Archive for the 'Vintage Magazine Articles' Category

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Published by archerchick on 20 Mar 2010

Early Bucks – By Steve Bartylla

Early Bucks – By Steve Bartylla  September 2005

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com


Don’t let non-rutting bucks intimidate you. Here’s the key to successfully ambushing these seemingly wary deer.

This is too good to be true. That was my first thought when one of the owners of the hunting outfit I was with confidently stated that I would leave Alberta with the opportunity at a 150-inch or better buck. Now, I could see that he hadn’t been exaggerating. There, 20 yards away, stood a clean 10-point that would measure somewhere in the 160s. Because I was shooting expandable heads, I was unable to cover the windows of my Double Bull blind with shoot through mesh. To safely conceal my movement, I would have to wait until the buck dropped his head.

As the buck pawed to reach the snow-covered alfalfa, seconds seemed to drag on for minutes. finally he dropped his head to feed and gave me the chance I was waiting for. However, what happened next is not nearly as important as the events that lead to this point.

An unexpected family matter had trimmed my scheduled eight-day hunt to merely three days. To complicate matters more was scouting land I’d never stepped foot on and a fresh snow that had erased the deer trails. The final kicker was that the rut cycle in Northern Alberta lags significantly behind the upper Midwest. The result was that despite the snow and cold temperatures, I’d be hunting non-rutting bucks still in their early-season patterns.

The first day of the hunt was interesting, to say the least. Because of my unfamiliarity with the area, I set a stand that provided the best view of a large alfalfa field. I reasoned the odds of a monster naturally traveling within bow range were slim, but I hoped this placement would allow me to spot and pattern a mature buck.

I also had an ace up my sleeve. With timber wolves being the greatest threat these deer would face, I was told that the deer found safety in numbers. To create this illusion, I set two Montana doe and a Custom Robotic Wildlife buck decoys out in front of my stand. To my amazement, this approach produced 21 different buck sightings in a single afternoon!

Though this group included several good bucks and one true slammer, the mission was not accomplished. As things so often go when hunting, the big boy entered the field from one of my stands blind spots. I was unable to narrow down his trail, and an overnight snowfall eliminated any chance of backtracking. However, I was closer than when I began. I knew it was very possible to take a mature buck off the field. With having already hung a low-impact morning stand in the woods with my scouting efforts.

The next afternoon was the true key. With no one location along the woods providing a view of the entire field, I did what I should have the first afternoon: I pulled the truck into some cover that provided a full view of the large field and strictly observed. As luck would have it, the mid-160s buck entered the field again just before dark. I was in business.

The next and final day, I did what I believe is one of the keys to consistent success on early-season bucks. I set up where my observations had dictated. I positioned myself where I observed the slammer entering the field.

With the morning hunt out of the way, I was ready to make my move. Having mentally marked a strategically positioned round bale the afternoon before, I made a bee-line across the field. After clearing the snow from the floor area, I positioned the Double Bull blind behind the bale and covered it with excess snow. Retracing my path across the field, I had managed to keep my disturbances to a minimum.

Later that afternoon, I followed the entrance path through the field back in. Thirty yards before reaching the blind, still 50 yards from the wood line I placed the RoboCoy buck decoy. It was my hope that any nearby deer would focus their attention on the decoy, pulling their eyes away from the blind. With some buck urine placed between it’s back legs, I entered the blind and settled in for the hunt.

Several close encounters with does and young bucks later, we return to big boy entering the scene. As I slowly raised my bow to shoot, tragedy hit. The inability to cover the windows in mesh and a perfect sun angle allowed for light to reflect off my bow. Just that quick, the buck’s head snapped up and he began staring a hole into the previously unnoticed blind. Freezing, not quite in position to draw and unable to move undetected, I knew the gig was up. Two explosions of snow from his hooves and he was gone.

As light began to fade, an eight-point in the mid120s strolled by the blind at 10 yards. i spent the closing minutes of my brief 2004 Alberta hunt watching his interaction with the RoboCoy. Though the hunt ended with an unfilled tag, I feel it beautifully illustrates the key to taking mature bucks that are exhibiting early-season behavior.

Find the Food Source

To begin with, consistently taking early-season bucks starts with identifying the best food and/or water sources. This is typically the foundation from which early-season tactics are built upon. The first of this groundwork can be laid in summer. One step in accomplishing this is glassing oaks. Doing so allows you to gauge the coming fall’s acorn crops. An oak tree doesn’t produce acorn crops each year. For one thing, it takes the acorns of most members of the red oak family two years to mature. Therefore if an individual tree produced last year, it isn’t capable of producing again this season. White oaks are able to produce fruit every year , but that doesn’t guarantee production. Droughts, untimely high winds, late frosts and insect infestations are just some of the things that can cause crop failure or low rates of production. Glassing oaks during summer can go a long way toward pointing you to which ones should be hunted in the fall.

As with the oaks, various factors can affect farm crops as well. For example, late-planted soybeans are more likely to still be in the highly desirable green state when season opens. Lack of fertilizing, heavy weed infestations, too much rain or too little all have adverse affects on crop production. A late summer inspection shows the health and maturity state of the crop. Simply put, each plant species has a maturity state at which it’s most desirable, and thriving crops have a lot more drawing power than ones struggling to produce. Summer inspection can go a long way toward showing the hunter where the big boys will be feeding when summer begins.

That proved helpful in taking my 2004 Wisconsin buck. A long east-west ridge paralleled valleys filled with corn and alfalfa. With the area yielding a nonexistent acorn crop, it was easy to determine that alfalfa, would be the best draw. After that, it was a simple matter of observing the buck and following his previous year’s rubline to a good ambush point. The third day of season the mid 146 4/8-inch 10-point was mine.

Find The Buck

As was the case with both the Alberta and Wisconsin bucks, finding them is incredibly important. The vast majority of off-season buck movement occurs between bedding and water and food sources. Without knowing a specific buck’s patterns, we must rely on blind luck. Furthermore, because bucks are moving so much less than when the desire to breed begins kicking in, placing our faith in luck is most often an endeavor wraught with disappointment.

Seeing a mature buck removes any doubt if there is one in the area to harvest. As obvious as that sounds, it’s amazing how many hunters don’t take the simple steps to determine if a buck meeting their standard is present. The easiest way to accomplish this is to observe the food source. In many situations, this can be done without having to leave the truck. In the case of both bucks, all it took was arriving before dark, pulling the truck into some cover and watching what came out where.

When the setting isn’t suited for vehicle observation it’s often impossible to perform in-field observations. When doing this, it’s important to keep the odds of being busted by deer to a minimum. Playing the wind, calculating the best route and observing from a distance are all helpful. Infrared trail cameras can also be helpful tools for finding mature bucks. Determining if a shooter is present can be as easy as placing it over a water hole or hopping the units around around the food source.

When covering food sources, I begin by placing infrared units in the areas that show the heaviest signs of feeding. If the food source is too large for one setup to do it justice, after a week or two, it can be relocated to cover another section. Commonly, a month is more than enough time to determine if and where a mature buck is entering the food source.

Nail His Trail

The “where” component is nearly as critical as the “if.” As already mentioned, early-season buck movement is rather limited. Because bucks aren’t roaming all over the woods it becomes more important to be sure that your stand is covering one of his primary trails. Obviously, both trail camera and observations can answer what trail(s) he uses most often. When relying on observations, be sure to mentally note a landmark that will later lead you to the trail. In the excitement of seeing a shooter on your hunting ground it becomes remarkably easy to not notice the exact trail he uses. Disciplining yourself to note a landmark before drooling over his rack increases the chances of of finding that trail later.

Another means of identifying a mature buck’s trail is by looking for fresh rubs. Rubbing activity is inspired by two factors. The first is to aid in the velvet shedding process. Next is the gradual rise in testosterone levels. During velvet shedding, young bucks don’t commonly exert the energy to truly rip up a tree. Shredded trees are more often the result of testosterone levels. Furthermore, the blood levels of testosterone in mature bucks rises higher and faster then their little brothers. Because of all that, well-worked September and early October rubs are good indications of a mature buck.

Though there are fewer rubs in early season, there are often enough to determine a mature buck’s trail. Doing so can be accomplished by circling the food source and following each trail a short way into the woods. Because many early rubs occur as the buck stages up just before entering the food source, following each trail no more than 100 yards is typically enough and also keeps our disturbances down.

Minimize Disturbances

Minimizing our disturbances is important. Ideally preparing our stands should be done during midday hours without leaving leaving tell-tale odors or signs of our stand preparations behind. The setting for the Alberta buck was ideal. With the buck trail located from a distance, I slipped in and prepped the blind with out stepping in the woods. With the wind blowing out into the field and the round bale hiding the blind, no deer could pick up on my intrusion until after they were already within bow range.

More commonly, some intrusion into the woods is often necessary. Taking odor control steps, proper timing and and keeping trimming low all will help. Another way to minimize disturbances is planning the best route in and out of the stand. Hunting in and near food sources is a productive early-season tactic. If pressure is kept low, it’s possible to intercept mature buck feeding activity before dark. Still the bucks don’t always cooperate and can certainly show up after dark. It goes without saying that it often takes more than one hunt to fill a buck tag. One of the primary reasons that a stands odds of producing go down with each hunt is because of sloppy entrance and exits.

When selecting routes, be sure to take the most low-impact choice, regardless of the extra effort it may require. Irrigation ditches, erosion cuts or any other feature that limits the chances of crossing deer trails and keeps our profiles low should be explored.

