Archive for the 'Personal Blogs' Category

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Published by SEAL Archer on 15 May 2008

A tired bow and the ghosts of the volcano

A tired bow and the ghosts of the volcano

It was a cold rainy morning. I walked around the cactus, trying to avoid the spines that tried to reach out and attack me. The sharp edges of the volcanic rock cut deep into my lug-soled boots as I climbed higher against the driving rain and into the cloud shrouded hillside. Razor bladed sawgrass provided a lifesaving grip, but only to a gloved hand. It was steep, almost vertical, and a single slip could be fatal with a 400 foot drop that awaited me if I lost focus, if even for an instant.
They were here. Sign was all around me. Droppings, hoof prints, bent and nibbled twigs, and bits of hair clinging to rock and bush. Their trails often leading to meadows, but just as often to the bottomless abyss I spent the day trying to avoid. They are the ghosts of the volcano.
This day was a first for me, and a transition into a more challenging hunting lifestyle than I had previously experienced. I was bowhunting for feral Spanish Goats in the Waianae mountain range above the beautiful Makaha coastline on the leeward side of the tropical island of Oahu. Unlike the better known Koolau mountains on the windward side of the island, with its spectacular display waterfalls, the Waianae range is usually dry, covered with cactus and sharp rocky outcroppings. The range, less that 20 miles to the west is more like the Arizona desert than a tropical island. This was not my first time on the mountain, but one that helped me develop more respect for both my quarry and the legions of primitive hunters that shared this experience before me. The journey, however, was not quick and painless.
On a hot sunny Saturday, many months before, I joined a friend on a hunt for these goats. Outfitted with high power rifles, we hiked up behind a resort to reach the high meadows where he had heard goat herds were plentiful. His story proved to be very true as there were hundreds of goats all over the hillsides. The lay of the land, while hard to navigate, proved too easy at providing shots of 100-200 yards. A herd of 50+ animals would look across a ravine at us and freeze in that 3D-target pose, taunting us to shoot. As a Navy SEAL, my job insisted that I use stealth and cunning to effect my mission, and getting in really close was part of the job. My off-time activities required no different discipline, so taking an easy shot was not an option for me.
I calculated that a 50 yard shot would be much more challenging, so proceeded to move in closer. The terrain, with its dips, gullies, and 10’ grass makes a simple stalk much harder than first observation would make one believe. That said, a single fatal 50-yard running shot on a nice horned Billy proved to be unfulfilling and would be my last.
As a career sailor, family man, and multi-hobbyist, my budget did not allow for me to rush out and buy the latest high tech bow and arrows to move me in the direction I needed to go, but I needed to fulfill my hunting drive. A trip to Virginia to pick up a diving system proved to be just the ticket I needed to reach my goal. Perusing the want ads, I found an ad for a compound bow with accessories for $65. I arrived at the residence where a woman showed me the bow her brother had left in her garage years before. It was a beautiful thing. An early 1970’s Browning Cobra compound bow, one piece of dark walnut from wheel-to-wheel with a thin layer of black glass backing. It was much lighter than the more modern composites and drew 47# at 28 inches. She told me it included 9 arrows with target tips and 5 broadheads, mounted quiver and pin sights. She let me walk away with the bow for $45, a great deal for both of us.
Practice, practice, practice. I sighted in my “new” bow at 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. After several days, as I was getting much better at hitting the target, the brittle plastic sight pins started to break and fall off. I managed to keep one on the bow and positioned it for 20 yards, the distance I decided as my personal shot limit. After all, the challenge of getting close is what made me transition to archery. Once I could hit an 8” paper plate from all angles and body positions while estimating my distance, I felt ready to head back to Makaha.
The island of Oahu has very liberal hunting rules and I was allowed to take one goat and one pig per day, with the season open all year. However, getting to the animals and taking them proves much more difficult than the numbers would appear.
As I started, I am back on the mountain and the weather is terrible. Clouds poured over the Waianae range’s prickly back and pelted me with rain as it tried to toss me off the cliffs before I reached my objective. I followed nearly invisible trails as they snaked through the rocky outcroppings and elephant grass. The herd posted nanny goats as lookouts, sounding an alert when I approached inside of an imaginary 50yard circle. As I would crest a ridge I would be greeted by hundreds of tails disappearing over the next ridge. The 20 yard limit was much, much harder than I could have imagined after getting my first 50 yard goat.
With the wind in my face I rounded a trail to find a small Billy blocking my path. He was 10 feet from where I stood. Reflexive action and recently developed muscle memory positioned the bow in my outstretched arm, the peepsight aligining my eye with the single 20-yard pin. Before he could move, my pin just below his jawline, I released my arrow. Time stood still. I could see the arrow flex, the plastic vanes starting to rotate as the arrow slid over the rest and left the bow. The animal stood still as my arrow sailed cleanly between its broad horns, over the cliff into the rocky ravine beyond. My heart dropped just as fast and missed a couple of beats as my arrow missed its target. At 10 feet, the Billy was too close to me, and was something I had not practiced.
An hour later I saw the back end of a large horned, brown billy round a corner in front of me. I could hear his padded hooves on the rocks as he circled back on a ledge above me. I leaned into the cliff face to nock an arrow and draw the string. The trail was less than 2 feet wide and the drop was not something I wanted to think about. I pointed my arrow upwards in the cocked bow and slowly leaned out across the trail. My movement caught the goat’s eye and he peered down at me…from 8 feet away. This time, shooting instinctive without my sight pin, I “felt” the arrow into his chest and watched him vaporize.
I waited about 30 minutes, sitting on the trail, pondering the outcome. I knew it takes some time for the broadhead to do its work, and I needed the time to hydrate and get my heartbeat back down to a normal level. The vision of the events played over again in my mind as I sat looking at the sparkling azur coastline 2500 feet below me. It took me about 10 minutes to negotiate to the point above me where the goat had been. A pile of long chest hair told me that my arrow had been true.
All my reading of bowhunting articles, practice, and my patience while sitting on the trail had paid off. Following the blood trail was as easy as following a painter splashing bushes with a soaked 8 inch wide paintbrush. I could picture the blood spurting from the clean wound with every step the goat took. The animal ran less than a hundred yards, losing several parts of my broken arrow along the way, before coming to rest in a 50 foot deep ravine. As the adreneline started to drain, I climbed down into the ravine and got down to the task of dressing out my kill.
In the spirit of the native hunters, I wanted to honor this animal for giving his life to me by using every part of it that I could. My son and I tanned the hide and made a quiver for his small target arrows, while the feet became part of a rack for our bows and arrows. The horns and skull were European-style mounted and the meat fed many friends as I danced around a BBQ fire and recounted my hunt.
My arsenal of bows has since been modernized, but my first compound is still my favorite and most productive with fish and game. The secondhand bow, once doomed for the landfill, became a legend in the hands of a believer in the true spirit of the hunt.

