Archive for the 'Vintage Magazine Articles' Category

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Published by archerchick on 06 Jan 2011

The Basics Of BAREBOW ARCHERY – By Joe Henault


BOW & ARROW
October 1977

The Basics of BAREBOW ARCHERY ~ By Joe Henault
Joe Henault is a policeman in Bellingham, Massachusetts, and a member of the United States Bare Bow Association.
“What I hope to do is explain this Old, Simpler form of Archery and put it in print before it is Gone And Forgotton….”

IN THIS ERA of sophisticated archery equipment and techniques such as elaborate sights, string walking, compound bows, release aids of all types plus mountains of other gadgets too numerous to mention, wouldn’t it be refreshing to get back to a much simpler and more relaxing form of
archery? The type of shooting I would like to introduce you to I will call conventional barebow, for want of a better name.

I certainly do not want to take credit for inventing this method of shooting a bow. Variations of this type of archery have been around for a long time, I am sure. On the other hand I haven’t seen much information on this archery technique in print. What I hope to do is to explain this old,
simpler form of archery and put it in print before it is gone and forgotten. I will be referring to the field or —— more aptly named — forest round as I attempt to explain this system, but with adjustments in equipment setups it can be applied to any archery round.

You will be shooting with your fingers rather than with a release aid. I would recommend a tab rather than a glove be used for finger protection. I find that the tab allows a more sensitive anchor placement than the glove, but some bowhunters might still prefer the glove. The anchor used will be the old basic index finger in the corner of the mouth with the nock between the first and second finger.

For equipment you will need a smooth, soft-shooting recurve bow of between sixty-six and seventy inches in length. A draw weight of about thirty-two to thirty-five pounds should do for the average male target shooter, The idea of the equipment setup is to get a point-on of about fifty yards. The point—on, for those of you who are not familiar with this term, is that distance where the arrow tip can be aimed right at the center of the target and when shot correctly will hit the
center of the target. To accomplish this you will have to do a little experimenting with your equipment setup. I will list my equipment only as a guide -yours may vary due to variations in
facial structure and shooting form. I am shooting a seventy-inch Wing Presentation Two. The draw weight is thirty—four pounds at a twenty-eight- inch draw. The string is ten strand and
I try for a brace height of about ten inches. I use a Hoyt Pro arrow rest.

Arrows are X7 1816s with the extra heavy target points. Fletching is three helical feathers each 3% inches long. This is what works well for me and gives me that desired fifty-yard point- on.
Aside from the bow weight itself there are several areas you can work on in order to gain or lose yardage. The arrow size, of course is a big factor but you are limited in that you must stay within the proper spine range for the bow weight you have chosen. The choice of regular or extra heavy target points is a valuable aid in adjusting your point-on. Fletching is another item to be considered. The bigger the feather the slower the arrow will travel, lowering your point-on. A
helical fletching is quite a bit slower than a straight fletching. Four·fletch will slow you down three or four yards as opposed to three-fletch in the same feather size, Stay away from plastic or
rubber fletching if your need is to slow down the equipment. lf you need more distance these might help.

Brace height and number of strands in the string also can be used to advantage. Generally the higher the brace height the slower and smoother the bow will shoot. Stay within the manufacturer’s recommended brace height however. In the bow weights I have mentioned you will probably use either a ten or twelve-strand string ~ten if you need more speed, twelve to
slow the bow down a little. Generally, the problem will be one of slowing down the equipment. Try not to pick a bow that is super fast to begin with.

An exception to some of these equipment suggestions would be the bowhunter who prefers to use his hunting equipment year-round while
shooting the field course I have found that the large helical fletching 125 to 150-grain 1 field points on the average hunting arrow keeps the point·on down pretty well, enabling the hunting archer to use pretty much what he likes in the way of bow length and weight

I have set up my equipment so that the point on of both my target and hunting equipment is the
same so that I have little trouble switching from one to the other, except for the conditioning of the extra muscle needed to handle the hunting equipmierit. I find it only takes
about two weeks to condition myself
for my forty-five pound hunting bow after shooting my target equipment

That’s about as far as the equipment requirements go. Now, let’s get to the actual shooting technique. From the bunny shot up to about 30 yarder, this system will require the archer to employ pretty much an instinctive technique in order to hit the target.

What is instinctive shooting and how effective is it? Simply stated, instinctive shooting is shooting by feel. It’s like throwing a ball- there’s no particular system, you just know when it looks right. You hold for the elevation and line that looks good. and shoot and adjust as necessary until your arrows start to group where you want them. LIke most other archery styles, the key to success is a good, solid, constant anchor and good basic shooting form. As for how effective instinctive shooting is, I have seen good instinctive shooters pack a group of arrows as tight as any sight shooter at twenty yards. It does take a few years, however to attain this type of accuracy. Also it is very difficult to be real consistent at much over thirty yards without some type of system. Once you feel comfortable with your shooting style and are grouping well at these closer targets you can go about determining your point on. The Point-on is key to our system.

In order to determine your point-on, find a butt with nice soft turf both in front and behind the bales. Stand at the fifty-yard mark. Draw back and anchor. Aim the tip of your arrow right at the middle of the target and shoot a few arrows. If you’re hitting paper, you’re in good shape. Hold above or below the spot as you may find necessary in order to hit the five ring. If you’re not on paper for fifty yards you will have to go back to the equipment suggestions described earlier and fool around a little until you are on paper. Fifty yards should be one of your easier targets.

When you have your fifty-yard point-on well established and are able to group well at this distance, move up to forty five yards. Using an eighteen inch face, draw back and hold. Concentrate your primary vision on the target with both eyes open but pick up the arrow tip in your secondary vision. Hold the arrow tip about two or three inches under the bottom edge of the eighteen-inch target paper. Shoot a few arrows. If they group high widen the gap between the arrow tip and the bottom of the target. If your groups are low raise the arrow tip right up under the target paper. Practice until you get your gap jus tright and can hit forty-five yards consistently.

Now move up to forty yards, you should be able to hold just about a full face under this one or eighteen inches and hit. Again adjust your gap as necessary. Remember to close the gap between arrow point and target to raise hits and open the gap in order to lower the hits.

Now, let’s try thirty-five yards. Hold about a face and a half under the paper for this one. In other words, your gap will be a little wider than it was for forty yards.

Now let’s go back to fifty-five ards. At fifty -five yards I use the little plastic finger that sticks up on the Hoyt rest and holds the arrow in position. If you look you will see that it sticks up alongside the arrow at full draw just far enough back from the arrow tip to make a perfect sight a fifty five yards. Just hold the little plastic finger right on the middle of the target and you should hit. Hold above or below the center of the target as you find necessary in order to hit a nickel.

At sixty yards we will start using the shelf of the bow itself for our gaps rather than the arrow tip. You will be looking under the arrow rest. Draw back and aim, placing the bow shelf about two or three inches under the bottom edge of the twenty four inch target paper. Shootfew arrows and adjust as necessary. Your arrow tip will be well above the target but you will have to keep an eye on it to maintain your line.

Move back to sixty-five yards when you feel confidenent in your sixty-yard gap. For sixty-five yards, try holding the bow shelf right across the top of the five ring. Shoot a few arrows and adjust if necessary.

For seventy yards you will just about have to hide the top of the target with the bow shelf. For eighty yards it’s back to good old instinct. You could change to an under the chin anchor for seventy and eighty but I’m kind of a purist and would rather not.

Since there are only two shots at eighty yards in a field round I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over
them but you can get to the point where you will hit them just as often as not.
I’m sure you have gathered by now that there are a lot of variables connected to this system. There are. But if you get that fifty-yard point-on the rest should fall pretty close to what I have described. If you increase your point-on you can gain some accuracy on your longer shots but your middle distances will suffer and as a result your total round will suffer. For uphill shots, if the hill is quite steep, you may have to tighten up your gap just a little. Open up the gap if the target is
down a pretty good hill.

What type of scores can you expect from this system? That depends first of all, of course, on how good your basic shooting form is. I will not attempt to get into that at all. Keep in mind that this is not intended to be instant archery and score should not be the predominant factor. Full enjoyment of the sport and relaxation should be your primary goals. If its 560s you want, stick with the more
regimented forms of archery. I would think that a 400 field score would be good and this should be possible in a season or two if the archer already has good shooting form. One fellow at our club started from scratch a year ago and has been able to maintain a 400 average this past season. I generally shoot about a 460 to 470 on the average day. My best official score is 501. I shot a 498 field round and a 452 unmarked animal round to win the 1976 United States Bare Bow Association Championship.

One of the biggest problems you might run into with this type of shooting (or any form of archery, for that matter, where the fingers are used to release and no clicker is used) is that old malady target panic. I prefer to call it lack of control. This problem can be handled, however, and some of
you may never have it. In my opinion, the ability to draw a bow back, hold it, aim it well and then shoot when you want to without the aid of any gadgets is the challenge in archery. I can’t always do it but when I can, “how sweet it is.” The less you worry about score and the less you worry
about missing the better will be your chances of maintaining good control.

What I have attempted to give you is just a guideline. Once you get into conventional barebow shooting I’m sure you will come up with some variations of your own. I hope some of you have found this interesting and will want to give it a try. If you do, I’m sure you will enjoy
the freedom and relaxation that should be a part of field archery but
that has somehow become lost. <——<

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Published by archerchick on 06 Jan 2011

Colorado…Where The Big Muleys Come To The Hunter! ~By Ed Welch as told to Roy Hoff


BOW & ARROW
October 1977

Colorado…Where The Big Muleys Come To The Hunter!
And Where An Easterner Finally Realized His Western Dream
By Ed Welch as told to Roy Hoff

THE ONLY ADJECTIVE in my limited vocabulary that can adequately
describe my l975 bow and arrow deer season at John Lamicq’s is outstanding!
We, the “Boys From New York,” scored four for six during the two weeks of our hunt.
After two rather dry years for myself at Lamicq’s, dreams of a record muley finally
materialized. For background music, my bowhunting experiences date back to 1946
when I arrowed my first whitetail at ten yards with a fifty-three-pound homemade recurve. Since that time, I have scored on over fifty whitetails in both New York and Pennsylvania.

After this rather impressive record, and with confidence at a high level,
my bowhunting partner Ben Swan and I decided that 1973 was the year to
hunt with John Lamicq in “Colorful Colorado.” Swan took a nice buck in 1973,
drew a blank in 1974, and scored again in 1975 with a typical four-by-four.
My first Colorado muley came suddenly on the second full day of our 1975 hunt.

Nelson Harrington, Swan and I were planning a stalk near upper Four-A – which is a section of high-timbered ridge — early in the afternoon of the second day of the hunt. lt was August 18, with temperatures in the eighties. My plan was to still—hunt just below the rim of the ridge, meeting Harrington and Swan under an out- crop of rocks at about 3:30 p.m. part way along the hogback.

They, in turn, would hunt the opposite side of the ridge to the prearranged spot. Having hunted this area in previous years, l was alert for bedded deer just under the rim, It seemed as if I had
hardly begun my stalk through the sage and scrub oak when I raised my head to scan a long, narrow, grassy area directly on top of the ridge. To my surprise, heading toward me at a
trot with nose to the ground was the largest-antlered and biggest-bodied mule deer I have ever seen!

I suddenly realized that I was standing in the open and entirely exposed to this monster. Not only did I feel inferior and inadequate to cope with such an animal. but it was also immediately apparent that I was standing directly in the middle of the very same deer run he had chosen. My only recourse was to drop down onto one knee and try to hide myself behind a small blow-down consisting of one three-inch-diameter branch of aspen with no leaves.

