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Published by admin on 22 Dec 2009

Dip Your Own Arrows By Steven Barde

Dip Your Own Arrows
It’s Only Minor Trouble And Your Shafts Can Carry
Your Favorite Colors!
By Steven Barde

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com/

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 Dipping Arrows is one way to add color to the shaft, make it more individual and in hunting, easier to find.  There are several ways of adding color.  Some spray the shaft, which can be messy, some prefer to paint it on but the easiest and perhaps the best method is to dip the shaft full length in a tube.  The dipping insures a complete coating, smoothly applied, while the end result is even and has no runs or blemishes if done properly.

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 Any lacquer designed for wood will work well.  Some automotive lacquers can be used but many of these have a different base and it may be hard to find a thinner that works.  If the lacquer and thinner won’t work together, you will get blisters, and in some cases, the lacquer won’t adhere to the wood but will run or peel off.  If you plan to use a lacquer you’re not sure of, try a small amount and use some parts of a shaft for testing.  Some combinations will work even against the rules but it is best to test first.  The wood lacquers and thinners are easily obtainable.

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 If you buy one pint  of lacquer, get at least one quart of thinner, since the solution used for dipping is thinned a great deal.  If you plan to do quite a bit of dipping, add to your list of purchases some retarder, to prevent the thinned lacquer from drying too fast on the shaft causing runs and blobs, and a silicone additive.  The silicone gives the lacquer mixture a high glossy finish and makes the lacquer flow smoothly during dipping.

 Mix the lacquer  and thinner to the ratio you desire.  Most use a mixture of two parts thinner to one part lacquer.  Add one eighth part retarder, if you plan to use it, and a few drops of silicone additive.  A little of the silicone does an excellent job.  Some archers prefer to use a thinner solution and mix three or four parts thinner to one part lacquer.  The thinner the solution, the more dipping is required to get a good high gloss finish.  Put the solution into a bottle that can be tightly capped and shake well.

 If you haven’t tried dipping before, the two parts thinner to one part lacquer works well and requires less dipping.  The more dipping and polishing that is done, the higher the gloss on the finished arrow.  You also will need your dip tube, (see Nov.-Dec. 65 issue), some 0000 steel wool to take the hair grain of the shaft, and a rag.  Stretch a line from two supports, preferably a line with a twist, to hand the shafts on while drying.  Some archers use household clothes pins, some use electrical alligator clips but carpet tacks have proven best for many archers to hold the shafts to the line while they dry.

 When selecting your arrows for dipping, the edge of the grain, which is the side with the finest lines in it, should face the side of the bow, since the edge grained side of the shaft is the strongest part.  If you don’t have a method to mark this grain side, it is hard to find after the shaft has been dipped.

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 By using carpet tacks, you can put the tack in the grain side of the shaft and the little hole left is easily found when it comes time to nock the dipped arrow.  The line or raised edge of the speed nock goes in line with the hole left by the carpet tack.  One other advantage of the tack is that there is less handling of the dipped shaft.  When using the alligator clip, the clip is just hung over the edge of the line, the same as the carpet tack.

 When you use the clothes pin, it is necessary to dip the shaft with the fingers and hold while attaching the shaft to the jaws of the clothes pin.  In this step, you will get covered with lacquer if you dip too high on the shaft.  These are a few of the ways to hand the shafts to dry but the final choice will be the one that works best for you.

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 Select the shafts you intend to dip and lay them in place.  Take a damp rag and wipe each shaft.  This will dampen the wood and raise the hair grain.  Cut the nock taper on both ends of the shaft prior to wiping.  The reason for cutting the nock taper is that it allows the lacquer to drip from the end rapidly, and when the nock is applied to the dipped shaft, there is no holiday of bare wood where the nock taper has missed the edge of the nock.

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 After wiping, allow the shafts to dry about thirty minutes.  When they are dry, apply the carpet tack or other holding device and dip the arrow in the tube, pushing it to within an inch or less of the top of the shaft, but slowly.  A line attached above the dip tube will let the drops from the dripping shaft fall into the tube instead of on the ground or mat.  When the drops have almost stopped, place the dipped shaft on the drying line and proceed with the next shaft, and so on, until all shafts have been dipped once.  Allow the dipped shaft to dry at least two hours.  The drying time will vary with humidity and temperature.

 Remove the dry shafts from the line, take a piece of your steel wool and rub each shaft to remove the hair grain that was brought up by the damp rag and lacquer.  After steel wooling each shaft, wipe them with a dry rag to remove the steel particles and dust, revers ends and dip again.  Apply the tack or other holding device, dip, drain and hang to dry.  For most hunting shafts, two dips will be enough with a two part thinner and one-part lacquer solution.  Allow to dry for another two hours.  If the color is still too light, steel wool, wipe down, reverse ends and dip them again.

 Some colors cover better than others and some lacquers are thicket than others.  The best thickness of the mixture is determined after you try a few shafts.  If the lacquer runs too slowly and causes runs down the side of the shaft, it is too thick and needs more thinner.  If the lacquer is too thin, it will run rapidly.  If you like to use a thin solution, it will work but will require more dipping to get the desired finish.  The solution that works well in dry Arizona will not work the same in humid Florida, sot he proper mixture must be determined by the number of dips required to give you the best color and finish for the climate you live in.

 After the shaft has been dipped  and you have the desired color and finish, remove the tack and lightly steel wool the finished shaft to remove any roughness, place the shaft in your arrow rack and you are then ready to nock the shaft and fletch.

 The nock should go with the speed nock ridge in line with the edge of the grain of the shaft so the arrow will have the strongest part of the wood bearing against the side of the bow.  The edge may be determined by the previous use of the carpet tack or by cutting the opposite end.

 Remember the best solution is one that gives you the best results.  If you want to experiment with different colors and lacquers, try them, but be sure the lacquer and thinner mix together and do not form bubbles or blotches.

 Recently I decided to try a new color for hunting.  I wanted a bright orange, almost international orange, but couldn’t find it anywhere.  I went to a paint store and after checking the lacquer, added some bright orange from one of the new color mixing machines and shook it up.  When this lacquer and thinner were poured into solution, I didn’t know what to expect so I tried a few shafts.  The dealer said the color mix would work with anything but I was doubtful.

 These shafts came out beautiful!  They are a brilliant orange, the color I wanted, and there were no runs o blotches to mar the finish.  These shafts have been easy to find and have stood up well with rough use.

 If you decide to experiment like this, go ahead, but try a few shafts first before gambling all your undipped shafts.  A garage or any open place where the dust and dirt can’t bother the wet shafts will work well.  Dipping is fun, inexpensive and the colors and results are left only to your imagination.

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Published by admin on 22 Dec 2009

A Key to Hitting the Mark by Frank Addington, Jr.

A Key to Hitting the Mark by Frank Addington, Jr.

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I think that one of the most important aspects of any style of shooting is “target acquisition.”  I don’t care how good or bad your vision is, what your method  of shooting is, or how long you have been an archer.  If you aren’t effective at target acquisition, you won’t be successful in the long run.  Whether you are a 3-D champ, a bowhunter, backyard archer, or someone that enjoys days afield stump shooting, you cannot hit what you cannot see.  And you must be able to do this consistently.
 
This single thing allows me to hit objects as small as a baby aspirin in mid air with an arrow.  I have tuned my eyes, mind and body through years of practice to immediately acquire the target. In the old days they called it, “picking a spot.”  It is simple in theory yet hard to master.  I myself am guilty of occasionally staring at a huge set of horns and the whole animal instead of a particular spot.  I miss when I do this and I bet you do too.  You have to be able to shut out everything but where you want your arrow to land.  I think this is a mental and physical exercise.  I cannot rule out the mental side, after all, you have to be able to concentrate. 
 
In my stage shows I have to be able to shut everything out except the baby aspirin.  I have to ignore loud crowds, noises at sports shows, kids yelling, music blasting, and all the other sounds that go with sports shows.  I also have to be able to ignore the media when they show up, VIPs, and anyone else in the audience that can break my concentration.  When I am “in the zone” you could blow a bugle beside me and I’d never hear it.  I would simply do what I do and hit the target.  But being the zone can come and go if you don’t practice.  You have to have a strong mental concentration.  We did shows in downtown New York city a few years ago.  Talk about mental concentration.  I was outside at Tavern on the Green in the middle of Central Park on a Spring day.  We also performed in the Bronx at Van Courtland Park.  Again, concentration.

Locking down on a very small, distinct spot.  No waiver, no second guessing, just locking down and putting 100% of your concentration on one particular mark.  You can train yourself to do this with some practice.  Learn to “acquire” the target.  Focus.  Concentrate.

As a bowhunter, you have to be able to ignore things too.  The big rack, any other game, the elements,and anything else that serves as a distraction.  As a competitive shooter, you have even more to ignore.  Don’t let a competitor anywhere near your mental game.  If they get in your head you may as well hand them the trophy.  Game over.  Be strong and stay focused.  The late, great AL Henderson was the first to call my attention to the mental side of archery.  I suggest everyone reading this column pick up a copy of Al’s book, “Understanding Winning Archery” sometime soon.  It is a good read.  Al was ahead of the game on his theories on the mental side of archery.  Look for his book on Target Communication’s website.
 
When it all comes together you will bring a strong amount of shooting practice, a strong mental game, and the ability to acquire a target all together.  Can target acquisition be learned?  I certainly think so.  My eyesight is good.  Really good.  But even if yours isn’t, I still think you can get better at target acquisition with lots of practice.  When you see an object, look at it.  Really look at it.  Instead of the whole 3-D deer target, pick a spot where you can see a mark or a shadow or anything that serves as an “aiming point.”  Smaller is better.  Always try to aim small. Pick a tuft of hair when you see that big buck.  Don’t see the whole deer, see a spot where you want that arrow to land.  I do this on the balloons I shoot.  I never shoot at the whole balloon.
 
I don’t shoot at flat target faces often.  Why?  It is more difficult for me to pick a small spot on those type targets.  I prefer a lifesaver, a balloon, or any 3-D object.  I will even tear a piece of paper off the target face and shoot at it instead of a bullseye.  As an instinctive shooter, I look at what I want to hit.  What I write about here will apply to all shooting styles. Think about it.  You cannot hit what you cannot see.  I hope this coulmn will help you become a better shot.
 
 

Thanks for reading.  Until next time, Adios & God Bless.

