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Published by archerchick on 21 Feb 2010

HI-SPIRIT Father And Son Adventure – By Ted Nugent

HI-SPIRIT
Father And Son Adventure – By Ted Nugent

May 2005


Here’s some real giant-deer excitement!

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

May 2005

Enormous antlers emerged from the impenetrable scrub bordering Moose Lake deep in the Yukon wilderness. Guttural grunts came forth with every long-legged stride of the dark-brown behemoth, and what we had here was a timeless standoff in the primeval hunting grounds of the majestic North Country, our predator nerves on fire. Twenty-seven-year-old son Toby was facing the beast with his NugeBow at the ready, his old man shaking over his right shoulder, video camera rolling, spirits electrified. Behind me was Keith Mark, owner of the MacMillan River Adventure concession, operating camera number five, and behind him was Master Guide Rod McGrath raising moose hell with grunts and tree-smashing sounds of his own. And on came the beast-step by brutish step, brush thrashing and grunting up a storm, ready to crush the Caucasian foursome who dared tread on his sacred breeding turf. What I was capturing on digital tape was gold!

After a year-long preparation, we were finally enjoying the glory of the mystical Canadian Yukon Territories. The breath-taking wilderness setting way out here on Moose lake was in itself worth the entire logistical endeavor. Keith and Rod have a slice of heaven on earth here in this unspoiled God’s country. With a beautiful log cabin with a generator and motorboats, we were both remote yet cushy in the heart of trophy moose habitat. In fact, more than half the recorded trophy Alaska- Yukon moose entries in the big-game record books come from this MacMillan River concession, and Keith and Rod’s camps produce 100 percent trophy book kills year after year. Truly amazing, but understandable when one witnesses the sheer gargantuan effort put forth by such masterful guides and outfitters. These guys live hunting, moose hunting in particular, and it is impossible to distinguish real moose sounds from the sounds these guys produce themselves. Thrilling stuff.

With bad weather and a giant full moon compromising an already difficult hunt that was to be much too short in duration, we had a few close encounters on our first three days of hunting, but no shots as of yet. Now we had the beast in our face in the proverbial last hour of light on the last day of hunting, and the boys were cocked, locked and ready to rock, doc!

We had spotted this huge bull from a mile away and had circled the big lake to get the wind in our face for our final half-mile stalk.’Walking slowly and cautiously along the shoreline, carefully stepping over slick rocks and ducking noisy vegetation, we heard the telltale huff-grunts of the old bull ahead. Moving at a snail’s pace, we weaseled our way amongst the thick stands of saplings and blow-downs when Keith said, “Here he comes!”

Making his entrance from the heavy spruce thicket 70 yards ahead, the old boy gave us the show of our lives, doing every exciting thing God designed a moose to do as he defiantly strode toward us. As badly as I was shaking, I was surprised to see such a clear and steady video unfolding in my viewfinder. Being as moosified as one can get, I was even more excited that my son was in front of me, experiencing this electrifying dynamo that only a close bowhunting encounter with a territorial moose can deliver. I was in total nerve control mode at this point. And on he came.

At 35 yards, he hung up and terrorized some innocent vegetation, slobbering, grunting and tongue wagging the whole time.With the beast facing us square on, Toby knew there was no shot here. After ample nerve-wracking face-off time, he turned broadside, but of course there was a bent spruce hanging directly over his vitals, negating any arrow shot. ‘We stared down. The giant turned to leave and Rod emitted a perfect, chesty, grunt-huff that stopped the bull. I could now see Toby and the bull in full frame together as Toby began to draw his bow. I slowly zoomed past Toby’s
flexed form to the moose as the dull thud of the release brought his white arrow into frame, chunking square into the bull massive left shoulder just above his outstretched foreleg. The 30-inch zebra-striped arrow was now showing only 10 inches as the bull frantically pivoted to escape the sting. That my video footage remained smooth was nothing short of a miracle, for the hardcore bowhunter that I am wanted to leap maniacally for joy knowing exactly what this ail meant. You can hear a tense whisper from me on film, “He’s had it son! You got him! Perfect!” I was about to implode!

How my camera remained steady as the huge bull trotted 30 yards and fell over dead in a matter of seconds, I will never know. Somehow I maintained the wherewithal to actually slowly pan wide back to Toby as he thrust his bow into the air and exalted,”YEAH! Unbelievable!” Panning slowly to Keith
and Rod, the celebration was well out of control now. We all but danced naked upon the tundra with sheer joy and abandon. The beast is dead-long live the beast!

Just up the knoll a short way before us lay the largest deer in the world, and one of the largest moose you could ever dream of, We filmed a joyous yet solemn recovery and marveled at what we had just been a part of Tobys Renegade NugeBow, set at a very lightweight 50-pound draw, had sent a 100-grain Magnus Stinger four-blade broadhead on a 400- grain Gold Tip carbon arrow clean through the behemoth chest cavity of a monster bull moose from 32 yards. At 50 pounds, he was shooting the lightest bow we have in our archery arsenal, and proved irrefutably the terminal killing efficiency of the lightweight bow and arrow. The bull had traveled but a short 30 or so yards after the hit and had died in mere seconds. It was captured on film as proof positive that anyone can cleanly kill the biggest of North American big game with lightweight tackle. Surely the killer design of the Stingert scalpel sharp cutting edge is a critical ingredient’ but ultimately it was Toby’s dedication to responsible proficiency that put that arrow dead center into the pump station of the mighty beast. That’s how ya do that.

Of course, now the fun begins as the four of us worked diligently to render the beast into family-sized portions of the greatest pure protein God has ever offered mankind. There is something deeply stirring in working on the carcass of any animal killed for food, but a more than 1,500-pound beast such as this bull moose truly humbles one to better appreciate the amazing creation and balance of it all. The animal was ultimately respected by reverently handling the sacred flesh as the precious gift that it is. And the Spirit of the Wild soared on.<–<<

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Published by archerchick on 21 Feb 2010

HIGH ALTITUDE MONARCHS – By Lon Lauber

HIGH ALTITUDE MONARCHS  Story & Photos By Lon Lauber

September 2002

Among the crags of North America’s steepest mountain country are two incredible bowhunting animals

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

I’ve had the good fortune of bowhunting all over the North America and nothing compares to hunting Dall sheep and mountain goats.  Dense alder thickets turn to scarlet tundra, then it gives way to craggy peaks.  Amongst those daunting spires you’ll  ever dream of hunting.

Let’s climb right into the ups and downs of bowhunting Dall sheep and mountain goats.  First, to build a solid foundation as a mountain game bowhunter, you must learn the senses, habits and habitat of sheep and goats.  Here’s a comparison of the two white monarchs of the north.

RATING THEIR SENSES
Dall sheep and mountain goats have excellent vision.  They live in wide-open terrain and rely heavily on detecting movement as their first line of defense. The difference in their vision is what they do once they see a human. In areas where either species is hunted heavily. they’ll turn and climb into the heavens upon the first sight of man.

However. in most sheep and goat habitat, hunting pressure is moderate to minimal. Depending on the individual sheep. they may bolt when you peek your head over a ridge. Or, they may act curious at first. The big difference is goats are almost always phlegmatic (slow to respond,).
So, a billy upon seeing you may just stand up and stare, gauging the potential danger. before sauntering up into cliffs.  Frequently. this will give you enough time to execute a good shot – even though the animal is looking at you!  Sheep are not as likely to stand around.

For example, after a week of scrambling up and down the hog-backed ridges of Alaska’s Kenai Mountains. I finally found a dandy Dall ram. He was nibbling lichens in stair step ridges. This terrain provided the ultimate concealment from his sharp eyes. I circumvented the mountain to get the wind and terrain in my favor. Hours later. I had stalked within spitting distance of this full-curl ram. His head was down feeding and a rock blocked his vision. I thought  l’d made the perfect stalk. But it was so steep; I was standing one foot on top of the other. Maintaining my balance was
tough: shooting an accurate arrow would’ve been impossible. I eased forward to better footing. The ram whipped his head up and looked my way. I Froze. Shortly his head was down feeding again. I was on steadier ground. Unfortunately, the ram must have seen movement with peripheral vision. When I drew in slow motion, he blitzd! In a flash of white hair and golden horns, my perfect stalk vanished.

Two days later, in a similar scenario -except I waited until the ram’s eyes were obscured by his horns-l killed a larger ram. I’m quite certain, in similar circumstances. a mountain goat would have stayed and taken the shot.

Both species have excellent noses. I’ve had sheep and goats head for the hills when a swirling breeze telegraphed my presence. One time, I remember glassing up five full-curl rams in a steep, rocky basin. l spent four hours climbing snow-and-ice-covered cliffs to get above and behind these sheep. When I finally had position, the wind shifted. It was drifting right down the canyon to the rams. It didn’t take long for them to catch a whiff of me and haul butt In a matter of minutes. they raced down the mountain, across a boulder-strewn glacier and up and over the opposing mountain.

In regard to hearing, sheep and goats have rather small ears on their body size (compared to deer, elk and moose). But they can hear sounds just fine. Once again, it’s a matter of how they respond. Realize gravity and the constant freeze/thaw action in their domain creates falling rock on a daily basis. If you tumble an occasional rock its no big deal. The biggest problem you’ll have with sound is a predator’s cadence. If you walk at a steady pace and rocks are sliding constantly. this sound alerts all mountain game. From their perspective, this is the noise of a traveling bear or wolf. If’ you tumble a boulder, just sit tight for a few minutes. I remember unintentionally kicking loose a mist of scree that cascaded down on a billy. He never even blinked. I killed him just a few
minutes later.

HABITS
Each species has similar daily routines. Understanding these routines will improve the odds of success.  Typically, mountain game spend the night in predator-free cliffs. At first light, they’ll rise, stretch a bit and then carefully study their domain.When all is dear, they’ll head for lush vegetation. Most of the time that’s at lower elevation than bedding areas. After feeding for several hours on sedges, grasses or low shrubs, sheep and goats climb back up to a safe ledge and chew their cuds. While ruminating, they may rearrange or change bedding locations. However, unless disturbed, they’ll be in the same general area for several hours. By mid afternoon, the white ones head for food again. By dark, they are in the safe confines of treacherous terrain. This outlines undisturbed mountain game behavior. However, hunting-pressured animals may stay in the cliffs for days without coming out.

Mountain critters live mostly in the alpine. Regardless, both species occasionally feed in alder and
evergreen thickets in the lower reaches of their vertical domains. Don’t overlook these areas when glassing habitat that seems void of game.

