending grunt” call sounds that deer make with the same call. No switching calls. And I use a set of deer antlers for rattling. Rattling bags, and fake antler products work ok as well, but for I prefer real deer horns.

One of the things I like to do early on, if I know an area where there are some bucks, is to set up some mock scrapes. First, I kill my own scent on my clothes, hat, boots, gloves, etc. I will find a likely place (perhaps an old deer scrape) beneath a licking branch (which is critical) along a deer trail. I will take my scent-free boot and kick away the leaves, limbs, etc. covering the old scrape, or make a new fake scrape below a licking branch. I will then apply the urine and deer scents to the scrape and licking branch. Often times, I will set-up a trail camera to watch the mock scrape. More likely than not, deer will come to visits your set-up. A real buck may find the mock scrape and add his scent to it, and scrape it a bit, and then move on. Then he may return to check on visitors or intruders to the scrape as it represents his marked territory, where does will frequent for breeding, or intruder bucks will infringe in hopes of breeding the territorial bucks  does attracted to, and hanging around  the scrape area.

After establishing mock scrapes in an area, usually 2 or 3 mock scrapes in an area, I will revisit them every month or so and refresh them up with new gland and scent smells.

When you know there are deer visiting your mock scrapes, and when the season comes, move into these mock scrape areas with your deer bleat and grunt call, rattling horns and set yourself up. You know that there are deer in this area. They may be close, or 200-300 away, but they’re there. Having two or three alternative areas to call in is good. I will set up 50-60 yards away from the scrape usually  off of a deer trail leading to/from the scrape. I will get comfortable and prepare to stay in one spot for an hour. It’s a mistake to leave earlier, which I discovered on more than one occasion.

At first I was thinking along the lines of a predator call setup which is in the 20-30-minute wait range. Some bucks show up quickly unannounced, while others won’t show until they’ve sized up the situation as safe before committing to the calls they hear. In most cases, the buck will circle downwind of the caller to sniff out the area downwind of the sounds. If a whitetail deer smells you, they’re gone. Often time what happens is that the deer caller will make a successful calling sequence, only to have the deer get downwind of them and slip away undetected. Remember, a whitetail deer is a master of the wind currents.

I usually set up on my knees behind a tree or shrub larger than me. I look for a place where I can see 80- 100 yards downwind of me if possible. If a deer slips into my calling area, chances he will loop downwind of me and I’ll see him first before he is concealed. It is very important to watch your downwind side, always.

When I start rattling and making call sounds, this mix of sounds creates a “breeding territory” atmosphere for deer. The deer can smell the scrape scents, they hear deer bleats, deer grunts, and deer horns. When I rattle the antlers together, I don’t try to make it any more difficult than it is. I grind them, slam them together, tickle them lightly together. You want to make enough noise so the sounds of the antlers and deer calls you make will carry.

That’s the purpose of rattling the antlers. You’ve got a couple of bucks, and they are sparring over a doe and the rights to breed. All the other bucks and does in the area hear this, and it’s like a couple of people are getting in a fight. It attracts a crowd. Deer are curious and will come to calls and rattling.

My strategy includes rattling the antlers, creating deer grunts by friction with the serrated side of my Calls-M-All, while also mixing in some doe bleat calls. I will just kind of mix this all up. I don’t have any specific pattern. I roughly call for about a one-minute period, mixing the rattling  sounds,  doe bleat and grunt call sounds.

Sometimes I will grunt maybe 3-4 times. Maybe bleat once. Rattle for 45=seconds. And wait two minutes looking and listening for approaching deer. I like changing up. I don’t like to sound like a record player.

In the end, and with persistence and patience, you will call in a buck deer and then your confidence level will increase and you’ll be hooked on Calling in Whitetail Deer.

Editor’s note: Bruce Hancock is the president and owner of the Calls-M-All Game Call Company, located in Prescott, WA. To read more about the Revolutionary Calls-M-All call, visit their website at www.gamecall.net.