Shoot Straight,
Frank Addington, Jr.
The Aspirinbuster
 
www.frankaddingtonjr.com

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Published by admin on 16 Dec 2009

Archers of Antiquity By Col. Robert H. Rankin

Archers of Antiquity
This Bow Has Been Under Development For Some Six Thousand Years,
And The End Is Not Yet In Sight!
By Col. Robert H. Rankin

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 Although the bow is one of the oldest of all martial weapons, we are fortunate in that we do have some idea of what even the earliest bows were like.  We are fairly certain that bows were being used in warfare as far back as 400 B.C.!  Pictures of these bows and those of later eras are to be found in bas reliefs, carvings and paintings in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Palestine and other sections of the Middle East.

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 Yet there is some doubt as to just where the bow originated.  Some military historians believe that the Semetic peoples, who thousands of years ago come out of the Arabian desert and spread throughout the Middle East and along the north coast of Africa, invented the bow.

 Incidentally, the bow is of particular interest to military historians inasmuch as its introduction made possible for the first time the tactical element of surprise, as well as attack from beyond range and from behind cover.  In addition, it greatly reduced the possibility of retaliation.  All of these are important military considerations in any age.  In fact, the bow was directly responsible for the introduction of armor and it was one of the few weapons actually to revolutionize warfare, itself.

 The simple bow was, of course, the first type to be introduced.  It appeared as early as 4000 B.C., possibly earlier.  The earliest representation of the composite bow is to be found on a 2000 B.C. Bas relief commemorating an Accadian (Babylonian) victory over the Summerians.

 In discussing composite bows of any era, it is interesting to note the words of an Arab writer of the fifteenth century, A.D., who wrote:

 “The structure of the composite bow is not unlike that of man.  The human body is made up of four basic elements- bones, flesh, arteries and blood.  The composite bow has the same four counterpart elements: Wood – its skeleton; horn -its flesh; tendons – its arteries; glue – its blood.  Man has back and belly.  So has the bow.  And just as man can bend forward but is likely to damage himself by bending too far backward, so with the operation of the bow.”

 Composite bows were, of course, complicated and difficult to make, so their manufacture and use was restricted to the more civilized peoples of ancient times.

 From evidence which comes down to us through the centuries, we know that the bows were not braced until just before use.  To brace the bow, the string was fastened by means of a loop to one end of the bow.  This end then was placed on the ground and the bow was bent by arm until it was possible to attach the loop on the other end.  Several interesting pictures of this operation exist.

 Bows were used both in open battle and in the attack and defense of fortified positions.  The war chariot, introduced sometime around 200 B.C. By either the Hurians or the Hitties, was used principally as a mobile fore platform for archers.  Chariot bowmen usually carried a quiver at their side suspended from a strap which passed over the shoulder.  In addition, one and sometimes two additional quivers were attached to the side of the chariot within easy reach of the archer.  Mounted archers carried the quiver at the side or on the back, as did the foot archers.  As an exception, some early Egyptian paintings show dismounting archers with bundles of arrows at their feet.

 From the number of bas reliefs, paintings, et cetera, which have been preserved for thousands of years, showing archery practice, it appears that great importance was attached to archery training.  Apparently the novice had to develop basic skills with the simple bow after which he progressed of the composite bow. 

 Quivers usually were made of leather, metal, wood or of a combination of these.  Assyrian quivers were unique in that they had a fringe – covered opening to prevent arrows from jostling out.

 Although most composite bows were of the conventional pattern, triangular composite bows also were used, the arms forming a 120 degree angle.  Many of the painting of the time of Rameses III of Egypt (1192-160 B.C.) show these triangular bows in use.  Just how such bows compare with the conventional pattern is not known, although it would seem that from their basic design they would not be as efficient.

 Sometime during the 800’s B.C., the ends of the bow were turned back in a so-called duck’s head pattern.  This served both as an ornament and as a means of making the ends of the bow string more secure.

 The ancient archers of the Middle East used what would later be called the “Mediterranean Release.”  The tips of the first two fingers were used to draw the string back and the arrow was held between these two fingers.  The string was drawn back to the point of the shoulder, with the bow held at arm’s length in front of the body.

 Although the early Greeks used the bow extensively, it was practically discarded later, the Greek warriors apparently preferring close combat tactics.  The Romans did not regard the bow with favor.  They placed reliance on various forms of the javelin and their wicked short double-edge sword.  Interestingly enough, however, the Athenians developed a highly efficient body of naval bowmen.  During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.), these specialists were used with great success against the Spartans.

 From the early beginnings noted above, the bow would continue, in one form or another, to be a decisive weapon in warfare for many centuries to come.

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Published by admin on 16 Dec 2009

Nutritional Bowhunter By Patrick Cillbrith

Nutritional Bowhunter
Become a stronger, more alert hunter by properly fueling your body
By Patrick Cillbrith

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http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com/

 Were you one of those hunters last fall huffing and puffing as you climbed a hill in an effort to get to your stand?  Maybe you were seen gasping for air as you moved closer to that big bull elk screaming his brains out amid the rugged landscapes of the Rockies?  If so, didn’t you wish you were in better shape?

 Maybe you are just strictly a whitetail-hunting fanatic who thinks staying in great shape is really for those high-country bowhunters.  You might think, “Why become a fitness goon when all I do is sit in a tree stand?”

 But, if you think this, you’d be dead wrong.  Every successful whitetail bowhunter I know agrees that being fit definitely works to your advantage.  For example, hanging tree stands in different locations, usually all in one day, is tough work.  Only by eating healthy and exercising a bit will you be able to slip around in those trees like a monkey.  Besides, if you can hang a stand like it’s a small chore, you’ll be easily motivated to move it when necessary (like when a big buck’s pattern says you need to) where out-of-shape bowhunters usually drag their heels… until eventually it’s too late.

 I’ve had many clients live the benefits of solid eating habits in an attempt to increase energy and improve alertness while hunting.  Below I have listed essential nutritional information along with a few pointers that will increase your chances of being in better shape come next hunting season.

Know What You Eat
 I have read many articles that emphasize the importance of nutrition for deer.  The end result leads to an improvement in antler growth and development.  Isn’t it ironic that we are so concerned about what the deer have to eat and yet on our way back from the stand we think nothing of grabbing a candy bar?  What if our nutrition was the sole factor in determining deer antler growth?  Most of us would throw that candy bar a mile and a half into the woods.

 Dr. Michael D. Hurt of Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines said, “The value of nutrition extends well beyond the scope of health. Individuals who consume a variety of foods, in the proper caloric allotment, can achieve optimal energy levels and state of mind throughout the day.”

 Hurt stressed the importance that frequency and timing of meals has a direct response to energy levels.  “In addition to satiety, our body functions best when provided with smaller, more frequent meals.  When compared to the above, the ‘three square meals a day’ philosophy is truly outdated.”

 Before delving into the technical aspects of nutrition, it is essential to note special health conditions and circumstances that exist which require individuals to be under the care of aphysician.  If you fall into this category, any information or recommendations provided below should yield to the instructions of your physician.

 The Various Foods
 Food can be broken down to two large groups, macronutrients and micronutrients.  The macro (large) nutrients have three sub groups: proteins, carbohydrates and fats.  Let’s analyze the macronutrients first.

Building Blocks
 Protein is the only macronutrient that can be used for building and repairing essential body tissues and as an energy source.  Proteins play an intricate roll in every chemical reaction that takes place in your body.  Healthy muscle tissue and optimal brain function rely on proteins.  Maintaining the proper pH (acid/base balance) in your blood along with fluid balance would not occur without proteins.

 I want to caution you on the use of protein as a source of energy.  Protein is a very inefficient source of energy and should only be used as such when absolutely necessary.  The body can only efficiently use between .8 and 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body wight (1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds) in a day for tissue growth and repair.  Excess protein will either be used as energy or stored as fat.  Mega doses of protein increases the level of nitrogen in your body, which among other things causes the kidneys to work overtime.  Unless directed by your doctor, protein intake should never exceed 2 grams per kilogram of body weight.

 Proteins are composed of subunits refereed to as amino acids.  Our body requires 22 different amino acids, in a specific sequence, to synthesize body tissue proteins.  Complete proteins contain all of the amino acids necessary for support repair.  Incomplete proteins are missing one or more amino acids and must be combined with a different protein to provide the missing link.  The purposeful combination of two or more proteins to form a complete sequence of amino acids is referred to as a complementary protein.

Nutrients That Power Up!
 Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy.  Two types of carbohydrates exist: simple and complex.  Simple carbohydrates are those that break down very quickly and yield immediate energy.  Good examples are fruit, honey and sugars.  Complex carbohydrates commonly known as starches, break down slower but yield energy in a gradual manner over an extended period of time.  Some examples include wheat bread, pasta, potatoes and vegetables.  The ideal meal will include a combination of both simple and complex carbohydrates in an attempt to sustain consistent energy levels.

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 The claim that sugar makes you fat is usually spoken by those who don’t have any idea what they are talking about.  All carbohydrates break down into a simple sugar called glucose.  Simply put, glucose is the body’s preferred source of energy.  When glucose (blood sugar) levels drop too low, fatigue and lethargy soon follow.  Many individuals also experience mild to moderate shaking in their extremities.  That is the last thing a hunter needs when drawing back on a 10-point buck.

Real Scoop on Fat
 Most consumers know that there are two types of dietary fat, saturated and unsaturated.  Saturated fat is found primarily in animal byproducts (i.e. fat found on flesh, butter , cream) and should be kept to a minimum.  The molecules are linear and thus can be tightly packed together.  This explains why they are difficult to break down.
 Nutrition experts recommend that we avoid processed foods due to the high levels of saturated fat and preservatives that are used to increase flavor.  For years physicians have cited concrete evidence indicating that diets high in saturated fat can increase the risk of heart attack, so put down those fatty burgers and greasy fries.

 Unsaturated fat is the good type of dietary fat.  The molecular configuration and subsequent organization of the fatty acids allow them to easily be disrupted by heat.  This means the body can dispose of them more efficiently than saturated fats.  Of the fat you eat, try to keep unsaturated fat in the majority.  The following is a good rule of thumb to determine if a fat is good or bad.  For example, if a fat source is solid at room temperature, then it should be kept to a minimum.  A few examples of healthy fats are Omega-3 fatty acids (the fat found in salmon) , olive oil and flax seed oil.

 In the wake of low-fat diets, I am here to promise you that too little fat in your diet can lead to as many problems as too much fat.  The key is balance.  The proper ration amount of dietary fat can dramatically improve levels of satiety, energy and health.

Disease Fighters
 The nutrition industry refers to vitamins and minerals as micronutrients.  Most, if not all, of the nutrients your body needs to function are available in the foods you eat.  A diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables will provide your body with B vitamins, fiber and antioxidants that fight off the agents which can cause disease.  Meat, fish and dairy products provide essential fatty acids, certain B vitamins, and vitamins A, D and E.  All of the above foods contain minerals that help strengthen the body, prevent disease and aid in bone and tissue maintenance.

