Archive for the 'Bowhunting' Category

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Published by admin on 28 Jan 2010

African Blind Date By Paul Hantke

African Blind Date
Join this bowhunter on his first trip bound to Africa
as he goes face to face with the trophy of a lifetime.
By Paul Hantke

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com/

 IT OCCURRED TO me as I pushed a cart overflowing with equipment cases and duffel bags through the Jan Smuts airport in Johannesburg that I was on the blind date of my life.

 I had accepted an invitation from Sangira Safaris to come to South Africa for a three-week hunting and photo safari, but I knew nothing about the company or its principals other than that it was a new venture by two relatively novice professional hunters.

 Not only was I sailing into personally uncharted territory on the other side of the globe, but also the adventure had been arranged, booked and inaugurated into action in about five weeks.  Normal planning for a trip like this should take months, but the wonders of e-mail and a need to get there quickly made it all happen.

 Haste was in order, because, as it was, I arrived in the first week of September, which is well at the end of winter for that half of the world, and almost too late for hunting.  The rainy season, or springtime, brings everything to a halt.

 

Summer in South Africa is the off-season for hunting because it is way too hot.  Not to mention, during the summer vegetation has grown lush from the rainy season and many game animals are virtually impossible to see or pursue.
 
 So there I was that morning with a cart full of gear. (As Staff Editor for the Y-Visionary Outdoor Group, I also had firearms and lots of other stuff for field testing in addition to my archery gear.)  Things got better immediately as I was greeted by my hosts, Tinus Van Heerden and Stoffel Botha, proprietors of Sangira Safaris, Tinus has a background in the military Special Forces, while Stoffel was a federal police investigator, but both grew up “in the bush.”

 Their professional skills in bush craft and hunting would show later, but I was immediately taken by how friendly and down-to-earth both fellows were, and their excellent English made it easy to quickly make friends.  We off-loaded the cart full of stuff into the back of a new 4×4 Crew Cab Toyota pick-up and we were on our way to “the bush,” which varies considerably as you move around South Africa.

 First stop was the bush veldt outside of Thabazimbi, which means “mountain of iron” in Tswana.  Mountain of Iron is the world’s largest deep-pit iron mine that is serviced by the most amazing (and scary) road you have ever seen.

 Our hunting grounds were on a private farm of immense proportions in the valley north of Thabazimbi, which flattens out and looks much like south Texas, with thorn bushes instead of mesquite.  The ground there is level with a couple of inches of soft silt over hard earth, and the thorn bushes grow so thick it is often impossible to find a path through them.

 

 Arriving about midday, we had lunch and then headed out in the old Land Rover hunting buggy.  Our drive took us along the first fence line for several kilometers, and then we turned into the middle of the property.

 I had been warned by a couple of old Africa hands that the animals there were especially hard to see due to their superior camouflage.  “All your North American skills and instincts will need to be re-programmed,” I was assured.

 They did not lie, and I found myself frustrated because Stoffel or Tinus would point out game that I simply could not see.  I could see and agree with the specific tree they were supposed to be standing beside, but I couldn’t make out the animals themselves.  It was interesting but not fun.

 In spite of my handicap, the fellows managed to show me gemsbok, impala, red hartebeest, dukier, kudu, and blue wildebeest, all in a two-hour drive.  We were, in fact, looking for a specific old bull in one of the blue wildebeest herds that the landowner wanted to cull.

 We managed to find the old bull and I grabbed my bow and set out on a stalk with Tinus.  You don’t get to be the old bull by being stupid, and that cagey wildebeest played hide and seek with us for awhile from abut 150 yards out before he darted for parts unknown.

 In the truck, on the way back to the farmhouse, Stoffel suddenly grabbed my shoulder and pointed into the bush.  “Look at the size of that kudu!” he exclaimed.  Everyone else looked and had the same reaction.  “What a monster!”  I, of course, saw only movement in the brush.  After several attempts, the big kudu was ruled impossible to stalk for the day.

