Archive for the 'Humorous' Category

12 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 5 (12 votes, average: 3.25 out of 5)
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Published by Montalaar on 16 May 2008

Make your own pen out of an arrow.

Did you ever wanted to have something of your bow with you although you could not shoot it? Something unique and self made? I will show you how to build your very own pen out of an old arrow. Nothing you can buy anywhere but a pen with your own quality. Something unique with your own fingerprint. Interested? You should read further.

So what do we need for our project?

At the beginning we need to get certain things straight. What kind of pen do we want to make? Do we want a ball-pen or do we want a pencil? Each thing needs the perfect shaft size for it. A pencil will not fit into a small diameter carbon shaft. Maybe you want to make your own filler. We will concentrate on two different basic types of pens as a ground level you can start developing your own way.

After deciding what pen you want to create we can get the needed materials together.

We require:

  • an arrow in a diameter that fits to your purpose

  • a pen of your choice

  • nock

  • a set of vanes

  • some hot-melt adhesive

  • a lighter

  • something to underlay, a marker, a (hack)saw, sandpaper

If you not want to change the infilling of your arrow you can also choose any other adhesive but i recommend hot-melt adhesive because you can renew your pen if it is worn out. The choice of the shaft to use is defined by your supllies. Use what you have.

Layout One – The pencil

What do we do?

Removing the point from the shaft

Before we start we need to get everything set up right and you should be in the possibility to obtain everything i mentioned above. If you use your older arrows you need at first to remove the point and i possible also the nock. In most cases the point is glued into the shaft with some hot-melt adhesive so you can heat up the point and remove it with a pliers.

Now you can decide how long your arrow will be. I do not think that your pen should have the length of your arrow. If we think about an 30“ arrow we have the possibility to make between three or four arrows out of it!

To get the right length of your shaft put the pencil right beside the shaft and mark the position of the end.

Now you can cut the shaft in the desired length. If you have access to a professional arrow cutter just use it. There is no better way to get this job done. Otherwise you can use any saw for this purpose. Be careful with alloy/carbon or full carbon shafts as they will fray out if you make any mistake and the whole thing needs to be discarded. The best way is to saw the outer surface and turn the shaft some degrees so you can remove the parts with the needed caution.

After cutting the arrow shaft you should sand paper the edges until everything feels plane and smooth. Take your pencil and sharpen it before putting it into the arrow shaft. Heat the hot-melt adhesive up until it becomes something fluid and make a drop around the middle of the pencil and push it into the shaft.

Maybe the adhesive cools down to fast so you need to heat it up again and push it even further until the perfect position is achieved. Let it cool down so that everything sits right in place.

Now you can put a nock on your arrowpen and put the vanes in your favorite design on it.

If you want to sharpen your pencil just heat up the shaft and pull out the pencil far enough to sharpen it. Let the adhesive cool down and you are fine with it.

Layout Two – The ball-pen

Maybe you want to make your own ball-pen rather than a pencil. Be advised that this will take much more time. Take a ball-pen of your choice – it should be as thin as the arrow shaft you use – and take it to pieces. You can choose between two options now. Option one is to glue the refill for the pen direct into the shaft. Option two is to reassemble the ball-pen into the shaft which will take loads of time.

Take a look at the pieces you got from disassembling the pen. You should have the refill, a spring, some plastics and the body of the pen. The front end of the pen contains the spring and prevents it from disappearing. Take a saw and remove this part from the rest of the body. We will take this and glue it onto our arrow shaft. We can match the design with some color.

Now take a look at the other end of the body. As on the other end you should have an area where the body is a bit thinner than the rest. Further you should find the ‘module’ that enables the filling to change its position. We need that in our shaft.

Remove it with a saw and sandpaper it until it will fit into the inside.

As you can see i removed the plastic and sandpaperd it. Out everything together to see how long your pen needs to be. Mark your arrow shaft and cut it into the right length.

After this you need to fuse everything together.Check everything for its position and glue it together. Then check again for correct positions. Take the point we took forom the original pen and glue it onto the one side of the shaft. Do not forget to add the refill, the spring and the little plastic parts to the pen before adding the point.

Now put the vanes in your favorite design on it. Finito!

The finished product

There a hundreds of possibilities to make your individual and unique pen. Maybe you want to paint something onto it, maybe you like to engrave it. Just be creative with it!

15 votes, average: 3.60 out of 515 votes, average: 3.60 out of 515 votes, average: 3.60 out of 515 votes, average: 3.60 out of 515 votes, average: 3.60 out of 5 (15 votes, average: 3.60 out of 5)
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Published by Possum_Cop on 14 May 2008

My Bride Archery

by Aryn Corley

Last year, I almost walked away from the sport of archery.

I sat on a hunting stool in the middle of the woods near a food plot with my bow in hand. I was cold, hungry, and dejected while trying to decide the fate of my archery career. The whole time, I didn’t care that ticks were feasting on me.

I had only been “throwing sticks” for a couple of months up to this point. I’d shot at hay bales, foam blocks, old tires, and the occasional lawn gnome. In my mind, I was as lethal as a rattler’s bite if anything had gotten close. Yet, several opportunities materialized and I got nothing in return. The only thing I had to show for my effort were the receipts for the gear I’d purchased.

