Archive for the 'Bowhunting' Category

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Published by dandu005 on 13 Nov 2011

Bittersweetness of Hunting

I feel that I am not alone when I say that there is most definitely a bittersweet side to the harvesting of game and the hunt being over. I was fortunate this year to once again fill my Minnesota archery tag with a nice buck. Not only that, but it also was the third consecutive year that I took my buck on Halloween weekend. So to say harvesting my 2011 buck made me happy is an understatement, although deep down there was a strange feeling that was oddly not surprising.

Looking down at my buck lying in the bed of my truck, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat upset. I had spent the last 364 days since I killed my last buck getting ready for that moment, and now it was over. The thought that my 2011 season was over really struck at me, and thinking about a whole year of preparation until the next season seemed depressing. I found it very interesting that despite my success I had mixed feelings about it. This was supposed to be a time of utter celebration and nothing more. Which we did celebrate the harvest, and I most certainly couldn’t have been more happy with a happy ending to a hunting season, but the emotions I felt still kept me uneasy deep down.

Finally an epiphany happened, and I realized why I was feeling these mixed feelings. The happy feelings go without any need for explanation. However, the unhappy ones I found to be caused by the end of a season. I would no longer get to go out into the woods, sit in a tree stand, observe mother nature, and enjoy God’s work. I anticipate that opportunity all year, it is what I essentially live for among other select things. I have also found that it is inevitable that these feeling will come when you put in so much time and effort into the preparations for your hunting season, then have it all come down to the climax and have it end only to start the cycle all over again. The important thing to remember is that you get the opportunity to do it all again. For many this chance doesn’t come. Half the fun of hunting is the off-season preparation isn’t it? The anticipation, the prepping, all working up to that fleeting moment, that is why we do it. So don’t let those end of the season woes get to you. Always remember there is another season coming, so reap the rewards of the recently ended one and start getting ready for next year’s adventures, and remember why we do what we do.

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Published by archerchick on 05 Nov 2011

FOR WILD TURKEY ~Starting From Scratch ~By Stan Chiras

Archery World August 1988

By Stan Chiras

I really couldn’t see what all the fuss was
about. But, as they say, that was then and
this is now.
I had been on a couple Wyoming elk hunts
with Dick Kirby of Quaker Boy Game Calls in
the past. Now, when you’re with Dick you
can’t help getting infected with his ever-
present enthusiasm for the game he hunts;
whether it be elk, deer or turkeys. Hearing
him recount some of his episodes with gobblers
easily convinced me to give it a try. I had
heard a number of deer hunters say that if they
had to give up either deer or turkey hunting
that the deer would have to go. I can’t say I
totally agree with that but I certainly can see
their point after my spring of 1987.
. Wyoming is one of my favorite places to
hunt and the native Merriam subspecies of
turkey found there is a stunningly beautiful
bird. So, one evening after talking with Dick,
I gave outfitter 0.B. Caudle a call and made
some arrangements to go turkey hunting with
him. I had had an enjoyable time hunting
with 0.B. the previous fall for elk and he
promised me an equally rewarding time in the
Black Hills of Northeastern Wyoming. The
trouble was, neither of us knew anything
about turkeys! We decided to just go out and
have some fun trying.
Luckily, we both knew Dick and a phone
call netted us videos, calls and assorted equipment
to shape these two neophytes into some
semblance of turkey hunters. Our last bit of
advice from Dick was that we were making
matters a little too difficult for a first time
attempt. You see, I hunt exclusively with bow
and arrow and getting a gobbler with one
would be a tough bill to fill. It has its rewards
though, as we would soon come to know.
Likewise, it has its drawbacks, to be felt convincingly as well.
Let me say right away that five days of turkey hunting has made me a better hunter, for
the birds proved unforgiving in their treatment of us. I am also hooked for life on these
magnificent creatures.

Our hunt began on the first afternoon with
an answer to a very limited vocabulary of
yelps from a canyon far below us. I don’t
know if it was the aggressive nature of the
gobbles or the closeness of the responses as
we moved in, but as we set off to pursue these
birds (two were talking to us), I became an
addicted turkey hunter. I became this gladly, I
might add.
Now, O.B. is an experienced elk hunter
and, acting on some of the advice given to him
from Bob Wozniak, also of Quaker Boy, he
prompted me to get in close in a hurry —- as
though our quarry was an angry six-point bull
elk. This was becoming fun in a hurry! The
difference was that with an elk you just crash
up to them noisily, with a turkey you must
contain your sounds.
We slipped down a blind ravine to the can-
yon floor and quickly surveyed the scene. The
bottom was about 150 yards wide and covered
with scrub oak. It seemed ideal — but then,
what did we know’? Thankfully, it was graced
with an old logging road that made for a quiet
approach. O .B. yelped and was interrupted by
the two gobblers before he had made his third
sound. These toms were anxious and so were
we! In elk-like fashion, we looked for a set-up
that would be conducive for a shot and settled
in.

Added Inducement
There was another member of our party
that I haven’t mentioned yet. She became
fondly known to us as “Henrietta,” our turkey decoy.
She was a prototype from Duffel
Decoy, and just like their deer decoy, she
folded up nicely for traveling and popped to
shape conveniently when needed. She proved
to be a valuable asset to our efforts.
I had moved off to the right and nestled
into some brush, feeling secure in my Tree bark
sweats. I kneeled at 90° to the decoy (that
O.B. was now setting up) so that I would have a
good body position for the shot. O.B. then
moved up the road fifteen yards to call and
draw the gobbler past me and to Henrietta.
He yelped and a gobbler fired back instantly
and very aggressively from no more
than fifty yards away! Within seconds, and
long before I had time to compose myself, he
appeared into a twenty yard opening to my
right, coming in like a freight train! He was
fanned out in full display and puffed up like a

