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Published by admin on 12 Oct 2009

Map & Compass

Map & Compass
Weather you hunt wilderness elk or small woodlot whitetails,

a good topo map and compass will always increase your effectiveness as a hunter.
By Bill Vaznis

 “ It will be shooting light soon,” Bob said as he pulled the 4×4 off the road and down into a gully.  He left the diesel running and turned on the dome light to show me an old topo map complete with diagrams and plenty of notes in the margins.  “Take this old logging road down to the clear-cut, about a half-mile away,” he said, “and then work your way along this edge.  I’ve seen elk here, here and on this ridge just below the cut.  It should take you most of the morning to cover it thoroughly.


 “When you get to the creek, cross it just inside the cut, and have your lunch.  Then take out your compass and head 280 degrees for about a mile until you reach a rocky bluff and a line of aspens.  Follow the line of trees due south.  Keep your eyes open now because there have been a couple of big bulls seen here in recent days.  You should come out on this other logging road around sunset.  I’ll pick you up there.  Any questions?”

 “Yes,” I replied.  “What happens if I don’t hit the logging road by dark?”

 “Just shoot three arrows in the air,” laughed Bob, “and I’ll park the truck and come in to get you.  If I can’t find you by midnight, however, I’ll tell the guys back at camp that you are good and lost, and they can divvy up your gear.”

 “You won’t have to get out of the truck,” I replied with feigned sarcasm.  “Just open up a thermos of hot coffee, and hang it out the window.  I can smell a cup of hot coffee a mile away.  Besides, I know you’ve got your eyes on my bow case and Gore-Tex rain gear, so I’ll be sure to be at the logging road by dark.  See you then buddy!”


 Orienteering Basics
 It is difficult to take full advantage of a topo map when hunting for elk, moose or deer unless you know exactly where you are in relation to the map.  One way to orient yourself is by simple inspection.  Take up a position in your hunting area that offers you good visibility, and then pick out a few prominent physical features such as hilltops or a lake.  Orientate the map until its typographical symbols correspond to the terrain in front of you, and then using the contour lines try to pinpoint your exact location on the map.

 A more precise method is to set our compass at 360 degrees and place the side edge of its transparent base plate on a line parallel with the Magnetic North line.  Use the Declination Diagram found in the map’s margin.


 Now, point the Direction-of-Travel needle to the north and rotate the map and compass together until the north part of the compass needle points to the “N” on the compass housing.  (Some models have a black outline of an arrow permanently drawn inside and on the floor of the housing.  It always points to “N” on the compass housing and some outdoorsmen find it easier to align the magnetic needle with this arrow.)  Make sure your jack knife or wristwatch are not influencing the compass needle.  There, you have oriented the compass, map and yourself to Magnetic North.  It is that simple!

 Scouting Big Woods
 Topographical symbols and the spacing of contour lines can help you locate probable feeding and bedding sites, as well as runways and escape routes, from the comfort of camp.  Basically, the closer the contour lines are to each other, the steeper you’ll find the terrain.  Most ridge contours point downhill toward lowland feeding areas while valley contours point uphill towards the higher elevations—two locations elk and deer like to frequent!.

 I often study those little brown squiggles for hours trying to locate bottlenecks, saddles, gentle slopes and natural crossings that often govern the daily movements of most big-game animals.  I always check out meadows, burn-overs, clear-cuts and old farmsteads for evidence of feeding activity, and , the edges of dense swamps, nearby high ridges and the tops of steep ravines for possible bedding sites.

 One fall, while bowhunting for elk in Colorado, we found a hotspot for elk by closely studying a topo map.  We knew there was a herd of elk nearby, but they seemed to disappear from the face of the earth once the bulls stopped bugling.  A creek bed, however, caught our attention.  It seemed to meander effortlessly through the valley we were hunting.  Upon closer examination, however, we “saw” on the map where a steep ridge blocked the creek at one point causing it to flow due east for a few hundred yards before it resumed its natural course.  That herd of elk was holed up on the bend of that creek, and if it wasn’t for an unexpected close encounter with two black bears we might have arrowed one of those bulls.

 Finding Your Way Around
 There is no mystery to navigating in the big woods.  Just use your common sense and follow these basic rules and you can hunt with confidence just about anywhere in North America.


 The first rule is simple.  Before you take that initial step into the wilderness, pick out a prominent landmark to help you return to your starting point.  A mountain peak or ridgeline can often help you stay oriented without a compass—even in the dark.  In other cases, I like to use a power line right-of-way, a river or even a dirt road as a backdrop.  This will allow me to find camp even if I overshoot my starting point.

 For example, let’s say you want to hunt an aspen-covered ridge that lies due north of a large stream.  No matter where you are at quitting time, all you have to do is travel due south to hit the river.  The best part is you can be off by a half mile and still locate your starting point in the dark by simply following the river’s bank back to your vehicle.

 Of course, back bearings are not always so easy to figure out.  Let’s say your forward compass reading to the ridge is not magnetic north (zero or 360 degrees), but rather 95 degrees.  In this case, traveling due south to get yourself out of the woods could get you good and lost!


 The rule of thumb to reverse directions is to add 180 degrees if your forward reading is less than  180 degrees.  Conversely, if your forward reading is more than 180 degrees, then subtract 180 degrees.  In this latter case, your return compass reading or back bearing will be 275 degrees.

 If you can’t remember which is which, don’t worry.  Choosing the wrong formula will result in an answer of less then zero degrees or more than 360 degrees, and both of these are of course nonsense.

 Don’t wait until you get turned around to figure out how to get back to camp.  Know where you are at all times! One way to do this is to sketch your forward progress, keeping note of pertinent landmarks you encounter en route.  Write down degree bearings, too.  It is easy to forget what direction you want to follow after a day of chasing big whitetails about.


 As you hike through the woods, turn around once in a while to see what the return trail looks like.  It is amazing how different everything can appear from this new perspective!  Nothing is more disconcerting then to be on the correct path to camp, but not recognize it as such even in good light.

  A few words of caution now about navigating in the big woods—beware of lateral drift!  You can become hopelessly lost by following your compass “more or less” in the general direction you want to go.  Lateral drift occurs when you take one step in the right direction, say due north, but two or three to the “left” to go around a rock or fallen tree.  In essence, you have gone one step in the correct direction, and two in the wrong direction—due west!  Where do you think you’ll be in two hours? I can assure you it will not be due north of your original position!

 To counteract lateral drift, pick out a landmark straight ahead in the direction you want to travel, even if it is only 50 yards away, go to it, and then sight down your compass to another landmark.  Continue with this procedure, and you’ll soon be out of the woods.  Remember the shortest distance between two points is a straight line!


Of course this can be tricky sometimes, especially in the dark.  If I am going “way back,” I stuff a shoulder pack with a small flashlight, extra batteries, some dry clothes, water-proof matches, some food and a small plastic tarp in case I get a bit “bewildered” or get a shot late in the day.  Trying to find the blood trail in the big woods on a return trip the following morning can be like looking for the proverbial needle.  It might be much easier to stay with the animal overnight, and then continue to follow the blood trail the next morning in good light.