Maybe I should’ve taken up quilting?

I feel compelled to mention at this point that I’m a “Squirrel Sheriff”, a “Minnow Marshall”, a “Turtle Trooper”, a “Raccoon Constable”, a “Possum Cop”, or more commonly, a Game Warden.

As a Game Warden, I’m expected to have a certain level of expertise when it pertains to hunting and fishing. However, I always found myself limiting contact with archery hunters for fear of being engaged in a conversation. I knew absolutely nothing about archery hunting and worried about not being able to communicate with archers.

My co-worker, Game Warden Brian Scott, changed all that for me when he took me bow fishing one day.

During that fishing trip I was amazed that I could actually shoot fish. For someone who can’t even catch a cold, let alone a fish, it was exciting! Brian was surprised that I had some natural ability for someone who’d never picked up a bow before. His accolades instantly caused me to have delusions of grandeur. I envisioned myself shooting with the best archers to ever nock an arrow: William Tell, Robin Hood, and Cupid.

It wasn’t long after our bow fishing trip, I got Brian to help me pick out a bow from a local pawnshop run by a Lebanese man. Since I was his “cousin”, I got a great deal on an “almost new” Golden Eagle Predator bow. This was going to be my first deer-hunting bow. I figured that shooting deer was probably just as easy as shooting lethargic buffalo fish.

The first time I hit the woods I was sitting in a freshly logged area amongst some downed pine trees. My bow had been rigged out with some extra stuff Brian had laying around his kit. I felt like the little brother who’d gotten to wear his older brother’s letter jacket after he went off to college. I was also happy that my foray into a new hobby wasn’t going to show up as a blip on my wife’s financial radar.

A yearling deer and its mother emerged from a clump of trees only tens of yards away from where I was sitting. Being the ethical hunter, I opted to take the doe and leave the yearling orphaned. Rather than take the yearling and deny it a chance to someday wander into oncoming traffic. I launched my first arrow with my first bow for the first time at a deer.

Sadly, the old arrow I’d gotten from Mr. Scott lost most of its fletching. I was so focused on shooting the doe I didn’t even realize I was shooting an arrow that was barely fit to pick boogers. It flew sideways and skittered off into the brush. The two deer, totally unimpressed by what happened, ran off into the woods. I shrugged it off. I was undaunted in my determination to make archery history.

Strike one.

My next mission involved watching two mature deer bedded down in some tall grass on a fire lane. I was sneaking in to get a closer shot using top-secret methods taught by the United States Army. Basically, I was being really quiet.

As I approached, the two deer decided they wanted to move. So, they got up and started off down the road in my direction on the other side of a line of pine saplings. Both deer were oblivious to my presence and they loped into my “kill sac”. This time, I had brand new arrows. I launched my first store bought arrow with my first bow for the first time at a moving deer.


That was the sound of both the arrow impacting and the word I said as I saw my arrow embedded in a small pine sapling. How could I have missed? I was disappointed.

Strike Two.

After having suffered two humiliating defeats the score was Deer: 2 and Overconfident Novice Archer: 0. I felt that Karma had to swing in my direction and my time to shine would be just around the corner.

My third situation was in the top of a downed oak tree using it as concealment.

A small herd of antlerless deer came along the trail lined up end to end. When the lead deer stopped to investigate a clearing, the whole caravan stopped and was lined up sideways in front of me like a carnival shooting gallery. My adrenaline spiked. This was the opportunity I had been wanting. Lady luck finally had her gaze upon me. I line up my target, pulled back on the release, then…


I watched my arrow glide upwards about six feet in the air then come straight back down. Apparently, when you have your finger on the release trigger when you are drawing back you get a premature discharge. Ironically, the deer all turned and looked at the motionless arrow. I slowly tried to grab another arrow from my hip quiver but with no luck. The ends of the arrows were mingled in the branches of the downed tree, like gum in a little girl’s hair.

In the beautiful dichotomy that is the predator/prey relationship, I successfully and single-handedly interjected a third element: the dork. All of the deer playfully scampered away leaving me crestfallen and sitting in a dead sideways tree. Lady luck took her ball and went home.

Strike three.

As I sat on that stool I decided to stay married to my new passion. I felt like I couldn’t leave her after we’ve been through so much together. After all, she was my bottle and I was her bum. Those experiences she taught me showed me I was capable of being persistent as well as patient. Despite my failures, archery and I will stay a couple.

Well, at least for another year.

46 votes, average: 4.04 out of 546 votes, average: 4.04 out of 546 votes, average: 4.04 out of 546 votes, average: 4.04 out of 546 votes, average: 4.04 out of 5 (46 votes, average: 4.04 out of 5)
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Published by soularcher on 14 May 2008

Cubicle Psychology…

Cubicle Psychology…


Joe Shuhay


I’m not sure if it’s the few good memories that I have of my dad, if it’s the chill-up-my-spine adrenaline rush when a shot presents itself, or if it’s the peace and solitude that I only get when in God’s green woods.  I do know that something draws me out there.  It’s something I just can’t put my finger on.  I can say that I almost always leave the woods feeling refreshed, and recharged.  I find myself thinking that if I could, I’d spend most of my time there, among the pines and oak, breathing in the cold fresh air of morning, awaiting a glimpse of movement, or traversing a ridge in pursuit of the elusive Hart of lore.  A good weapon in hand, me versus the unknown.  This is what I live for.