balloon. In the bright afternoon sunlight (we
later found out that we shou1dn’t have been
out there in the afternoon . . .) his white, blue
and red head appeared to be made of brightly
painted plastic, for it seemed to me that nothing on earth could look quite like this. He was
almost stumbling as he hurried directly to-
ward me. I was in trouble.
He was supposed to come down the road
– not through this clearing where I couldn’t
bend my body to shoot without being noticed.
Luckily, he dipped out of sight into a small
depression and I quickly pivoted and readied
my bow. I crouched down flat in the spring
grass. I was no sooner turned and flat out
when he reappeared, still hurrying, apparently anxious to beat the other, more distant,
gobbler to our hen yelps. This was most definitely the way to start off our turkey hunting
career!
He was gobbling every ten yards or so and
waiting for the response from 0.B. , who was
doing surprisingly well for his first turkey serenade. Just like with an elk, you must react to
your quarry and Caudle was doing it nicely.
The problem became one of how to draw
with a turkey coming directly at me without
spooking the bird. The solution was to not do
a damn thing! It wasn’t my intention to be in
this position, but I was most definitely stuck.
He came to within the width of a dinner table
of me and redeemingly saw the object of his
affections, Henrietta. I think I might have
seen a little extra twinkle come from those
dark little eyes at that moment as he stepped
into a small clump of trees to move over to the
roadway and continue his advance. What a
show this was! Six feet away was a strutting
Merriam in full sunlight! I was practically
stunned!
Almost any archer knows the golden rule
of this situation if he has shot at much
game. And that rule is to “take the first good
shot you get,” which is just what I did. He
approached the decoy at a 45° angle to me
which eventually put his fanned-out tail be-
tween his head and this very anxious archer.
The very moment I lost sight of those beady
little eyes I pivoted, aimed and shot. The arrow covered the 12 yards between us in an
instant. It made a soft “pufft” as it hit the bird.
Giving Chase
He rolled forward and came up, pausing
for a moment to look at me, now bolting
madly at him. Seasoned turkey hunters will
tell you to run to any turkey that you shoot
immediately; so there I was in motion. He
took off like a jackrabbit and I hung a hard
right tum in pursuit, still clutching my bow, I
guess for another shot should the occasion
arise. There was no thought going on here,
only primordial instincts. And those instincts
told me to catch that bird fast!
The bird was out of there in a hurry. He
flew a little but came back down on the log-
ging trail like a roadrunner. A hundred yards
in front of me was a thick patch of scrub oaks.

He dove into them and became a memory. I
crept around the brush, hoping to locate the
gobbler, but he was gone . . .
I went back to O.B. and we searched for
some sign of a good hit. To my dismay, all we
found were feathers and a clean arrow. It appeared that I was chasing a healthy turkey
down that valley and qualified myself for
some sort of lunatic award. It left me in awe of
the bird and their courting displays and very
much anxious to continue.
Let me slip in one short comment here. I
have lost chances at more nice bucks and bull
elk than I can shake a stick at due to one factor
that we all know only too well. That curse of
the hunt is called the wind. One of the refreshing differences
between deer and turkey hunting is that for the first time ever, you don’t
really give a damn what the wind is doing or if
your clothes are camp fire-smoked or if you
had garlic dressing on your salad the night
before. It just doesn’t matter because these
birds can’t smell. It truly simplifies the hunt
in that respect. If they could smell, they would
be very close to unkillable!
Some time later we crossed the canyon,
climbed to the opposite ridge and let out some
yelps. To our astonishment, we got an immediate answer! This was looking pretty easy,
especially for 3:45 p.m. of the first day. But
little did we know . . .
After five minutes of coaxing, the gobbler
came uphill to us in some pretty dense pines
that we were situated in. He picked me out
immediately and turned off to my left side. I thought he was simply circling the source of the sound like an elk
or whitetail will sometimes do. I let him go,
expecting him to circle, and he never returned. He did blast us with a “so long,
sucker” gobble from 100 yards out. I deserved it. It was hard for me to believe that he
had seen me, but he had. Kirby told me that
they have tremendous visual acuity; that is the
ability to pick out even a well camouflaged
hunter by his shape alone. I was to learn this
the hard way a few more times. These birds
put deer and elk to shame in this category,
believe me!
We headed back to camp and took our time
to enjoy the sights and rest our bones. This
was a lot like elk hunting! We had hiked several miles
and crossed some serious elevations in the process. It was not what I had
anticipated; but it was very enjoyable none-the less. Half the reason I hunt elk is for the
quality frequently referred to as “wilderness
experience,” and this trip was providing me
with just that. As we peaked our climb we
were treated to a magnificent view of Devil’s
Tower and the rest of the Black Hills. Certainly, there is easier turkey hunting; but I
doubt that there is any more picturesque.

Coupled with these wily and exciting turkeys, the
hunt was becoming a real dream experience for me.
We drove to the top of a 200 acre hay
meadow that evening, hoping to locate some
birds on the roost for the next morning ’s hunt.
Within the borders of the fields we saw an
estimated 200 whitetails feeding in the sunset.
It’s amazing that those same deer became so
elusive last autumn. O.B. circled the top,
calling over the edge while I worked a valley
back to camp. I beat him back to a pick-up
point and decided to catch some sleep. There
I sat in the fading light, totally relaxed, when I
heard what I thought was a very distant gobble. I ran
a couple hundred yards in the direction of the sound and let out a couple yelps. I

thought I heard an answer so off I ran again —
hoping to beat darkness. This continued for
almost a mile, until I was only a couple hundred
yards from the bird. He was a talkative
fellow and I had little trouble pinpointing his
location. I shut up and slipped off to find 0.B.
at the pick-up point. As I excitedly told him
about the bird he told me about one he had
located as well. We decided to go after my
gobbler, since he was a lot closer to camp. We
could chase his later.
Outwitted
We were about to learn another lesson
here: It’s best to be very sure of a gobbler’s
location before you set up in his bedroom.
Turkeys in this neck of the woods often get
into their roost by going up a hillside above
their roost tree and then they simply fly across
to a perch.
We thought he would be in the highest tree
on the hill so the next morning we snuck to a
location just below the top of the knoll they
were on. These two seasoned hunters slipped
quietly into position in the darkness. As dawn
emerged, 0.B. let out, or rather began to let
out, a series of soft yelps. What happened
next was nothing short of comical. The tom
fired off an emphatic burst of gobbles in the
middle of O.B.’s yelping, cutting him off
rudely. The trouble was, and I do mean trouble, he was in the tree directly above us! We
looked at each other and held back our laughter, knowing we could only sit still and enjoy
the spectacle.
He gobbled half a dozen times before fol-
lowing the hens to a small ridge 50 yards distant
to our location. I have to say right here
that the word “gobble” does not do justice to
the sound. It’s as good as “bugle” or
“screaming elk” in real life. The sound is like
no other and stirs the soul into addiction. If
you’ve never heard it in the woods, then you
must. This gobbler and his hens poked around

