Archive for the 'How To' Category

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

How To Build Life-Like Three-D Targets ~By Jim Deitrick

April 1990

How To: Build Life-LIke Three-D Targets ~By Jim Deitrick

I CAN BARELY make out the light tan color of an elk’s back on the
steep slope above me. Looking carefully, I pick up the glint of an
antler through the timber. Moving closer, I can see the elk standing at the
confluence of a thick patch of aspens bordering a heavy stand of fir. Closer yet and
the bull comes into full view. He is a magnificent animal, poised with his head up,
listening, ten ivory—tipped points of armor tilted over his head.

While mentally compensating for the steep incline, I carefully judge the distance
separating us. In one smooth motion, I slowly raise my bow, draw and release.
The arrow flies true, heading for its mark. Thud! The unmistakeable sound of an arrow
hitting — Styrofoam?

The elk is only a target; not an ordinary target, however, but a handcrafted three-
dimensional target. With targets built in this manner, it’s easy to let your imagination take hold.
Practicing is, as every archer knows, a crucial part of being a good bowhunter.
The best practice possible is having life- size three—dimensional targets set up in a
field, simulating actual hunting conditions. Three—Ds enable a person to get a
better feel for judging distances that ordinary face targets simply cannot duplicate,
especially when shooting on steep inclines.

Three-Ds also make it possible to shoot from any position or angle without having
to move or adjust the target. Putting aside all the practical aspects, though, shooting
at these lifelike animal replicas is just pure fun. l believe anyone, with a little time and
practice, can put together good looking 3-D targets.

Unless one has previous experience, working with a buddy seems to be the best
approach on the first one or two attempts. When it comes to carving the form, one
person can sometimes see an irregularity the other person does not notice. Avoid
getting too many people on the same project, however. This sometimes creates too
many opinions, making it difficult to get anything accomplished.

I had the opportunity to work with a fellow who is exceptionally good at turning out
these lifelike targets. Mike Shetler of Carey, Idaho, has produced several
exceptional 3-D targets and together we made the elk featured here.
The materials used for construction, with the exception of the antlers, can be
purchased at most lumber yards, builders’ supply or hardware store. It is conceivable
that even the antlers could be carved from wood or some similar type of material, but
I have never tried it. It is generally much easier to End the real thing. However, real
trophy—sized antlers are a lot harder to come by. Antlers carved out of Styrofoam
would lack the strength needed for normal handling.

Many big—game animal targets that one can make have no antlers to worry about.
In fact, Shetler carved out a set of full curl ram’s horns in a sheep target that turned
out to be nothing short of incredible.

The materials we used for assembling the elk are: a large sheet of cardboard,
two—inch Styrofoam, Styrofoam glue, heavy—gauge wire, burlap, wallpaper paste,
paint in appropriate colors. The first thing to do, after deciding which
animal target one wants to make, is to find a picture of that animal in the pose wanted
from a book or magazine. With the help of an opaque projector, enlarge this image to
lifesize onto a sheet of cardboard and trace out the outline. It is important to ensure
that the selected picture must be almost perfectly broadside. lf the animal is quartering
even slightly, the result will be a distorted view when the silhouette is traced
onto cardboard. If a person can draw well, this problem can be eliminated by simply
drawing a life—size silhouette on card- board. Once drawn, this outline is cut out,
making a pattern for cutting the Styrofoam.

We used ordinary two—inch white insulating Styrofoam on the elk target. We
used one sheet of the denser blue—type foam in the center for durability. I believe
the more dense foam makes a longer— lasting target. Unfortunately, it is a lot
more costly and considerably harder to work with.

The cardboard silhouette is placed on top of each sheet of two—inch Styrofoam
and traced. The sheets of Styrofoam do not need to be wide enough to cover the
entire height of the animal. In fact, shorter legs make the target more stable for
carving and can be lengthened easily after the rest of the target is carved. Depending
upon the size of the animal target to be made, one to three sheets are cut
without legs — for the center of the body. Two or three sheets are cut for each side,
including the appropriate right or left side legs for each.

All of these layers are glued and stacked together in their correct order. Some weight
placed on top while the glue is curing will help hold the pieces evenly together. Masking
tape wrapped around the legs will hold them while they are drying. If the target is
being made with a turned head, this portion will have to be built out farther than
the rest of the body. Small pieces of foam can be used by adding them to the head
and neck area so as not to leave as much waste.

The best glue to use is one made specifically for glueing Styrofoam. It is generally
purchased in tubes and applied with a caulking gun. Builders’ supply outlets should
have the necessary materials.

When the glue is completely dry, the foam is ready to be carved and the fun
begins. We have found that an ordinary kitchen knife works well for carving Styrofoam.
The only drawback is having your spouse catch you with it and use it on you
before you can get it out of the house.

When carving the body, try not to worry about cutting off too much. This is a common
tendency and resulting in an animal with a sort of blocky squared-off look. If a
person does cut too deep, it’s a simple matter to glue on a scrap piece of foam and
start over. Once the foam is roughed out with a carving knife, coarse sandpaper
works well to bring out the fine details, especially around the head and face.
Don’t rush this process. Sometimes it is best to leave for awhile; return at a later
time with a fresh view.

Sections of heavy wire are used to support the ears and extend the leg pieces to
their proper length. It is usually best to leave the lower section of the legs over-
sized. Carving them down to lifesize will make them too weak to support the rest of
the target. Steel rods can be used for support if a person wants more lifelike legs.
However, these same rods are often detrimental to the life of aluminum arrows.
Attaching the antlers to the foam is a matter of carving out the appropriate size
hole in the head, then anchoring the antlers with several sections of heavy wire pushed
down into the head through drilled holes.

Sometimes balance can be a problem. lf the antlers are too large, the front of the
animal will be too heavy to stand on its own legs. If this happens, one possible
solution is to place some weight in the lower part of one of the hind legs.
When the carving, shaping and swearing are finally completed and you are satisfied
with the look of the form, you are ready for the next step. The foam is covered
with burlap and wallpaper paste. This process puts a heavy covering, almost like a
shell, over the entire target, adding strength and durability.

Our best luck with wallpaper paste is to use the pre-mixed variety. The extra thickness
and weight of this paste helps to hold and fill the burlap. When applied liberally,
the paste will hide the seams between sections of burlap, making a smoother skin on
the target. Any heavyweight burlap will work. We used burlap bean and grain sacks, with the
seams removed, cut into varying sizes. Larger pieces are used over the body section while
smaller strips are placed around the head and face. The entire target should
be covered with burlap. Weaker points, ears and leg extensions, are tied together
by overlapping the strips in opposing directions.

When the wallpaper paste dries, the target will be relatively strong and ready
for normal handling. If any weak points are noticed at this time, it is wise to apply
some extra burlap where needed. Most wallpaper pastes will break down
if immersed in water. When the target is completely dry, it is a good idea to apply a
generous amount of exterior paint, in an appropriate base color, over the entire target
to help protect it against the weather. However, it is not a good idea to leave a target
in the rain any longer than necessary regardless of how much paint has been applied.

With the base coat of paint completely dry, the target is ready for the final step.
Putting on the finishing color is critical to the final appearance of the target. On this
final process, we appropriated the services of a talented lady who had most of
the paints and talent to make a fair target look pretty good.

Even though we had an expert paint this elk target, that doesn’t mean anyone couldn’t
do as well with some practice. It is generally helpful to gather as many color pictures as
possible before beginning to paint. These pictures will help with the color and shading,
particularly while working on the face.

It is important to remember to not rush the job. Take your time.
Three—D targets put together as I have described will last through dozens of arrows.
However, when the vital area finally does get “shot out” and is too weak to prevent
arrows from passing through, it is time for some repair. Carefully cut out and remove
the damaged section and replace it with a new block of Styrofoam. The patch is
covered over with a new section of burlap and paste. Then, with a new coat of paint,
the target is ready for service.

It seems the closer a target appears to real life, the more fun it is to shoot at and
the harder a person tries to connect with a good shot. This extra effort improves
concentration, making for better quality practice. Many clubs also have competitions
for the best looking 3-D target constructed by members. A club can assemble a large
inventory of fine targets.
Good shooting! <—<<

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Published by passmaster on 12 Feb 2011




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Published by archerchick on 10 Feb 2011

Music To Crest By~By Tharran E. Gaines

Bow And Arrow
August 1972

Music To Crest By~By Tharran E. Gaines
An Old Phonograph Can Improve The Appearance Of Your Arrows As Well As Make Cresting Easier!

MANY SERIOUS ARCHERS eventually get the urge
t0 build their own equipment, especially arrows. And to
personalize and give those new arrows you so proudly built
a custom-made look, you will agree that a crestor can be an
invaluable tool.

But if you are in the same situation as I was and wonder
whether you make enough arrows a year to justify spending
between twelve and thirty dollars for a crestor, you may
want to build your own. That’s what I did, using a few
pieces of wood and the parts from an old record player.
Price will probably not exceed four or five dollars, depending
upon how much the record player costs you.

