Archive for the 'How To' Category

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Published by StorminTheOutdoors on 28 Sep 2010

Amateur video’s from PA. Public land!

Hi folks! We’re a new company out of central PA. We have been working hard preparing for this hunting season, and will be out there in just a few days. There are a few videos up that I think you may enjoy, so check them out. Kill shots coming (hopefully) and we hunt on all public land. Check out the site, www.StorminTheOutdoors.com and let us know what you think. Look forward to hearing some comments.

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Published by archerchick on 17 Sep 2010

How To Backpack A Deer The Safe Way – By Sam Fadala


Bow & Arrow August 1980
How To Backpack a Deer The Safe Way
By Sam Fadala

Ideally, we like to harvest our venison where some means of conveyance is in close proximity to the downed game, be that a vehicle a pickup truck or a willing mule ; however, many a deer must be brought out when the only “horse” around is the two-legged variety called Hunter.

Having spent many years in the Southwest before moving North, and taking a good number of Coues deer, the little whitetail buck that lives in Arizona’s rugged border mountains, I learned to take venison back to camp on my back. At first, when there were few hunters in the country, and I had not employed much common sense in the matter, I toted my venison right on my back. What a target that must have been.

Later, I got around to using my head along with my back, employing a packframe and cutting the really big bucks in two hunks, my partner taking half, I taking the other half; or leaving half to be picked up later if I had no help. Today, I still use the packframe method of taking a deer from a field to the campsite. And I still cut the really big animals in half, while carrying the smaller ones back in one piece.

Because I wanted the reader to see how the deer was situated on the packframe the photos do not reveal the bright orange cape that is tied over the animal before packing it in. In fact my son who is shown carrying the deer, his first packframe pack-out was told to remain only in that one small canyon , not revealing himself where he could be seen. Also we were on a private ranch, which cut down the chance of seeing another hunter.

However, the orange cape is always slipped over the venison before packing it back to the camp. The reader should be aware of this fact, and he never should carry anything that might make him a target.

Step one in safety, then , in backpacking the deer to camp is to disguise it’s shape so it appears to be anything but game. As suggested this is accomplished by covering it with an orange cape. Also it should be pointed out at this point that the packaged unit – the deer strapped to the packframe – is rectangular in shape, which helps break up its animal – looking outline.

Step two in the safety department is to carry only what is manageable. Size of the hunter has a lot to do with how much he can pack, but amazingly, I have seen some stout fellows crumble under the weight of a deer that goes only ninety pounds dressed. I imagine that certain muscles are not built for it, and I once witnessed a football coach who had been bragging for two days as to his physical prowess, turn absolutely crimson when he had to give up packing a small buck to camp.

The two men who were along were none too kind when the braggart stumbled for the tenth time and couldn’t get up under his ninety five-pound load. One of the fellows said, “Hey, why don’t you let me pack that to camp. There are two cold beers in the cooler- and I’d like to get one before it
gets hot.”

There is no shame in not being able to pack a heavy load to camp. But it
would be a shame to get a hernia. The hunter can tell what he is able to pack. Certainly he will feel the load as a heavy weight on his shoulders and
back, but he should also be able to walk a good distance with it before
having to rest. If there is a stretching, straining feeling in the groin, I would
suggest cutting the deer in two and packing one half at a time.
After the hunter has decided a safe load limit for himself, step three in
safety is to go slowly. The packframe should be adjusted for comfort, using
the waist belt and shoulder straps. If the deer has been cut in two, which is
accomplished after field dressing it by simply cutting through the vertebra
which marks the end of the loin and the beginning of the hams, and if the
tie-downs are firm, the load will ride remarkably well, shifting but little.

However, by going slowly there is less tendency to throw the load off balance.
Step tour in safety is never to jump down from so much as a small log
while packing the deer to camp. With such a load on tho back, even a hop
on a little hillock could strain the groin area. Stepping down slowly from
The back legs are drawn up in between the front legs, and the head tied back.
Once securely tied, the deer is transformed into a tight, easy to carry pack. any bump on the ground is the byword.