for a few minutes — he was strutting and they
were poking. He was the king of this place;
there was no doubt of that from where we sat.
The decoy was in O.B.’s pocket, my arrows
were deep in the quiver and our headnets were
not where they should have been as we sat
there, enjoying the show. It was well worth the
price of admission.
When they left we set up quickly and let out
some yelps. They didn’t reappear and we

doubted that he would leave those hens any-
way. I was to come back to see this fellow
later, although I didn’t know it at the time.
It seemed (because it was) miles before we
got our next answer. Actually, it was another
double so we decided to go after one first,
then if needed, the other. A little optimism
never hurts!
We slipped onto a small outcropping over-
looking a valley that was peppered with large
oaks and almost no underbrush. We thought
the tom was just up the other side, so we
didn’t dare go any closer since the visibility
was so good. I tucked in against a fallen log
and 0.B. got behind me. Henrietta was 10
yards in front of us. That was our mistake. If I
could do it again I would have put her behind
and up the hill a little off to our side to draw
the turkey past us. I never said we were quick
learners . . .
The gobbler interrupted our first yelps and

gobbled almost constantly as he came down
his side of the valley and up ours, in full view
of these two eager hunters. I could hear his
footsteps as he climbed to the edge of our out-
cropping. It was at this time that I realized that
we had once again goofed. He was just about
to crest the rim. At 15 yards he would be looking directly at the decoy but also straight at
me. It was too late to do anything. He came up
in full color and display. It was breathtaking.
At first I thought he didn’t see the decoy.
He sort of half dropped his display and strut-
ted off course, to my right and uphill into
some trees. He had seen me and was easing
gently out of the picture, like any sane turkey
would do in this situation. I don’t think he
really knew what he saw, but he wasn’t stick-
ing around to find out more, either. I held my
shot since I didn’t think he was leaving. You
probably know the rest of the story. He did
keep going and gobbled at us from the trees
above as if to say “Nice try, guys! ”
We had a conference and decided that I
had to get behind a real solid backdrop and
position the decoy so the gobbler would have
to strut by me enroute to the hen, then I could
shoot after he passed me and was facing the
decoy, presumably in full strut. That first turkey we had shot had also been our best set-up,
although it had been quite by accident that the
turkey came as he did. We would try to duplicate something like it on our next bird —— a
bird who was only 200 yards away and still
gobbling regularly as we whispered our strategy.

We simply slipped over the ridge and then
set up on the other side. 0.B. was nestled be-
hind some brush and I chose to sit in front of
four tightly bunched pines. There was no
good place for me to get into as we wanted and
this looked pretty safe. Henrietta was off to
my right about 15 yards. I felt that since the
decoy and source of sound were to my, side,
the gobbler wouldn’t look over to me at all. He

would hopefully crest the hill and see her — no
way would he notice my still form over by the
dense pines. When he went to her I would be
able to draw unnoticed.
This was a stubborn gobbler and O.B. was
becoming a better caller. I could see the entire
opposite hillside from where I was. O.B.
would yelp and the tom would gobble. For the

next 20 minutes this went on and it was beginning to look like a standoff. My legs were
cramping but I was unwilling to move for fear
he might see me from wherever he was. Finally, O.B. let out a gobble on the faithful
Quaker Boy Grand Old Master box and that
was too much for the old boy. He had wanted
the hen to come to him, but when he heard the
gobble he decided that he had better travel!
Gobblers get jealous when it comes to a single
hen, it would seem!
He appeared across the valley and proceeded to strut back and forth for another ten
minutes. gobbling his lungs out. He was a
proud bird with a beard that almost touched
the ground. It was great!
Another gobble from a perceptive guide
(who couldn’t see any of this show from his
location) brought him down his side of the
valley and up ours in about 60 seconds flat.
When a gobbler decides to move, he can do so
very quickly.

Now if you told me before this incredible
discourse had taken place that he could ever
spot my outline against those pines, I would
have bet you ll) cents on the dollar against it.
And I would have lost. He rose over the hill,
saw his love. farmed out and then immediately
dropped his plumage and began letting out a
series of troubled “pritts”. I was flab-
ergasted. but this time knew it was over. I
drew and shot as he paced off, now about 25
yards distant. The arrow sailed harmlessly
over his back and he half jumped and flew
another ten yards out. I already had another
arrow on its way.
In midflight an archer usually knows if he
is about to hit his mark. This arrow had “turkey” written all over it. Somehow, a small
twig grew up off a dead log and gently deflected the shaft to the ground under tl1e gobbler. Figures.
That was enough for him and he flew to the
opposite hillside and took off running. I was
drained but happy that we had done so well,
especially once he had spotted me. A little
luck and he would have been ours.
We finally figured out what we had to do to
get the next bird in, position him and get off
an undetected shot. We wished we had known
all this before. but we were ready now! Boy,
were we ready?

