Archive for the 'Personal Blogs' Category

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Published by RchurE on 05 May 2008

Journey back to field archery pt. II

I made it out for another 14 target round yesterday. Finally got some weather worth shooting in for a change. It was clear and calm and about 70 degrees. Everything started out just fine and dandy but I’ve been fighting some chest and sinus junk all last week so I was a little weak but knew I would be. I don’t think that really had any influence on my shooting but I’ll use it as an excuse since I can.

Target #1 is the bunny and it didn’t hurt me any. I shot 4 pretty good arrows for a 20.

Target #2 brought the 28 fan which I’m usually ok on. I shot 4 good ones there for a 20.

Target #3 was the 23, 20 and easy enough for another quick 20.

Target #4 – the 64 walk up. This one is usually pretty tough for me for some reason at our range. It’s a pretty flat range from beginning to end but this one is just the least little tad uphill. Actually it’s on level ground but the target is high up on blocks so it gives just the slightest incline. 64 – X, 59 – X, 55 – X, 52 – 4. I couldn’t believe it. I had just called it to my buddy too. I told him I’m bad for hitting the hard ones and losing a 20 on the short ones. I was zoned in and everything but just made a bad shot. I was still ok though because my goal is to clean everything out to 50 yards.

Target #5 is the 15, 14 and I shot a 20 on that one.

Target #6 is where it all started going downhill. It’s the 40 and I almost always 20 it but not today. I dropped the first and third arrow for an 18.

Target #7 – The 70 walk up. I’m hit and miss here for some reason. Some days I shoot it well but the days I don’t I really drop a stink pickle on it. Yesterday was one of those days. The 61 was the only one I hit so I had a 17. I went from one down after 5 to 6 down after 7.

Target #8 – back by the clubhouse we went and on to the 19-17. 20’d that one easy enough.

Target #9 was the dreaded 32 fan. I rarely 20 that one for some reason. It really intimidates me no matter how hard I try not to let it. I faired ok on it this time around knowing I needed to make up some points there. My average this year so far on that target has been 18 and I did one better for a 19.

Target #10 – WOW! Here was the 48 and man did it do me wrong! I don’t know what happened here but this target really ruined my round. I ended up with a 16 the hard way on that one. I shot my first 3 ring of the year. It really didn’t feel that bad either but it sure hit bad enough.

Target #11 was the 58 walk up and I shook off the last target and pulled it together for a good solid 20 on this one.

Target #12 is the baby 80 – 53 walk up. That dot is so small from that distance. Not sure how but I made this one look easy and shot a 20. That’s two in a row for me with this target, I got it the last round I shot too.

Target #13 – the “gimme” 36 fan. I walked over 30 yards from that 53 walk up to shoot this one and missed the first stinkin’ arrow. I then put off 3 solid shots and they were all in the X for a 19 on that big dot for that distance.

Target #14 – ahh, the last one of the day and one that normally gives me quite a bit of trouble. It’s the 44 but it’s the only one on the range that actually has enough incline to warrant a cut. I shoot it for 44 on the field round and 43 on the hunter round. I made 4 good shots for a 3x-20 to finish the day.

All in all not a bad round as I finished up with a 268. I’m really trying to push myself toward a 275 average but I haven’t hit it yet. I really need to keep my head in the game if I plan to accomplish my goal. I find myself at full draw sometimes mowing the yard, pushing my daughter on the swing, painting the kitchen, or some other distraction that just sneaks its way in there. Nonetheless, I’m having a great time, getting some exercise, and twanging a bow string.

I haven’t received any comments on the entry before this one (my first one) so maybe nobody is even reading these things. If you are though and you’ve never shot any field archery then you really should seek out a range. It truly is, in my opinion, the most fun you can have with clothes on. Heck, look me up and we’ll shoot a round.