 Dinner that night was a South African “Braai,”their version of a good old charcoal grill, and was well received after the long day.  It had been decided over steaks and libations that Stoffel and I would head out to a “hide” next to a waterhole the following morning where I might get a chance to stick a warthog.

 We were dropped off early the next day, and I literally had to look around carefully to find the hide, which only protruded about three feet above ground level.  The interior of the hide is dug out some three feet deep, and a rough wooden bench is you only seat.  The brush walls are lined inside with a tarp to prevent the detection of movement inside, and there are a few tiny viewing holes punched in the tarp.  A “shooting slit” that was about three inches wide and extended about two feet up from ground level was positioned well over to the side.

 

We began our vigil, hoping to get a chance at a warthog once the sun heated up the bush veldt and the animals made their way to water.

 I had along my High Country Ultra Force bow and was shooting Game Tracker’s Carbon Express 300 arrows tipped with the company’s new First Cut broadheads.  A sight check the afternoon before showed the bow was dead on.

 Stoffel and I spent a long and unproductive morning in the hide, eventually drawing pictures of animal tracks and playing tic-tac-toe in the sand at our feet.  We were a scant 25 yards away from the waterhole, so all this was done in virtual silence.
 Our only visitors were Lourie birds and two female kudos, who came in and drank, then laid down just a few feet from us, testament to the camouflage and proper upwind positioning of the hide.

 It was some seven hours before we heard the old Land Rover grinding its way to our position for our pre-scheduled midday pick up.   Once aboard, we weren’t more than a few hundred yards from the hide o our way out when trackers and professional hunters alike all pointed in the same direction.  “Kudu!” they exclaimed,  “and warthogs too!”

 Once again I saw only gray shadows in the brush that I presumed to be kudu, but I could make out a couple of dozen warthogs moving with the shadows.  We stopped the truck and two female with piglets ran across in front of us and disappeared into the thickest on the other side of the trail.  I don’t know if it’s the Disney influence, but I find the sight of warthogs on the move quite humorous.  The pigs and their babies drew a smile as they passed.

 Next came a moment of pandemonium wherein our trackers, Joseph and September, exchanged lots of information in several different languages with Tinus and Stoffel, the gist being that the kudu and the warthog were apparently moving together, and more than that, it was thought they would circle back and resume their trek to the waterhole we had just left.

 “Do you want to go back, or do you want to go have lunch and try again this afternoon?” was Stoffel’s question to me.  “I came to hunt,” was my reply, and September turned toe Rover around, dropping us off short of the hide so we could stalk in while they left by a different route.

 It was another two hours before we began to get any action, and then it was all from female kudu coming quickly into the water and then moving aside into the shade from the taller trees near the waterhole.

 Stoffel kept watch at the peephole, occasionally updating me on the scene while I fiddled with my equipment and thought about what I was doing.

 I eventually decided that my many months of work and practice made me feel comfortable with a shot out to about 30 yards, any further that that and I’d have to pass.

 I was at the peephole when the bull walked in, and I’m sure my jaw dropped just a little bit when I first saw him.  He stood nearly six feet tall at the head and was sporting a set of spiral horns that had to be over 40 inches tall.

 “There he is!” I said excitedly, but quietly, as I got out of the way of the peephole so Stoffel could see.  I was jut making the decision to reach for my bow when Stoffel stopped me, “Take it easy,” he said, “all the vitals are right behind that spot.”

 

We watched the young bull come warily to the waterhole, testing the air with nose high.  Stoffel pointed out a place bhind the animal’s shoulder where the markings made an oval.  “Shoot for the center of that oval,” he said, “all the vitals are right behind that spot.”

 For a second all I could think of was the Gary Larson cartoon of the deer with a target on his chest and his deer buddy saying, “Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.” It was an interesting mental juxtaposition, but I quickly regained my focus.