We headed back to the truck for lunch.
Along the way we pestered a reluctant porcupine for some photos with this hunter and
guide. It provided us with a needed break
from the intense search for gobblers we had
been experiencing. From a peaceful hillside
we talked over setup, calling, camouflage
and approach; all in anticipation of our next
encounter. We were both hooked on this new
sport.
As we approached the truck I almost jokingly said to O.B. “O.B. let out a yelp just in
case there’s a gobbler nearby.” O.B. quipped
back, “Sure thing” with a sarcastic tone.
Sometimes it seems like you can’t miss.
The gobbler came back instantly and
wouldn’t shut up, apparently anxious to meet
the hen he thought we were.
We, in some great quest for a better location, moved closer, yelping as we went. I
imagine the gobbler took our yelping as an
indication of an easy conquest and came on
the gallop.
There I was, settling in behind some
brush. O.B. was placing the decoy past me so
the gobbler would go by and let me get him
from behind while he was concentrating on
Henrietta. There was no way he would see me
from where I was. This was, finally, the perfect
setup.
As I said, he was coming fast if the in-
creasing volume of the gobbles was any indication. He was coming so fast that, in fact, he
caught O.B. flatfooted next to the decoy. He
was anxious, but not that much! He bolted the
opposite Way.
We were getting a little tired of these “lessons learned” and decided to make no more
mistakes on the next bird. We had experienced a lifetime of encounters with turkeys by
now and were ready to cash in.
The trouble was, there was to be no next
bird to come to the call. For 2 l/2 days we tried
repeatedly to locate birds and only heard one
distant gobble that never answered again.
Getting a gobbler with a bow is a difficult
task at best. And no bird in the bag is a price a
bowhunter must pay more often than not; but
there is another side to this story.
We called in a total of seven gobblers, five
to under twenty yards, with the first one being
as close as six feet at one time. Had it not been
the very tail end of the season we may have
done better since their breeding activity was
winding down rapidly by then. But how many
men have had a magnificiant gobbler strutting
by practically in their laps? I wouldn’t trade
those memories for anything, including a bird
on the ground. I no longer wonder what people see in turkey hunting (or is it called Gobblin’ Fever?). Their secret is safe with me, but
I wonder how we can keep it from other non-
turkey hunters out there?
Last Chance
On the last night, we returned to the roost
site that we had bungled by being too close to
on the second day. I had sent for my Ghillie
Suit from back home and hoped to put it to
the test with these birds. (Developed for use
by military snipers, Game Wirmer’s Ghillie
Suit uses hundreds of fabric strips sewn to

mesh lining for a 3-D camo effect.)
At 7:30, three hens and a gobbler appeared from an adjacent comer of a bordering
field. Although they were headed for this
roost, their path would carry them through
the woods 100 yards to my right; so I yelped,

hoping to steer them my way. The tom gob-
bled back repeatedly but they stayed on their
course for the 1‘0OSt tree. With my best still-
hunting attempt ever, I began to sneak over to
intercept them.

Miraculously, I saw a hen coming before
she saw me. When she crossed behind a tree I
dropped down behind one of my own and
nocked an arrow.
Soon the hens were all heading down a
deer trail directly toward my location. They
would pass within fifteen yards of me! This
was too good to be true! They passed by and

never even noticed my still form, clad in the
disheveled looking Ghillie Suit. I remember
wishing that I had brought it with me to begin
with and used it on our earlier attempts.
That’s for next year. Soon the gobbler would
follow. I remained still and quiet and very
much full of anticipation.
After what seemed like an eternity, he appeared, strutting back and forth and carrying
on as if to tell the world that he was indeed the
king of this place. It was beautiful. The silence was awesome. My private view into
his life was incredible. I felt as though I was
the most privileged person on earth. The hens
had flown to their tree about 75 yards past and
a little below me. He was next.
As I said, he had been strutting out in front
of me. He seemed hung up at about 40 yards,
so I decided to coax him along. I had my Easy
Yelper box next to me for just this type of development so I carefully reached over and
gave it a few purrs. The forest was so silent
that I could hear his footsteps and feathers
rattle as he strutted and puffed and pounded
the air with his lungs. I knew he could hear
my purrs but to my surprise, he totally ignored them! I tried some more but he continued to parade around in oblivion to me. This
party was about to end. It was apparently bed
time.
He went straight down the slope and flew
into a tree of his own. I guess that is, as they
say, life! It was an anticlimax, but an easy one
to take considering the circumstances.
I had to go home that night so I carefully
snuck over to his tree for one last look. The
hens spotted me and began plucking nervously, with the one highest in the tree standing so tall that she appeared to be willing her-
self (or me) out of there!
Knowing they wouldn’t fly, I slipped to a
spot where I could see his silhouette against
the sunset. I smiled and shook my head in
admiration to salute a friend goodbye, or
rather: until we meet again. He was every
gobbler in the world to me then, and there he
sat, just a few yards from me acting as though
he barely noticed my presence. I turned and
padded up the deer trail, filled with memories
I’ll never lose.
O.B. was waiting a couple hundred yards
away and expressed relief that I hadn’t gone to
shoot the gobbler out of the tree (a concept we
had not discussed). He said he heard the hens’
plucking and was surprised at me, thinking I
had moved in for a shot.
I just softly laughed and said “Right . . .”
Gobblin’ fever won’t let you tip the scales that
way . . .

. . . It was fall and the crisp air felt good on
my face. Instead of deer, my thoughts were
with turkeys once again. A thirst from spring
had remained unquenched and the antlered
ones would have to do without me for a few
days.
Fall hunting is a different affair, for the
gobblers aren’t booming out their calls and
enchanting the countryside like they do in the

spring. It’s pretty much a matter of locating
flocks, rushing at them and yelling like a nut-
case to scatter them away from each other.
Then you call them back together and arrow
one. Simple.
My first flock took a lot of effort to disperse. They insisted on ruffling and staying
together. I circled ahead, caught them by surprise and they took flight in every direction.
The thickest clump of brush in the vicinity
made a great blind. I dove in and quickly
smashed out a shooting lane.
Surprisingly, since this was my first at-
tempt at fall birds, they answered my yelps
from everywhere. Soon, I had some in sight
and I became very, very still. I remembered
my spring lessons only too well!
It seems these birds always have some-
thing in store for me. A lone Jake walked up

from my right side and peeked into my shooting lane — at a mere ten feet. I was unable to
even breathe, much less draw the bow. I had
been hoping for a 10 to l5 yard pass and not
this! He cautiously slipped off, offering me no
shot.
A small rustle in the brush behind me
caught my ear a moment later. Ever-so-
slowly, I turned my head to check it out.
There, in the bush with me, were two turkeys
picking the ground intently. I froze, knowing
this was another loser. The birds never saw
me (due to the thickness of the brush) as they
worked their way inward.
A new personal record was about to be set
— at three feet they laid down to rest. THREE
FEET! !! I quickly decided what to do, since I
was about to burst out with laughter anyway! I
reached over and patted the closest one on the
back. She didn’t seem to appreciate the situation
like I did and commenced clucking and
clawing at the turf in an effort to leave at warp
speed. I got no shot but that episode was better, I was sure!
The next day I was lucky enough to scatter
another of the plentiful Wyoming flocks, this
time in the vicinity of one of my deer stands. I
didn’t kr1ow if it was kosher to hunt turkeys
from treestands but I was up quickly anyway.
This time I had one of the limited edition
Quaker Boy boxes with me. This particular
box makes a very coarse yelp — a lot like an