7:59 a.m., and I sit dejectedly into my padded swivel chair of my gray, artificially lit cubicle for another 9 hours of staring at a computer screen.  “How did I get here?”  I look out of the office window down the hall from me.  The bright morning sun falls on the green spring leaves of a nearby maple tree, and I feel a yearning deep within my soul to venture outside, feel the warm sun on my face, and hear the wind in the trees. 


Throughout the day my mind drifts to hiking and scouting, shed hunting, open fires and the like; but mouths need to be fed, and bills have to be paid…


There is a part of a man that no one can touch, something wild and dangerous, something that is forced to live in the gray area between the cold oppressive bars of the rat race, and the limitless wilderness.  Most boys are raised to suppress their “wild” part in favor of what is considered to be more socially amicable qualities. This goes way beyond raising our children to have respect and manners.  In these days of sexual immorality, and metrosexuals, boys are emasculated, and taught to be “nice guys”.  Then society laments the lack of “real men” in society.  No toy guns or bows, no aggressiveness.  Those boys grow up, and society then asks them to be leaders at work, on the battlefield, and in the home. 


Most men today live lives of quiet desperation in their offices and garages, watching action shows on television rather than living out the very things that we are programmed to do. They are slowly dying inside for want of less rat race, and more wilderness in their lives.  That reason alone is enough to understand why we hunt, and what is so attractive about the out of doors.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being a father. For me it’s God and family first.  But God also put this love of hunting and the outdoors in my heart, and I plan to pass this on to my kids, and anyone else that is interested. 


There is a part of a man that no one can touch, something wild and dangerous, something that is forced to live in the gray area between the cold oppressive bars of the rat race, and the limitless wilderness…







12 votes, average: 2.50 out of 512 votes, average: 2.50 out of 512 votes, average: 2.50 out of 512 votes, average: 2.50 out of 512 votes, average: 2.50 out of 5 (12 votes, average: 2.50 out of 5)
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Published by Bow on 10 May 2008

Why They Call It Hunting

Late in Rhode Island’s muzzleloader season I was perched on a 10 foot ladder stand when I glanced over my left shoulder and saw the biggest buck I’ve ever see in this little state sneaking up the hill behind me.  I slipped off the safety and quietly spun around on the wooden platform for a right handed shot.  As he went behind some brush I raised the muzzleloader and waited.  Head lowered as if following a scent trail, the buck approached a six foot opening about 40 yards away.  I pulled the butt of my in-line to my shoulder and waited.  As he emerged from behind the last bush I found him in my scope.  I thought cross hairs behind the shoulder, and I exhaled as I waited for them to rest just right.  When they did, I squeezed the trigger and held the rifle steady as a cloud of blue smoke surrounded me.

            When it cleared the big boy was stumbling up hill.  At the top he looked left, stumbled again, and turned right, lumbering into a thick row of bushes at the crest of the hill and then disappeared away from me.  Everything looked good so after a short wait I climbed down, reloaded and set out after him.  I found a single drop of blood where he stood when I shot.  Over the next half mile I found two GPS sized puddles of red and a trail of drops, some of which I had to find on hands and knees, that led me into a thick swamp and vanished.  For the better part of two days I searched that little piece of woods but I never saw that buck or any sign of him again.

            I’ve replayed that shot at least a thousand times but there’s nothing about it I’d do differently if I had it again.  I had plenty of time to think and I did what I thought was right.  All I can say about that giant is that I have no idea why he’s still out there.  Unfortunately, though, I can explain why a lot of other deer still roam around New England.

            There’s a world of difference between hunting and bringing home meat.  Part of that world includes mistakes, misjudgments and just plain old bad luck, all of which I’ve endured over a couple of decades in the big (and not so big) deer woods.  One positive thing about my miscues is that I’ve never made the same one twice so anyone who studies my failings should be able to avoid them, too.  Or put another way, they’ll be burdened with finding new and different reasons to come home empty.

Buck Fever

            Buck fever is a disease that jumps the mind from see deer to pull trigger.  No matter how soundly you plan all the necessary steps in between, if the fever hits, your brain doesn’t hear the sounds.  The only good thing I can say about buck fever is that it’s like the mumps.  If you survive it once, or maybe twice, you should start to build some resistance.

Not surprisingly, my initial bout of buck fever came the first time I hunted in Maine.  I was still hunting a small section of thick woods trying to end my deer virginity when I thought I was being attacked by a bush.  As I passed it branches started rocking and rolling as if they were trying to explode away from their roots.  I jumped behind a tree to get out of the way when suddenly a deer’s head rose from the bush and fell back into it.  When it rose again I knew it was busting out and would pass within feet of me.  That was see deer.  When it was in the clear about five yards away I pulled the trigger on my 30-06 as hard as I could pull but nothing happened except the deer ran across a clearing behind me and I pulled some more.  Then it turned and ran back into the clearing and I pulled again but the deer turned and vanished to my left.  To this day I can’t believe there could be an easier shot on my favorite game.  Unfortunately, buck fever said see deer, shoot deer and it made my brain skip right over take off the safety.