When a good route out doesn’t exist, having someone drive to the stand to extract the hunter is an option. In most settings, deer will be much more tolerant of a vehicle than a hunter walking through the field. Minimizing disturbances also includes simply hunting smart. Mature bucks are rarely tolerant of hunting pressure. This is particularly true early in the season. During this period food sources are commonly abundant. When safer alternatives are available, the incentive for a buck to subject itself to danger is minimal.

It therefore becomes important to employ sound-hunting tactics. It can be hard to stay away from a stand you know covers a mature buck’s trail. However, playing the wind and refraining from over-hunting stands is well worth it. The alternative is driving the buck from the area.

Early season can be a great time to fill a buck tag. Keying in on food and water is a great way to do it. After sighting a mature buck and determining his trail, it really comes down to keeping disturbances low and a bit of luck. The funny thing about most lucky hunters is that they do what they can to make their own luck. Following these guidelines may just help you become a luckier hunter and fill out early as well.

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Published by archerchick on 20 Mar 2010

Javelina Country – By Dennis Sturgis, Jr.

Javelina Country – By  Dennis Sturgis, Jr.  September 2005

This west Texas hotspot made the perfect bowhunting adventure.

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

The van’s headlights stabbed into the darkness as we turned off the blacktop. A gravel lane led to the  west Texas ranch house that would be our home for the next few days.   Numerous cholla cacti loomed up in the headlights along the lane.  The Cholla Cacti have a stick man appearance and they seemed to be waving hello as they flashed by.

My hunting partners were Rich Niblock and Darryl Quidort from Michigan, and Dale Karch from Indiana. Earlier in the day we flew from South Bend to El Paso. After renting a van we drove on to Marfa. The drive was uneventful other than Dale getting a friendly warning on speed from a state trooper. Dale and his wife, Sandie, own 3Rivers archery. Dale sent the trooper back to his cruiser with a new catalog. In Marfa, we picked up our groceries and continued to the ranch.


I’d hunted this area before and really enjoyed it. The mountainous desert terrain made for great spot-and-stalk hunting. The land is desolate yet beautiful and full of mystery. the town of Marfa is known for it’s ghost lights. These lights first appeared reported by one of the early settlers in 1883. Apparently they existed before as they were spoken about by the local Apache. The lights can be viewed at night and have been described in several ways. Generally they are viewed at a distance, but there have been isolated reports of tiny fireballs of light just outside and inside vehicles. More than one scientific study has been conducted with different theories presented. In the end, the source of the ghost lights remains a mystery. Good friends, miles of remote country, a healthy population of  javelina and a little mystery all added up to the recipe for a bowhunting adventure.

At the ranch house we met up with the other members of our hunting party. Eric Radcliffe. also from Indiana, had driven down since he wanted to see the country. Dale’s longtime friend, Dick boss from Colorado, was the final member of our hunting party. Eric and Dick had already been into javelina. They stalked a group that afternoon and Dick shot a nice boar. After unpacking and putting away the groceries, we hit the sack for an early start in the morning.

We rose early and dressed in hunting clothes. The typical cheerful pre-hunt chatter took place as bows were strung and quivers loaded. I listened to the bragging, teasing and equipment comparisons with a smile. It felt good to be in hunting camp.

Wayne Weimers, our guide, pulled in before daylight. Over breakfast, we discussed our plans for the day…and Dick’s snoring. One of the neighboring ranchers, Dave Williams, also drove up to help get everyone into javelina on the 116,000 acres we had available to hunt. At sunrise we shot a few practice arrows and prepared to head out. Dale, Eric and I jumped in Wayne’s Suburban to check out some brushy canyons to the south. Dale had hunted this ranch for javelins the previous winter and wanted to video the action this year for an upcoming 3Rivers DVD production. Today was my day to be cameraman.

On the way to a vantage point where we planned to glass, Wayne spotted some javies in the distance. They milled around, feeding in some prickly pear. We checked the wind and planned our approach. After making a wide circle to get the wind in our favor, we split up. Eric stalked to one side of the small group while Dale and I snuck to the other side. I tried to stay practically in Dale’s hip pocket as he edged nearer to the javelina. The warm sun felt good on our shoulders as we slipped through the cactus, and in several minutes, we sandwiched our quarry. The wind held steady, and we slowly closed the gap. Javelina backs appeared occasionally above the cactus. I pushed the record button when Eric Pulled his longbow to full draw and released an arrow. A fatally-hit boar flashed between the cacti and disappeared into a thick tangle of cat claw. Eric used a pair of hand pruners to wade in and claim his trophy.

We rode back to the ranch house to care for the javelina and grab some sandwiches for lunch. In the afternoon, Rich and I went out with Wayne. Although we had several stalks, a good video shot never came together. Arriving back at camp, we learned both Dale and Darryl had collected javelina. Eric set a nice stand for feral hogs and collected a nice meat hog.

On day two of our hunt, I videoed Rich take his first-ever javelina. Later Eric punched his second javelina tag. Eric also found a an arrowhead. Dave, the rancher, said it was made by the “old ones.” He said the last time it was touched by a human was 1,000 to 2,000 years ago.

Rich and I started day three out with a double on two huge javies. We skinned them out for full-body mounts. Wayne took us to a big rock overhang with an aqua-colored pool in front of it. The rock walls were covered with pictographs made by people who had hunted here long ago. We enjoyed setting around a campfire that evening, and Wayne prepared a delicious wild-game supper.

Our hunt passed quickly: each day was full of excitement. On our final day, we had to leave at noon to catch our flight out of El Paso. I was the only hunter not to shoot my second javelina. Wayne was insistent that we get my second javy. I told him I was perfectly happy, but I wouldn’t mind taking some photos of javelina sign. He agreed, commenting that we could hunt along the way. We jumped in the Suburban and drove to a part of the ranch that had good sign to photograph.

Wayne is a retired patrolman as well as hunting guide. I enjoyed listening to his stories. Between photo sessions, Wayne spotted a javelina. “Let’s go get him,” he blurted. After giving Wayne a quick video camera lesson, we stalked into the wind after the boar. The stalk was classic. Using cactus clumps for cover, we ended up 10 yards from the javelina. Wayne was right over my shoulder: I rose up and shot and arrow right over its back. I quickly nocked another arrow. The javelina stood about 20 yards distant now. I glanced at Wayne. He said “I’m on him.”

I shot again and groaned when my arrow bounced off a rock. I nocked another arrow. The javy was out there now but in the open. “I’m on him, I’m on him,” Wayne spewed. Feeling obliged to shoot: I took my time and shot again. The arrow arched out and centered the kill area. The boar ran 15 yards and fell over. “that was a hell of a shot!” Wayne exclaimed. “Well, it was a lot harder than the first two,” I answered, shaking my head.

At noon we drove back down the gravel lane toward the highway. I glanced at the cholla cacti again. They seemed to be waving good-bye, and I hoped it wouldn’t be too long before I could return.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Feb 2010

Aquatic Archery – By Mark Morrison

Aquatic Archery – By Mark Morrison
April 2005

Spark up the off-season by hunting these underwater targets.

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

April 2005

To archers like myself who eat, sleep and bleed bowhunting, it seems there’s never enough time to bowhunt. When there is ample time, sometimes our prey is scarce and the waiting game we play can become monotonous. The same can also be said for sport fishing. However, when you combine these two great past-times-bowhunting and fishing-you’ll step into an all out action-packed activity called bowfishing, one of the fastest growing segments of archery today.

The list of rough fish species available to bow-fishers across the United States is nearly endless. Due to their wide distribution, common carp, buffalo and gar are the species most often pursued. Because of their ever-expanding range and penchant for rapid reproduction, carp are the top fish hunted by bowfishers. Average size “bronze-backs” range from 10 to 15 pounds. But they regularly reach 40 pounds and monsters as large as 80 pounds have been harvested by fishing archers! Carp are strong fighters that prefer wild close-in, fin-to-toe battles.

Arguably the most aesthetic of rough fishes are buffalo (including bigmouth, black and small mouth), which have a distinctive color scheme that features jet-black dorsal areas that fade into shiny silvery-blue sides. Typical buffalo weigh 10 to 15 pounds and trophy specimens grow as large as 30 to 60 pounds! Buffalo are speed merchants, well known to knowledgeable bowfishers for their tremendous battling skills. When struck with a well-placed fishing arrow buffalo don’t hesitate to employ their inherent speed to streak bullet-like for deep-water sanctuary. It sometimes takes a Herculean (but always fun) effort to bring the fast departing fish under control!

Although gar (shortnose, spotted, long-nose and alligator) are found throughout the U.S., they are more predominate in southern waters. Typical spotted and shortnose gar encountered on the water average 5 pounds and hefty specimens will weigh as much as 10 pounds. Longnose gar (easily recognized by their ultra-long, tooth-filled ‘noses”) weigh 5 to 20 pounds and monsters as large as 50 pounds have been bow-bagged in the extreme southern tier of their range. Alligator gar are the monarchs of the rough fish world. “Gator” gar inhabit rivers and reservoirs in the gulf coast regions of states like Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. These gar are formidable opponents that can tip the scales in excess of 200 pounds! Although any size “gator” gar can test a bowfisher’s mettle, seasoned fish hunters agree that the bench-mark for trophies is 100 pounds.

Longnose gar are plentiful only in a few water ways in my home state of Minnesota. Still every spring and summer, I make many treks to a few select area lakes and aim all my efforts at chasing these challenging fish. One steamy Saturday last July still stands out in my mind. The wind was dead calm, the air sultry and the intense sun had sizzled the temperature to near 100 degrees – nowhere near ideal conditions for any other bowhunting pursuit but perfect for hunting heat-loving longnose gar.