older hen would make. Apparently, it was
music to these turkeys’ ears. Shortly, a group
of five birds came into view, calling back frequently to my call. Knowing they could pin-
point my tree easily, I became quiet and still,
with my new Oneida Eagle 600 poised and
ready.
The group was made up of four hens and a
Jake. He was sporting a five inch beard which
I deduced would someday be a trophy append-
age. I’m one that believes that there are never
enough bucks or gobblers of trophy caliber; I
decided to let him grow up and meet with me
another day.
They came in to 20 yards and began milling
about, seeming uncertain of their purpose. I

drew on the nearest hen, facing away from me,
aimed for her back and released.
WHACK! The arrow was stuck in the bird
as it tumbled across the forest floor. The startled flock scattered as my bird became still. I
waited a minute and then slipped down the
tree to claim my prize.
My drought was finally over. This infection called “turkey fever” was now a full-
fledged disease in me. It will be a long winter
waiting for the rites of spring. Now, besides
snow melting and warm air and greening
trees, the new season will explode my senses
even further with the series of majestic “gobble . . . gobble. . . gobble. . I can’t wait!

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Published by dandu005 on 25 Oct 2011

Bowhunting in Reality

Looking through today’s hunting publications, what do you see? Page after page of celebrity hunters holding up freakishly large deer that surpass even the limits of our dreams. Usually these images are displayed on the ad pages promoting some sort of product that is supposed to be the cause for the fall of the monarch. While I will say I do like watching some of these celebrity hunters and enjoy their shows, I feel what they are promoting is being misinterpreted by the public. We the public are starting to believe we must shoot big mature bucks, and that trophy hunting is coming to be the one accepted method in the woods. Shooting a young buck will lead to scoffs and criticisms from “much greater” hunters who think highly of their commitment to trophy hunting. In reality, the typical deer hunter doesn’t have access to land that is capable of producing record book bucks consistently like TV hunting personalities do. Big mature bucks are far more rare than most people realize, and that is where this misinterpretation can lead to problems for us hunters. We work so hard for something that quit possibly may not be possible that we no longer enjoy the sport and forget what hunting is about. In these modern day magazines, I am also noticing a rise in the number of articles being published about this issue. The authors are attempting to pursuade people into seeing what the world of hunting is turning into. More and more hunters are losing sight of what is important to the hunt, that is the hunt itself and not the kill. The world of hunting is turning into an unquenchable thirst for shooting the biggest deer in the woods, and if you don’t do so you fail as a hunter. Much too often it seems we find ourselves scrutinizing others for taking lesser deer than our standards. This is brought about by the false interpretations we get from the media. Remember this, the memories we make afield with our friends and family beat any trophy that can ever be harvested. Realizing what hunting really means to you and hunting within your means and reality will lead to an enjoyable experience for all rather than a struggle amongst ourselves.

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Published by mitchie on 24 Oct 2011

Special 3-D Indoor Shoot

Possum Hollow is having a 30 Target 3-D Archery Shoot on December 16, 23 and 30. Cost is 10.00. kitchen open for the events. It is at Possum Hollow Sportsmens Club 352 Possum Hollow Road, Wampum, Pa. 16157. www.ph-sc.com or email us at thepossumhollow@gmail.com. Hope to see you there.

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Published by olecowpoke on 04 Oct 2011