One time when hunting white rams in the Chugach Mountains, I had glassed the upper reaches of a mountainside. After glassing the cliffs, I glanced at the lower ledges. These were spotted with alders. Surprisingly, I found an old, black-horned ram feeding in alders next to a cliff. I had lots
of steep terrain to obscure my approach. Hours later, after a hair-raising cliff climb, I was precariously standing on a ledge just 20 yards above this old Pope & Young-class ram.
When he stuffed his snout into the alders for another bite, I quietly stepped to the cliff’s edge and zipped an arrow through his lungs. This is one occasion when glassing the lower, brush-choked canyons paid off

HABITAT
Dall sheep can be found in a variety of terrain, anything from rotten vertical cliffs to steep-sided mountains with relatively flat tops. I’ve even Found sheep in almost flat country.  However, escape terrain is always nearby. Goats on the other hand are generally on or very near cliffs all the time. In many regions both species live above steep,  thick  , brush-choked basins that require the ultimate in physical stamina. Busting up though Devil’s Club and alders only to break our into even steeper alpine will test your mettle.

The lateral moraine of glaciers is a good place to look for mountain game. These rugged corridors where the glacier has receded contains the youngest, most tender plant life in the area. One easy way to find productive habitat for sheep and goats is to apply for lottery drawing hunts. That way, the game department dictates the hunting area. This narrows down the research necessary to pinpoint productive habitat.  When studying maps, locate basins or stream drainages with several side canyons so you have alternative hunting areas. If you spook the only white monarch out of
a box canyon, all your effort is wasted. Learning to interpret topographical maps is paramount too. I recall planning out a hunting route by studying a map. After two days of climbing. I learned circumventing this particular mountain was impossible without tactical climbing gear.

HUNTING TACTICS
Most of the time sheep and goats will be easy to locate. Yellowish-white game on dark rocks is like looking for popcorn on a black carpet. Getting to them is the challenging part! It’s difficult because they live in open alpine where they can see for miles (except where steepness blocks their vision).
Especially glass into the dark shadows and every nook and cranny you can find. Frequently, you’ll catch just a glimpse of white hair or horn jutting our near a promontory.

Basically, there are two tactics for sheep and goat hunting. The most productive is spot and stalk. The second method is patterning undisturbed game. I’ve seen sheep and goat use the same general travel route in consecutive days but they don’t pattern like whitetails. Either way, you must eventually stalk to kill a mountain animal. Here are my preferences for getting within bow range of sheep and goats.

For sheep, I like to glass ’em up at long range with binos and size up trophy potential with a spotting scope. I’ll watch them for hours or even days if necessary before making a stalk. What I’m waiting for is the sheep to move into vision-blocking terrain that provides the best chance of getting within bow range. If that happens when they are grazing. fine. If a Dall ram beds in a stalkable area, I’ll go after him there. Regardless. I’m most concerned with concealing terrain. lf I start out on a stalk and realize it won’t come to fruition because it’s too open or the wind is iffy, I carefully abort the stalk. If you spook a ram, he’s likely to head for the next mountain range or spend a few days in rope-rappelling cliffs until he’s forced to greener pastures.

For goats, it’s a similar concept just more physically demanding. Sooner or later a billy will saunter into somewhat humanly traversable terrain.  When that occurs, get above and approach from his blind side. This is the chink in the otherwise impenetrable survival armor of a mountain goat. They are so confident they can out-climb predators; they rarely flee immediately-even if you’re within bow range. This is especially true if goats are on or near cliffs when they spot you. Furthermore, this arrogant climbing attitude-almost always prevents goats from looking up. ‘ Thus, if you can get above a mountain billy without being detected, you stand a good chance of killing him.

A few years ago I used this tactic to kill my biggest billy. He and two comrades were bedded on a small tundra-covered ledge just yards above 1,000 feet of vertical cliffs. From nearly a mile away, I mapped out the safest and most concealing stalking route. When I was about 400 yards away, I set up my spotting scope and determined which of the three billies had the largest horns. From there I crawled on hands and knees, utilizing a crossing breeze. I was in plain sight of all three goats for most of that last quarter mile. The billies never looked up or behind. At2 5 yards, just beyond a mogul, I could see the goat’s head and hefty shoulders. After several minutes of standing in view, the goat noticed my presence. Instantly, his hair bristled and he stood up and stared.
Looking dumbfounded he calculated what danger I posed. I’m certain no animal had ever
approached him from above and behind. His hesitance cost him his life.

SHOT PLACEMENT
On the grand scheme of things, picking a spot and killing a Dall sheep is very straightforward. Textbook shot placement, a third of the way up from the brisket and in the crease behind the
front shoulder, is perfect. Generally, sheep are not very tenacious. Any internal body hit should put them down. I know one guy who killed a big Dall ram by a broadhead cut to the “wrist” area just above the hoof. I’m not advocating sloppy shooting, I’m just saying that if you do make a marginal hit, do not give up.

Goats are tough as titanium nails! They have thick coats to insulate them
from their icy environs. Plus, billies have dense muscle and stout bone
structure.  Additionally -. they have a die-hard mentality. Understand a
goat’s vitals are more underneath his massive cliff climbing front shoulders
than behind it
.
For example. one teeth-chattering September evening, my partner shot a huge billy right behind the front shoulder and one-third the way up from the brisket. I was watching through binos and thought it was textbook shot placement. When the goat was still alive and standing in a vertical chute at dark, I was astounded. We recovered the billy from the bowels of that cavernous canyon the next morning. An autopsy showed the broadhead had clipped the back of one lung and completely impaled the liver. This shot placement on a sheep would have taken out both lungs.

However, with goats, I’d advise shooting tight to the shoulder or even better, take slight quartering-away shots.  This will undoubtedly angle the arrow into the vitals. Furthermore, will you be able to
physically recover the downed animal.  There is little sense in shooting a white monarch only to have it freefall over a 500-foot cliff with no human access.

One goat I shot tumbled several hundred yards down a rock ledge and slide area. Gravity eventually sent him to the glacier’s edge. It took about an hour to safely climb down and recover him. After killing one ram, he tumbled off a 200-foot ledge. Upon impact, he literally exploded. Forty-five minutes of cliff descending were needed to reach him. Hopefully these illustrations will alert anxious bowhunters to carefully approach mountain game hunting.

Sheep and goat hunting are financially, physically and mentally taxing.
However, if you ever get the chance to quit dreaming and actually hunt the white monarchs of the north, go for it. Both species are excellent table fare and unique trophies. Combined with
their awesome habitat it’ll be a breathtaking experience to say the least. <–<<

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Published by archerchick on 20 Feb 2010

Two Is A Charm – by Kathy Butt

Two Is A Charm -By Kathy Butt
Those serious about tagging and archery bull will be sure to take a partner along

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

Any hunter who has experienced an up-close-and-personal encounter with a screaming, slobbering, pissing-all-over-himself bull elk will have a vivid memory of that encounter etched forever in their heart and soul.

There’s no doubt about it.  It’s quite addictive.  And it’s encounters such as the one I just described, that I look forward to each elk season with great anticipation.  In fact, I experienced one of those up-close encounters just this past fall.

It was during the second week of the New Mexico archery elk season when my husband, Foster, and I moved in tight to work a very vocal bull in the dark timber early one morning.  After making a mad dash up the wet and slippery mountainside, we caught a glimpse of the bull as he ran from one ridge to another.  And although this bull was extremely vocal, he was

playing hard to get. Actually, it after closing the distance for the third time that I finally was in th right position and ready for the shot as the bull came charging down the ridge ahead.

Foster had backed up behind me 125 to 150 yards and his realistic and urgent cow calling sequence was working like a charm.  The bull just couldn’t stand it any longer and came racing down the ridge ahead.  I drew my bow as he threw his head back and charged down the game trail into the open meadow 25 yards away.  He stopped broadside and looked in my direction, but it was too later.  I was sighted in, my top pin positioned low and behind his front shoulder.  I touched the trigger of my release and watched as the white fletchings of my arrow disappeared into the bull’s chest.

The 6×6 bolted up the ridge to my right and I bugled just as he reached the edge of the dark timber.  This was hopefully to confuse the bull, so he wouldn’t travel far before going down, but also to signal Foster that I’d shot the bull.  I was experiencing and absolute whirlwind of emotion, my knees were shaking uncontrollably, and I was trying to gain my composure as Foster carefully and quietly worked his way back to me.  Just as Foster arrived, we heard the bull crash in the timber.  The bull was down.  We faintly heard the bull taking his last laboring breaths, and tears were sliding down my cheeks as my hunting partner smiled at me and gave me a victorious thumbs up!

Thirty minutes later, Foster and I cautiously approached the bull. I couldn’t help but think of how other successful encounters such as this one confirmed what we’d known for many years-that teaming up with a hunter partner tremendously increases a hunter’s shooting opportunities.

There’s no question, teaming up with a hunting buddy and taking turns calling backup for each other can greatly increase your odds of calling bulls into shooting range, rather than you just calling solo. It doesn’t have anything to do with the vocal rate of today’s elk, for I believe elk are just as vocal now as when my husband and I first began hunting them back in the 1980s. But, I do believe that calling elk into bow range has become increasingly difficult, or let’s say perhaps more of a challenge now than when hunters first incorporated bugling and cow-calling tactics into their hunting strategies.

My husband and I have been running a private-land elk hunting operation in northern New Mexico since the mid-1980s and have discovered through our own personal experiences, as hunters and guides, that hunting with a partner, and having them call behind you as much as 50 to 150 yards, will increase your shooting opportunities by almost 100 percent.

The 6×6 bull mentioned in the beginning of this article is not the first bull my husband has called into archery range for me. Another prime example of how productive tag-team hunting can be is the day I called in a 5×5 bull for one of our guided hunters during the third week of the New Mexico archery season. This incident occurred just last fall. I was guiding a first-time elk hunter, Lance Rider, a good friend of ours from Tennessee, when we located a bull that seemed to be real excited. He was quite vocal and we didn’t hear or see any cows. Having worked a bull in this same area the day before, one that had a small harem of cows with him-particularly one very bossy lead cow that yanked the bull’s chain and convinced him to follow her in the other direction-I felt we should slip in as close as possible before making a sound. I explained to Lance that I was going to back up and call in hopes of pulling the screaming bull upwind of him.  I then told Lance to move in as tight on the bull as he felt he could without being detected. Then I told him to keep his eyes open and be ready for a shot.

This bull was ripe for the picking and our strategies worked like a charm. Lance was able to slip through the timber undetected, moving quickly and carefully while weaving his way through the shadows of the dark timber.  He hadn’t gone far before the 5×5 came charging in and was looking for the cows that seemed to be moving in the other direction. Lance was drawn and ready when the bull stopped 12 yards away to bugle. I was positioned almost 100 yards slightly to the right of Lance’s setup and couldn’t see a darned thing, but when the bull bugled that last time, I knew he had to be right on top of Lance.  Almost immediately I caught a glimpse of the bull running through the timber and heard him stumble less than75 yards from where I stood. Oh, what I would give to have seen the look on Lance’s face when that bull stopped and bugled right in front him!