I cranked my outboard to life and raced across the lake toward a small inlet stream. I figured where the creek emptied into a weed infested bay, good numbers of gar should be there to feed and loaf. To avoid spooking the gar I shut the outboard down 100 yards from the inlet. After scrambling upon my elevated platform and lowering the electric foot controlled trolling motor, I began a methodical stalk toward the weedline. The coon-tail weeds were unusually thick…perfect habitat for gar.

Approaching the inlet I was astonished to observe an estimated 100 gar lazily hanging out at varying depths within the weeds. I immediately stopped the trolling motor and silently drifted through the incredible school of gar. My search for a suitable trophy didn’t take long, because a huge long-nose unexpectedly surfaced and gulped air not 5 yards off the boat’s bow!

I carefully brought my recurve to full draw, picked an aiming spot on the gar and drove my heavy Muzzy Penetrator arrow at the gar’s enameled hide. The arrow’s impact was akin to striking a match to gunpowder. One moment the gar was slowly slicing through the water, the next it was displaying acrobatic maneuvers that would’ve made a sailfish seasick! The sight of a 5-foot gar completely clearing the water and shaking it’s toothy beak from side to side was awe-inspiring.

The sharp Stingray fishing point and 350-pound test BCY synthetic line held firm and I soon had the gar reeled alongside my boat. Since I didn’t relish having my hands raked to shreds by the gars protruding razor-like dentures, I was very careful when I grabbed my arrow to hoist the fish aboard. As soon as that was accomplished I permanently silenced the gar with a sharp rap from my “bonker” ( a short section of steel pipe).

This is necessary because a gar of this size coming to life in the confines of a boat can cause a lot of havoc including spilled tackle boxes, shredded clothing and lacerated body parts! Hanging the substantial fish from my electronic
scale revealed it to weigh an incredible 19 pounds. I couldn’t have scripted a better start to my day. Bagging trophies like the above
mentioned gar is the result of pre-season scouting and realistic “on the water” archery practice. Successfully arrowing underwater prey requires you to compensate for light refraction. Simply put, refraction bends light rays in such a way that fish always appear higher (or closer) than they actually are. To compensate for refraction you must aim low to connect with your quarry.

How low? That knowledge only comes with shooting experience. The best rule of thumb is to aim low, then aim lower! Soon your instincts will take over and you’ll begin hitting with surprising consistency! Since no two bowfishing shots are alike in range or depth, sight-equipped bows are a hindrance. Shooting instinctively and letting the shot happen naturally is the ideal method for arrowing rough fish. Also, to block out annoying surface glare and make the task of spotting and arrowing fish easier it is a must that you wear a quality pair of polarized sunglasses and a hat with an efficient sun blocking brim.

My above gar hunt represented a typical, (albeit very exciting) bowfishing outing. Previously, I started my season in early May hunting for bowfin (dogfish) and common carp. I usually continue to hunt carp, buffalo and gar throughout the summer and into early fall. I also travel to neighboring states to hunt Asian bighead carp (a plankton feeding river-ine fish that can easily attain weights in excess of 50 pounds) and white amur (grass carp).
Even with all this variety, I always find time to make several forays for “dusk to dawn’ hunts. My bowfishing rig sports a 2,000-watt generator which sends power to a bank of halogen lamps that pierce the inky blackness, illuminating the water around my boat for 10 yards. Despite the constant humming produced by the generator rough fish like buffalo, carp, sheephead and gar are more relaxed at night and far easier to approach. In fact nighttime bowfishing is so productive many bowfishers (especially those in southern states, where day- time temps can reach dangerous levels) ignore day-light hunting altogether and do all of their bowfishing under the cover of darkness.


I’ve been a self-proclaimed bowfishing addict for 20 years and I’ve acquired all the latest gear to make myself a more efficient predator of fish. I didn’t start out that way though. Like many other youngsters, I literally cut my bowhunting teeth on rough fish at an early age. Each spring when the annual sucker spawning runs were in full gear my buddies and I would grab our little fiberglass recurves and wooden arrows (equipped with crude homemade barbed fishing heads) and dash for the nearest creek in anticipation of filling our stringers with cold water suckers.
Those early days provided a lot of action (which is what restless young archers crave) in the form of endless shot opportunities and heavy bags of fish. But, the real challenge was bringing our fish to shore after a successful shot, You see, at the time we neither had the inclination or resources to attach a reel and line to our bows. So…after arrowing a fish we’d simply ditch our bows and race downstream after the fast departing fish! Knowing where the fish was in the stream was fairly easy; we just had to keep an eye on our brightly colored fletchings juning up like oversized pencil bobbers through the water’s surface. Of course, we had to sprint well ahead of our quarry and ambush them on a shallow stretch to finally bring them to hand. This was accomplished by grasping the arrow and fish simultaneously and tossing the squirming, slippery prize onto the bank.

It was definitely great fun for neophyte archers like us. Because bowfishing is a year-round, day or night sport in many states, it is ideally suited for passionate bowhunters of any age looking to extend their hunting season. Be careful, however because bowfishing excitement is contagious. Your bowhunting goals may soon include harvesting trophies like 4O-pound carp, 50-pound buffalo fish and maybe even 5-
foot streamlined predators with bony armatures and mouths stuffed full of needle sharp teeth!

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Published by archerchick on 22 Feb 2010

One Day Gobbler- By Joe Bell

One-Day Gobbler – By Joe Bell

Bowhunting turkeys is no gimme, yet with the right tactics and a drive to succeed, luck will eventually shine through.

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com


We strolled across the darkened field as dawn’s orange-red plume was rising above the horizon. Double Bull specialist Tom Carroll pulled a crow call from his pocket and blasted through the pre-dawn silence to rile up any nearby gobblers. Immediately a tom fired back, giving us his approximate location. Tom and his good hunting buddy Jeff Zimmerman, who designs game calls, are experts at this trade. Me, I’m more of of a western big-game fanatic, so I just watched and admired these guys who have such intense enthusiasm for bowhunting long beards.

We set up in a meadow of trees, a natural strutting site for big gobblers, according to Tom. Quickly we popped up the Double Bull T-5 Pro Staff blinds. Tom and I would be in one while Jeff would set up 50 or so yards to our side-just in case the birds did something unorthodox. The Flambeau decoys were in place 15 yards from the shooting window, and I was on ready with my bow clutched in my hand.

Minutes went by, the sound of his gobbles telling us he was on the ground now. The hunt was on. Soon the sound grew louder as he closed in on us. Tom and Jeff worked in tandem, reverbating clucks, purrs and yelps with such precision and smoothness.

He was close now, and I got the feeling that the shot would come fast. I was running on one maybe two hours of sleep thanks to a full day’s worth of airports and plane delays. By the time tom and Jeff picked me up it was late into the evening. Then we drove for a couple of hours, grabbed a snack and hit the bunks. Tom informed me that we were looking at a two-hour drive or so to reach the hunting area so this meant little sleep.

About the time the excitement began, so did the confusion. Oh, the tom got close but decided to pass us by. By the sounds, there were too many hens in his entourage to get excited about one more.

As we assembled blinds and decoys, I couldn’t help but admire this Kansas prairie land. It was my first time hunting in the Land of Oz, and I was digging it.The country was very open, with strips of trees and scrub brush laced along waterways. As a big-bodied buck sprung from his bed (with heavy bases and tines), bounding down the ripples in the tall grass, I felt a twinge of romance for the country. I will definitely return to hunt giant bucks here.

Our Tactics
We were hunting Rio Grande birds on 15,000-plus acres of land so we had plenty of options. When it comes to avoiding human calling attempts, eastern gobblers could be the toughest to trick, But in my experience, a wise, old Rio Grande turkey is no slouch in this department. They can go call-shy at the flick of a switch. And that’s what these birds did to us. This meant improvising.

Throughout the bulk of the day, we made typical setups with blinds and decoys and calling, but birds didn’t seem to move our way. We continued to cover ground furiously, looking for that one lonely gobbler. We never found him, but we did spot a big gobbler walking in an alfalfa field, along with a horde of hens.

Our window of opportunity was to dash a 1/2-mile or so to the edge of the field, slither our way down a cut that would hide our approach, then wet up in their travel path. (Hey, this is my kind of hunting- spot and stalk.) Tom And I were staking in the decoys when we got busted. Really, we probably didn’t need the decoys on this setup, which made it that much more frustrating. Tom expertly handled the blind, erecting it ever so slowly.

Tom gave his best calling renditions, piquing the birds’ curiosity. A couple of hens, along with the gobbler began a slow approach, but something was obviously wrong, I’m sure they thought. We watched them return to the field, and after hours of sitting in the blind intermittently, we watched as they slowly filed around the blind – 60 yards past.

I was about to think these birds weren’t killable, bur Tom’s success the day before proved that wasn’t true. Tom and Jeff were out testing the water, so to speak, before I arrived. The winds were gusting, yet Jeff and Tom coaxed two birds off the roost and within 15 yards of the blind. After a few soft purrs, the bird came a-runnin’. A shot from Tom’s bow sent an arrow perfectly through one of the bird’s chests. He captured it all on video.

What I Learned
I’m not a very experienced turkey hunter, but I’m learning quickly just what it takes to consistently bag longbeards with a bow. I know first-hand that you need calling expertise, call-shy birds or not. If you don’t know how to verbally entice a tom, he’ll go somewhere else. You must know what to announce and when to announce it. How do you learn? You follow experts around, and then learn by trial and error on your own, calling a lot and making mistakes.

Also, the turkey hunting I know doesn’t incorporate morning and evening setups only. If you want a bird badly, then you’ll need to stay out all day. Further, a good turkey hunter adapts to changing conditions. This means doing whatever it takes to get your bird. Thin of off-the-wall ideas, and you’ll make it as a turkey hunter. This could mean stalking birds, ambushing them along fields or getting more aggressive with your calling.