Second Place to the Old Man

While on vacation, I visited a new Bow Shop in North Carolina. I was excited to find they also had an indoor Archery Range. As we talked, the Shop Owner told me there was a friendly local competition every Thursday night and he invited me to join them. I told him I was “just a hunter”, not a competitive shooter, but he encouraged me nevertheless. Although I’d never shot competition before, I could hardly wait for Thursday night.
I showed up early Thursday night, accompanied by my Son in Law. I plunked down a meager entry fee and was assigned a shooting station along with 18 other Archers. All I had was my camoflage hunting bow and my field tipped hunting arrows. Other Archers had red, pink and purple target bows with three foot long, double stabilizers and half inch diameter arrow shafts…or so it appeared to me. I was a little intimidated but reminded myself, “I’m here to have fun, not to impress anyone”. I kept muttering things to myself, like “just shoot what ya’ brought”. My beloved Son in Law offered encouragement, saying “You can hit deer vitals at 40 yards, surely you can hit that little twelve inch (12”) target at 20 yards”. I reminded myself, ”we’re indoors, standing flat footed on the floor, with no wind, no elevation, nothing to compensate for”…… What? Me nervous?
As I remember, they called this a “Ten Ring Elimination”, which was completely new to me. They explained, all three arrows had to be within the ring that matched the round…..in other words, in the first round of shooting, all three arrows had to be inside the outermost ring on the ten (10) ring target. In the second round, you moved in a ring and all three arrows had to be inside the next smallest (9th) ring, and so on until you were shooting at the two inch (2”) bullseye on the tenth round. If you ever failed to put all three arrows inside the proper ring, you were eliminated. If you had a flier…you were eliminated. The yardage was fixed at 20 yards. Sounds easy enough…….
We began shooting and I was having a blast. This was so much better than the solitary shooting I was accustomed to, in my back yard. I was truly surprised when the first 6 rounds of three arrows retired about half the shooters. I was actually surprised to still be shooting. This sort of bolstered my confidence and I just “zoned out” as if in my treestand, drawing down on a big buck. “Concentrate”, Focus”, “Aim small, miss small”. I settled on “Aim small, miss small” as my matra…..and it was working.
After a couple more rounds, there were only three other shooters. We took a short break before the last three rounds. That’s when my Son in Law whispered, “Check out the old guy down on the far end….he’s shooting a long bow and…..no sight. “Watch him shoot”….”he just draws and releases the arrow”…..”he doesn’t even take time to aim”. I shouldn’t have, but when we began shooting again, I paused between my own arrows to watch him send a couple arrows down range…..just like my Son in Law described.
This old guy was “instinct shooting”, or at least that’s what I’d call it. He’d draw back and let the arrow fly in one smooth motion. Within half a second of reaching full draw, the arrow was released. “Hes not even aiming”….”Hes just spot shooting”. Even my non-archer Son in Law realized this was something to behold. Even more amazing, I noticed the old man was hunched over a walking cane as he hobbled down to retrieve his arrows. It was all I could do not to just watch him shoot. As they say, He was “poetry in motion”. Over and over, He’d nock an arrow, raise up, draw back and let fly…..in one smooth motion. There was no hesitation in his motion for aiming, He’d just draw back and let fly…..right in the bullseye.
By now, it’s just He and I shooting the Nine ring. All others had been eliminated and I am totally distracted. “Concentrate, Focus” I told myself. On the final round we were shooting at the two inch (2”) bulls eye. I would not let myself watch the old man as I sent three arrows downrange. When I walked up to extract my arrows, I was elated…..I’D PUT ALL THREE OF MY ARROWS IN THE BULLS EYE….but so did the old man. Are you kiddin’ me. He put all three in the bullseye, with no sight, using a long bow? I was using a Single Cam Compound Bow, with a peep sight, a cam release, weight forward carbon fiber arrows….all the latest technology….and he was using a wood bow with no sight.
When both of us put all three arrows on target, we had to shoot the Bullseye again….I had two center hits and one “flier” in the four ring. You guessed it, the old man laid all three arrows, touching each other, in the bulls eye. Those who had hung around offered a round of applause…..as did I. The Shop Owner walked out, presented a ribbon to the old man and took a flash picture, while I was packing up all my gear to go home. We hung around and small talked with the Shop Owner and a few locals. I was pleased enough with second place, in my first archery contest….but I just couldn’t get over being bested by the old man with a long bow and no sight….until we were walking out of the store. There on the bulletin board were nine pictures….count ‘em….nine pictures of the Old Man with his Long bow….holding up ribbons and trophys in each picture. In one picture, the Trophy was almost as tall as he was.
As you might recon’, I had to go back and ask……It seems, the old man had been shooting that same long bow his entire life….yep, he was an instinct shooter, with no sight, no mechanical release…..nothing but an old bow and arrows that were as much a part of him as breath itself. In his earlier days, He had killed more bucks and bears than anyone could count, for as long as anyone could remember, he’d been taking his game with that same bow. The Shop Owner sort of blushed and chuckled…..”I’m sorry Sir, I should have warned you in advance….you didn’t have a chance”…..and with that, I went home feeling really satisfied being “Second Place to the Old Man”.
Now every time my arthritic shoulder gives me a fit, I remember that hunched over old man, leaning on his cane while he extracts his arrows. When I think I’ve got to spend a thousand dollars for that latest, greatest, newest model bow, or when I “need” that new illuminated bow sight or those newfangled mechanical broadheads…..I remember that old man with his old long bow and no sight ……and I go shoot another practice round with MY same old bow and arrows. Yea, I still use my peep sight.

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Published by Double s on 09 Sep 2011

Tough Buck Falls

I took this fella around 4 pm on the 2nd in a CRP field. I call him “Tough Buck”. He was bedded down in some sage. I had the wind to my advantage as I made my way to him…slowly. When the wind died down…I stopped…When the wind picked up…I moved. I basically crab walked sideways making sure that I was in Shooting position just in case he heard me and got up. I got to 21 yards and stopped. I had one sage blocking his view of me. I must have ranged the bush he was beside 100 times. I got into shooters position and Yelped at him. I saw his Antlers move left then right…then he got up. I place my 20 yard pin on the right front armpit and fired. I couldn’t even hear the impact because of the wind. He bucked up once and dropped to his front knee’s. I figured this is it….Nope!. He gets back up and trots off away 40 yards and beds down under another sage. It felt like a great shot but I started to second guess myself. I waited about 20 minutes glassing him. I thought he had expired but he picked his head up again, I knew he was wounded bad. With the high heat I couldn’t back out and come back later, the meat would spoil plus i didn’t want him to suffer any more. I slowly made my way toward him again using the same tactics. I got into 20 yards of him again and got into my shooters position. I had a west to east wind and it was picking up. I yelped to him and nothing happened…I yelped again, His antlers moved…He was weak. I finally just yelled. He slowly gets up and I aimed for the same right front armpit again. Fired. I see the impact and the blood blow out. He turns around facing east to try to go uphill to get away from me.,he didn’t make it. He made it about 25 yards east and rolled. I could see all four hoofs up in the air in the sage. A couple of jerks of the hoofs and he expired. My son Arrived as well as a friend to help out. I gutted him out and we used a tarp to drag him out. After I got him skinned out I could see two puncture holes on the right side, the entrance, almost touching. I call him a “Tough Buck”.

He has 6 points on the left side but the eye guard is under the 1 inch rule. So I’m calling it 5.
The right is 4 plus 1 eye guard way over the 1 inch rule. That’s a 5.


Two entrance holes from 2 blade BH. Right side right above the armpit. I have him hanging head down with head already removed.

left side of the pass through

 

Preping for skinning and boiling

Muley Skull almost complete

 

 

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Published by gmoore on 02 Sep 2011

Distance Estimation and Arrow Fall

Arrow FallDistance estimation is important for archers. Without an exact estimate of the range, a hunter could shoot from the improper sight pin and entirely miss the target. Making use of a bow mounted rangefinder removes the estimation of distance, and will provide a hunter more success.

Even unskilled bow hunters know that arrow fall is impacted more as the distance of the shot increases. Modern compound bows are especially fast, and often experience a small amount of arrow drop at ranges within 20 yards.

An arrow will begin to drop at a greater pace at a distance of 30 to 40 yards. This is due to the effect of gravity and a decrease in arrow speed. A poor gauge at distance will limit the chances for success. If you make a poor estimation of the range of a 40 yard shooting opportunity by as little as 5 yards, it can result in an injured deer, or a complete miss. Estimating distance precisely is by far the most significant variable for success in the field.