Unlike other diseases, don’t expect sympathy from your hunting buddies when you explain this illness.  I never forgot to flip the safety off again and over the next ten years I took several deer with firearms. 

To extend my season I took up bow hunting because in Rhode Island you can send arrows after deer for four months.  But when I carried the compound into the field it never occurred to me that my immunity to buck fever only ran gun deep.

One morning I was sitting on a 12 foot ladder stand when a doe slowly walked towards me on a groomed trail.  At twenty yards she had to turn and pass behind a bush, emerging to give me a broad side at a measured and practiced distance.  I had a good twenty to thirty seconds to anticipate what had to be one of the easiest shots in archery, but I had the fever and didn’t know it.  With the fever in control, my brain said see deer, raise bow and draw.  But I sit with my bow in my lap and the fever blocked, put arrow on rest.  So when the arrow snagged behind the rubber coated prongs, it pulled loose from the string and that was all the doe needed to hear.  A week later I arrowed another deer from that stand, so I’m assuming my immunity grew a little stronger.


I’ve heard hunters complain about their equipment but the truth is that equipment rarely fails without human error helping it.  And I readily admit that I’m the human error behind several deer that got away.

Though I never suffered from buck fever hunting with a muzzleloader, I found other ways to miss.  A long time ago I bought my first smokepole from a mail order catalog and I didn’t think it was unusual that I had to file the front sight almost flat to hit a pie plate at 40 yards.  But after I missed three deer at 30 yards or less, I began to think it might not be me.  Of course it was me because I’m the one who loaded conicals into a muzzleloader with a 1 in 60 twist.  Had I read and followed the directions instead of second guessing the manufacturer, I would have learned that that twist was too slow to stabilize anything but roundballs and it wouldn’t have taken me four shots to bag my first buck with that rifle.  The real mystery was how did I ever connect with the pie plate in the first place.

Being a slow learner I had to miss another deer before my archery equipment functioned properly, too.  This time I was in a climbing stand on a short rise when a large doe came over the lip and stopped dead fifteen yards in front of me.  Apparently she knew that was the safest place to stand.  When I attached the release she didn’t move and she didn’t move when I slowly started to pull.  And she didn’t move when the release popped open and my arrow arched up into the air.  In fact she stayed dead still until the Gamegetter landed behind her, then she trotted off, probably deer laughing all the way.  Again, if I’d read and followed the directions I’d be eating stew instead of writing this because I would have known to lock the set screw in place.  A dab of clear nail polish fixed that problem forever.  It just fixed it one deer too late.

And I’ve missed deer by failing to obey even more common sense directions.  For example, the second time a deer chased me behind a tree occurred on election day in 1996.  Early that morning I blew once on a grunt tube and a monster came ripping through the brush slashing his antlers at every shrub in his way.  About twenty yards from me he stopped and spun once like a bull in a ring, searching for his competition.  When his head vanished behind a tree I swung my sidelock up and held on his vitals.  When I pulled the trigger the cap fired, the muzzle rose and after a painful pause the powder exploded sending the bullet flying over his back.  It took the monster all of five seconds to race across the border into Connecticut as I realized I’d suffered my first hangfire and I had no one to blame but myself.

The prior Sunday I’d shot a small doe but I had to go to a wake that night so I never cleaned the muzzleloader.  Tuesday I just grabbed it in the dark, reloaded it and jumped in the truck.  Had I just run a wire through the nipple…. 

Believe me, when it’s your fault, you relive the shot over and over again, which might explain why you have to invent new mistakes every time you screw up.


            Sometimes it’s not so much a screw up as circumstances that let the deer run.    One opening day in New Hampshire I was in a climber overlooking a field that ran about 200 yards long by 60 wide.  Just before 11 a.m. another hunter entered it from my west and started to walk through it.  I waved my orange hat to let him know I was there and when he saw it, he politely turned back.  But as soon as he turned a deer jumped out of its bed twenty yards in front of him.  It was a gimme shot from the stand and I instinctively grabbed my rifle.  But the other hunter was only twenty yards behind the deer so I lowered the gun and whistled to get his attention.  I figured he had a safe shot at it from the ground but there was no way I was going to fire down with him in the field.  He never turned back.  The deer stood silently between us until he finally seemed to figure out that my whistling was not a good thing, then he bolted.  I’ve never regretted letting him go.

            I let one go during Rhode Island’s bow season, too.  I had permission to hunt a very small piece of woods in a heavily residential area when a doe surprised me by appearing out of no where between the road and me.  It was a tempting shot and to this day I don’t believe it was possible for my arrow to reach the road but I let her walk.   There were a lot of ifs in if I missed and if I was wrong about how far the arrow would fly and if someone was coming around the corner just then, but they all justified taking a pass and they taught me to never hunt that land from the ground again.

It may not sound like it, but I have shot more deer than I’ve missed.  I don’t deny my mistakes and I don’t repeat them.  Someday, if I’m lucky and the hunting stars shine on me just right, I’ll have made every error one can make in the field.  Then if I’m still alive, I’ll be deadly.  But until that magic day comes, I’ll just enjoy the outdoors and try to do what’s humanly possible to eliminate mistakes, misjudgments and just plain old bad luck.  Sometimes I’ll succeed.