© 2008 Chuck Cardamon

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 Schreiber on 15 May 2008

Meditation through Archery

The act itself is simple enough, anyone can pull back a string and let go. But it is oftentimes the simple things in our lives that give us the greatest pleasure. There’s no better feeling than standing with a bow in my hands and taking aim at anything. It is almost as if another world waits for me beyond the draw and once I have that string pulled back this world slips away, melts into something that exists around but not within me. I have achieved what the Buddhist monks would call complete consciousness, where I am free of worldly cares and possessions. Nothing moves in my peripheral as I take aim at the target. There are droves of people behind me and all around me and I can feel them there, but I do not see them and I do not hear them. I can feel every breath I take as I have never felt a breath before, the air is cool as it reaches my lungs and I hold it there for a moment as it grows warm inside me and upon its release I can feel the warmth sweep through my nostrils and over my fingertips which are white with the pain against the stress of the string, but this isn’t a terrible pain, instead it is a welcome one. The type of pain that reminds us of pain and pleasure and to take them together as one entity, one that cannot exist without the other and knowing that the ecstasy of release is imminent. My only thoughts lie on the task at hand, I have for the first time ever found total control of my body “Your left arm is shaking, stop it.” And it stops. “You must stand straighter” and I do. Upon the release I feel the force of the vibration through the string and the energy exerted upon the arrow and I can stand for just a second and feel absolutely at ease with the world. And then snap back to reality upon hearing the most glorious sound of arrow tearing paper.