 Finally, always trust your compass.  Human beings were not born with a “sense” of direction.  If your compass indicates you must turn around and go back through the swamp, then do it!  Try and keep in mind that it is you who are confused—not your compass!

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Published by admin on 07 Oct 2009

California Wild Hogs By Joe Bell


California Wild Hogs

Want real bowhunting fun?  Experience the thrill of stalking wild pigs amid

the rugged hills of the Golden State.

By Joe Bell

California_Wild_Hogs_2 California_Wild_Hogs_3          

With the June temperatures looming beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I knew a tough hunt was in store for us.  Besides brutally hot weather, my friend Art Cain and I were facing a grueling 2,000-foot climb up a towering ridgeline.  You’d think we were nuts to go climbing such a hill in this weather, but we’d spotted some giant hogs with our binoculars feeding on the tops of these ridgelines.  Each one had its snout buried ear-deep in wild oats.  Even though these hogs were a half-mile away, we could see their huge heads and “teeth bumps” along their jaws.  They were definitely worth the work. 


           As we bounced down the canyon road in the pickup, we glanced at our watches and realized it was still early, 2:30 in the afternoon.  So we decided to pull over and hunt ground squirrels for a bit.  Within minutes we were into the pesky varmints.  After many hits and misses we jumped back in the truck and continued our drive.  Rounding a sharp bend we immediately spotted a group of hogs moseying across the road.  I couldn’t believe it!  What were they doing out in 105-degree weather?

             The answer came quickly as we drove up another 50 yards, stopped the truck and bailed out.  Instantly I could hear water trickling down a nearby ravine.  Art and I grabbed our bows and trotted across a big field toward the creek.


            When we got to the creek’s edge, we slowed to a bobcat’s crawl with our arrows already knocked.  We slinked along and suddenly spotted hooves!  The pigs were on the move.  Art darted forward and I hooked to the left, just in case they were to double back.


            As I worked uphill I crouched to clear an overhanging tree branch and saw pig feet beneath the canopy of oak leaves.  The pigs were 15 yards away and closing in!  I quickly drew my bow as I saw the sight of teeth barreling down on me, from only 10 steps away!  As soon as my fingers hit anchor, the arrow was gone.

           The arrow nicked the pig’s lower jaw and angled forward into its chest.  I ran backward after the shot, but fortunately, the pig veered, charged upward, and stumbled, then slid to the bottom of the hill.  It was all over in seconds!


These Hogs are Different

          In the past few months I’ve talked to several highly experienced bowhunters who just recently tasted the fun of bowhunting California’s wild hogs, and what I heard back was, “Man was that a great hunt,” and “I’ve  never enjoyed a hunt so much.  It was incredible!”  Both of these comments came from guys that have traveled abroad to hunt animals like Rocky Mountain goat, Alaskan moose, giant elk and other coveted trophies.  So for them to say a California pig hunt was great and incredible says a lot.

            Outside California’s crowded megalopolis areas, you’ll find a maze of truly wild foothill country meshed with oak trees, poison oak, chaparral, various water ways and a number of big game, including wild feral hogs.  Because California’s country is rugged with no game fences present, the wild pigs that live here offer a supreme off-season challenge for the bowhunter.  You simply have to hunt these hogs to see what you’re missing!


   When and Where to Hunt

          In California, you can pursue wild pigs year ’round, with no bag limits.  The only thing required is a valid state general hunting license ($100 for non-residents) and a pig tag ($13 for one nonresident tag).  And with no bag or possession limit, these animals are almost considered vermin, since they are considered overpopulated on private lands and do immense damage to valuable agricultural crops.

            My favorite time to hunt pigs is generally during the cooler, sometimes drizzly late-winter and early-spring months.  During this time, your morning hunts end later and evening hunts begin sooner.  This maximizes your hunting opportunity.  But I will say, I enjoy hunting pigs at any time of the year, and I’ve also noticed that during the summer months, food and water is sparser and hogs tend to be more concentrated.  So really, take your pick.

            The Golden State offers public-land hunting opportunity, but it isn’t very good.  In fact, I would highly recommend avoiding the frustration and pitfalls associated with public-land pig hunting.  Instead, save a few extra bucks and book a private-land hunt with a reputable bowhunting outfitter.  For the last several years I’ve hunted on the Tejon Ranch, a 270,000-acre parcel of stunning flatlands, foothills and forested mountains that come chock-full of game of all kinds.  My friend and outfitter Don Smith provides the best wild pig hunting I’ve ever experienced in the state.

            Give it a Try!

          The off-season means downtime for the big-game hunter, a time to work on bow equipment, bow fish and maybe even shoot in a few 3-D tournaments.  But the thrill, adventure and adrenaline rush of big-game hunting doesn’t have to end now.  Spice up your off-season with some rewarding big-game pursuit—the pursuit of California’s wild hogs!

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Published by admin on 01 Oct 2009

Build A Simple Arrow Case By Durwood Hollis

Build A Simple Arrow Case
Inexpensive And Fast To Make—
This Plastic Tube Will Hold A Couple Dozen Shafts
By Durwood Hollis



Transporting Target Arrows or keenly honed Brodhead’s is a problem for archers everywhere.  Most arrows are sold in cardboard cartons that do not hold up well to the rough and tumble nature of repeated trips afield.  A visit to your hardware store can supply you with the necessary components to make your own sturdy, inexpensive arrow case.

 Plastic irrigation pipe, the amateur plumber’s boon, when cut to the appropriate length, fitted with a cushion inset, capped and equipped with an easy-carry handle, makes a rugged, impact-resistant and inexpensive arrow case.  No special instructions or expert ability is needed.  Simple hand tools, normally found in the home workshop and access to a band saw or reciprocating kitchen knife, and a hand drill are all you need.


 The basic supplies to put together the arrow case are:  a length of four-inch diameter plastic pipe, two end caps, plastic pipe solvent, a two-inch pad of poly foam, a carrying handle, a ten-inch length of nylon cord, and several pop-rivets.

Plastic irrigation pipe usually comes in ten- or twenty-foot lengths.  One length of pipe will make three arrow cases, so sharing expenses with a couple other archers will help defray costs further.  Thin wall pipe works best since it is strong enough to withstand the worst abuse, and is half the weight and cost of the heavier variety.  Look for pipe designated Class 125.  Cut the pipe into three equal sections of thirty-four inches.  A hacksaw can be used, but a band saw makes the job easier with clean perpendicular cuts.  File or sand edges of each cut smooth for a perfect and cap fit.

 Next, cut a two-inch poly foam cushion of the appropriate diameter to fit snugly into one end of the pipe.  This foam plug serves to cushion and protect the business end of your arrows.  Poly foam is available at craft shops in a variety of thicknesses and is both inexpensive and durable.  Impress the plastic pipe firmly on the foam, imprinting the inside diameter of the pipe on the foam.  Using a band saw or reciprocating kitchen knife, cut the foam to the proper shape.  The foam plug should fit tightly and will work best if cut slightly oversize.  Insert the foam flush into one end of the plastic pipe and cement one end cap in place over the foam plug.