I wanted a motor that I could use permanently and one
that would be cheap and easy to obtain. I finally settled on
the motor from an old record player and eventually got it
to work for my purposes.

Although I don’t guarantee that all record players will
work, you probably will be able to find one that will if you
look for two things. One is to try to find a record player on
which the turntable shaft tums also and not just the turntable.
Nearly all of the single speed or 45 rpm players that I
have seen have a shaft that turns, but many of the stereo
units have a solid center shaft that employs a record
changer. Second, if it is possible to see the underside of the
record player, try to use one that has a rubber drive wheel
attached to the motor. Most record players use a drive
wheel which is connected to the motor and also runs
against the side of the turntable to operate it. If the drive
wheel isn’t attached to the motor it will still work but
perhaps not as well.

A center shaft of the turntable that turns 0n bearings
will be easier to work with, but a shaft that just runs
through a bushing will also work. Because I used the shaft
and the bearings as part of the crestor it is important that
they will turn.

Because old phonographs aren’t much good unless they
play, you can usually get one for next to nothing. I built
one crestor from an old phonograph that a repairman gave
me. It is also possible to pick one up at a garage sale or a
pawn shop pretty reasonably priced. Just be sure that the
motor works and that it still has the turntable and shaft.
About the only tools required for taking the machine
apart (after you`ve unplugged it) are a pair of pliers, a
screwdriver and a set of Allen wrenches to remove some of
the pieces attached with this type of bolt. When the motor
and most of the scrap pieces of metal has been taken off,
next remove the bushing or bearings through which the
turntable runs. In one type that I used, the bearings were
on a solid piece that simply unbolted from the frame, but I
did need to trim off some excess metal arms with a hack
saw. On another type. it was necessary to cut a square piece
out of the chassis frame to which the bushing was attached.
Additional materials for the crestor will include a one
inch piece of lumber about six by twenty-six inches for a
base, two pieces one inch thick by six by seven inches and a
few small blocks about one inch cube. For these pieces I

used a piece of one by six pine board and just cut off the
different length pieces. Plywood that doesn’t split easily
also will work fine. The length of the base can vary, but
twenty-six inches gives good support for the arrow while it
spins. I also used the crestor occasionally for sanding on the
points, and the long length allows for a support near the tip
of the arrow.

You also will need a small sheet of one-eighth or one-
quarter-inch plywood or masonite that can be cut into two
pieces about six by seven inches and one six by six inch
piece, and something to use as a chuck, I used a cylinder-
type chuck with a rubber washer in the center to hold the
nock, but you could also use a piece of surgical rubber

The chuck I used was obtained from an archery catalog
for $1.50. All of the record player shafts that I have found
have had a diameter of 9/32, and I was able to buy the
cylinder chuck in this size.

Next, drill a hole in one of the six by seven inch pieces
of pine or plywood for the shaft to fit through. It should be
located about two inches up from the bottom when the
piece is placed on end on the base.

If the plate containing the bushing does not already have
screw holes for attaching it to the board, drill four or more
holes so it can be mounted on the back of the board. Next,
place the shaft from the turntable through the bushing. In
some cases the shaft will already be mounted in the bearings.
In this case just mount the bearings on the board and
cut the shaft off to the correct length. I discovered on some
45 rpm players the center shaft may be too short. I found a
piece of broken arrow tubing, which is close to a size 1716
aluminum, can be cut to the right length and used as a shaft
through the bushing. It is important that the shaft spin
smoothly in the bushing. If it doesn’t, polish the shaft with
emery cloth or steel wool until it runs smoothly. Thin oil
might also help. The motor will later be mounted on the
board so that the rubber drive wheel will spin the shaft.
Next, you will have to find some way to keep the shaft
from slipping back and forth in the bushing. Using the
cresting chuck on the front of the shaft kept it from slip-
ping forward.

I put two washers on the back of the shaft and behind
this I made a small roll of friction tape about Eve-eighths
inch in diameter. This not only keeps the shaft in place but
it acts as a drive wheel for the crestor shaft to which the
motor’s drive wheel grips, thus spinning the shaft. If you
need to have the shaft longer you can put a spacer made
from a piece of arrow shaft between the washer and the
tape. Rubber tubing or rubber washers probably would
work even better than the tape.

By varying the size of the drive wheel on the crestor
shaft you can also vary the speed that the arrow will spin. A
smaller wheel on the shaft will cause the chuck to spin
faster. One advantage of using the tape is that you can build
up the size of the crestor drive wheel.

On the type of shaft that I used that was already
mounted in bearings there happened to be a gear on the
shaft for a record changer. Taking advantage of this, I
simply used this as a drive wheel on the shaft and ran the
drive wheel of the motor against it.

Next, determine how the motor should set above the
crestor or turntable shaft so that both wheels will come in
contact with each other. Then glue blocks on the back of
the board to build the motor up to the level where the two
wheels will match. I used block out from the leftover pine
board and finished building it up to the correct height with
thin pieces of balsa wood. Then I fastened the motor to the
blocks with screws, in a position so that the two drive
wheels would have enough contact with each other to run
well but not stop the motor.

If the motor doesn’t have a rubber drive wheel, just
mount it so that the motor`s bare metal shaft has contact
with the drive wheel you have made on the crestor shaft.
However. it will tend to slip more and the shaft will turn in
a counterclockwise direction. I also experimented with
putting a chuck directly on the motor shaft, but this tends
to spin much too fast and causes vibration on the spinning
arrow shaft.

Now you can mount the board, to which the motor has
been attached, on the base vertically and about six inches
from one end. I attached the other six by seven inch board
on the end of the base to form a back for the motor, and
used the pieces of masonite to close in the motor compartment
on the top and sides. The two side pieces were six by
seven and the top piece was six inches square.

The motor compartment can be squeezed in even more,
depending upon the size of the motor. Use small nails when
putting on the sides, in case you need to adjust the way the
motor sets later. It isn’t necessary to close in the motor, but
I thought it looked better. It also helps to brace the upright
board on which the motor and shaft are mounted.

If you are not too proud of your carpentry work, you
can cover the motor compartment with contact paper. A
coat of stain or varnish will also bring out the grain in the

To finish the crestor, I cut a V-shaped notch in two
blocks of balsa wood and mounted these on the base for
the arrow to spin on. Between these I attached a piece of
balsa about eight inches long. This is to attach a card on
which you have drawn your crest design.

I used balsa wood only because it is soft and I can attach
the card with pins. A piece of plastic probably would be
better for the V-notches.

When painting the crest you will be able to slow the
arrow down or make it run smoother by putting pressure
on the spinning shaft into the notching in the blocks. After
a while you will find that the only limit to the designs of
crests that are possible is your imagination and perhaps
your paint supply.

You may choose to vary the plans in many ways and
may have to. You will no doubt find that not all record
players will work as well or like the ones I used, but with a
similar plan you may soon be painting your own pin stripes.

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Published by archerchick on 10 Feb 2011

A Home Archery Target Range ~ By Walt Knuepfer

Bow And Arrow
August 1972

A Home Archery Target Range ~ BY Walt Knuepfer
How To Build An All-Purpose Archery Cabinet

IN DEVELOPING PROFICIENCY and subsequent love for the bow
and arrow, the necessity for a safe and adequate target becomes more pronounced
as one improves. Generally, assuming one has at least fifteen or
twenty yards of backyard room, the average archer-to-be buys a mat or
equivalent, shoots at it, and has frightening moments when he misses the
entire face.

His neighbors’ reactions will often give him cause to consider the problem
seriously, if he persists in picking up an occasional miscast arrow in their
yard. The seriousness of this problem need not be discussed further.
After a typical progression of events, it becomes increasingly evident
that a safe, practical, and aesthetically acceptable solution to the target
problem is required. After considerable study and design analysis, l decided
that a permanent positioning of the target would be best, since hauling a
three or four—foot diameter mat is a chore.

The evolved design consists of a substantial cabinet. able to accommodate
a four-foot mat. The cabinet illustrated was constructed in a workspace,
placed in position. and fastened with large washered lag screws. into four
cedar posts that were anchored below the frost line.

The cabinet, measuring approximately 4-1/2 feet square, provides a safe
coverage of approximately eight feet width by 6 1/2 feet height, with the
doors in the opened position. The hinged doors are held open by engagement
of long, heavy wire hooks, inserted into a screw eye in each door. When
closed, the cabinet can be secured by a padlock, if desired. The top and bottom
extensions are hinged in their centers and are stored in the cabinet
when it is closed. The top extension is positioned onto two three-inch pins,
emerging on the top of each door.

The initial design contained three- foot and two-foot diameter mats. The
two-foot mat was superimposed on the three-foot mat. This double thickness
of mats stopped 560—grain fiberglass arrows. As the mats wore the arrows
began to hit the Celotex lining in back of the cabinet and, ultimately, some
arrows penetrated into the half-inch plywood cabinet backing.