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 5 (10 votes, average: 2.60 out of 5)
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Published by csinclair on 12 May 2008

Archer and Hiker does not equal Bow Hunter

(a.k.a. 10, (more), practice tips for new Bow Hunters

Last weekend I had the first chance ever to take my bow out into the bush for a long hike on 160 acres of farmland interspersed with forests and tree stands on some private property owned by my family, where I have permission to hunt.

I didn’t actually hunt on the property this time, (not being licensed to hunt in Ontario yet, (anymore)), I was however there to get some practice and experience in getting up early in the morning, (5 AM – 1/2 hr before sunrise), gearing up with all my camo and archery gear and going for a long stalk through the fields, as well as spending some time shooting from a tree stand, (pre-existing), in full gear just to see what it was like. Lucky for me one of the neighbours came by with a big old Tom Turkey (20+ lb’s), that he shot on the first morning with a 10 Guage shotgun, (nice looking bird) we shared an after the hunt drink on my father in law’s back porch while he told me the story. He called out this old Tom with a box call, and put two rounds into him, (which may explain why I’d heard lots of them clucking on the first morning and none on the second).

First thing that I did on the first morning was set up a distance string that I’d prepared with trail tape marker measurements on it the night before. I marked the 20, 40 and 60 meter intervals on it so that I could tune my sights for some longer distances than the usual 20 to 30 meter shots I practice at home. I set my pins for 20, 30, 40 and 60 meters, I won’t take a shot any longer that at this point, maybe later with practice.

I’m very glad that I did take the time to go out get the practice like this because as I’ve been reading the articles on this site and a few others like it, I’ve come to the conclusion that no amount of archery practice and hiking can get one ready to be a bow hunter and after this weekend I think I’m beginning to understand why.

I actually had a big old Tom walk right out of the bush towards where I was practicing from in the tree stand on the first morning out, he came out of the woods about 120 meters away from the stand and came closer until I think I moved and spooked him at when he got to around 80 meters away from me, he was gone in a flash not to be seen or heard from again by me.

Top things I learned on this weekends excursion into the world of bow hunting training & preparation:

1.) Be prepared, although it was early May, the mornings were cold, I forgot to pack gloves and my hands were quite unexpectedly cold on the second morning. Make sure to get all your gear together the night before, check it and double check it, triple check it, (the first morning out I forgot my field glasses even though I’d packed them with my gear, I left them in the truck, doh!).

2.) Humans are very noisy, Walking through the forest in boots it’s very difficult to be stealthy, hunt from a stand or blind and learn to call your prey, the chance of you sneaking up on an animal on it’s own turf are slim in most cases.

3.) Be patient, what better way to spend the morning than sitting out in nature, being silent, scanning for animals with field glasses, (which I did remember to bring on the 2nd morning).

4.) Practice shooting from your treestand in all directions and distances, I could shoot quite easily some in some areas but really had to shift my position and harness to shoot in other directions and distances, practice and be prepared for all scenarios.

5.) Shooting unmarked distances in the wild is very difficult, (it’s critical and quite difficult to judge distances properly this is probably why so many hunters use range finders), shooting from a tree stand is also very difficult, (due to the angles involved), until you get used to it, (I was much more accurate by the end of the 2nd day).

6.) Experience is the best teacher, reading about and watching videos on a topic is not the same as doing something, if you thing you want to be a bow hunter, get out into the woods and actually spend a few damp chilly mornings in the bush doing stuff for real.

7.) Always carry a compass or GPS device, even though I was on familiar land, it would have been easy to get lost at certain points, forests can be deceptive at times and it’s easy to walk the wrong way and become lost, (it happens).

8.) Hunters who get up early, (before sunrise), dress up in Camoflaged clothing, (I was wearing Real Tree HD head to toe), and spend hours in the woods being as quiet as possible see all kinds of wildlife, (during my 2 mornings out I saw: 2 raccoons, 2 groundhogs, lots of Canada Geese, (2 Canada Geese in particular at waters edge of a pond with a nest of 5 eggs), 3 or 4 Mallards, a Great Egret, a wild Turkey, a pair of yellow bellied sap suckers, lots of crows, red winged blackbirds, sparrows and yellow warblers, (although I spotted some droppings and tracks I didn’t see any deer this time out).