Until next time…

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Published by DuckBuckGoose on 04 May 2008

Tips for Securing Trophy Buck Hunting Land

Private Property Sign

These days, finding property to hunt that has a high potential to hold a trophy whitetail deer can be a significant challenge. While public land offers convenience and is open to all, it can get significant hunting pressure – which usually means that it is less likely to have bucks live to maturity. So…the best options for finding trophy hunting land tend to be; 1) Getting EXCLUSIVE permission to hunt private and rural land, 2) Leasing private hunting land or using an outfitter, or 3) Getting permission to hunt land that other hunters overlook (which may or may not be rural). In this post, I’ll dig into each of these options a little bit, and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Three Key Elements: Food, Water & Cover

First, let’s focus on what deer seek out in the land they inhabit, so we can better define what we are looking for in hunting land. For deer to survive throughout the year they need three essential elements; food, water and adequate cover. If at some point they are lacking any one of these elements they will move to a new location until they have access again to all three. Beyond these three elements, for a deer to grow into a true “trophy animal” they simply need the time to grow to a mature age without being hunted and harvested or pressured out of an area. Again, that’s where the three land options that follow should be focused on if you want to increase your odd of harvesting a trophy animal.

 

Option 1: Getting EXCLUSIVE permission to hunt private, rural land

For most hunters, this is the ideal scenario because large tracts of rural, private land that don’t have a lot of pressure can be havens for trophy bucks. But, these areas can be hard to find if you are starting from square one. To help you narrow your search there are a number of tools you can use that many hunters don’t know about, or don’t think to use. Among those are:

Tool #1: Google Maps / Google Earth.  This is an unbelievable resource that hunters of the past did not have. This tool uses the latest satellite photography to let you view your hunting area, or possible new hunting areas from a birds eye view. It will help you identify terrain features, pinch points, streams, relative distances, and will even provide you with specific GPS coordinates. Beyond that, you can draw on the digital maps and photos with the computer, save notes by location, and print them to take along on your next hunt. I would highly recommend you learn to use these tools (don’t worry, its easy) and use them often. The more you scout and the better records you keep, the more successful you will be in the field this year, and in the years to come.

Tool #2: The DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer for your state.  This tool is derived from aerial maps and has a great level of detail. It will help you identify general topography, streams, roads, and high potential deer habitat and is a great resource to keep in your truck for anytime scouting.

Tool #3: Plat Books can be very helpful, once you choose the county or counties in which you think you may want to hunt. Plat books will show you who owns the various parcels of land (usually just those over 5 acres) in a particular county. Platbooks can be purchased through several sources including; the Farm Bureau, County Treasury Office, The County Soil & Water Conservation Office and other places. One convenient Plat book publisher/seller is Rockford Map Publishers (http://www.rockfordmap.com). They publish good quality Platbooks for about 20 states.

Tool #4: County Auditor Websites – As more and more public information goes online, many of the County Auditor offices are putting the key information you are looking for on the web, and all in one place. If your target county does this, consider yourself blessed, because it can be a treasure trove of the most up-to-date information, including; land owner’s names, property lines, addresses of the property and the address of where the owner lives (if different).

Tool #5: The Phone Book – Once you find the land and the landowner’s name using the plat books or county auditor’s site, the phone book can be the next tool in your arsenal to help you get permission. County phone books can be used to look up the names you find in your search. If the names can’t be found in local phone books don’t give up hope. You can still find them by visiting the County Treasury Office, and asking the good people there where the property taxes are being sent for your target parcel of land. This information is part of public record.

Tool # 6: Topographic Maps – Some hunters find these really helpful. Others don’t feel they’re necessary since many of the tools mentioned above give you a good sense for topography. However, if you are scouting large tracts of land where knowing the topography will be a key element to a successful hunt, then getting a topographic map could be a good option.

There are several places to get topographic maps, including some sporting goods stores or government offices. However, two of the most convenient places I’ve found to buy them are http://www.usgs.gov and http://www.mytopo.com. Both of these web sites allow you to buy printed maps or have custom printed maps sent to you. Both sites also have free or paid products to choose from. Here’s a tip…If you’re going to deer camp with several other hunters, that might be a good time to have a custom printed map made. That way you can use for planning your daily hunts, to detail where each of you will be hunting, and to help you determine higher potential deer travel routes. Plus, if you’re going with a group you can split the cost of the map.