Near Day’s End
With little sleep, water or food, the day was turning long. I had a couple of energy bars in my pack, and Tom shared his Kudos bars and dried fruit. By the time evening rolled around, I was becoming dreary eyed. The plan was to go back to a roost area- a possible hen pickup area for gobblers. It was about 5 p.m. when our setup was complete. Tom and Jeff fired up their Bad Buzzard slate calls- a design made personally by Jeff- and instantly the show was on.

We had two gobblers coming at full throttle. The video camera was rolling and the adrenaline was flowing. The longbeards came at us in a zig-zag pattern. Suddenly they were 30 yards away and closing. I wanted to shoot the lead bird, but he passed my shooting window like lightning. I slapped the gap pins on the rear bird and took the shot as he slowly walked by.

He jumped, swayed and stumbled until he came to rest 100 yards away. A finishing arrow put him down for good. It’s kind of bizarre how only one day of turkey hunting could bring about so much. Maybe that’s the nature of the beast, the nature of bowhunting turkeys.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Feb 2010

Nutrition That Kills – By Steve Bartylla

Nutrition That Kills – By Steve Bartylla

May 2005

Quality bucks are the result of quality foods.  Here’s how to provide the nutritional value deer require for each phase of the year.

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

May 2005

Catching a glimpse of movement, I poked my cameraman’s foot and pointed to the approaching buck.  Knowing Craig was burning tape, I engaged myself in debate on whether he was a shooter deer or not.  At first glance, his rack didn’t overly impress.  The profile view displayed respectable mass and high main beams, but his times were relatively short.  Turning to face me, the internal debate ended swiftly upon seeing the 20-inch-plus inside spread.  This was most definitely a 3 1/2 year-old animal, and I wanted him.

As he continued on, I positioned myself for the shot and waited for his headon approach to change.  That’s when things started going wrong.

With the buck barely 5 yards away, I began drawing my Mathews bow.  Unfortunately I’d forgotten about Craig’s filming stand directly above me.  While drawing, I clanked the top wheel of the bow on the bottom of the stand just above my head.

As the buck skipped 20 yards away, I still believed that I could make the shot.  Chances were good that the steady, light rain would cause the mature buck to doubt his ears.  At about 30 yards out, I drew and settled my knuckle behind my ear.  As he now calmly walked straight away, all I needed was for him to make a slight turn.

Luckily, by the time I reached 35 yards out, he had forgotten all about the phantom noise.  Coming to a stop, he paused to scan the creek bottom for does. Turning just a bit as he did, I let the arrow fly.  With the Rocky Mountain Snyper burrowing into his vitals, the buck exploded for the creek bottom.  Just as he neared the bank, he fell to the ground.  The mature nine-point was mine.

The previous year, the hunting outfit www.PerformanceOutdoors.com contacted me as a consultant to help set up their “Sanctuary Farm.”  From a personal standpoint, this buck was the culmination of many hours spent scouting, instituting an advanced food-plot plan and pegging more than 30 stand sites.

In this article, the first of a two part series, I will delve into the advanced food plot strategies I put in place on this specific deer property.  In the next issue, we will cover scouting, marking stand locations for each phase of the season and selecting low-impact stand routes.  Best of all, this seldom seen inside look at a premier outfitter’s approach can be applied to any whitetail hunting land, allowing you to get the most from your property.

YEAR ROUND NUTRITION
For a deer property to reach it’s full potential, the deer themselves must have an adequate amount of high-quality, year round nutrition.  Having plots that draw and hold deer during the season is also important, but deer simply can’t meet their own generic potential unless adequate nutrition is available 365 days year. If quality food sources are lacking during any one season the resident deer will have poor reproduction rates, body size and antler size, and their overall health will suffer.

Furthermore, drawing and holding deer on wwwPerformanceOutdoors.com;s properties has obvious benefits. The more time deer spend on their properties; the better they can protect the local herd from other hunters and poachers. This allows young bucks to grow old, which will increase their hunter’s odds of harvesting what they helped to produce.

However, before any of this was possible, we first needed to. identify what nutrition the deer required.  Much like people, deer need to consume a balance of fats, carbohydrates and protein.

Food high in fats and carbohydrates is great for building fat reserves and supplying energy. When deer are preparing for enduring winter, this can be critical, particularly in  the Upper Midwest and areas further north. it’s also equally important for southern deer that must endure drought induced food shortages.

Though seldom mentioned, fats and carbohydrates also indirectly play a significant role in antler development.  During the spring, the first thing bucks address ls building their bodies back up from the toll that both the rut and winter took on them. With a worn-down body, they’ll  have little energy-energy that can go into growing healthy, large antlers. Since diets high in fat and carbs help to build
and maintain fat, they create potential energy reserves for deer that must endure the negative energy balance. This is why it’s important during the late fall and winter for deer to get the energy they require for healthy antler growth.

On the flip side, the important role that protein plays in antler development is well documented. A buck requires  diets consisting of 20 percent or more protein to produce quality antlers. Recent studies have shown that this level is needed even before velvet antlers begin to form. To get maximum antler production, these levels should be provided from mid-winter on through the shedding of velvet.

Furthermore, protein levels are also important for fetus development, milk production, muscle development and overall health. Though certain vitamins and minerals are also important, satisfying a whitetail deers needs for fats, carbohydrates and proteins is a great place to begin.

HOLDING PLOTS
My first task is always to ensure that the property has enough nutrition to draw and hold deer. In doing this,  I want  many holding plots to be centrally located on the property.  First, that positioning makes it much harder for neighboring hunters to take advantage of my efforts. Second, it helps inspire more deer to bed on the managed properly.

Finally, it provides the hunter with much lower impact routes to and from stands. All too often prime food sources either dot or surround the outer edges of hunting properties.  When that is the case, the hunter is often forced to kick out deer when crossing the fields. Furthermore, it becomes much
more difficult for the hunter to slip into stands between bedding and feeding for morning hunts. A centrally placed food plot fulfills all concerns a hunter might have.

Size is another concern for holding plots. Since they will be the backbone of our nutrition plan, holding plots must be large enough to produce the volume of forage that resident deer will require. There is no set formula for determining this size requirement. It becomes a balance of other available forages, crop yield and deer density. When other feeding options are limited, our planting yield is low and deer density is high we must have larger holding plots than when the reverse is true. As a general rule of thumb, I never make holding plots of grains less than five acres
and plots of greens less than two acres.

Luckily, The Sanctuary Farm already had hay, soybeans and cornfields centrally located.  In this case, it was simply a matter of buying standing corn and beans from the farmer.  Doing so ensured that adequate carbohydrates and fats would be available to deer on the
property, and the hayfield would provide the initial supply of protein.

HARVEST PLOTS
With a good start on holding plots, I shifted my attention to creating harvest plots that would
further address the protein deficiency during late winter, spring and summer. Though harvest plots
certainly can help address nutritional needs, they are also geared more toward effectively positioning deer for a shot. To do so most effectively, they must contain the most highly desired food source in the area, and they must provide a feeling of safety, which means they must be ideally located.  Since harvest plots are designed for on-site hunting, it stands to reason they require plantings that are most effective at drawing deer. When selecting a crop, I most often
go for greens. It has been my experience that deer will gravitate to certain greens as long as they are in an ideal growth state. The only food source that I have found that can consistently draw deer better are acorns.

Because of this, I commonly plant a harvest plot in half clover or alfalfa and half Antler King’s Fall/Winter/Spring or Buck Forage Oats. Clovers and alfalfas can be counted on for drawing in deer until a heavy frost turns them sour.  Once that occurs, few native or planted greens can still be desirable.

However, Antler King’s Buck Forage Oats can survive and thrive in all but deep frosts, as can the
Fall/Winter/Spring mix. Splitting a harvest plot between clover or alfalfa and half Fall/Winter/Spring or Buck Forage. Oats creates a location that will draw deer from the season’s opener on through the closing day.

To provide the feeling of safety the harvest plot should either be tucked in remote corners of open fields or in their own one- or two-acre opening. Surrounding them as much as practical with escape cover encourages daylight feeding.

Achieving ideal location for a food plot requires knowing
the habitat and how deer use it.

To put things in perspective, before I even began planning  wwv. PerformanceOutdoors. com’s harvest plot locations I had already spent several days scouting in both the winter and spring. This was important to get an accurate picture of early-and late-season deer-movement patterns.
While scouting, I placed a premium on locating bedding areas and funnels.

These findings led me to select the locations for the harvest food plots. By knowing where the bedding areas and funnels were. I could position the plots to force deer through funnels while going to and returning from the food sources.

It’s occasionally possible to do that and also have a funnel divide two existing food sources.  That’s the position I took to shoot the buck at the beginning of this article by knowing the deer’s patterns before planning plot locations, I was able to encourage them through an already good funnel.  Bucks traveling between feeding an bedding, as well as those cruising between food sources to check for does, would likely pass this stand site.

When funnels don’t exist, placing harvest plots between bedding areas and holding plots is a good option.  Often, mature bucks aren’t willing to step into the larger holding plots until after dark.  However, those same bucks commonly will engage in daylight feeding in the smaller, seemingly safer harvest plots.  By positioning it between bedding and the holding plot,  many deer that would otherwise go directly to the holding plots will first snack in the harvest plot.

Finally, the shape and size of these harvest plots can be molded to further maximize shot opportunities. Relatively. narrow elbow or horseshoe-shaped plot’s, between one and
two acres in size, provide the ultimate in close encounters. When given the choice, deer prefer to be able to see the entire plot at once. To do this, they must feed at the point in the bend where they can see both ends. At the very least, the majority of bucks will walk through that point to investigate the other side.