The layering of mats, which were moistened periodically, caused mildew
between the mats and the contact area with the Celotex backing. This condition
was corrected by building the cantilevered support frame shown,
which provides deceleration space for shot arrows, adequate ventilation, and
requires only one mat, which is a considerable economy.

The previous stackup of two mats evolved through necessity, to reinforce
a center shot mat, and to stop arrow passage. The present arrangement
works well. The mat extension is determined by two chains, anchored at
inside top corners, adjusted in length by a chain link attachment to two
screw hooks in the cabinet back. Two fold—up arms at the inside bottom
corners are dropped down toward the back to keep the mat extended and
free of swing.

The entire cabinet is painted any color desired. The one illustrated is
olive drab, to suite the environment or the archer’s taste.
With an archery range of this construction, you can invite your neighbors
over, demonstrate your proficiency, and eliminate any apprehension
they or you might have about casting arrows in your backyard.

The entire cantilever assembly, holding a four-foot Saunders mat, is
brought forward to contact with the ground. This positioning provides for
comfortable mat installation or removal and provides access to the rear
of the mat, where the two five- sixteenth—inch diagonally tied retaining
ropes can be snugged up and fastened.

The crossed retaining ropes are threaded through a half-inch diameter hole in
the two by four corner mat retainers. In constructing the cabinet doors,
the ones described are of five-eigths-inch outdoor type plywood. Any number
of decorative effects can be applied to the faces of the doors in the
closed position. The various trims applied to garage doors, available at
any lumber yard, will personalize the finished product and allow for
matching to fit with home surroundings. <—<<<

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Published by archerchick on 10 Feb 2011

Plan A Moose Hunt ~By Bob Robb

Bow And Arrow Hunting
February 1996

Plan A Moose Hunt~ By Bob Robb

TO MANY LOWER-48 bowhunters, a bull
moose is nothing more than a cartoon character,
Bullwinkle, a little slow on the uptake,
plodding along through life a step behind just
about everyone and everything.
In reality, nothing could be further
from the truth. Moose are North
America’s largest subspecies of deer,
awesome creatures in size of body and
of antler. Unless you have had the pleasure
of quartering a moose in the field,
you honestly have no idea how big they
really are.

How big are they? Whole hind quarters
can weigh more than 200 pounds
each. Something as small as a boned-
out neck may weigh 75 pounds or more.
A big set of antlers and skull plate might
weigh a bit over 100 pounds. To gain a
little perspective, a big whitetail deer
might produce as much boned—out meat
as one large bull moose neck!

Picture yourself backpacking your
moose a mile or two over hill and dale,
through boggy, bug—infested swamps,
weaving between spruce thickets and
tangled balsam, buck brush and berry
bushes or through waist-deep snow, as
I did in Alaska in 1992. In all, packing a
moose back to camp in this manner will
take eight trips, give or take one or two.
depending upon how much each man
can reasonably carry. When it comes to
packing moose, you can never have too
much help – especially if that help includes
a couple of strong pack horses. a
boat or an airplane!

If a man had to work this hard at his
regular job, he’d probably go on strike.
But each year, hundreds of bowhunters accept the
challenge, because moose hunting is exciting and fun.
Just looking at a big bull is indeed awesome, especially
if all you have for perspective is perhaps the
largest whitetail deer. Moose meat is highly prized
for its flavor and nutritional value. And, of course,
there’s lots of it. The antlers of even an average bull
moose are impressive, like nothing else you’ll ever

However, moose hunting is not something you
should do on a whim. It takes careful planning to
arrange a successful moose hunting adventure that
will result in a punched tag and reasonable meat packing job.

In terms of subspecies, most sportsmen recognize
the three listed in both the Boone and Crockett
and Pope & Young club record books. Safari Club
Intemational recognizes a fourth, calling it the East-
em Canada moose, Alces alces americana. The oth-
ers are the Yellowstone or Wyoming moose, A. a.
shirasi, more commonly called the Shiras moose; A.
a. andersoni is the Canada moose; and A. a. gigas is
the giant Alaska—Yukon moose.

Mature Eastern Canada moose bulls have antler
spreads in the low 40-inch bracket. They weigh some-
where between 900 and 1,100 pounds on
the hoof. The Shiras moose is about
the same size. Large Canada moose bulls
can have antler spreads in the low
50-inch class. Where they mingle with
the Alaska-Yukon moose in the extreme
western portion of their range, they
might even creep over 60 inches. They
can weigh 1,200 to 1,400 pounds and
stand between 6 1/2 and seven feet high
at the shoulder. Mature Alaska-Yukon
moose have antler spreads beyond 55
inches, with a few bulls more than 70
inches shot each year. There have even
been a few of these bulls recorded with
antler spreads that exceed 80 inches.
That is nearly seven feet! These incredible
creatures can stand 7 1/2 feet high
at the shoulder and weigh upwards of
1,800 pounds on the hoof.

If your goal is an honest—to—g00dness
record book-class bull moose, you must
understand that antler spread is an of-
ten deceiving criteria. For example, one
outfitter friend of mine in Alaska guided

a rifle-toting client to an Alaska·Yukon
moose in 1989 that had an antler spread
of only 57 inches. But the bull still almost
made the minimum Boone and
Crockett score of 224 points for entry
into the records. Its extremely wide
palms had many long, heavy points, as
did the fronts, to give it the additional
score. The Pope & Young minimum
score is 170 points for bow-killed animals.

For the most impressive antlers,
hunting Alaska-Yukon moose in
Alaska, the Yukon or the Northwest
Territories is what you must do. Of that
group, more than three-fourths of all
Alaska—Yukon moose entries in the
B&C record book have come from
Alaska. While huge moose are scattered
about Alaska, the record book
tells you that the Alaska and Kenai peninsulas,
and the north slope of the
Brooks range are your best bets. If you
hunt these bulls in Canada, the Yukon-
Northwest Territories border area is
best for a truly huge bull.

For Canada moose, 224 of the 386
bulls listed in the B&C book came from
British Columbia. But you can find
record—class bulls scattered about
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and
Ontario. A careful management plan
that includes limited sport hunting has
produced some really top—quality
Canada moose from Maine in recent
years, too. It takes a score of 195 points
to qualify. The P&Y minimum is 135

For Shiras moose, Wyoming owns
158 of the 229 B&C record book en-
tries. Montana, Utah and Idaho also pro-
duce a few bulls in this class each year.
A score of 155 points meets the mini-
mum B&C requirement for Shiras
moose. Archers need a bull scoring 115
P&Y points to make that book’s mini-
mum score.


There are two kinds of bull moose.
The first, easiest to hunt, is the bull in
the rut. When a bull succumbs to an
overdose of testosterone, he thinks of
nothing but breeding. We have all read
stories of rut-crazed bulls charging
trains and semis on the highway, and they do
sometimes get this goofy. It is not unusual
for a rutting bull moose to come out of
the brush and investigate the sound of your
saddle horse clomping down the trail. Once
located, these bulls are relatively easy to get
to within rifle or bow range if you are careful
to not think it’s too easy. The timing of the
hunt may vary from area to area, but generally
speaking, it occurs in late September and early October
This is prime time for trophy moose hunting. If those
big antlers are your goal. this is by far the best time
to try to find them within bow range.

The other bull moose is something entirely different.
Out of the rut, a bull can be extremely difficult to locate:
even tougher to get personal with. Early in the season.
before temperatures drop and when the bugs are thick
down near creek and river bottoms, the bulls will go
high up the slopes of the drainages where the breezes
keep them cooled and the bugs at bay. They will lay up
in thick, almost impenetrable patches of alder, balsam and
buck brush, cover that’s taller than you sitting on a horse
and impossible to silently stalk through. The leaves haven’t yet
dropped off these plants and seeing into them is like trying to
look through a brick wall.

Bull moose densities are another problem to overcome. As noted gun
writer John Wootters once said, “Even when there are a lot of ’em, there aren`t
many of ’em.”

A biologist in Manitoba once told me
I was hunting the best area in the province
for moose. There were three moose
to the square mile. Even in many good
areas, moose densities are only one animal
per square mile. Often it is less. It
is not quite the satne as hunting white-
tails in states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania,
Ohio or Georgia. With such low
animal densities, it often takes lots of
looking to locate a good bull, even in the best areas.

How you hunt depends a lot upon where you are,
the time of year and the prevailing weather conditions.
In mountainous areas such as Alaska and
western Canada, getting up high and glassing for
hours on end is the way to go. In some areas of
Canada, canoeing rivers or along lake shores early
and late in the day is the best way to find moose in
this flat terrain. That technique also works well in

One experienced
moose guide in Alaska told me that
when the bulls aren’t rutting, he will
find a drainage junction that contains
a fair amount a fresh moose sign, climb
up to where he can see as much country
as possible and just sit there. He
builds a small tarp shelter if it is rainy,
brings along a coffee pot and will sit
for several days if necessary.
“When the bulls are working the
area, sooner or later they will walk
where you can see them without spooking
them off,” he told me.
It sounds boring, but it makes a lot of sense.