 

Option 2: Leasing private hunting land or using an outfitter

Finding free land to hunt is obviously the best option, but for some people who have the financial means and limited time for scouting, finding a hunting lease or booking guided or semi-guided hunts with an outfitter can be a good solution. If looking for a lease here are a few things you’ll want to consider:

Make sure the lease you get gives you exclusive rights to hunt the land. Or, at least make sure you know and trust the other hunters who will be using the lease. There’s nothing worse then paying a lot of money for a lease and then having some “yahoos” ruin your hunting opportunities by doing something stupid.

Ask the landowner or leasing agent if you can scout the property before putting any money down on the lease. When you scout the property look for deer sign, but also make sure it has plenty of the three elements mentioned earlier; food, water and adequate cover. Also, ask if the landowner has any pictures of deer roaming or harvested on the property. Introducing yourself to neighbors and asking them about the local deer herd can be another good way to gauge a lease’s potential.

Before searching for a lease, make sure you can’t get permission to hunt the land for free. Find the properties you want to hunt, then do your homework, knock on doors and ask permission. If you get turned down, offering to lease the land can be a good fallback position.

A hunting lease is a legally binding contract that gives exclusive rights to hunt land, in exchange for a fee. If you’re not working through a broker who provides a good lease contract, make sure you get one and get it signed. Also, make sure the lease is very clear about specifics like;

• Who the landowner is

• Who has permission to hunt and scout the land (make sure you have exclusivity),

• What animals are allowed to be hunted and how (is gun hunting allowed, or is it archery only?),

• The effective dates of the lease

• If camping/fires are allowed on the land, if that is something you may want to do

• Where vehicles are, or are not allowed on the land

• What rights you have to modify the land (can you put in food plots, cut trees, etc?)

• What the price and term of the lease is

• Any other intentions you have and want to clarify in the lease

If a landowner won’t grant you exclusive permission for free, there’s nothing stopping you from asking them if you can lease their land for hunting, But if you want to greatly expand your search, there are several hunting lease brokers that you can use to find and lease land. Many of them are online and let you search properties through their online databases. Doing a simple Google search for “Hunting Lease” or “Hunting lease brokers” will help you find several options like: Basecampleasing.com, Nationalhuntingleases.com, Leasehunting.com, Findahuntinglease.com, hightechredneck.com and more.

 

Option 3: Getting permission to hunt land that other hunters overlook. 

This article is about increasing your odds of harvesting a mature trophy buck. You may think that your county or state doesn’t have any trophy bucks in it. In most cases that is not true. If you look in your state record buck you’d probably find that just about every county in your state has trophy animals on record. The key to hunting trophy bucks then isn’t necessarily finding some remote new places to hunt, but finding the right places to hunt – some of which might be much closer than you think.

Consider this…as the population of people in the nation continues to grow, many more people are choosing to move out of the congestion of cities and into the country. Often times they will buy five to ten acre lots because they enjoy being surrounded by nature. You will probably find that the majority of these landowners will not allow hunting on their properties – providing the deer population a “safe zone” to grow old in. However, these areas are worth investigating and seeking permission in. If you can get access, this can be some of the best trophy buck land around.

Finding The Edges Will Give You an Edge:

Deer are “edge animals”, and looking for different types of edges is a great strategy for finding them. For deer hunting, I’ve found that “edge” can be defined a few different ways. A “Cover Edge” is the where two types of cover meet – like where the woods and a field meet, or where a thick bedding area joins more open timber. This is often a great type of edge for setting your stand and finding travel routes. Another type of edge is what I call the “Pressure Edge”. The Pressure Edge is where a deer safe zone property borders one that you can hunt. If you’re hunting in a highly pressured region the best place to find a trophy buck is to gain permission to hunt in their safe zone. The next best place to hunt them is on the Pressure Edge, right next to a known safe zone. Gain permission in either of them and your odds of seeing trophy animals increases dramatically.

Look for safe zones and pressure edges on the urban borders and city limits, or within one of the many townships that contain good cover. Many of these areas will allow archery hunting. Sometimes a special permit is required in the more urban areas. (Make sure you check your state and local regulations and stick to the letter of the law. Nothing will tighten hunting restrictions for everyone faster than hunters who break the rules.)