The final safety precaution is to use a walking stick. Any stick picked up
off the ground will help balance the hunter and take a lot of the weight off
his shoulders, by transferring it to the arm, arm-power aiding leg-power. I use
A Moses stick, a walking staff that can prevent a fall as well as being Leaned on.

Hunting with a backpack is no hindrance, I use a frame with a daypack slipped over lhe top bars. In dangerous country; where a storm can sock you in for days, I carry a Coleman five
pound tent, and a light sleeping bag tied to the frame. With the contents of
my daypack, I will last out a fairly fierce storm without becoming a statistic. My frame has a hook on its right side for attaching the rifle via its sling or a bow. Thus, l have both hands free,
but still can slip it off for use in a hurry, Finally, after game is taken, my
frame serves to,help me get that meat back to the vehicle.

A great advantage of hunting ,with
the packframe, I feel, is avoidance of bruising the meat. We live on our game
and perhaps,I have become overly critical of how to take care of meat. But after the game is dawn. I skin it out if the trip to the truck is a long one, then
I tie the meat, Sometimes all boned out, onto my frame. Or I use a large packsack to carry back the pure meat. When close to camp, I hurry to get the deer back where I can hang it and skin it,

Then I tie the whole animal. A half of a large deer, directly to the
frame. I do not drag the meat, bump it over Logs and rocks, drop it, slide it
down places, or use it as sled. The hunter who learns to go with a
packframe and tote his game out can transfer his learning to any big game
he might hunt. Boning out large game is a topic unto itself; however a great
deal of game meat can be packed from the woods with a large packsack, especially if the inedible parts are left behind.

The method of tying game to the frame is simple. With a small deer, the entire animal is placed on the pack in a vertical fashion. With stout nylon cord the one-fourth-inch size is strong
enough the deer is lashed to the frame. Its legs, still protrude from the
side of the frame and its head is not secured at this point.

Next, the legs are drawn together, back legs first. The two long back legs
are aligned with the right side of the packframe and tied down, but not before they are slipped between the two front legs. Now the two front legs are tied down and onto the back legs. The head is slipped back along the frame and secured. The cord is wrapped generously around the animal. It is easy to untie later, but a loose load will bring a lot of grief.

A couple of good wraps must be taken underneath the hams of the deer or it will slip right off the frame. In loading the frame onto the hunter, I like to sit down and get into the pack first. The belt is secured and then the hunter stands up, slowly and carefully to make sure of the load. In standing up, one man helps the other. I think getting behind the seated hunter and lifting under his arms is best, in order to help him gain his fee. In carrying the deer, if it is loaded properly, the hunter can sit on a log, rock or any other object as a chair for him whenever he needs a break. Again, in getting back to the feet, it is wise to have help.

Using the packframe method has a few advantages that one would not normally consider. I recall a deer taken on the second tag, does only being allowed for the second deer, with bucks closed season. The rancher was happy to let us back into the hunting land, because we assured him that we were not going to drive off the roads. When we produced our frames he nodded and opened the gate to the back forty for us.

Another time the roads were quite muddy and a rancher was not going to let us hunt antelope on his place. He figured, and rightly so, that running off the road to pick up game would leave ruts that he would have for a decade. When assured our frames would get meat back, and not our rut-making four-wheel-drive, he let us on his land.

We were lucky, for just as we made it back to our vehicle on the main road, having packed an antelope on the frame, the rancher was driving past. He stopped and waited for us, and even helped me slip the frame off.

“Hey, you guys really do pack your meat out on your backs,” he said and next time we wanted to get on his ranch we were welcome.

As long as all the safety measures are observed, packing game out via the frame is a good standby method, as well as mainline means of getting the bacon from the woods to the frying pan.
Hunting with the pack can take a hunter into nearly untouched country off the main roads, too.
And it has actually made some friends for us.