During the rut, calling is a popular technique.
One excellent way to call
moose is to float a river in a canoe or
large river raft, stopping and calling in
likely-looking areas. You can cover lots
of ground this way, often what it takes
to find a good bull. Making moose
sounds with your voice is pretty simple, or you can
use one of the commercial calls. Both Lohman Game
Calls (Dept. BA, P.O. Box 220, Neosho, MO 64850)
and Haydel’s Game Calls (Dept. BA, 5018 Hazel
Jones Road, Bossier City, LA 7llll) offer excellent
moose calls and instructional tapes.

A modified form of antler rattling may also help
lure in rutty bulls. You can bang large deer antlers
together and it will work at times. Serious moose
hunters carry an old scapula bone from either a cow or
moose and use this to rake against brush and dig up the ground.
Combined with some judicious calling, this can be deadly. The old trick of
scooping water up and pouring it back into a river or lake to simulate a bull
moose urinating isn’t a joke; it also works.

For bowhunters trying to call moose, hunting with a partner is an excellent
idea. Just as in elk hunting, one archer acts as caller, the other as the shooter in
the hope that the bull will not notice the man with the bow. Glassing bulls on
open slopes also can be effective, especially when there is a steady breeze and
cover of brush or trees to hide behind when making a stalk.

However you hunt moose, keep in mind that they have outstanding senses
of smell and hearing, with pretty good eyesight. Always hunt with the wind in
your face, wear non-scratchy clothing, and keep talking and other human noises
to a bare minimum.

Bowhunters need stout tackle to hunt moose. Bows should draw at least 60
pounds. Broadheads need to be razor- sharp and constructed strongly. Light-
bladed broadheads that are lethal on light game such as whitetails won’t get
the job done. I like broadheads to have at least 1 1/8 inches of cutting surface,
with strong blades at least .030-inch thick. I prefer cutting—tip design
broadheads for increased penetration through the thick hair, hide and muscle
structure of a big bull. But rest assured that a well-placed broadhead will drop
a moose quickly. My 1992 Alaska bull was shot once through the lungs at 40
yards with an Easton aluminum arrow shaft tipped with a 125-grain Hoyt Top
Cut broadhead sent on its way by a compound bow with a draw weight of
78 pounds. He ran only 100 yards before piling up stone dead.

I also recommend a rangefinder, like the Ranging Eagle Eye 3X or 80/
2, to help gauge distances over the often deceptive flat ground where moose
are found. Large pack frames, for hauling meat, a razor-sharp hunting
knife and whetstone, and a compact bone saw are mandatory to help with
meat care. Several quality meat sacks will help keep flies off the meat should
the weather be warm. You will also need waterproof binoculars of at least
7X to find bulls in the heavy cover and over long distances.

Both guided and unguided moose hunts have their advantages. You have
to weigh the pros and cons of each, as well as the local game laws, before
making your decision. Moose are a popular animal for hunters to pursue
on their own. Many sportsmen travel to Alaska each fall and hunt
moose unguided. Those who take enough time and
prepare properly do fairly well.

In Canada, guides often are required for non-resident aliens, so you may have no
choice there. The lower 48 states permit un guided moose hunting where there are
huntable populations. Fully outfitted and guided moose
hunts are the most expensive. Costs vary greatly from place to place, depending
upon exclusivity, the remoteness of camp and the hunting area, and other
factors. Expect a fully outfitted moose hunt to cost you between $500 and $800 per day in
the most remote areas that hold the best chances at a big bull, with most hunts
scheduled for seven to 10 days. These costs reflect the expense of ferrying in
supplies, air taxi services and generally conducting
a hunting business in the bush. Costs can drop
down to $200 to $300 per day in areas where the
hunting is done closer to roads. Access may be primarily via four-
wheel-drive vehicle, and the cost of doing business is lower.

For example, a fully-guided 10-day Alaska moose hunt might set you back
$6,000 to $8,000, plus license and tag fees, and extensive — and expensive
-— air taxi costs. A hunt for Shiras moose in Wyoming or Montana migh:
run you $1,500 to $2,500, because the outfitter’s operating expenses are so
much less. Two good moose outfitters l’ve personally hunted with in Alaska are Terry
Overly, Pioneer Outfitters, Dept. BA. Chisana, AK 99780; Gary Pogany.
Osprey Mountain Lodge, Dept. BA. P.O. Box 770323, Eagle River, AK
99577. Both cater to archery hunters, as well as their usual rifle clientele.
Guided hunts have several advantages. The biggest two are that the
outfitter will generally know where the larger bulls hang out, saving you count-
less hours in research time and on-the ground searching, and he will have
made meat and trophy·care arrangements beforehand. As mentioned, that
is no small consideration.

Do—it—yourself hunting is satisfying and can save you major bucks, too. If
you are willing to research an area and plan diligently, you can do a fly—in
moose hunt in Alaska for under $2,500 total, including airplane costs. Float
hunts down major rivers can be even less. A lower-48 Shiras moose hunt can
cost less than $1,000, if you use your own vehicle to get into hunting country
and set up a roadside camp. But you must be able to locate a bull
to your liking, shoot him, then care for the meat yourself. Meat care is the most
important consideration in shooting a moose, especially when hunting on your
own. Make arrangements with a local horse packer before the hunt to help you
get meat out of the back country if you can, or have lots of friends with strong
backs and weak minds. And try to shoot your bull as close to a road, river or bush
landing strip as you can.

Moose hunting is something every ardent big-game hunter should do at
least once. It’s not just the size of the animal nor his tender, succulent flesh.
Moose hunting occurs in some of North America’s most spectacular country.
Moose live in terrain dotted with sparkling, gin-clear lakes and rivers, miles
and miles of uncut virgin forests, often in settings featuring tall mountains with
peaks that reach for the clouds. The flora can be bright and cheerful, the fauna
abundant, the excitement high. <—-<<<

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Published by archerchick on 10 Feb 2011

Let’s Make The English Longbow ~ By Pierre St. Arnaud

February 1972

Let’s Make The English Longbow ~By Pierre St. Arnaud
Don’t Pine For Yew; Lemonwood And A Colorful Vocabulary Are Just As Effective

YOU ARCHERS WHO are romantics at heart can have
both the traditional longbow and the pleasure of making
this graceful weapon.
The early longbow did not have dips from the grip to the
base limb, so the bow played in hand. lt bent in the middle.
suffered loss of cast and was not entirely pleasant to shoot.
The dips, an innovation attributed to one Buchanan. an
English bowyer, made the long bow a more efficient
weapon. They are utilized to this day in the modern
composite bows.

With no apology to the purist, our longbow will have
dips. Those of you who wish can make the early English
longbow by omitting the dips. To do so, simply taper in
straight lines from the four-inch grip section to the tip
dimensions as given in the diagram and proceed to tiller and
balance the bow according to the methods described.
The wood most popularly associated with the longbow is
yew. Good air-seasoned yew is not so readily come by as it
once was. Years ago, during the ’40s and ’50s, l had ready
access to all the yew l could use. With the advent of fiber-
glass and plastics in bowyery, I began to notice a paucity of
yew suppliers.

To make a yew bow requires considerable experience
and special treatment and technique. The sapwood must be
left intact to variable thicknesses in relation to the bow’s
erratic run of grain; pin knots and clusters must be swelled
or dutchmanned, but these are only a few of the considerations.

To make a good yew bow the bowyer must have, besides
adequate experience, an equally adequate vocabulary of
colorful words to help him over the rough spots. This magazine
will permit me to help you with the former in a future
article, but you’ll have to develop the latter yourself. lf you
must tackle yew in your first attempt at bowyery, yew
staves and billets can still be obtained from Earl L. Ullrich,
Box 862, Roseburg, Oregon.

We will use lemonwood (dagame) in making this bow.
Dagame is native to Cuba, Central and South America, and
Southern Mexico. This wood was also used by English
bowyers. It has a specific gravity of 0.80 and hefts at forty-
nine pounds per cubic foot. It has a light tan color, usually,
and has nothing to do with lemons. Lemonwood bow staves
can be obtained from the following sources: Craftsman
Wood Service Company, Department A-30, 2729 South
Mary, Chicago, Illinois 60608; Constantine, 2051-C East-
chester Road, Bronx, New York 10461.

Order a longbow stave six feet by one and one-eighth
inches. Now, unless you intend to go into mass production,
you will need only the few easily obtained and inexpensive
tools and materials I will describe: a block plane, preferably
low angle; a ten·inch or twelve-inch half-round cabinet file;
a six-inch rat tail file; a three by five-inch square cabinet
scraper; garnet paper, medium and fine; and a fifty-pound
spring scale.