 

 

 

 

 

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Published by sportsmanoutfitters on 22 Feb 2014

Bushnell The Truth 4×20 Rangefinder w/ARC Technology REVIEW

I purchased one of the new Bushnell Rangefinders before this bowhunting season. I’ve used others in the past from brands such as Leupold and Vortex Rangefinders with decent luck but did miss some good deer. I’m here to tell you that with the new ARC Technology from this new Bushnell Rangefinder you will be amazed.

This Rangefinder compensates for the angle you are at in the tree to the deer you are getting ready to shoot. Some of the yardage difference could be up to 3 yards or so depending on the distance of the shot. Let me tell you, three yards can definitely be the difference between hit and miss.

This Bushnell rangefinder is priced very competitively in the market and you will get your moneys worth. This year I haven’t missed a deer; two bucks and a doe. I must say that I attribute this to the Bushnell The Truth Rangefinder. I highly recommend the Bushnell The Truth Rangefinder with the ARC Technology. Bushnell has just come out with the Bushnell Clear View Rangefinder. You can find them out at Sportsman Outfitters.

bushnell-clear-view-the-truth-range-finder

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Published by sportsmanoutfitters on 22 Feb 2014

Kansas Archery Hunt Promotion

Sportsman Outfitters is an online hunting gear store. We are offering a chance to win a promotional open range Kansas archery hunt in the middle of the rut. We went to 180 Outdoors in Kansas last year for the first time. While we were there we saw plenty of big Kansas bucks. Every person with us had a chance at a nice 135-170 class whitetail deer. So, visit SportsmanOutfitters.com/Promo to view the rules on how to win a Kansas bowhunt. View the pictures below of a couple of the bucks that were killed last year at 180 Outdoors in Kansas. Here is a chance to go with Sportsman Outfitters on an all expense paid trip to do some Kansas bowhunting. Thanks!

Also, at the end of the month we are running a promo on Vortex Scopes. Please visit our site for more info!

180 Outdoors67076_458091564300488_872890392_n1467418_10100376447150705_1895381427_n

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Published by admin on 18 Feb 2014

Don’t learn from your mistakes! by Pat Moore

Don’t learn from your mistakes!

by Pat Moore

I know, I know that sounds ridiculous, but that is exactly what you need to do. Archery is a game of repetition. You are most successful when you are able to repeat the same thing over and over. Focusing on doing it the same way every time will help you achieve that ability to do the same thing every time.  So when you step up to the line focus your thoughts on the inside out X you shot and all the other positive good shots you’ve made. Those thoughts will make you much more prone to doing it again.

Ok let me see if I can illustrate this point more clearly. If I tell you don’t think about a cold winter day where your hands were cold and your nose was running.  What pops into your head?  Now let’s try this. If I said think about how you feel on a warm spring day with the smell of freshness in the air and the warm sun on your face, which command were you better able to execute not thinking about something unpleasant or thinking about something pleasant? I’m sure when I told you not to think about the winter day, a cold winter day instantly popped into your thoughts. Now let me ask you this, which one made you feel better?  The warm spring day right? So if it’s easier to think about something positive and harder to ignore that which we want to avoid why do we constantly say learn from your mistakes? Thinking about positive wonderful things improves our demeanor and promotes positive results.

Part of what makes us human is the ability to learn and most of what we have learned is through trial and error. This works well when trying to develop a huge variety of skill sets and general knowledge. However, it sucks as a technique to use to master a single repetitive task. This is what makes not learning from your mistakes such a difficult idea to accept, it’s counter intuitive to our basic learning structure. None the less we need to shed that basic paradigm in order to maximize our ability to achieve perfection in repeatability.  If you are concentrating on doing a task right you are far more likely to succeed then if you are trying to avoid doing it wrong.