14 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 5 (14 votes, average: 3.14 out of 5)
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Published by LowTrunkOzz on 08 May 2008

What gets me out of bed in the morning

I don’t know about you, but come any hunting season I’m just like a kid the night before Christmas. I work as hard as I can during the “off” season (and according to my wife there is really no such thing) getting myself and my gear ready for whatever is coming up. This years spring turkey season was no different.

I hadn’t really been able to do the scouting that I wanted to, but after last year I knew of a couple of good spots to put the bead on some turkeys. Before season “drive-by’s” had given me a good idea that my hunch was correct and there were thunder chickens in my chosen areas. The only thing that was different about this particular morning was that I REALLY had to perform! I had found out that a person that was as enthusiastic as I lived not but an eight of a mile from my house! After the first few messages back and forth about who each other were, it was decided that I would take this new friend on a hunt.

The night before the big day was no different than any other high expectation, premature adrenaline rush, “man I HAVE TO see something nice” time that I’ve looked forward to before. It was sleepless, to say the least. At 4:30 that morning I was awake waiting for the alarm and then I was off like a bolt to get dressed, brush my teeth, and be out the door. Ron showed up and we decided it was surely a good day to bust a longbeard!

My initial thought was to hunt a bottom that is encompassed on three sides by a creek that has always been a good roosting spot. After last year, I was sure where we needed to set up and we made our way to it. The decoys were out, the stake out blind was up, a call was in my mouth, and it was looking to be a great day. My, was I wrong!! By daylight there was maybe the faintest of gobbles that could barely be heard over the grass growing and nothing else. As we sat there silently complaining of aching rear ends, Ron slowly turned to scan the area and whispered to me, “Nate, I think there’s a turkey in the tree behind me!”

“WHAT?” I ask, and then begin scanning the area behind me. “There’s one in the tree behind me, too!”

I couldn’t believe our fate. No toms were heard, but boy we sure fired the hens up! After flydown we quickly packed up and headed out to a few other properties that held about as much promise as my back yard and finally ended up at what was my “last ditch effort.” We got into the woods, threw out a couple yelps and finally heard that sound that says there are undeniably turkeys here, the grobbobbbole! So, like two confused clowns, we look at each other while I bumble with the hen decoy stuffed in the back of my vest until Ron comes to my rescue and gets it out unscathed. We sit down hurredly and I just so happen to pick the smallest, most uncomfortable tree around. We threw calls out sparingly as the gobblers got tight lipped. After about 20 minutes or so I catch the ever so slight movement of Ron telling me that there are two birds off to his side. And then it starts, my heart is in my throat and my fingers feel like they are going to explode! I can visibly see Ron start to shake ever so slightly as one of the toms made it’s way back to see where that sexy lady was that was talking so sweetly! I don’t think a turkey could have moved any slower!

Finally, after much contemplation, ol’ tom made his down to a pretty good shooting lane, from where I sat mind you, so I gave a little cluck. Man was he on to me! He ever so slowly made his way a little further all the while my mind is screaming “SSSSHHHHHOOOOOOTTTTT!!!”

BBBBOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM! Wings out, head down! It was a good hit for sure! Before I can even think about what to do next I find myself trying to hold this big boy still so he doesn’t tear up his tail. That is what it’s all about! The late nights and early mornings, the sore backs and bottoms, the fight to find that one lonesome tom looking for love in all the wrong places. You can’t replace that feeling with anything man made! That’s what gets me out of bed in morning! 

42 votes, average: 3.98 out of 542 votes, average: 3.98 out of 542 votes, average: 3.98 out of 542 votes, average: 3.98 out of 542 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5 (42 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5)
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Published by soularcher on 06 May 2008

Three Lessons

Three Lessons

By Joe Shuhay

(Soularcher on AT posts)


The first day had come, and I was up at 3:30 AM to eat, shower and dress.  Luckily my new spot was only 20 minutes away, and I could get in my stand at least an hour before daylight.  As daylight broke, the woods started to come alive with movement and sound.  I had spotted many doe and a small buck.  At about 10:00 AM a small doe came underneath my stand, and I let the Muzzy do its work, and work it did!  It was a very clean kill.  But this isn’t where the story ends…

The doe ran about 15 yards and fell.  While I waited for the animal to expire, I had noticed a very bad fray through the string serving right underneath my bottom cam!  It was obviously dangerous, and it had to be fixed.  I was lucky that I wasn’t hurt!  

LESSON #1:  Always inspect your bowstring and equipment well before the hunt.  This will give you time to swap strings and make repairs.  It will also save you from injury or a missed opportunity!

Instead of taking my Archery Research AR31 bow to the area expert, I took it to a local guy that ran a shop out of his house, to save money (a lot of money).  He was a very nice man, but I should’ve taken the hint when I entered his shop and saw that he specialized in traditional equipment (an art form in itself).  I returned that Friday afternoon for the bow, and $16.00 later I had a new string.  Sixteen Bucks!