It is recommended that a bowhunter be aware of what their bow is capable of and be aware of the degree of arrow drop experienced at different distances. Hunting bows are frequently equipped with sights that make use of a few fiber optic sight pins of various colors. Each of these pins are generally sighted in at 10 yard increments from 20 to 50 yards.

Once your bow sights are properly adjusted, you can do a simple test to see how you may miss your shot if you misjudge the range. Lay a paper plate on your target. This is approximately the dimensions of the vital area of an average whitetail deer. Step off or range your target to a distance of 40 yards. Then draw your bow and place your 30 yard pin right in the middle of that paper plate. With your 30 yard pin in the center of the target, examine where that 40 yard pin falls on the target. You will most likely see that your arrow will land short and miss the vital area of the deer. You will probably end up missing the shot, or possibly wounding the deer.

I’ve never attempted a shot on a deer inside 25 yards, and not delivered a fatal shot. There have been a number of missed shots and a few bad shots that only injured my game. Those shooting opportunities were typically at distances near 30 yards or greater. At a range of of 30 to 40 yards, I was never completely confident. It was rare for me to take a shot past 40 yards. It is tough to regain that confidence in the deer stand. There is a big difference between shooting at the archery range at pre-defined distances, and shooting from the treestand with approximated distances. Small miscalculations in range from the deer stand yielded missed shots and diminished confidence.

Making use of a little, hand-held laser rangefinder helped to bring back a lot of the confidence that I had lost. Deer would mostly be on the move as I ranged them though. So there was still some uncertainty by the time I could draw my bow and accurately shoot my arrow.

There are some high tech and low tech products that can correct the issues with distance approximation. The Leupold Vendetta is an electronic bow mounted range finder, and the Dead-on rangefinder is a non-electronic model. So you can easily determine the range to a deer a split second before actually taking your shot, and know that you are selecting the proper sight pin.

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Published by Kevo on 29 Aug 2011

Hogbash Hog Hunting Competition

Wanted to post a link on a statewide hog hunting competition, starting in October and running through opening weekend of rifle season, day or night.  Rifle division and archery division, gonna be lots of fun some great prizes.  Awards ceremony with some awesome door prizes and live band afterwards.  Check it out at www.hornstarsoutdoors.com/hogbash

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Published by dandu005 on 29 Aug 2011

Old School Dilemma

For the last couple of years, I have been fighting a battle within that won’t settle. It isn’t so much a battle of is an act right or wrong, but whether to change and try something new. I know I am not the only one out there that doesn’t like change, so I am sure you guys know my struggle. The struggle I speak of is the switch back to traditional shooting equipment.

Currently I shoot a Mathews Reezen complete with all of the bells and whistles. I have wanted to get into shooting traditional recurve more, yet I feel that it would be bad to try to shoot both bows at the same time, splitting practice time between the two bows. It seems to be not as efficient as focusing on one method. However, I can’t get myself to make the full switch to shooting a recurve and leave the Mathews behind. Traditional archery is growing more and more popular  as each year passes, so that also puts pressure on me to pick it up and go. I already shoot a recurve around compound practice time and am proficient enough to hunt with it. Although is it wise to switch back and forth between bows during bow season and tournament seasons? I may be exaggerating any concerns about shooting both and it may be no problem at all.

Comments are desired to help not only me, but any others who may be contemplating picking up traditional archery.

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Published by archerchick on 07 Jul 2011

Quebec Bear and Bull ~ By Roy Goodwin


BOWHUNTING WORLD
February 28, 1990

QUEBEC BEAR AND BULL
Story & Photos By Roy Goodwin

Standing face to face with a 300 pound black bear at 20 yards
had my heart pounding like Indian drums. I had come to full draw
as he walked into the little clearing just above me on the riverbank.
He knew we were there and stared at me with those beady little eyes
as he closed the distance from 25 to 20 yards. I couldn’t move, I could
only wait for him to turn away to leave and then hope to slip my arrow
in behind his front shoulder. He didn’t move. The seconds ticked off like
hours as I held my 70 pound Ben Pearson Renegade bow at full draw.

The bear kept staring into my eyes while smelling the cool fall air for a
hint of what I was.

The idea of bowhunting black bear by stalking them on the ground had been
formulated the year before. I was hunting at the Delay River North Camp in the
northwest portion of Quebec with my long time hunting partner, Ray Moulton.
We were guests of Bob Foulkrod, US marketing manager of this bowhunter-only
camp, specializing in trophy caribou. Bob accompanies all hunters at his camp
and, as prior clients from his Ontario bear camp, he had asked us up for what
was to be the first year at this new operation.

Aside from hunting, we were to video tape
the camp and the animals to make a video for
Bob’s promotional use at future shows and
conventions. The prior hunt was great. We
took two Pope and Young caribou each and
shot hours of great wildlife video. While
there, we also noticed a sizeable population of
black bear.
Hardly a day went by when bear weren’t
spotted feeding on the blueberry-covered hill-
sides that bordered the river valley. It didn’t
take a lot of convincing to get me to book a
bear/caribou combination hunt for the following year.

To give me plenty of opportunity to take a
bear on the ground, I booked a full 10 day
hunt rather than the five days customarily
booked for caribou. Having been on eight
bear hunts, I was well aware of all the things
that could go wrong. I wanted to allow myself
every opportunity to take a bear — and if possible
a record book bear! In the previous hunts
I had taken one mature bear, but it didn’t
make the minimum score for entry into the
Pope and Young record book. I really wanted
this hunt to end differently.

During the year between hunts, Ray and I
formed a video production company and purchased
all new 3/4-inch broadcast quality
video gear. We also released our first video
production, Caribou Experience, from the
source footage taken at B0b’s camp during
our first trip there. While we had captured
hundreds of trophy caribou on tape, the production
lacked the arrow strike kill shots so
important to the marketability of a hunting
video. It was a simple task to convince Ray to
join me for the second trip. With all our new
gear we would attempt to produce the ultimate
caribou video. We felt confident, based on
last year’s experience, that we could fill our
caribou tags easily within a few days. We
would then film other hunters in camp and
concentrate on finding me a trophy bear.
Plans made and gear packed, we were finally
on our way.