Imagine my feelings when he continued at a trot, pausing only long enough to raise his head and test the wind. Fortunately, the wind was in my favor so on he came! At fifteen yards the impossible happened. He stopped. raised his head and decided to change direction ninety degrees.
His new course took him directly behind a small pine tree, screening him entirely from my view. Now was my chance! Raising on one knee, I brought my forty-four-pound custom recurve to full draw and held at his approximate point of reappearance. It seemed like ages, but probably only a
second or two passed when he stepped from behind the pine tree, offering me a perfect lung shot.
As my arrow left the bow I knew I had him. His heavy antlered head swung in my direction with his eyes and facial expression appearing to ask, “Where in hell did you come from?” The arrow buried itself in his huge body directly behind the scapula, penetrating completely through the lungs and exiting between the first two ribs on his right side.

With an excited lunge, he bolted over the edge of the ridge and down the canyon wall. Suddenly, all was quiet. Needless to say, I was shaking like a leaf with the excitement and anticipation of finding my once-in-a-lifetime trophy. After taking a moment to calm down, I descended the canyon wall and scanned the area for the direction he had taken. A short walk brought me within
sight of him, sprawled precariously in the middle of a large scrub oak which had retarded his plunge toward the bottom of the canyon.

After taking pictures, I glanced at my watch – exactly 3:30 p.m., August 18. I had finally realized a life-long ambition – to hunt Colorado and successfully take a trophy mule deer.
The remainder of this story is rather anti-climactic. As any dyed-in-the-wool hunter knows, when the kill is made, the work begins. After completing the field dressing, I made my way to our prearranged spot, only to find Harrington and Swan heading in my direction. Their stalk had been
fruitless, but as they approached me, I could contain myself no longer. The excited look on my face together with my bloodied hands had them begging for the story.

As we made our way to the kill, I still found my good fortune hard to
believe. The deer had fallen in a tangle of scrub oak on a steep shale slide,
making it nearly impossible for three people to drag it up to the, top of the
ridge. In addition, my pickup was still about two miles away, parked near
Lamicq’s narrow dirt road. With the deer, estimated at about 250 pounds, field dressed, we had no recourse but to quarter it and backpack it out. Three trips were necessary to gain the top of the
canyon with the cape and meat. After arriving at Lamicq’s and more picture taking, the story was told again. Some friends of ours from Florida, Cecil Hatcher and his family,

were overjoyed at our success as their luck so far had been rather lean. The next day required a trip to Colscotts Locker Plant in Grand Junction to package and freeze the meat and a stop at the taxidermist to make final arrangements for mounting my muley. The next week was to see a repeat of this story when Swan connected with a fine, typical four-by-four. His story will be arriving by mule deer, as well it should, because that, as you know, is the “name of the game”! <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 06 Jan 2011

Ground Attack ~ By Jeff Murray

BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2006

GROUND ATTACK – By Jeff Murray

When it comes to getting close, your tactics toolbelt should include blinds.  No longer the cumbersome contraptions they once were.  Today’s innovative blinds are proving their worth with top guides and outfiitters.

According to recent Pope and Young records, about three-fourths of all
whitetail entries involve treestands. But as much as I love a “height advantage”
I find myself land-lubbing it more and more each year. In fact, I’m just about convinced
that the portable ground blind—which used to be an oxymoron I0 years ago—is as
effective as the portable treestand.

Have I lost my mind? Some of it. I know I’ve lost my narrow-mindedness, not to mention
a few staunch opinions. And I’m also losing some habits, such as fighting with treesteps
in my sleep; dreaming about falling out of trees, and nightmares about swaying in wind
and rain from dark-dawn to dusk-dark.  My new outlook is fueled by two key factors.

First, the latest portable designs are, well. more portable than ever. And second, we’ve
learned a lot about ground pounding from a decade of hardcore experience. We’ve
learned for example that blinds are ideal for turkeys. But blinds are equally deadly on
pronghorns, mule deer and elk. We’ve even learned that whitetails are susceptible to the
right blind at the right place with the right tactic.

Need proof? How about the 200—inch 5×5 buck that Mike Wheeler guided New Jersey
bow hunter Aaron Moore last year.   If that deer isn’t big enough for you, consider the 2003 monster (38 points, 307 5/8
harvested by 15—year-old Tony Lovstuen.
Yes, it was taken from a ground blind.

OLD VS. NEW

The first portable blind I hunted out of was an Invisiblind that Mark Mueller asked me to
field-test. Erection and disassembly were a little time-consuming, no doubt, but it was a
leap in the right direction. Mueller figured out back then that camo netting goes
with portable blinds like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches go with kids. He relied on the
netting mainly for concealing hunters inside and the ability to shoot broadheads through
the material. But the netting proved to serve another important purpose .

In 1995 I first heard about Double Bull Blinds and I got my hands on a lightweight
model the following year. This blind date was made in heaven. The pop—out hubs
locked rods in place that, in turn, stretched the walls of the tent-like structure neatly
into place. In seconds l was up and running and down ‘n’ dirty bowhuntin’. My new blind
was a constant companion in turkey country, and I was madly in love with it.

Shortly thereafter I discovered the “coiled” spring steel concept. Today, anyone can stow
away, say, on Ameristep Doghouse portable, even if an airline ticket is part of the hunt; the
blind’s dimensions are a mere 2×24 inches. And blinds keep getting better and better.
Double Bull now offers the Matrix, a 360-degree viewing and shooting blind that has all
the bells and whistles. Not to be outdone,  Ameristep is promoting the Brickhouse Half-
N-Half that features two complementary camo patterns on opposite sides, just in case the
scenery calls for flexibility. Underbrush incorporates  3-D leafy material that blends naturally
with surroundings and moves in synch with Natures wind currents; the Bowhunter spans 5×5 feet and weighs—what else?—5 pounds.
Then there’s a series of Excent (carbon-activated fabric lined) models from Eastman Outfitters to help deal with scent buildup.

GETTING GROUNDED

Blinds offer several distinct advantages. Most are strategic, but the one topping my list
is psychological: l’m addicted to eye-to-eye combat, with game being clueless to my
presence. I feel like the Invisible Man inside a portable. Other advantages include:
*Extreme portability (no treesteps, no ladders, no safety belts).
*Surprising scent—control (top models sporting a roof and four walls confine scent
with remarkable efficiency).
*No trees, no sweat (set up where you want, not where a tree says so).
*Deke out turkeys and deer with a well-placed decoy.

*Hunt aggressively while relaxing (ignore wind, rain, snow; relax in a folding camp chair or recliner).
* Hunt trophy elk and pronghorns near waterholes without a pick and shovel.
*Make a mule deer’s frontline defense- acute eyesight—his Achilles’ heel.
This is all possible if you follow the rules. Start with no flappin’. lf your blind flaps in the breeze, it will spook game. Period. So
make good use of tent spikes, but also make a discerning purchase and eliminate models
that are loose-fitting and baggy. Another bugaboo associated with ground blinds is the Black Hole Syndrome. Deer are
especially spooky when confronted with a small, dark object. Perhaps its because critters such as fox, coyotes and wolves prey out of
dens. Regardless, the best antidote is camo netting. Because it reflects sunlight, it replaces dark shadows with greens, browns and grays.
“I remember the day we finally saw the Iight,” recalled Brooks Johnson, of Double Bull
Archery. “We got a tip from Mike Palmer, a custom bowyer from Texas with a ton of experience
hunting whitetails from the ground. He told us about the netting, and over the years we’ve
continually improved ways to eliminate the dark openings on our silent windows.
Ironically, after removing black from the setup, the next critical step is adding black-
today, all Double Bull blinds are jet black inside, as are the carbon-fabric-lined models
from Eastman Outfitters and Ameristep. “If a bIind’s interior is camouflage material
and you wear camouflage clothing,” adds Johnson’s partner, Keith Beam, “you’re fine
as long as you don’t move. But the instant you draw your bow, deer will usually spot
you. We learned that from twin-blind setups we filmed out of. Nowadays, we always wear
black inside—we even customize the upper limb of our bows—because black against
black is virtually invisible. You’ve got to experience it to believe it ”
To that end, Double Bull offers a complete  line of “Ninja” accessories, including a black
head cover and a black fleece jacket. When  the weather is warm (a little greenhouse
effect can really heat up these blinds), a   Scent-Lok Base layer long-sleeve top is ideal.
This ultra-lightweight polyester garment  contains scent-eliminating activated charcoal
plus an anti-microbial bacteria fighter.   “You get a great one-two punch,” says veteran
bowhunter Tod Graham. “Invisibility plus  personal odor elimination. But you still need to
go the extra mile, scent-wise, on the outside [of  the blind]. For example, when hunting out West,
cut some sage brush and place it on the roof.   In farm country, fresh cow pies will do. In deep
woods, cedar and pine boughs are great.”

SETUPS FOR BLIND LUCK

How you set up a blind is as important as  where you place it. What works for one
species likely won’t work for another. Let’s start with turkeys. l recently asked Ameristep’s
Pat McKenna if their blinds helped beginners with gobblers. He sent me a stack of testimonials.
Consider that 15-year-old Ashely Cole   shot her first big tom with her father on a
Wisconsin hunt; Justin Temple scored on   his first tom in Michigan; Mike Gaboriault, a
disabled Gulf War veteran from Vermont,  followed suit. These turkey success stories
seem to have no end!  Set up a blind where turkeys are likely to pitch off a roost, and
return to it toward evening (where legal hunting hours apply). Or, find a travel route
connecting loafing and feeding areas. You’ll see for yourself if you watch a little TV and
let Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo (Archers Choice), Mike Avery (Outdoor Magazine), or
the Scent-Lok gang take you along for the ride.   The antelope, according to guide and
outfitter Fred Eichler, is the perfect big game if species to take portable blind—hunting to
the next level. “From 10 years of antelope  guiding, l’d say you get the best of both
worlds—a good challenge, yet good odds if you do your homework.”
Eichler offers these tips for the prairies:

*When setting up a blind on a water hole or cattle tank, first determine the side
with the most tracks along the shoreline. To further tip the odds, pile up some
sagebrush on the opposite side to discourage antelope from drinking there. Even an
arrow in the mud with a flapping sock can redirect antelope to your side of the pond.
“*Wind can be a factor, but antelope usually rely more on their eyes than their noses,
especially where there is little human activity.  Although Eichler has harvested antelope
on the same day he’s set up his blind, its usually best to give them time to acclimate to the
setup—as much as four weeks, if possible.

Whitetails are the big leagues of the ground attack game. Start by mastering the
“50/100 Rule. Interestingly, in dense cover where visibility is limited to 50 yards or less,
it’s critical that the blind not be recognizable.  The best tack, according to outfitter extraordinaire Steve Shoop, is building a brush
pile during the off season, then sawing a hole inside and placing the blind within. This hides the blind, all right, but also gives deer
a chance to get used to the brush pile.