9.) Talk about Bow Hunting and your desire to be a hunter with others, (I was slightly surprised by the reception that my interest received from my family and friends), I’ve been invited out hunting with a few different groups now, to hunt for various game and I’ve got permission to hunt about 1000 acres of privately owned land if you totalled up the various offers from kind folks who I’ve talked to about my interest in the sport.

10.) Being out in the bush with the Bow is like nothing else, what a great feeling, memories in the field are irreplaceable. I can only imagine the high that comes with bagging big game with a bow after my brief taste of the sport and the tiniest bit of experience that practice in full gear could provide me with, I’m more eager than ever now.

I figure that I’ll spend a few more weekends this summer up at the same spot practicing and getting used to full camo hiking, stalking and tree stand shooting before next years season, at which time I’ll be licensed for small game and hopefully pull a ticket for turkey and who knows what else. In the meantime, practice, practice, practice.

Happy Hunting!

26 votes, average: 3.62 out of 526 votes, average: 3.62 out of 526 votes, average: 3.62 out of 526 votes, average: 3.62 out of 526 votes, average: 3.62 out of 5 (26 votes, average: 3.62 out of 5)
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Published by txcookie on 12 May 2008

Succes in Failure

Success in failure

 

I have never been much for the world of trophy hunting. I grew up in an area were big deer were more than just rare, they were endangered, and almost every one I’d ever seen harvested was taken by rifle. I was in love with the arrow so a doe, or spike, or anything, actually, was truly my trophy.  

I took up Bow hunting at the age of 13 and by 15 I had my first deer. In the next 3 yrs I would take two more before joining the Air Force and missing several seasons. Funny, how a war can take you away from everyone and everything you love. After a 4 yr gap I was finally able to get some free time (thanks to hurricane Rita and a two month evacuation) to make a hunt and was able to take a small doe. The predator within me was awakened with that kill, and had the appetite of a bear after a very long winter. 

 In 2006 I was up for orders, and when I saw Iowa on the list I suddenly had a rush of thoughts and pictures with me posing with my Pope and Young’s! I was ecstatic, and when I got the assignment I was already being told from friends of how many monsters I would most likely kill. Success would be mine. 

  Iowa did not let me down for my first season. I could see more deer in just one week then I would see in an entire year back home. Bucks were everywhere, and most were way bigger than what I was used to seeing. I got a map of the land I had to hunt and started researching everything that I could about it. I learned the best ways to ambush without the help of feeders and tried to get used to playing the scent game. I felt I knew how to hunt, however this was the first time in my life I would be 100% solo with my Father and hunting buds living a thousand miles away. Hunting huge fields with little woods is a bit different than hunting the forest of North East Texas.  Everything would be different. 

It all paid off one evening when I passed on a 120 class deer only to be rewarded with a 150 class. He came down a trail which crossed into my best shooting lane, offering a 15yrd chip shot.  As soon as he hit the spot I drew back and all I could think was HORNS. I saw the pins, then the deer, and I just jerked. Needless to say the only thing that got hurt was a small leaf from a half-dead plant.  

The sound of an arrow missing is the toughest sound to hear, and I was crushed. I didn’t eat for 2 days and had to miss work. I swore up and down that I would get this buck or one similar before the season ended. I hunted in –15-degree weather and passed many very respectable bucks that would have probably made the paper in my hometown. I annoyed my wife, sacrificed precious gym time and eventually fell behind at work. In the end I had to settle for several tasty does, and considered my season a complete failure. 

  With post-season came the gym time and catching up with my family and work. Also I had to get my shoulder fixed, which had been really messed up with rotator cuff damage. I was beyond worried about my final season in Iowa, with my last chance to get that mossy-backed monster of the cornfield depending on a bum shoulder!  

After 2 months of Physical torture I was finally able to draw and shoot a new 49# Bow.  Getting the stands up was no easy task either–suddenly I had a new appreciation for just how important shoulders can be for a bow hunter. The first hunt was hot but productive, and in the end there was a heart-shot doe in the back off my truck! Another one would follow later that week and I had convinced myself that this would indeed be the yr.  