A prime example of promoting repeatability is written instructions. Think about written driving instructions.  They tell you what to do and seldom tell you what not to do. I expect instructions to get from Seattle to Bellevue would be something like take I90 east exit onto 405 north go 2 exits. Can you imagine driving instructions written in the negative? OK to get to Bellevue don’t take I5 north or south. Avoid downtown. Don’t drive too fast. Once you find I90 don’t go west. Don’t exit at either of the Mercer Island exits. Don’t get confused about the HOV lanes, if you see a boat on the water ignore that…  I think you are getting the picture they are very difficult instructions to follow certainly not very affective or efficient.

Well if we’re not learning from our mistakes how do we learn to shoot a bull’s eye and become better? This is exactly the point, if you hit the bulls eye more than 50 percent of the time YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW TO DO IT!  The hard part is doing it again and again and again.  You learn how to do that by concentrating on what you did before, so you can do it again. Follow the instructions from the previous successful shot. Now if you don’t hit the bull’s eye 60 or 70 percent of the time get a coach or a friend to help you by showing you and explaining to you what to do. If your coach tells you what you are doing wrong either retrain your coach or get a new one.

Shoot straight and enjoy!   Shoot straight and enjoy!   Shoot straight and enjoy!   Shoot straight and enjoy!

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Published by admin on 29 Jan 2014

Stick to the Plan – By Jason Herbert

 

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Stick to the Plan
By Jason Herbert

Driving to the new farm refreshed my hunting patience. I had been out in the woods since 5:30 am. It was now 11:00 am and I was birdless. Most hunters would have given up long ago. Not me, I had a plan and I was sticking to it. At about 11:25 my plan had worked, with three longbeards coming into my sweet calls like they had read the script. At 11:30 I had one giant tom slung over my shoulder on the way back to the truck.

I love to turkey hunt, but I can’t sit still, so at times it’s a real challenge. When I first started turkey hunting, I’d hunt in the same spot, nice and still till about nine o’clock and then head home. On the way home, I’d see toms strutting everywhere and I soon realized I was doing something wrong. Since then I have developed a solid plan that works for me. I hunt in phases. Each phase is a time of the day that corresponds to certain turkey behaviors. I hate wearing a watch, but when I am hunting with my plan, I use one to keep me on track and keep me disciplined. When I am bored stiff hunting, time seems to move really slowly, the watch keeps me honest.  I also bring plenty of food and water, in case the plan takes a while to work. When I leave on a turkey hunt, I don’t plan to come home till I got a bird or it’s dark.

The first phase of the plan is the hunt at first light. I get up really early, to arrive in my spot well before the song birds start chirping. When the birds start to chirp, the turkeys get woken up. If possible, sneaking in before they are awake decreases my chances of getting busted. At this point on the day, I like to get in nice and tight to roosting areas. The idea is to be there or nearby when the toms fly down and start to gather their hens. Hopefully my decoy will catch their attention to being them into gun range. The first few hours after the birds fly down, this are will be a good one to hunt. The birds will mill around, eat a bit, get organized and eventually head off somewhere else. If I have not killed a bird in phase one, I switch to phase two at about nine o’clock.

Phase two is moving to a strutting zone. A strutting zone is an open area where a tom can strut and bee seen showing off from far away. I prefer to hunt field edges during this portion of my hunt. If you do not have access to fields, try open ridge tops or flat river bottoms. When I move to a new spot, I get to stretch, re-charge my batteries for a quick minute or two, and re-focus. I quickly get set up and start calling. Sometimes I use a decoy, sometimes I don’t. At about mid morning the hens will leave the toms and return to their nests to tend their eggs. Now the lonely toms will get trying to find more hens. Usually they will head to a strut zone to show off a bit, hoping to find a new girl. I like to beat them there. These lonely strutting toms are usually pretty cooperative to calling efforts. I hunt the strut zones till about noon or shortly after.