In either case, stands positioned at the mid-point of the plot, on both sides of the bend point, will provide shots at any of these animals. As a bonus, this placement also allows one of the two stands to be safely hunted during any wind direction. Something, as seemingly little as the shape of our of harvest plot can dramatically increase the number of deer harvested from these stands.

During the 2004 archery season,
www. PerformanceOutdoors.com’s hunters took four trophy bucks and missed shot opportunities at three others on their 55-acre Sanctuary Farm. Just as important, trophy buck sightings continued throughout the entire season.

As you will see in the next part of this series, many factors played into this success. However, the well-planned food plot strategy played a significant role. -When a property possesses adequate protective cover, a combination of well-planned holding and harvest plots, it will increase the health, quality and number of deer on a property as well as make them easier to harvest. Instead of guessing where the deer will feed most, we can dictate to them where they want to be. That alone provides the hunter with a tremendous advantage. As almost any serious whitetail hunter would
agree, we can use every ethical advantage we can get. <— <<

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Published by archerchick on 22 Feb 2010

Horns Of A Lifetime – By John Klus

Horns Of A Lifetime – By John Klus

May 2005

The buck was huge – giant – but it wasn’t the focus of this father and son hunt

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

May 2005

For most people, Sept. 9, 2004, was like any other day. If you lived in Florida you were trying to evacuate the state due to hurricanes. If you lived in New York you were preparing for another anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks. But if you were around Peace River, Alberta, Canada, you were preparing for hunting season.

Being from Wisconsin I am used to starting my hunting in the middle of September. I run a hunting and fishing guide service so I am outdoors all the time, but there is always a trade off By being a guide, instead of harvesting and catching, I am usually doing all the cleaning and netting. But on Sept. 9 it was different; I was the hunter.

My father, who was 69 at the time, and I decided to take one more trip together before time took its toll on him. Along with age, during the summer of 2002 he was diagnosed with leukemia.
In addition to that my grandfather died in March 2004 and we figured it would be a good time to get away. My grandfather’s death was hard because he played an enormous role in my father’s life like my father plays in mine.

From the time I was 3 or 4 years old, I cannot remember a weekend I did not spend with my father out in the woods hunting or fishing. The outdoors is where we spent 12 months out of the year.  My father gave me the greatest gift of all, the outdoors. He showed me that the outdoors was more than a place to hunt and fish. He made it my church. Instead of sitting in a pew on Sunday morning, my children and I sit in treestands. Our choir is not a line of people singing, it is the Sandhill cranes and Canadian geese flying overhead. It is a place we think about yesterday, today and the days to come. It’s a place that makes my soul whole and defines who and what I am. Because of this bond, my father and I are best friends. And at this time we decided to take one more trip. For this trip we did not choose to go to New Mexico for a giant bull elk, we did not choose Siberia, Russia, for a monster brown bear and we did not choose to go to Saskatchewan for enormous whitetails.

For this last trip we decided to go to Alberta for elk and mule deer. ‘We weren’t going there for the size of the animals but because of an outfitter. If you know anything about Peace River, Alberta, it is not known for its huge elk, moose or bear. But it is known for having lots of them and more importantly it is known for having Jordy McAuley. Jordy McAuley, at least in my eyes, is a world famous guide. Jordy, if you have not heard of him, runs McAuley Outfitters out of Peace River. He has been guiding for decades, from Alaska to Africa and everywhere in between. He grew up doing it. Like my family, it was and is a family tradition and a way of life. His father was a guide. And like me, Jordy understands how a father becomes a best friend and a hero. You can see Jordy eyes light up when he tells tales of his father’s experiences. Jordy’s father unfortunately was piloting a bush plane by himself when he got caught in a horrific whiteout. That whiteout snowstorm took his life and some hunting history with him. But when you hear Jordy talk about his father and the memories, Jordy’s father comes alive again. When you look into Jordy’s eyes you can still see the pain of losing his best friend at a young age. But on this day it seemed that Jordy’s father, my grandfather and many hunting buddies from the past guided us on a journey that we will not ever forget.

Our 10-day hunt started on Sept. 6. We had hunted with Jordy a couple of years earlier and were amazed at the numbers of animals. On any given day we would see 100 mule deer, 50 of which were bucks, various elk moose and bear.  But this trip was different. The Peace River area had seen a month of straight rain and was not looking to slow down. The animals seemed to be nonexistent. To be frank, we saw more animals in one day a couple of years earlier than we saw all 10 days this year. Any hunter knows, when times like this strikes, every animal counts; there is no room for
errors because you may not get another chance.

Like every other morning it was raining. Like every other morning we started off elk hunting. Like every other morning we heard nothing. Due to the weather, the elk were not cooperating. No bugling, no movement, nothing. So by 9 a.m. every day we were deer hunting. The majority of the
day consisted of covering ground and glassing for bedded bucks or bucks on the move. Due to not seeing much game, it made the trip a little more exciting. Every time we saw horns or what we thought were horns our sense of sight and smell heightened. We became a little more observant, the adrenaline rushes were a little stronger and our value of seeing hair was higher.

We covered a lot of ground that day and glassed a lot of sticks and bushes that looked like deer. Like the first few days, it was raining. At noon we sat down and had our lunch and as usual caught a little shuteye. With it not getting dark until 9 p.m. and it getting light by 5 a.m., sleep was a precious resource. But by 1 p.m. we were pounding it again. At around 2 p.m. the rain finally broke for the first time since we had been in Alberta. We were glassing an open area with a small strip of woods down the middle and suddenly my Swarovski binocular caught a rare but familiar
glimpse-horns, and a lot of them.

Anyone that has trophy hunted knows and understands the ordeal of trying to score an animal through a binocular and figuring out what it is going to score. But: this animal was one that you dropped the binocular and started planning your stalk.

The animal was bedded down about 800 yards away, upwind and along the strip of woods. Things in that aspect looked good, but the only problem was that everything was surrounded by nothing but grass. The grass was neither tall enough to walk through, nor was it tall enough to kneel
through, but we hoped that it was high enough to belly crawl through. After a three-person roundtable discussion, there was some significant doubt whether or not this could be done. But as most of us spot-and-stalk hunters know, a lot can be made of nothing. The plan was to mark the tree where he was bedded and start belly crawling. Jordy and my father stayed back on a hillside to watch the festivities.

Alberta’s soil is clay-like. When dry, it is very hard and quiet. When wet, it is very sticky, thick and noisy. Needless to say, after a month of constant rain, the soil was more like a thick soup than dirt. But I did not come all the way here to go home with dirty boots and nothing to eat. And anyway, I heard Jordy telling my dad that he was not giving me a chance in hell to get this done. As Jordy would say, “You are going to bugger the animal” as I went to start the 800-yard stalk.

Every time I planted a hand, the mud would seep in between my fingers. Every time I moved a foot in the mud, it would make a slurping, sucking noise. Every time I moved my bow another couple of feet I would see the mud building up around arrows, strings, pins, peeps and cams. Things did not look good at this point but I continued to crawl.

After an hour of crawling I finally saw trees. After I reached the trees I figured it was about 250 yards
down the tree line and the buck should be there. It is that easy, right? I slowly but surely got on my knees behind a large bush to try and make another mark on the tree we saw the deer under. I saw the tree and again started crawling After another half an hour I started to get close – close enough for me to make moves slower and more methodical.  I figured I was close enough to start looking for a good tree or brush pile to get into a shooting position.

Before nocking an arrow I decided to make sure the animal was still there and in a position for rne to shoot. As I hid behind a fallen tree I peeked my head over the top, But to my disappointment there was nothing-all the crawling for nothing. Thar cannot be! Jordy and my father would have hollered that the critter had bolted, right?

I decided to belly crawl to the other side of the strip and check if he switched sides. I had to roll underneath a log and crawl through a puddle to finally reach a bush that I could kneel behind. I got half way on my knees and my eyes picked up that rare but familiar sight again-horns, and a lot of them. But this time they were close, real close.  The animal was no more than 20 yards away, quartering away and up wind. It cant get any better than this. Though the adrenaline rush was on, I slowed the heart rate, nocked the arrow and started to draw. The buck was mine for sure.

Think again.

I noticed my arrow was caked with mud. i could not close my release on the string due to mud. My peep sight was sealed shut with mud. I could not even see my pins thanks to mud. My bow’s cam looked like a mud ball. There was no way an arrow could make any kind of forward motion out of this bow. I regrettably laid back down into the mud. I found a small stick and started working on the muddy figure that somewhere underneath was my bow. Fifteen minutes past and I figured the Mathews Icon would at least be able to advance an arrow into the air. I got to my knees again and like before, nothing I looked and looked and looked. Nothing.

Did he hear me scraping mud off my bow? Was I too close and did he smell me? Like before, I decided to crawl back to the other side of the strip again and see if he was there. I crawled back
through the puddle and started to roll underneath the log when I heard something, something that sounded like chewing. And chewing it was. and again, I saw that familiar sight- a lot of horns. The animal was eating his way down the tree line. Eating his way to 10 yards away, then 7, and then 5 then 3. The buck was getting into knifing range for Pete’s sake!

Unfortunately I was still underneath the log with my bow on my chest. I could not move or he would see me. Eventually, he noticed that this muddy log wasn’t lying there before. As I anticipated, I heard the slurp, slurp, slurp sound. But this time it was not my feet but the hoofs of the monster buck jumping away. I quickly got to my knees, nocked an arrow and as I did so the buck suddenly stopped and was looking back at the “muddy, smelly log.”  In a split second I estimated his distance at 40 yards, pulled back and launched the arrow.  As if the arrow had a guiding hand with eyes the arrow entered the chest cavity and went through the other side.