End caps are available in flat or convex configurations.  I prefer the flat caps but either type will suffice.  You will need two caps; one permanently attached over the foam cushion, another to be utilized as a closure for the arrow case.  This cap should slide off and on with slight resistance.  Drill a 1/8-inch hole in both the end cap and the side of the plastic pipe just below the cap when it is in place.  Thread a ten-inch piece of nylon cord through both holes and knot the inside to form a retaining leash for the end cap.


 Carrying handles are available in several different styles.  I like a folding handle since it easily slips out of the way when the case is not in use.  Once you have selected a handle, locate the center of the case and position the handle.  Mark the attachment points, drill and pop-rivet in place.  Rather than drilling all of the holes and then trying to line things up properly, I find it easier to drill and rivet the holes one at a time.


 Once completed, your new arrow case will hold from one to two dozen hunting arrows depending on the type of broad heads you use.  The case can accommodate a larger number of target arrows or small game points.

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Published by admin on 01 Oct 2009

Jennings Compound Bow Ad


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Published by admin on 01 Sep 2009

“Ted Nugent Trophies with Alien-X”

THE VELVET TOUCH                                                           by Ted Nugent
All bonedemonium was breaking out. I was bonulated. Overboned. Bonedacious. I needed a boneadectomy and needed it bad. Couldn’t leave well enough a bone. I was getting bone tired.  Bone, bone on the range. It was a full on bone-A-rama and I was about to lose my mind. I had never seen such a head full of bone in all my life, and the moment of truth was here and now. Bone-A-gram for Mongo!
Let me explain in pedestrian terms for all you confused bone collectors out there. It was my fifth day at America’s premier whitetail deer hunting camp,  Jim Scheifelbein’s Three Lakes Whitetails in Three Lakes, Wisconsin. This intensely managed deer paradise had been high fenced way back in 1959 by a guy who wanted to see more than spikes and forkhorns during his cherished Wisconsin deer season, and was getting fed up with all the hunters in the deer woods that shot at every deer they saw. Statistics show that more than 90% of bucks killed by deer hunters in Wisconsin, just like Michigan and elsewhere, are only a year and a half old, and are killed way before they are anywhere near maturity or capable of reaching their potential. Backstraps are backstraps, afterall, and I am a huge fan. But to each his bone.
Surely everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows good and well that Ol Uncle Ted is by no stretch of the imagination a trophy hunter. I’m just a regular old fashioned meat hunter for all intents, purposes and kill it and grill it pragmatism. But some guys want to shoot big, mature bucks, and I say more power to them. That takes a lot more discipline and patience, and of course demands hunting where there might be a mature buck.
And though Buffalo County Wisconsin produces more book bucks than any other geographical location in North America, that is a direct result of a prolonged and coordinated effort by a huge block of landowners and hard core dedicated hunters to let the young bucks walk so they can grow to their potential. Sometimes that can mean no backstraps at all. A decision that is very difficult to get contiguous landowners to agree upon.
Where such a united agreement cannot be attained, another alternative is to high fence private property, not to contain the deer so much, but rather to keep out the young buck killers so that this contained herd can be better managed, balanced, and mature. Perfect. Who doesn’t love a huge antlered stag?
Sadly, there is still the assumption that such enclosures eliminate real hunting, and such ignorance has been wildly clung to regardless of the facts. The ignorant call it “canned hunting” when in fact, the fence doesn’t help a hunter bag a deer in the least, except for the fact that the herd is healthier and usually more calm like in the good old days before hyper pressure on the animals from the growing army of hunters across the nation.
Now, mind you, I am not only a huge fan of the growing army of hunters across the nation, I have also been a part of this great American venison army for more than 55 years, and in fact promote the increased recruitment into this wonderful deer army more than anybody that has ever lived. Clearly, America needs more hunters, not fewer. Recruit already.
But here I was, as an invited guest of the Scheifelbeins along with Edwin and Lisa Waddell, parents of BloodBrother Bone Collector Michael Waddell. We converged at Three Lakes Whitetails for the unique excitement of an early deer season in August, where a velvet antlered beast might be bagged. The hunt, the challenge, dedication, early mornings and late evenings, brotherhood time around the campfire and backstrap camaraderie were all the same regardless of the presence of any fence or not. It was everything a gung-ho American deer hunter could ever want.
Edwin and Lisa were able to arrow fine trophy deer in the first three days, but the ol WhackMaster was getting skunked. I was trying to figure out when the canned hunt would begin! I have hunted deer for more than 55 years, and no one can tell me that this wasn’t real, honest to God deer hunting. I loved every exciting minute of it.
Then my luck changed, the planets aligned, and the beast beyond my wildest dreams strolled into my Northern Wisconsin wilderness forest on this fine, cold morning, and I about had a bone attack. I could barely believe my eyes as this fat, waddling stud of a stag strutted into view amongst the beautiful pines, cedars and spruce before me.
I forced myself to ignore his head, locked my gaze into the crease behind his shoulder, drew back my arrow, and willed it into his chest. The THWACK heard round the world pole axed this behemoth to the ground. Propelled by only 50# OF Martin bow thrust, my scalpel sharp Magnus broadhead sliced and shattered the old buck’s shoulders with devastating effect. All 335 pound of venison on the hoof crashed to the earth right now as if punched by a .338 Winchester magnum, and I about blew out of my treestand.
Kowabunga! Am I alone or in a hunter’s dream? The moment of truth is here and now. I felt his touch, I felt his guiding hand, and the buck was mine forever more!
Being die hard old school, even though I knew my arrow had penetrated both shoulders and both lungs, his instant fall to the earth translated as a central nervous system hit, so my second arrow was on its way three seconds later. My 3rd even faster.
My bulging, stunned eyeballs swung back to VidCamDude, Gonzo Guide Mark LaRose in shocking disbelief, as if to get his confirmation that what I thought I saw had actually taken place. I was stunned as Mark grinned broadly and rolled digital tape capturing the magical moment to share with the whole world on Spirit of the Wild TV. It was pure, primal, raw, natural, organic, wild and intense as anything could be. The beast is dead, long live the beast.