Setting Up for Success
Using the proper setup is the key to not only calling a bull into range for the shooter, but is also crucial for calling a bull upwind and broadside of the shooter, which is what you want. And always check the wind before ever moving in to set up on a bugling bull and position the designated shooter in front of, not behind, a large tree or bush. Standing behind something, as well as shooting from a kneeling position, somewhat limits your shooting opportunities.

The caller should back away from the shooter’s setup a few yards, angle slightly to one side (upwind of the shooter) and then call. Move another 25 to 50 yards and call again, making noise as you move away. Elk make a lot of noise when moving through timber, so kick rocks, step on branches, do anything that will further convince a bull there are other elk in the area.

The shooter should keep a mouth diaphragm in his mouth in order to stop a bull for the shot.

Suggested Calling Strategies
Your elk-calling strategies will vary throughout the season and here’s what I ve found to work best during the various stages of the elk rut. Bulls aren’t very vocal during early September, so I’d suggest bugling only to locate a bull and then switch to using only soft cow mews. As the season
progresses and the first cows start coming into estrous, then use a bugle more, but still mostly to locate a bull. Even when we use a bugle call, my husband and I prefer to tone it down and sound like a young bull.

As the rut commences we then switch to using whinny, aggressive-type cow calls, calls which create a sense of urgency or pleading. And what we’ve found to be especially effective is to use two different types (brands) of these calls, making it appear as if there are two or more cows begging for company. This technique works especially well toward the end of the archery season. when the bulls are screaming non-stop. There are many styles available, including open-reed (mouth calls) and hand-operated mechanical-type calls, and most manufacturers offer instructional audio cassettes to teach the proper techniques for using them.

This demanding, whinny-type call may sometimes even entice the bull’s harem right into your lap.
No, it doesn’t always work, but on numerous occasions I’ve been able to get the cows all worked up. They come in to investigate the source of the call and the bull comes following close behind. The key to using this type of call is attaining the right pitch and the sense of urgency with which you apply it. I will also warn you that we’ve had black bears come to this call as well. In fact, we’ve had bears run in behind a bull on two separate occasions. So, be aware of that possibility.

As for bugling, we all enjoy sounding like the biggest, baddest bull of the woods, but throughout our years of guiding elk hunters, we’ve found it best to use bugles sparingly, mostly to locate bulls. There are occasions when a bull seems to respond well to bugles, and when it’s then, we keep the volume down and the bugle short. You’re more likely to call in a bull that doesn’t feel as though he’s going to get his butt kicked by a bigger bull, so keep your bugle weak and short.

If you plan on heading west rhis September to hunt elk, consider buddying-up for bulls. You’ll be amazed at how this tag-team hunting will tremendously increase your shooting opportunities. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 20 Feb 2010

Staying On The Trail – By Randy Templeton

Staying on the Trail – By Randy Templeton

Here are some well practiced blood-trailing tips to help you on our next deer recovery

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

I’ve tracked down a good number of whitetails of my own and taken part in trailing numerous others for friends and fellow hunters over the years. The greatest majority of those animals were recovered, but for the few that weren’t it seems that the shooters had one thing in common: They couldn’t remember much detail after taking the shot. I truly believe the root cause for the temporary amnesia was more likely brought on by the sudden surge of adrenaline after releasing the string.

Prior to the sound of the bowstring dissipating and the first few seconds thereafter are often the most crucial moments in time that will assist you in effectively recovering an animal.

Rather than clutter these pages with information of little interest or value, lets look at some fundamental steps that I as well as others use to track down wounded deer!

CAPTURE THE MOMENT
I can’t express enough how important it is to identify where the arrow entered the animal. Also important to etch in your mind is the exact shot angle, the deer’s reaction and the line of sight in which the deer ran. The terrain looks much differently from your treestand than it does at ground level. So, it’s to your advantage to pick out a landmark such as a tree, bush, fence post or rock formation that will help guide the way to that specific spot.

After the deer have vanished from site, continue listening for familiar sounds like thrashing of leaves, sticks cracking or possibly a crashing noise that would indicate the deer went down.

ON THE TRAIL
After taking up the numerous blood trails I’ve come to understand that fatally wounded deer, like healthy deer, follow the path of least resistance

For example, it’s rare a wounded deer will travel up steep ridge inclines or cross deep ravines. such a deer is more likely to travel downhill until reaching flatter ground or cross in a saddle between ridges.

Wounded deer typically head for the security cover of their bedding area. Therefore, try to locate the trails on flat ground or those with downward trends that lead to areas of thick cover. Don’t walk on the blood trail itself but rather off to one side, otherwise you could destroy or cover up critical sign.

When you’re down to finding speckles of blood, it’s a good idea to hang surveyor’s tape or toilet paper in brush or limbs to mark the trail. With any luck at all you’ll pick up new sign that will lead to your deer.

NEVER GIVE UP
There’s no such ting as giving up when it comes to trailing a wounded animal. It’s time to dig down deep and put forth 110 percent all the way!

Even when the trail appears to have dried up, it’s your duty as a hunter to exhaust all your knowledge and resources. I say this because all too often I’ve been on a blood trail when a single piece of evidence surfaced that turned a seemingly doomed situation completely around. This was such the case for me this past season.

It was mid-November and the rut was underway. The stand hovered over the intersection of three pieces of property where several trails snaked through a coulee bottom and converged toward a damaged section of barbed-wire fence. It was the ultimate funnel, and every deer in the neighborhood seemed to be crossing there. Shortly after slipping into the stand that morning a pink

glow on the eastern horizon announced another perfect day to be in the deer woods. Maybe. a half-hour later a mature doe meandered across the grass field. A deep grunt and a flicker of antlers in the sunlight drew my attention toward a buck standing in a patch of multi-flora rose briars near the creek. The doe continued toward the fence, drawing the buck into the open. It was a nice eight-point and a shooter by my standards.

As good luck would have it she crossed the fence and the rut-crazed buck followed. At 25 yards I drew my Fred Bear bow. When he stepped into the clearing I let the string slip free, sending a Muzzy,tipped arrow toward the target. The shot looked good, but the buck barely flinched as the arrow blew through both sides and stuck in the ground 5 yards beyond. The deer looked somewhat

stunned at first, but eventually turned and walked away. Watching through my binoculars, the buck stood near a fence at 100 or more yards away and appeared to contemplate crossing. He then turned and walked along the fence to a section that  had been busted down by a fallen tree and soon disappeared. Mentally marking the spot, I sat back and waited another 45 minutes before climbing down.

Inspecting the arrow, the dark burgundy-colored blood indicated the broadhead had passed through the liver. Unless my eyes had totally deceived me, there was no way the arrow hadn’t taken out a lung too!

Following the blood to the fence crossing wasn’t a problem, but shortly thereafter I lost it when the deer trail forked three ways. Searching each trail, I failed to turn up one shred of evidence that would point me in the right direction. Considering the circumstances, I felt it was best to give the buck more time and return a few hours later with help. My brother, Tracy, and I were back on the scene by noon. After another hour of fruitless effort, we decided to try a grid search. Walking 20 yards apart we swept one small section at a time until the entire creek bottom had been covered. A hillside laced with multi-flora rose briars divided by another fence was the only thick cover left to search.

Searching the fence line. I found a faint deer trail leading to a sagging top strand of barbed wire. Much to my surprise, a tuft of white belly hair in the fence drew my attention toward faint blood on

a weed on the opposite side. Not more than 50 yards from that, I spotted the buck buried beneath

the briars! The liver/lung-shot deer had obviously doubled back and died less than 100 yards from where he was shot.

A heavy, bright red trail such as the one on the left indicates a major artery was severed. on the right Before taking up the blood trail, examine the arrow first and determine the type of hit and the severity. The animal may require more time and pushing too soon could result in disaster

THE NULL ZONE?
There’s been a lot of talk over the years, concerning whether or not a null or void zone truly exists

under the spine. Perhaps you’ve been told by another hunter or read somewhere about someone who shot a deer in the upper back and then saw the deer a month or more later apparently doing fine. I’d venture to say that in most instances the wound was superficial, whereas the broadhead didn’t sever the primary artery running along the spine or it didn’t penetrate the sealed portion of the chest cavity. I don’t believe there is such a thing as the null zone, but I do believe an animal is capable of surviving minor injuries to a vital organ.

SINGLE LUNG SHOTS
The previous statement begs an answer to a frequently asked question regarding whether or not a deer can survive with only one lung. My answer to this is yes! I say this because I have witnessed it more than once.

For example, many years ago during the gun season my friend Danny had just shot his first buck. While field dressing the deer, Danny found one shriveled lung and the other with a fresh 12-gauge slug hole through it. It was obvious the “one-lunger” had been shot the year before and survived to see another season.

Therefore, if you suspect you have only clipped one lung, I might suggest continuing to push the animal, especially if the arrow is still in the chest cavity. Chances are the broadhead will continue working around, doing further organ or artery damage in the process and improve your odds of recovery.

High-Lung Shots
A sharp broadhead center-punched through both lungs will have a good blood trail to follow and the animal generally goes down within 100 yards or so. However, as with a liver-shot deer, a high-lung shot can create similar problems for tracking. The animal doesn’t bleed much out of the gate and the majority of the bleeding takes place internally. Therefore, the lower chest cavity normally fills up first before it starts pumping out the top. Similar to priming an old water well, it takes a few pumps to fill the lower well shaft before water starts flowing out the spout.

My good friend and hunting buddy Craig Owens experienced the same scenario this past whitetail season. He shot a deer that was quartering away slightly to start with, but at the sound of the string twang, it lunged downward and turned at the same time. The three-blade Thunderhead broadhead entered the chest high, sending the buck racing to parts unknown, leaving virtually no trail to follow. It took a few hours of searching on his hands and knees, plus a grid search, to find the double-lung-shot deer that expired 150 yards from the hit sight.

Therefore, don’t assume the worst just because you didn’t find blood right away. Continue to follow up!

Shoulder Shots
I’d venture to say shoulder shots have one of the worst recovery rates, but also one of the highest survival rates. This is likely due to a whitetail’s amazing clotting capability especially when a vital organ or major artery isn’t involved. Similar to what you might learn in a first-aid course with regard to applying pressure to a deep cut, when a deer lies down on a wound the applied pressure helps seal it off. On more than one occasion I’ve seen shoulder-shot deer leap from their beds and flee without spilling any blood. Even worse is the fact that they wont bleed much (if at all) for quite some distance and it’s easy to lose the trail all together!

Although some may disagree, I truly believe a suspect shoulder shot warrants immediate follow-up to keep the wound open.’With any luck at all the broadhead will worm its way around and do further damage in the process and improve the odds of recovery.

Paunch Shots
Depending on whom you speak with, some claim a paunch shot is a non-lethal hit. Call it what you want, but there’s no doubt in my mind that a belly-shot deer is a dead deer!

Unfortunately, the biggest mistake hunters make is letting their eagerness to take up pursuit override all common sense. The old stand-by. rule of waiting a half-hour before tracking was never meant to apply to a gut shot.