At this point, I make a crucial decision to stay or go. I am blessed with many small chunks of turkey hunting property. More often than not, I am ready for a change so I drive to another property. I keep food in my car, so I maximize my time out of the woods by eating along the way. When I get to a new property, I head straight to a strut zone. This is a difficult task. Quite often I am arriving at the new property mid day, and the toms have already beaten me to the fields. That is ok, just set up close and start working them. If there are no birds in the strut zone, quickly and quietly get set up, the birds will not be far off. The scenario I described previously occurred on a high point in a hayfield, a perfect strut zone. The toms came in on a string because at that point in the day, their hens were on the nests, and this new “girl” in town caught their attention. I guarantee if I had been in that spot all morning, calling the entire time, they would not have been so eager to respond. Variety is the spice of life, and that rings true in the turkey world as well.

If the second strut zone doesn’t pay off after a few hours, hop back in the truck and drive to the third, and fourth, and fifth, etc… Like I said, I have a lot of different farms where I can turkey hunt. I have called in several nice birds in the late afternoon and early evening hours. I have noticed at that time of day, they don’t gobble as much, so keep your eyes peeled. If you are not as fortunate as I am, and you need to focus on one piece of property, there is still hope.

 

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If you can’t go to a new property, pretend like you left. By now, every turkey in the county has heard your calls, so it is time to take a break. This is hard to do for a lot of turkey hunters, but it is important that the calling stops for a while. At about one PM, I’ll head to a dust bowl. Turkeys need to dust frequently, and dust bowls are great mid day social gathering spots. If an active dust bowl is accessible, sit by it and be patient, eventually something will show up. I’ll sit a dustbowl for a few hours in the early afternoon.

At about three pm I’ll start “running and gunning”. What this means to me is that I wander around the property ever so slowly, calling the whole time. Try to use new calls now and mix up the cadence as well. Calls tend to lose their effectiveness each time they are used, so a fresh set of calls and a new style could really change your luck. Walk to all the old spots, calling and listening. As I said earlier, the turkeys don’t gobble as much later in the day so you’ll really need to practice expert woodsmanship here. Keep it up till you find a bird to work, or until it gets to be evening, whichever comes first.

Late afternoon/early evening finds me back where I started, the hunt has come full circle, and I’m at the roosting area. The turkeys will need to come back to roost eventually, so sit and be patient. Make sure to check your state regulations on legal turkey hunting hours, some don’t allow evening hunts. When I am in a roost area, I do not call or use a decoy at all. This is very similar to deer hunting. Just sit, wait patently, and keep your fingers crossed. If you do not kill a bird this way, listen for roost gobbling. The toms will gobble quite a bit again before dark, trying to gather and inventory hens in the area. Make sure you pay attention to where the gobbles are coming from, and start back near them in the morning.

By having a plan, a watch, and a bit of self discipline, I have become a much better turkey hunter. Many of the toms that I have shot have happened after ten o’clock, and on the second or third farm I tried that day. A lot of good turkey hunting time is wasted at the local diner when guys sit only their first light spot, see a “henned up” tom, and drive away complaining about him. To me when I see a henned up tom, I see a bird that can be hunted at a later time, and I also see a chance to hop in the truck grab a bit t eat, and start fresh at a new spot. Have fun, be safe, and remember to stick to the plan.

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Published by Frank Biggs on 13 Dec 2013

Bwana Bubba’s 2013 Willamette Valley Archery Blacktail Hunt

The opportunity arose, take the shot or pass?

The opening weekend of the general bow (archery) season in Oregon had past by two weeks.  After the opening the bucks had become scarce.  Two of the other hunters Mark S. an Oregon State Trooper Game Division and my son Frankie had taken bucks on the opening morning with great one shot kills.  The bucks for both young men were their first bow kills for bucks and also the privilege of taking Blacktail Bucks, that are very difficult to harvest in the best conditions.

This was taken on 09-07-13 on the cam in the draw.    He only came around 3 times in 6 months!
This was taken on 09-07-13 on the cam in the draw. He only came around 3 times in 6 months!

I had gone out to the vineyard a 90 acre of un-fence land in rural Oregon City – Canby, Oregon area in Clackamas County, Oregon and had sat in the tree stand numerous times in vane.   The year prior it was common to see at least 2-4 bucks during the archery season any given morning or evening.  Even the crop of spikes and does were not coming anywhere near the draw, bewildering mind set.