We filmed the over the top shock and awe of the moment as I filled my hands with 246 inches of velvet covered head bone, marveling at his roly-poly 335 pound hulk. As hunting and game manager of Three Lakes Whitetails, Mark had seen this giant on a few occasions, but no one had got a crack at him over many a years hunting. And here he was, making an old river rat sticking bowhunting pioneer from Detroit very, very happy.
We sat there for a long time admiring this magnificent beast, and were joined soon by owner Jim Scheifelbein and his whitetail addicted BloodBrother Kevin to marvel at this phenomenal animal.
Many photos later, we loaded my buck into the four wheeler to weigh, measure, gut, skin and butcher. This buck of a lifetime will be mounted lifesize by world class award winning taxidermists Martin and Lynn Bonack of Safari World Taxidermist in Three Lakes, Wisconsin.
This stunning whitetail turned out to be the largest buck ever taken since 1959, and I could hardly get next to myself. I had felt very unlucky not getting a crack at a deer those first few days, then this. I have averaged far more opportunities at deer and far more kills under free range conditions that here at Three Lakes. But it is hard to imagine being able to encounter a mammoth of such proportions on 95% of America’s deer grounds. It was the management practice of letting this buck mature that made it possible, and the high fence is how we did it. I have hunted Illinois, Buffalo county Wisconsin, the mega buck zones of south Texas, and could quite possibly encounter such a mature specimen there and a few other places in North America. But regardless of management choice, I could not be happier than to have killed such an animal and sincerely salute Three lakes Whitetails for making it possible.
On this hunt, Ted used a 50# Martin AlienX bow, Nuge GoldTip arrows, 100 grain Magnus BuzzCut broadhead, Scott release, Sims LimbSavers, rest and sight, Lumenok, Bushnell optics, C’Mere Deer, Mossy Oak ScentLok clothing, Boggs rubber boots, Code Blue scents, Hunter Safety System vest, Knight and Hale calls, Outdoor Edge knife, Glenn’s DeerHandle
To experience the finest whitetail deer hunting on earth, visit or call Sunrize Safaris at 517-750-9060.

THREELAKESWHITETAILS.COM                                 by Ted Nugent
I have a dream. I dream of a spectacular wilderness paradise in the big timber wilds of Northern Wisconsin where the mighty whitetail deer grows to maximum potential. Where the classic hunter’s lodge is world class and the people genuine American BloodBrothers, and where my natural born predator spirit runs wild and free. And the dream lives at Three Lakes Whitetails in Three Lakes, WI, where gung-ho deer hunter Jim Schiefelbein and his team of professional whitetail maniacs have created the ultimate whitetail deer hunting heaven.
Through intense, hard core, dedicated management for more than 30 years, you can experience what the original deer hunters of North America saw with a herd of perfectly balanced, healthy, thriving monster mature bucks beyond your wildest dreams. If you seek the ultimate whitetail deer hunt for huge, trophy bucks, go to Three Lakes Whitetails and get it on. You deserve it.

Some of Ted’s Other ALIEN X TROPHIES



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Published by admin on 28 Aug 2009

Specialty Archery Acquires Bodoodle Rest Line

Specialty Archery Acquires Bodoodle Rest Line

Specialty Archery LogosmallSpecialty Archery, LLC of Spencer, IA is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of Bodoodle arrow rests from Blaine Earlywine, who had acquired the line a few years ago that had been founded by S.G. Christian in the 1970s.

Bodoodle LogosmallBodoodle was one of the premier names in arrow rests for more than 25 years, a favorite of both competitive archers and discriminating bowhunters who admired its quality construction and ability to launch arrows with a high degree of accuracy. Models like the Timberdoodle, Game-Dropper and Pro-Lite all preceded the current crop of drop-away rests yet provided total fletching clearance thanks to Christian’s elegant design.

Bodoodle rests based on that innovative design use a cradle that pivots on fine bearings, so that the speed fins that support the shaft for part of the power stroke sweep down and out of the way before they can contact conventional fletching. In the early years of the brand Bodoodle rests were among the most expensive on the market, but modern manufacturing techniques helped lower the cost at a time when other well-known rests were gaining in sophistication and price. By the late 1990s Bodoodle was considered one of the top arrow rest brands on the market. In 2004 its owner was inducted into the Bowhunting Hall of Fame.

After the death of S.G. Christian, Blaine Earlywine purchased Bodoodle from his estate and moved the firm from Coleman, Texas to Carlisle, Kentucky. Earlywine kept the Bodoodle name alive with the aid of dedicated employees, his wife Danita and young sons Braxton and Aiden, marketing several different models. They continued the Bodoodle tradition of offering rugged, perfectly machined arrow rests that were capable of providing flawless arrow flight, right along with excellent customer service.

Early in 2009 Specialty Archery, LLC and Earlywine began talking about a transfer of ownership that could take advantage of the Iowa firm’s strengths as a way to expand Bodoodle’s market share. Specialty Archery, LLC is known throughout the archery industry as a brand with a strong following among the type of precision archers who so often chose a Bodoodle rest in the past. The manufacturer of high quality scopes, peeps, and stabilizers has a strong dealer network domestically and works with most of the leading foreign distributors to sell its products world-wide. Specialty Archery, LLC also has a track record of introducing successful new products, like the Verifier lenses that screw into its peeps to sharpen the view of pins for aging hunters and the Clarifier lenses used to sharpen target faces viewed through scopes by competitive archers.

Michael Anderson, general manager of Specialty Archery, said their firm worked closely with Earlywine to insure another sale wouldn’t disrupt existing orders at a time when dealers were stocking up for the summer and fall peak sales season. “Both Specialty Archery customers and Bodoodle customers can be assured that great preparation has gone into the acquisition, so that the transition would be smooth and seamless for customers of both companies,” Anderson said. “Specialty Archery took over control of all operations including ordering, invoicing, customer service, and production starting on July 1, 2009.” 

Specialty's John RappsmallBodoodle Pro Litesmall

John Rapp holds Bodoodle’s most popular rest, the Pro Lite, which is also shown at right. Rapp works in production for Specialty Archery, LLC and also helps promote the product line at shoots. Careful planning meant  he had inventory ready to ship to customers immediately after the July 1 changeover date.

“The acquisition of Bodoodle allows us to pursue a different product line than what we currently offer,” Anderson said. “The Bodoodle name has a solid reputation in arrow rests, and Blaine Earlywine has done an excellent job in maintaining the company’s current status in the marketplace.  Specialty Archery is looking forward to the venture with a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement.  We plan to apply the same principles and practices that have made Specialty Archery successful so that Bodoodle can offer more shooters an alternative to the full capture style fixed rests and the cord-driven fall-away rests that dominate the market today.” 