It’s fairly easy to identify a paunch shot if you have the arrow to inspect. Typical to this type of hit, you’ll normally find green or brown stomach matter mixed with bright red blood on the arrow If unsure, give it the nose test. The stuff generally reeks with a foul-and-sour-smelling odor.

Depending on the exit wound the arrow and broadhead may be coated with a greasy fat or tallow, which is typical if it passes through the intestines and exits the belly.

In cases where the arrow wasn’t found, watch the deer as it walks away. If the deer is walking with it’s head down or hunching up with tail tucked between its legs, it’s a fair indicator of a paunch shot.

The minute,you identify this type of hit, mark the last sign and slip quietly out of the area all together. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose by pursuing the deer. Provided they’re not pushed, a gut-shot deer will generally bed down within 150 yards from where they’re shot On a

couple of occasions I’ve found a deer the following day that was still alive. Because of this, I always wait a minimum of 12 hours before taking up the trail!

It would be great if there were a dead animal at the end of every blood trail. Unfortunately, in real life it doesn’t always end that way. If an animal falls within eyesight, then obviously the task of tracking is a no-brainer For those that don’t, however, take a calm approach to avoid missing the small details that could point you in the right direction. Be persistent, and above all, never say never when it comes to recovering your game. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 20 Feb 2010

Keeping the Challenge – by Sam Hossler

Keeping the Challenge – By Sam Hossler

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No, not that one. We’ll get you a bigger one,” the guide was whispering in David Erich’s ear. Dave relayed the hushed conversation to me later that evening. I was sitting in a blind about 75 yards away watching events unfold in the forest at Paradise Ranch in Centre County, Pennsylvania.
It was the hunt of a lifetime for two Pennsylvania disabled hunters. and the whitetail buck Dave was told not to shoot would have been a real trophy on just about anybody’s wall.  In fact, I had the camera trained on the animal just knowing at any second the crossbow bolt would slice through the evening air at more than 300 feet per second and nail the biggest whitetail I had ever seen in the wild.

And I knew Dave could do it; I had watched him practice that afternoon with his crossbow. At 40 yards he grouped his bolts in a 2-inch circle every time.

You may think that’s not much of a feat but consider this: Dave is  paralyzed from the waist down plus in part of his torso which gives him no use of his fingers and very limited use of his arms. His wheelchair, which he must hunt from, is motorized and offers the left to right movement in lining up his bow. To gain or lower elevation his dad, Butch, a machinist, built a hydraulic cylinder into the bar that holds the bow (this is operated by two buttons that Dave can activate by hitting them with his hand). The crossbow is securely clamped into the bar that is attached to the cylinder and the trigger has been elongated so his hand can release the bolt by moving his whole arm slowly back.

According to Butch, each wheelchair is different and the mechanism musr be customized for each. This was a new chair for Dave, and Butch redesigned and rebuilt the shooting platform just before archery season this year. To his credit over the years, Dave has taken two does and a five-point buck with his crossbow up until this hunt. He said he went spring gobbler hunting once but all he saw was a gray squirrel.

Erich has hunted since he was in his teens in 1979, and the desire never left him, even after suffering a near fatal automobile crash while in the military. The accident left him paralyzed but he never gave up hope of hunting again. In 1992 he was well enough to try and with the help of his father found that even with his disability he still enjoyed the outdoors.

The other hunter, Gordon Sisler, was from south central Pennsylvania and had been disabled from birth.  Gordon has been a rifle hunter up until now and bought his crossbow when he heard he was picked for this hunt at Paradise Ranch. His bow is mounted on a cross bar by Velcro with no method of raising or lowering it. The release is triggered by a string he holds in his teeth and sets off by pulling his lips together. In practice his shots were somewhat off, due to his bow not held tight to the mount. However, Pat Strawser, his guide, felt his accuracy was plenty good enough for close,range shooting at deer. With two weeks of crossbow experience he was taking a dream hunt of a lifetime for whitetail.

Paradise Ranch is tucked back in the mountains of central Pennsylvania, just north of State College. Almost 1,000 acres of prime whitetail habitat is enhanced with extensive wildlife management. Only 4 years old, the ranch has already gained the reputation of producing trophy-size bucks and unparalleled comfort in the lodge for its guests. Trophy bucks were brought in
supplement the herd and the gene pool. Not only did they look for good genetic factors with the
bucks but with the does as well. Selective harvesting and a good gene pool have given them a magnificent herd.

Ernie Kramer, who heads up the United Bow Hunters of Pennsylvania disabled program, explained that they arranged a hunt in Alabama for 1999. It turned out both Erich and Sisler had been at the top of the list to go, however, Alabama doesn’t allow non-residents to use a crossbow, disabled or not, a disappointment all around. He then contacted Donny Beaver at
Paradise Ranch to see what a hunt of this type would cost. Beaver quickly donated two hunts for these disabled hunters. Kramer said the hunters were selected because they were wheelchair bound and used crossbows. Both Erich and Sisler fit the criteria.

Kramer has a database of 77 Pennsylvania disabled hunters and is looking to expand that. By receiving these hunts as donations the United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania were able to take the money that would have been spent and send donations to Hunt of A Lifetime, Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America and Buckmasters Disabled Services.

Kramer said, “I can’t thank Donny Beaver enough for his generosity” I arrived at the lodge just as lunch was being served by two lovely ladies who catered to your every wish. Then we went out to have some practice with the crossbows.

Along about 4 o’clock that afternoon, the two wheelchair accessible vans were loaded with hunters, helpers and equipment.  I rode with the guide. Uncle Phil Scheryer who would take Erich to his blind.

On the way I spotted a spike buck slinking away through the underbrush, and as we rounded a curve there were two bucks, a doe and a yearling at the edge of the woods.  One was a nice eight and the other a dandy six-point.  They definitely weren’t shooters at Paradise.

We pulled into a wide spot on the trail with the van right behind us.  A blind of fallen logs and branches was at the edge of the woods looking out over the trail and an open grassy area on the other side.  Maneuvering the wheelchair in position, branches had to be cleared away to give Dave a clear view.

Later I watched from the distance as deer began walking near Dave’s blind.  at one moment, two good bucks came out.  Unfortunately, neither gave Dave a shot.

The following morning, Dave got his chance and sent a well-placed bolt through a big buck.  The deer went less than 50 yards and dropped.  Gordon also had a shooter buck come within range that evening and made a good shot.  It was a great trophy for a first-time bowhunter.  No hunt could have had a happier ending <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 20 Feb 2010

Tarzan’s Tips For Beginners -by Steve Barde

Tarzan’s Tips For Beginners by Steve Barde

December 1975

Jock Mahoney’s Archery Feats Are On Film, But The King Of The Jungle Shows He Hasn’t Forgotten The Rudiments In This Primer For All Beginners!

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December 1975

TARZAN MOVIES ARE as popular today as some decades ago, and a good portion of today’s younger ticket buyers recognize the loin cloth-clad hero mostly for his ‘gator  ‘rasslin’, vine swingin’ and yodelin’.

What most have forgotten or didn’t know in the first place is that the character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs was supposed to be a regular tack-driver with the bow and arrow. Not only could he outshoot the late Howard Hill, but he also could manufacture all of his tackle from raw jungle materials with relative ease.

Normal folks realize that authors sometimes create fictional characters with larger-than-life abilities. After all, who really believes that Tarzan could bring at a run all manner of wild game simply through a series of vocal contortions? But, as more than one screen actor has been known to comment, most movie directors are anything but normal!

As an example, ten years ago BOW & ARROW reported the exploits of the then-current Tarzan, Jock Mahoney, on the set of Tarzan Goes to India. Besides riding the herd bull on various elephant stampedes, Tarzan Mahoney was required – among other things – to cluster three fresh-cut, crooked shafts into a half dollar-sized group in a tree trunk some fair distance away. Though remote, this was conceivably possible, if the archer had a good bow. Mahoney’s bow Was anything but. As he describes it:

“One end was a sort of arthritic, partial recurve. The other end was twice as thick and curvy as a broom handle. Torque? Yes, the heavy end had twice as much as the small end and in the opposite direction. Every time I shot an arrow in the air, I had to tighten the string, because the bow lost some poop somewhere.”

Somehow, the actor managed to put the three arrows into the designated spot from about twenty feet, thus proving the director might have been right all along. There wasn’t any doubt in the latter’s mind following a later feat with bow and arrow, however.

In this case, Mahoney was astride a charging bull elephant, leading a herd that was stampeding wildly toward a wall in the distance. The script called for Tarzan to launch an arrow far in front of the stampeding herd, the dynamite stick strapped to the shaft blowing a hole in the wall so the elephants could continue rushing forward. As Jock Mahoney relates, he shot the shaft and, after glancing at the elephants surrounding him, looked forward to see the shaft slowly arcing
earthward far short of its intended destination. In fact, it was descending close to the spot Mahoney would reach as his elephant raced ahead!

Perhaps out of self-preservation, he reached out and caught the falling arrow, then renocked and fired it again.  All this from elephant-back at thirty miles per hour, no less! That feat surely would convert even the most skeptical director!

It only was natural, then, to take beginner lessons from a man who’d performed these miracles – especially if he’s your father. At least, that’s what Princess Meliss O’Mahoney thought.

Brought up on the banks of the Mississippi, Jock Mahoney – legally Jacques O’Mahoney – received his introduction to archery at a young age. His first bows were fashioned from green willow wands, but he later advanced to a sixty-six-inch recurve made of modern materials that generated sixty pounds of pull at his twenty-eight-inch draw length.

So when daughter Princess asked for instruction, Tarzan was ready. He outfitted the lithesome, five-foot, ten-inch actress with an Eichoitz Bowhunter model scaling twenty-five pounds.

“The greatest problem for beginners in archery lies in the fact that they won’t admit they can’t handle a heavy bow,” Mahoney told his pupil, standing in the backyard of his Del Mar, California, home. “They read articles about hunters who shoot sixty and seventy-pound bows, or target champions who shoot all day with forty or forty-five-pound bows, but they find, when they try to pull these heavy units, they just don’t have the knowledge or the muscle.

“You build a whole new set of muscles when you take up the sport of archery,” continued his daughter’s gray-haired mentor, “and it’s not just brute strength that puts an arrow in the center of the target. It’s a knowledge of how to pull and hold, among other things.”

Mahoney then launched into a discourse on the nomenclature of the bow and its assorted accessories, so Princess would know to which part her instructor was referring. He then braced the bow and handed it to the aspiring archer. Being right-handed, she immediately switched the bow to her left hand.

“Don’t question, just listen,” ordered Tarzan, explaining the process of drawing the arrow back to a constant anchor in this case, the corner of the mouth – with the first finger of her right hand.
“This system seems the easiest to learn, since you have less to think about,” informed Mahoney. “Besides, it works great for me and if I can do it, you can”

A Port Orford cedar shaft was withdrawn from a box and the nock, fletching and field point next were explained. The discourse was meant to reduce tension and prevent his pupil from trying to shoot too soon.  “Now, assume a comfortable stance,” commanded Mahoney, who recently finished filming To Speak As Brothers in Oregon for release in late 1975. “Set your feet at right angles to the target. Space them apart enough that you’ve got good balance, but not too wide, Now raise the bow and pivot towards the target.”