Popular TV host Jay Gregory tried blind-hunting last year and arrowed a fine whitetail. “If you’re lucky enough to
hunt an area with cedars, try this,” Gregory says. “Prune just enough boughs to wedge your blind up against the tree trunk. Then
place the boughs on top and in front of the blind. The scent of the fresh [cuttings] seems

to help, and cedars are usually thick enough to obscure the blind. I shot my buck on the
same day I set up my blind!”
Now for the “100” part of the 50/100 Rule.
Ironically, deer tend to ignore a blind when they can spot it from 100 yards or more.
Apparently, they eye it over and, if nothing moves and no scent alerts them, they consider
it a part of the landscape much like, say, an abandoned truck or tractor in a field. ln fact, wherever man-made
structures are common, ground blinds are ideal, according to a noted whitetail guide like Wheeler. Zero in
on windmills, abandoned buildings, farm machinery, center pivot irrigation stations, old tires, hay bales, silos, fences, gates—you
name it. “Deer are already used to something  different in their area,” Wheeler maintains, “and a blind just seems to fit right in.”
Elk are particularly vulnerable to a discriminating blind setup. A few years ago,  Nebraska buddy Doug Tryon shared a secret
mountain-top burn in southern Colorado where elk fed predictably on the lush vegetation. But they showed up only when the wind kissed
their noses, and it was impossible to get below them. So I came prepared and tucked a portable
blind into a clump of junipers. Blind luck!  Cows meandered within feet, and a raghorn wandered with in 10 yards. Soon a nice bull
showed up and took the whole herd with him, but here’s betting he’ll be there again this fall ….

Levi Johnson, from Winnette, Montana, guides elk for Flatwillow Creek Outfitters
considers a ground blind a top tactic for arrowing big bulls:
“Once our bulls gather cows,   there are too many eyes and  noses for the average hunter
to deal with. But setting up over water, especially on a  hot September afternoon,  can simplify a complicated
hunt. ln 2005, Mike Huff  and l watched a nice 300- class 6X6 steer his cows
into a steep draw where the wind was all wrong  for a morning hunt. So we backed out and returned in
the afternoon, set up our blind on a waterhole at the end of the draw and, in the scorching
100 degree heat, watched the bull jump into the pond with a cow and calf next to him.
They were clear up to their bellies when I shot the bull at 45 yards.
“Last fall, I set up my blind near a different waterhole on the second evening of archery

season. I’d tried in vain to hunt this waterhole with a treestand, but the wind was always giving me away. Well, I heard what sounded like
hooves pounding turf, and when I peered out of my window I saw about 20 cows and a big 7×7 heading straight for me. I let all of the elk
drink, and the bull was within easy bow range when my arrow found its mark.”

Johnson’s keys to hunting elk with ground blinds;

*Since elk don’t seem too bothered by blinds, don’t waste a lot of time brushing them in. In fact, you can hunt out of a blind
the day you set it up over a waterhole.
*Always stake your blind down no matter the weather. In Western states like Montana, it can be calm one second and a tornado the next.
*Open only the windows you intend to shoot out of, and leave the others shut tight; the less light inside the blind the better.
Stay calm and wait for a good shot.  When Johnson’s friends watched the video of last year’s hunt, they wondered why it took
him so long to shoot. The longer you let a bull relax at a waterhole, the better the results. Be patient. Resist the urge to leave the
blind for any reason. Stay put and stay tuned.
Mule deer, like the one whitetail expert Tod Graham is posing with above, can be had
for the right price The price is mainly scouting for details. “Glass fields early and late to
locate a worthy buck, figure out his bedding area with different winds, and take good
notes Graham says. “Once you see a buck use the same trail twice, you can kill him
with a blind. The third time’s the charm.  “I don’t worry much about cover, because
it usually doesn’t exist in good muley country.

Just put your blind where you can get off a good shot—even in the middle of a field.
Mulies must think it’s a hay bale the farmer has relocated because they don’t veer
around it. I remember telling this to my guide in Alberta last year. I’d suggested we
set up my portable blind on the downwind side of a wild oat field where a big buck

was hanging out with a bachelor group of six other bucks. The guide chuckled at my suggestion, but l got the last laugh when he
helped me drag 195 inches of muley antlers back to his truck.”
Drew H. Butterwick, Double Bull pro staffer and host of Art of Deception (Men’s Channel), loves bowhunting black bears out
of a portable ground blind. “Close contact is why we bowhunt, and a blind can put you in the heart of the action,” he says. “But blinds
are superior to treestands for bear hunting. It is easier to intercept ’staging’ bruins that
hang back from a bait as darkness  approaches. And you get a 360-degree view that usually allows you to see under tree
branches that would otherwise obstruct  your vision from an elevated stand. l also believe you can do a better job of judging
bears at eye level. Last and maybe not least, mosquitoes and blackflies can be kept to a minimum – the shoot through camouflage
netting on my Matrix model acts as bug netting.”

Final footnote; While bears don’t associate blinds with danger, they are inquisitive creatures and could do some
serious damage if you don’t remove the blind after each day’s hunt.

lf an African safari is on your crosshairs, Butterwick recommends stowing away a  portable blind in your luggage.“A moveable
pop-up blind offers many more options than pits and fixed setups,” he says. “The wind is always shifting, and swapping sides of a
waterhole really increases the odds. Portable  concealment can mean the difference  between no shot and a record-class animal.”

THE ART OF BLINDSIDING:
HOW TO SHOOT

Tod Graham hunts exclusively from ground blinds and has blindsided more than 20
Pope and Young whitetails. Learn from his proven shooting tips;
*Practice drawing your bow inside the blind to gauge how much clearance you need for bow limbs and arrows.
*Always double-check the gap between  the window opening and your sight pins. If you don’t rehearse the draw, you could end up
missing the window and shooting the wall.

Visualize where the shots are most likely to occur; you’ll probably be right more

times than not. Position your chair carefully; Graham likes to shoot at a 45edegree angle to the window.
* Practice shooting arrows out ofa blind, including through the netting, especially if you aren’t used to shooting from a sitting or —
kneeling position.
* Always use a rangefinder if time permits; depth perception is affected by the netting.

For ideal blind placement, avoid a rising and setting sun in your face. Also, setting
up in the shade improves your ability to see through netting.
Use a bow holder, such as the one Double Bull Archery markets, to keep your bow
in a handy position. (You may have to be quicker on the draw from the ground than
from a treestand)
*Practice shooting from inside the blind at different distances, angles and times of
day. Be sure to dress in hunting garb.  The dark interior of a ground blind reduces the amount of light available to your
sight pins. You may need a larger peep and possibly a light (check local regulations).
•Blinds can often accommodate two hunters. Practice together ahead of time to avoid the proverbial Chinese fire drill.

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Published by archerchick on 05 Jan 2011

Calculating Kinetic Energy and Momentum


BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2006

we receive many questions about figuring kinetic energy and
momentum in arrows. Below is information about the formulas for calculating kinetic energy and momentum, their relationship, and the derivation of these formulas. There are only two basic
formulas: one for kinetic energy and one for momentum, although there are
probably many ways to write them. Each formula has several constants that are required to make them usable in a form where the values are expressed in terms we are familiar with. Conversion to grains for the arrows and from the British gravitational units of poundals to pounds-mass are a part of that.

Determining An Arrow’s
Kinetic Energy
The basic formula for kinetic energy is:

To use the weight of the arrow in grains, Our usual unit of measurement, it is neccessary to convert from poundaIs to grains
in the formuIa, therefore:

Note: The acceleration of gravity
(g) varies with latitude. As latitude increases, “g” also increases. 32.16 feet
per second per second corresponds to about 40 degrees latitude, which is a
reasonably good average for the United States. Gravitational pull is higher at the
poles.

Therefore:

Dimensionally masses are measured
in poundals and velocities in feet per second. A poundal is defined as the
force which, if applied to the standard pound body, would give that body an
acceleration of one foot per second per second. One poundal equals 1 /3 2. 1 740
pound-force (lbf). These dimensions are stated in the British “absolute system” in which the basic dimensional units are: one poundal, one foot, and one second. Therefore, the basic unit of
momentum is one poundal-second.

When momentum is expressed in the British gravitational system (the system in most common use in the United States), the basic unit is one pound-second. One pound-second is equivalent
to 32.1740 poundal-seconds. Work or energy is expressed in foot- pounds in the British “gravitational system,” or as foot-poundals in the British “absolute system.” Again, the acceleration of gravity enters the picture so that: one foot-pound = 32.1740 foot-poundals.

Unfortunately the term “pound” is used ambiguously to define both “force”
and “mass” in most instances. To distinguish between these two usages, the term “pound- force” was coined to apply to the pound when it is used to express force, and the term “pound-mass” was designated to apply to pound when it is used to indicate mass.
Simply stated:
“A load that produces a vertically downward force because of the influence of gravity acting on a mass may be expressed in ‘mass’ units. Any other load is expressed in ‘force’ units.”
The kinetic energy of an arrow in flight is a function of its mass and velocity squared, as shown in the formula outlined above. It has the dimension of foot-pounds. The momentum of the same arrow is also a function of its mass and the single power of its velocity. Momentum
has the dimensions of foot»seconds. The difference between kinetic energy and momentum is a function of the velocity divided by 2 and, of course, the change in dimensions from foot-pounds to
pound-seconds. lf kinetic energy of the arrow is divided by “v/2,” then the result
is the momentum of the arrow. For example: An arrow with a weight of 450 grains and a velocity of 230 feet per second will have a kinetic energy of 52.8718 foot-pounds.
Dividing 230 by 2 yields 115. Dividing
52.8718 by 115 gives a momentum of
0.4598 pound-seconds.

To calculate momentum directly the following formula can be used:
momentum = wav/225120 Ib.-secs. 1
wa is arrow weight in grains {
v is arrow velocity in feet per second. y
For example: An arrow with a weight Y
of 450 grains and a velocity of 230 feet per
y second will have momentum equal to:
450 x 250/225120 = 0.4598 pound-seconds.
To Calculate momentum directly the following formula can be used.

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Published by archerchick on 05 Jan 2011

Fun With Draw Length ~By Richard Combs

BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2006

Home Bow Mechanic- Fun With Draw Length
by Richard Combs

Archers are often advised to let their sight pins “float,” or wander over ,
the bull’s-eye, and let the precise moment of release come as a surprise.
The subconscious, or so goes the theory, is constantly attempting to center the
sights on the target, and any conscious attempt to center the sights or time the
release will result in flinching, punching the release, target panic, or other accuracy-robbing problems.

This approach works very well for a great many bowhunters, but it is based on
the major assumption that it is impossible to hold a bow steady. Bowhunters are not machines, of course, and holding a bow immobile for any period of time, shot after shot, probably is impossible. On the other hand, it is certainly possible to hold a bow steady for short periods, or (if
you can’t buy the notion of complete steadiness, to at least minimize the size
of the wobble. Look at it however you like, but holding a bow steadier is a very good thing for accuracy.

A major factor in that steadiness is correct draw length. lf you find that you have a difficult time keeping your sight pin on a 3-inch bull’s-eye at 20 yards, and if you are not pulling a draw weight that is too heavy for you, there is a very good chance that the problem is incorrect draw length. More often than not, incorrect draw length means a draw length that is too long. The conventional explanation for this is that archers tend to stretch their draw lengths to get greater speeds. As a general rule, one additional inch in draw length generates almost 10 fps in arrow speed. Competitive 3-D shooters, in particular, often attempt to maximize speed to flatten trajectory, and even bowhunters who do not shoot 3-D competitively have been influenced by those who do.

No doubt there is some truth to all this, but over the years I’ve observed that beginning bowhunters, including those who have only a vague idea what 3-D shooting is all about and who are unaware of the relation between draw length and arrow speed, still have a strong tendency to shoot at excessively long draw lengths. For whatever reason, selecting the correct draw length
seems to be a learned and even slightly unnatural thing.