A good strategy is to look at a map of your area and look for the possible safe zones and pressure edges. Places to key in on include city or county parks, scouting and church camps, airports, mining operations and gravel pits, federal wildlife areas, airports, golf courses, shooting clubs and more. One you start looking the map you will be surprised at how many pressure edges you’ll be able to find. Once you find these areas, make a list of the ones you’d like to investigate further. Then use the tools and tactics mentioned earlier in Option 1 to systematically pursue gaining permission to hunt them.

At the end of the day it is all about playing the odds. The more landowners you approach about getting permission, the more likely you are to get a place to hunt. And the less pressured the land you find, the more likely it is to hold mature, trophy bucks. Use this logic starting now, and you are sure to increase your odds of hanging a trophy animal on your wall in the seasons to come.

DuckBuckGoose – Cincinnati, OH

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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

Lightweight/Compact:10

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 RchurE on 29 Apr 2008

My journey back to field archery.

It’s been about 8 or 9 years since field archery has been a part of my life. Some of my best childhood memories are of the tournaments my dad, his friends, and I attended. I shot the 3-D scene for a few years after field “fizzled out” around these parts in Southwest Virgina. Our field range had been on hiatus due to a gas pipeline that had to be consructed pretty much smack dab through the middle of it. When I rejoined the club last year I was pleasantly surprised that there were a few people that had rekindled the field spirit and reconstructed the range. 

When I was in my prime if I ever had one I usually averaged in the low 540’s and always wanted to hang with the big boys in the 550’s. I shot in the 550’s a few times as a youth and won the Va. state shoots a few times. Once I stepped up to the young adult class and then the adult class I kind of just leveled off and never was able to reach that next level. Then I hit that age that we all hit as young men and started chasing the girls and archery was no longer my primary interest. I still shot quite a bit but not enough to achieve the “shot” that takes more practice than I was willing to commit to.

Here I am many years later and I’ve came full circle back to where it all started for me, field archery. I thought I might start this blog to help track my progress as I make my way back in. I’ll start by saying that I probably won’t be shooting a whole lot of tournaments because I’ve decided that this stint in archery is going to be more of a hobby for me than anything and I don’t want to put pressure on myself so much that I stop enjoying it. That was a large part of why I stopped the last time. I think you can take this stuff too seriously and I don’t recommend letting it get to that point.

The past year has proved to be both expensive and frustrating. I’ve been through 5 bows and I’ve had to learn everything that I have forgotent all over again. I ended up with a Hoyt Ultra Elite for 3-D and a Pro Elite for field. I just got the Pro Elite ready to go a couple of weeks ago and I shot my first half with it today. Up to this point I’ve been shooting some rounds but they’ve all been done with my 3-D bow.

The first time around this year was on March 31st. I got to meet a new friend that day named Roy Sturgill. He’s an older guy from this area originally but moved to Delaware. He was in visiting some family and decided to shoot a round at the club while he was here. We had a great time that day and it couldn’t have been more fitting for me to get to shoot with an “old schooler” that day. I ended up shooting a 265 half on the field faces. I felt pretty happy with that since it was the first time outside and the first time on a field course in that many years.

My second time out was on April 5th. That day was wet and rainy but still a lot of fun nonetheless. I shot alone that day and to be honest it had been some kind of day at work so I was glad to get some peace and quiet at the range flying solo. I did better that day and was tickled with a 271 half, still on the field faces. I shot a 20 on the 30 which I normally struggle with pretty badly and I also 20’d the 80. I hadn’t done that in a long time so I was on cloud nine.

On April 20th we had a 28 animal round at the club and I decided I’d shoot it. It rained pretty much all day long and it was miserable as far as shooting conditions go. The camaraderie was just as I remembered it though. We had a blast as we all got soaking wet and tried to keep the raindrops out of our scopes. When it was all said and done I was whipped. I knew I was out of shape but wow, I forgot what good exercise it is walking 28 targets. Those pesky little 21 rings they put on the animals now are a lot tougher to hit than one would think. I had two brain farts for 18’s and hit five of those 21’s for a total of 561. I was happy with that but I think I can do much better with some practice. 