The tall actor then circled his pupil several times, adjusting and altering her stance slightly. He then moved the target to within approximately ten paces and addressed himself to the matter of proper grip. “There are many styles and methods of gripping a bow handle,” he informed his student, who was becoming restless. “You can grip it until the knuckles turn white, but if you do, the bow will have a tendency to torque.”

The puzzled expression on Princess O’Mahoney’s face led to more in-depth explanation of torquing. “This means erratic flight of the arrow and inconsistency in your shooting and hitting ability,” elaborated. her mentor. “Hitting a target consistently is enough of a problem without making additional ones.”

Returning to the matter of grip, Mahoney added, “If you open-hand the bow, hold it in the web of the left hand and allow drawing of the bow to hold it in place until the arrow is released, you can develop the habit of grabbing for the bow just prior to release. This also gives bad arrow flight to the target.
“Perhaps the simplest and least-complicated method is to hold the bow lightly but firmly in the bow-hand and, after you’ve overcome some of the basic problems, you can experiment to find the system that works best for you.” “If I have to listen to another
lengthy discussion like the last one. I’ll be too old to worry about shooting at all!” grumbled the aspiring archer under her breath.

“We’re getting there,” answered Mahoney with a paternal glower. “Don’t rush me!”

An arrow then was nocked on the bowstring. The nocking point had been installed in the proper position, a quarter-inch above the right angle to the string at the point opposite the arrow rest. “The arrow goes under the nocking point, since it’s perhaps easier for the beginner – that’s you – to place an upward pressure on the arrow,” interjected Tarzan. “There’s also less chance of the arrow riding up and causing wild shots. Okay, now draw the bow.”

As she began pulling back on the string, her illustrious father reached over and deftly plucked the arrow off the string. In response to her quizzical expression, the erstwhile King of the
Jungle instructed Princess O’Mahoney to try full draw several times before nocking an arrow and shooting.

Realizing it was almost time to shoot, the archer dutifully did as instructed. The arrow was replaced on the string. “Now come back to full draw, then hold until I tell you to shoot,” he said, Grinning, she began to draw the shaft, but found it wanted to flop off the left side of the bow, away from the handle. “That’s from trying to use your thumb,” explained Mahoney. “Cut off the thumb with your mind and forget you have it. You unconsciously try to grasp the arrow with the thumb and you just don’t need it in this sport; at least, not with the normal three-finger draw and release technique.”

As instructed, Ms. O’Mahoney forgot her thumb and smoothly drew the arrow to her anchor point. Her head bobbed up and down as she tried to see what the arrow and target relationship would look like. When told to shoot, the arrow sailed high and over the target.

“What happe….”
“Don’t worry about hitting the target,” Mahoney advised, cutting her off. “Just try to get an arrow in the backstop. After you get one in it, then try for the target. You can start trying to drive tacks or whatever later on. Learn to shoot first, then where to shoot.”

Another arrow and another miss brought a pained look to the archer’s face. “From thls close range, hold the tip of the arrow below the target on the Korky backstop,” her mentor instructed. “You don’t really see what you shoot at; you see under it at some ranges, over it at others.”

With a dubious shake of her head, Princess O’Mahoney came to full draw, held and, when the arrow plunked into the rubberized cork of the backstop, it was dead-center in the square target.
There’s nothing quite like that first good hit to bring smiles to the faces of both student and teacher.
“That’s great!” Mahoney erclaimed. “Now all you need do is practice’and keep putting them in the same spot. Problems will develop, but we’ll work them out after you acquire them. Telling you about them now could influence your shooting. “All you need for target shooting is to try turning yourself into a shooting machine,” added Tarzan, “to put all the arrows in one spot. The oniy difference between the hit you just made and one at a hundred yards is a matter of elevation and aiming. There are factors of wind and temperature, but don’t worry about them now.”

No matter how advanced she becomes, it’s doubtful that this sister of actress Sally Field, and an actress in her own right, will find herself adorned in a loin cloth atop a charging elephant. That would be stretching Tarzan a little far, even for a director!
<– <<

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Published by archerchick on 20 Feb 2010

Interview with the ELK EXPERT – By Bow & Arrow Hunting Staff

Interview With The Elk Expert  By B&AH Staff
If you’re looking for elk hunting wisdom, bowhunter Dan Evans of Plains, Montana has a lot to offer.

NOTE: With 16 record-book bull elk to his credit, Dan Evans – designer and owner of the famous Trophy Taker Drop-Away rest – is considered one of this nation’s most successful elk bowhunters, Even more impressive is that Dan killed his first archery bull in 1992, and most if not all of Dan’s big elk have come from public-land areas.  Given Dan’s success, we took the opportunity to survey his knowledge.  We asked Dan a variety of specific questions that should help you become an elk expert yourself.
http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

Bow & Arrow Hunting: Looking at your success at bowhunting elk, you’ve obviously done very well, especially at harvesting trophy-class animals. If you had to summarize your formula in how you approach hunting big elk, what would it be? Where should an average bowhunter start?

Evans: First off. you have to hunt where there are big bulls. To find good elk areas, surf the Internet, read magazines, talk to biologists and game wardens and even join a club like Garth Carter’s Hunter Services to keep up to date on the hot areas. Once you’ve found a good area to hunt,
spend as much time as you can there, Learning the terrain and the animals. There is no substitute for time. With enough time, sooner or later you’ll get your opportunity.

Second, once you’ve found a bull to go after, you must do what’s necessary to get within bow range of this animal. This means making the right calls when needed and staying mobile to ambush or tail a bull. You just have to improvise in each situation on what to do, but you must be ultra cautious by constantly monitoring the wind, mimicking sounds like a real elk would make, and simply being as stealthy as possible.

And last, but certainly not least, you should be fully confident in making the shot once it’s presented. I know too many guys that hunt smart but when it comes down to the shot, they blow it. Do what you can to work the bugs out of your equipment and mental shooting ability.
Remember that it really only takes about a minute to set up on a bull and make a killing shot. Make it count!

B&HA: How do you go about accessing trophy-rich elk areas?
Do you day-hunt away from the truck, or do you pack in
using your two legs, horses, ATV etc.?

Evans: I do it all. I day-hunt close to the truck or a four-wheeler and even
spike out every now and then. You have to remember that you don’t have
to be way in the backcountry to kill elk. In fact, I’ve shot every one of my
bulls within 5 miles of a vehicle. I really think a lot of hunters fail to hunt the
‘buffer zone’ which I classify as the areas 1 to 5 miles away from roads.
This is because most do-it-yourself hunters hunt about a mile or so lion
their trucks, and when going with outfitters, hunt areas well beyond 5 Miles
from the nearest road, This leaves a lot of non-hunted areas in between.

B&AH: Would you recommend hiring an outfitter if you’re limited on time or have little experience hunting elk?

Evans: Yes, time spent in the field is the key to taking big elk. If you don’t
have the time, then you should hire someone who does.

B&AH: What hunting technique do you prefer to employ when hunting
elk-calling, taking a stand, or spot and stalk? Also, do you often hunt alone
or with a buddy? If alone, are you still able to call effectively?

Evans: I use all of them. I’ve killed a lot of my elk by calling, a few by
taking a stand and by spot and stalk. I hunt almost exclusively alone. It’s
more difficult to call alone, but I make it work, plus I like the sense of
accomplishment I get from killing an elk all by myself. Really you shouldn’t
limit yourself to one hunting method.

B&AH: In preparing for an elk hunt, what would you suggest to our readers
on how to properly prepare? Is physical fitness all that important?

Evans: Being in good shape is definitely important. But, and this is a big but, being smart and patient is more important. You have to have mental stamina too. This is very important.
Honestly it comes down to being in the right place at the right time, and you need the right
mindset (mental toughness) to get you there. Remember – it only takes a couple of minutes to be successful on a two-week hunt, so don’t give up!

B&AH: Do you think bugling works well on today’s hard-hunted, call-shy elk?  If so, do you use a bugle just as a locator call?

Evans: My theory on calling is simple. If you can convince an elk you’re in fact an elk, it’ll work. If not, it won’t. You must call well enough to not leave any doubts in an elks mind that you’re artificial. I’ve been pretty successful at this by imitating the bull’s bugle and tone. But this only works when
I’ve done everything else right like getting close enough to entice a fight. I’ve found in most cases, big elk will move away from you almost always, so I continue to follow the bull until I can eventually get him turned. I like to close the gap to about 40 yards or so. This way the bull only has to turn back 20 yards before he’s in range. You have remember-hunting big bulls and small bulls are two entirely different things. A big bull is careful even if you sound like a real elk.

B&AH: Most serious elk hunters admit that cow calls when used properly can lure in even the most pressured elk. Do you agree? Also, when you use a cow call, how do you use it and can you recommend your favorite models?

Evans: Producing the right cow sounds at the right time will coax in a big bull, but it has ro be perfect. Otherwise, even a cow call wont do it. Elk have to believe it’s real. I highly recommend a smooth-sounding diaphragm call in conjunction with a raspy blow-through call. I have used
several different diaphragms by Larry D. Jones, Primos and Barry Game Calls; blow-through calls by Primos, Sceery, Carlton and Woodswise; and I use bugles by Prirnos and Barry Game Calls. My advice is to master the diaphragm call. When a bull comes in, you’ll need to stop him, and
you’ll need a mouth diaphragm to do this.

B&AH: What about calf sounds or other alternate methods, such as raking a tree, kicking a few rocks, or other common sounds elk often make when challenged by another bull?

Evans: When calling, I don’t try to be silent. In thick country, like where I hunt a lot in northern Idaho, the key is to make any sound an elk would make. I even sometimes pull grass out from the ground to imitate an elk grazing. Be noisy, just don’t do anything that doesn’t sound natural.

B&AH: Have you tried decoys?

Evans: I’ve tried decoys a few times, but so far I haven’t been real impressed. I do like the designs by Montana Decoy and plan on putting them to use this fall. If you use a decoy, make sure you can set it up easy and that it’s quiet.

B&AH: What would you consider the biggest mistakes most bowhunters make when hunting elk?

Evans: One, not watching the wind enough. Two, making too many non-elk-like calls. Three, expecting a bull to come to them. Four, not being in the right places at daylight and dark. And five, not being prepared to take the shot when it arrives.  When hunting mountainous country where elk
reside, you have to remember that the wind is constantly
changing-so keep an eye on it, always. Also, don’t make an elk sound (calling or tree-raking noise) if it doesn’t fit with the situation you’re in. And never expect a bull to come to you. Instead, move, and make something happen. Moreover, I can’t state how important it is to be in the woods at prime time-meaning at your specific ambush spot (wallow, saddle, meadow etc.) at light and just before dark. Most hunters time their hunt so they leave the truck or camp at light and arrive back at
dark. If being in the dark scares you, you’ll have to overcome it. And last, be sure you and your bow setup are ready to perform when needed. Do whatever you can to expose yourself to high-pressure situations by shooting in front of friends, competing in 3-D tournaments, and so on.