I wanted to hunt the next day because I wouldn’t have another chance until the following weekend, and I knew there were a few nice buck cruising the area.  Needless to say, I didn’t get to shoot the bow before the hunt.  I know, I know…  I heard that little voice inside, but didn’t listen: “What if?  You didn’t shoot it, stretch the string, check it out…  Is this safe?”  Nope, I didn’t listen.   I was too worried about getting out the next day.

LESON #2:  Always inspect a repair or string installation when you get your bow back, and always shoot the bow and allow for string stretch.

I got out to my stand and opted to hunt the northern part of an oak flat, due to wind conditions, and I expected action.  There was still a little doubt in the back of my mind due to not shooting the bow the night before.  Any archer knows that reduced confidence in your form or equipment can definitely have a detrimental effect on your mindset for the hunt.  At about 9:30 AM, two doe came bursting from the laurel to my left at about 20 yards.  They stopped and then looked back.  That’s when I knew he was coming!  I waited, and saw a flicker, then a very wide eight came out into full view and paused sniffing the doe’s trail.  I drew and viewed the magnificent animal broadside at fifteen yards!  I pulled the trigger on my Scott release, the arrow flew, and…  Nothing…  Nothing!!!  I watched helplessly as the high-tined buck trotted away pursuing the doe.  I  climbed down and retrieved my arrow; it went right underneath the buck’s belly by at least a foot!

At noon I went home and shot at my target at 10 yards to troubleshoot the issue.  The arrow didn’t even make it to the target!  It was buried in the ground at about eight yards in front of me.  A closer inspection of my bow revealed that the string was not installed on the bottom cam properly which effected the whole setup.  

LESSON #3:  Pay the extra cash to get a job done by someone that knows the technology, or get the tools and learn to do it yourself, and you can rest easier in the knowledge that the job was done correctly (also refer to LESSON #2).

I don’t hold the bowsmith responsible, I knew full well that he had his specialty and, to his credit, he tried his best.  I hold my own impatience and thriftiness as the reasons that that hunt worked out the way it did.  Believe me when I say that I learned a difficult lesson that day.  The sign of a good hunter is the humility and willingness to learn and improve.



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Published by bigbearsarchery on 04 May 2008

Learning Turkey Lessons the Hard Way

Turkey season is fast approaching here in Pennsylvania.  As I sit here and go over in my head all the things I need to do to get ready for it I can’t help but recall the experiences of my first turkey hunt.

            It wasn’t that long ago, just a couple of years in fact.  My friends, Mark and Justin Nagy, called me one day and asked if I was interested in going to Oklahoma on a hunt for Rio Grande turkeys.  I’d hunted all of my life since I turned the legal age but only for whitetail and black bears, never turkey.  I had some money saved up and the idea of going on a hunt with my friends was exciting so I quickly accepted their invitation.

            Now when the situation calls for it I will hunt with a gun but I am first and foremost a bowhunter.  So naturally that was the method I chose to use on my turkey hunt.  I didn’t even take a gun.  My effective range with a bow is 50 yards and I felt confident that if I could get a turkey within that range I would have no problem making the shot.

            Finally the day of the hunt arrived and as our plane landed in Oklahoma City we were greeted by 50 mph winds with gusts that approached 60 mph.  It was mid-afternoon by the time we met our outfitter and bought our licenses.  The wind had picked up even more force by this time, so much that when we put one of our rental cars in neutral it began to slowly blow it down the outfitters driveway.  We decided to wait it out at our guide’s house in the hope that the wind would stop and we could still salvage some of the afternoon.  Around five o’clock the weather calmed down enough to go hunting and we figured if nothing else we could roost some birds for the morning hunt.

            The next morning dawned about as perfect morning as you could ask for.  Moderate temperatures, clear skies, and no winds greeted us as the sun crept over the horizon.  From the ground blind we had constructed the night before, Justin and I could see the dark outlines of the turkeys still on their perch.  As the sun climbed higher a few of the birds began to gobble from the roost.  Not long after the sound of wings drifted across the field as the birds left their trees and headed our direction, just as we had planned.

            Justin began to call softly and the morning calm was rocked by thunderous gobbles from every direction.  Justin and I looked at each other, the same thought on both our minds.  There were a lot more turkeys here than the ones we had roosted the previous evening.  I could see the tips of their fans, glowing gold in the western sun, moving closer just above the tall grass.  As I clipped my release on the string I was sure the birds could here my heart thumping in my chest.  Justin whispered, “Get ready” and I came to full draw, waiting for one of the long beards to come strutting into our decoys.

            For what seemed like hours I remained motionless, sweat running down and stinging my eyes.  My arm was beginning to quiver when I heard Justin whisper, “Let down.”

            As I did I looked and saw the birds walking into the brush a few hundred yards to our left.  Within a few moments the turkeys were out of view and Justin and I were left alone in the field.

            “What happened?” I asked, turning to look at Justin.

            “I don’t know,” he answered.  “They just walked off.  They didn’t spook.  They just left.”

            We caught the occasional glimpse of them, several hundred yards away now, as they paralleled the river on the other side of the brush line.  We tried calling the birds back to us but they would have no part of it. 