Examine your stave. A perfectly straight stave is virtually
nonexistent, but this can be a blessing in disguise. Choose
for the back the concave side of the stave. This imparts a
natural reflex to your bow which improves its cast and
helps retard excessive set or string follow to which most
self—wooden bows are prone. Having established the back,
set your plane to a fine cut and plane the back smooth.
When this is done, sand the back using medium garnet
wrapped around a small, flat wooden block. No further
work will be done to the back until the final finishing stage.
To lay out your stave, draw a pencil line around the
middle, measuring from end to end. Draw a line one and a
half-inch above and another two and a half inches below
this middle line. This four-inch section is the grip and is
situated to permit the arrow to leave the bow one and a
half-inch above center for reasons of dynamic balance.
Measure outward four inches both ways from the grip section
and again scribe lines completely around the stave.

These areas encompass the dips and locate the base limbs.
You now have marks twelve inches apart, and it is at
these points that your actual side tapers begin. Measuring
from the edges of the stave at these twelve-inch lines,
establish a dot dead center on each line. Remember, all
these lines and dots are being done on the back of the stave.
Take a length of thread about a foot and a half longer than
the stave and attach weights to each end.

Lay your stave across your work bench, so the tips are
unrestricted. Lay the thread lengthwise along the stave, so
the weights hang free. Move the thread back and forth at
the ends of the stave until it bisects exactly the dots you
marked at the base limbs. Make dots under the thread a few
inches apart along each limb and at the tips. With a straight
edge, connect these dots from tip to tip. You’ve established
your datum line.

At one—inch from the ends draw lines across the stave.
Place dots a quarter-inch on each side of the datum line at
these points and you have established the half—inch nock
widths. Using the straight edge, scribe lines from the full
width at the base limbs to the half-inch width at the nocks.

Plane to the lines being careful not to remove the lines.
Be sure to leave the sides square (90 degrees.) to the back
as you plane. You are now ready to lay out the dips and
belly taper. Place the stave on its side. Refer to the working
drawing. At base limb, point A, place a dot seven—eighth of
an inch from the back. Half-way to the nock place another
dot 2l/32-inch from the back. Place another dot 7/16-inch
from the back at the nock. Connect these dots.

Go back to the base limb, point A. From the dot free
hand the dip to the top of the grip, D. The bottom of the
dip should be a gradual curve and become more pronounced
as it approaches the top of the grip. All of these
measurements and lines must be duplicated on the other
side of the stave. Plane and file down to the lines, and your
stave is now a roughed-out bow.

Refer to the cross section E in the diagram. Plane the
corners of the grip off until you have four corners. Plane
and file the dips and limbs into the same cross section.
Repeat this procedure until you have an eight-cornered
cross section. Your bow has now very nearly approximated
the cross sections shown as A and B. You will no longer
need the plane. Scrape and file the whole bow into the
round as in cross sections A and B.

Refer to the nock details and file the nocks using the rattail file.
Start at the sides and go into the wood about
one-eighth—inch. Diminish this cut into the belly as you
slant at the angle shown. Make a tiller as shown in the
drawing. The notch at the end should be wide and deep
enough to accept the bow grip. The string notches should
have the side edge sanded round so as not to cut the string
when tillering.

You will need two bowstrings, one strong string for tillering
and one for shooting. Both strings should be of a
length that when the bow is braced (strung) the string will
measure about eight inches from the back of the grip. With
the lower loop attached to the bottom nock the top loop
on the unbraced bow will be about four inches below the
top nock.

Place one tip of the unstrung bow on the floor. Grasp
the bow by the grip in your right hand with theleft hand
holding the uppermost limb. Exert pressure against the
lower tip causing the lower limb to bend a little. Examine
the curve the limb assumes while feeling the amount of
resistance to bending. Mark the obvious stiff spots with
pencil on the belly. Repeat this procedure with the other
limb. Scrape down the stiff spots and test again.

If both limbs bend evenly, one compared to the other,
brace the bow with your tillering string. Lay the·braced
bow on its back on your work bench and step back several
paces to examine the limb curvatures. Each limb should
begin a gradual curve from the base limb and curve evenly
to the tip and both limbs should balance one against the

When this stage is reached satisfactorily you are ready to
begin the actual tillering and balancing. Carefully pull the
string to a twelve-inch draw several times to break it in to
the new stresses. Place the bow grip into the tiller notch
and pull the string into the twelve-inch notch on the tiller.

Place the bow on its back on the bench with the tiller
uppermost. Examine the curvature and mark the stiff spots.
Remove the tiller and unbrace the bow. Scrape the stiff
spots down. Remember to maintain the rounded cross section
while reducing the bow. Again draw the bow several
times to twelve inches and replace in the tiller to the
twelve-inch notch.

If the bow bends evenly, remove from the tiller and
draw several times to a fourteen-inch draw. Repeat the fore-
going operations until you have tillered to full draw. A
word of caution: Once you have tillered to about twenty-
four inches, do not leave the bow in the tiller for more than
a few seconds each time. A wood bow because of its cellular
structure tires as it approaches maximum stress and can
fracture if left too long in the tiller while still in a condition
of imbalance.

When you have tillered to full draw you are ready to
check your bow to the bowstring. At the base limb of the
upper limb check the distance from the back of the bow to
the string. Repeat with the lower limb. If the bow is properly
tillered the distance to the string at the top limb should
exceed by one-eighth-inch to three-sixteenth-inch the dis-
tance at the lower limb. If there is a discrepancy, this can
be cured with further tillering.

The bow is now ready for weighing. Attach a large steel
screw hook to a stud in the garage. The hook should be
about six feet from the floor. Hang the spring scale on the
hook. Now bore a hole in the end of a yard stick and hang
the stick on the scale hook. Hook the bowstring at the
nocking point to the spring hook and, using both hands on
the bow grip, draw the bow to its twenty-eight·inch draw
and read the scale. lf the bow is too heavy, reduce by
tillering to the desired weight. This bow can be scaled or
proportioned down to shorter draws and lighter weights. To
do so, simply shorten the dips and working limbs and start
with a thinner and narrower base limb.

With the tillering completed you are ready to finish your
bow. Cut a flat piece of wood four inches by one and
one-eighth inches by three-eighths inches and glue this directly
back of the grip. When dry, shape into round for a
comfortable grip and smooth the ends into the bow proper,
File off the sharp edges from the back and starting with
medium and finishing with fine garnet paper, prepare the
bow for varnishing. Always sand with the grain, i.e., length-

After fine sanding there should be no tool~ or work
marks on the bow. Now, using a slightly wet cloth or
sponge rub just enough water on the bow to raise the grain.
When the wood is just damp enough to change color you
have it just right. Dry quickly by passing before a small
electric heater or over a stove burner. Do not subject the
bow to too much heat or you will check it. Steel wool the
raised whiskers off with 2/0 wool. If you do not whisker
the bow now. the grain will raise when you apply the
varnish and result in a poor finish.

Mix by volume one part quick dry spar varnish and one
part turpentine. Mix only enough for the sealer or first
coat. Brush this thinned coat into the bow and after twenty
minutes wipe with a clean dry cloth, every vestige of surface
varnish from the bow. Allow to dry for at least
twenty-four hours. Scuff the bow lightly with fine garnet to
give tooth to the finish coat. Apply the finish coat of
varnish full strength. Allow the coat to dry for a least
twenty-four hours.

The grip can be wrapped with leather layed in glue. An
attractive and rugged grip can be laid by whipping or
serving (just as you do with a bowstring) the grip with
heavy colored fish cord. The finished serving can then be
saturated with shellac. After the varnish has cured for a
week, apply a coat of good furniture wax and buff your
bow. <—<<
l. During the making of the bow and after it is finished, do
not expose it to direct heat. Heat causes hardwoods to
2. Never overdraw your bow or let anyone snap the string
without an arrow in the bow to absorb the recovery
· shock.
3. Always unbrace your bow before putting it away.
4. Almost all wood bows take a set, a permanent bend in
the direction of draw. Having taken a set the bow will
stabilize. Do not attempt to straighten it by forcing the
limbs to bend backward.

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Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

How To Fool A Buck’s Sense Of Smell ~ By Bob Grewell

Bow And Arrow
August 1981

How To Fool A Buck’s Sense Of Smell ~ By Bob Grewell
Here Is A Simple, Inexpensive Secret To Mask Human Odor On Your Way To Your Stand

I was tree standing downwind of a well used deer trail,
completely camouflaged. I had doused the dormant brush
at the base of the large oak tree with a liberal amount of
“essence-of-skunk.” It was late November, cold, with a
light breeze.

I’d spent the better part of four weeks determining one
particular buck’s habits and patterns. I’d finalized his
movements and was positive I had his activities nearly down
pat. Now all I had to do was nurse my patience while I sat
motionless within the oak’s array of limbs.

I rolled back the top portion of the off-brown colored glove
on my right hand, to glance at my watch; seven thirty-eight.
When I sluggishly raised my head to scan the brushy terrain in front
of me, I spotted him! A fair-sized eight-point buck, deliberately
moving toward my stand, coming in-crosswind, about eighty yards out.

He moved along at a somewhat cautious pace, with his now probing the ground.
At first I thought he was searching for a doe.
But after close observation, it was apparent he was
following the same path I’d used to approach my stand. He didn’t seem to
approve of the latent human scent I’d left on the ground.