B&AH: What about shooting equipment? Do 4ou think light arrows and mechanical broadheads dispatch big elk cleanly? Or do you recommend medium- to heavy-weight arrows and conventional broadheads?

Evans: The bottom line is to hit what you’re aiming at, so, shoot the heaviest bow you can handle comfortably in  awkward shooting positions, like from your knees and butt. Regarding mechanical broadheads, I’ve killed five bulls with mechanical-type heads, but I’ve gone back to fixed-blade heads. I don’t like two-blades, and to get the penetration needed with a mechanical you should shoot a two-blade or a three-blade model with a small cutting diameter. Besides, I’ve had mechanicals deflect on impact and not always leave an entry hole. This is another reason why I’ve
designed the Trophy Taker rest. It allows you to shoot great groups using fixed-blade heads. In arrows, I recommend medium- to heavy-weight shafts.

B&AH: What does your personal hunting setup consist of?

Evans: I shoot a Martin Scepter IIXRG with Fury Cams, somewhere between 75 and 80 pounds of peak weight.  This bow is a great long-draw bow that’s 43 inches long with an 8 inch brace height. It shoots Easton 460-grain ACC 3/7l arrows, using a 725-grain head, at 285 fps. I use 360 Flex Fletch vanes with a strong helical, Winner’s Choice custom bowstrings made of BCY’s 452 material, and a tied-on string loop. I also use a bow quiver, Sims Vibration Labs products, my Trophy Taker rest and a prototype Trophy Taker pin sight (available next year). I prefer the Carter Lock Jaw 2000
release (open head) because I can adjust the trigger for zero travel. For most bowhunters, I recommend keeping arrow speed under 275 fps with fixed-blade heads. I can shoot a touch faster, but I constantly tinker with my equipment for perfect arrow flight.

B&AH: It’s obvious you believe in your Trophy Taker drop-away rest.  Do you think it has added to your success as well? If so , in what ways?

Evans: I’ve been using the rest for six years, and I’ve never had a failure. What I like best about this rest is that its simple, it tunes easy, allows for great arrow flight with any style fletching and nock twist, and its quiet-on the draw and after the shot. I designed it to have no “problem points,” like small screws, exposed springs and plastic construction. Plastic works for a lot of things, but I don’t want it on my arrow rest.

When it comes down to it, Dan attributes most of his success to spending plenty of time in the field. He'll hunt no less than seven to 10 days. This way he's assured he'll eventually get the right opportunity

B&AH: When preparing for an upcoming elk hunt, what does your shooting practice consist of?

Evans: I like to keep all of my arrows in a 6-inch circle on elk-size animals. So I do
what is necessary to shoot this accurately. I shoot in 3-Ds, shoot small game constantly
and I practice in my backyard from all different shooting positions. I also always sight my
bow in to my rangefinder. And I shoot broadheads as much as possible. This is absolutely critical.

B&AH: Taking into consideration all the elk you’ve bagged over the years, what would you consider an average shot distance using archery tackle?

Evans: Of the 17 bulls I shot with my bow, my average shot distance comes out to 34 yards. But I wouldn’t get hung up on averages. You should become as proficient at the furthest shooting distance possible. But remember, you must be 100-percent confident in making the shot before
you draw your bow. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t take the shot. I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve only taken shots I know I could make. Since taking my first elk in 1992, I’ve shot 18 bulls and recovered 17. And I’ve never missed a shot. If you prepare correctly and are careful, this kind of record is within every bowhunter’s reach. <—-<<

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Published by archerchick on 19 Feb 2010

HOWARD HILL LIVES – By Sam Fadala

HOWARD HILL LIVES  – By Sam Fadala
February 1977
….Through The Dedication And Skills Of His Appointed Predecessors, Who Carry On The Tradition Of The Famed Hill Longbow

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

February 1977

Sam Fadala is an outdoor writer specializing in hunting, fishing, conservation and natural history.


Tucked away in a mountain valley is the small town of Hamilton, Montana.  The area holds promise for the archer in the form of big whitetail bucks that sneak the beautiful Bitterroot River bottom, and the elk, moose, mule deer and black bear that frequent the hills all around.  Hamilton is also important to the bow and arrow enthusiast for another reason:  It is the home of the Howard Hill Archery Company and Long Bow Manufacturing, producers of the famous Hill-style longbow and accouterments.

Ted Ekin runs the shop.  John Schulz builds the bows.  Friends and students of Howard  Hill, both men are today continuing the tradition established by the world’s greatest archer by the manufacture and sale of the bows and equipment he used, and in perpetuating the Hill method of shooting the bow.  I spent five hours in Ekin’s shop and Schulz’s little factory handling the merchandise, watching bows go together one at a time, listening to both men tell of Hill and his feats, witnessing Schulz shoot wooden discs out of the air and trying the longbow for myself.

As a youth I had many a lemonwood straight-stick bow.  It seems that youngsters almost invent the bow all over again each generation, and the first models are bent bamboo poles or –in my case –an oleander limb with string.  So I had experience with straight bows, but had never tried the handmade split-bamboo laminated creations fostered by Hill and his followers –until the trip to Hamilton.

I not only had the chance to try the bows, but I also hefted the arrow that Howard shot his big bull elephant with back in 1950.  And I saw the shafts Hill used to shoot at the Sheriff of Nottingham’s men in the film “Robin Hood.”  I had always wondered how they managed the famous split-arrow shot when Robin won the big tournament in Merry Olde England.  Not trick photography at all, Hill performed that feat in real life, with actors, extras, and cameras looking on to verify it.

Ted Ekin met Howard Hill in California.  Ted was an enthusiastic archer and tournament shooter at the time and, in 1960, he coupled his love for archery with Hill’s in a business venture.  Archery was not yet enjoying widespread interest and sales were slow.  Later on, Ekin got tired of the big city and decided to move to less populated climes.  He found himself in Hamilton, Montana, along with the love for the longbow that followed him wherever he went.

He had to try again, and he did in Hamilton.  Of course, he needed someone to build the bows to Hill’s specs because they were going to be fully endorsed by the famous archer.  Looking for the right man was easy.  Hill had known John Schulz since Schulz was a boy, and he had taught him patiently how to craft the longbow just right.  Ekin got ahold of Schulz, told him what he had in mind and Schulz moved to Hamilton.  The bowyer set up the longbow company making the Hill bow exclusively for Ted Ekin.

John Schulz gluing a bow together. After it is glued, it will be put into an oven for a specified amount of time.

I knew a few moments after meeting Schulz that he was used to dealing with people who didn’t know much about longbows.  He handed me an eighty-four pound model and I almost pitched it right over my head.  It only weighed nineteen ounces!

“That feels like a bow, doesn’t it,” Schulz stated, no question intended.  I had to admit it did.  I expected an eighty-four pounder to have some physical weight to go with it.

“The true longbow,’ Schulz instructed me, “is not wide limbed, but thin, instead, and deep cored -thick, in other words, this makes ’em shoot right. In a word, they are stable.
Several straight bows are being made today, but they are not the Hill-type of longbow that Howard Hill insisted on.”

The other types, I learned were flat-limbed straight bows, and having seen them I could tell a difference between the longbow and the straight-bow types, as Schulz made the distinction.
Today, the company builds several models: The Big Five and Tembo – Top of the line models with split-bamboo laminations – followed by the Mountain Man, Halfbreed and Redman – all handmade.
None of the hill bows come off a press, and that is why you must have a bowyer, a craftsman, someone who puts them together one at a time.

Another bow in the line is the Howard Hill Commemorative, only seventy-five of them made – one for each year of Hill’s life.  These sell for around $500, but the top of the line Big Five goes for about $140, with the Mountain Man running around $90.  Aside from bows, there are the Hill style armguards and shooting gloves, as well as a fine back quiver made of tanned leather.  I especially liked the quiver.  Hill designed it and he must have done so after years of trial and error because it feels just right on the back and is easy to draw from.

Schulz looked me straight in the eye, grabbed up the eighty-four pound bow I had been admiring and twisted the string hard, right next to the bow nock. “That would unstring a recurve bow,” he said. “But it won’t bother this one because of that same word I mentioned earlier – stability.  Hill told me he didn’t believe he could have performed his feats with the bow if he had had to use a more sensitive type.

“These bows are not sensitive,” Schulz went on, ” and you don’t shoot them the way you do a compound or a recurve.”  I had a feeling I was in for a lesson, and I was right.  Ekin and Schulz walked over to the ever-present shooting bales by the shop and Schulz shot while Ekin talked.

“You should have seen Howard shoot,” Ekin said.  “He was fluid. He was smooth. He said you had to keep the right momentum.  If you drew rapidly, you shot fast. If you drew slowly, you shot slower.  It was a rhythm that you didn’t break.”

Hill did not shoot straight up, head high.  He leaned into his shot as a good shotgunner does.  In fact, the best comparison I can think of to explain his way of handling the bow is a comparison of rifle and shotgum shooting.  The rifleman stands tall and relaxed – but not loose.  He aims deliberately and usually has a device to help him aim.  He squeezes off carefully.  Most of us shoot a bow this way, maybe because we are, basically a nation of riflemen.

The good shotgunner is loose and natural in his swing, leaning a bit forward perhaps, relaxed,
not choking down on his gun, maintaining a smooth balance and flow.  That was Hill.  And that was why he could hit moving targets.  He passed this style of shooting on to his young partner, John Schulz, almost twenty years ago and Schulz went on to give exhibitions of his own, most recently at the Pennsylvania Bowhunter’s Festival where Schulz’s shooting and talking earned him an invitation to next year’s meet.

Watching a longbow shooter at work, one would think he does not actually sight his bow.  He does, but not with a device.  He sights his bow by knowing several things almost intuitively:  the range, the arc of the arrow to get to that range, the size of the target and the relationship of all the variables.  All of us have some facility at this kind of aiming.  If we toss a rock at a tin can forty feet away we will be close most of the time, even though the rock pitched is ill-shaped and uneven, varying in weight from other stones we might pitch right after it.

We don’t have any sights on that rock but know fairly well how to launch it because we have a feeling for how much power it will take to reach the target, how much arc, how large the target is and the relationship of all these things.  Longbows don’t normally wear sights because this instinctive type of shooting style is employed with them.

They say Hill looked at the point of his arrow and the gap it made with the target, above or below it.  This may be, and I have no way of knowing how true it is, but I would bet a dollar to a gumdrop that Hill felt his way to the target using the instinctive principles we all have facility for when we practice.