After visualizing the shot and thinking if it was a good hit or not, I heard from 800 yards away, back on a hill, “He’s down! He’s down!”  I looked back and saw my father and Jordy  moving toward me in and excited trot.  I waited for them and then proceeded to follow the blood trail for 70 yards and came upon the dead animal.

For a few minutes, not much was said.  We just huddled around the beast in amazement.  At no time during my sneak did I realize how large the animal actually was.  After seeing how big the animal actually was we realized how spectacular this event was.  My father whispering ” I am so proud of you.” broke the silence.  In my 30 years of life I cannot remember another time in my life where time stood still.  The event was not special because the animal died: it was special because I was with my father.

After the event sank in, it was evident that we were not alone, I could feel Mother Nature in all its glory mourning the fall of a king.  I could feel my grandfather, Jordy’s father and all of our past hunting influences right there standing with us, celebrating and burning the memory into our souls.  But more importantly, my father was there.  For hours the three of us took pictures and relived the story over and over.

No matter how special the killing of this animal was, the event is outweighed by the time I got to spend with my father one more time.  As always, the greatest gift I have ever and will ever receive in my life is the gift of the outdoors, a gift that turned into my spiritual retreat.  And thanks to my dad I received that gift at a young age.  My father taught all of us that the important things in this life are not money or material things.  Instead, it is your children and how you make a difference in their live. Thanks Dad. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 22 Feb 2010

12 FEET UP – By Rob Evans

12 FEET UP – By Rob Evans
April 2005

After 32 record-book bucks, this Minnesota bowhunter doesn’t see any disadvantages of low treestand perches.

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

My hunting partner had told me that my perch for the day would be a mere 12 feet above the floor, so I was pretty certain that I could keep my dramatic fear of heights at bay. I climbed up the tree at “0 to dark-30,” and waited for the sun to wake up.

As the darkness began to slip away, I looked below me and found that while one part of the tree was only 12 feet high, the stand that I was sitting in was over a ravine. There I sat, staring at an abyss that was no less than 80 feet below. My job, my partner told me, was to simply shoot across a narrow ravine to a well-use trail. All I could do was fight off a panic attack. Sweat Poured out, I was shaking, and my fingernails were blood red as I hugged the tree down to safety. We came back later, and my friend retrieved my bow and other gear as I sat firmly planted below.

I won’t lie, my hunting style was born due to my fear of heights, but I’ve learned that there is no reason a person needs to sit 20-plus feet high as many trophy hunters claim. In fact, I can sit and look at some 32 record-book bucks mounted in my home that prove my point. I don’t unveil my buck kills to boast, but rather to prove that there is no shame in hunting low.

I’ve taken my fair share of ribbings from my &quot;expert&quot; buddy trophy hunters. But the fact is, while in the Army, I learned to improvise, and that’s just what I find myself doing by hunting low exclusively out of ladder stands.

Precautions Are Needed
First off, I don’t believe that hunting low always that deer will be able to scent a person. In the morning and evening when hunting, when hunting is often best, many time the wind is often low. With that in mind, if I’m sitting at 12 feet and whatever scent that exists might disburse similar to a cone, like sonar. Say my scent goes down and out from the tree at ground level out about 8 feet. Well I better make sure that the shots I need to make are 20 yards or better from my stand so that the bucks just won’t nail me. If a person is 20 feet or higher, their scent has a longer time to expand before it hits the ground, meaning that a buck has more scent surface area in which to detect you.

As with any hunting situation, I am almost overly cautious with the way I enter and leave my stand. At no time am I going to sit a stand if I have walked an area where my scent could blow into a buck’s lair. Further I often have two stands setups for hunting-one spot so that I can manipulate the wind in a matter that will keep my scent safely away from the deer.

My de-scenting preparation is extreme. Wildlife Research offers plenty of elixirs that not only mask, but also kill unfriendly odors. A Scent Lok suit is all the additional insurance needed to keep scent bottled up.

I also de-scent all my equipment- from my bow to my ladder stand. As I set up, I’m wearing rubber gloves, and I douse my equipment with spray. Once I set up my ladder, as I descend the the stand, I soak every rung of the ladder with spray so it is literally dripping when I’m at ground level. When I come back to hunt the spot, the stand and all around it is void of any impure smells.

One buck, shot in Minnesota back in 2002, was taken not more than 10 to 12 feet above the ground. I was hunting a small 1/2 -acre wood lot off of a picked corn field and slough. The spot was small, so most hunters would think with it being in the open that a person would have to get really high to evade a buck’s glance.

I found a low cedar tree off a fence row that was perfect, but not very tall. I passed up several nice bucks in the couple of times I hunted, having and eye on a nice 150-class eight-pointer. Having no luck, I laid a scent trail from the slough from a hot area I had located about 60 yards from my stand. I put just a drop of scent from the hot area all the way to my stand and just past. I never put too much scent down, just enough to spark curiosity. In this case, we were talking about and early December hunt, so the bucks were by no means in peak rut.

After laying the trail a few hours later a 187- inch 12- pointer walked right where he needed to be. He returned to his slough about 60 yards away and fell over dead.

Aren’t Ladders Cumbersome?
A friend of mine who was sold on portable hang-ons and tree steps once bet me that he could get set up much quicker than I could. The bet was that we had to set up the stand, fire an arrow, and return to the truck. He had 12 tree steps and a hang-on; I had my ladder stand. We both set up and I was back at the truck sipping on a glass of port I had in my backpack. He never gave me the business again about my ladder stand and it’s cumbersome qualities.

Customize Your Stand
When I hunt, I do it with intelligence about the area I plan to use. I scout during, before and after the season so that when I need to set up I’m in and out quickly. For the early season, I set up by midsummer and have everything ready to go for an opening weekend hunt. For the pre-rut and rut, I will have a stand ready in the general area that basic hunting principles show: funnels, bedding areas and food sources. The same goes for late-season hunts; you need to have some stands set, but I always carry extra in case I need to improvise.

When I set up a ladder stand, I always try to do it in a cedar or pine tree. For one, they offer added scent blocking, And two, they offer good cover. I try to never cut any branches from the tree I’m hunting in, but instead, tie off limbs to my stand for an ad-hoc blind around me. I carry some twine and a large bolt with me. When a limb is in the way, but too high for me to reach, I tie the twine to the bolt and toss the bolt up above the limb. Then I pull the limb down and tie it to the the rungs of the ladder. I can make a blind in this fashion in just a few minutes and literally envelope myself in a cocoon of limbs that no whitetail will see through.

I’ve had big bucks bed right below me, and even have had them scratch their backs on the ladder itself. If you do things right, with regard to scent control and camouflaging the stand there is no better cover out there.

Subtle Tips
Often times guys tell me that they set up stands high so they can get away with more movement on the stand. To that I say, if you are comfortable in the stand, you don’t need to be shifting around and stretching every few minutes. I’m 60 years old now and I like to be comfortable and safe when I hunt. A nice ladder is easier to climb, has a big platform and a comfortable seat that many smaller portables don’t offer. You have to be in the woods to shoot a deer, and ladder stands just make the hunt more enjoyable. To further the ladder’s benefits, I have often used individual sections of them to carry/drag game out of the woods.

Beyond Strategy, Luck Plays a Factor
Beyond the tools a person chooses to use in their pursuit for big bucks, I want people to know that I don’t think of myself as the most skilled hunter in the world. I’m lucky. And luck plays 75 percent of the game. Sure, a person needs to hunt using sound strategy, and they need to play the wind; they need to hunt smart. But the bottom line is that a person needs some luck to take large bucks, and for that matter, they need to hunt in an area that has large bucks.

Each person may have their own standards for what they call a trophy animal. But I think that when they pursue that animal, they can do it from the 5- to 12 – foot range just as I have and be just as successful as the cowboys out there who claim there noses need to bleed from their stand.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Feb 2010

Get Aggressive – By Bob Robb

Get Aggressive – by Bob Robb

April 2005

There are times when normal stand-hunting tactics just don’t work on whitetail bucks. Here’s how to be bold to find success.

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

April 2005

As a born and bred western spot and stalk hunter, being aggressive is ingrained into my psyche. I like to find ’em and then go get ’em. Sitting in a tree stand for hours and hours, still as a piece of oversized bark, is just about as easy for me as sitting on a bed of nails. Still, I learned years ago that scouting for hot sign, setting a tree stand as quickly and quietly as possible, then waiting for a buck to come by is by far the best way to fill tags.

And yet, there are times when that doesn’t work. The deer simply may not come by. And even if I’ve set my stand in the right place, the deer often walk out of range – and out of my life. Few things frustrate me more.

Lately, I’ve taken to becoming more aggressive in my whitetail hunting. I still scout hard for hot sign and patiently sit in treestands in the belief that this remains the best way in the world to get a controlled shot. But when stealth tactics don’t pay off, I’ve taken to becoming bold, trying to make something happen rather than passively adding another untouched tag to my already impressive collection.

How It All Started
It was a bitter November day in southwestern Ohio, the wind adding a real bite to the 15-degree air temperature. Set up on a power line cut surrounded by some serious thickets, I was watching a doe lead a 140-class nine-pointer along a trail away from my stand.

After a week of nothing, I was not going to let this happen without trying something. Using an inhale/exhale combination grunt/bleat call, I first gave a pair of doe bleats. As the doe stopped and turned, I gave the deer a short series of moderately loud grunts while ticking my rattling horns together. I was hoping to fool the deer into thinking there was an estrous doe in the thicket directly behind my stand, and she was the focus of a pair of young bucks who were sparring over the right to breed her.