 Scientific studies indicate a diverse variety of healthy foods have proven to be the best way to get the micronutrients your body needs.  Food provides other healthy essentials such as fiber that can’t be found in a pill.  To use supplements in place of food or as an excuse for poor eating habits is a major health mistake.

 Your family doctor should first clear any supplement that you decide to take.  While many food supplements are harmless, some can be deadly.  Rare but dangerous interactions between certain medications and supplements have been known to occur.  Only your doctor is qualified to tell you what is acceptable to take.  The herbalist and the guy behind the counter at the local health food store are not acceptable substitutions.

 The above information should provide you with a solid base to interpret the sample menu on page (64).  Most hunters are notorious for under eating during the day.  I once heard a hunter say, “ if deer eat only twice a day then I don’t need more then breakfast and dinner when on stand.”  The fewer meals you eat the more your body slows its metabolism and sacrifices other bodily functions.  The body will attempt to maintain  life at all cost, even if it is to the detriment of your health.

Always Drink Water
 Every aspect of our body, ranging from healthy muscle tissue to kidney function, uses water to operate at an optimal level.  Because water is the solvent our body uses to conduct nearly all of its faculties, roughly 70 percent of a healthy body composition should be water.

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 Hydration studies indicate that an average man will lose ¼ cup of water per hour in a sedentary state.  In my opinion, activities like tree stand hunting surpass sedentary energy requirements.  This is not like sitting on a couch and therefore your body is required to exert more energy to stay in stand.  Even on a cool day (30-40 degrees F) you could lose up to a ½ cup of water pr hour in a tree.  The key is to drink water consistently throughout the day to maintain hydration levels.  Try to drink 8 ounces of water before you go to stand to replace what you have lost overnight.

 I also recommend taking an additional 32 ounces of water to stand for each four- to five-hour hunt.  This means if it’s the peak of the fut and you plan to sit all day, take nothing less than 64 ounces of water for the entire hunt.  At first thought this may seem excessive, but keep in mind that waiting until the end of the day to rehydrate puts you well past the critical point affecting performance.  Even moderate net-water loss has noticeable effects on the body including lowering core temperature, reduced ability to concentrate, and mild to moderate shaking.

 If you are worried about having to jump out of stand to use the outhouse, the urge to urinate can be reduced by taking small sips on your water bottle periodically.  This way the body uses what it receives in a timely manner.  Try not to pound 16 ounces at 9:30 in the morning because by 11 you will wish that you hadn’t.

 If you plan to spot-and-stalk hunt out west, hydration requirements will dwarf those in comparison to still-hunting.  Due to many factors including elevation and climate, you may have to drink as much 8 ounces of water per hour depending on the intensity of your activity to stay in balance.  Proper hydration is a key component for staving off altitude sickness.  Anyone can be afflicted, but the individuals who reside at lower elevations are at the greatest risk.  There are even times when acute altitude sickness can require hospitalization.  This is a sure-fire way to ruin a great hunt.  Stay hydrated.

Weight Control
 A 1997 study was conducted in conjunction with the American Medical Association (AMA) in an attempt to determine the cause of our nation’s expanding waistline.  The findings concluded the average American consumes 260 more calories a day than he or she did 10 years ago.  So it is no surprise that our nation is getting fatter at the fastest rate in recorded history. 
 
 If you remember one thing about nutrition, memorize this statement: When calories in equals calories out, mass remains constant.  Forget what you have read about carbohydrates being the devil’s sidekick.  A meal after 8 p.m. won’t make you fat.  Fat grams alone will not tack on extra pounds.  What will cause your waistline to bulge is eating more calories than you expend (burn) in a 24-hour period.  As long as you live on earth this is not subject to debate, as it is a law of physics.

 People alive prior to the 20th century spent 60-plus hours a week in the field to support their family.  Today these events have been replaced by 40 sedentary hours at a desk.  If physical activity isn’t present in a job, then it must be attained through extracurricular activities (i.e. we must work out!).

 To some, food holds an emotional bond to happiness.  Others tend to eat out of boredom or habit.  Whatever category you fall into, the best way to address this issue is to first ask yourself why you practice your current eating habits.  This will often reveal the root of your weight problem.  Once established, you can effectively plan an attack on your issue(s).  Years of experience have taught me that diligence will eventually pay off.  Just a few corrections can put you on the path to better health.
 Having access to the best hunting ground in the world won’t help you bag a record-book buck if you aren’t in the timber.  Altering a few eating habits can make incredible changes in health, energy and strength.  Manage your lifestyle such that health is one of your top priorities.  The favor will be returned with more energized seasons, chasing the trophies you think so much about.

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Published by admin on 14 Dec 2009

Deep Freeze sophisticated layering approach. By Gary Simms

Deep Freeze
When conditions get bitter cold, fight off the chill with this
sophisticated layering approach.
By Gary Simms

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http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com/

 After five years of wearing T-shirts in November, the 2000 season produced a great opportunity to once again revisit the notion of staying warm.  I had almost forgotten what it felt like to have the inside of my nostrils freeze on a hard inhale.  That’s something that sticks with you—that’s cold!

 I spent the coldest part of last fall hanging from trees in central Kansas.  The Rocky Mountains were the nearest feature taller than the local elevator with any hope of deflecting the northwest winds, and they were 500 miles away.  The wind slammed me without letup for nearly the entire 12 days of my hunt.  With the temperatures in the single digits most mornings and rarely getting above the teens during the day it would have been a miserable time had I not luckily included a couple of pieces of clothing in my gear bag.  Actually, the items were incidental but they proved to be indispensable and opened my eyes to the importance of cutting the wind.

 I hadn’t packed enough clothing for such exposure, but I had brought along a lightweight fleece-lined nylon-shelled jacket and a pair of lined nylon sweatpants for casual wear.  After a couple of days I started wearing the jacket and sweats under my insulated camo outerwear.  Immediately, I was hunting in comfort for the rest of my trip.  I then spent a cold week on the plains of eastern Colorado in late December using the same system with similar results.

 After those hunts I began to study the many pieces of clothing on the market that could replace my crude system.  Things have really changed since the last time frigid temperatures forced me to take a closer look at the mail order catalogs.  Here are some of the great new products and concepts that I’ll be putting into service next time the mercury hits rock bottom.

Cutting the Wind
 Wearing windproof materials is one of the smartest things you can do if you want to stay warm (along with protecting your head).  In late fall and winter it is the wind that really makes for a cold and miserable experience on stand.  Anything you can do to cut it will keep you much warmer and will do it with less bulk.  Any of the modern waterproof membranes such as Gore-Tex, Dry Plus and Omni-Tech are also windproof.  Of course, you can also choose garments made from Gore’s Windstopper to achieve the same goal.
 
 Clothing made from laminated micro-fiber is becoming very popular but it is  not  a good choice for cold-weather hunting.  In most cases the fabric becomes stiff and noisy when the temperature gets below about 15 degrees.  The glue used to secure the synthetic fleece is what causes it to become stiff.

 I spoke with Van Larson from Due North Apparel about facemasks and headwear.  At the time, I was looking for a facemask lined with Windstopper, but Larson warned me away from that line of thinking.  According to Van, the head is the body’s thermostat and to work properly it relies on natural evaporative cooling.  When you impede the process by using a windproof membrane, the head reportedly loses its natural ability to sense and set the body’s temperature.

Creative Solutions for your Head
 The only part of your body that you should strive to protect better than your midsection is your head and neck.  An enormous amount of heat leaves the body through this area.  There are traditional solutions such as knit or fleece facemasks, neck gaiters and stocking caps that will do a good job, but now you also have a new option that serves double duty by actually warming the air before you breathe it.  The benefits of this are obvious.

 The now Polar Wrap Exchanger facemask received great reviews from my buddies that tried them last winter.  The system is fairly simple and intuitive; it works like a heat exchanger.  The facemast captures heat and moisture from your breath when you exhale and uses the energy to warm and humidify the air that comes into your lungs when you inhale.  Any facemask will do the same thing to a lesser extent, but the Exchanger absorbs more of the heat and moisture from your breath by passing it through a system of channels before it exits the mask.  Your next breath enters through the same path and is warm and moist by the time it reaches your mouth.  Not only does this preserve body heat, but it also prevents dehydration during a long stand session.

 I spoke with Myles Keller about the system and he marveled at how well it works.  Myles is one of the most hard-core late-season bowhunters that I know and if Myles says it works you can bet that it does.

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Don’t Forget the Feet
 I had a chance to test a unique system of cold-weather foot protection this past fall and came away very impressed.  The boots were from the new set of hybrids that have made their way onto the market in only the past two years.  They aren’t pack boots but they aren’t walking boots either—they are a little of each.  They are characterized by thick, lightweight Thinsulate insulation but with the fit and appearance of a walking boot.  Not only were they warm, but they also made walking very easy.  I’ve never liked walking long distances to reach a stand while wearing conventional pack boots.  The fit is often sloppy and the foot can move around inside the boot easily.  This makes it tough to climb ridges and steep banks comfortably, silently and safely.  These new hybrids, however, made the hike to and from the stand a real pleasure.

 The boots I tested were Deer Stalker  Extremes from Rocky.  They feature 1,600 grams of Thinsulate insulation and Gore’s Gore-Tex Supprescent fabric.  Supprescent reduces odor while making the boots waterproof and windproof in the process.  Other examples of this style of boot include the LaCrosse Gamemaster 1300 with 1,300 grams of Thinsulate and a comfortable leather walking boot design, and Cabela’s 1200 Gram Cordura Boots that feature 1,200 grams of Thinsulate in a durable, affordable Cordura design.  Another example is the RedHead 10-inch Leather Boot with 1,000 grams of thinsulate.

 I sized my boots so they would be slightly loose with a single pair of socks so that I could test a new Polartec bootie from Due North Apparel.  The bootie incorporates ComforTemp to help control temperature.  The material stores heat when your feet are warm, such as when you are walking, and gives it back when you sit immobile on stand.  Under it I wore only a thin polypro liner.  I never once experienced cold feet even though the wind chills hovered around 20 degrees below zero each morning.  That was a first for me.
 
 Conventional pack boot are also a great choice if you don’t have far to walk to reach your stand. Tinmerland’s 12-inch Iditarod Mukluks are extremely warm and waterproof.  LaCrosse’s Ice King boots are rated for minus 100 degrees and are also available in all-rubber design for maximum scent reduction.  Rocky’s Kenai are all rubber to protect your feet down to minus 100 degrees and reduce human scent.  Their Barrow features a rubber bottom and leather uppers and are for comfort rated to minus 135 degrees.  Field tested under arctic conditions, Sorel’s warmest pack, the Alaska, features ThermoPlus 100 inner boots and is comfort rated to minus 100 degrees.
 