A long overdue trend in recent years has been to back off on draw length.
With today’s more efficient bows, many bowhunters-and some 3-D shooters—
have discovered that they can achieve as much speed as they want without resorting to longer draw lengths. In any case, smart hunters have always been willing to trade a little speed for greater accuracy. While it is certainly possible to over compensate and move to a draw length
that is a little too short, most top shooters agree that a too short draw length is
preferable to a too long one. How critical is it to achieve precision in draw length? The better shots of my acquaintance, including the most serious 3-D competitors, have a draw length tolerance of
a quarter-inch. Anything shorter or longer than that is immediately noticeable, and they will make adjustments.

Draw Length And Draw Weight
Holding the bow steadier is not the only reason the correct draw length is
important. We mal<e reference to draw length and draw weight as separate characteristics—-which they are—but they are not unrelated. It shouldn’t be surprising that the same draw weight will
be perceived differently at different draw lengths. imagine holding your bow at full draw from a position as far back as you can reach. A draw length that is too long increases the difficulty of holding the weight comfortably, which is one reason the bow is more difficult to hold steady at longer draw lengths. The difference is less noticeable in the case of a too short draw length, but holding bow at full draw from a position in front of the optimum anchor point is also
more difficult. And either position can increase the likelihood of the arm or shoulder problems that plague too many bowhunters.
Perceived draw weight aside, it is difficult to achieve proper and consistent shooting form outside the parameters of correct draw length is a much greater tendency for the string to slap the bow arm. For purely anatomical reasons, this can be a chronic problem for some bowhunters, but excessive draw length is often a major factor. For years I watched a hunting buddy struggle with the problem. He bought custom grips, purchased bows with very high brace heights, modified his stance to an extremely open position, and experimented with some difficult and unusual shooting forms. Finally he tried a draw length that was nearly two inches shorter and the problem disappeared.

Among the more pernicious inconsistencies in shooting form is the tendency to creep forward from the wall before release. Pros have come up with all sorts of antidotes to this, including creep tuning and stops on rests and cams. Clearly incorrect draw length will magnify the problem. Not only is it initially less comfortable to hold a bow at full draw when draw length is off, but the arm, shoulder, and back become fatigued more quickly at improper draw lengths. Fatigue is a major factor in creep.

WHEN THE RIGHT DRAW LENGTH IS WRONG
You might assume that draw length is draw length – that if your optimum draw length is 28 inches on one bow, then it should be 28 inches on any bow. That is conventional thinking, but the folks at Spot-Hogg are not very good at thinking conventionally, and as they so often do, they have a different idea. As Spot-Hogg’s Cabe Johnson recently observed, differences in axle-to-axle length can make a significant difference in optimum draw length. The reason is that shorter bows have a more acute string angle at full draw than do longer bows.

Assume for instance, that you draw your string back to touch the tip of your nose at full draw, with two bows one short and one long. The distance between grip and nock point may be the same on both bows, but the distance between the riser and the string where it touches the nose will be different because of the different string angles. The tendency will be to change the shooting form to compensate- to modify the head angle, change the anchor point, extend or bend the bow arm
more. Those adjustments will probably decrease the ability to hold the bow steady and increase discomfort, not to mention reinforce inconsistencies in shooting form. The bottom line is that,
contrary to conventional thinking, there is no “right” draw length for a given individual. The optimum draw length will depend in part on the bow.

Adjust Draw
Many—though by no means all—compound bow designs offer a range of draw length adjustment accomplished by moving the end of the string to one of several different posts on the cam. Often
the range is three inches, with changes in half-inch increments. With other bows, changing draw length requires changing modules on the cam. However these adjustments are made, they may
have slight effects on let off or bow efficiency, but any loss in these areas will be more than compensated for by the advantages of shooting at the correct draw length. In most cases the bow will have to be pressed to make these changes. Changing draw length will usually require that the bow be returned. (In some cases, simply pressing the bow will require that it be returned.)
For more precise adjustments, strings or cables can be shortened by twisting. Lengthening the string lengthens the draw, and shortening the string shortens it.

The opposite is true for cables:Lengthening cables shortens the draw and vice-versa. Manufacturers of modern, high quality strings usually warn against shortening a string more than a quarter inch or so by twisting, but usually this is enough, especially if done in conjunction with moving the end loop
to another post, or changing modules. One way to reduce the number of twists necessary to accomplish the desired change is to adjust both strings and cables. To shorten the draw length, for
instance, untwist the cable a few turns, then twist the string a few turns.

Draw Length Alternatives
Repeatedly pressing the bow and making adjustments until the precise draw length is arrived at can be a frustrating and time-consuming affair, and not every bowhunter owns a press. Fortunately, there are better ways to experiment with draw length. For starters, the length of many release aids can be adjusted. Almost all wrist caliper releases are easily adjusted. You might object that adjusting the release aid is not really changing draw length, and you would be correct. Shortening the length of a release aid does move the anchor point forward, though. In fact, it accomplishes
all the objectives of shortening the draw length, without the disadvantage of reducing arrow speed. I’m all in favor of maintaining, or even increasing, arrow
speed if it can be done without a downside. ln effect, achieving the proper
anchor point without shortening the power stroke of the bow is a free lunch.
The only caveat, of course, is that the release itself should not be uncomfortably short. Many bowhunters touch the trigger with their fingertips anyway, which is not the best form. In that case,
shortening the release aid is a “twofer,” providing a better anchor point and a positioning of the finger on the trigger that is less likely to contribute to punching the release or even target panic.

Some bowhunters looking for extra 10 fps or so of speed might find that by shortening their release aid, they can actually extend their draw length without changing their anchor point. Don’t need an extra 10fps of speed? Shorten the release aid, extend the draw length, and back off on the draw weight by five or six pounds. Speed will be about the same, but you’ll be pulling and holding significantly less weight.

Bowhunters who feel that their release aid is already as short as it should be can switch to a forward trigger design release. By using a release aid with a trigger farther forward, and much closer to the jaws of the release, it is possible to shorten the release without changing the position of the trigger relative to the wrist caliper to another to another shorter style of release aid.

A similar option is to alter the size of the string loop. (If you’re not using a string loop, you should be) As with the release aid making the loop shorter will move the anchor point farther forward, while making it longer will move it back. If a longer loop makes for a better anchor point, then lengthen the draw length by changing string posts or modules, or by untwisting the string a few turns then shorten the loop. Perceived draw length will be unchanged, but real draw length will be longer with a longer power stroke and more speed.

Finally, bowhunters shouldn’t overlook the effect of grip on draw length.
We’re talking an optimum range of quarter inch in draw length for most shooters. The difference between a wrist high grip, in which the riser touches only a small bit of skin between the thumb and forefinger, and a low grip, in which it is in contact with much of the hand, can easily make a difference of half an inch.

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Published by archerchick on 05 Jan 2011

Western Deer -Double Header ~By Brandon Ray


Bowhunting World
October 2002
Western Deer Double-Header
High Plains River bottoms Offer the Best Of Both Worlds In Trophy Whitetail And Mule Deer Hunting

Which do you prefer, Coke or Pepsi? Ford or Chevy? Realtree or Mossy Oak?
When it comes to hunting deer in many western states, you’ll face a similar selection dilemma, Whitetails or Mule Deer?

In many western states a deer tag is good for one buck of either species, but not both. Before you make a decision on which species to target, consider the landscape and the hunting tactics that work best. Time of year is another important factor.
Story and Photos by Brandon Ray

Over the past two hunting seasons I’ve had the good fortune to draw deer
tags in eastern Colorado and eastern Wyoming. The landscape is very similar in
both locations. Cottonwood trees with trunks as big around as tractor tires follow the course
of small creeks and rivers across the eastern plains of both of these western states. Head-high willows and Russian olive trees crowd the banks of the waterways even more. But
these life—giving riparian zones are surrounded by endless miles of rolling hills, fragrant sage
and yellow grasses that wave constantly in a strong western breeze.

For the most part, whitetails thrive along the river beneath the tall trees while the mulies do
just fine in the open sage and steep coulees. Tagging a whitetail in the brushy river bottoms
calls for stand hunting. During the November rut, calling and rattling will increase your
chances. lust a couple hundred yards away from the towering cottonwoods, spot and stalk
is the best technique to arrow a big mule deer in the open. Ultimately the question is: would you
rather sit and wait or make something happen?

In November, 2000 I decided to focus on rutting whitetails in eastern Colorado with the
help of outfitter Chris Cassidy at Alpine Outfitters. Less than one year later, in September of 2001, the focus would shift to wide-racked mule deer in eastern Wyoming. My host for that trip,
Jimmy Fontenot of Wildlife Connections, assured me that early season was a great time to shoot a big mule deer with a bow. Pleasant weather and seeing lots of bucks in the open sold me on the September dates. Both hunts proved that western deer hunting can offer something for any deer hunter.

WESTERN
WHITETAILS
The 2000 season marked my third year to bowhunt whitetails on Colorados eastern
plains with outfitter Chris Cassidy. Cassidy leases some prime properties on the plains and
he specializes in helping bowhunters score on big whitetails. I asked Cassidy, a man with 13
years of experience hunting Colorado`s plains for his advice on how to bow—kill a big whitetail in a western river bottom setting. “Hunting from treestands during the rut the first few weeks in November, is by far the best way to score. The bucks move into the river bottoms in search of does during the rut. This concentrates them a little more as they come in and move up and down the river corridors looking for receptive does.” Each year Cassidy limits the harvest of mature bucks on his ranches and encourages his clients to pass up younger bucks to let them reach their full potential. It’s a plan that pays off every year. Cassidy’s success with bowhunters on the plains runs right at 75 percent. with near 100 percent shot opportunities. Most of the bucks his clients shoot measure 135 inches or more. The biggest buck taken in recent years scored over 170 inches.

My November. 2000 Colorado whitetail hunt ended the same day it began. As good as that sounds, the hunt was far from easy. l spent about 12 hours in a treestand overlooking several well—worn trails before punching my arrow into a behemoth—sized buck in the waning minutes of last light. The waiting was made even more challenging because of the numbing cold. When l got on stand before sunrise the temperature was 10 degrees below zero. The warmest it got all day was 10 above zero. While the temperatures were bone-chilling, the rut was in full swing. Throughout the
day l watched several bucks chase does through the crunchy snow near my stand.

Late in the day. when l was about to climb down from my stand. I noticed movement to the south. A good buck was crossing a creek, but well out of bow range. l grabbed the grunt call, chipped the ice from inside the plastic mouthpiece and began giunting. loud. At first l couldn’t see the buck in the trees to even know if he had heard the sound, but then he appeared on my side of the creek, 150 yards away, staring in my direction. I let out another chorus of three deep grunts. He was coming my way. At 60 yards he passed behind a cluster of trees and I seized the chance to raise my binoculars and study his rack again. I could count 10 points. I dropped the binoculars and clamped
my release onto the bowstring. At 30 yards I jerked my bow to full power. He stopped for an instant, then started to walk again just as I let the arrow go. The arrow impacted with a loud CRACK! I watched through my binoculars as the 250-pound 10-point took a few steps, then slumped into the snow.

Stand hunting during the rut is a very effective whitetail tactic in any western river bottom. Set up stands in travel corridors and areas with lots of buck sign, scrapes and rubs, and be patient. Be prepared for long days and very cold temperatures and pack a grunt call and rattling horns to lure out-of—range bucks closer to your stand. That very tactic helped me arrow my personal best bow whitetail.