He was trailing my course through the ankle-high dead grass, snorting
occasionally as if in defiance. When he was within forty yards of my stand, he
stopped, threw his head up and down, snort/whistled again, and stamped the
earth, trying to intimidate me into revealing myself. Then, he veered off to
my right and made a wide berth of the oak, stopping twice and glancing back
over his shoulder in my direction, before disappearing.

In all my preparations, I had omitted using the skunk scent on my
boots on the way to my stand, mainly because the foul odor would have been
absorbed by the leather. But if I had sprinkled the cover scent on my boots
or the lower legs of my coveralls, there was a ninety-percent chance he
wouldn’t have detected my human scent trail.

This has happened to nearly every bowhunter at least one time or another,
you can be sure, whether you were aware of it or not. We are so meticulous
in preparing ourselves, our equipment and our stand area that we too often
overlook one thing; the foreign, human odor we leave on the ground, grass and
brush as we make our way to our stand. What can you do to cover your
human scent trail, yet keep the masking scent from fouling your boots and
clothes? You can use ankle scent drags, two lengths of dark colored wire and a
dull-colored piece of ordinary cloth. So simple and inexpensive to make that I
sometimes think it’s cheating by solving such a common hurdle so easily.

The ankle drags are slipped over your feet and drawn around the ankles
with the piece of scent—absorbing cloth hooked on the trailing end of the wire.
The scent — skunk scent for instance —is applied to the cloth, and as you walk
through the weeds and brush it completely wipes out your scent behind
you. It adds no additional weight to contend with, it’s inexpensive to
prepare and once you make your drags, they’ll last indefinitely.
To make the ankle scent drags, one for each ankle, use a thirty-inch—long
piece of 22—gauge black annealed wire, which may be purchased at any
hardware store. If you can’t find the 22-gauge specifically, you’ll be safe
with any wire diameter from 18 to 22-gauge. Black annealed wire is used
because it won’t reflect available light with its dull finish and won’t rust as
easily as common steel or galvanized wire. The thin diameter is used because
it’s more flexible and isn’t visible to your intended game.

Using a four-penny nail, twist one end of the wire around the body of the
nail so you’ll be able to make a slipknot, or noose. Use a pair of pliers and twist
the excess tip of the wire so that it wraps tightly, leaving no protruding end
to snag on your clothes or brush. Then, remove the nail and slide the opposite
end of the wire through this one-eighth·inch diameter hole, making
somewhat of a snare or hangman’s noose.

Next, fold up a three-inch square piece of drab colored cloth, which will
be used as the scent pad on the dragging end of the wire. Punch the straight end
of the wire through the center of the folded cloth pad, pulling it completely
through the cloth. Bend the end of the wire back and wrap it tightly around the
main length of the wire, being sure to also twist the protruding end. The scent
pad will be secured and won’t be pulled off while walking.

Now, using a three-sixteenths—ounce crimp-style lead fishing sinker, move up
two inches on the main portion of the wire, away from the scent pad, and
attach this lead weight, crimping it tightly with a pair of pliers. This small
weight will not interfere with the drag’s main function and will aid in keeping
the scent pad closer to the ground when you’re raising your foot to take a step.
The scent pad needs to stay close to the ground because the scent on the pad
will rub off on the grass and brush, to invisibly dissipate upward.

These ankle drags serve another function. Upon reaching your stand,
loosen the wire noose, remove both drags and hang them in the brush at the
base of your tree stand. The wire is of fine diameter, the cloth scent pad is of
drab color, and the scent on the cloth will disguise your human odor at
ground level, when you’re in your stand. This way the pungent skunk
scent, or whatever type of scent you choose to use, never touches your

The actual cost of making your ankle scent drags is fifteen cents each,
or a total of thirty cents, plus a minimal amount of time. With these ankle scent
drags in your possession, you successfully mask your human scent
trail when moving to your stand site and obliterate your foreign odor at the tree
stand. <—<<

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Published by jodimark on 26 Jan 2011

janesville bowmen, beginners archery class

the janesville bowmen archery club in janesville wisconsin, is hosting beginners archry classes now through march, ages 8 to adult my come out and learn the safe and proper method to shoot a bow. we will supply all the equipment you will need to learn its fun for the whole family, men, women, boys and girls. to reserve your time slot call 608-774-7265.

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Published by archerchick on 11 Jan 2011

The Perfect Morning Stand~ By Mike Strandlund

Bowhunting World October 2005

October 2005


On cool mornings during the rut, bedding areas may be your best bet.

If you hang around bowhunters enough, you’ll eventually hear some-
one say they were in the right place at the right time. Everyone nods
their head. The notion of time intersecting location is a well accepted
principle of bowhunting success. Nodding your head is easy, but really,
putting those two together is no simple matter. There are a lot of
trees out there and a lot of hours in the day. Making it happen by
design rather than by pure luck takes a little thought.

Big bucks can be taken at any time during the season and any time
during the day. They are always somewhere, even it you aren’t. If you
understand their behavior well enough to put yourself between their Point
A and Point B, you can manufacture your own right time and place. The
problem is, during most of the season they aren’t moving very well,
during the day, and these smart old deer are anything but predictable.
Year after year the rut comes to the rescue to put a little life into our
dreams. For a high percentage of hunters, the rut is the “right time.” But,
we deed to go a step farther. ?

In my experience, morning hunts produce more big buck sightings than
evening hunts. Hunters who spend a lot of time on stand will agree. Bucks
learn to let their guard down more in the morning and are on their feet
longer during daylight than they are in the afternoon. So, the “right time”
becomes a morning during the rut. But, why stop there? There’s more
we can use to narrow this down.

Studies I’ve read suggest that daytime buck activity north of the
Mason-Dixon tine starts to decline when the temperature gets above 45
degrees. It almost comes to a stop when the temperature reaches 60
degrees. So now the right time is a cool morning during the rut. Now all
we need is the right place.

The Right Place
For 50 weeks out of the year, bedding
areas are among the worst places you
could hunt. Try sneaking into Fort Knox
sometime. It won’t be long before the
alarms start sounding. That’s the level of
security deer exhibit in a bedding area for
most of the year. If a buck catches you
sneaking around his bedding area, he’s
gone. Just as a good burglar knows that
the best time to make a raid is when the
residents are out of town, we have our
own window of opportunity to hunt bedding
areas effectively during the rut.
During the two weeks that comprise
the peak-breeding phase of the rut, a high
percentage of the bucks are “out of town.”
They’re distracted from normal wariness by
the hope of cornering a doe, and they’re moving
more in the process spending time in places
where they haven’t taken a stick-by-stick and
leaf-by-leaf mental inventory.?

The one you see today may be miles away
tomorrow. You can afford to push a little
harder when the buck turnover rate is high.
When does are in estrus (characterizing
the peak breeding phase), mature bucks
spend most of their time looking for them.
Where do they go? Where would you go?
Feeding areas in the evening and bedding
areas in the morning.
Choosing the bedding areas you will
hunt depends a lot more on how you will get
in and out than on any other single factor.
Start with access, then move on to wind
control and finally worry about the specific
tree you’ll hunt.

Bucks are slow to arrive in bedding areas
in the morning, so they won’t be the ones
that bust you if you make a sloppy approach.
Maybe you are thinking, “So what if I blow out
a couple of does?” It’s a big mistake because
if you push the does out, the bucks will stop
using the whole area eventually, plus any
deer that remain will display tense body
language that will bring the bucks to a
greater state of caution. Soon they will
stop moving naturally through the area. If
you can’t get to and from the stand without
spooking deer, you are actually hurting
your entire hunting area. That’s why getting
in clean is so important.


Bedding areas generally have a back
door that makes access easy. You have to
approach from the opposite direction as
the deer. In other words, you have to come
in from the direction away from the primary
food source. Surprisingly, some bedding
area stands can be hunted day after day if
the entry and exit routes are well-selected.
The only way you burn out a stand is if the
deer know you are using it. Keep them in
the dark and the stand can be productive
for the entire two weeks.
Take advantage of every trick to keep
deer from seeing you, smelling you and
hearing you as you approach the stand.
I’ve learned the value of setting stands
close to high-banked ditches and creeks. I
use the bank for cover as I walk right down
in the bottom, beneath the surrounding
terrain. I’ve walked right past deer this
way many times.

Another trick is to approach your
morning stands right at first light. It may
sound like heresy to hard-core bowhunters,
but I’ve found that sleeping in actually
works to your benefit when the woods are
dry and noisy underfoot. Wait until you can
just see the ground before heading to the
stand, and then walk rapidly. Rapid-fire
movements spook deer less than quiet
sounds of stealth. Also, there is a time
right at daybreak when the forest comes
to life and the sounds you make aren’t
singled out as easily.