While being able to drive within reach of the downed game is nice, some conditions don’t allow this. It is handy to have an alternate method on hand. <—-<<

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Published by archerchick on 07 Sep 2010

Mount It With Pride – By Cheri Elliott


Bow & Arrow October 1980
Mount It With Pride By Cheri Elliott

For the bowhunter who has bagged
a quality animal, mounting it is a natural tendency.
But who to trust with the mounting? Will the task be done
well? Will it hold up well? Why does it take so long to get the mount back
home and on the wall? These and many more questions plague the bow-
hunter who has his first animal mounted. To find some practical, realistic
answers we went to one of the nations top taxidermists, Bob Snow.
Snow offers a complete line of taxidermy services to both individuals and
other taxidermists.

How long does it normally take from the time a hunter brings in his animal,
until he receives it back, completed? Well, it runs about eight to ten months.
The biggest chunk of that time period is spent at the tannery. One good,
reputable tannery for taxidermy purposes is New Method Fur Dressing in
San Francisco, California.

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of excellent fur dressers in the New
York area, for instance, that cater to the fur industry, but for taxidermy
purposes New Method is really good. There are also some bad tanneries
around. And the problem here is that if a taxidermist uses them, and he gets
skins back from then that are not tanned or not properly taken care of, then the
life expectancy of the mount is much shorter. It won’t last as long.
In some cases I might hold on to a tanned skin for as long as a couple of
years before I use it on a mount. At the tannery they use a lot of acids in the tanning solutions,
and they must get them well neutralized.

When we get the skin back we have to soak it in water before we can
mount it. lf we put that skin in the water and the acid is still working on
it, the skin will just deteriorate. It will fall apart — just as would happen to
your clothes if you should get battery acid on them.
The skins we get back from New Method are clean, and it’s obviously a
really professional tanning, but they run six to seven months behind in
their tanning orders. So once we skin a mount, salt it and dry it we ship it to
the tannery. Then it’s a six month or so delay while we wait to get it back.
Once it’s back, l have to give myself a month to get the thing mounted. It
has to be mounted onto a form, and must be wet at this stage. Then it has
to hang and dry for a week or two. Then the pins and so forth are pulled
out of it, and it’s filled in and finished up.

Keep in mind that all good taxidermists are backlogged. lf you go to one
and he tells you he can have it out in a couple of weeks, it’s time to question
his skills. There are cases where we will send skins in on a rush tanning order, but
then it costs fifty percent extra in tanning fees. And even at that it takes
three to four months to get it back.

What is the “tanning process”? There are different methods used in doing it,
but generally the skins arrive at the tannery salted and dry. They then are put in a vat of a specific chemical formula and soaked for a specific period of time, When pulled out
of the vats, they are put over a fleshing beam, and are fleshed down by hand
to get the meat or tat particles off of them. They are placed on machines
that thin the leather down, Then they are put into a big tumbler and tumbled
until almost dry, oiled with a tanning oil, and put back in the tumbler until thoroughly dried.

lt’s a good process, but it’s also expensive. For a person who wants to do tanning at home,
it is often too time consuming. That’s the reason most of us use a commercial tannery
instead of doing it ourselves. My costs from a tannery on a deer skin might be only $10.
But if I did it myself, I’d probably have to work on it a day and a half, and the cost would
have to go way up. Why does the hair of one animal fall out, but not so on another animal?

Generally there are several things that might have caused hair to fall out.
It could be because the skin was an unprimed skin, or because it was improperly taken care of somewhere along the line. It’s possible that the tannery did it, but the biggest possibility is that somebody before the tannery didn’t properly take care of the skin.

What does “unprimed” mean? The skin of an animal that is not primed has new hair growing out of it. If you skin an animal and you look at it on the inside you might see an unprimed area, Bears, for instance, are the easiest. to recognize. The hair Comes all the way through the skin,
and the roots of it are on the back side of the leather. When the tannery begins to flesh it down, they’ll knock the ends of that hair off. Then there’s nothing to hold the hairs into the skin.

When an animal’s hair grows out to full coat the hair roots are closer to the outside of the skin, and when it is fleshed down it will not bother the roots. What about the other possibilities you
mentioned? It’s possible that the skin was close to spoiling when it got to the tannery, or when it was salted or taken care of and has already started to rot or deteriorate. That skin will be weak. and hair slippage is likely, There is no way to stop it once the hair starts slipping, especially if the skin is already tanned.