 “The young one!”  I whispered.  “How much bigger can those things get?”  His answer came back in the same hushed tones as he pulled me back to the peephole, “How about this one?” Stoffel asked.

 Almost seven feet tall at the head, I quickly saw the big kudu Stoffel was referring to.  The trophy was walking right into the water.

 He sauntered to the waterhole and gave the young buck a shoulder to signal him to back off, then he turned broadside to me and began to drink.

 I stepped back from the peephole, eyes and mouth wide and heart hammering already.  I don’t remember what I said, but it was probably not printable anyway.  I picked up my bow, nocked an arrow, set my string release, took a deep breath, and moved forward to fire.

 That was when I discovered that the slit was too close to the wall for a proper elbow-out posture when firing.  So I folded my arm down, concentrated on my bow-hand hold, my cheek weld and the fiber-optic 20-yard pin that I had placed just at the top of the oval in the markings.

 I ever so gently touched the trigger on my release and was very happy to see the yellow-fletched arrow center my target.  Right about then I realized that I had just heard Stoffel saying, “Are you going to shoot?”

 The big kudu hunched up, spun around once, and took off.  A few minutes later and about 100 yards away we found the big guy.  The broadhead had cut a path through heart and lungs and stopped on the inside at the offside shoulder.

 We measured the horns with a steel tape right after I took the kudu, and they ran out to 54 ¼ inches.  A more professional measurement was taken with a steel cable after the head and cape had spent three days in the cold room, and the set still measured 52 ¼ inches.

 As I understand it, the kudu will qualify for both the Rowland Ward and the Safari Club International world record books.

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Published by Newbowhuntingsupplies.com on 26 Jan 2010

Bow Hunting During the Late Season

Doe in the Snow

The Does Looking for Food

The count down to the end of bow season was upon us and I still had tags to fill. With snow already on the ground and the temperature at 8 degrees it began to snow lightly. I had been sitting in the house all day and decided it might be a good idea to go bow hunting. So I opened a package of hand and toe warmers and started to get dressed, this will be a good time to try out my new winter hunting cloths I thought to myself, after getting all bundled up I jumped on the 4 wheeler and headed out. I could see all kinds of tracks in the snow around the field near the middle stand, ‘Davy’s stand’, so I decided to go there.
I hooked my crossbow onto the pull rope and climbed up the stand. After pulling my bow up to me I took off the quiver and hung it on the tree next to me. Birds were the only thing I saw for the first hour. I thought to myself, “I am getting down it is too cold for the deer to move, no I’ll stay a few more minutes”. Then I saw them, 5 deer just coming out of the woods across the field. The first three went straight across the field and the other two went to the left and worked their way around the field. They were heading towards ‘my stand’. Please come this way I thought, not happening, darkness began to sit in and it was time to go to the house.
On Thursday night the weather was about the same but the snow was coming down hard and the wind was blowing. Once again I bundled up and headed out to bow hunt. This time I went to ‘my stand’, it has a roof on it. However, on this day it didn’t help the snow was blowing directly into my face. The view from this stand was perfect. With the snow on ground I could see both hill sides and down the lane. While scouting the area I saw 2 deer at a distance, no wait 3, no 4, wow 5 deer. They were hanging out next to a fallen tree. I watched 2 deer, they were both does, head for the field but I lost the other 3. The 2 doe that went into the field were heading my way so I got my crossbow ready. I turned off the safety and pointed it towards the opening in the trees. Slowly they made their way down the tree line when out of the corner of my eye I saw another doe in the lane. I was trying not to move, my bow was in shooting position. One more step and she is mine when the deer in the lane snorted and they all jumped and ran. The doe I was getting ready to shoot only ran about 20 yards stopped but she was standing in some brush so I couldn’t shoot because the brush would throw my arrow off course. Then she finally made her move into the woods. The other 2 doe were circling behind me so I slowly repositioned my bow and was moving with them. I saw an opening in the brush where I could shoot so I was following the doe hoping she would get to that opening when bang, my bow hit the tree my stand was on and off they ran.
Time to go back to the house once again empty handed. There is nothing I hate worse than to get snorted out after sitting out in cold for so long. However, the thrill of bow hunting was still there. I was able to see the deer and almost had a shot.
On Thursday, January 14 about an hour before dark, I decided to go back to my tree stand. After sitting in my stand for 15 minutes I heard movement behind me. The snow was still on and I could see 2 deer coming off the hill. I lost them as they were coming up the hill and then there she was. She walked towards the back of my stand and stopped. Than the other doe came up, she was walking towards the lane directly beside my stand. I leaned forward to hide behind the blind that is around my stand. She stood beside me for about 5 minutes finally she went into the lane. However, I was afraid to move because I knew the other doe was some where behind me. The front doe finally made a move for the field and the second doe started moving up. As the front doe was working her way down the tree line I was trying not to move so she wouldn’t warn the second doe. Finally, the second doe came our and started heading for the field. Turn a little, I thought, so I could get a shot, that’s it, a little more, I have you. I pull the trigger on my crossbow and heard a thug. She jumped and ran into the field, with every step I could here a gushing sound, I said to myself “I hit her good” when down she went.
I was finally able to get a late season bow hunting kill now it was time to field dress her. When I came around the corner of the house my husband was just pulling in from work. I told him I finally killed a deer for your friend at work that is in need of the meat. He said, “I could tell you got one, you are gleaming”. No matter how many times I kill a deer with a bow I feel the sport just keeps getting better and better for me. Bow hunting is far better than gun hunting if you have never tried it you should give it a shot. To all you bow hunters out there, never give up, you will get your shot.