The best bedding area stands
are located near ridge tops. Of course, you
have to go where the deer are, but given a
choice, hunt high where the wind is steady.
The wind is always steadier on high ground
than in areas that are protected and subject
to swirling. As a bonus, when you set up on
the downwind edge of a ridge top, the wind
will carry your scent above the deer down-
wind of your stand for a long distance. With
attention to eliminating odor, you should
be able to prevent most of the deer from
ever scenting you while on stand. If you’re
looking for a way to make your best start
productive for longer, this is a big one.

Be Conservative
While scouting I’ve seen a lot of stands
that are “one-hunt wonders.” I know
perfectly well what they look like because
I’ve put up my share of them over the years.
They are great for one hunt and then they go
downhill because too many deer scent you or run
across your ground scent. Generally, these
stands are the result of a combination of
greed and naivete. We long to be right in
the middle of the action, but that always
comes at a high cost. You will get busted
often – plain and simple. And, soon deer
will stop using the area around the stand.

There is no place I’ve ever hunted
where wild whitetails will tolerate human
presence without avoiding the area in the
future. Instead of hunting right in the Middle
of a bedding area and educating deer,
choose a tree on the fringe. Put your stand
on the backside of the tree, away from the
deer. You will have to stand facing the
tree most of the time, but the tree will
serve to keep you well-hidden even
from short range.

Accept the fact that you’ll have to watch
a few deer pass out of range. Be patient;
eventually one will come to the downwind
side of the ridge (your side) and you’ll get
a good shot. In the meantime, you will keep
the deer relaxed and moving naturally. Over
the long haul, that’s the key to successful

Picking The Tree
Choosing an actual stand location in a bedding
area can be as much luck as skill. There is almost
no buck sign to guide you. By their very
nature, bedding areas aren’t travel routes.
You won’t find many trails or traditional
funnels to suggest the best stand location
There isn’t a single big rub, scrape or
trail visible from any of my best morning
stands. This is the hardest part for many
bowhunters to overcome. Too often, sign
becomes our only focus and we overlook
great stand locations as a result.

Buck movement patterns through bedding
areas seem on the surface to be
random. In most cases, the bucks follow
some kind of a pattern even if the pattern
is known only to them. In time, you will see
it start to develop. Certain places will seem to
be visited more often by bucks on the move,
or a certain tree will just seem to be common
to many of the paths taken by cruising bucks.
lt may take a couple of years for this to gel, but
you will end up with an awesome stand if you
are patient and watchful.

Occasionally you’ll actually find funnels
in bedding areas, though they tend to
be broad and very general in form. When
hunting ridges l look for areas where narrow
hogbacks in the ridge force traveling
bucks to come closer together. This simply
increases your odds that a buck passing through
the area will be within range.
Often, in other types of bedding areas,
you’ll find something subtle that pushes
deer toward one side or the other. It may
even be as simple as a big fallen tree
deer have to go around. Anything that
funnels movement (no matter how slightly)
tips the odds a little more your way and
is worth using to your advantage.

A saddle is another feature that really
improves ridge hunting success. Bucks
use the saddle to cross over the ridge
serving as a second travel route when hunting
bucks that are cruising along the ridge itself.

Remain Undetected
Does often browse for an hour or more
when they get back into a bedding area.
They rarely bed right down. This can be a
tough time because as the does mill around, a few
invariably start to drift over to your stand.
If the setup isn’t perfect you will get busted.

I’ve also had entire family groups bed
down for hours at a time within 10 yards
of my tree. That makes life miserable
because you can’t move to stretch or even
change positions. This is rare, however
because you can usually count on some
kind of buck to come along and run them
out before too long.


More Thoughts On Timing

When you start noticing bucks seriously
chasing does, it’s time to start spending
your mornings hunting bedding areas
Here‘s what you can expect.

The bucks that visit doe bedding areas
aren’t interested in bedding down, at least
not until late in the morning. After several
years of hunting bedding areas in the morning,
I’ve only seen a few bucks actually bed
down. instead of bedding, the bucks cruise
through with the intention of checking as
many does as possible before moving on.
They jump them up, sniff around and then
move on.

As the sun begins to rise, the does will
start to show up first, usually right after first
light. Generally, they are by themselves or
in small family groups with another doe or
two and a few fawns. The bucks usually
don’t start coming through until well after
sunrise. Some mornings they were so late
in arriving that l figured the show was over
before it even started only to see the first
buck about the time l would normally think
about climbing down. In other words, don’t
give up too early—bedding areas can produce
action well into the late morning.
Possibly the best part about hunting
bedding areas at this time of the season
is the sheer number of hours that bucks
are active. lf you’re hunting edges, the
activity slows shortly after sunrise. When
the deer disappear from these places,
where do you think they are heading?
That’s right, toward doe bedding areas.

Deeper in the cover the bucks keep
moving for hours. The majority of the action
occurs during the first four hours of the
morning—actual|y the second, third and
fourth hours. I challenge you to find another
stand location where you can expect three
hours of activity each morning.

I remember hearing a humorous remark
by noted gun writer Craig Boddington. He
said, “Bowhunting is like shopping. Gun
hunting is like buying.” Some mornings the
action in these bedding areas makes
bowhunting seem a lot more like buying, too.
At its best, the morning action is awesome
bordering on unbelievable, like the morning
I spent covered up by more than a dozen
bucks trailing two hot does that passed
right under my stand. The right time? That’s
easy; a cool morning during the rut. The
right place? That’s easy, too; A doe bedding
area is the handsdown pick. <–<<

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Published by archerchick on 08 Jan 2011

Hunting’s Greatest Thrill~ By Fred Bear

BOW & ARROW Magazine’s
Hunting’s Greatest Thrill ~ By Fred Bear
Why waste a good part of a a day’s hunt by not hunting?
The deer are there somewhere, waiting to match wits with you.

Hunting from A blind or tree stand may be the
most effective way to get a deer, but it is not the only
way. Getting close to your wild animal on your own, where
the odds are are definitely not in your favor, is by far the most
challenging and satisfying way to hunt.

Frequently the beginning or even intermediate
bowhunter: will mention luck when asked to assess the
reasons for a particularly successful season in the woods.
Such a tendency is common when hunting for whitetail
deer one of the most consistently difficult quarry to take
with the bow. However, luck does enter into a successful
bowhunt only if we conceive of it as opportunity made
available Having been presented with a situation where
deer are present, proper use of the opportunity will depend
upon the hunter’s accumulated skills.

The bow and arrow as a still—hunting arm has many
handicaps outstanding because of their direct correlation
with the opposing instincts of deer. First, and most
important is the short range of the bow, making it
necessary to approach well within the protective screen of
the game’s senses in order to obtain a reasonable shot,
coupled with the considerable motion created in shooting.
Finally, the noise of the bowstring travels faster than the
arrow and affords an alert animal time to get out of its way
if it recognizes danger in the sound.

In still-hunting deer with the bow and arrow these
must be taken into consideration, individually and
in various combinations. The instinctive faculties of the
game and the inherent shortcomings of the bow create a
chain of never-ending problems. The still-hunter must
locate undisturbed deer before his own presence is
detected, penetrating the game’s innate barriers of sight,
scent and hearing, in the effort t0 get within bow range
without being seen, smelled or heard.

For those who haven’t tried it, this whole business often
seems like an impossible feat. Too many firearms hunters
hesitate to try the bow, thinking it too difficult and time
consuming to learn and carry out. Actually this is not so.
With very little initial guidance, the skill of shooting a bow
can be mastered quickly. Except for the short range of the
bow, hunting from blinds or stands is little different from
rifle hunting.

Still-hunting, while certainly more difficult, can be
combined with the waiting game to add interest to those
periods when bedded game makes a stationary position
unfruitful. Many hunters may feel they are too awkward to stalk a
deer, but that, too, is not plausible reasoning. Anyone can
do it simply by slowing down to a super-controlled pace
and concentrating on seeing, rather than just l00king.
There’s a difference.

lf you have done your homework — scouted the hunting
area — you should know approximately where deer bed
down during the midday period, and thus the places most
likely to be productive for still-hunting. Your tactics will be
adapted to the animal’s behavior. Unlike the mule deer, the
whitetail spends much of its time in or on the edge of dense
cover. This is true whether they inhabit our southern
hardwood forests, northeastern cedar swamps, or river
brakes of the midwest.

You’re out there in the first place to take advantage of
the finest season in the woodlands. Why waste a good part
of it by not hunting for half of each day? The deer do not
hide in hollow trees or go down badger burrows. They are
out there somewhere, waiting to match wits with you.
In many areas of whitetail habitat, mast provides a
plentiful and favored fall diet. With the advent of October
winds and rain, acorns will begin to fall. Squirrels
contribute to the bounty by cutting them down. From then
on, some deer can be found feeding on the freshly fallen
nuts at any time of day, bedding right in the open oak
groves between meals if not disturbed. Still-hunting in
stands of oaks can often produce a good chance for a stalk
on deer intent upon filling their stomachs. At noon I once
eased up within thirty feet of a young buck that was busy

If not in oak country, or in seasons of poor acorn crop,
the still-hunter should concentrate on covering such areas as
the sunny slopes along ridge tops, heavy jackpines or tree
plantations, poplar thickets, balsam groves and willow or
alder swales bordering streams or ponds. These are the
generally favored midday bedding locations for the
whitetail. Once you have found where the deer are resting,
by moving very slowly and being very alert, you may be
able to slip up on a whitetail. At any rate, it’s fun trying.