That’s about when things went back down hill.  The rut started at a time when I simply could not miss work, even if the Boss had no idea, and I only caught the back end of it! I decided to lower my standards to any P&Y and at the rate I was seeing them, I knew it should only be a matter of time.  My time finally came one cold windy November morning.  A good 8-point came in at 25 yards. Tailing a doe, he stopped for just a moment.  

I remember getting the bow back and telling myself to pick a spot and follow through.  I did, and watched in horror as my arrow sliced the bottom of his chest, leaving him a lot smarter but alive. Having white feathers I can tell you if I have a hit from my stand and in this case they were clean and dry, with just a dab of fat on my shaft and one white hair.   

Back into my depression I went. I was miserable. Finally I decided I had to talk to someone about it, so I called my Father. He was able to get my senses back in order. He reminded me that I had always found my own trophies in any bow kill that I had. This got me to thinking; for 2 yrs I had been bitter, worried, and anxious about deer season, obsessing over big horns! I had let it take to much time away from my family and my career.  I had even let it take the enjoyment out of the hunt. 

The more I thought about it the dumber I felt and more embarrassed I became. It finally hit me that I was in a bowhunter’s heaven and that I was hunting, not competing in a sport with a scoreboard. I needed to just have fun out there like I always had. I had always assumed that my success would be a big P&Y buck, but in the end my success was my failure. My success was finding my passion for simply being a Hunter and taking whatever I deemed a trophy, instead of competing with Magazines and TV shows for trophies.  

The final hunt in 2007 produced a small buck that most would have passed on. I remember sitting in the stand, freezing in the cold.  As I looked down to check my legal shooting time I saw something move thru one of my lanes out of the corner of my eye. With blood pumping and adrenaline surging I rose up and drew back, releasing my big fat XX75 flying at 200 fps straight into the deer’s vitals. With a thunderous crash he broke out of there, stopping just30 yards away before taking his final bed. He has been my greatest trophy to date!

 

25 votes, average: 3.04 out of 525 votes, average: 3.04 out of 525 votes, average: 3.04 out of 525 votes, average: 3.04 out of 525 votes, average: 3.04 out of 5 (25 votes, average: 3.04 out of 5)
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Published by cape buffalo on 10 May 2008

Dreams do come true!

 
Dreams do come true! As long as I’ve been hunting, my friend and I have always wanted to kill a buck with a droptine. Well it finally happened to me! One day last year while out bow hunting I saw three does acting crazy, running and jumping like rabbits. Then it happened… out walked a big buck with a droptine! I was so shaking -up I couldnt even think straight. Well the buck knew something was not right and he disapeared like a ghost. Over the next three weeks I hunted that deer hard and saw him one more time, and now it is November & I was in the woods well before daylight and as I sat their thinking where the buck could be. I saw a deer walking, but to my surprize it was the does I had always seen with him, but no buck this time. now it was around 1:30PM, so I started walking back to my truck, but on the way out I saw a deer on a ridge making scapes and walking toward me, so I stopped and watched as the deer came closer. I saw what I have waited a lifetime for walking right to me. And I drew my bow,but  I had no shot.The deer just kept walking right pass me into a large blown down tree that blocked my shot, and then it happened, at 10 yards the deer saw me, but it was too late at 10 yards I shot the arrow, It  hit the buck perfect as he ran off I sat down to think about what had just happened to me. As I calmed down I picked up a blood trail that the blind could have followed. after 150yards I found my dream buck and to my surprize he had kickers, three brow tines, double droptines and spilts plus mass. everthing you could want and more, and I thank god and my dad for a great deer and I know his off spring will be there for years to come and just maybe my son will take one this year. And, yes my son told me he wants one with 5 droptines on each side. And always remember dreams do come true!
14 votes, average: 2.93 out of 514 votes, average: 2.93 out of 514 votes, average: 2.93 out of 514 votes, average: 2.93 out of 514 votes, average: 2.93 out of 5 (14 votes, average: 2.93 out of 5)
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Published by kent5252 on 09 May 2008