Ninety percent of the time if it’s a problem of neglect, it’s on the part of the person who originally got the skin, the hunter. He’s inexperienced and doesn’t know how to take care of it.
He thinks he’s done the right thing, but he really hasn’t. That’s where they go bad, and that’s where you’re apt to have the most problems with them. If a hunter lets the skin lie in the
camp for a day or two, or a few hours even in the hot sun, it starts to deteriorate. He puts salt on it to dry it up, and it looks good to him. But it’s already started to deteriorate, When the tannery starts to process it, they put it through their chemical solution and they wet it, Because it’s already started to deteriorate, in that half-hour or so that it sits there wet, without any
chemicals on it, the hair begins slipping. It’s hard to say exactly, but it could
be caused by sunlight, or if it was not properly neutralized in tanning it also will deteriorate slowly.

Why would a skin crack? Generally this is caused by older methods of tanning. Rather than
having them actually tanned, a lot of people used to pickle their skins in a salt brine solution. When these skins are exposed to temperature changes, they have a tendency to dry out and .
shrink, They may shrink a little bit at a time over a ten year period. As the skin shrinks, it cracks. That`s why tanning is such an important part of the process, and well worth waiting for.
If it`s done properly, then the life of the mount, will be longer.

What is the “life” of a mount? Well, it depends on the care taken
of it and everything, but they should last longer than we do, I’ve seen a lot
of mounts around that have been here fifty years, and they still look good.
Dirt and sunlight are the two biggest enemies of the mount that there is.
So if you can keep your mount halfway clean, and away from grease or whatever,
and dust them off once in a while, perhaps vacuum them or brush them, they
should last a long time.

The ultraviolet light of the sun will actually deteriorate the leather, and fade it as well. A lot of heat is not really good for a mount either. That’s why they store fur coats in cold storage. Mounted animals are essentially the same. You can brighten a mount up and make it look fresh again by allowing your taxidermist to touch up the paint and eyes. It’s a good idea to ask him
how to care for your mount when you go to pick it up.

An even better idea is to go into that taxidermist’s shop before you go hunting. Let him tell you how to care for the animal when you get it, and how to prepare it. lf you do that, you’re certain to make his job a lot easier, and the mount you receive will be one in which you can take deserving pride for years to come!

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Published by archerchick on 07 Sep 2010

BEARS – BOW & ARROW Ready Reference File


BOW & ARROW – OCTOBER 1980

BEARS – A REFERENCE

INTRODUCTION
Bears — Black, Kodiak, Grizzly or Polar — can
be found throughout the United States, and are
often sought out as a prized trophy. By
definition the bear is any of a family of large
heavy mammals with long shaggy hair, a
rudimentary tail and flat-walking feet. When it
walks, the entire surface of a bear’s foot will
touch the ground, making a large, wide—spread
print, perhaps four inches across. Regardless of
the type, bears do not generally seek out
human beings, and are most adept at avoiding
us. The majority of bears killed are chance
encounters.
Although the various types of bear will differ
in color and specific physical characteristics,
there are some generalities about each of them.
All will have muzzle-shaped heads, their jaws
and nose projecting outward. All have
extremely small eyes in comparison to their
overall size, small ears and large claws.
A/though normally slow in gait, they can
display sudden bursts of speed. All tend to be
nocturnal in nature.
The male bear is called a boar, the female a
sow

SENSORY AND PHYSICAL CAPABILITIES

Black Bear —
While most
sources indicate that the black bear has poor
vision, others state they have good eye- sight. All seem to agree
that their hearing and
sense of smell are excellent. They are also highly intelligent.
Smaller than the brown bear, the black bear is also more widespread.
They come in a variety of colors. Highly agile, they can scurry up a tree with
little effort. Top weight of a black bear is around 600 pounds. Their head is
smaller and narrower than that of their relatives, the grizzlies, and there is no
prominent shoulder hump. Their claws are shorter, more curved, and razor-sharp
for tree climbing. Although generally considered as not dangerous to man, a
black bear can easily kill a hunter, especially if cornered, wounded or threatened.