PRAIRIE MULE DEER
Outfitter Jimmy Fontenot has been guiding mule deer hunters in eastern Wyoming for the
past eight years on a 65,000—acre ranch. In those years of guiding, Fontenot’s bow clients
have experienced 100 percent shooting opportunities, and only one archer has left the
ranch without taking a buck. “A realistic goal for archers on my hunt is a buck scoring between 140 and 150 inches. A patient hunter might get a chance at a much bigger buck. Our biggest bow-killed buck scored about 180 inches.

“Optics are everything on this hunt. We start each morning glassing from the vehicle or a high vantage point. I like glassing from the truck at tirst light because it allows us to move quickly and cover more ground than if we were on foot. Once a buck is spotted we will watch him hed down then try a stalk. In the evenings we watch bucks come out of the ravines and coulees, then try to use
cover or breaks in the land to get close enough for a shot. On good days an archer will get one stalk in the morning and another in the afternoon.”

The first day of my September, 2001. Wyoming mule deer hunt was as good a of hunting as you could ask for. I saw 33 bucks ranging in size from young fork horns to a couple of Wide 4x4s that would make any archer drool. Early season means bucks are usually in bachelor groups and they are not nearly as spooky as they become later in the season. The bunched-up bucks are easy to
spot, spending lots of time in the open, but they are tough to stalk. Late in the afternoon
l attempted a stalk on a symmetrical 4×4 that we guessed would score about 160 inches,
but he was accompanied by six other bucks and I never got closer than 100 yards.

At noon on the second day of my hunt I learned a valuable lesson. You can’t shoot a
big buck if your bow is in the truck. Sounds simple, right’? Here’s what happened. From one of the main ranch roads l spotted a respectable 3×3 buck bedded in the shade of a row of willow trees. The tall willows lined a shallow ditch and provided the only cover for a quarter mile. The buck under the willows was too small to shoot this early in the hunt. but I decided to loop around with my camera and take some photos.

When I belly crawled through the sage and up to the lip of the ditch I got an unexpected surprise. Bedded less than 20 yards away and staring right at me was the same big -4×4 buck from the previous afternoon!
He was lying in a shallow depression that we couldn’t see from the road. I was aimed with only a telephoto lens and the buck obviously knew that. He stood for one long minute then casually walked out to about 40 yards and stood next to the 3×3 buck. I cranked-off a roll of film at both bucks. but wished for my Mathews bow instead of my Canon camera.

Finally. the two bucks galloped across the prairie. I spent most of the afternoon trying to
re-stalk that buck. but he was super alert and I never got within range. Lesson: Even if you
can see only one bedded buck, chances are good that during he early season he’ll have
at least one partner with him.

Late in the afternoon on day three I got a second look at old white-faced 4X4 buck
in a dark ravine. l passed this same buck on the first morning. but decided now that he
was plenty big enough. A short stalk and one long bow shot later and my tag was filled.
This time the camera stayed in the truck during the stalk and I was all business! The
buck’s live weight was about 225 pounds and his yellow-colored rack sported shreds
of dried velvet dangling off the beams. The date was September l7.

Western prairies might seem bleak and lifeless at first glance. with barely enough
cover to hide a jackrabbit. but find a stretch of tall trees and shallow water winding
across these plains and you`ll likely find bowhunting gold. Whether your passion is
rutting whitetails or early season mule deer, western waterways have something for
every bowhunter. The toughest part is deciding which species to hunt.

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

Dump The Grunt-Bleats Rule! ~By Joe Byers


BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2002

DUMP THE GRUNT
Bleats Rule!
as the rut draws near, a grunt tube may be an asset, but for the best results, you can’t beat the bleat.
By Joe Byers

I could hear the buck before I could see it; his grunting sound was enough to
make my hair stand on end. In seconds a doe appeared along the ridge—its wannabe
mate right behind. The pair passed just 50 yards away, but seeing the buck’s headgear
was difficult through the thick cover. I gave a couple of grunts, which the buck ignored,
and it disappeared. Switching tactics, I cast several doe bleats in its direction, doubtful
that any call would pry it from the doe. To my surprise, I soon heard leaves shuffling.
The buck returned, walking steadily toward me, searching intently for the source of the
sound. The eight-pointer passed within 20 yards, stopped to drink from the stream
below the stand and then wandered away in search of other does.

On most days, my arrow would have flown toward the two-year—old deer that
weighed about 150 pounds. However, this was the peak of the rut in the heart of Illinois’ famed “ABP” counties (Adams, Brown & Pike). Moreover, I was hunting with Heartland Outfitters on part of their managed trophy properties. Dr. Robert “Doc” Russell, owner and outfitter, encourages P&Y minimum standards, stressing that numerous 150-plus bucks thrive in the QDM program. I had mixed emotions about passing the modest eight- pointer, yet was genuinely impressed with
the performance of the bleat call.

Bleating Super Big Time
Ironically, some 200 miles to the east on the exact same day, Ohioan Mike Beatty
was in his stand. He climbed-in around 5 p.m. in the afternoon and let things settle
down. Seeing no deer, he turned his can-style doe bleat a few times and looked
intently for results. Sure enough, he saw movement as a 150—class buck sneaked
toward him. The animal came within 15 yards, yet never left the shroud of branches
that protected it like some Star—Trek Cling on cloaking device. Not finding a doe, it
turned and walked away. The Ohio archer grunted several times, yet the buck did not
reappear. Beatty considered this deer to be a buck of a lifetime and was devastated.

Since the bleat call had worked once, he let some time pass, then made several
more “baa” sounds. Within minutes, the buck returned, or so Beatty thought. As
this deer approached through the same thick cover, Beatty saw that it was bigger.
Much bigger! It came within 12 yards, looking intently for an estrous doe.

Beatty was at full draw when the animal stopped to sniff a scent bomb. Although it was facing toward him, he aimed carefully, visualizing an arrow through the neck and into the lungs. He
released and the buck wheeled and ran. He waited 30 minutes and then began trailing by flashlight. After covering 250 yards, he chose to return in the morning. After a sleepless night, he found the huge buck at dawn, just a few yards from his stopping point. The buck is the largest whitetail deer
ever taken with a bow. With 39 points, the 11.5-pound rack scores and is the largest whitetail ever taken by any hunting means.

Back to Reality
Of course, I didn’t know about Beatty’s success, yet his experience demonstrates
two key elements. One: an archer never knows what kind of buck can be called in.
Despite the immense antlers size, this deer had not been seen previously. Two: the
bleat call can be extremely effective at bringing-in even the largest of whitetails.

As the morning wore on in my Illinois perch, I lured a small six pointer within 30 yards, causing it to change course and come directly toward me. Just as impressive were a doe and fawn that came down a ridge searching intently for the bleat.

When I returned to camp for lunch, I recommended the call to Bryce Towsley
who had been seeing a big 10-point, yet could not get it in range. Later that afternoon, Towsley used the call to bring the buck to 12 yards and made a good lung shot. That evening, we celebrated heartily with a common mindset: Holy Cow! This bleat stuff really works.

OK, IT WORKS, TELL ME MORE!

Next to a Victoria’s Secret lingerie model, I probably had the best roommate in the
world. Jerry Petersen and the Woods Wise staff hunt Heartland annually in early
November, not only for a great outdoor experience, but it’s a perfect test-track for
their deer calls. I had rarely encountered such success with a deer call and corralled
Petersen for a mini seminar.

“To understand the call, you must focus on the biology of what’s going on,” began
Petersen. “Here we are in the second week of November in Illinois. We are dealing
with bucks in the pre-rut and soon to be full rut. It’s the most exciting time of the
whitetail season. Everything works, yet if you apply calling in a more selective and
scientific way, you can be more productive than just throwing out anything.

“The first thing to understand is how a buck’s motivation is different than in early
season. Instead of seeking companionship of other bucks, he now seeks to win the
attention of does. His primary motivation is breeding, contrary to popular notion that
bucks just want to fight. Therefore, in pre-rut, you will rind much greater success in
sounding like a doe ready to breed, than two bucks ripping each other’s head off. I rattle
up bucks every year, but usually use the doe calls before I touch antlers.

“The doe—specific calls include the estrous bleat, which is a longer drawn-out a bleat that lasts a second to a second and a half and is usually repeated from two to 12 times in a series. Also, the breeding bellow is a bleat that’s louder, drawn out and starts at a high note and drops to low one.
“l like to call to almost every buck I see just for fun and as a means of gauging what I can expect for a response. lt’s a way of taking the temperature of the local deer population. On the first morning of this hunt, a spike passed by at 75 yards. I bleated three times and stopped it. Then, l added a breeding bellow to which it responded by dropping its head and giving a sharp tail wag, then came
directly to me. (The dropping of the head to a low position and an exaggerated tail wag that is repeated several times) is a fairly common response. When this happens, stop calling. Let the deer come as far as it will on its own. lf it stops, don’t call unless it walks away. Too many times the hunter thinks, ‘It worked once. more is better’ That’s a mistake. If you call when the animal is close, it will pinpoint you.

“I had good early season success in Montana with bleating and light rattling. Two big bucks passed by my stand nearly 200 yards away. l got their attention with a bleat, and then played a waiting game. They stopped in their tracks, looked and listened. They did some heavy searching for almost five minutes, just staring. With big bucks you want to fight the temptation to call repeatedly. The first time I detect a tum of a head. ear or a flick of a tail, they are going to move forward, that’s the time I make the second call. It often moves them in my direction as it did in this case. Both bucks came at a steady walk and passed under my tree. I shot an 11-point that scored in
the high 140s.”

The CanCan
“The time of year that deer are the most callable is during the pre-rut and rut,” says Will Primos, president of the call company that bears his name. “I have known about the estrous bleat for 20 years but have not been able to reproduce it in a blown call. The concept works very well. It produces a good reproduction and is easy to use. Mike Beatty used the Primos Easy Bleat because a buddy of his (a game warden) bagged two bucks using the call. ‘Do the can’ he advised, so Beatty went to a local sporting goods store and bought one.”

Primos believes that the bleat is the most powerful allure as the breeding season nears.
‘Although grunts can work, the sound a buck really wants to hear is the sound of a
doe ready to breed. When a cat goes into heat, it often screams. Bobcats do the same
thing in the wild. The bodies of estrous females go under stress when they are ready
to mate and they advertise a biological need.”

Back In Action
Armed with new knowledge and the Bullseye Buck call, I climbed into the
same stand for a second day with great anticipation. I planned to use the call only
when I saw a deer, rather than just random broadcasting. Unfortunately, by 9 a.m., I
had not seen anything. It was time for a different approach.

Putting the call to my lips. l inhaled several soft bleats, then picked up my bow
in preparation. Fifteen minutes later I repeated the bleat call routine, searching
the thickets for the slightest movements. Perhaps five minutes passed when leaves
crashed behind me. In seconds, two deer raced in and stopped within spitting distance. Rotating my head downward with great caution, I could see the antlers of a mature buck.

My bow was on a hanger within easy reach, yet l dared not move with the animals so close. The doe continued her estrous run, bounding up the steep ridge to my left. As the first leaf cracked, l grabbed my bow, locked on the release and came to full draw. Unfortunately, the buck was
stopped behind thick vines. l held and hoped. The pair crossed my entrance trail and caught a whiff of the Real Deer trail scent I had deployed. They took two more jumps, this time the buck stopped just above a cedar tree that I had ranged in at dawn. The arrow flew, catching the buck in the boiler room. Ironically, the escape trail contained no blood for the first 30 yards and then emerged like a paint spill. The buck was a bit shy of P&Y yet a mature breeder that made wonderful eating and
excellent trophy.