 Make sure you buy boots with a little room to spare.  Most manufacturers don’t recommend a lot of bulk inside their boots.  One polypro liner under a medium-weight wool sock will get the job done nicely.  If you wear pack boots with removable liners it is well worth the money to buy a second pair of liners.  You will be surprised by how wet they can become from sweat as you walk to and from your stand.  The extra pair of liners permits you to swap them out at midday if you go back to the vehicle.  At the very least, make sure to remove your liners and insoles at night so they can dry thoroughly before the next morning’s hunt.

The Ultimate Layering System
 For expertice in layering using today’s high-tech materials I relied on input from Steve Culhane, Cabela’s Product Manager for Big Game Clothing.  Steve makes his living choosing the best new clothing systems to include in the catalog and his tried virtually everything.  I offered a typical cold-weather scenario: Nebraska in late December.  It’s 10 degrees on the thermomerter with a 20 mph wind causing the wind chills to bury in the double digits below zero.  It is a stand hunt with a falf-mile walk to and from.  Here are Steve’s recommendations for such a hunt: 

 “First, I’d pick the best underwear I could find.”  Steve said.  “In the Cabela’s line I really like the Polortec Power Stretch underwear.  It is thick and creates lots of dead air space close to your body.  I recommend the bib for really cold conditions, covered on top by the full-zip jacket.  The material stretches so it doesn’t affect your range or motion and has a slick outer surface so it doesn’t bind with other clothing making it easier to draw your bow.”

 A similar product in the Bass Pro Shops catalog is the RedHead Expedition Weight Polartec Fleece Thermal.  Other thick, long underwear systems will also work well in this application.

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 Over the long underwear Steve recommends a thick layer of fleece.  “Fleece is perfect for this layer,” he said.  “It is lightweight and offers great insulation as well as moisture wicking.  From our line I like the Fleece Layering Pullover for the upper body.  I wouldn’t use Windstopper on an inner garment because it won’t  breathe as well, but if you will also be using it as an outer garment on milder days Windstopper here gives you more versatility.”  A similar product in the Bass Pro Shops line is the Scent-Lok Pullover.

 Over everything, Steve likes a heavy bib and parka constructed with plenty of insulation and a windproof membrane.  In the Cabela’s line he suggested the Whitetail Extreme system.  The outer shell on this clothing is warped (brushed) polyester that is silent even in cold temperatures.  Don’t overlook the importance of wearing a bib instead of pants.  Bibs eliminate cold spots that can occur when wearing pants.

 Personally, I’m a big fan of vests because they offer insulation for your core but don’t restrict the movement of your arms as you draw your bow or climb down from your stand at the end of a long cold day.  When things are particularly cold I like a thick vest like the one made by Winona /High Caliber (800/851-4868) that I’ve worn for years.  It is a combination of wool and fleece that is both thick and large enough to keep me very warm while fitting comfortably over any combination of underwear.  In the Cabela’s line, Steve recommended the Berber Fleece Outfitter Series Vest.

When It Gets Really Cold
 Under the toughest conditions, almost any cold weather system needs help.  That’s where the over-boots, hand muffs, neck gaiters, electric socks and even body blankets find their application.

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 Heater Clothing (920/565-3273) offers a unique product for the cold weather hunters.  The Heater Body Suit is basically a poly-fill sleeping bag with legs.  The bag closes up tight around your neck and zips easily down the front allowing you to slip your arms out for the shot.  Shoulder straps hold the garment in place as you shoot, preventing it from flopping down and spooking game.

 Icebreaker Inc. produces two great items designed specifically to relieve cold hands and feet.   Boot Blankets zip on over your regular boots to add a layer of thick Hollofil insulation where you need it most.  They will keep your feet toasty in the coldest conditions.  I wear them regularly when sitting on stand for extended periods, and they permit me to endure at least 15-degree colder conditions.

 Ice Breaker’s Handblanket is a thick Hollofil hand muff held in place in front of you by tie straps that go around your waist.  You can stick a handwarmer inside to keep your hands warm with only thin gloves.  For more information contact Icebreaker Inc., Dept. B&AH, P.O. Box 236, Clarkseville, GA 30523; (800) 343-BOOT.

 A new over-boot system introduced this past winter appears to have a lot of potential.  The ArcticShield Boot Insulators (877/974-4353) are less bulky than Boot Blankets and constructed with a layering system that includes patented Reflek-Tek that reflects body heat.  The pair weighs one pound and can be rolled up for storage in a pack.  If we have cold temperatures again this fall you can bet I’ll be testing a pair of these.

 Investing in warm clothing is one of the few ways in which you can actually buy-up your odds for taking nice buck.  For every extra minute you can stay on a cold stand your odds for success increase:  the better the clothing system, the longer the hunt.  You’ll not only be a more successful hunter but you’ll also enjoy it more.

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Published by admin on 14 Dec 2009

Blunders and Boo Boos Story and Photos By Judd Cooney

Blunders and Boo Boos
This long-time bowhunter has a few unfavorable experiences to tell about.
Story and Photos By Judd Cooney

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 The six-point bull was plum agitated at the infernal interloper (me) that was trying to cut in on his harem.  His deep-chested chuckling grunts and high-pitched bugles echoing through the quaking aspen and across the broad valley left little doubt about his attitude.  Tough and belligerent as the bull sounded, he wasn’t hesitating  as he pushed cows and calves up the slope toward the dark timber and their bedding area.

 Guide Dennis Schutz, my compadre Mark Peterson and I were a hundred yards below the elk when they crossed a small grassy park and headed up through a dense patch of aspen.  The heard was unaware of our trailing presence as we jogged through the dense timber to the edge of the meadow.  We were in time to catch sight of the last shadowy forms ambling over the aspen-covered knoll.  Mark and I quickly set up about 30 yards apart while Dennis stayed behind us.

 I squealed sharply to imitate a young bull and immediately switched to excited, pleading hyper-cow calling.  The sound of a raghorn with a hot cow was more than the herd bull could stand and it brought him charging down the hillside and into the open 100 yards across the clearing.  He responded to a couple of soft, seductive cow mews by trotting directly toward us, grunting and squealing as he came.  I was hoping he’d give Mark a shot but he’d pinpointed the sounds and ended up facing me at 10 yards.  I was backed into the shadows at the base of a spruce and knew he wouldn’t spot me unless I moved, so I waited him out.  When the frustrated bull turned away and started to circle I jerked to full draw, picked an apparently clear shooting lane at 20 yards and when the bull stepped into the open I sent my Phantom tipped XX75 on its way.  The ringing clang of my arrow colliding with a chest-high stump that stood there 300 yards just waiting to ruin my shot and the thuuunk of the arrow burying itself in an inedible, non-trophy aspen made me appreciate the good side of forest fires.  How the hell I could have missed seeing a 16-inch-wide slab of dead tree 20 feet in front of me defies logic.  But those are the bowhunting blunders that allow four-legged adversaries to win a disproportionate number of encounters and give bowhunters an excuse for blowing a perfect shot.

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 Catspaw Ranch, where I wounded a spruce stump and killed an aspen, is 20.000 acres of the most pristine quality elk hunting property in Colorado.  The ranch has a high elk population with many quality bullsand unfortunately too many trees for me to effectively bowhunt elk.

 Last fall, while bowhunting elk on Catspaw I called up and passed on a number of good bulls.  Several respectable five- and six-point bulls I seduced to within 20 yards or less and came to full draw.  However, I patiently held off waiting for a shot at a 320 bull or better.  Dumb!

 The last evening of my bowhunt my son-in-law, Mike Kraetch, tagged along to help me pack out my elk.  Nothing like confidence.  We parked the truck along a quaking aspen grove intending to move up the sloping valley side and catch the elk as they moved down to the lower meadows to feed.  It’s a lot easier to call an elk in the direction it’s headed rather than to try and turn it back to the country it just vacated.  We’d only gotten a couple hundred yards from the truck when we spotted an elk ghosting silently through the aspens a hundred yards upwind of us.  Even with binoculars we couldn’t tell if it was a bull or cow before it melted into the dense background.  At this point in the season a nice fat cow would fit nicely in our freezer as easily as a bull, so I moved a few yards ahead of Mike, knelt in the shadows of a low-branched spruce and wheedled a couple lonesome cow mews.  A bull answered immediately and within seconds a five-by-five materialized and started threading his way through the thicket of young spruce and fir.  He was 40 yards and closing steadily when I eased to full draw and swung with him.  At 20 yards he stopped behind some trees with his chest area centered in the V of two leaning dead trees.  I mentally thought, “How can I go wrong with everything but the kill zone covered by brush: as I released the arrow.  Yeah, right.  The solid whack of my arrow slamming into dead wood wasn’t nearly as infuriating as the snickering from my son-in-law oh well, I could always use the firewood.

 It’s amazing how many times in more than 40 years of bowhunting I’ve managed to hit various objects between me and the critter I’m trying to arrow.  I can recall numerous times my arrow hit the omnipresent “unseen object,” and flew harmlessly over or under a critter’s back or chest.  Danged if I can recall a single instance where a collision with a foreground object caused my arrow to ricochet into the kill zone or any other zone of a target critter.  Don’t seem fair.

 Elk have been my nemesis from day one and there have been a number of encounters where I would have gladly traded my compound for a 7mm magnum just to level the playing field a bit.

 I try to keep my bowhunting equipment simple, no sights, no release, a simple, easily replaceable flipper rest, etc.  The less technological gadgetry, the less chance that equipment failure can ruin a shot opportunity.  Not necessarily so.  I was elk hunting a couple of years back on a private ranch, with some spectacular bulls roaming the oak and aspen slopes, during the peak of the rut when a small equipment glitch turned the opportunity to arrow a huge bull into just another atrocious memory.

 I’d been working a monstrous six-point herd bull since shortly after daylight but couldn’t get him to leave his harm of delectable darlings for a vocal babe in the bush.  I finally just shut up and followed the herd from the lower meadows into the thick timbered benches where I knew they’d bed for the day.  When the herd finally stopped moving upward, I eased around on the downwind side and started a slow, careful stalk to get as close to the bedded bunch as possible.  It worked.  After an hour of meticulous moving I could see cows bedded 50 yards from me and soon glassed the agitated bull as he meandered among his ladies keeping an eye on them.  A perfect setup.