Grizzly Bear —
Termed grizzly because of the white—tipped hairs which give it
a streaked or grizzled appearance, the grizzly may reach weights of perhaps 1000
pounds. Eyesight is believed to be fairly poor, particularly when viewing stationary
objects, but its sense of smell and hearing are excellent. The grizzly is intelligent,
bold, cautious and self confident, and is considered one of the two most
dangerous animals in North America, sharing that position with the polar bear.
Normally avoiding humans, a female bear can charge suddenly if her cubs are
threatened, and is said to be able to out-run a horse for brief distances.

Kodiak Bear —
Largest of all the brown bears the Kodiak or Big Brown of Alaskan
coasts may stand over ten feet tall when on its hind legs, and can
weigh as much as 1500 pounds. Despite its bulk, the Kodiak generally
shies away from man, preferring to escape rather than fight. lt has poor
vision, but excellent hearing and scent capabilities.

Polar Bear —
Although there is currently a moratorium on hunting polar bears, the
animal is still one to consider. The largest meat eating hunter on earth, it is an
excellent swimmer. Front paws, webbed to perhaps half the length of the toes, are
capable of propelling the polar bear through one hundred yards of water in
thirty-three seconds. A mature polar bear may weigh as much as 1000 pounds or
more, and may offer a paw span of twelve to fourteen inches. Its ivory-white coat
gives it a nearly perfect camouflage. Covering its eyes and nose with its forepaw
it becomes totally camouflaged, resembling another ridge or snowdrift. The
polar bears’ greatest enemy is the walrus, which, in a one-on-one fight would
generally win out by goring the bear with its lengthy tusks.

HABITAT

Black Bear — Can be found throughout the United States, but the greatest
concentration are in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan and
British Columbia. Prime areas within the United States are Alaska,
Washington, Colorado and Michigan, Preferred terrain is forested, with
dense bedding and hiding thickets, adequate watering areas and occasional
open spaces containing fruits and grasses.

Grizzly Bear –Found chiefly in Alaska and Canada, although there are still
some in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Kodiak Bear — Also known as the Alaskan brown bear, is found along the
lower Alaskan coasts, where food supply is more varied and abundant than
that available to the inland grizzly.

Polar Bear —— Found throughout the northern Arctic regions.

FOOD SOURCES
General — Bear diet may include mice, bird eggs and insects. Classed as carnivores they also eat a substantial amount of
vegetation. Berries and nuts are a favorite, as is honey. Bears consume ten to twelve quarts of water daily.
Black Bear — More than three quarters of their diet is vegetation, augmented by fruits and grasses. Frequently the cause of frantic
moments in hunting camps, black bears enjoy raiding garbage dumps and campsites. If necessary, they will even eat the bark off
trees.
Grizzly — The Northwestern salmon streams and the high berry patches near them are prime spots for grizzly. They also prefer
grapes, acorns, nuts, aspen leaves and twigs, pine seeds. They will kill small game, and occasionally big-game animals, eat their fill
and then bury the remainder of the animal to feed on at a later time.
Kodiak -— Said to eat anything from blueberries to beached whale carcasses, the Kodiak is especially fond of salmon.
Polar Bears — A polar bear may consume as much as fifteen to fifty pounds of meat in one sitting.It’s favorite foodstuff is seal
meat, but also feeds on fish, berries, carrion and some plant life.

MATING AND HIBERNATION
Facts You May Not Have Known:
1. Spring is the normal mating season for bears.
2. Browns, American black bears and polar bears possess a unique
capability termed “delayed implantation” — a mechanism which
allows them to actually turn-off their reproduction cycle until
the sow has fattened herself sufficiently to allow for proper
growth of the fertilized eggs. At that point the eggs will begin to
grow, normally some time during the Fall.
3. Bear cubs normally number two or three, rarely four or a single
cub. The cubs are born during the hibernation period, sometime
during late January or February.
4. Bear cubs will stay with their mother for one to two years, or
until such time as she decides to mate once again.
5. Bear cubs are born blind.
6. Perhaps one of the greatest threats to a cub comes from the male
bear, or boar, which has been known to kill an interfering
youngster.
7. Substitute mothering is not uncommon for cubs who have
temporarily lost their true mother. If the mother does not
return, the foster parent may simply keep the cub with her as a
part of her family.
8. Normally inclined to avoid humans, the surest way to incur the
devastating wrath of a sow bear is to threaten her young.