Hunting whitetail deer is always exciting, yet inducing a wily buck to seek you out is the grandest of all. Rattling, grunt tubes, and bleats all have their place in the communication scheme of our favorite prey. As the rut draws near, a grunt tube may be an asset, but for the best results
you can’t beat the bleat.

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

Extending Your Range – By Joe Byers


Bowhunting World
October 2002

Extending Your Range
The World Past 20 Yards
By Joe Byers

Stuck at the 20 yard threshold? Three nationally known bowmen show how to increase your effective range and make the most of each opportunity.

You guys will have about two hours to hunt and still catch the plane.:
said the manager of the Jupiter caribou camp in northern Quebec. “If
you can pack back the meat, I’ll take things from there. Just don’t miss that plane!”
Pressured by an unexpected departure schedule, I dressed by candlelight as the eastern sky began to pale. Pushing the darkness, I climbed the ridge, stopping often to survey the tundra surroundings. Several days before, thousands of caribou migrated through this area, concentrating in a narrow patch of black spruce. The nearby funnel would offer close—range potential. As the sun crested the horizon, action soon followed.

A mature white—mane bull emerged from the timber. Another animal soon followed.
Were there five, a dozen, or 207 Numbers didn’t really matter; one caribou in range was
all I sought.

Testing the wind, I retreated and then made a wide circle. Sneaking to a large rock, I
inched above the horizon, scanning the vicinity for antler tips. No caribou. Glassing
intently, I finally spotted tall velvet passing through thick brush well to my right. There
was no time to waste.

Reversing course again, I dashed through several openings, then closed the distance
toward an ambush trail. The bulls were traveling through waist—high brush, making enough
noise to cover my approach. Crouched as low as possible, I closed a final 50 yards with just
seconds to spare. My hands trembled as I ranged a scrubby bush at 30 yards. The first bull
stepped just beyond the shrub. The second bull was larger.

The duo moved steadily and I remembered a trick a guide had suggested. “Ark!” I
barked briskly, and both animals stopped. Already at full draw, I settled the 40—yard pin high
in the chest, held and released. In an instant the Carbon Express shaft flashed to the target,
zipping through just behind the shoulder. The arrow was exactly on target, a shot for which I
had prepared and practiced. In this instance, preparing to surpass the 20—yard pin spelled the
difference between success and “next time.”

Think Short, Prepare For Long
The first rule of long-range shooting is “Don’t” During my photo assignment/caribou
hunt l encountered 14 hunters, all of whom carried riiles, most zeroed—in at 200 yards.
Despite the potential for long-range hunting, employing ambush tactics put me within solid
bow range. The same is true for pronghorn, mountain sheep, and other animals that inhabit
wide—open spaces. Usually, they approach some cover that can disguise a bowhunter.
My rule of thumb: never take a long shot if you can plan a short one.

Closer is always better, especially in field conditions that may hamper form and cause
emotional duress. Humans are not bowhunting machines. Even Olympic archers exhibit a margin of error. Otherwise, they’d place every arrow in the same hole. Through proper practice and form, you can strive to minimize this error for tight groups. To ethically hunt whitetail deer from a
treestand, an archer must place an arrow within a 5-inch circle at 20 yards. This margin of error is 2.5 inches from the point of aim. Extend this degree of accuracy to 30 yards and wounding may occur, even under ideal circumstances. For this reason, the 20 yard threshold has become a ” glass ceiling” for many bowmen.

Today’s advances in archery technology such as carbon ICS arrows, one—cam bows.
fiber-optic sights, and vibration reduction- and, most notably, rangefinders—can
reduce the “error of arrows” and extend your effective range. Each year, more and more
hunters take actions to extend their effective range well beyond the 20—yard pin. Is that’s right for you? Only you can answer that question, yet consider the views of three
nationally-known bowmen.

The Author's Quebec Caribou fell to a well-practiced 40 yard shot. Closer wasn't an option but the shot was taken in confidence.


The100—Yard Pin

“People look at my sight and ask about all the pins,” says Robinson Laboratories
president and world—class shooter, Scott Shultz. “/Although I have no intention of
shooting an animal at 80, 90, or 100 yards, I have pins on my bow and practice at
those distances? Shultz has been an IBO World Champion several times and grew up with a solid background of long-range target shooting. His ability to use extended—range pins is a combination of finely tuned form and equipment “My fixed-blade broadheads fly at about 320 fps,” he says. “It’s all about alignment— little things like twisting the cable yoke. Also, I twist the bowstring to increase brace height. This increases the preload on the limbs as well as brace height? Shultz shoots a Hoyt Hyper-Tech bow set at 79 pounds, Easton A/C/C 360s and a Titanium 100 broadhead.

Shultz believes his long—range ability is an excellent insurance policy when the
unexpected happens. “If something unexpected occurs, you are helpless unless you
have those long-range pins to fall back on,” he says. “lf your arrow hits a twig, the
animal suddenly moves, or some other calamity occurs, the long-range pins may allow a second shot.”

Several years ago Shultz was moose hunting and
believed he had a stationary target of immense size. At
the moment of release the big bull took a stride, causing
a non-lethal hit. “l killed that moose at 67 yards with a second shot
in the ribs,” he says with satisfaction. “I relied heavily on my Leica
rangeiinder and plenty of practice?

Spot & Stalk To Success
Steve Kobrine was introduced to the bowhunting community through the pages
of Bowhunting World. The 30—year—old Maryland native has taken every species of
African game with a bow and arrow. His powerful arrow shot completely through a
bull elephant at 45 yards.

I had the good fortune to practice with Kobrine in his expansive backyard; where
retrieving arrows and walking for exercise go hand in hand. “I practice between 60 and 80 yards
because that’s the range I expect to shoot,” says Kobrine. “Most African game will give
you that leeway.”

Once Kobrine’s accuracy skills back- fired after shooting a Coke can at 80 yards
to demonstrate his effectiveness. The native workers then constructed a blind 80
yards from the crossing Kobrine expected to watch.
This young man’s physical prowess adds to his hunting effectiveness. A lanky 6 feet 6
inches, he shoots a full-length arrow at a draw weight of 80 tol00 pounds. This long
power stroke combined with a heavy 1,000- grain arrow can provide kinetic energy in the
100 foot-pound range.

How Far Is The Moose?
Bob Foulkrod reels them in like a Bassmasters champ. Each year he conducts a seminar on long-range shooting, one session of his comprehensive Bowhunting School. A full-size 3-D moose target stands in the background and inevitably a participant challenges the wily archer. “Betcha cant hit
that moose,” chides an archer in competitive good fun. Foulkrod displays a doubtful frown until the entire group demands the attempt. Like a con man closing a sting operation, his Golden Eagle bow bends and the carbon shaft smacks the boiler room 125 yards away.

After hearty laughs Foulkrod gets serious about determining “how far is too far?”
He is quick to suggest there’s no mathematical formula to the answer. His extensive shooting camp helps archers determine this exact point. Although targets are 3-D animals, hunters are hurried, harried, and otherwise challenged to make lethal shots on targets that pop up, drop down,
and move among obstructions. The five- inch circle is still the kill zone, yet archers
are presented with many complications to making the shot.

“We test each hunter’s limits,” says Foulkrod. “We want ethical sportsmen taking high-percentage shots and our course helps each person learn his limits.”

Small Steps To Extended Range
Kobnne, Foulkrod, and Shultz have several characteristics in common, similarities that
allow archers to compare their shooting styles, gear, and tactics. First, each man practices at long range. Even the fellow who shoots in thick cover from a treestand can benefit.
“If you practice at 60 yards, you either improve your aim or you lose all your arrows,” says Shultz. From a practice standpoint, the farther away you can group arrows, the more consistent your shafts at a closer range. A flaw in form or rest clearance may not affect your shooting at 20 yards; however, beyond 50 yards, erratic arrow placement becomes
clearly evident.

All three men shoot fixed blade broadheads and practice with them. Foulkrod has been a consistent advocate of the Titan four-blade, a large cut-on-contact head that creates a large slash factor. Like Shultz’s 100—yard pin, Foulkrod counts on the extra cutting power of his broadhead as insurance, should something go wrong.

Kobrine built a bow that exceeded 100 pounds of draw weight by customizing his gear, Unable to purchase such horsepower over the counter, he mixed and matched parts to create the energy required. All three men are experts with equipment, learning their gear inside and out. This
familiarity builds confidence in equipment and shooting skill.

“l never thought I’d give up aluminum arrows,” admitted Foulkrod several years
ago, after learning from a bad experience. Traveling through dense alders on a rainy
Kodiak bear hunt, several of his shafts bent, without his knowledge. “Feathers can get
wet and not work,” said the Pennsylvania resident, however, my Carbon Express
arrows are always straight?

Foulkrod’s shafts are beefed-up to 12grains per inch. His 500- grain arrows develop between 72 and 75 foot pounds of kinetic energy.

Scent control is a top priority of each sportsman. Shultz produces Scent Blocker
Plus, Kobrine uses Scent—Lok even in Africa, and Foulkrod employs the Hunter
Specialties scent elimination system. The message: relaxed game stands still.

RANGE & ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
Determining effective range depends as much upon the game animal as the archer.
A nervous buck at 10 yards may dodge or duck an arrow, while a feeding deer at 30
yards may not budge an inch. Reading the behavior of game animals takes experience
and expertise. Just as I stopped the caribou with a sharp vocal sound, “cow calling” will almost
always stop a bull elk in its tracks. Allow a bull or cow to move into an open shooting
lane at a known distance and then chirp. Whitetail bucks often stop at the sound of a
grunt, even a voiced “baa” sound. Feeding animals are usually relaxed and fairly stationary. In this situation, hunters can often wait until the near front leg moves forward fully exposing the heart/lung area.

An animal in a head-down position can signal a closer stalk. The sounds of crunching
acorns or grazing grass will help mask approaching footsteps. If the animal is feeding in a general direction, you can circle ahead for an ambush. Bedded game is another matter. Lying down, a deer or elk’s vitals are compressed to the bottom quarter of its body cavity. If possible, wait for the animal to stand or sneak in very close.

Haw Far Is Too Far?
Today’s digital laser optics are perhaps the greatest aid to enhanced range. With a
moderately fast arrow, misjudging distance by three yards past 40 will result in a miss
or worse. To appraise the effectiveness of your set—up, shoot at 30 yards, then take two steps backward and shoot again using the same pin placement. Standard pin shooters can use sight pin spread to judge arrow drop. Hold your 30-yard pin on the bull and then look where the 40-yard pin
points. The distance, divided by 10, is the proportional drop for each succeeding yard beyond 30. Be sure to practice at ranges other than multiples of five.

Finally, rangefinders are wonderful tools; yet require practice in actual hunting situations. Bushnell’s pocket—size optic saved my caribou hunt. From pocket—to-range—to- pocket took mere seconds.
Advances in shooting technology allow greater accuracy at longer range, however, bowhunting ethics require each archer to set his own limits. Sight pins past 20 yards shouldn’t be ego points, but insurance in case a second arrow is needed. The maximum range is the distance you can put a broadhead inside of a five-inch circle every time. Practice realistically, know your limitations, and you can release with confidence.

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

Get Aggresive For Elk – By Jeff Copeland


BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2002

GET AGGRESIVE FOR ELK
By Jeff Copeland
In the pre-rut, before the bugles begin and the weather is uncooperative, sometimes you just have to go get em!