I realize this has been a long post here but I’m coming to an end very soon. All of this brings us to present time so I’ll get back to the first round with the new bow I spoke of earlier. It was blue cold today compared to the 70 degree weather we’ve been getting and it seems this part of the country is the new Chicago as far as the wind goes. I’m getting pretty used to these terrible shooting conditions and won’t know how to act when I finally get to go shoot on a nice day. I shot really well today even though my score didn’t reflect it. I shot 14 hunter targets and ended up with a 270 half. The 32 fan took my lunch money as I suspected it would. I shot a 17 on that one so almost a third of the points I dropped were on that one alone. I shot 18 on the 70 walk up, 19 on the 64 walk up, 19 on the 40, 19 on the 48, 19 on the 58 walk up, and 19 on the 44.

I’ve set a goal for 550 before the year is out and I don’t think I’m too far off. I’m hoping to get out tomorrow or Thursday for another round. Stay tuned for details.

 

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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 csinclair on 22 Apr 2008

10 Things every Archer who wants to be a Bow Hunter should know.

Practice in full camo gear.

1.) Bow hunting / hunting is / can be very expensive when starting out, having all the best gear isn’t necessary to practice your archery skills, (good archery skills is the basis for Bow Hunting), get decent quality gear and practice lots.

2.) Bow hunting / hunting can be / (is) very time consuming if you’re serious / passionate about it.
(Make sure your spouse, girl/boy friend is OK with it, because it can / will be time a consuming obsession).

3.) Be a student of the hunt, there’s more than one way to do it, every old timer is your teacher,
do lots of reading, talk a little, but listen a lot.

4.) You will accidently hurt / bruise your bow arm with the string from having improper form at some point, don’t be discouraged, learn from it, improve.

5.) If you’re using a mechanical release, you will hurt your face / nose / lip / eye / etc.. with a pre-mature / accidental release, (one fellow I talked to said he even broke his own nose, apparently it’s pretty common when new to the sport).

6.) Practice makes perfect, there’s no substitute for practice. If you think you’re shooting well, step back 10 or 20 yards and think again. Practice, practice, practice.

7.) Be safe and careful, remember to practice safety for you and for others around you, nobody want’s to get hurt.

8.) Be respectful of nature, including the land, prey you hunt and other animals you’re not hunting,
that may live in the area you’re hunting / practicing / scouting in.

9.) Practice for hunting in the gear / clothing that you’d be wearing during a hunt, if you don’t practice shooting in full gear, how will you know if you can perform when the moment comes.

10.) Do your research with regards to local laws, rules and regulations, don’t get into trouble, you’re an ambassador of the archery / bow hunter community, be responsible, set a good example.

2 votes, average: 4.00 out of 52 votes, average: 4.00 out of 52 votes, average: 4.00 out of 52 votes, average: 4.00 out of 52 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5 (2 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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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.

***********************************************************************

2 votes, average: 3.00 out of 52 votes, average: 3.00 out of 52 votes, average: 3.00 out of 52 votes, average: 3.00 out of 52 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5 (2 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
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Published by csinclair on 15 Apr 2008

Eat, Sleep, Archery – the pay off is … accuracy?

I sincerely feel that all of my archery practice as of late is really starting to pay off. It is becoming very obvious in how my arrows are grouping tightly in two’s and threes, however, I’m still slightly high and to the right it seems, no matter how I tune my sight up to the arrows, which I find odd..?,

*Can anyone help with an explanation of why this may be? I can hit the gold if I compensate slightly low, left, but if I change my sight to that position, I always end up with tight groups slightly high and to the right again, maybe it’s in my release?

I’ve been trying to shoot every day now that the nice weather is back and I’m really feeling good about my shooting, ‘all’ of my arrows are in a pretty tight group now, which they never were before.

I joined my provincial archery association today, (the OAA),  so that I can shoot in 3D tournaments this summer to prepare myself a little more for bow hunting next year, which is very exciting end result of all my hard work, dedication to shooting every day, proper diet and fitness training and all the reading that I’ve been doing to try and get ready for it.