From the Gridiron to the Hardwoods

There have been times in my life when people have asked me why I hunt. To me, there has never been a question. However, I struggle to find the words. I am often inspired by writings that describe my emotions, because I have a difficult time identifying them myself. Hunting, to me, is all about quiet mornings, watching squirrells, sneaking through the woods undetected, sunrises, sunsets, the smell of gunpowder, waking up early to a fresh pot of coffee, preparing for a hunt with friends the night before, time well spent with family, the thrill of the chase, the thrill of the kill, being a part of nature, and ultimately realizing that there is a higher power who created this all for us. I have been very blessed in my life. I am currently a college student/football player. Throughout highschool I was fortunate enough to have a lot of success on the field. Because of that, I earned a full-scholarship to a division 1A school to continue with my playing career. Over the last four years, it has been a wild ride. I have played in some of the greatest venues that our country has to offer a college football player. Although the ride has been thrilling, I have missed spending weekends in my deer stand during the rut. Over the last four years, there have been times when I really struggled to make it out there, due to a lack of time.I think it has affected me to the core. People do not realize what a sacrifice college football has been. It is a 365 day-a-year committment. Just last fall, I was standing on the sidelines at Ohio Stadium. We were playing against the Buckeyes, who would eventually play in the national championship. That stadium packed over 100,000 people. It was overwhelming to say the least. Being from Ohio, I had dreamed about playing in that game for my whole life. I know this sounds crazy, but before the game even started, I was actually looking forward to getting home that night. The reason was that I knew I would be able to hunt the next morning. Some people will judge me for looking a gift horse in the mouth. That is just not the case. I love football, but hunting is my life. I need it. I cannot live without it. Being in nature is something like a drug to me, and it is my one and only addiction. I think that there is just something about traveling far away to play in front of large crowds like that. It overwhelms me to the point of irritation. School bothers me too. I don’t like being around a whole lot of people at once. When I’m around a lot of concrete and steel for too long, I feel frustrated. People at school do not understand me. On the weekends when they go out to party, I go home and prepare my gear for a morning hunt. While they play video games, I usually head out to the archery range or go fishing. My girlfriend is the only one here who really understands me. We have been together for 3 years. It has taken some getting used to on her part. She is not a hunter herself, but she knows why I go home every weekend. Hunting takes me far away from football and school. It is my time to be out in God’s country clear of any worries. I can really separate from everything out there. I leave it all behind me when I step out into the woods. This past semester, my mother suffered a life-threatening situation. She was diagnosed with cranial aneurysms. Two of them burst in her brain. It was the scariest time of my life. She is my best friend, and we really thought that we were going to lose her. Between the surgeries and events that took place, I spent as much time as possible in the woods. Hunting helped me to cope with a difficult situation. Everybody deals with things differently, and that is how I got through that period in time. Luckilly, she is alright now. During that period of time when things were chaotic though, the only time when I could feel okay was when I was out there by myself. When I have no choice but to be at school, and I have some down time, I like to spend it reading. Specifically, a lot of time is spent on Archery Talk reading articles, and learning about equipment or new hunting tactics. I also read books about Fred Bear, Chuck Adams, Saxton Pope, Art Young, Fred Eichler, Theodore Roosevelt, etc. I will read anything that I can get my hands on if it deals with hunting. It eases my mind about other things as well. I may be the only 22 year old guy who cannot wait to graduate, go to work somewhere, and buy a piece of property for myself. I dream big too. I would rather have a shack in the woods than a 3-million dollar castle in the city. Though that sounds somewhat cliche, I really mean that. Give me a log cabin with a few acres attached. Watch me live happily ever after. I don’t want a mansion on Lake Shore Drive. I don’t want a million dollars. I just want enough. I don’t care what I do for my job, as long as I can afford my dream of buying a little farm somewhere to kick my feet up. For the time being, I will continue to sneak home with every spare minute I have. After a long week of suffocation at school, I know I can come up for air on the weekends. In the modest words of the great Fred Bear: “On most days spent in the woods, I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent.”

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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! 

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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 Shaman on 05 May 2008

No Greater Joy – Children

There are few things more special than the first time that your son and/or daughter ask to do something related to hunting with you. For me, this happened this past week. My Daughter decided she wanted to help me set up my turkey Blind. Better yet, my brother was one hand with his camcorder and captured this video.

I’ve attached the video: Click Here

 

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