My heart rocketed into my throat as the beautiful 6×6 strode from behind the brush broadside at just 25 yards. He was following a couple of cows as they fed toward the point of a ridge. I knew something had to happen quickly because the gentle breeze tickling my left ear would be swirling around the point of a ridge. I knew something had to happen quickly because the gentle breeze tickling my left ear would be swirling around the point that the cows were headed for; but for this moment, there were too many unobstructed eyes for me to lift my bow and come to full draw. In the past few years, I’d had this dream thousands of times, but on September 3, 1999, it wasn’t a dream. It was a reality

This was my first trip to New Mexico to
hunt elk with Ray Milligan and Milligan
Brand Outfitters. Our plan was to hunt the
first week of the 1999 archery elk season,
thinking that the weather would be warm and
dry. This would allow us Lone Star flat-landers to sit comfortably in a treestand overlooking the area’s isolated watering holes and
take our pick from the parade of bulls that would get thirsty in the evenings.
That plan looked good on the drawing board»—and it probably would have turmed out exactly that way had l been left out of the
equation. l firmly believe I have personally been responsible for ending more droughts than El Nino.
True to form, we arrived in the Milligan camp to mid-40—degree temperatures and a pouring rain that turned to sleet as
me day progressed. Rain was predicted as far as the forecast extended and we knew we were in for one tough hunt.
Needless to say, Ray informed us that sitting over a waterhole would be a waste of time.

One of the benefits of being an avowed weather jinx is that you learn to be a more adaptable hunter. If I hadn’t learned
to be adaptable, a dozen arrows would have lasted me through the entire decade of the ’90s. So,
as we sat around the dinner table that first night, I tied to be the optimist.
“Elk are smart, but they’re not whitetails,”
I told my hunting partners. “This country is conducive to stalking and it’ll be just like hunting exotics back home in Texas.
If we can find them, we can kill them.”

Topping a ridge at about 5 p.m. on the second day of our hunt, I
spotted a really nice bull herding two cows down the mountain in front of me.
This trio was eventually joined by about 20 additional elk on the edge of a
meadow. I glassed the bull with my Leica 10X42s as the elk began feeding in my direction.
The oak brush-covered ridge I was on ran perpendicular to the mountain that the elk came
from and bordered the meadow where they were feeding.

With more than two hours of legal hunting time left, and the elk totally oblivious to my presence while feeding in my direction, I
already had my tag on this bull and my fork in one of his juicy steaks. However, as is often the case, it wasn’t meant to be. A lone black
bear emerged from the brush between us, and the elk herd soon hoofed it back up the mountain, destination unknown.

Not quite sure what to do, I stayed put, cursing the bear until the sun fell behind the mountain where the elk had made their escape. Then, remembering the huge open valley that lay behind the ridge to my right, I
thought maybe the elk had dropped off into it to feed. As I eased quietly around the ridge glassing the draws and headers for brown fur and calcium, I finally reached the edge of the valley. Sure enough, the elk were there, feeding away from me at about 250 yards. With sunset (New Mexico’s end of legal hunting time) only five minutes away, I decided not
to risk pushing the herd out of the area.

The next morning my enthusiasm woke me up before Scotty Wilson, the camp cook, even sounded reveille. At daylight, though, I spotted my herd and they had already returned to the security of the oak brush-covered
mountainside and were browsing their way up toward the dark timber, where they would likely spend the day. Knowing the elk were gone until evening, I used the morning as an opportunity to familiarize myself with the terrain on the side of the ridge where the herd had been feeding at sunset the day before.

Bear or no bear, this time I had a plan. That afternoon, the sky was clear and temperatures had warmed a bit. I arrived at my perch atop the brushy ridge to see if I could spot the herd that I had put to bed that morning. Around 4:30 p.m., I heard a bugle and recognized the voice from the day before. Though I couldn’t see them, over the next hour or so, I could tell from the cow calls and
bugles that the herd was moving down the other side of the ridge again. I knew where

the herd was headed, and because I knew the lay of the land, I had time to get between them and where they were going. I gathered my gear and began slipping around the ridge to find my bull. As I cautiously eased through the brush, I spotted a mule deer doe and had to wait for her to feed into the brush so I could get by without spooking her. Once I was past, the bull bugled
again and I spotted a cow less than 100 yards away. Just as I had hoped, they were feeding on the ridge that ran above the big valley and the wind was quartering from them to me.

When I figured out exactly where the rest of the herd was, I dropped off into the draw and inched forward until I could just peel; over the edge of the ridge the elk were on. As I did so, I saw a cow, a calf, another cow, and the 6×6 bull come by at 25 yards. My Bushnell rangefinder was tucked into the
cargo pocket on my right pant leg and there was no time to retrieve it. The cows fed on the side of the ridge and the bull was about to follow. His head went behind a ponderosa stump and I came to full draw. He was walking, quartering slightly away when a cow called from behind him. As he paused to
look back, my subconscious shouted “50!’ while my pin hit the crease of his front shoulder and my Mathews Black Max sent the Easton A/C/C 371 streaking at 303 fps down a collision course with the bull’s heart.

At impact. the bull bucked and kicked with both back feet as he bolted 15 yards before
piling up near a downed pine. The rest of the herd never had a clue what was going on and I
had to wait for them to feed off of the ridge. When they were gone, I ran over to put my
hands on the bull’s massive beams. I sat in awe of his beauty as I looked through his tines
at the sun setting behind the mountains across the valley, and thought about all the times
before I had played this game of cat and mouse, only to come out on the losing side.
This was my first pre-rut elk hunt and it taught me a lot. In the first couple weeks of September,
there isn’t a lot of bugling like later in the month As the week progresses, you begin to
hear more bugles in the early morning and late evening, but still not a lot of roaring back and
forth like you hear in the peak of the rut. As a result, you may find cow calling is a lot more
common and effective in getting a response. From a half-hour after sunrise to a half-hour
before sunset, cow calls may be the only elk vocalizations you will hear.

Many hunters like to go elk hunting in the rut so they can hear the bulls bugling,
and I’ll admit I enjoy that spine-tingling whistle as much as the next guy. However,
as a bowhunter, when I go elk hunting, I like to kill a bull, and it has been my
personal experience that the early season is the time where I have the best chance
at that. I can hear bulls bugle on the Outdoor Channel in my living room.

The other big difference between hunting this time frame and the rut is that when a bull
answers your calling, he typically won’t be headed in your direction. In the early season,
you can listen for bugles to determine the areas holding the elk. If you cow call and have
a bull answer, chances are he isn’t coming to you, but he will stop what he is doing and look
in your direction. When you have a bull answer, don`t continue calling like you would during the rut.
Instead, try to home-in on the bull’s location, moving to where you think you will be able to see the bull, and decide if
he is the one you want to take. If you think you are getting close to the bull’s location but
you still haven’t spotted him, then it’s time to call again to see if he is still in the area.

One thing about hunting the Southwest during the first week of September is that typically,
the mature herd bulls are not the ones out gathering up cows. Usually, the younger,
satellite bulls gather cows and do the majority of the bugling that time of year. The big
boys are usually alone, but in the vicinity, thrashing brush, making wallows and generally
keeping watch on the younger bulls while preparing for the combat to come.

When you spot a decent bull with a herd of cows, it might be worth your while to glass
the surrounding country before setting your sights on him. Such was the case with a bull I
shot last year, on another trip to New Mexico with Ray Milligan. Once again the hunting
was tough but for totally different reasons. Last year, the Southwest was in a terrible
drought and wildfires were rampant. Fortunately, the area I was to hunt was out of the
bum zone, but it was hot and very dry.

Arriving full of anticipation about ambushing at waterholes, we were in for yet another disappointment.
The drought was so severe that ponds and water tanks holding the limited
water were continually visited by the numerous bears that inhabit north central New Mexico
—not good when you’re after elk or mule deer. The parched terrain made still-hunting
difficult and slow stalking more critical than ever. It was a tough hunt but there are lots of elk
in the country Milligan Brand has leased. I spotted several good bulls and actually passed
up shot opportunities at three different ones in the 240-265-inch class. I was determined to get
something bigger than the 280 I shot in 1999.

The last morning of my hunt, I decided to go back into an area where I had seen several
different groups of elk. By that time in my hunt, I figured if I couldn’t spot a good bull, I
might be able to till my tag with a cow so I could take home some meat. I arrived in the
area I wanted to hunt just as dawn was breaking. The air was cool and crisp and I heard
bugles in several directions as I approached the top of the ridge where I wanted to glass. Of all
the bugles I heard, there was one in particular that caught my attention. It was a deep guttural
growl, followed by an ear-piercing whistle that seemed to linger in the air for an eternity. I had
to get a look at the critter making this sound.

As the early morning light altered its way into the canyon I was overlooking, I began to
make out the silhouettes of elk. My Leicas focused in on a nice 6×5 that I had passed a
couple of days earlier. I knew he wasn’t making the sound that had piqued my interest.
When it got light enough to see well, I made a couple of cow calls. Just as I finished the second
mew, another bull answered. He was an old herd bull that was now thrashing brush
directly below me about 300 yards from the herd which held the 6×5.

When the 6×5 bugled, I cow-called and the old bull stepped out of the brush nearly
causing me to swallow my diaphragm. He was a massive 6×6 that would dwarf the bull I
shot the year before. To add insult to injury he looked in my direction and bugled in my
face just for good measure. As he walked into the edge of the meadow, the 6×5 quickly.
drove his cows across the valley, up the opposite ridge and out of sight over its crest, leaving me
and the big guy to fulfill our own destinies in the quiet New Mexico morning light.

After an hour of playing cat-and-mouse with the monarch as he demolished oak brush
and ripped apart pine trees with his long ivory tipped tines, I managed to get around him so
the wind was right. In another 45 minutes I finally got ahead of him and was waiting at full
draw when he stepped into an opening between two patches of brush. My arrow
found its mark and 75 yards later I was admiring the regal beast laying on the point of a ridge
with the sun glinting off his massive beams. In the early season, before the bulls really
get fired up, many times success can hinge on the weather. When the weather tums nasty
making waterholes ineffective, you can still fill your tag if you know what to do when you
have to go get ’em! >>—>

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

TAGGED OUT – By Steven Tisdale & Brandon Ray


BOWHUNTING
October 2002

TAGGED OUT
by Steven Tisdale & Brandon Ray

To Shoot all five of the North American deer species: whitetail,
Coues whitetail, mule deer, Columbian blacktail and a Sitka blacktail,
during the course of any bowhunter’s lifetime, is a tremendous accomplishment.
To shoot all five deer species in less than a year, with three of the
five deer species taken on do-it-yourself hunts, would be phenomenal.
As one friend put it,”Now that’s the sort of thing you should write an article about!”

Texas bowhunter Steven Tisdale did just that during the 2000 hunting season. Tisdale, 37 years old
today is the owner of Collision King Repair Center, an auto body shop in the town of Lubbock.
He has been a bowhunter for 17 years. He is like most bowhunters,
Tisdale works hard all year at his business and spends his free time with his
wife and two daughters, but come fall he finds time to slip away on the weekends to
pursue his passion, bowhunting. While the dusty panhandle town of
Lubbock is hardly at the center of great bowhunting country, there is good hunting for
both mule deer and whitetails within a couple of hours drive of the city.

Tisdale’s first taste of success came on a mule deer hunt in eastern New Mexico.
Tisdale gained permission to hunt a private ranch in the rolling sand dunes and
farm country found on the Texas/New Mexico border. Here are the details of that hunt, and others, in his own words.