Another good thing that happenned today is that my friend who I shoot with is starting to get noticably better, and really seems to enjoy archery, and his daughter who is 10 years old has also become interested and is shooting well now too, soon enough I may have enough participants to start a club, which is a perfect solution for us seeing as there are none in our area, why not?

2 votes, average: 4.00 out of 52 votes, average: 4.00 out of 52 votes, average: 4.00 out of 52 votes, average: 4.00 out of 52 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5 (2 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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Published by djohns13 on 15 Apr 2008

Trying to Impress Dad

 It was a cold, dreary November afternoon as my Mom and I drove to meet my dad.  It was deer season and my dad had begrudgingly agreed to take a break from hunting to spend some time with family.  You see, deer season was HIS time, a two and a half week period each year that he absolutely lived for.  He usually left home the night before opening day, popped back in for a quick Thanksgiving dinner, and then was gone again.  We didn’t see him again until he took his one allotted buck or the season ended, whichever came first.  There weren’t many deer during those days so the hunting was hard and often frustrating.  Most seasons’ successes were not measured in actually harvesting a deer but more in how many were seen during the season.  Success percentage rates were in the single digits during those times, and the rural communities would be abuzz with news of the harvest of trophy bucks.  Consistently harvesting whitetails in those days was a sure way to assure you folk hero status around town.  For many, it was also a way to ensure that the family was well fed during the long cold Indiana winters.  Hearing the news that Dad had gotten a deer was cause for joyous celebration around my house.  I knew Dad would be the talk of the town and I knew that Mom would have a big worry lifted off of her shoulders once the freezer was full of deer meat.

I was too young to remember the occasion for this particular visit but it involved having dinner with the entire family and I was very excited to see everyone most of all my dad.  I was still young enough to not be aware of his imperfections and flaws, I only saw him as the greatest man in the world, one that I was going to grow up to be just like.  One of these days I hoped I would grow up to be a great outdoorsman just like he was.

As we pulled into the area where his truck was parked I noticed him loading something into the truck bed camper.  Later I found that after hunting deer unsuccessfully with his bow in the morning, he had switched over to his trusty twelve gauge shotgun and had limited out rabbit hunting.  Five beautiful rabbits were lying on the floor of the camper and boy was I impressed with my dad’s hunting ability.

Somehow I talked my way into being able to ride in the camper on the way to my grandparents’ house.  Just me, the rabbits, Dad’s archery equipment and the long road ahead of us.  The whole trip I dreamed of how I was the mighty hunter who had victoriously bagged the rabbits and was able to feed my village.  I would return home a hero as everyone in the village feasted and congratulated me on my great hunting skills.  They would acknowledge that I was a great hunter like my father and maybe even he would be impressed by my harvest.  The fantasies went on and on during the trip as I acted out the hunt in its various forms.  In my mind, it was the most successful hunting expedition ever; that is until the truck stopped and my dad opened the camper door.  There in plain sight were five horribly mutilated rabbits and the camper floor cut to pieces where the “great hunter” had repeatedly bagged his game by stabbing them with his dad’s arrows!  To this day I can’t truly understand what made me do that but apparently Dad found it at least a little humorous as my punishment was minimal.  I don’t think I impressed him though because every time he recounted the tale he could hardly finish because he was laughing so hard!

3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)
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Published by djohns13 on 15 Apr 2008

How I Found the Woods inside Detroit International Airport

“Excuse me sir, do you deer hunt?”

“Uh hmm, excuse me sir, do you deer hunt?”

The second time around woke me up from reading a deer hunting article in Outdoor Life magazine.  I looked up to see a well-built rugged looking young man with a load of outdoor looking straight at me.  “Uh yes, well no, I mean I used to and I would like to again” I stuttered.

“Well, if you want to, what’s stopping you?”

“That’s a good question and unfortunately there’s no short answer to it,” I answered.

“Hey, we’re stuck in the Detroit airport on the day before Thanksgiving and we’re not going anywhere soon.  Give me the long version.”