Questions, comments or orders may be directed to:

Specialty Archery  
1211 38th Ave. W
Spencer, IA 51301

The toll-free number is (800) 555-2856. You can contact Mike Anderson by email at or find out more on-line at

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Published by admin on 25 Aug 2009


To the disconnected minds of city folk and nonhunters, I suppose now would be as good a time as any to pose the age old, rhetorical question: are we having fun yet? Certainly the cloud of six billion Ontario mosquitoes covering my face and hands were having the time of their lives, in spite of the fact that I had systematically killed more than a billion or so of them in the last few hours. The hordes of buzzing, flitting, stabbing, bloodsucking pests were clearly oblivious to my heroic destruction of so many of their carnivorous comrades, and on they sucked at the most inappropriate of times. Now they had me. Temporarily, that is, but they had me. There was nothing I could do to save my own blood supply now.
I could have carefully smashed a few hundred more per swipe if I dared, but now, after another long, joint numbing five hour stationery vigil, I was not about to give away my predator ambush position for anything, including the sweet revenge of much loved mosquito slamming.
For before me, finally, moving ever so cautiously into shooting position, was the long awaited arrival of a big, fat, ebony furred black bear, and the magical spirit of the bear owned me. It is the only diversionary tactic that I know of to take such a swarm of mosquitoes off my mind. I tried to think like a US Marine Corp warrior; improvise, adapt, overcome. Semper Fi! I wanted to kill this black bear in the worst way, so damn the torpedoes and the mosquitoes, it’s killin time baby, and I will not be denied.
Even though I was in the epicenter of the world’s densest black bear population, at a bait site set up by one of the best, most experienced bear hunting guides in the world, we all know that hunting is, has been and always will be hunting. Right place and right time is always the guiding hunt dictum, and so far our merry camp if thirteen die hard bear hunters were skunked, and the naked gamepole was painful to look at. I was on a mission from God; redeem WFO Thunder bay Ontario BearCamp, and whack me a handsome Ursus rugsteakus, and quick.
Garth Matyasovoszky and his gung-ho hunt crazed guides operate WFO Outfitters up here in God’s Country Canada, and I was fortunate to share a spirited camp with a gang of my fellow Michiganiacs. Michigan hunters are found in pretty much every hunting camp around the world, for we Winter Water Wonderful sporters are the real McCoy, and we truly crave our hunting life. Watching these guys shoot their bows each day at the range was a clear indicator that something was going to die. I had my work cut out for me. And here it comes.
I am amazed that I can even see a bear in the ultra thick Canadian bush. Waist high and head high dense vegetation conceals the forest floor, and every dark shadow looks like a bear part if you look at it long enough. But after a lifetime of treestand time, dare I say, probably more than any human in history, my predator radar tends to pick up on every and any little indicator, and fortunately I saw the tan muzzle of this bear as it slowly swayed amongst the greenery at about 35 yards deep in the forest, and immediately knew it was a bear. And a good sized bear at that. After three long, bug biting days on stand, I was absolutely locked onto this animal with a throttling desire to kill it. Bears are not an endangered species, but this one was. Immanent, deadly danger.
To kill a bear with a bow and arrow is one of life‘s greatest challenges, but add the increased difficulty of capturing it all on video yourself, and we have us a genuine mission impossible. But they don’t call me the WhackMaster for nothing, and the predator ballet was in full swing mode as I slowly pushed the record button on my vidcam, and ever so slowly lifted my bow for the shot.
It was here where the kamakazi skeeters were in a maniacal feeding frenzy, a bloodsucking orgy of ravenous proportions on my face and bowstring hand. But I’m from Detroit, so I simply ignored them and concentrated on the ribcage of my quarry. When the big bear’s foreleg stretched out a little, my lightweight 50# Martin AlienX bow drew smoothly back to anchor, I picked out my favorite hair on the beast and sent my 400 grain love projectile dead center into the pumpstation. Now I’m not the world’s greatest bow shot by a long shot, but when I’m on and the Great Spirit is with me, the planets do align, and good luck saves my day. It was beautiful!
The scalpel sharp Magnus broadhead sliced in and out of the 300 pound beast in an instant with bright red blood spraying on everything. The bear ran 25 yards, stopped, swayed, took two steps and fell over dead, the classic death moan following less than five seconds after arrow impact. It was heavenly.
I immediately slapped a few thousand mosquitoes to death, then turned the vidcam on a very happy, smiling bowhunter’s face to rejoice the moment of truth that all bear hunters dream of. The jubilant exaltations were elevated to a passionate peak by the three days of challenging, difficult torture, and I danced the hunter’s kill dance of joy. Yes, I celebrated and glorified the bear’s death, for it was perfect, natural and exactly what I flew up to Canada for. The mighty Canadian rugsteak has landed baby, and it is partytime for real conservationists everywhere. I hunt to kill, and my dedication to be the best predator I can possible be is cause for maximum celebration, and the party never ends at the Nugent huntcamps. Know it, love it, live it, cherish it, kill it and grill it. I always do. Tooth, fang and claw is my life, and I couldn’t be happier.
The bloodtrail was a beautiful thing to behold. The Magnus broadhead had given me five incredible bloodtrails on bears so far this year, and this red river lead me to a very dead, very handsome, magnificent beast. My sow surely weighed a good 300 pounds plus, and her rich, shiny deep black coat was immaculate. I could barely drag her for a solo video recovery, but managed to set her up for a respectful salute to the black bear magic we all love so much. I could lose my hand in her long, thick hair, and her brown muzzle made her as pretty a black bear as you could ever want. I sat there deeply moved, even the bugs were forgotten in the presence of the mighty beast.
Back at camp, we all rejoiced our numerous kills that night, and the X on my bear’s heart told the story of my bowhunter dedication everyday at the range before each hunt to aim small, miss small. When hit properly, a bear dies fast, and makes for a very easy tracking job. Mid body behind the foreleg with a slight quartering away angle spells instant death, and I was happy I practiced everyday.
This gorgeous bear was going to make a fine rug, the sweet backstraps succulent on the grill, and the skull, teeth and claws would bring me powerful spirit medicine for my family. With more black bears in North America that at any time in recorded history, now is the time to plan a black bear hunt. The spirit of the mighty beast will be with you forever.
On this hunt, I used a 50# Martin AlienX bow, Sims Limbsaver arrow rest, fiber optic sight and accessories, Scott release, GoldTip 5575 arrows, 100 grain Magnus BuzzCut, Bushnell rangefinder and binoculars, Rhino Skin undergarments, Mossy Oak ScentLok and BugOff clothing, LaCrosse rubber boots, ThermaCell, Skin Armor soap, Code Blue scent eliminator and bear attractant, Outdoor Edge SwingBlade knife, 3Rd Arm vidcam arm, Hunter Safety fall restraint vest and Glenn‘s DeerHandle.
To book a bear hunt with Ted Nugent and WFO Outfitters, or for killer hunting opportunities around the globe, visit or call SUNRIZE SAFARIS at 517-750-9060.
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Published by admin on 24 Aug 2009