 I slipped into the dark shadows of an uprooted for and got ready for fast action.  The minute I squealed and started the intense sounds of a horny cow wanting and expecting immediate attention the bull broke from his harem and headed my way full tilt.  I jerked to full draw and instantly realized all was not good for killing this bull.  I was shooting carbon shafts with the pressure-fit adjustable nocks and in my excitement I’d probably overdrawn a bit or some such blunder and pulled the nock out of the shaft.  So I was at full draw with my arrow shaft hanging down off the rest and the nock firmly anchored in the corner of my mouth.  By this time the humongous bull had closed less than10 yards and was locked onto my camouflaged form.  He probably saw the smoke and flames coming out of my nose and ears as I debated how much damage a nock would do to an 800-pound bull elk at point-blank range.  I stayed locked into position hoping the bull would turn and give me a chance to let down, refit the nock and get a shot.  Ha!  Fat chance.  A vagrant swirl of breeze hit the bull’s sensitive nose with the force of a hurricane and he literally kicked dirt and pine needles on me as he whirled and got the hell out of there.  My hunting nocks are now epoxied into the shaft, the hell with adjust-ability!

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 Some screw-ups defy understanding or logic but still seem to favor the hunted and not the hunter.  I was hunting mule deer one fall by working down a ridgetop in some rocky canyon country hoping to catch a good buck moving from the alfalfa fields in the valley bottom to bed on the cooler high ridges. The sun had just started to gild the tops of the hills with its warm glow when I spotted a heavy-beamed 4×4 buck on the far side of a steep ravine working his way upward.  I was in perfect position to drop down ahead of him level with the trail he was following, and wait for him to pass on the other side of the narrow, deep defile.  The shot would be 35 to 40 yards across the canyon, a bit longer than I preferred but wide open with a solid dirt background so I wouldn’t even lose my arrow if I missed.  There were numerous huge ponderosa pines growing along the sides of the ravine so I slipped and slid down a gully out of the buck’s vision and crawled into a shadowed nock behind a rocky outcropping.   There were enough branches hanging down to break up the openness of the hillside and the morning breeze drifting upward made everything perfect for my ambush.

 When the unsuspecting buck passed behind a leaning ponderosa downhill from my position I came to full draw.  My full concentration was focused on the buck and when he was slightly past me, I whistled to stop him.  The second he paused in mid-stride I released, eagerly anticipating his faltering death run.  The buck jumped at the shot and then trotted nonchalantly up the trail obviously not in a mortal flight.  I immediately got my binocs on him and could see no sign of a hit.  I’d watched the fluorescent orange crested arrow zip across the canyon and the shot looked good, so what happened?

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 I couldn’t see a sign of my arrow sticking in the dirt bank and focused again on the buck figuring he was so dumb or tough he didn’t realize he’d been fatally shot.  I glassed him all the way to the top of the ridge willing him to lay down or fall dead.  No such luck.

 Fully befuddled I slithered and skidded down the steep slope to the narrow canyon bottom, determined to find out what happened.  As I started up the far side I glanced up the saw my arrow was hanging in mid-air over the canyon.  My well-placed shot had hit and split a thumb-sized pine branch hanging down over the chasm.  The shaft had driven almost to the fletching through the infernal, flexible branch before losing momentum and stopping in mid flight.  Far as I know both the ill-flighted arrow and the bewitched buck are still on that mountainside.

 Extenuating circumstances that exist at the time and may not be entirely controllable causes some blunders and screw ups.  Then there are those blunders and boo boos caused by a simple case of the stupids.

 Such was the case when I was hunting blacktails in northern California a couple of years back.  M.R. James, John Ruane (a long-time client and friend), Michael Bates (one of my bowhunting guides) and I were hunting a unique property bordering the Sacramento River that consisted of dense riverbottom thickets, impenetrable timber and blackberry-chocked creek bottoms winding through acres of lush walnut groves.  The walnut tree’s succulent leaves provided an irresistible attraction for the local blacktail deer.  The first evening we counted more than a hundred deer in the groves and a number of bucks that would make Pope& Young with ease.  The ranch had limited gun hunting for several years but had never been bowhunted during the early season.

 The outfitter had never guided bowhunters before and only had four tree stands on the 1,200-acre ranch.  The immovable stands left much to be desired as far as placement and it took us several days to figure out how to effectively hunt the visible yet elusive deer.  I’d located a well-used travel corridor and set up on it for several mornings and evenings.  I passed on several decent bucks hoping for a shot at one of the huge bucks we’d glassed each day.  I’d watched a huge buck feeding in a corner of the grove one morning and when he exited the grove to bed up I figured to be waiting for him that afternoon.

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 I slipped into the weed-grown corner early in the afternoon and plunked lazily down against the base of a tree downwind of the deer trail.  I figured it was early for deer movement so I was enjoying a can of soda with my bow leaned against a bush a few feet away, arrows still in the quiver.  One instant the trail was vacant and the next the blacktail buck of a bowhunter’s dreams was standing 10 yards away staring at me.  The monstrous five-by-five would have scored 140 or better and been well up in the record books and there I sat, flat on my butt, my bow out of reach and no arrow on the string.  Major dumb blunder.  Needless to say a buck that size doesn’t give you a second chance.  Be prepared.

 I’ve blundered so many times bowhunting whitetails that it would probably take a book to cover all of them.  I’ve hit a single strand of barbed wire at 20 yards, between me and a trophy buck.  A wire I could never hit if I tried.  I’ve drawn too soon on approaching bucks and had to let down to keep my shorts from creeping up around my neck choking me, altering the bucks in the process.  The next time under similar situations I didn’t draw soon enough and had bucks get so close I didn’t dare draw for fear of spooking them.  For every instance my timing is just right there are usually three or four times when it’s terrible and costs me a shot at a trophy animal.  Bowhunters are dealing with a whole deck of variables and few constants and what may be a major blunder in one instance may be just the right course of action on the next occasion.  Go figure.

 Boo boos and blunders are in integral part of the bowhunting challenge.  Unique experiences that can mature you into a more knowledgeable and effective bowhunter or make you take up bowling or golf.

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Published by admin on 08 Dec 2009

High Spirit: Celebrating Thriving Wildlife By Ted Nugent

High Spirit: Celebrating Thriving Wildlife
Recent Pope & Young banquet spurs
many thoughts.
By Ted Nugent

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 My eyes virtually bugged out of my face, little rivulets of drool forming at the corner of my trembling mouth.  I hyperventilated.  My heartbeat and pulse thumped like a hyper speed metal rock’n’roll double bass drum from hell, and the hair on my arms and neck quivered and rose to the occasion.  The sheer outrageous sea of hornage before me was beyond my wildest big-game dreams.

 Along with hundreds of families from around the world, I was staring at four walls covered with the most beautiful, stunning mounted heads of the world’s largest deer, elk, moose, buffalo, caribou, antelope, muskox, bighorn sheep, cougar, grizzly, polar and black bears ever seen in a single setting.  This was the 40-year anniversary of the Pope & Young club’s bi-annual trophy awards recording session, and a grand celebratory spirit consumed the Salt Lake City Convention Center.  The Spirit of the Wild glowed all around.

Celebrating Thriving Wildlife

 Numerous world records had once again been broken, and we all knew why.  Since the inception of scientifically based wilkdlife management began at the insistence of hunters in the late 1800s big game populations have improved exponentially year after year.  What a world record elk irrefutably represents is certainly the biggest, baddest, healthiest specimen of its time in more than 100 years, cut and dried.  Literally.

 The evidence is inescapable.  Record-book deer, elk, bear, moose, buffalo, antelope, caribou, cougar and others proves conclusively that this incredibly disciplined, ultra selective trophy hunting community performs the ultimate benefit for wildlife populations.  In order to qualify for the Boone & Crocket, Pope & Young  or various state record-keeping organizations, a big-game animal must be healthy and almost in every instance, very old.  And in the animal world, very old equates to being beyond breading capability or providing any tangible benefit to the herd.  In most cases, older male specimens are banished fro m the herd and go off on their own to die a slow, agonizing death by starvation or being eaten alive by other predators.

 It is interesting to note as well that most older critters that would set world records are never encountered by hunters and vanish without a trace.  I am glad that so many are taken by hunters not only for the thrills and challenges of the hunt and the food they provide the hunter’s families—plus incredible sums of revenues generated via these hunts— but mostly importantly for the valuable data they have provided over the years for further and better management information.  Even in death, these majestic beasts benefit the wild, their species and mankind.  Celebrate the Great Spirit!

 Like The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), Ducks Unlimited (DU), The Federation of North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS), The Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Whitetails Forever, Pheasants Forever, The Grouse Society, Quail Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, the Mule Deer Association and so many conservation organizations dedicated to these precious renewable wildlife resources, it is very easy to see why wildlife is thriving in North America like nowhere else in the world.  Even in the face of dramatically dwindling habitat, game and non-game species are doing great because these hunting organizations’ hands-on understanding of real wildlife needs and conditions drive us to manage habitat and harvests accordingly.

 Many wildlife lovers outside the hunting community join us in this glowing success story.  Even the famous TV personality Steve Irwin, “The Crocodile Hunter,” states quite emphatically in Scientific American magazine, that “habitat destruction” is the most important issue facing his home county of Australia, here in America and the whole wold today.  Those who actually walk on the wild side know this truth.  I repeat, wildlife habitat is where our air, soil and water quality come from.  Everybody should be helping these hunting organizations.  If intellectual truth instead of emotional hysteria motivated everyone, they would.

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 Those ignorant souls who criticize and condemn trophy hunters are absolutely full of baloney.  First of all, most trophy animals are taken by chance, as a rare lucky encounter with an outsized beast coincidentally comes together for some fortunate hunter just out to hunt.  And in virtually every case, dictated by laws and standard hunters ethics, all the valuable meat is utilized way before any head is taken to the wildlife artist taxidermist.  The facts are clear.

 With literally thousands and thousands of entries every year into many record books around the country, these staggering numbers occur every year, but only represent a minor fraction of the overall annual harvest of all species.  That reality adds up to an amazing dynamic truth just how renewable these resources truly are.  Isn’t it ridiculous that anyone believes there could even be an anti-hunting argument?

 You would have to be pretty dam stupid to deny more than 100 years of consistent evidence.  But then there have always been stupid people.  I can only hope that they wake up and smell the wonderful, gargantuan field of roses that shine before them.  I often wonder just what they are trying to accomplish.  I guess weird will always be weird.

 Meanwhile, I am going to continue to support all these great hunting/conversation groups.  They work tirelessly throughout the year raising millions and millions of dollars, donating by millions and millions of hunters across the land, all for the continued benefit of wildlife and wildlife habitat.  It is truly the greatest success story in the history of the world.