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Published by Newbowhuntingsupplies.com on 26 Jan 2010

Bow Hunting in the Early Season

The Big Buck

Look at this 15 Point BuckLook at the size of This Rack

It was a Sunday evening, two weeks into the Ohio bow season, and it was time for my husband and me to get into our stands. Bob went to one end of our land and I went to the other. While sitting in my stand, playing on my iphone,I heard deer moving in the woods. It was time to listen and be ready to shoot. My crossbow was sitting next to me so I got the binoculars out to try to see where they were. The bucks started grunting, what a neat sound. The grunts were getting closer and then there was a sound I had never heard before, kind of like a real deep grunt or roar. Then in the field across from me appeared some doe and two nice size bucks, an 8 point and a 10 point. They appeared to be playing when all of the sudden the two bucks started sizing each other up. They weren’t really fighting, just pushing each other around. This went on for about 45 minutes then they just stopped and went on to eating and walked away. They stayed 85 yards away from me so all I could do is watch.

When Bob came out of his stand he said he watched the big buck, a 15 point, and a smaller buck pushing each other around on one side of the field and on the other side of the field were two eight points doing the same thing. He was telling me about the noises they were making and said he had never heard some of these sounds before. The one noise was like a real deep grunt or roar and when the big buck made that noise he chased the smaller buck away from a doe. After the buck chased the other buck away Bob got to hear the wheeze, Bob said it was a neat sound. Needless to say, the deer stayed too far away for Bob and me to get a shot.

Since bow hunting is being in the right place at the right time and scouting your spots, Monday night I decided to go to his stand because he saw the big buck, but all I saw was some does about 100 yards away. I heard the bucks grunting but never got to see them. Then right before dark the coyotes started to howl so I figured the deer were going to leave. On my way out of the woods I saw a deer near my stand but I couldn’t tell if it was a buck or a doe. When I got home from teaching the next day I went back to get the pictures off my camera and low and behold standing right next to my stand was the big buck. It was about 7:15 p.m., well before dark, and there were 5 pictures of him.