Frankie my son came out to the vineyard a couple of times. On Monday the 9th of September he came out with me to hunt again.  He had also been lucky to draw the Oregon Willamette Valley 615 Deer Tag, which allows you to hunt from September 1st, through to February 28th, the following year.  On this Monday night I would work from the tree stand with Martin Onza 3 that has proven itself well the year before, but this year the bow sight would be the H H A Sports Optimizer with the single pin on the pendulum system.  A sight that forces one to focus on the pin and the target. With the speed of the bow, I usually leave it set for 40 yards when I am going to stalk and 30 yards when I am in three stand.  If I have time for a rangefinder, I can easy move the pin up or down on yardage with my thumb quickly.

Frankie would be packing his recently bought rifle in a 308 caliber.  He would work through the timber and see if he could drive a buck my way. If a buck were bust in a different journey then he might get a chance to get his 615 tag filled.
Both us seemed to get bored without the sighting of any deer during the evening hunt.  With about 15 minutes of light left Frankie came out of the blackberries on the northern sector of the vineyard and I would be working the tree line just west of the tree stand in the draw.

One should have a camera that will take a picture in low light!
One should have a camera that will take a picture in low light!

Frankie’s new rifle came with combo setup scope that would prove to be a problem! Should have taken out his Weatherby MK V with good optics!  You can have a rifle that is over the counter and inexpensive, but one should always have good optics for the conditions which includes the scope mounts!

He texts me that there is branch buck cutting through the grapes (12″ plants) and he just can’t get on him.  At that time I spot the buck, but he is 80 yards from me and just walking along.  I work in to get closer to him and when the buck was at 60 yards broadside, I decide it is to late to get a bow good shot.  Even with the greatness of the Optimizer and the Onza 3, I would have not gotten it done.
Both Frankie and I could not get on him and get a clean shot!

The positive of this, we did see a branched shooter buck, though the buck was not a resident buck to the area.  Thus ended the night of the 9th of September with the sighting of one shooter Blacktail Buck only!

On the Tuesday the 10th, I got off early from work and headed out to the vineyard. Again vineyard is a un-fenced 90 arce parcel of land that is just outside of Canby and Oregon City, Oregon. The deer come and go from many parcels of urual lands in Clackamas County.  I have seen the same bucks when scouting on lands that are about 1-2 miles line of sight feeding in the fields.
I decided to give the tree stand another go and within an hour I decided I need to do another spot and stalk. The deer just weren’t working the draw like they were the year before.

A different perspective of the this buck!
A different perspective of the this buck!

The taking of a buck in the draw during the opener and gutting the buck near the draw might have caused a problem?  I can’t see why as the coyotes and buzzards had cleaned the bones and any other evidence of the kill within days.
There was not much shooting light left so I decided to place myself next to the treeline that lead out into the grapes plants (young 1st year plants).  As I sat there, glassing, range finding spots that I though figured a buck might emerge from, I got this feeling that I had company and not of the human form.   Everyone has had the feeling that there is something close and in many instances we don’t take advantage of the sense!   In this case I moved my head and noticed a branched buck working almost in the same area that the buck the evening before.  In this case I had a bit more light and knew if I did blow the movement I could get a shot off.

In one fluid motion I move from my sitting position and swung around into the kneeling position.   The buck had his head down the whole time he was moving through the plants.   He never made notice to my movement and with ease I pull back my Martin Onza 3 at 72#, the  HHA Optimizer single pin sight was set at 40 yards and the pin focused just below the spine.   The buck did not jump at release as the Onza 3 very quiet!  His reaction when the arrow hit was that of a rock.  He just went down instantly and quivered for just a few moments.   The arrow had gone through his heart!   In my lifespan of hunting I have had this only happen twice before on bucks and both of them had been Blacktails also!  The Blacktail buck most likely didn’t even know he was dead at impact!  It doesn’t happen like this very often, but I will take it anytime I can.   One never likes to have to track game in the dense cover of Western Oregon during the evening into darkness.   A deer can go a little ways and disappear in the Blackberries, which make for difficult recovery on evening hunts.  I have to say when there is a spark of adrenalin, old bones can move without pain!He is a descendant of Stickers a big Blacktail that was harvest last year!