 When I travel to Africa, for example, it is so very obvious how it all works.  Where I see thriving populations for elephant, rhino, hippo, lion, leopard, cheetah, cape buffalo, kudu, eland, sable, gemsbok, giraffe, warthog, impala, zebra, wildebeest, nyala, reedbuck, klipspringer, blesbok, bontebok, tssessebe, duiker, steenbok, and all those fascinating wild creatures, it is always on wild ground where legal hunting is an ongoing business.  Conversely, where I see no wildlife at all, there are goats, cattle, vineyards, golf courses and “No Hunting” signs.  Intellectually, the choice is ridiculously obvious, unless of course feeling good is more important than doing the right thing.  As a hunter who lives with these awesome beasts.  I will continue to dedicate my life to educating and motivating people to do the right thing.

Celebrating Thriving Wildlife_3

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Published by admin on 08 Dec 2009

Deer Hunting With A Pioneer Tips From An Old-Timer

Deer Hunting With A Pioneer
Improve Your Bowhunting With These
Tips From An Old-Timer.

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http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com/

 Years ago, I became acquainted with one of bowhunting’s legendary, but retiring and thus little-known, pioneers.  His name was Jim Ramsey and he lived above the Bonito Valley in Lincoln, New Mexico.

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 Ramsey had grown up among the Apache Indians and had learned from them the art of making archery tackle and using it for hunting,  Especially, he perfected their process of flaking obsidian for arrow ans spear points and became the finest practitioner of the art I have ever known.  It was from him that I obtained the supply of large chipped obsidian lance points that have since been used as the centerpiece of the Pope & Young Club’s “Ishi Award;”  their highest honor.

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 Jim Ramsey also made up a work display for the then-new Fred Bear Museum, showing all the tools, raw materials and steps involved in chipping heads, including a large number of beautifully finished arrow points.

 I had the opportunity to visit Ramsey in his hillside Lincoln home, which was itself a museum of miniature.  From him, I learned a great deal of valuable hunting lore.  He had slain more deer with his homemade bows, arrows and chipped heads than most people ever see.  I asked him to jot down some of his hunting notes when he had the time and I later received some of these from him.  I was glad to have them, for not too much later Jim Ramsey quietly passed on the the Happy Hunting Grounds.

 What follows are Jim Ramsey’s comments on his bowhunting techniques, given to me some twenty years ago.  They contain a great deal of interesting information and some novel tricks he used, many of them forerunners of what is common today.

 “Here in the Southwest, deer inhabit vast areas of the country and the various places where these fine big-game animals are found are often amazingly diversified and dissimilar.  The big, fine mule deer may be found from the high altitudes of the mountains, way up around ten to twelve thousand feet were moisture is plentiful.  They’re also down in semi-barren desert foothills of scant rainfall, in the spreads of the ancient lava beds and even on down onto the more broken and rougher plains country.  The lower elevations, however, are mostly home to the smaller whitetail (Coues) deer of the Southwest, especially in the cactus/mesquite areas.

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 “Regardless of where I bowhunt for deer, there are certain practices I like to follow as much as possible.  Deer are not so much concerned about the invasion of their haunts by a creature whose body scent strongly suggests a vegetable diet as they are over some comer who reeks with the warning odor of devoured flesh.

 “Considering this, I prefer to prepare myself in advance for hunting by not eating meat for at least a couple days before I go out.  But, I do eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, especially apples.  After arising from my bed in the morning, I like to take a good bath, but in soapless water so I’m fresh and clean with all possible body odor eliminated.  I say soapless, because most soaps leave lingering odors quite foreign to the natural outdoor smells in the haunts of deer.

 “Then I dress from the skin out in clean, fresh clothing.  As an added precaution, I like to allow everything I might wear or use on the hunt to lie through the night on evergreen bushes or other fragrant vegetation common to the area to be hunted.  Just laying them on the ground and covering them with mine straw or dead leaves helps a lot, provided there is no dampness to harm the equipment.  Not only are my clothing, socks and shoes treated in this manner, but also my bow, arrows, quiver, arm guard, hunting knife and any rope I may carry along.

 “Soiled, sweaty clothing worn on a hunt is a dead giveaway to game.  So are bloodstained garments that have been previously worn while dressing or handling game.  Clothing that has been slept in is especially bad, though most hunters camping in cold weather, myself included, are at times guilty of sleeping in at least some of the clothing worn in the daytime.

 “I don’t care to carry along a lunch that might give off a telltale odor; perhaps just a few apples.

 “While camping, I prefer to sleep on the ground with a bed of leaves, pine straw or tips of evergreen branches.  A good comfortable bed can be made this way and your blankets soon take on the fragrance of the natural bed material.

 “It’s a mighty good idea for the bowhunter to get out in the area he intends to hunt and camp for a few days before the hunting actually starts, living close to nature.  This gives him an opportunity to make leisurely reconnaissances of the area and appraise hunting conditions.  Besides, if he’s from lower country, it allows him a little time to become accustomed to the altitude before any arduous hunting starts.

 “The hunter should try to lend in as much as he can with his outdoor environment and, even if it does seem a bit farfetched, to become, in a way, just another creature of the wild places.  This advice is prompted b the various experiences gained from the more than fifty years I have hunted with the bow.

 “Most often, people arrive at their intended hunting area in a closed car.  Their clothing, hair and body reek with the odors of food, tobacco, gasoline, motor oil and probably the perfume from soaps, cosmetics and aftershave lotion.  Hunters do not notice these odors.  But, to the weary deer, what a distasteful contrast it is to the pure and natural ozone of their haunts.  It’s quickly noted by these and other creatures of the wild places.  It all adds a discouraging handicap to hunting, especially bowhunting.

 “After I am ready to go hunting, I avoid anyone frying bacon or other meat, as the odorous smoke settles on hair and clothing and clings tenaciously there, warning game.  I do not smoke, for an animal can detect tobacco scent a long way off.  I, myself, have often been warned of other hunters in an area by catching the drift of their smoking.

 “I prefer to wear outer clothing that blends in well with the natural surroundings, but I want it to be of material that will not be noisy when brushed by twigs or branches.  To prevent the cuffs of my trouser legs from flapping loosely and catching on brush.  I draw each one down and pin it in place with a large safety pin.  I don’t like to wear an ordinary hat when hunting in the brush.  I used to prefer wearing a head band of brown or greenish cloth about four or five inches wide, but I am getting a bit bald and the top of my head shows up like a reflecting mirror.  Now I sew a crown of like cloth onto the head band.  In colder weather a dark color stocking cap works well.

  “If I’m not familiar with the country and game conditions where I intend to hunt, as soon as I get a camp site settled, I get out and do some quiet scouting.  I try to learn which canyons have streams of springs in them, or if there are any stock tanks in the vicinity.  At any such places, I check to see if deer have recently been coming in to drink.  I learn if they have been using regular routes over well defined game or stock trail or have just come and gone haphazardly.

 “As I scout, I check for the types of vegetation deer like to feed on during that season of the year and also note places that might be favored as bedding grounds.  I try to learn how the breezes blow over the slopes and up or down the valleys or canyons.

 “Considering deer depend more on their sense of smell to warn them of danger than their sight or hearing, I always try to hunt against or across the wind, except when I may find it advantageous to slip into a brushy draw or canyon head and go with the wind to flush game onto open slopes.

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 “When hunting during the early morning and evening, if the wind is right.  I try to stay between the sun and the game.  I have learned this offers me quite an advantage.  A fine way to determine direction of faint breezes is to keep a feather tied to the upper loop of the bowstring.

 “Having learned from many experiences that the unexpected usually happens when one is least prepared for it.  I try to be alert and on the lookout for game wherever I may be, even if it’s unlikely deer are around.  Game will sometimes appear suddenly at the most unexpected time to place.  This is especially true when other hunters are in the area.

 “I often use cover scents, but prefer natural odors over man-made concoctions.  I like to crush and rub fresh sage, juniper or pine needles on my clothing and I rub my boot soles in any fresh animal droppings I come across.  In addition, skunk scent has for a long time been my old standby.  Deer are well acquainted with the smell of skunk and seem to be attracted to it.  It may be the smell appeals to them, but I have seen times when it appeared to have angered them.  Often, when deer come across a dead skunk, they will paw and stamp the carcass as if in anger.  This may be because deer, while feeding on the ground, have had their eyes sprayed with the skunk’s stinging fluid.

 “To handle such scent, I use a small, wide mouthed glass jar with a tight screw-top lid.  I fill it with rags or cotton and apply fifteen to twenty drops of the pure essence I have secured from a skunk I have killed, or from one of the trapper’s supply firms.  I carry the jar in a padded belt pouch.  When hunting, I loosen the lid about halfway.  If I want to hunt from a blind, I find a place of concealment near a well-used trail or crossing and place the open jar about ten paces back of my blind so the breeze will carry the scent over to me and onto the trail or crossing.  If shooting from a tree stand, the jar, or some moss with the scent on it, can be placed in an open space within good shooting range, so a passing deer will stop in the desired spot.

 “I usually prefer to still-hunt and stalk deer, so I carry my partially opened jar on my side.  One may get himself scented up a bit this way, especially on damp days, but the fun and success this trick affords will make it worth the trouble.

 “On the inside of each hind leg of a deer, just below the hock or knee, is a large musk gland.  This area has little or no hair on part of it with stiff, dark hair around its edge.  These glands seem to serve as a sort of radio set by which deer send scent messages to one another.  When hunting, if I can get these from the legs of a recently killed deer, I rub the musk on my trousers or on my boots.
 
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“If suitable cover is not close to a deer trail, deer can often be lured from the trail, deer can often be lured from the trail by dropping pieces of apples or other deer tidbits such as acorns along a course the hunter desires the deer to take. “A sneaky trick I have found useful is the ‘odorous arrow gambit.’  It works best when deer are feeding or traveling int the wind and I’m behind them, but without sufficient cover to work up on them.  I take a field arrow and wrap a piece of an old sock, well stunk-up with human odor, snuggly around the forend, holding it in place with a rubber band.  From cover, I shoot the arrow high over the deer so it will fall to the ground beyond.  The sound of the arrow may turn them back toward me.  If not, they will soon scent the human odor on the arrow and may come slipping back downwind toward me, their attention mostly centered on watching their  backs.  I have more than once had deer come right in close to me using this trick.

 “If I decide to still-hunt a lava flow area, such as the ‘malpais’ west of Carizozo, which is some five miles wide and extends down the valley from the crater about thirty miles, I carefully scout around the many grassy and brushy depressions, working as much as possible into the wind.  Lava bed deer contrast sharply in color against the blackish rock and are easy to spot unless the animal is bedded in brownish grass or brush.  Nearly all shots are rather close, since a hunter will usually be quite close to a deer when he discovers it.  And, since most of the vegetation, except for scattered old juniper tree’s is quite low, there are not many overhead hazards to deflect an arrow.