I decided I was going to bow hunt out of ‘my stand’ for a while. Tuesday I had 4 small bucks come by my stand but I didn’t want to take a shot. On Wednesday night I heard something coming from behind my stand. It was getting close to dark so I really couldn’t see well in the woods due to the leaves but the fields still had plenty of light. The first deer comes out and walks toward the feeder, it was an 8 point with a high rack but not very wide. It eats a little bit and then looks back in the woods and starts to walk off. Then here he came, the big buck, 15 points. When I first saw him my heart started beating quickly. I said to myself, “Is that really him? Am I going to get a shot? Now calm down Christy”. As I watched him walk around and check out the territory I settled down. By the time he walked towards me it was getting dark. I put the scope of my crossbow on him, yep it was the big boy, but how far was he away from me. I looked back up at him, tried to figure out the yardage, I thought you don’t want to wound this one. He walked to his left and stood broad side to me, again just couldn’t figure out how far away. I decided it was too late to shoot and watched him walk away.

When I went bow hunting Thursday night I figured out he was 30 yards away and I had the perfect shot. Needless to say I have not seen that big buck since. Even though I could kick myself in the butt for not shooting I think I did the right thing.

The life of a bow hunter is hard at times but unlike a gun you must make sure they are in range before you release or pull the trigger on your bow. However, it is a great feeling being in the woods and seeing the deer and other wildlife just doing their thing. I would rather bow hunt than gun hunt any day.

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Published by admin on 25 Jan 2010

Proven Bruin Tactics By Bell Vaznis

Proven Bruin Tactics
When going up against a big, wise bruin, you better
have more than a few tricks up your sleeve.
By Bell Vaznis

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com/

The site intrigued me. It was situated at the confluence of two streams, a natural crossing for black bears, and well off the beaten path. It was also dark under the canopy of spruce and fir, even on a bright sunlit day, which gave me the willies whenever I replenished the bait. Indeed, the five-inch front bad tracks in the nearby mud indicated a mature boar was raiding my cache of meat and pastries every other night or so, and the last thing I wanted to do was to come face to face with him in the poor light.

I hung a portable stand crosswind to the pile of logs covering the bait after one of his visits, and even though I was anxious to free an arrow, I waited for the bear to get used to the new setup before climbing on board. It was the right decision, for the first night I hid aloft, the big bear circled cautiously downwind of the bait site, and once satisfied all was safe, committed himself to the offering just before dark.

I waited for him to present a quartering-away shot, and when he did, I came to full draw and released a vaned shaft at his vitals in one fluid motion. The Pope and Young bruin let out a deafening roar upon impact, and immediately fled the scene with his stubby tail tucked between his legs like a scalded dog.

His efforts were to no avail, however, as he was already dead on his feet expiring less than 50 yards from my stand.

Some bowhunters today erroneously believe that taking a trophy black bear over bait is a cakewalk. After all, they protest, all you have to do is wait next to a pile of donuts for one to show up! I usually break up laughing at these “experts,” for 99 times out of a hundred they have never even seen a bear in the wild much less tagged one with a bow!

You see, if the truth be known, taking a trophy bruin with a bow and arrow over bait is no gimme, especially in those heavily wooded sections of the United States and Canada where black bears are so often found. Why? Because big black bears are smart—very smart. Once a mature black bear knows you are after him, your chances of seeing him are almost nil. In fact, most woodsmen rate only the wolf as more difficult to catch flatfooted in the wild. It is no wonder then that the black bear is America’s number two big-game animal!

A mature bruin, however, is not invincible. Bowhunters who pay attention to detail, might, just might, bet a shot at the trophy of a lifetime. Here are a dozen or so tips to help you in that quest.

Hire a Good Outfitter
If you have your heart set on a record-book bruin, then Canada should immediately come to mind. Although big bruins are arrowed every year in the States, the Canadian provinces offer you well-managed populations of gargantuan bears in wilderness settings. Not to mention, most of these bears have never seen a human before!