And so I began.   I grew up in a blue collar hunting household in Indiana where the biggest holiday of the year was opening day of shotgun deer season.  I hunted mushrooms, mammals and birds, fished like it was going out of style, trapped furbearers and even harvested wild ginseng.  I guess it came natural with my Cherokee indian lineage.  I picked up a bow when I was about 12 years old and fell in love with it.  For a couple of years, it seemed to have grown roots into my hands as I hardly ever let it go.  I even won a state-level championship for my age group and couldn’t ever imagine not having archery be the focal point of my life.

Then I discovered girls.  To be more precise, I found the wrong girl.  In trying to please her, I strayed far from my outdoor roots.  My father wasn’t about to butt into my business but I knew it hurt him that I was nowhere to be found during hunting season.  We fished together on Father’s Day each year but that was it for me.  It was always in the back of my mind, and I even dreamed about being outdoors, but I could seem to fnd a way to get there.  As a result, with each year my discontent grew.

Flash forward a few years and I find myself with a new girl, the absolute right girl for me, with a house and a career and a baby on the way.  Everything was going very well, except that I still wasn’t out in the wild.  Occasionally we would do some hiking but there was little time for anything else.  My discontent had been replaced by happiness with a simmering desire to get reconnected with the woods as soon as possible.  Life was good for the most part, then the bottom fell out.  My father died of cancer just a few months too early to see his first grandchild be born, and I had my own brush with mortality.  As I recovered, my son was born to have problems of his own.  He would spend considerable amounts of time in and out of hospitals and treatment centers.  There was so much going on and so much grieving to do, that I didn’t have time to miss the woods even though I needed it more than ever.

Flash forward again several years and my life has been rebounded nicely.  I am healthy, my son’s health is improving, I now have three kids with a big house and my career is booming.  There are only two downsides.  First, I am still not in the woods as much as I want and second, I am stuck in the Detroit Airport trying unsuccessfully to get home for Thanksgiving dinner with the family.

And now standing before me is my hunting/trapping/fishing/outdoor guardian angel and neither of us have a clue how much he will impact my family’s life.

He listens patiently to all the reasons why I am not in the woods and then hits me with the truth bomb.  “You need to be outdoors with your kids.  They are growing up fast you know.”  A profound statement from a guy still too young to legally drink.  He proceeds to tell me his story, which is that he is nineteen years old and trying to make a connecting flight to hook up with his dad for a whitetail hunt in Minnesota.  He is particularly excited about this because since his mom and dad got divorced the relationship with his dad hasn’t been good.  It seems the only time they get along is when they are hunting or fishing together and he misses all of the good times.  His words were giving me flashbacks of myself and my dad, as well as thoughts of me and my oldest son and our struggling relationship.  He mentioned that being in the woods seemed to provide solutions to problems in the rest of his life, and boy did I ever need to come up with some solutions myself.  He had just finished a hunt in Ohio and harvested a really nice buck but this upcoming hunt was really important to him because it was with his dad.  Man, how I wished that my dad was still around to go hunting with again.

We talked for a a few more hours about family and all aspects of deer hunting and then he leaned over and said, “Get back into deer hunting.  You need it and your kids need it too.”  As if on cue, the voice over the intercom announced that his flight was now ready for board and he jumped up to leave knowing he was going to make the hunt he so desparately wanted.  I leaned back in my chair not knowing if I was going to make my holiday dinner, but definitely knowing that I was going to get my kids up in a deer stand as soon as possible.

Flash forward one day and I am sitting at home enjoying a great turkey dinner rattling on about this great kid I met in the airport and how I had decided that the kids were getting new bows for Christmas so they could take up the sport that had been so much a part of my life.  They did get their bows for Christmas and so did I thanks to a great wife who heard every word of what I had said that day.

Flash forward to present day and all three of my kids have sat in the tree stand with me.  My middle son even called in the deer that I harvested with a bow three years ago.  My daughter is actively involved in 4-H shooting sports and my oldest son is starting to fall in love with trap shooting.  And to top it all off, today on my lunch hour I stuck wooden stakes in the ground marking where my new food plot is going to be planted in a few weeks.  About twenty yards from the edge of the plot in a big tree is a buddy stand where me and the kids are going to spend some quality time this fall.

It is hard to imagine things getting much better.

 

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