 “Mostly, the wind blows across the lava beds in an established direction.  When it blows quite hard with a lot of noise, deer are reluctant to get up from their beds which are sheltered in depressions.  This brings the hunter close in.  Since shots are short, he arrow is not overly affected by high winds.

 “All volcanic areas of the Southwest are not like this and thus do not present the same hunting conditions.  For example, the Cochiti Canyon country north of Albuquerque consists mainly of extremely steep mountains of volcanic material.  Some of this country is heavily timbered and much of it cut and broken by steep-walled canyons.  Deer hunting here is done just about the same as in any of the forested areas of the West.  The Gila Wilderness area of New Mexico is another volcanic country, mountainous and forested and an extremely good deer area.

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“Binoculars are extremely handy in such country.  Bedded deer can be spotted from a distance and an appropriate stalk planned beforehand.  Feeding deer are more easily located, also.  Whenever I come to the crest of a ridge, I always peer over cautiously, usually through a bush or clump of grass.  Deer grazing on a hillside generally graze uphill.  By maneuvering cautiously, a hunter can often get above feeding deer and let them come up within easy shooting range.

 “Whenever I’m out hunting I always pay particular attention to all the various little sounds, especially the calls of birds or other animals.  A slight rustling sound may be a deer easing out of a bed and slipping away.  A red squirrel barking and fussing may lead one to a deer.  Ravens are apt to be concerned about a dead or wounded deer, so when I hear these black denizens calling to one another in their strange raven talk.  I give a stealthy look-see.  A bluejay or scrubjay squawking at or scolding something, prompts me to learn the objects of his ire.  Such woodland busybodies can give the alert hunter a lot of good hints— and, of course, will often scold at him the same way.

 “I well remember one day years ago when hunting along the base of the Capitans, I heard a bluejay fussing at something along the trail I had just covered.  I went back and got the opportunity to shoot two fine wild turkeys out of a flock that had come in after I had passed
 “Just this past deer season, while hunting among the scattered cactus and scrub juniper on a ridge, I noticed a flock of small birds fly up from the ground about thirty yards ahead.  I looked sharply and caught a glimpse of something grayish brown in the low brush.  I thought it to be just a jackrabbit, but to make sure, I eased behind some bushes and saw it was a fine buck.  Evidently, he had just come up out of a canyon, for he was standing there looking down into it as if he expected other deer to follow.  As a result of my heeding the warning of the startled birds, I was able to make an easy, clean kill of the big mulie. 

 “When I’m stalking a deer and the cover is poor, I watch carefully as it feeds.  When it switches its tail I freeze in place, knowing this is the sign it is about to look up.

 “During rutting season, buck deer will often stay in areas where there are domestic cattle.  A hunter should be on the lookout for such places.

 “Well up on many of the more forested mountains of the southwest are rather open grassy, meadowlike areas scattered over with fir trees, grayish old aspens, patches of young aspens and a variety of plants.  Deer love to feed in such places and, during the summer, bucks like to bed there.  But during hunting season, if such areas are readily accessible to hunters, the deer will hide out in the thicker surrounding timber or down in the brushy, tangled rocky canyon heads.  About sundown, they will emerge to feed in the upland meadows, returning to thicker cover shortly after daylight.  By waiting in cover or in a tree stand near the edge of such an open grassy area, an archer has a good chance for shots at deer emerging from the canyon heads at dusk.  Sometimes these uplands are enveloped in fog, making it damp and quiet for still-hunting.  But one should carry a compass to keep from getting turned around, as it can happen easily in drifting fog.

 “Sometimes the fog turns to sleet that comes rattling noisily down.  This is also a great time to be out since the sound of your progress is covered  and visibility and odor drift are somewhat negated.  When big fluffy flakes of snow are falling thickly over the mountains, hunting is usually good, too.  Just after such a storm, before the snow becomes crusty, is an excellent time for still-hunting.

 “Farther down the mountains, where pinyons, juniper and scrub oak grow, are other populations of deer.  But when hunters in any numbers invade such areas, the deer promptly move up into those brushy, rocky canyons and rockslide slopes.  An archer who has the patience to quietly work around through such fastness is pretty apt to get chances at some of the better bucks in the area.

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 “Whenever I’m sneaking quietly through thickets and hear a deer get up with a snort of dash off a few jumps, then all is quiet, I remain perfectly still.  The animal may sneak away, but the chances are it’s not quite certain what disturbed it and is curious to find out.  If I feel it’s standing out there looking and listening.  I crouch and look under the brush for sight of its legs while keeping a lookout farther up for antlers or ears.  I especially watch in the directions where the breeze is carrying my scent.  I’ve had bucks silently and suddenly poke their heads over bushes upon catching my scent, allowing me fine close-range shots.

 “A word of caution when hunting n any of the dry areas of the Southwest where it is usually windy.  Be careful of fire and of your smokes if you have to smoke.  It’s a terrible letdown to return to mountain areas where you’ve had many happy hunting experienced, only to find the forest burned away and only scorched and blackened stubs in the canyons and on the slopes.

 “Happy hunting.”

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Published by admin on 01 Dec 2009

Outsmarting a Wild Boar By Jim Cox

Outsmarting a Wild Boar
Here’s How One Bowhunter Got The Best Of This
Intelligent Animal – For His Dinner Table!
By Jim Cox

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 I stood on the bed of the pickup squinting into the morning sun.  The barley field I was watching stretched from my left to scattered trees on my right.  Focusing my 7X35 binoculars on a small herd of cows grazing peacefully among the trees, I estimated the distance to be about three hundred yards.

 I was almost ready to head back to camp for a much-needed breakfast when an unusual shape lying in a depression under one of the trees caught my eye.  At first I thought it was a small cow but as it lifted its head to sniff the wind I recognized the animal as the large boar I had seen for the past two years.  In both of these years, I had been so wary that I had never been able to get within two hundred yards.  I vowed that this time would be different.

 Quickly tucking the binoculars into the pouch on my hip, I checked the wind and figured I had a chance of navigating the terrain to get within shooting distance.  Keeping the wind in my face I began the slow process of crawling low in the open, duck-walking the gullies and running the tree line until I estimated that the tree I crouched behind was about thirty yards from the boar.

 I could hear the low grunts and knew that the animal was still there and was unaware of my presence.  Quickly fitting an arrow to the string of my Martin compound, I took a deep breath and slowly swung around the tree, coming to full draw as I turned.  My one thought was, “Don’t miss, don’t miss.”

 I missed.  Just as I released the boar stood up and the arrow hit between his legs.  I will never know how I nocked that second arrow but as the boar ran I found myself running parallel to him, again at full draw.  My shot was true, entering a little below center, behind the shoulder.  It was a killing shot but I would not risk losing this animal to the wilderness.  I released another arrow still on the run and brought down my largest boar to date.

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 For the last five years I have been hunting wild pig on the Harris Valley Ranch near Bradley, California.  This is a private range area open only to archery hunting.  The terrain of fields, wooded areas, meadows and desert affords an ideal habitat for the wild pig.

 Derived from the European wild pig, these animals are cunningly intelligent.  While their eyesight is thought to be poor they are able to discern movement from a distance.  The pigs’ sense of smell is acute and the scent of man on the wind is enough to send them running swiftly for cover.

 Wild pigs travel mainly at night, rooting for anything edible.  They love cereal crops and any root vegetables such as beets or turnips.

 Sexually mature at eighteen months, they reach full size in five to six years, with sows attaining weights of three hundred pounds.  Boars of over four hundred pounds are not uncommon.

 Unlike the vicious little javelina, wild pigs would rather run than fight, sometimes making false charges before fleeing.  The wounded animal is a different story, however, and extreme caution should be taken when following the blood trail.  The pig may act vigorously, slashing wildly with his tusks.

 Pigs do not have sweat glands and must protect themselves from sunlight.  If cover is not readily available they will make shelters by cutting long grass ands then crawling under it to form a protective canopy.

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 Like their domesticated brothers, the wild pig will find moisture and create mud holes or wallows, using them regularly until the sun bakes them dry.  If there are trees nearby the pig will rub the mud from his back on the tree trunk.  The height of these marks from the ground will give a good indication of the pig’s size.

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 I prefer to locate the animals from a distance with binoculars, singling out one pig and beginning a slow stalk.  But their habit of using regular trails to feeding grounds makes hunting from a blind or stand possible.

 A well-placed shot is essential because the hide and gristle on the front shoulders can be as thick as 2 ½ inches.  When hit in this area, the tissues close around the broad head and shaft leaving poor blood trails.  The wounded animal may then run several hundred yards making tracking difficult.  I try to place my arrow behind the shoulder at mid-shoulder height.  The broad head will catch the lungs and heart area and should result in a quick kill.

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Because of the pigs’ stamina and tough hide it’s important to use the right equipment.  I use a Martin compound set at sixty pounds and 2117 aluminum arrows with Eagle broad heads.  I have found that because of the great penetration and large cutting area, the Eagle is ideal for wild pig.  I feel that using the right equipment for the game being hunted is essential; carefully choosing the right gear for the hunt has accounted for many of my sixty big-game kills with bow and arrow in the past few years.

 The best hunting times are early morning and dusk when the pig is active, although if there is no hunting pressure many pigs will remain active in shady or wooded areas until mid-morning before seeking cover.

 The liberal year-round season and the bag limit of one pig of either sex per day offer hunters an excellent way to sharpen hunting skills and put some delicious meat on the table at the same time.

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Published by admin on 24 Nov 2009

Hunting Survival By W.A. Hughes

Hunting Survival
Spend More Than A Few Weekends A Year Outdoors?
Chances Are Someday You’ll Either Be The Victim Of A Survival Incident
Or Placed In A Rescue Posture.  Here’s What You Need To Know In Either Case.
By W.A. Hughes

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com/

 It was nine-thirty in the morning on a raw blustery day in the high country mantle of grey-black clouds hung at tree-top level.  The blue-green branches of the conifers were covered with powdery white snow that sifted down on the three inches of powder covering the ground.

 My bowhunting partner, Doug Smith, and I followed a herd of elk we spotted from the road.  Tracking was easy – the prints of seven elk, one a spike bull, showed up less than ten minutes old in the snow.

 “There they are, Hughes!  In that thicket of fir.”  Smith pointed to a patch of young trees in the bottom of the canyon.  “There – bedded down in those trees.  Some tracks going in, but nothing coming out.”  A dark shape moved swiftly from one patch of trees to the next.

 “There’s one now,”  Smith whispered.  “Hold it, hold it, that isn’t an elk.”  Smith waved his arms.  “That guy will spook those elk for sure.”