But to get a crack at one, you must go where the biggest males abound, and then book with an outfitter who specializes in the 400-plus-pound specimens. Price is often a good indicator in this regard; expect to pay around $2,000 for a quality hunt.

To get started, dial toll-free 1-877-8 CANADA, and ask for a list of outfitters from the province(s) you are most interested in. To date, I’ve arrowed several trophy bruins in Newfoundland, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Walking the Line
Some outfitters will turn over an active bait line to you and then let you set your own stands, or offer you a couple of hot bait sites with stands already in place and then let you decide where you want to sit. Whatever the case, it is imperative you examine as many bait sites over the length of your hunt as possible to help you determine which site(s) have big bears nearby.

What should you be looking for? For starters, I look for front pad tracks five or more inches in width, indicating a probable Pope and Young bear, and large diameter droppings. A Boone & Crockett bruin, for example, will leave dung the size of a Coke can on nearby entrance/exit trails.

Mature bruins also like to circle a bait site before committing themselves to the set-up. Look for freshly crushed vegetation and faint pad impressions just within sight of the bait—a dead giveaway to the 400-pound chocolate bruin I arrowed in Saskatchewan a few seasons back. His entrance trail would have been easy to miss if my guide and I hadn’t been actually looking for it.

When comfortable, black bears will also sit on their haunches or lie down near the bait to feed giving you yet another opportunity to judge their size. Get on your hands and knees if necessary, and look for a flattened area of matted, broken or bent-over plant stems.

Can’t find a bear track? Spread cooking oil, grease or even just water near the bait site to help soften the soil. The oil/grease will also go a long way towards attracting even more bears. Put some grease on the trunks of nearby trees, too, to help lure bears to the bait site, and then gauge any fresh claw marks found on the tree’s trunk for size.

Of course, don’t overlook a big bear sighting within a half mile of a particular bait site. You can bet your plane ticket home that a bruiser knows exactly where that bait is, and unless spooked, will eventually visit during legal shooting hours.

Other Trophy Bear Sign
Keep in mind that a boar’s home range typically overlaps the home ranges of several sows. He will therefore only be able to visit a bait site once every two or three days. Unless you find sign to the contrary, a site that is pounded every day is probably being hit by a subordinate bear, maybe even a sow. I’ll take a bait that is being hit sporadically over one that is being devoured nightly any day!

In addition to size, color can also denote trophy quality. Black bears, for example, can have red, cinnamon, blond and chocolate hide as well as the very rare white. Look for hair caught on nearby tree trunks, brush or even a length of barbed wire left purposely near the bait for clues to coat color. There is no finer trophy in the world than an off-color record-book bruin!

Eliminate Sows and Cubs
Locating big bear sign around a particular bait site is one goal, but you also want to avoid hunting a site routinely visited by a sow with cubs for obviously reasons. How can you tell there are cubs about? They usually destroy a baited area leaving it look like it was hit by a tornado. Look for small tracks and small diameter droppings to confirm your suspicions, and tidbits of food scattered all over the place.

Don’t however, abandon a site if it is being visited by several sows, as evidenced in part by a plethora of medium-size tracks. Black bears breed in the early summer, and such a site can be a magnet for jumbo boars looking for a sow in heat. You may only get one chance at a particular boar under these circumstances as he will not likely return once he hooks up with a sow. Size him up quickly, and take your first killing shot.

Watch Your Scent
There are two schools of thought concerning scent control. One, keep your body, clothing and all equipment as scent-free as possible by using rubber boots, charcoal suits and deodorizing sprays. Or two, since the bears already associate the bait with humans, do not make any effort to control your odor. In fact, you can even leave an article of clothing behind in the stand to help desensitize the bears to our stench. Both schools have their merit.

It is not uncommon for a bear to return to bait site after being shot at. In fact, even superficially wounded bruins have been known to return in a day or two. Why? In part because they did not associate the sound of the shot or the pain inflicted with that of a human. Bears are always fighting, and scratches and cuts are a normal part of daily life. Once a bear knows he is being hunted, that is he associates humans and food with danger, all bets are off.