SHEMANE NUGENT IN AFRICA                                       by Ted Nugent
The grace, the beauty, the shape, the form! I don’t know if I can handle it, in fact, I know I can’t! My wife Shemane is so beautiful, it is stupid, or at least it makes me stupid. But when she picks up her bow and arrow, gently knocks her arrow on the string, then smoothly draws her bow back to her lips, I gaze gaga, like a kid at his first dance. And dance we do!! I don’t know much about Venus, but if ever a woman was at her most sensuous, it is surely at full draw. Talking about eye candy! You oughtta try to videotape her in a small blind sometime and maintain your composure and focus. Is it getting hot in here?
Her dainty pink Martin bow looks so girly as it is, add her pink Victory arrows with the pink and white fletching, her pink ScentLok cap and the tight fitting pink Mossy oak camo t-shirt, and the whole package confirms that bowhunting is ultimately made for women. Shemane and I are dedicated to spread that word and recruit as many women into the greatest sport on earth as much as we can. I do believe it is the future.
We see and understand the amazing success of Lee and Tiffany on their TV shows. Sexy little Tif is stunning too, and more so when she draws down on one of those heart slamming monstrous Iowa behemoth whitetails. We got She Safari TV, Beyond The Lodge, Archers Choice, Pat and Nicole, the gorgeous Michelle Eichler on Muzzy Bad To The Bone TV. Everybody likes to watch Jim Shockey and more so when his beautiful wife joins him onscreen. Karen Meehall does an exemplary job on NRA’s American Hunter television, and more and more women are showing up on hunting shows all the time and I for one love it all. As Motley Crew sang, “Girls, Girls, Girls”. Let’s get it on!
Shemane shot her bow relentlessly as we prepared for our 6th African safari together, and she was shooting the prettiest arrows any bowhunter could ever dream of. At 15 out to 30 yards, her lightweight 40# Martin bow sent her 400 grain GoldTip Zebra arrows tipped with a  two blade100 grain razorsharp Magnus BuzzCut payload square into the pumpstation of our 3D targets with every arrow. Women are not just more beautiful when they shoot their bows, they are always better shots than men too. Something about superior patience and control, huh.
Having made clean one arrow kills on giant fallow, whitetails, rams, Oryx, impala, blesbok, kudu, wildebeest, waterbuck and zebra over the years, we were confident that her lightweight rig was perfectly suitable for bringing home the beast as long as arrow placement was, as usual, perfect. Here we go.
After the long flight, we pulled into Angus Brown’s Safari camp in the Orange Free State province of South Africa to unprecedented pouring rain. About 150 miles south east of Johannesburg, Angus operates numerous properties in this rolling, mountainous region loaded with zebra, blesbok, black wildebeest, springbok, reedbuck, eland, sable, duiker, steenbok and sable antelope. The occasional lion, leopard and Cape buffalo are in the area as well, just to keep things interesting.
A few days prior to our arrival, on his first day in camp, gung-ho bowhunter Jim Brown from Indiana arrowed a magnificent one ton Cape Eland with a perfectly placed Magnus broadhead. Now that’s how one baptizes his first African safari.
And in spite of incessant rain, an African bowhunters worse enemy, National Field Archery Association president Bruce Cull killed a record book common blesbok right off the bat. My boys can shoot!
Now that my BloodBrothers have fortified the meat locker with delectable African backstraps, the pressure was off and we were ready for a relaxing, fun filled bowhunting Safari in the Dark Continent. Spirits ran high.
The African hunter’s sun was burning pretty good on this hot afternoon, and since I headed off to another blind and guide Reon Van Tonder got called to track Jennifer’s waterbuck, Shemane ended up alone in her thatched elevated hide. The muddy puddle was 20 yards upwind, augmented with a mineral lick and some alfalfa. Though she was entertained by the ever present birdlife, no big game showed up for the first four hours.
But that all changed as the bewitching hour arrived, and the boredom was obliterated by the arrival of the Lord of the Bush-the mighty Kudu. Two fine, nearly invisible bulls stood at a distance amongst the scrub, surveying the waterhole for a long time before they cautiously approached. As the bigger of the two turned broadside for a drink, Shemane made sure the videocam was centered on the old boy and she let him have it with a pretty pink 400 grain projectile.
True to form, Shemane’s arrowed zinged square into the pocket where all the pumping takes place, and both bulls exploded outta Dodge in a heartbeat.
She text’d me of her excitement and we decided she should wait for reinforcements before tracking.
The dust from the departing kudu had barely settled before a group of young impala sauntered in for a drink, and as darkness fell, Almay picked Shemane up and Reon picked up the obvious bloodtrail.
Sadly, Shemane had rewound the tape to review her shot, gained confidence when she did, but rewound again to show me, and taped over the arrow hit moment. Curses!

The next morning Reon and his tracker picked up last blood and found the dead bull a few yards farther along the trail.
Her beautiful kudu bull taped nearly 50” of spiraling horn, and grand celebration erupted back at camp for an extended photo session with the Culls and Browns.
It is important to note that Shemane’s pretty pink camo Martin Leopard bow draws a dainty 40#, her pink Victory arrows and Magnus two blade BuzzCut broadheads, Lumenok and three 4” white TruFlight feathers weighs in at a kinetic energy generating 400 grains. This petite lady’s rig has killed many a large, tough big game like this 600 pound kudu, tenacious wildebeest, hard zebra and more. Shot placement and a razorsharp two blade, cut on impact broadhead is her proven backstrap setup, and if more guys would learn this simple, surefire formula for the women in their life, I do believe women bowhunter numbers would double lickety split as fast as it is implemented. Why it hasn’t yet remains a mystery to us. We hope that everybody reading this helps to spread the word as far and wide as possible. The joy Shemane experiences needs to be experienced by a few million more woman ASAP. Spread it!
For information on booking a hunt with Ted and Shemane Nugent, visit or contact Sunrize Safaris at 517-750-9060.

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Published by admin on 14 Aug 2009

Portrait of a Champion: HARRY DRAKE

Portrait of a Champion: HARRY DRAKE


            What does it take to become a champion? There are various answers to this, depending upon the type of archery that may be your particular forte in the case of Harry Drake, the National Flight Shooting champion. It took something like twenty-five years and a heap of practice, experimentation and no small degree of disappointment along the way.

            Drake, who is now forty-eight years old, has concentrated upon this sort of flight shooting almost from the day he attained legal status as a voter. He began in 1937, when he was only twenty-two and has constantly sought new means of driving an arrow across a longer distance.

            But it was not until 1963 that he broke all of the records for the eighty-pound class. He was able to send an arrow some 675 yards during the 1963 NAA championships in California. Earlier, the existing record had been 640 yards and stood for roughly a decade. Then in 1961, this record was broken for the class – but barely – by W.A. Scott of Texas, who shot an arrow 641 yards.

            Drake makes all of his own bows and when he took part in this national contest, he had several of them on hand. All of them measured forty-two inches in length and boasted a maple core. Gordon glass was used on back and face and a variety of woods were utilized in the risers.

                       In keeping with his design for winning, Drake’s bow had a twenty-five-inch draw with a five-inch overdraws from the back of the bow to the usable portion of the arrow rest.

            Like most serious shooters in flight events, Drake makes his own arrows as well as his bows. He feels that the best material for a flight arrow is Port Orfor cedar. These shafts are footed on the end with Purple Heart wood, using plastic nocks. Length of these arrows is twenty inches.

            When questioned to his favoring cedar for his arrow over fiberglass or even aluminum. Drake is quick to explain that one cannot get the aerodynamic shape in these other materials that one can achieve with Oregon cedar. With a flight arrow, there is a good deal more velocity, therefore more critical friction forces caused by the air through which it is launched.