 And was he right.  Elk exploded out of the patch of timber.  “Get down,”  I ordered.  We knelt in the snow hoping at least one of the elk would run by within bow-shot range.  A big cow came charging up the hill.  We drew and shot at the same time.  My arrow stuck in the snow two feet behind the racing elk, Smith’s shot sailed over her back.  No time for a second shot.

 The bull never ran but we spotted him sneaking along the bottom of the canyon, then nothing moved, only the guy in the canyon who suddenly staggered out of the trees then fell.  “That guy’s hurt,”  I shouted.  “Come on.”

 We found the most miserable, cold and wet human I’ve ever seen.  He lay sprawled in the snow, semiconscious, shivering and incoherent.  This guy was only a few hours from being dead.

 Three years ago, I took a college course in mountain and cold weather survival and I honestly thought I’d never have an opportunity to use what I’d read about – I had obviously been wrong.  Here was a fellow man in bad shape.

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 Smith and I stripped this man’s clothes off and helped him climbed into a garbage sack tube tent.  Smith went back to the pickup and got a sleeping bag and we put the victim – tube tent and all – into the sleeping bag.  I built a fire, made tea liberally laced with honey and stayed with the victim while Smith went for help.  Less than an hour later a chopper picked the victim up and transported him to Tacoma, Washington, where he spent a night in the hospital and was released in good condition, but a lot wiser.

 Tim Kneeland, director of Seattle’s Institute For Survival, makes mention several times in his lectures that if you spend more than a few weekends a year outdoors, you will either be the victim of a survival incident or you will be placed in a rescue posture.  At the time I thought it was a lot of scare talk, but now I know it’s true.

 Here in the state of Washington there are over three hundred survival accidents a year that necessitate the intervention of search and rescue teams.  Many people are needlessly injured each year and many die.  National statistics show that every minute of every day someone is involved in a survival crisis.  The real tragedy is that most of these deaths and injuries could be avoided if the outdoorsmen involved had a survival kit and knew how to use it.

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 The best insurance you can get is to purchase or make a survival kit, practice with it until you know how to use every item in it, and never take one step into the woods without it.  Keep one in your car, boat, camper, airplane or any off-road vehicle.

 An excellent survival kit can be purchased from the Tacoma Unit, Mountain Rescue Council, Post Office Box 696, Tacoma, Washington, but for just a few dollars you can make yours.

SURVIVAL KIT
 Your survival kit should contain an instant shelter, fire-starting materials, signal devices, tools and rations.  All of this equipment should be compact enough to be stored and carried in a small waterproof packet on your belt.

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 If you wish to make your own kit, follow these simple directions and you will have all the necessary gear to survive a short-term crisis even in hostile environments.

 Instant Shelter – A tube tent can be manufactured from two of the plastic garbage or leaf sacks available in any grocery or hardware store.  All that is necessary to make an eight foot tent is to slit the bottom of one sack open and, utilizing a good grade of tape, join the two pieces together to form one large sack.  Carefully fold the sack up into as tight a package as possible for storage in your kit.

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 It is amazing how warm the tube tent is.  On a recent camping trip to Mt.Ranier, Washington, we utilized one of these tents as a sleeping bag, and found that we stayed dry and fairly warm inside the tubes.  If you get wet, it is wise to strip off all the wet clothes, get inside the tent and stay there until you can dry your clothing.  If possible, two people can get inside the tent and the resulting body heat will aid in warming the survival victim.

 Tools – Tools carried in a survival kit must be small, light and highly functional.  Always have a small but razor-sharp knife in the kit.  This is indispensable for many chores found around camp, primarily camp construction, such as cutting boughs for a bed and obtaining fuel.  A small coil of wire and string are helpful tools as is a foot or two of tape to repair tears in your tube tent.  A small piece of aluminum foil doubles as a heat reflector from your fire; it also makes an excellent cooking pot, and an even better signal mirror.

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Fire-Starting Material – The main fire-making material in many homemade kits is a small butane lighter.  They are excellent, reliable and well worth the few pennies spent on them, however one should have a back-up.  My kit has two back-up fire makers – I have a plastic case filled with waterproof matches, and a home-made flint and steel set.  The commercial sets of flint and steel set.  The commercial sets of flint and steel just don’t have the material for reliable use.  I found a piece of flint in the hills and carry a small packet of tinder and use y knife blade for the steel.  With the charred cloth tinder, flint and steel blade of my knife, I can start a fire as fast as most folks can with a match.

 With your fire-making material, always carry two five-inch candles.  These candles are excellent as a fire starter.  If you have trouble getting your kindling going, cut off a one-inch stub of candle, light it, and place it under your kindling.  As a steady source of fire, it will get all but the most stubborn kindling going.  I use a small piece of wire on the candle and, when the fire is blazing, pull the candle out and save it for future use.

 You will occasionally find yourself in a position where there is no fuel, or the wood is just too wet to burn.  Here the candle will have to suffice as your only source of light and heat.  If you are lost, hurt and cold, a candle will give off an amazing amount of heat, over which you can cook soup or coffee, and the light from a simple candle gives one a tremendous psychological boost.

 Rations – Even with today’s dried food, one obviously cannot pack a three-course meal in a belt survival kit.  He can, however, carry bouillon cubes, dried soup mix, packaged tea, coffee of hot chocolate and, as an energy source, either packaged honey or sugar.  Any of these foods can be prepared over a small fire utilizing your aluminum pot and the candle for heat.

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 I store all of my survival gear inside a zip-lock waterproof bag and carry it on my belt in a small canvas bag I purchased at the surplus store.  Carl Bergman, one of my bowhunting pals, carries his kit in a leather “Possibles” bag along with his extra bowstring, file and knife.

 Signals – Last of all, but far from being least important, is your signal gear.  As previously mentioned, your aluminum foil makes an excellent signal mirror and on bright days the reflection of the mirror can be seen for miles and lead a party right to your location.  In my kit I also carry a spent rifle case.  With this cartridge you can blow a loud shrill whistle which you will also assist rescuers in finding your location.

SURVIVAL SKILLS
 If you do become involved in a survival crisis your brain is your most important tool.  If you have the confidence and knowledge that you will survive, you will.  Just follow these general directions.

 When you are hunting, fishing or camping out, always keep an eye out for a good survival shelter.  Remember that your shelter should be small and dry.  Whenever you get the chance, use your survival kit for practice.  Build fire, cook yourself some hot soup or chocolate.  Let your friends, wife and parents know that when you are out in the woods you may not be back on time, and leave word that if you are not home by a certain day and hour to notify search and rescue.  Assure them that you have a survival kit, that you know how to use it, and that if anything happens you will stay put.

 Okay, you’re out in the woods and you get lost or caught in a storm.  What do you do?  It’s easy! First, get under shelter fast.  Do not allow yourself to get miserably cold and wet.  Find a shelter or use your tube tent and stay where you are unless your location is dangerous.  Find the most protected area, build a fire, fix yourself some hot coffee and wait.  As soon as possible make signals to rescuers.

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Survival emergencies in the United States are short term,.  All you have to do is stay alive for a couple of days and rescue teams probably will find you .  Think about it, practice, and if the time comes when you are a survival victim, you will be able to handle it.

 SURVIVAL FIRST AID
 In a survival emergency, medical aid may be hours, perhaps days away.  You could be called upon to give medical assistance to others and perhaps be required to take care of our own injuries.  You may also have to care for emotional stresses such as fear and anxiety, keep morale high and , by example, create a will to live in others.  Until a rescue team and trained medical help arrives you may be called upon to provide food, water, shelter and first aid to others.

 First aid should be given according to the following plan.  First, rescue the victim from any area that is dangerous and could cause further injury or harm.  Second, make sure that the injured person is breathing without difficulty.  It may be necessary to give mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration.  Third, severe bleeding must be stopped.  Fourth, protect the injured person from cold, dampness or excessive heat.  Fifth, determine the extent of the injury and give appropriate first aid to include treatment for shock.

HYPOTHERMIA
 If you spend much time outdoors, it is quite likely that you may find a victim suffering from hypothermia and will be required to give first aid.  First and most important, avoid further heat loss in the victim and then re-warm him slowly.

 It will undoubtedly be necessary to rig an emergency shelter.  To further expose the victim to the elements may be fatal.  If possible, replace his wet clothing with dry.  This means you may have to share some of your own clothing.  Place as much insulation as possible between the victim and the ground.

 Have another person, if possible, strip down and warm a sleeping bag, then place the victim in the bag with one or two other persons.  They should  huddle with the victim.  If a sleeping bag is not available, use your tube tent.  If the victim’s clothing is damp, remove it.

 If the victim is awake, give him warm fluids – tea, coffee, soup, hot chocolate or bouillon.  Tea and Coffee as well as hot chocolate should be heavily sweetened.  If, however, the victim is unconscious, he should be kept prone, with his head tilted back to insure breathing.  Do not leave the victim.  Build a shelter, a fire and make appropriate signals for rescuers.  If you have a partner, send him out for help.

 Research presently underway at the University of Victoria, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, shows that quite possibly the best method of reviving a victim of exposure is to immerse him in a warm whirlpool bath.  Of course, this procedure is available only in a hospital; however, if a cabin or home is nearby, you could place the victim in a warm bathtub until help arrives.

 Here are a few suggestions forwarded by Dr. Hayward of the University of Victoria:  Get the victim into the warmest area possible; Do not attempt to stop the victim from shivering as this is the normal emergency heat-producing method of the body; Remove all clothing and pat dry.  Do not attempt to rub the body; Do not wrap in blankets or place in a sleeping bag unless the bag or blanket is preheated.

 Rewarming Procedures – For a person into advanced stages of hypothermia, it is essential to stop further cooling and rewarm the victim if you are to save his life.  Semiconscious or unconscious persons are in severe stages of hypothermia and could die unless immediate rewarming takes place.

 The best form of rewarming is to immerse the victim in a warm-water bath or wrap him in electric blankets; however, in-the-field treatment may be necessary to prolong life long enough to get the victim to a house or hospital.

 If no other method is available body contact may be the only method available to rewarm the victim.  Huddle with him and give as much body contact as possible to the areas of greatest heat loss – neck, sides of chest, and the groin.

 If the person is unconscious, exhale warm breath in close proximity to the mouth and nose while the victim is inhaling.

 Build a fire and heat water, soak towels, clothes, etc., and apply to neck, chest and groin.

 If a sleeping bag is available, strip the victim down, remove our own clothes and huddle in the bag with the victim.  If a third person is available, get him into the bag also.  As soon as the victim regains consciousness, give him hot drinks, but do not give liquor under any circumstances.

 Continue the treatment until normal movements, behavior, and mobility returns.  In some cases this may take only an hour.  In severe cases it will take longer and you will want to get the person to a hospital as soon as possible.

 

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