Purists that they are, Ekin and Schulz have studied the bow type they like so well and compared it  with the more elaborate fashions on the market today.  Their witnessed findings interested me, as I think they will the reader.  First, actual performance of the Hill-type laminated bamboo fiberglass bow is up with other types of instruments.

“When we get bow orders, the customer always seems to ask for something ten pounds heavier than his present recurve ‘so it will shoot with it'” say’s Schulz  “I don’t know why.  Usually I will write back and suggest that he buy a bow of the same weight because the longbow shoots right with the other types.”

Schulz is especially upset when people tell him that compounds will shoot fifty percent faster than his stick bows.  At one meet, a bow company had a chronograph set up and Schulz shot his personal longbow against a compound.  The compound won, by three foot-seconds of speed.

“Now, that is hardly fifty percent,”  Schulz chuckled.  Both bows were about the same weight and the same arrows were shot.  Of course, a compound can use light spined arrows in many cases and then it will gain in the velocity domain, but even then a full fifty percent will seldom be the case.

On hunts or wherever  archers gather, Schulz and Ekin are willing to put their Hill bows up against the recurves and compounds that are present, and so far they have not been embarrassed by the performance of the so-called old-fashioned longbow.  Shooting for cast distance, they outranged many a modern factory recurve in the presence of other archers.  Difference of opinion makes not only the horse race, but also the existence of different styles and types of equipment, of course.  But I did learn that thinking of the longbow of today as that lemonwood stick of yesteryear is a mistake.

Schulz went on to explain that the biggest problem he had in bow orders was the tendency for archers to overtax themselves in bow pull.  Par of this, he felt, was the old wives’ tale  about the longbow having to weigh more to perform well.  I suspect, too, that when we order a Hill bow we have an image of the master in our minds and we are somewhat ashamed to say “Send me a fifty-five pounder” when Howard used an eighty-five in his backyard for practice.

Hill reasoned that he could gain speed, thus having to worry less about arrows varying widely from his line of sight,and also gain penetration by learning to draw heavy pulls.  He was, of course, right.  He also worked his way up to those big bows of one hundred and more pounds.  He did not start with them.  Hill was a powerful man.  With several onlookers he strung a one hundred-pound bow while sitting in a chair.  He was about 60 years old at the time.

As archers, we have to first of all be honest with ourselves when it comes to bow weight, and we have to acknowledge the fact that we are not sissies just because our bows don’t pull ninety pounds.  But I’m guilty.  Having made it to seventy pounds I figured I would go one step further and try the thrill of whistling arrows out of an eighty.  I was whistling alright, but not arrows.  The whistle was a “whew!” as I strained back on the string.  After using up two full tubes of liniment on my sore muscles, I dropped back to the seventy.

There is a current trend to return to traditional archery and the equipment that goes with it, while at the same time compound bow sales soar and new models appear, it seems, weekly.  I like the trend.  It makes sense to me.  We should have the choice of equipment, and we should be able to expand our tackle so that we have several kinds if we want to.  I have a good rifle, but it doesn’t mean that I am going to throw my shotgun away.  They compliment each other and serve at different capacities.

Besides, the argument of longbow versus recurve versus compound is mostly academic in the first place and is something akin to comparing bananas and apples which are both fruit, but that is where the comparison ends – shape, texture and constitution being vastly different.  The same holds true for the bow types, and Howard Hill knew it.  Sure, the longbow was for him.  He loved the simplicity and the high performing stability, but he also said, “No matter what kind of bow you shoot, no matter whether you shoot freestyle or barebow, if you are shooting with a bow and arrow I am with you.”

As for the scientific arguments that underrate the longbow and take two reams of graph paper, a calculator and twenty formulae to decipher, well, remember that scientifically the bumblebee cannot in any way manage to fly.  His mass is too great for the wing surface and his muscle structure too limited.  Please, though, don’t tell the bee.  He doesn’t know he can’t fly and it might prove a hell of a disappointment for him to find out.

Schulz and his son John clamp a bow that has been glued. The laminations are bamboo and glass

The longbow is a worthy addition to the tackle of the modern archer.  In a world of supersonic flight and computerized living, it is refreshing to handle a tool basic and simple, and that is the longbow.  It’s somewhat refined today with modern cements bonding split bamboo to risers of bubinga and rosewood, but traditional in form all the same.

While a spaceship scoops a cup of Martian soil with its metallic hand, depositing the dust into a scientific chamber for analyses, some of us are taking a few moments out of a busy schedule to propel feathered shafts from a bent stick the way our forbears did in times past, and maybe that is what recreation is all about <—–<<

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Published by archerchick on 19 Feb 2010

Moose Madness – By W.A. Hughes

Moose Madness  by W.A. Hughes February 1977

W.A. Hughes is a part-time writer and a teacher in Chehalis, Washington
The Bloopering Bowhunter Finally Gets His Moose, Then Argues With A Grizzly For The Horns And Head!

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

February 1977

YOU MAY NOT believe this, but I’m one of those highly educated individuals with a long string of initials behind my name.  Each day I meet with troubled folks -many with serious problems – listen and offer advice.  Once out of the office, like Jekyll and Hyde, I undergo an almost schizophrenic change of personality.  No longer the suave, educated counselor, I return to being myself – a guy to whom funny things, weird things, unusual things happen as a matter of daily occurrence.

To be quite frank, I do a lot of dumb things, Things that would drive even the most macho individual right to the psychiatric crib.  But W.A. Hughes is accustomed to unfortunate incidents – he thrives on them.  Perhaps in some masochistic way even enjoys them.  My wife describes me as an accident looking for a place to happen.  Perhaps she’s right.

My Alaskan moose hunt was a typical example of the things I do.  My partner Ken Calluso and I drove practically nonstop to Alaska in his pickup truck.  It was a trip I’ll never forget.  You know Alaska has three seasons: dust and mosquitoes, damn cold, then rain and mud.  Well, we drove up during the dust and mosquito season, hunted during the damn cold and drove out during the rain and mud.  But it was super fun, and I’d go back tomorrow if I could talk someone into it.  You see I’m slowly running out of hunting partners.  I guess they just can’t take it, or else my deodorant just isn’t doing the job.

We drove three nights and four days to get up north, through a sea of grey-brown dust, flying gravel, flat tires, busted fuel pumps, cracked windshields and a few other minor inconveniences.

My left arm was covered with tiny white blisters where I got sunburned hanging my arm out the window.  I had bags under my eyes the size of a No. 10 can of peas, and my entire body was covered with little red bumps where AlCan mosquitoes and other tiny creatures fed off me when I went swimming or washed up in an isolated Yukon River.
My entire body looked like something I once saw in a Marine Corps training film of guys that had been indiscreet.

When we arrived at our destination on the Denali Highway in Central Alaska I felt as if someone had beat me with a club, but now was no time to slow down.  Calluso and I unloaded the Trail 90s from the pickup.

Calluso and I broke fast with a delicious meal of a Baby Ruth and a Snickers bar and took off on the bikes.  Now those bikes just scare the hell out of me.  I don’t know why I even ride one because every time I do, I have to replace all the skin on my knees and invariably end up picking little chunks of gravel out of my hands.  It might be that I just can’t control my emotions.

This time was no different, I know better –I don’t know why I do these things — but after the bike warmed up a minute I cranked the throttle full open like some care free kid.  The front wheel reared up in a wheelie and I rolled off the back over my pack and dropped all 256 pounds of my weight on a rather pyramid-shaped piece of quartz sprinkled with shiny pyrite.  Oh, the pain!

Calluso displayed his usual sardonic sympathy:  “Will you knock off the horseplay, Hughes?  Let’s scout this place out.”  That’s not really what he said, but this being a family magazine I wouldn’t want to embarrass the editors by printing a factual account of what my retired Marine partner really said.  Or what my reply actually was, for that matter.

Not to be put off by the aching part of my anatomy that later showed a bruise the size of a milk bucket, I picked up the bike only to discover that my kick starter was broken off – gone completely.  I searched but couldn’t find it.  No doubt it was kicked off into the brush by the tire.

For the rest of the trip I did encounter some difficulty starting the machine.  Fortunately there was a nub there to push and sometimes I’d just run along and kick the bike into gear.  Just another minor inconvenience that I’ve grown accustomed to

Five miles down the trail we entered a spruce forest in a beautiful park-like setting.  The ground was getting a little boggy.  As we turned a sharp bend in the trail, a pool of water about twenty yards across the hardpacked path.  Calluso braked his bike to a stop.
“Shall we walk them through?” he asked.
“Let’s hit it, Calluso.” I goosed the bike and hit the pond at about twenty miles per hour.  Well I mean to tell you, I goofed.  Although I could see the bottom of the pool and it was only about 6 inches deep, the bottom was mud-soft peat.

Halfway across, the back wheels spun out kicking up a comet of mud and water.  I eased back on the throttle and put my foot out to balance the bike.  Almost in slow motion, my foot sank ankle deep, then deeper.  The bike slowly tipped further and further until it fell over on me.

It was a beautifully sunny day, but that water was cold.  I squirmed out from under the bike and walked it to shore.  Calluso just walked alongside his bike and gave it a touch of throttle. No problems.  When he climbed back on his bike and rode down the trail he smiled, then he laughed until the tears rolled down his cheeks.  Lord was I cold, but I hung in there.

We rode fifteen to twenty miles back on the trail.  The country was beautiful.  Puffy white clouds dotted a pale blue sky.  Gentle rolling hills, covered with mattress-thick layer of moss and red-leaved wild cranberries, stretched out to the horizon.  Blue-green lakes speckled the tundra.  Spruce forests covered the valley floor.  A river, loaded with grayling and rainbow trout snaked its way across a lush green valley.

“Wow,” Calluso said  “The whole trip is worth the view.”
I sat on the soft tundra, my back braced against a six-foot spruce tree. “I can’t believe it,”  I hissed.  “Take a look down there.”  I handed Calluso the Bushnell lens and pointed to the far side of the valley.

Where the creek widened out to form a pool, two gigantic bull moose grazed along the edge of the pond, belly deep in water.  One was chewing the tender roots of a lily pad.  A small herd of seven caribou grazed on the side of the hill.

“This is it, Hughes,” said Calluso.  “Let’s go back a mile or two and set up camp, I don’t want to disturb this place.”

Early the next morning, which was August 20 and the opening of the moose season, we dressed full camouflage, hiked back to the top of the hill and glassed over the valley.  Almost immediately we spotted a brown speck on the valley floor.
“Put your glasses on him,” Calluso ordered.
“He’s a big one, Calluso.”  Was I excited.  My heart was thumping like a jackhammer, the muscles in the back of my neck were wire-fence tight.  I could swear a cannonball was lodged somewhere between my craw and stomach.  Even the little bones in my knees were doing the Watusi.

We talked it over for a few minutes and planned our stalk.  Calluso would follow the trail to the pool’s edge and try for a shot.  I would get above and behind the moose, but I never made it.