After a while Justin suggested we move further south along the river.  For the next two hours we walked and called, quickly setting up whenever we got a response.  The only reward we got for our efforts was a nice leisurely stroll through some beautiful Oklahoma country.  We decided to return to our early morning spot and construct a ground blind along the southeastern edge of the field in the hopes of catching the birds as they returned that evening to roost.

Once we finished our blind we decided to return to the truck for some lunch.  As we began crossing the field we saw the turkeys from that morning still milling about beside the river.  As quickly as we could without spooking the birds we moved to within a hundred and fifty yards and began calling.  We got an immediate response and the birds moved back into the field.  But just as had happened that morning they refused to come within range.  I had reached my breaking point and decided to put a stalk on the birds.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone how amazingly ineffective and stupid this was.

Justin stayed where he was and continued to calling I moved back into the woods and crept along the brush on the opposite side of the turkeys, I closed to within sixty yards but had reached an opening in the brush.  I waited until I thought all the birds had moved out of sight and then crossed the opening.  It might have been a successful maneuver had it not been for the ten birds I hadn’t seen right on the other side of the brush.  A series of alarm putts and those ten birds along with the twenty or so I had been following shot across the field as fast as they could go.

I stood up as my query moved further and further away.  It was at this moment turkeys burst out from every direction I could see.  There were literally hundreds of birds running or flying in every direction.  One turkey paused long enough for me to get a shot off but I was so worked up at this point that I’m not sure I even aimed.  I watched helpless as my arrow landed, stuck in the dirt five yards short of its target.  That was it the birds were gone.  I know what all of you are thinking, I’m an idiot.  Well, you’re right, I am.  Over the next day and a half I saw some hens but no gobblers. 

Finally, on the evening of the last day of our hunt I borrowed a Mossberg .12 gauge in a last ditch effort.  Thirty minutes before dark fate smiled on me and I took a nice gobbler at twelve yards.  The bird weighed out at 21lbs with an 8” beard and 1 ¼” spurs.

Taking my tom was obviously the highlight of my hunt, but it was my newfound respect for turkeys as a game animal and the hard lessons I learned that will stick with me always.


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Published by Gear Junky on 01 May 2008

Hardcore Hunter Must-Haves, volume II

Simple. Cheap. Effective. How many products with those attributes actually improve your quality of life?

Toilet seat covers come to mind. Not much else.

In the previous installation, I recommended a great backpack, backpacking stove, and lightweight bivy. In this blog, I’m going to highlight a few items that are less expensive and get less attention, but are worth their weight in gold. These items will make your next hunting trip more enjoyable, believe me. Simple, cheap, effective…you can’t go wrong.

Must-Have Blister Buster: Body Glide Anti-Friction Stick


Durability: 9

Cost-Effectiveness: 10 ($7 online)

Usefulness: 10

Innovation: 8

On the list of things I hate, blistering and chafing rank just ahead of rectal exams and just behind Kirstie Alley’s voice. I can’t do anything about the other two, but blisters and chafing are now a repressed memory with Body Glide. I found this magic stick when I was training for my first marathon. I thought a few days of wearing hunting boots over rough terrain was bad, but let me tell you, you haven’t experienced a hot spot until you’ve had a blister bleed through your sock and shoe on mile twelve. Of twenty six.

Runners, instead of doing the sensible thing (give up running), invented anti-friction sticks out of necessity. Body Glide is as good as any product out there, and is widely available for around seven bucks. You can apply it to feet, from the soles to the toes and the heel and everywhere in between, before putting on your socks. And it works anywhere else you feel hot spots, which can be a real life saver when each step burns your inner thigh. Ouch. And it works on existing blisters, so if you forget to use it, it isn’t too late – a thin layer eliminates friction, and since friction is the cause of irritation and pain, you won’t notice the blister the rest of the day.

All of those clever remedies – duct tape, band aids, Vaseline – are obsolete. Just keep this stick around or cut off a tiny slice and throw it in a plastic baggy for the backpack. It has the same consistency as clear (non-gel) deodorant, and just one stick will last years.

Must-Have Spotting Scope Accessory: Universal Digiscoping Adapter

Lightweight/Compact: 5

Durability: 9

Cost-Effectiveness: 8 ($45)

Usefulness: 8

Innovation: 9

What the heck is digiscoping? A long time ago, people asked what the heck were wheels, or compound bows, or iPods. And digiscoping is much cooler than wheels or iPods. Maybe I’ll write a separate blog on this later, but for now, here’s the quick story. At some point, most every one of us who own a digital camera and a spotting scope have tried to take a picture through the scope, usually with disappointing results. But like Dylan told us, the times they are a changin’.

As you can see, the adapter serves as a tool for positioning and stabilizing a compact camera on a spotting scope, either angled or straight. For $45, you can capture any images you see in your scope by taking a picture or video clip, and with impressive results. It takes some practice to get it just right, but once you figure out the proper settings on the adapter and the camera you’ll have some fun. Here are some of the photos I took through my scope (27x fixed eyepiece and 3x optical zoom = 81x magnification), which would have otherwise been impossible. This pronghorn probably scores near 90 B&C:

Here’s a link to a youtube video of the same goat, also through my spotting scope at 300 yards:

Now, had I come back and told my buddies that I had found a B&C monster without evidence, what would their reaction have been? Sure, Roger Clemens, an 88 inch pronghorn. But with digiscoping, scouting trips become photojournal excursions. Sure, your results will depend on the quality of your spotting scope and your photography skills. But even a rough image is better than no image, right? At twelve ounces, I bring my adapter along any time I’m not living out of a backpack.