For whatever reason, it worked. The doe took several steps my way, staring into the thicket. The buck now had his attention momentarily diverted from his current amour, and when I bleated again, he bit, trotting my way to have a look.

In Fantasyland I could tell you that he stopped broadside at 20 yards, where he took my arrow through both lungs. In reality he stopped at 27 steps, slightly quartering away and looking back over his shoulder. I had so much “stuff” out trying to call the deer that I couldn’t get it stowed away in time, so when I grabbed my bow and tried to draw I knocked my rattling horns, clanking them loudly against the metal of my treestand. Adios, amigo.

That episode stuck in my mind, though. Why can’t I make things happen more often, I thought, by using a controlled aggression approach? the answer is, I could. You can, too.

One, Two, Three…
Since that time I’ve begun experimenting a bit by combining several different aggressive deer hunting techniques in an effort to add realism and excitement to my hunting. That isn’t to say that I’ve abandoned the stealth bomber approach. It remains my favorite way to hunt. But when it isn’t producing, I’m no longer afraid to get with it and try to make something happen.

One common way to make things happen is with the rattling horns. Nor during the pre-rut, when clashing and banging them hard and loud to stimulate a real knock-down, drag-out fight is the common technique, but instead earlier, in mid-to late-October before the pre-rut phase of the rut is in high gear.

At this time bucks like spar with each other as much a social activity as two bucks getting rid of their aggression. When they spar they don’t bang each other around a lot. Instead, they carefully put their horns together to push, shove and twist in a “pre” pre-rut test of strength.

When there’s nothing happening around my late-October stand, I might try “sparring” with my rattling horns or, just as effective, a rattle bag, while making a short series of grunts. I like to this in an area where I know the buck-to-doe ratio is 3:1 or better, and that I’ve seen small bachelor groups of bucks hanging together. I might even add a basic doe bleat or two when I rest between sparring series. The goal is to make any nearby bucks think there is some friendly competition over by my tree and have them come investigate. I fooled a nice Mississippi 10-pointer a few days before Halloween one year with just such a sequence. This time I didn’t bozo it and made the 25-yard shot as he stood looking and listening for the group of deer he just knew he were right there someplace.

When aggressively rattling during the pre-rut and rut periods, I’ve taken to getting down out of my tree and working the horns from the ground. That’s because real buck fights cover lots of ground and will include the sound of stomping, trees being thrashed, brush being mashed to bits, and grunting and bellowing. This is no time to be shy. If  I’m going to rattle, I’m going to make it sound like two big boys are fighting to the death. I have a spot picked out to rattle from, often making a makeshift ground blind set 40 or 50 yards away from my treestand.

It does work. I’ve had good bucks come to the horns this way, but I’ve yet to get a shot at one of them for a variety of reasons. One time a nice ten-pointer rushed up behind me, stopping within 10 yards of my blind and pinning me like a pointer pins a covey of quail. Obviously, I still have some refining to do with this technique, but that day was one of the most exciting I’ve ever experienced in the whitetail woods.

Fake Deer
Perhaps the hottest technique in whitetail hunting today is the use of deer decoys. The options are endless. Standing bucks, bedded bucks, bedded does, big bucks, little bucks, mature does, fawns….you name it.

When decoying first became popular, the common method of use was a single deer, be it buck or doe. Then some folks began using several decoys, which I’ve found to work very well from time to time, too. In fact, a young buck standing over a bedded doe, with or without another “confidence” doe in attendance can be a dynamite way to draw roaming bucks to you in a flash. Why? Because during the rut a buck will relentlessly chase a doe until she’s ready to be bred. If he pushes too hard , though, she’ll simply lie down to prevent the buck from mounting her prematurely. A passing mature buck seeing this scene knows that he can kick the snot out of that tending buck, then take his place as he waits for the doe to stand up. When she does, he’ll be the one all over her. If I see a buck passing by a setup like this, I like to add some breeding bellow-like doe bleats, which are the sound a doe makes when she’s ready to be bred.

Another relatively new technique is to use a doe decoy in combination with a doe-in-heat scent stick like those from Deer Quest Products. When a buck travels by and sees the doe, the estrous scent is often enough to make him come closer to check it out.

The key to decoys is to use them in areas where they can be easily seen by passing bucks. These spots include field edges, open stands of hardwoods, creek crossings and similar places. Using decoys in thick cover can startle deer, though. It’s best to give them a bit of time to see your fake deer and get comfortable with it.

Aggressive Deer Calling
This is by far my most favorite way to try and make it happen instead of letting bucks walk past my stand and out of my life. While there are a ton of variations on the basic deer calls-grunt, bleat, and snort- I like to keep it relatively simple. Instead of using lots of variations, I’ll combine two different calls together.

The “breeding bellow,” also known as doe-in-estrous bleat, was first popularized by game call maker Jerry Peterson of Woods Wise Products. It is a drawn-out wailing sound that imitates the sound of a doe that’s ready to be bred, right now. When used in combination with some toned-down buck grunts, it can be a dynamite way to get a roaming buck to come see what’s happening by your tree.

Or, how about this one: Combine the breeding bellow with two different tending buck grunts, made with the grunt tubes from two different call makers? In this scenario, I’m trying to tell a large buck that a very hot doe is being chased by two small bucks that he should have no trouble whipping.

Regardless, when deer calling there are a couple of things to keep in mind. “You will have your best luck calling if there is some thick cover around your tree stand,” said David Hale, half of the legendary Knight & Hale game-calling team. When a buck responds to your calling, he’s going to be looking past your tree trying to see the deer that are talking. If there is some thick brush, he may be fooled into thinking they are hidden from his view, and to see them he needs to com closer. But if it is wide open and he can’t see any other deer, the majority of the time he is going to get suspicious and keep walking.”

Hale prefers calling at deer he can see. However, when it’s dead quiet in the woods, he’ll call blind, hoping to draw a passing buck’s interest. ” a lot of people are afraid that by blowing their deer calls blind, they will spook deer they have not yet seen,” Hale said. ” I think the other way. I have lots of confidence in my calling and believe that if there are no deer passing by my stand on their own, it’s better for me to try and draw them there than sit for hours looking at nothing but squirrels and woodpeckers.”

Hit the Silk
For most whitetail hunters, the thought of bailing out of their treestands and hunting from the ground is a frightening proposition.There’s no doubt that a treestand is a tremendous deer-hunting tool. However, when the deer aren’t coming past your stand, or there isn’t a good tree to use over some smoking-hot sign, get aggressive and try hunting from the ground. You might be surprised at the results.

My friend Bill Vaznis, an outdoor writer from upstate New York, is a firm believer in hunting whitetails from ground level. In fact, still-hunting with his bow has produced a good buck for Bill for several years in a row. ” I like to be mobile so tat the deer can’t pattern me in a treestand,” Vaznis told me one day as we shared an Alabama deer camp. “There are some things you have to do to be an effective still hunter, like never hunt the wind wrong, wait for a fresh rain or fresh snow to dampen footing and move slow as a snail. But it can be a great way to sneak up on good bucks that never know you’re there.”

I’ve been known to jump out of my tree and try to intercept bucks that are passing through my area and are obviously not going to come within range. One day in New York, I was set up on the intersection of three heavily used trails passing over a wide oak flat. When I saw the big eight-pointer moving up out of the bottom, I knew he was going to miss my tree by a hundred yards. So rather than try to call him in, I quickly climbed down the ladder and , like a torpedo, used a small depression as cover and set off at a trot on a course to intercept him. The plan worked perfectly. I got set up behind the trunk of a large oak, drew my bow, and as the buck stopped to the sound of a mouth grunt I released.

Unfortunately I guessed the range at 35 yards when it was only 25. That was the days before the days of laser rangefinders, a tool I never leave home without anymore. I like to hunt from ground blinds too, especially when the leaves are off the trees and a treestand sitter sticks out like a sore thumb against the steel gray of a winter sky. After six days of frustration in Kansas, I grabbed a climbing stand and went scouting for five hours, finally locating a spot where fresh scrapes, large cedars freshly rubbed to the quick, and fenceline crossings were all within 50 yards of each other. Unfortunately, it was on a bald knob, and the only trees were bare as toothpicks. I quickly made a ground blind that put me downwind of the sign, got comfortable and waited. Right at slap dark a nice eight-pointer came and worked the scrape, then began moving past the rub to the crossing trail. This time I had my rangefinder, and the 35 yard shot was a slam dunk.

When hunting from ground level, I have become a firm believer in wearing scent-adsorbing clothing and liberally using scent-eliminating sprays on both my clothing and my equipment. A combination of the new Windstopper Supprescent outerwear from Bass Pro Shops, which features a soft, quiet micro-fleece shell and a breathable Gore Windstopper membrane that also blocks 100 percent of the wind together with the new Rocky Gore-Tex Supprescent hunting footwear is the best way I know to help keep deer from smelling me when the wind takes a turn for the worse.

Be Bold!
In all big game hunting, there comes a time when you have to take a chance, roll the dice, break the mold and try to make something happen. When bowhunting whitetails, that’s not to say you should abandon the tried-and-proven stealth method of of setting a treestand over fresh sign, then patiently and quietly waiting ’em out. But when that isn’t working, being bold and aggressive can turn a boring day int the woods into one filled with close encounters of the exciting kind. Use your imagination and experience to guide you, then go get ’em. You just might be glad you did.