Mule Deer New Mexico and Texas

Looking out my pickup window at the sun sinking down on the horizon,
I calculated that I had two or three more areas left to glass before
darkness would erase the landscape. An unproductive early season
tag had been neatly folded in my wallet for the last three months and
I was eager for another chance during this late—season, archery—only
hunt. At the base of a tall sand dune, I ditched the truck like I’d done
several times already that afternoon. I climbed the sand dune and poked
my head over the top, being careful not to be skylined. I scanned to
the west and suddenly my glasses were filled.

With a 5×5 mule deer buck less than 150 yards away. I quickly ducked
out of sight and skirted the perimeter, making mental notes of the
buck`s last location.
I slithered through the short shin oak brush and cactus using the
dunes to flank an approach route. When I thought I was getting close
I eased into position and peeked over the closest dune. The buck was
35 yards away, broadside. I drew on him and released, but a hard
crosswind combined with me being winded from the stalk sent the
arrow off course, just grazing the buck’s back. The buck, not knowing
my whereabouts, turned toward me and dropped out of sight in a low
spot. In one fluid motion I nocked a second arrow and drew as the
buck came back into view, topping the sand dune in front of me. At 18
yards I put the arrow into the oncoming buck’s chest. He turned and
ran 75 yards and collapsed within sight.

The last 10 minutes worth of events soaked into my brain as my
heart pounded and sweat ran down my brow. During the past 15 years
I have had some dry spells pursuing big game with a bow. In my
twenties, it was sometimes almost more than my restless, impatient
soul could bear. Sometimes I would be on the verge of picking up a rifle, but an occasional animal taken would quickly bring me back to the realization that it was well worth the effort to hunt only with a bow.

During the drive home I pondered on what I would do for my next hunt, just as many bowhunters would do. I had set aside five days off of work for hunting in the month of January. Visions of thick-beamed, mouse—colored
Coues bucks chasing does in the colorful deserts of Arizona filled my thoughts. I had hunted the sneaky Coues whitetail of the desert Southwest off and on for the last 12 years without success. That would be my next hunt.

(ln addition to Steven’s January mule deer he shot a second, even
larger muley buck in late October on his deer lease in the Texas Panhandle. That buck was also taken by spot—and-stalk hunting in rugged, open canyon country. A 30—yard shot downed that second, wide 5×5 muley buck.)

Coues Whitetail Arizona
Thursday evening after work, I quickly went home, loaded my truck
with gear, kissed the wife and kids goodbye, and headed west. My
plan was to camp out and stay mobile until I found a good place to
aunt. It is common to see mule deer in the lower elevations before
getting into Coues country and that is mostly what I encountered for
the next three days. During the middle of the day I tried to gather
information on hunting areas from the local ranchers, arming myself
with forest maps, a smile and a friendly handshake. After several
encounters their response seemed prerecorded, “You’re trying to get
a mountain whitetail with a bow? Why don’t you go for a muley, lot
more meat and easier to hunt’?” At the end of day four, I made a major
move to an area I had hunted several years earlier—rough terrain and
a good walk in.

Once in the new location my memory was fuzzy at first. A familiar knob
overlooking lots of stalkable terrain Finally registered.
Yes, there it is. I unpacked my optics, got comfortable and began glassing,
picking the desert apart. The Zeiss were scrutinizing hunks of land-
one tree, one rock, one cactus at a time. Veteran Coues deer hunters
will tell you that glassing is the key to success. At the first possible
light let the binoculars be your legs, they say, reaching into faraway
shadows of pinions and brush. Be patient.

One spike buck and a few does was all I found that morning. Further down in a different bowl I saw one doe, then another and another. From a half mile away I watched several more deer filter out of a low spot in a far-away crease. I decided to investigate. When I reached the low spot where all those deer were coming out, I noticed a small natural pond with about a dozen ducks on it. “Could this be the only water source in this area?” I thought to myself. As I
approached the water’s edge the ducks lifted off. There were heavy trails
leading to the water with tiny hoof prints in the mud. Two sizable pinion
pines near the pond would serve as a makeshift ground blind. As I got situated
in my new ground blind the ducks landed back on the pond confirming
what I’d suspected. Water was scarce.

Throughout that day six different deer came in for a drink, including a small 6-point buck. They all left quickly after getting a drink, as this is a land filled with mountain lions and even an occasional jaguar. I had to be back at work the next day, so reluctantly I left my newly discovered hot spot. During the
10-hour drive home I schemed on how I could return to this oasis before the season ended.

I retumed the following Saturday night, slept five hours in my truck
then made the two-hour trek to the pond equipped with a backpack and_
material better suited for constructing a ground blind. I set up my blind,
trimmed branches, and dug out a seat in the ground. I draped camo
material to keep me hidden in the shadows. It was 40 yards to the water’s edge.

At 1 p.m., I looked up from my book to see a splendid solo buck
approaching the water maybe 75 yards away. His 8 point rack glistened in the midday sunlight. I eased my bow into the ready position, putting tension on the string. He lowered his head to drink while ever so slightly leaning forward. I knew he would not linger after quenching his thirst. I drew, anchored, and settled my 40-yard pin low at his shoulder. The arrow caught the buck solid. After a short recovery I was holding the most beautiful animal of the desert.

Columbian Blacktail California

The biggest dilemma I faced was using my vacation time for my remaining hunts without interfering with my 10 year wedding anniversary in September, My wife Lynn decided to join me on my trip to northern California to hunt Columbian blacktails. In mid August we flew to San Francisco, rented a car and drove north towards Jim Schaafsma’s awesome blacktail hunting operation. Along the way we made stops in Napa Valley to taste wine, sight see and even stayed at a bed and breakfast. I wanted to the trip to be special no only because of my blacktail hunt, but I wanted Lynn to enjoy the trip as well.

The first evening of hunting blacktails found Jim and I staring at a huge 5×5 buck bedded with a small forkhorn. The big buck was colossal in size, pushing the B&C minimums according to Jim. Jim has guided loads of bowhunters to record class bucks and he has personally taken many P&Y blacktails with a bow. A few years earlier, I even shot a decent P&Y buck on my first blacktail hunt with Jim.

The air was hot and steamy and my thin cotton shirt was sweat-drenched by the time I completed the stalk. I closed to within 30 yards but just as I was preparing for the shot the smaller buck saw me and they both ran out of sight. I spend the next several days relocating that same big 5×5 and
attempting stalk after stalk, but I was never able to get a shot. Columbian blacktails are more patternable than their mule deer cousins, similar to whitetails. They hang in the same area day after day. I never got the big 5×5, but I did have several opportunities at other big bucks, including a dandy non-typical that I missed. On the last day of my hunt I shot a respectable buck at range of 25 yards. The date was August 13, the last day of the season in the unit where I was hunting.

Bowhunting early season Columbian blacktails is tough for several reasons. First the temperature is hot and miserable which keeps deer movement to a minimum in daylight hours. The heat also makes hiking and controlling the scent tough on bowhunters. In addition , the , dry conditions make grass underfoot brittle and noisy. Very tough for stalking. When the hunt was over I was very pleased to have a decent set of antlers to bring on the plane ride home. Lynn and I left norther California with fond memories and hopes of returning sometime in the future.

WHITETAIL Texas
For the first day and a half of Texas’ archery-only season, I hunted three different stands. The 90-degree-plus temperatures had deer movement to a minimum. Just a few does were spotted, but no bucks. The scorching heat made me consider another option that had paid off in Arizona,
hunting water.

It was on the second day of the season that I made a midday trip to a waterhole. The plan was to erect a tripod stand in a cluster of hackberry trees near a beaten trail at the stock pond. The timing seemed perfect for a buck to quench its thirst.

By 4p.m. I was seated in the new stand with a slight breeze in my face. A full Scent-Lok suit and scent-eliminating sprays were used to increase my odds. In order to play the wind direction it was necessary that the stand be placed where the afternoon sun beat down right on my face. For this reason, I sat facing slightly away from the trail where the sun wasn’t directly into my eyes.

It was at 5:30 p.m. peering through the sun at the trail, that I first spotted a deer. Due to the blinding sun the buck had drifted into the waterhole undetected. By the time I noticed the movement, the buck was already at the pond, broadside, with his head down drinking. Immediately I knew he was a shooter. By the time I had swiveled my stand around to get in position for a shot, the buck was already leaving the water. Experience from past hunts had taught me that once a deer was finished drinking they wouldn’t stick around for very long. Time was quickly fading away. I jerked the compound bow to full draw and tracked the walking buck’s progress through the mesquites. When the big 8-point stopped in an opening at 33 yards, the arrow was on it’s way. Hit in the spine, the buck dropped immediately. A finishing shot behind the shoulder and it was over.

As I walked up on the fallen buck I was surprised at the rack’s tine length. The tines curved inwards and the beams were longer than expected. Small patches of velvet were still clinging to portions of the rack. The 135 inch, mature 8-point buck became my first ever P&Y whitetail from my home state. What I thought could take me months, had quickly ended on the first weekend of the season. Fantastic, only one deer species to go!

SITKA BLACKTAILS Alaska

It was on November 5th that my Sitka
blacktail hunt began on Prince of Wales
Island. My dad accompanied me on the trip,
which made this final leg of my deer season
even more special. l had two deer tags
in my pocket and my plans were simple.
Shoot the first respectable buck, then hold
out for a bigger buck.

The island was beautiful with rolling,
mountainous terrain and thick, dark forests.
Most of the terrain was so dense that glassing
and spot-and-stalk hunting was difficult.
The primary tactic was driving logging
roads, glassing into openings and along
edges, and trying a stalk if l spotted a buck.
Unfortunately, only does were spotted when
we glassed. Another popular tactic my guide
used was calling with a deer bleat in the
dark, damp forests. We called in several does
using this tactic, but never a buck.

Rainy, damp conditions plagued the first
three days of my trip. After three days of it l
was feeling like l would never dry off. Since
calling and spot-and—stalk hunting had been
only mildly successful, we resorted to still-hunting.
And so on November 7, at 11:30 in the morning, while
slowly cruising through the moss—covered timber, I
spotted a big deer and a glimpse of antler.
This was the first buck sighting of the hunt. At 25 yards, with the
buck broadside, I punched an Easton A/C/C shaft through the
buck’s chest. When I recovered the mature deer I was shocked to
see only one antler. In my rush to shoot I had only seen the buck
from the side, glimpsed multiple points and a thick beam, and shot.
His left antler beam was broken just above the base.


The following day, late in the afternoon,
I shot another buck while still-hunting. At
30 yards, I connected. Typical of Sitka
bucks, this one had a blocky frame with a
handsome cape and antlers stained the color
of rust. His hooves were also oversized. My
guide said that was an adaptation to walking
in the spongy, wet terrain. That buck had the
tip of his right beam broken off, but considering
the bad weather and tough hunting
conditions, I felt fortunate to fill both tags.
My single season deer slam was complete,
and with it I had lots of great memories.
What had started as a normal year of
bowhunting back in January had mushroomed into a full-blown,
year-long obsession of hunting deer with a bow. Every technique
and tactic was required in order to succeed.
There was spot-and—stalk hunting for
mule deer and Columbian blacktails, hunt-
ing over waterholes for whitetails, and even
still-hunting in rain—soaked forests in Alaska
for chunky Sitka blacktails. lt was never
about making a name for myself or trying to
set a record. It was just taking my stick-and-
string deer hunting to a new level. >>—>

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