When moving through such cover a certain amount of
noise cannot be avoided. This does not, however, make it
impossible to get close to deer. The secret is to move along
slowly, with a pause after every three or four steps. This is
the way a feeding deer moves. While in heavy cover, travel
on deer trails whenever possible. These are not only quieter
going, but lead you to where the animals are.

The direction you approach and move through various
coverts should depend on prevailing air currents. A deer’s
nose furnishes its sharpest sense, and the bowhunter must
keep his scent from the animal. Consequently move either
into or across the breeze direction whenever possible. even
if this means a sizeable detour to get downwind. Some
insurance in areas where the air currents are fickle may be
had from a little deer scent on the boots and clothing.

Soft-finish clothing is also important to the still-hunter,
as is flexible foot gear with soft soles such as crepe rubber
A small occasional noise will not ruin an approach, but a
steady sound pattern will immediately alert the game. And
of course complete camouflage including the face, hands
and bow is certainly helpful.
Patience is really the key to successful still—hunting.lf
you go very slowly and pause frequently, chances are you’ll
do well. But the moment you get anxious and speed up the
pace, something’s likely to go wrong.

When moving, each step will open up new avenues of
vision. Very seldom will you initially see an entire deer.
Look for spots that look like parts of a deer’s body. Train
yourself to spot and examine every bit of unusual color or
outline in the woods. These could turn into part of a
bedded or feeding deer. The important thing to remember
is that you must curb the tendency to see what’s over the
next hill. If you don’t travel slowly you won’t see anything
over the hill except possibly the sight of white tails waving
goodbye. To gain the advantage, you must see the deer
before it suspects your presence, and that advantage can
only come with cautious, slow steps. If hunting correctly,
you’ll spend more time motionless than you will moving.
When you do move. take short steps. By doing so you
remain balanced and can freeze instantly in mid-step when
the occasion demands.
I had the privilege of knowing and hunting with the late
Bill Loomis of Newaygo, Michigan. Bill was a skilled
bowhunter and taught me some valuable tricks. One of the
things I learned from him was that in still-hunting, if you
accidently jump a group of deer and they disperse in
different directions, hide yourself near the spot where they
were alerted. Possibly in a half hour or so some deer will
return, hoping to make contact with the others, and you
might have the chance to get off a good shot.

When you are within sight of undisturbed deer, the final
approach or stalk is employed. Have you ever watched the
hands on a clock? You don’t see them move, yet they
change position. I once saw a bobcat stalking a grouse and
it’s progress reminded me of the clock hands. This principle
should govern your close-range stalking, and it can get you
within bowshot of a bedded or feeding deer, even if you are
partially in the open.

Perhaps the greatest deterrent to success during a stalk is
in concentrating on one deer, thereby overlooking others
that are in the area. Deer are seldom alone; You should
constantly be checking for others bedded or feeding
nearby. There is nothing so disconcerting as to be almost
within easy range, only to have an explosive snort from one
side lift your neck hair and send the white flags flying.

Speaking of flags, it is well to remember that a feeding
deer will invariably switch its tail just before raising the
head to look around. Keep an eye on the tail and when it
switches- freeze.

Do nor attempt to stalk a deer from behind a large tree
or dense cover unless you keep its head in view at all times.
If you don‘t you’ll never get away with it, for you are
unable to determine when the animal is looking in your
direction.. I’ve tried this more than once, only to be
frustrated by an eye-to-eye confrontation when, in
preparing to shoot, I leaned out to one side of the cover.

While it is true that, due to eye position, deer have good
peripheral vision, it is still possible to approach an animal
standing broadside, providing its head is down in feeding
position. But again, one must move like the hands on a
clock, watch the tail, and be prepared at every instant to
freeze. Move straight toward such a- deer; it is less likely to
pick up movement than if you progress laterally.

Of the few times you do manage to close within your
range, let’s say thirty-five yards, it does not necessarily
follow that you should shoot immediately. After all, you’ve
put a lot of time and effort into the stalk and one good
shot is worth any number of mediocre chances. What is the
best possible shot? It’s certainly never at a running deer,
nor is it at a deer that’s alert or tense. The best possible
shot is presented by a standing animal, broadside or
quartered away, relaxed, and with its head down.

And what if your slight approach movements are
detected by a deer, unsure of just what it has seen, but
determined to stare at the object in question until it is sure’?
Well, all I can say is that nine times out of ten your
patience will give way before the deer’s. Furthermore, it is
tensed like a compressed spring and ready to explode. Your
best chance then is to slowly ease up. the bow, slowly draw,
and if the animal hasn’t moved before you reach your
anchor, touch it off.
Don’t be disappointed though, or even surprised, if the
deer is gone either at the first movement, or before your
arrow gets there. Rare indeed is the deer bagged by a
bowman when the animal was looking at him. But, the
thrill is there and it’s all part of the game.

Occasionally while stalking, a deer will jerk up its head
to stare in your direction, but obviously unsure of whether
it has seen anything unusual. Such an animal will swivel the
ears around and may stomp hesitantly with a forefoot. In
this instance it is best to freeze in an attempt to wait it out.
But beware — don’t make a move when the animal finally
lowers its head, for it will invariably raise it again
immediately, hoping to catch any intruder off—guard. It
may go through this maneuver several times. Hold your
tree-trunk pose until the deer actually starts to feed again
before resuming the stalk.

Although still-hunting can be done by partners who are
used to working with one another, for the most part,
particularly in western-terrain, still—hunting is a loner’s
game. One hunter makes half the noise and movement of

Rainy or extremely damp weather is a favored time for
the still-hunter due to the additional cushioning of noise
and slowing of scent spread by the abnormal moisture
content in the woods. When hunting in damp weather, stick
generally to the lower ground levels. No matter what time
of day, moisture causes the air to settle and would carry a

message of danger to your quarry should you be on higher
ground. If hunting on a day wet enough to require a rain
jacket, wear it under your camouflage jacket. This will
muffle noise otherwise accented by brushing against limbs
or in the act of drawing the bow.

One of the greatest thrills I ever had while hunting
occurred on a drizzly morning after an all—night rain
Although quiet underfoot, the woods were noisy with
water dripping from the leaves. Having spotted a lone doe
busily browsing along and not alert, I managed to close the
distance between us to the length of my bow. The
explosion that came when I tapped her on the rump was
something to see, and made up for all the times I had
similarly jumped in response to an undetected deer’s snort.

The prime period for the still-hunter occurs during the
madness moon. When mating season is under way, for a
period of two or three weeks those desirable bucks are
likely to be encountered any time of the day. Further, they
are less alert than usual and easier to approach, although
this is not to say they are pushovers by any means. During
the rut you do not have to look specifically for a buck
Find the does, keep them in sight, and a buck is bound to
show up. But never underestimate your quarry. The does
never lose their alertness and the bucks, even when preoccupied
with lovemaking, don’t turn into complete
A schedule favored by many bowmen is a stand or blind
from first light to l0 a.m., still—hunting until 4 p.m., then
resuming an ambush until dark. But while early morning is
a prime time for occupying a blind or stand, the hour after
dawn is also my favorite time for still-hunting. After
feeding undisturbed all night, deer are much less wary, on
the move toward bedding grounds, feeding slowly as they
go, and keeping their heads down more than at any other
time of day. lf you can find an area where old trails or bush
roads intersect the travel zones between feeding and
bedding grounds, stealing along these at first light may offer
excellent chances.

Just prior to or directly following a storm, any kind of
storm, deer are on the move and therefore provide another
excellent period to hunt through known feeding areas.
There is a time in still—hunting when you must throw
caution to the winds. I have often spotted feeding deer,
observed which way they were headed, then dropped back
out of sight and ran widely around to set up an ambush. In
assuming such a stand, you must be patient. If you have
circled successfully and have found good cover, it often
seems as if they would never get there. You begin to have
doubts, thinking they have probably switched travel
direction. But wait a little longer. As sure as you start to
move, there they will be. Sometimes this ambush works out
and as often it doesn’t, but in this type of hunting a 50-50
chance is a good one.

In late Fall when most of the leaves are down and
tempered by frost, deer make almost as much noise as you
do while walking, especially the bucks who tend to drag
their feet. So do not despair when the under footing is like
cornflakes. Just move as the deer do, very slowly and with
frequent pauses, and concentrate on observing them from a
distance, beyond the range of your sound.

The taking of a deer by this method is especially
satisfying, and rightly so, for you have pitted yourself
against your quarry on its own ground. A successful
still-hunt is the culmination of experience gained during
many attempts. And when at last you’ve made a final stalk
pay off, you’ll know beyond a doubt why this is
bowhunting’s greatest thrill. <—<<<



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