            As for metal arrows, Drake has tried these experimentally, but feels they too are lacking. Although there is no scientific backing for this, it is his theory that an aluminum arrow tends to vibrate while in flight thus cutting down its speed and ultimately the distance.

            Drake, a realist when come to flight shooting, was doubtful that he would break any records – or that anyone else would – during last year’s NAA championship shoot. Reason for this doubt was the fact that the weather was damp and the field where shooting was being done was fogged in during the early morning.

            However, by the time Drake came up to compete in the eighty-pound bow class, the weather had cleared. The sun was shining and there was a helpful breeze. The rest is listed in the official NAA records.

            The heat and sun created thinner air, thus the arrow would travel farther. Drake told BOW & ARROW that in Utah, for example, where altitudes are high and the air thinner, it is possible to break records every time a man shoots. This has been reflected in professional baseball games in that mountain city too. Baseballs are constantly and consistently being batted out of the park, since they tend to travel longer and faster distances in this rarified ozone area.

            Wind, Drake has discovered can be either a hindrance or an aid. With only a light breeze, he has found that when shooting into the wind, this will cut the distance the arrow travels as much as twenty-five yards. However, if there is literally a tail wind working on the cedar shaft, this can add almost as much distance.

            As far as equipment is concerned, Harry Drake uses both a single flipper and a double model in competition. The single flipper is used when he is shooting a sixty-five pound bow, while the double flipper, affording a better grip, he uses when shooting in the eighty-pound class.

            These flippers afford added speed to the arrow, since using this to release results in less friction on the actual bowstring. Also, the incidence of draw is increased since one is cutting on the area of the string that otherwise would be covered by the fingers in the draw.

            With the sharper incidence of draw created by using this half-inch leather strap there also is a sharper release with less friction. All of these thoughts, taken individually, mean little, but over the centuries that flight shooting has been a sport, efficiency has been the key word in this sport. Each of these measures – be it bow design, shaft material or the width of the flipper – has been the subject of ages of experimentation. Each has been instituted as an aid to greater efficiency.

            And this is reflected in the Harry Drake Story, for this champions a painstaking practitioner of the art, checking and double-checking, always certain that efficiency in his shooting is unhampered.

 Bow and Arrow Magazine        March – April 1964

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Published by admin on 07 Aug 2009

Buffalo Hunting Indian Style By: Ralph D. Conroy

Buffalo Hunting
Indian Style
By: Ralph D. Conroy


 There has never been any more exciting form of big-game hunting than the taking of buffalo from horseback as was practiced by the Indian of the American West.

 In my mind’s eye I can look back into time and see a young Indian brave sitting quietly astride his fast pony. The pony has a split ear, the mark of the buffalo hunter, and is the most valued possession of the Plains Indian during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

 The brave is dressed in breechcloth; his long raven-black hair is gathered in twin braids. Twin eagle feathers, fastened to his head, dance in the breeze those gusts into his face. All extraneous clothing has been carefully discarded. In the next few minutes the action will be fast and dangerous.

 He thumbs the score of flint-tipped arrows in the otter-skin quiver strapped to the side of the pony. He is armed with a short but strong bow. Its string is the stretched neck tendons of a bull buffalo. The brave may be of any number of tribes – Sioux or Crow, Mandan or Arapaho, Cheyenne or Comanche.

 At a signal from the hunt leaders the brave touches his heels to the flanks of the little pony and feel him respond. The chase is on. Gaining speed, horse and rider movie in perfect concert over the rough terrain. They are at full gallop before they reach the clipped, grazed grass of the plains.

 All about them braves whoop and spur their mounts to full pace. Several hundred yards ahead a small band of buffalo stops feeding, hesitates for a split second, then wheels and races off. Their heavy hooves mingle with the hoof beats of the pursuing ponies and the shrill battle cries of the mounted hunters. The heavily muscled buffalo is a surprisingly good runner and the ponies press hard to close with the retreating herd.

 The clear Dakota air is now filled with thick clouds of billodust and for an instant the hunters ride blind. Then they are through the dust and into the herd, bare legs brushing against the coarse matted hair of the buffalo.

 On all sides of the young brave the great animals run, their chests heaving, blood-red eyes rolling in panic, the sun glinting now and again on the menacing horns. Here and there a bull or cow turns to fight, and a pony and rider scramble desperately to avoid contact.

 The brave sees a fine bull ahead and without command the pony stretches out, running belly low, to bring his rider close astern the right flank. Somewhere ahead a horse and rider go down in an explosion of dust and thrashing hooves, yet the wild pursuit continues without pause.

 Now the brave is close enough and the pony settles to pace as his rider draws and nocks an arrow, no mean trick astride a galloping horse. He draws until the butt of the stone head touches the index finger of his left hand. For an instant he holds, then releases. At the twang of the bowstring the seasoned pony moves obliquely to the right, putting distance between himself and the now-wounded buffalo. The shaft has sunk to the fletching in the now-wounded buffalo. The shaft has sunk to the fletching in the appointed place behind the short rib, angling forward into the bull’s vitals. Even as the brave reaches forward to nock a second arrow he sees it will not be necessary. The wounded bull falters, misses stride, then skids forward onto its nose. The bull is dead before the brave dismounts, his skinning knife in hand.

 A half mile ahead the hunt rages on across the prairie.

“By the 1880s the buffalo herds were decimated, ending an area that some historians have called ‘the golden age of Plains Indian….’ ”


The hunting of the buffalo from horseback was short-lived. The Plains Indian did not acquire the horse until the 1600s and 1700s. By the 1800s the buffalo herds were decimated, ending an era that some historians have called “the golden age of Plains Indian.” The buffalo hunt from horseback has come to symbolize that time, and the wild, romantic, proud freedom of the Buffalo Indian. It was, perhaps their finest hour.

 The excitement and danger of the mounted buffalo chase caught the imagination of the early western explorer. It is easy to see why. The American Bison is an awesome beast.

 A full-grown bull stands six feet at the shoulder and is ten to twelve feet long from nose to tail. His weight averages 1800 pounds, but some were said to reach 3000 pounds. Before the coming of the white men the buffalo was the most numerous large land animal on earth. Some naturalists estimate there were seventy-five to one hundred million buffalo. Nearly all agree that the figure exceeded fifty million.

 After slaughter began t did not take long to end. Buffalo were killed for hides, meat, sport and, more importantly, as government. The Indian depended on the buffalo not only for food, but for clothing, shelter and tools. With the buffalo gone, the once proud and free-ranging tribes could be brought to heel; their ancient tribal lands more safely and expeditiously stolen.

 In 1851 there were more buffalo than people in the United States. By 1900, s scant forty-nine years later, there were only 2500 buffalo left. Five years later the American Bison Society was organized by William T. Hornady, head taxidermist for the National Museum in Washington D.C., with President Theodore Roosevelt as the society’s honorary president. The society was instrumental in persuading Congress to establish the National Bison Range in Montana. Thankfully, the animal was saved from extinction. Such was not the case with the other two subspecies, the wood bison (Bison bison Athabasca Rhoads) and the eastern bison (Bison bison pennsylvanicus). Some scientists claim there was a fourth subspecies the mountain bison (Bison bison haningtoni Figgins).