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Published by archerchick on 21 Feb 2010

Whitetail Savvy – By Eddie Claypool

Whitetail Savvy – by Eddie Claypool

May 2005

Here are some key elements that go with arrowing monster bucks with a bow

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

May 2005

When it comes to a pursuit such as whitetail bowhunting there is only so much gear that can be bought and information that can be ingested.  Also, there are so many that try to cut corners on the road to success.  Inevitably, it is only experience that can produce results.  Certainly, some of the bumps in the road can be lessened by gleaning knowledge from others and/or using quality gear.  Such being the case, I’d like to offer you some of my personal do’s and don’ts on this subject.

GET REAL
Don’t set yourself up for a fall”  In today’s high-tech hunting world, the image projected is one of the top-end success.  Every media outlet ingested by the whitetail hunting public continually spits out image of big bucks, along with tactics and gear that will produce them.  The fact is even the most consistently successful trophy whitetail bowhunters (the average do-it-yourselfers) are unsuccessful 99.9 percent of the time.  Let me clarify that – for every one hour I’ve spent in the presence of a trophy whitetail buck, I spend 999 hours trying to get there.

I started my whitetail bowhunting career 30 years ago at age 14.  I didn’t harvest my first trophy deer until I was 28 years old, my second at age 30 and my third at 32.  Somewhere around this point, I seemed to get a clue in relation to the big picture involved in top-end success.  It was at this point that I became obsessed with the desire to consistently bow-kill trophy whitetails. I made the lifestyle commitments that were necessary to pursue this goal – it was a tough row to hoe. Now, a
dozen years later, I’ve reaped the consequences (both good and bad) of having put forth the top-end effort necessary to achieve my goals. I relate all this as a means of showing the ladder of bowhunting maturity that I’ve climbed. In summary let me say this -don’t plan on starting at the top or on skipping many rungs of the ladder. Set realistic goals, bowhunt and be happy with the deer you harvest.

PRIORITY #1
You Can’t Get Blood out of a turnip: Because of my tremendous success at consistently bow-killing
large-antlered bucks over the years, I’m constantly aware of the fact that many people feel that I must have some supernatural powers in this field. Fact is, I don’t. I refuse to be like many of the other so-called experts that feed on this misconception.

When it comes to the truth of how and why I’m so successful, one thing is clear: The answer isn’t rocket science – I hunt where the big bucks are. For me, this requires travel. Give me some time and a little gas money, put me in my old pickup truck and throw in an ice chest full of food, and
I’ll find a good place to bowhunt.

Yes, in today’s world, outfitters are quickly tying up all the good spots, yet there are still places available to the do-it-yourselfers who are willing to expend the time and effort necessary to ferret them out. Get behind the wheel and start knocking on doors. Find good hunting the old fashioned way -after all, the satisfaction involved in accomplishing this should be a large part of
what the overall bowhunting experience is all about anyway.

The Zone
Timing is Everything I’m blessed to have been able to arrange both my work and personal life into a system that provides me with plenty of time to bowhunt each autumn.  The fact is that few other blue-collar bowhunters can accomplish this task. At best, most bowhunters can invest no more
than two weeks at one time into a hunt. Let me say this -that’s plenty of time to take a big buck if your’ve done everything else to be prepared.

Over the past dozen years, fully 90 percent of my big bucks have been harvested during a three-week time frame-Nov.4 to Nov. 24. No surprise there, right? At no other time of an entire three-month bow season have I been able to come up with a way to consistently harvest
trophy bucks. If you’ve got a way to get the job done outside this peak-rut time, more power to you. If not, this approach to success: Spend your off season time accessing and scouting excellent habitat. You should scout/hunt your area in October during the weekends. In early
November, take a couple of week off work and be prepared to spend all day in your best-bet spots.  I carry a badlands 2200 Series backpack loaded down with everything (Scent-Lok clothing included) necessary to accomplish this task.

FLEXIBILITY IS KEY
An Open Mind is your Greatest Asset: One of the greatest mistakes that the average bowhunter makes is to go afield with pre-conceived rules concerning whitetail deer behavior and/or hunting tactics. For many years when I first started to become serious about my bowhunting, I followed a fairly ridged approach in relation to how I determined stand locations, hunting times and tactics.
I’d read a lot about whitetail hunting and the behavior of the deer themselves. Other experienced (?)
hunters had also fed me a lot of so-called facts. I knew the rules by which the game was played…right?

For years, I had bowhunted according to average mainstream  advice. I reaped exactly that kind of result – average.  With time, I began to realize that something was missing. I don’t know why it took so long for me to finally reach my day of revelation, yet when I did, it forever changed my entire bowhunting life. Let me try to articulate the gist of my brilliant revelation. If you re deer hunting, you’re deer hunting, and you’ll kill deer. trophy bucks aren’t deer, at least in a normal sense. Average hunting locations, times, tactics and efforts will produce average deer, which trophy bucks aren’t.There is nothing normal about consistently bow-killing trophy whitetails so it would be safe to say that to do so must require a willingness to go out on a limb-in other words, depart from normal locations, times, tactics and efforts.

When I finally grasped hold of this mentality, it rocked my bowhunting world from top to bottom. I began to hunt longer, in off-the-wall places, and outside mainstream tactics.  By throwing out a lot of the knowledge that I’d been conditioned to believe was the gospel, I began to become a real student of the deer and their environment.  With time, I began to develop a hunting approach that was based on feel. In other words, I simply hunted wherever, whenever and for whatever reason I wanted. If I had any far-fetched question in the back of my mind about anything, I searched out the
answer. I began to accrue experience (outside the bubble),
confidence and, finally, success” I was finally over the hump.

Sign Off
Waylay Big Bucks in Travel Corridors: It sure is exciting to find a honey hole-a place where big rubs and scrapes are so concentrated that the hair on the back of your neck stands up. No doubt, finding such a place is the epitome of all scouting efforts; a sure ticket to consistent success on trophy bucks, right?  Well, yes and no. For what it’s worth, here’s my take on that.

From my perspective, finding a concentration of deer sign of any kind is important -it’s another piece of a big puzzle. However, my goal isn’t to find any one piece of a puzzle, then guess what the big picture is. It’s my goal to put enough of the puzzle together to make a highly educated guess as to the composition of the entire picture. When it comes to consistently bow-killing mature rutting whitetail bucks, this is the best that anyone can do.

Once I feel that I have the big picture, I put into perspective the areas of concentrated deer sign that Ive found. concentrated sign is usually found in two places-feeding areas and bedding areas. Such being the case, I refuse to hunt in either location due to the fact that doing so will quickly begin to educate and/or relocate the deer. It is my choice to hunt from a low-impact approach. In other words, I leave the deer alone in their areas of high interaction so they remain at ease and feel free to move about unconcerned. I don’t even like to hunt between doe bedding areas and their feeding areas. Basically, I leave the does entirely alone if possible. As long as I know the general area where the does bed during the day, I’ve got the knowledge that I need. It’s my goal to intercept mature rutting bucks as they move from one doe concentration to another It is a fact that bucks use certain perennial travel corridors to accomplish this task. The real trick comes in locating these travel corridors because, as a general rule, they contain very little deer sign and are often viewed as non-traditional and/or unproductive habitat.

Finding and hunting these big buck travel corridors requires a good mix of savvy, confidence and patience. You must be willing to take a leap of faith and stick to your guns to make this
approach work. It’s been my experience, however, that in the final analysis, the rewards far outweigh any other approach to success on large-antlered whitetails.

GOT SOLID
Mental Confidence is Critical To Success: If you’ve done everything necessary to become a savvy big buck hunter, one of the greatest things you can do to make the moment of truth successful is to be rock solid in your ability to make the shot count. It doesn’t make sense to go through the entire process necessary to bring the deal to fruition, then not be able to consummate it.

For some time after I became fairly proficient at placing myself in the immediate presence of big bucks, I had dismal success at getting them bow-killed. I plainly remember thinking the same thought again and again- I’m not sure I can make a killing shot”-and usually I didn’t. I knew that this had to change-soon.  It seems funny to me now but as I look back on the reality of those times, one thing was apparent: I was so wrapped up in my infatuation with learning everything about the deer and how they moved through their habitat that I totally neglected my archery equipment and shooting competence. As I said, this cost me more than a few big bucks.

After a few years of missing out on some excellent opportunities that I knew should have resulted in dead deer, I faced the facts and decided to make some changes. Outfitting myself with top-end gear, I set about working on my shooting skills. For most of one off-season period, I experimented with different bow, arrow and rest combinations. I played with broadhead and arrow fletching setups. I tested different front-of-center combinations, draw weights and varied draw lengths. I tried different releases and shooting techniques. I practiced “till the cows came home,” and to say that I learned
a lot would be an understatement. By the beginning of autumn I’d refined my equipment setup and shooting form to a new level.

When I took to the woods that year, I felt completely different. No longer would the moment of truth find me second-guessing my abilities. I absolutely knew that I could drive nails with this rig, and I intended to prove it. This newfound confidence in my shooting ability actually translated into a mental peace that had been missing before. Little did I realize just how much this confidence had permeated my subconscious mind and would later express itself in an ability to remain calm, and execute properly, when faced with the adrenaline rush of a big buck encounter.

The following autumn came and went. At the end of the season I’d shot three arrows, at three big bucks, and had cleanly harvested all of them.  Having eliminated a major flaw in my trophy-hunting armor had taken me to an even higher level of success than I’d ever thought possible.

These days, I never go afield without top-end gear and the ability to operate it at such a level.
Currently, my archery gear consists of Mathews bows, Bodoodle rests, a metal pin sight by PSE, Beman shafts, Rocky Mountain broadheads
and a Scott release. <–<<

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Published by archerchick on 21 Feb 2010

HI-SPIRIT Father And Son Adventure – By Ted Nugent

HI-SPIRIT
Father And Son Adventure – By Ted Nugent

May 2005


Here’s some real giant-deer excitement!

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

May 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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