He is a descendant of Stickers a big Blacktail that was harvest last year!

Archery Buck 2013  Int

Though the buck was only a 3 x 4 with the single eyeguard and most likely three (3) year, I would do it again.   After opening day it had been tough and one should never have two legal tags.  It makes it tough when your trying for the local stud buck.   The rack is a very tight rack with the main beams almost touching.    His brother the other 4 X 3 with two (2) eyeguards still roams the property.   It appears that he will take up residency on this parcel and surrounding properties.  He is a bit bigger and will make a good buck in 2014!

Since this writing I was a fortunate to harvest the Even 3 X 3 in November of this year!

Even 3 X 3 Blacktail - November 2013
Even 3 X 3 Blacktail – November 2013

Bwana Bubba aka Cobra

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Published by admin on 04 Dec 2013

My Life With Archery So Far By Caleb Michael Odom

My Life With Archery So Far

By Caleb Michael Odom

When I was six years old I received my first bow for Christmas. It was a weak little thing with a 10 lb pull but that’s where it all started. It wasn’t necessarily safe but running around shooting my brother and getting shot back at but at that time it was the best thing ever. I’d shoot at the targets and feel so accomplished when the arrow would stick into the target and not just bounce back but hey I was hooked. A few years later I wanted to shoot more so my dad bought me a Darton Rookie T compound bow 22-23 inch draw 40-50 lbs. Unfortunately I couldn’t pull it back to my shooting got put on hold for about a year. My dad then bought me a Mathews Genesis. I shot it for a couple months then decided one day to pull out the Darton and give it a shot at pulling it back and I did. The Genesis got put on the back burner and I got serious. I started pounding the target with the Darton. I’ll never forget when I split the nock off that Easton 2413 aluminum arrow. It may have only been 10 yards but I was proud. Once I lost those arrows my dad gave me some of his broken Beman ICS Hunters 400 spine that had enough good on them we could cut to fit me seeing I only had a 22 inch draw.

 

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That started my hunting, I shot at squirrels and dove and stuff but never anything big so I will never forget the day my dad came home from hunting and seeing how he shot a deer that morning told me that his buddy would take me that after noon if I wanted to. I jumped at the chance. I had never really been deer hunting before so I was pumped up more than ever. I got to the tree and while climbing up in the climber I knocked an arrow out of my 4 arrow quiver leaving me with 3. It turns out I ended up sitting in the same stand my dad shot his deer out of that morning and at about 6:30 I look to my left and see a spike walking toward me. He stopped at 30 yards and I shot right over him. He took a few steps I ranged him again at 30 and shot behind him. This must be the stupidest deer ever because I just shot 2 times at him and he decided to walk toward me. He stopped I ranged him at 22 yards and shot my last arrow and it hit him right where the lungs should have been. Unfortunately due to the timing of the trip my dad just gave me his grim reapers to shoot doubting I’d really have to use them and the bow just didn’t have enough power to open it up and get far enough into the deer to kill it. We looked and looked and found no blood and concluded it just broke the skin and didn’t go far enough in to really hurt it. That was a very rough hunt for me but also very eye opening. I used to think that deer were weak and anything could kill them but when I saw that deer run off and we never found it, it proved to me that no matter what you confidence level is there is always that time that’ll make you doubt it.
That was the end for that bow. I didn’t hunt with it anymore because that year for Christmas I got a diamond razor edge. Started out at 48lbs and I started turning up the poundage about every week without permission until I got to about 57. I got that bow in 2009 and in March of 2010 I shot my first animal with a bow which was a hog at guess how far? 22 yards. Total pass-through with a 100 grain muzzy 4 blade.
I had shot 2 deer with a gun prior to shooting the hog with a bow and 1 deer with a gun after but I never had shot another deer with a bow until Thursday August 11th 2011. I was sitting in a stand at the end of my road that I had set up prior to season since I had been seeing and feeding deer there. Well at about 7:15 in the morning I look to my right and see a little doe come out and get on the trail that literally went three foot from the bottom of my ladder stand. She stopped at 13 yards and I let the muzzy eat. That diamond put the smack down on her. She only ran 20 yards and pilled up along side of a four-wheeler trail which made for easy pick up. I called my dad who was at a meeting and told him the news. He told me to wait 30 minutes then have my brother come pick me and her up on the four-wheeler so I did just that. We drove home with her on the front and kept soaking her with water to keep her cool until my dad got there. The look on my dads face when he pulled up is something that’ll stay in my mind forever. I put in the time, money, and sweat to get a deer and there is no greater feeling than that first one with a bow.