Halfway down the hill a bull with a fifty-inch spread of horns jumped out of its bed in a head-high stand of willow.  I didn’t have time to think about what action to take.  I drew, anchored the twenty-eight-inch glass shaft on my chin and released.

The razorhead sunk into the moose’s side nearly to the feathers just behind the front shoulder.  I snapped another arrow out of the bow quiver and missed a running shot about fourteen feet.

Now I was excited.  My hands shook so bad I had trouble getting another shaft out of the quiver and on the bow. “Settle down, Hughes,” I kept saying to myself.  “Wait it out.”  Well, I couldn’t take my own  good advice.  I took off through the brush like a D-12 cat.

When I’m in top shape I can run  about one hundred yards without risking a coronary, and that’s about how far I ran.  There was my moose –standing in the middle of the trail, head down, facing me.  I put the brakes on fast, set up and took a shot.  The arrow hit a horn and went straight up.  I whipped another razorhead out of the quiver, but didn’t need to pull.  The bull went down. “Whooopeeeee!”  I cut loose with a rebel yell that would have sent chills up the back of U.S. Grant.

Like a big dummy I ran over to the moose and guess what? He got up, staggered about two steps and went down again, right on top of me.  I couldn’t budge.

What do you do in a situation like this?  I lay as quiet as a church mouse and when the moose made a last valiant effort to get up, I rolled free.

“Hughes, where are you?” Calluso yelled. “I need a hand.”
“Over here Calluso.” I grabbed a tall birch sapling and shook it.  In a minute Calluso came into sight.  When he saw my trophy he turned all smiles and shook my hand.
“He’s a dandy,” he admitted. “Almost as big as mine.”

Well gang, the fun was over.  It took tow days to quarter the meat and hang it up.  We hauled it out of the brush a piece at a time on the back of the Hondas – but my luck held.

On the last trip for the head, horns and the ribs on one side.  I had a terrible shock.  It was all gone.  You didn’t have to be a mountain man to see what happened.  We found bear tracks in the soft mud down the trail.

I wasn’t about to give up that easy.  That set of horns meant a lot to me.  Fortunately the grizzly wasn’t difficult to locate.  That evening we saw a big mama bear with two cubs and the moose head.  From a long way off, we started hollering, yelling and waving our arms in the air.  Calluso blew the horns on his bike and we must have just scared the devil out of those bears as they took off fast.

Calluso and I rode the bikes down the hill as far as we could, grabbed that head and took off in the opposite direction.  Three hours later we were  at the Alaska Game Department check in station on the Denali.

When I explained to the biologist what happened he looked at us like we belonged in the puzzle house.  “You mean you shot this moose with a bow and arrow and then ran down the hill and took the head away from a grizzly?”  He handed back our license and turned to his paper work.

Why argue? Nobody believes the things that happen to W.A.Hughes <—-<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2010

The Spring King – By Randy Templeton

The Spring King by Randy Templeton
April 2006
When bowhunting springs longbeards, use these tips to help boost the odds in your favor
April 2006

After gathering up my gear I made my way up the ridge in the pre-dawn blackness.  Once at the top, I placed a half-strutting tom and hen decoy near the field’s edge. then quietly sneaked into the timber and parked my rump against an ancient burr oak before first light, a low-volume owl hoot initiated a response from a roosted tom not more than 100 yards away.

As the sun began to light up the eastern horizon, I spotted several birds in a big cottonwood tree along the creek behind me. I hunted the general area two seasons before, so I had a good idea where the turkeys would go when they pitched dawn from their roost. My ambush was near the edge of a green strip where three gobblers had been strutting their stuff quite frequently. A couple of soft yelps lit up the woods with a string of gobbles, one right after another.  The best I could tell, there were at least three toms. maybe more.

After a few more purrs, clucks and yelps, I heard the turkeys fly down from their roost. Not long after, the gobblers came strutting along in the field. When they reached the crest ans saw the decoys, they picked up the pace and started running with their beards-a-swinging. As the lead gobbler (and biggest) spread his fan and danced his best jig in front of the decoy, I settled the sight pin and released the string. The Thunderhead zipped through the vitals, sending the hefty tom leaping into the air. When he hit the ground I ran to his rescue. He had a 10 3/4-inch beard, 1 2/-inch spurs and weighed 24 pounds. It was my second mature bird that spring.

Those who have bowhunted turkeys already know how tough it is to kill one of the spring kings, but you also know that it’s gratifying and a challenge well worth exploring. Let’s review a few basic tactics that could help you tag a longbeard with your bow.

A tom’s droppings are typically elongated and often shaped like the letter “J”

LEARN THE LANGUAGE
Of all the turkeys I’ve killed, I’ve yet to take any two under the exact same conditions or using the same tactics. In other words, there isn’t any set of rules or script to follow for killing a gobbler. Some days a turkey might respond to soft yelps and purrs. Other times they may come running at the first sight of a decoy, and other times they won’t.

The same goes for calls –not all are created equal. Some days it might be a box and other times a diaphragm or slate that strikes the fancy of an ol’ tom. Even the best turkey hunters have been made to look like a fool at some point in time by a wily old gobbler. It only takes on bad call to take you out of the game, so you should master more than one call and carry three or four. When the moment of truth arrives, you’ll need both hands free for shooting. If a turkey hangs up or you need him to take one last step, there won’t be time to use a slate or a box. With that in mind a diaphragm call is one you’ll want to practice using.

On a hunt in Nebraska with Cabela's this past spring, Mike Capps of Howard communications killed this beautiful Merriam with a Cabela's F3 broadhead

One of the first things that I learned about turkey hunting was that continuous calling got me in trouble almost every time. I would venture to say more birds have been killed that came to investigate soft calls than those that would shatter your eardrum. Through the school of hard knocks, I learned that it’s always better to start out using calls sparingly as opposed to bellowing out loud, excited repetitions. Remember, if you take the bird’s “temperature” using light intermittent calls and he doesn’t get fired up or cut the distance, you can always increase the volume and pick up the pace.

TAG TEAM CALLING
Anytime you’re able to draw attention away from yourself, the better the chances are of fooling an “old sultan” of the woods. Despite their differences in size, elk and turkey hunting are similar in many ways. One of my favorite elk tactics is tag-team calling with a friend, and it works very well on turkeys, too! For this strategy, one person is the designated shooter and the other is the caller.

With that in mind, the first thing on the agenda is to decide who’s shooting and who’s calling. To keep it fair, I usually flip a coin. Second on the agenda is to anticipate the direction in which the tom will come from. Third, find a tree or bush to set up behind that will conceal your movements when drawing. The caller sets up and calls from 10 or 20 yards behind or off to one side of the shooter. When the unsuspecting turkey struts into range, wait until he gives you a broadside shot or turns facing away to take the shot.

GET IN THE ZONE
Like the tom in the beginning, I knew where he had been strutting and made sure I was there when the sun came up that morning. The gobbler had been using a green strip of grass along a cornfield that hadn’t been tilled to strut his stuff. In fact, I’d seen him there twice the week before.

If time allows, it’s always a good idea to do some pre-season scouting. By scouting I don’t mean going out to your favorite spot and try calling a turkey up. In fact, calling before the season opens is probably one of the worst things you can do. The only thing you stand to gain from it is educating the birds before opening day. Like any other game, the element of surprise is your biggest ally.

Similar to deer, turkeys have certain locations where they hold up before feeding. They also use certain terrain features for entering feeding and roosting spots. Take for example, a point that extends from an oak-ridge flat. The point might also serve as a crossover to another roosting location or feeding area. Many of these terrain features are natural funnels that turkeys use going from feeding to roosting spots. When scouting, follow the outside edges of the timbered areas and look for tracks, droppings and dusting sites. If there’s a creek bottom with big cottonwood trees or perhaps an oak ridge with mature trees, look around beneath them for sign like droppings and feathers that would confirm turkeys are roosting above.

Because patterns can change quickly due to breeding activity or hunting pressure, the week or so before opening day spend the first and last two hours glassing to determine what’s coming out and when to the spot where you found fresh sign. Although strutting areas are typically found in open areas like ridge tops, field edges and logging roads, unless you’ve actually seen the turkeys strutting they’re pretty tough to locate. When scouting, look for sign such as tracks that appear to go both directions, droppings and wing-drag marks in soft powdery soil around field edges, dirt roads and such.

All too often, the toms that were henned up first thing in the morning start looking for other breeding hens around midday. In many cases, the toms leave the hens and head for their strutting zones. It’s for that reason you might spend time glassing during the late morning and early afternoon to locate strutting areas. If you find an honest to goodness strut zone, get there before the turkeys do and set up.

Although a single decoy will enhance a setup, multiple decoys can further increase your chances

SETTING UP
If you’re using a blind, get it set up (or build one) before opening day. If you know where to the turkeys are roosting, slip in under the cover of darkness and get within 100 yards or so and set up. If you’re hunting from the ground, then pick out a tree big enough to hide behind and conceal your movements. Be sure to clear all the leaves and debris away from the tree base. When you sit down, remember to position yourself in such a way that you can draw and shoot in the same direction the bird is expected to come from with minimal movement. For example, face your bow -grip shoulder toward the turkey’s approach route or decoy spread. In doing so, you’ll have a wider range to wing and shoot without needing to adjust. Set out one or two decoys to enhance the setup. From your scouting you already know where the turkey is going, so there’s no need to call very much, perhaps every 20 or 30 minutes is plenty.

PREPARING FOR THE SHOT
One of the toughest parts of bowhunting turkeys is getting drawn and shooting without getting picked off first. More often than not, the proper decoy setup can significantly improve your chances of beating the turkey’s keen sense of eyesight. When most toms approach, I’ve learned that they like to make eye contact, regardless of whether it’s another tom or a hen. Because of that, I found it’s better to face a decoy towards me or sideways rather than facing away. As a tom comes in to investigate he’ll eventually turn his read end in my direction, allowing me to draw and shoot.

Chances are, any shot you get won’t be from the standing position. So, long before the season practice drawing and shooting from the sitting and kneeling positions.

PATIENCE
Older birds that have survived a few seasons are usually hunter-wise and harder to kill. Although you’ll often need to be persistent when hunting wily birds, you’ll also need to show some patience, too.

I remember a time a few seasons back I’d been hunting an old tom for several days and anything that could go wrong, went wrong. I couldn’t sneak within range nor could I call him away from his hens, no matter how hard I tried.

Much to my surprise, one morning, the boss gobbler answered my calls with some real enthusiasm. Minutes later he flew down from the roost and landed just out of range from the decoy spread of two hens and a half-strutting  jake named “Bubba.” I refrained from calling too much and it wasn’t long before he strutted into range, spitting and drumming all the way. It was one time where a combination of patience and persistence paid off.

Bowhunting the spring king might be tough, but the rewards are well worth the efforts. Sound scouting and hunting strategies are the keys that unlock the door to success <—<<

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