That is why I refer to keep my presence at the bait site a secret. I avoid spreading fresh scent about by walking too close to the bait pile, and I always try to sneak in and out of my stand without causing a disturbance. I especially avoid crossing any bear trails. You can never be too careful in this regard!

Setup Right
Underestimating a bear’s intelligence can easily lead to tag soup at season’s end. Pick a tree with a large trunk and many branches to disguise your silhouette, and then arrange it so you can shoot sitting down in full camo. I like to be no more than 20 yards from the bait and 12 to 15 feet above the ground to help insure a one-shot kill.

Bears may have poor eyesight, but they are not blind. Any blob that looks out of place arouses their suspicions, and they can spot motion faster than an alert whitetail. Anything you can do to stay out of sight, and to reduce or conceal unwanted movements, is to your benefit.

A Bear’s Nature
One of the biggest mistakes neophytes make is shooting the fist bear that comes to the bait. There is a social hierarchy among bears, and no place is this more evident than around a bait site. Sows, yearlings and young boars often feed first in the early evening followed by bears higher on the ladder with the big boars feeding last, when they feel it is safest.

A subordinate boar will generally announce his arrival by purposely snapping a twig, thereby warning any bears already on the bait that he is nearby. Bears subordinate to him will generally melt back into the forest in anticipation of his arrival. The snapping of a twig also serves as a safety device for him. The last thing he wants is to do is surprise the Alpha male at the feeding site. He knows from past experience that he is no match for the dominate bruin.

Therefore, if you see a bear acting nervous around the bait site, you can bet he fears a bigger bear is nearby. Experienced bear hunters will pass on the nervous bear in hopes a real jumbo will soon materialize.

Never Give Up
Once you are convinced a mature bruin is in the vicinity of a particular bait, plan on hunting that bait for the duration of the trip. Unless you have educated him to your presence, a big bear will eventually come in for a look-see during daylight hours. I once sat over a bait for two weeks waiting for a Boone & Crockett bear with seven-plus-inch front pads to return. I finally saw the mystery bear on my last night in camp, a roly-poly 675-pound spring behemoth with a head the size of a basketball. He never took his eyes off me, however, cleverly shielding his body with a “head-on” stance. I never did get a shot at him even though I sat only 15 yards away without a twig between us!

Bait-Wise Bruins
Once a bear knows you are on to him, he may be impossible to kill. There are, however, a few tricks you can use to lure a big bear back to the bait site. A honey burn, for example, can send a cloud of sweet smoke into a bear’s lair that most bruins find difficult to resist. Simply pour a pint of honey into a pot, and fire it up with a can of Sterno. It will first steam and then boil before erupting into a volcano of thick smoke. We took three fat bears on spring evening using this technique.

What can you do if a bear hangs up just out of range? More often than not the bear has figured out you are on stand and is waiting for you o leave so he can chow down in safety. (I told you bears were smart!) The trick here is to quietly erect a second stand downwind of his staging area in the middle of the day, or have a buddy set up another stand near the bait and then leave one-half hour before nightfall.

The first time we tried the latter, the ruse worked like clockwork. “Thinking” I had left my stand early, the bruin waltzed into the bait site before my buddy had driven out of hearing range, presenting me with an easy broadside shot. This plan has worked so well over the years that we always pack a couple of extra lightweight portables with us to bear camp.

As you can see, tagging a record-book bear means hunting in areas they thrive, and then interpreting the sign they leave behind correctly. It also means learning to play cat and mouse with them around the bait station. In fact, only then will you realize just how smart a mature black bear can be. Let the games begin!

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Published by KurtD on 14 Jan 2010

DO NOT POST ITEMS FOR SALE IN THIS SECTIONS (Blogs and Articles)!

This section of Archerytalk is just for Blogs and Articles.