 A variation of the Indian hunt was conducted with rifle and revolver by the white men who flocked west. Notable amongst these was the hunt arranged by General Philip Sheridan in 1872 for the Grand Dukes Alexis of Russia. The Grand Duke, son of Czar, traveled west in a private railroad car. General Armstrong Custer and Colonel William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, a pack of Indian Scouts, and a troop of U.S. Cavalry were enlisted to round up some of the animals for the Grand Duke’s sport. Afterwards, a buffalo was barbecued and its death toasted with champagne. Chief Spotted Tail of the Sioux even staged a war dance for the entertainment of the royal tourist.

 How good was the bow and arrow as a hunter of buffalo? Better than one might expect.

 Though the Indian had firearms available to him soon after the appearance of the western settlers, most tribes continued to favor the bow and arrow. The Assiniboines went so far as to declare firearms illegal for tribal hunts. There were many reasons for this. An Indian could shoot two dozen arrows in the time it took to reload a muzzleloader, and since arrows carried the marks of the owner there could be little argument about who made what kill. In addition, many Indians found the arrow a more efficient killer than the gun, even the repeating rifle. At close range the Indian was deadly with his bow.

 In his book, The Indian and the Horse, Frank Gilbert Roe tells of an eyewitness account of a Gee brave slaying sixteen buffalo with seventeen arrows! A cool shot would be hard-pressed to equal that feat with.460 Weather by magnum using a good scope and sure rest.


 When metal became available the Indian often switched to this source as an alternate to the stone heads which were so time-consuming to make. Though metal was a convenience, the Indian had reservations about the metal head’s killing properties.


In volume one of George Bird Grinnell’s book, The Cheyenne Indians, he states: “The Cheyenne’s, like the Blackfeet and the Pawnees, say that wounds made by old stone arrow points were more likely to be fatal than those made by the points ( metal) of later times.”

 Though one would think otherwise, experiments have shown the stone head to penetrate flesh farther than the metal head. Dr.Saxton Pope conducted such an experiment and reported his methods and findings in his book, Hunting with the Bow and Arrow, written in 1923, Pope made a box, two sides of which were closed with fresh deer skin. The interior was packed with bovine liver to represent boneless animal tissue.

 ‘At a distance of ten yards,” Pope reported, “I discharged an obsidian (a volcanic glass, usually black and referred to as flint) pointed arrow and steel pointed arrow from a weak bow.

 “The two missiles were alike in size, weight and feathering, in fact were made by Ishi, only one had the native head and the other his modern substitute. Upon repeated trials, the steel headed arrow uniformly penetrated a distance of twenty-two inches from the front surface of the box, while the obsidian uniformly penetrated thirty inches, or eight inches farther, approximately 25 percent better penetration.

 Pope, a medical doctor and one of the pioneers of modern bowhunting, attributed the superior penetration of the stone. He said that the serrated stone edge operated on “the same principle that fluted-edged bread and bandage knives cut better than ordinary knives.”

 No matter what the reason, that some Indians could kill efficiently and get extraordinary penetration with their stone-tipped shafts incontestable.

 According to Grinnel Big Ribs, a northern Cheyenne at Pine Ridge, and Strong Left Hand, at the Tongue River Agency, are known to have each shot a single shot. Strong Left Hand’s bow is said to have been so strong that few men could pull it. Grinnel reports other instances of powerful Indian archers driving arrows completely though a single buffalo.

 Chief Luther Standing Bea, in his book, My People, the Sioux, tells of his father driving an arrow so deeply into one buffalo that the point protruded out the offside Reining his running pony to the offside, Standing Bear’s father leaned down and withdrew the shaft, point-first, from the side of the galloping buffalo, nocked it, and fired it into a second animal, thereby killing two buffalo withal single arrow, but in a rather unique manner.

 As far as I know, the last man to kill a buffalo with an arrow shot from the back of galloping horse was the late Howard Hill. The first, and to my mind, most exciting chapter in his book, Hunting the Hard Way, Chronicles this event.

 As with the modern sportsman, the Indian prized the quick, clean kill. With the Mandan’s, the killing of a buffalo with but a single arrow on religious significance, the pinnacle of which was to kill a buffalo with but a single arrow as the beast faced east at sunrise.

 Chief Standing Bear reported that on his first buffalo hunt it was a source of embarrassment to him that he had needed five arrows to make his kill. For a few moments he weighed the thought of pulling all the arrows but one, but in the end his conscience could not condone the lie.  (Incidentally, Standing Bear was a member of the first class of Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Indian School, which started in 1879. He also travelled in this country and Europe with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.)


Since the buffalo’s eyesight is poor, a small herd or band could be approached carefully and quietly upwind to within a quarter of a mile. A good pony could close within half-mile. But good ponies were scarce and highly valued. Besides speed, they needed heart and judgment, agility and stamina. The ponies were pampered and often led to the site of the hunt so as to be fresh as possible. A well trained pony brought his rider within an arm’s distance of the selected quarry, held a steady pace, and moved quickly away at the twang of the bowstring. On the rare occasion such a pony was sold, it could bring the price of ten, twenty, or even fifty common horses.

 Dismiss the idea that the Indian’s buffalo chase was a carelessly run affair. It was quite the opposite. The hunt was organized by tribal chiefs, police or the soldier societies. No one went out on his own; it was a rigidly structured tribal function. Not to conform to tribal rules could result in equipment. Even the Comanche, who in most things exercised little if any communal discipline, appointed and obeyed leaders in the buffalo chase,

 Black Elk, a warrior and medicine man of the Oglala Sioux and author of Black Elk Speaks, describes in detail bison hunt wherein the first line of assault was comprised of a soldier band riding twenty abreast and prepared to knock anyone from his horse who dared advanced beyond them. About penetration, Black Elk comments: “Some of the arrows would go in up to the feathers, and sometimes those that struck no bones went straight through.

 Today the thrill and danger of the old buffalo chase lives only in the stories handed down by observers, and in some cases the written words of participants, and in the work of an artist.

 Foremost amongst the artists in Charles M. Russell, who, with his frontiersman background and extraordinary eye for authentic detail, produced the finest and most accurate renditions. Russell was so fond of the buffalo chase as subject matter that he painted it more than fifty times.

 The chase also sparked the imaginations of European artists, some of whom has never seen the West, its Indians, or its buffalo. Some of these works are interesting for their errors. Often the topography is a curious mixture of authenticity and imagination. In a great many pieces the horse dwarfs the buffalo. The artists either used the horse common to Europe as a model (these were larger then the Indian pony) or misjudged the size of the American Bison. But the excitement and danger of those buffalo chases with bow and arrow from the back of a galloping horse live on to awe future generations around the world.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by Bow and Arrow Magazine and All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.

Bow and Arrow Magazine April 1978



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