I hunted a ton in 2012 with no success at all bow or gun and I sold the diamond in December and bought the bow I have now which is a Hoyt Alphaburner. I’ve hunted this season so far with it and haven’t had any luck yet so my time is coming! You just have to thank the good lord for every chance in the woods you get because you never know if one day you’ll wake up and not ever be able to go again.

By Caleb Odom

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Published by admin on 04 Dec 2013

Bad Habits and Getting Help By Ken Otis

Bad Habits and Getting Help

By Ken Otis

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I started shooting archery when I was in the 6th grade, a Fred Bear recurve and cedar arrows.  It was my pride and joy for many years and during the late summer and fall I would mow yards, rake leaves, pick-up apples or whatever was available to make a little $ for a couple straw-bales for a target.  I never seemed to get much better as the years went by but I moved into the compound bow phase with the Bear White-tail hunter!  As the years past and as I look back, I never got any real instruction or any real guideline as to “how to shoot archery”.  I developed many ‘bad-habits’ starting with stance, shoulder and arm position, anchor position too far back, too much draw weight (as a youngster) and the one that almost ended my enjoyment of archery, TARGET-PANIC.  My brothers were out deer hunting and having success and the stories were incredible.  Time and time again I would miss, and miss, and miss but they couldn’t identify what I was doing wrong.

It was on my first buck kill that I realized I had a serious problem.  The 8-pt buck came in at first light chasing does, at 14yds I was at full draw, complete broadside shot and he was looking away from me!  This is it, the perfect setup.  I released my arrow and struck him a little towards the back so I thought.  He bolted forward and bedded sown 60yds out.  I waited as I was silently celebrating, but then he got up and walked away out of sight.  My heart sunk.  After 30 minutes I got down from my tree stand and followed the minimal blood trail to where he bedded down and then the trickle for another 25yds.  I went home with a plan to return that afternoon and I found him 150yds away in the creek bottom.  My shot placement was horrible!  He was standing at complete broadside and I hit him just forward of the rear leg, cut a main artery/vein and he bled-out internally.  Following this incredible fail I needed help.  I was about to give up totally on archery hunting/shooting as I was not able to make any real progress or find any local instruction.

My good friend Shawn Padgett convinced me to try again and he got me setup with a used bow and quality components (Bowtech General, Scott Release, Carbontech arrows, PDP field points, Trophy Ridge sight, G5 peep, and Bernie Pellerite). I read Bernie’s book, followed the instructions for dispelling all of the myths about archery (I had about every one of them in my head), and I had ‘Target-Panic’!  With my 2 new coaches (Shawn and Bernie) I followed their plan for bow setup, shooting sequence, and blind bail practice.  Within 4 weeks I was on my way to recovery from ‘target panic’ and was able to hit a 6” circle out to 40yds!  In ‘hind-sight’, the answer was simple; get good instruction before you get 20+ years of bad habits!  It is much easier to correct minor flaws in good form than to replace years of bad habits and misguided form – so teach your children and your friends to find a good teacher/coach.  Today I enjoy archery hunting, 3D tournaments, and indoor spot shooting all due to the help of a good friend/coach.

Get Out and Shoot the way Your Coach Told You To!

Ken Otis

 

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