Please use the Archerytalk Forums TO POST A FREE CLASSIFIED AD

Thanks,

admin

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Published by tw10136 on 07 Jan 2010

mission bows?

how are the new mission bows made by matthews?

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Published by dreynolds on 04 Jan 2010

SABO Sight

Was curious how many of you fellow hunters have heard of the SABO sight? A buddy just sent the companies website and a youtube clip of the bowsight.   The company that is launching this sight is new, and I was curious if anyone had purchased the sight yet?  Below is the clip I was sent.

www.tacticalarcherysystems.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mBeE8cLOd0

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Published by justsayitsigns on 29 Dec 2009

looking for mod.for 26-27 in draw length

i got a used bow for christmas. it is a pro line dual cam wit 29 in draw. i need to find 2 matching mod to reduce the draw to 26 or 27. i can’t find any real in fo out there for pro line. i think it is a carbon pro line! please any suggestions or links would be greatly appreciated.

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Published by sarah on 22 Dec 2009

My very first hunting trip in the pouring snow

The weather man is calling for a twenty four inch snow storm here in Roanoke county Virginia.   more snow than we will have gotten in fifteen years, also setting records for the month of December!  Anyways, i decide it will be fun to hunt in the snow and i should get to my tree stand before it starts snowing heavily.  As soon as i start walking into the edge of the woods i can barely see through the sno

windburn :(

 
windburn 🙁

w. i don’t turn back.  By the time i get to my stand already an inch and a half of snow has fallen and the steps are slippery climbing up.  im sweating and i should have lived in that last moment of warmth.  finally hooked in my stand i start to feel the snow flakes and wind on my cheeks.  windburn was in my future. my big fluffy NON-waterproof coat was starting to turn white and so was the rest of my clothing. i had to stand up to get some of it off before it all soaked in.  this turned into a routine.  an hour has passed and I’m colder than I’ve ever been in my life, and it feels like the temperatures dropping.  it hurts to look to my left; the wind and snow are hitting me harder than ever.  the next two hours were miserable.  i hadn’t seen a a squirrle  much less a deer and i was about to die so i lower my bow down and descend down the slippery steps once again.  up the hill i fell more times than i can count and next time i WILL dress warmer!

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Published by admin on 08 Dec 2009

Deer Hunting With A Pioneer Tips From An Old-Timer

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

cover

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com/

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

Deer_Hunting_With_A_Pioneer

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

Deer_Hunting_With_A_Pioneer_2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deer_Hunting_With_A_Pioneer_8

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

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

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

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

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

 “On the inside of each hind leg of a deer, just below the hock or knee, is a large musk gland.  This area has little or no hair on part of it with stiff, dark hair around its edge.  These glands seem to serve as a sort of radio set by which deer send scent messages to one another.  When hunting, if I can get these from the legs of a recently killed deer, I rub the musk on my trousers or on my boots.
 
Deer_Hunting_With_A_Pioneer_6 

“If suitable cover is not close to a deer trail, deer can often be lured from the trail, deer can often be lured from the trail by dropping pieces of apples or other deer tidbits such as acorns along a course the hunter desires the deer to take. “A sneaky trick I have found useful is the ‘odorous arrow gambit.’  It works best when deer are feeding or traveling int the wind and I’m behind them, but without sufficient cover to work up on them.  I take a field arrow and wrap a piece of an old sock, well stunk-up with human odor, snuggly around the forend, holding it in place with a rubber band.  From cover, I shoot the arrow high over the deer so it will fall to the ground beyond.  The sound of the arrow may turn them back toward me.  If not, they will soon scent the human odor on the arrow and may come slipping back downwind toward me, their attention mostly centered on watching their  backs.  I have more than once had deer come right in close to me using this trick.

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

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

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

 Deer_Hunting_With_A_Pioneer_5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deer_Hunting_With_A_Pioneer_4

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

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

 “Happy hunting.”

 

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