From our homes in central Massachusetts,
it took about six hours to drive to Montreal.
There we met a commercial flight that hopped
its way north to Scheffersville. Once at the
Scheffersville airport we were picked up by a
van and driven across town to Squaw Lake.
It’s here that most float plane traffic for
hunters and fishermen for the entire region
centers.
Once at Squaw Lake our baggage was
loaded onto skid racks and weighed in preparation
for loading into the float plane. Every
load is carefully planned. If the plane has extra
carrying capacity with hunters and gear
aboard, then that weight is added with camp
supplies.

The only form of transportation in this region
is by expensive float plane, so no wasted
space can be afforded. While the loads were
readied, we busied ourselves purchasing licenses
and tags as well as grabbing a hot meal
at the cafeteria. Finally we boarded the Beaver float
plane for the last leg of our long journey.
Two hours later we landed at camp.

As the Beaver banked the last time to set up
for landing in the river in front of camp, I
couldn’t help feeling I was coming home. The
first year’s hunt, camp, and most importantly
the guides and cook were so great I’d hated
leaving — coming back gave me a warm feeling
inside. Having heard the planes approach
we were greeted by the full welcoming party.
Bob, the guides and the out-going hunters
were all on the floating dock anxiously awaiting our arrival.

Warm greetings, unloading. hunting re-
ports, and reloading out of the way, the plane
taxied to mid-river and took off. The hunt was
about to begin. We scurried to get our gear
stowed in the guest tent, dressed in our camo
gear, and put our archery and camera gear
together.
Soon we were loaded and headed up-
stream with Bob at the controls of our
freighter canoe. We accomplished a little
filming that first afternoon, but no shots were
attempted as we felt we had plenty of time and
no large wall hangers cooperated. The day
ended with a fine meal and formulation of a
game plan for the following morning. So that
Bob could concentrate on the caribou hunters
in camp who had but four days left, it was
decided that Ray and I would hunt bear the
next day.

After an early breakfast we loaded our
gear into a canoe for the day ’s journey. Several
bear had been spotted downstream in the past
week including one large one. Rosier, a new
guide in camp, would be our chauffeur.
As we glided slowly downstream we continually
glassed both banks of the river. The
heavily forested river bottom rapidly gives
way to rising tundra hillsides in all directions.
It ’s on these hillsides that the greatest delicacy
for black bear can be found — blueberries!
The ground is literally covered with them.
And, the combination of the blueberries,
cover, and the river, acts as a magnet to bear.
Within a few short miles we spotted a huge
bear. Checking the wind, we decided to motor
well downstream of the bear’s location to
start our stalk. It would be quiet a hike with all
the camera gear through heavy timber, a small
bog and finally up a steep hillside. We hiked
about seven miles that day, saw three bear,
shot a little film and got three days worth of
exercise -— but no bear.

The next morning we decided to limit the
hiking by taking a stand on some caribou trails
at the rivers edge. From here we were in position
to film several other hunters and hope-
fully hundreds of passing caribou. It worked!
We got two arrow strike kills on film, and
filmed several hundred animals. Toward the
end of the day we also spotted a huge black
bear on the opposite bank of the river coming
down a game trail to water. The next morning
we would try for this bear.

Day four started early as we headed up-
stream before 7 a.m. We wanted to get into a
good position to glass the riverbank area
where the bear was spotted the night before.
Shortly after eight o’clock the bear ambled
into view, then proceeded to the river. He
drank. bathed, and relaxed at the waters edge
for quite some time before retreating into the
timbered fringes of the river valley. Bob decided
to go for the bear while Ray and I filmed
from across the river. Bob’s plan was to quietly
get into position downwind of the bear’s
trail and wait. When the bear went down to
drink from the river, Bob would stalk toward
his trail and ambush him on his return trip. It
worked like a charm, and the scenario was all
recorded on video tape, including three arrow
strikes and the bears expiration at full stride.
To minimize the disturbance of the migrating
caribou, Bob hauled his bear downstream
closer to camp for pictures and field dressing.

It was during the field dressing that I happened
to spot a big bear working his way to-
ward us. He was walking up-wind, but was
too far away to be effected by our scent. We
decided to cut inland and stalk around him to
get the wind in our favor. This bear would be
mine if I was lucky.
After stalking for a half-hour, I was staring
down the bear at 20 yards. The bear kept
smelling the air trying to decided what I was,
while I stayed at full draw and Ray filmed
away. I wanted the bear to turn to leave before
shooting, but he was in no hurry. After the
longest 45 seconds of my life, I decided to try
a frontal shot. I’ve helped skin out many bear
and realized this was not as good an angle as
broadside, but there would be no choice. Besides,
the bear was several feet above me and
only 20 yards away, How far could he go after
a Thunderhead 125 tipped aluminum shaft
had passed through him lengthwise? Fifty
yards. We bagged two nice bear in one day
with bow and arrow, stalked and killed on the
ground, and filmed it all on broadcast quality
video. We celebrated heavily that night!

For the remainder of our trip we filmed
thousands of caribou — including some nice
trophies harvested with stick and string. But
the big bull I had returned for had eluded me.
Finally, on the last day of the hunt a wide-
racked old bull passed my blind at 10 yards.
He didn’t have the double shovels and back
points I was looking for, but had as high and
wide a rack as I’d seen.

Again, the Thunderhead did its job. Passing
through both lungs the arrow continued
out the other side of the bull about 30 yards.
The bull barely made 12 yards proving the
effectiveness of a properly placed shot. The
bull turned out to be a fine trophy green scoring
over 395 Pope and Young points.
Once again we hated to leave this place.
The hunting was the best, both in quantity of
game sighted and quality of trophies harvested.
Good food, good friends, good fishing and good
weather put the icing on the
cake. Yes, I’ll miss this camp until I return
again.

Editors Note: Bob Foulkrod no longer guides
at the Delay River Camp, but hunts can still be
booked there through Bob Foulkrod’s Bow-
hunting Adventures. He can be contacted at
R.D. 1, Box 140, Troy, PA 16947.
Delay River Outfitters can also be contacted directly.
Address inquiries to J.A.
Layden, President, Delay River Outfitters,
P.O. Box 7217, Charlesbourg, Quebec, Canada GIG SE5.
>>—>

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