Must-Have Bottom-Saver: Allen Gun Cases Self Inflating Seat Cushion

Lightweight/Compact: 9

Durability: 8

Cost-Effectiveness: 9 ($15 shipped)

Usefulness: 9

Innovation: 7

Nobody likes wet rumps in the field. I don’t like a wet rump anywhere. Nor do I like pine cones or jagged rocks jabbing my nether regions when I’m trying to rest my footsies. This self inflating seat cushion does the trick, keeping you dry and padded when you sit to glass those upper basins or relax and watch a Mariners game from the cold metal bleachers in the outfield. It straps around your waist (like a belt) and stays on all day, and after a few minutes you won’t notice it’s there. It doesn’t flap against you as you walk, and it sits below your backpack so it doesn’t get in the way. When you want to sit, just sit – it will be there. This one is not to be missed – it’s the most satisfying fifteen dollars I’ve spent since Safeco Field opened their cheap seats.

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Published by Gear Junky on 27 Apr 2008

When you come to a fork in the road, take it

When I was fourteen, my family was lucky enough to hunt Oregon’s famous Antone Ranch for big game each year. My grandpa knew the owner, and we had hunting privileges for a couple of decades until an outfitter made his way in and showed us the way out. We enjoyed some great times over those years, and one of them in particular comes to mind.

I was mule deer hunting when God sent an early Christmas gift to me one memorable evening. As I headed back to camp, I stumbled upon a broadside buck at ten yards. He was frozen and shocked – I froze up in shock – and neither of us had any clue what to do next. In my defense, I hadn’t killed my first deer yet so I was a bit overwhelmed, and in his defense, his back right hoof was stuck in a barbed-wire fence. An even match, as I recall.

You may assume that this scenario proved to be unfortunate for our fine furry friend, but in fact the opposite was true. As luck would have it, I had grown up reading every copy of the Eastman’s Hunting Journal that I could get my fingers on, so with visions of world-class trophies dancing in my head, I was determined to reserve my first bullet for a four-point, nothing less. I’d like to say that I had high ethical standards and wouldn’t have shot a buck that was trapped by a bloody leg in sharp metal wire, but…I was fourteen, and probably had the ethics of a billy goat like most high school freshmen. ‘Twas youth that saved that muley’s life.

I approached him slowly, saying, “Easy, little buddy, I’m not going to hurt you, I’m here to help you.” Maybe it was my reputation as an aspiring young assassin, or maybe it was the loaded .257 in my hands, but in any case he didn’t look convinced. I stepped within reach of his hind quarters and saw that he had tried to jump the fence, but came up short and snagged his back hoof. He now had a leg injury that would make Joe Theisman proud; it wouldn’t be long before the coyotes would come to play.

Once I realized that the bloody hind leg wasn’t actually broken, I pulled out my Maglite, jammed it between the two twisted wires, and pried an opening so he could wiggle his leg free. To thank me for my kindness, he kicked me in the thigh before yanking his hoof clear of the wire. He hobbled about fifteen yards before pausing to lick the wound and shake off the pain. After a minute he regained his senses, took one last gander at a fourteen year-old boy with a rifle and a hunting tag, and promptly bolted off. He was limping slightly, but looked like he’d recover.

But, like most hunting stories told by men with weapons, this tale does not end well for the young buck. You see, my grandpa did not grow up reading Eastman’s Hunting Journals, he already had a den full of four points, and was known for his insatiable affinity for tender young venison. Standing on the other side of the ridge, he was more than happy to unload on an eighteen-month-old buck with a limp and a death wish.

You can imagine the jokes and the punchlines that we came up with that night while grandpa cooked up the backstrap. Sometimes comedy writes itself.

Yep, it’s all true. (Except the parts that aren’t.)

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Published by Gear Junky on 20 Apr 2008

The Bull

(While I work on my next series of must-have gear recommendations, here’s a poem that I spent at least twenty minutes on. Get your Kleenex ready.)

The Bull

My bugle echoed across the ridge,

his quickly fired back;

We each stalked angrily toward the meadow,

both eager to attack.

His antlers tipped with ivory gleamed

like candles in the dew;

My arrows tipped with razors

longed to find their bloody hue.

His breath could chill a mountainside,

his growl meant certain doom;

My stomach growled from last night’s taco,

my breath could clear a room.

With unbridled fury he raked a sapling,

then grunted deep in rut;

I grunted when an ice-cold sapling

jabbed me in the butt.

He proudly strode into the open

and welcomed a fair fight;

I proudly hid behind a stump

and gripped my weapon tight.

He closed the gap to thirty yards –

then stopped to turn away;

Before his instincts could save his hide

my arrow made him pay.

His spirit is still resting

in the meadow on that ridge;

Part of him rests upon my wall,

and part of him in my fridge.



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