DID YOU KNOW?
The early-style igloos of the Eskimos were probably fashioned
after the dens of the polar bear. During October the sow will seek a
den for giving birth and sleeping out the winter storms. Generally
the den is fashioned by carving and packing an entrance passage and
rounded inner chamber in the side of a slope, resulting in the
igloo-shaped sanctuary. Through the top of the chamber the sow
will punch a small hole to allow for ventilation. Dependent on
outside weather conditions she will either enlarge or reduce the size
of the hole to control the den is inside temperature.

HUNTING TlPS
General — There are three basic methods of hunting bear: stalking, with bait and with dogs.
Of the three stalking is the least successful. Most encounters with bear are chance
encounters, however a bear that is being pursued will almost always return to the
original site of the chase. A pair of quality binoculars, seven-power or eight-power, is
essential, to allow for a successful approach. Opportunities for a second shot are very rare.

Black Bear — Baiting is the most successful form of black bear hunting. Although they can
be stalked, it requires a highly skillful bowhunter to do so. Their hearing and scent
capabilities are extremely good. While garbage dumps and trash deposits are a good place to
look for black bear, so are berry patches during late Summer. A bowhunter who chooses to
hunt bears by baiting must be prepared to accept and withstand the hazards of such a
system — mosquitos and flies in overwhelming numbers. Look for bear signs. A black bear will
tear stumps apart in its search for beetles and bugs. Streams are another area to concentrate
on.

Grizzly Bear — The best time to hunt grizzly is during the salmon spawning runs. Look for
fresh droppings and partially eaten salmon. Tree stand bowhunting is especially effective
for the grizzly. They can also be hunted from a canoe. Never shoot uphill at a bear. lf hit, it
will invariably run downhill. September is an excellent month to hunt grizzly, as their coats
are at their finest. lf you hear sounds that would indicate a grizzly is near — grunting,
coughing, low woofing — be prepared for attack. Look to a nearby tree.

Kodiak Bear — Either baiting or stalking can prove fruitful, provided you know where to look. Concentrate on beaches and river banks. Springtime is the best time of year to hunt the
Kodiak, when its pelt is in prime condition. A good guide can be your greatest asset.

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Published by archerchick on 07 Sep 2010

Bowhunting The Biggest Grouse – By Sam Fadala


BOW & ARROW – OCTOBER 1980

Bowhunting The Biggest Grouse – By Sam Fadala

RAIN WAS NOT in the forecast. But the minute my brother
Nick and I discussed limbering up our bows and putting some
sage hens in the pot, we were greeted by a deluge from the
skies. We climbed into the four-wheel—drive anyway, as the sky
crackled with lightning and clouds as grim as a tornado funnel moved
in.

“Aw, don’t worry about it,” I assured Nick. “It’ll clear up. The
weatherman says so.” As I expounded on my theories, Nick carefully
wrapped plastic sheeting around his camera. Being a non—resident, and
never having hunted the sage grouse, he was hedging his bets. If there
were no birds around, he would save the day by shooting some hopefully
worthwhile film.
“Some of the best pictures I’ve ever taken were in lousy weather,”
Nick lectured, showing his great confidence in my
assurance that the rain would stop. “I don’t know why people put their
cameras away when the thunder-storms start up.” He pointed to two horses
standing close in a field, a dark sky behind them.
“That’s what I mean.”

Water buffalo aren’t always found around water.
Rock- chucks aren’t always in the rocks. Mountain lions
are not always in the mountains. But more likely than not, sage hens
are in the sage. And we had an area of literally thousands of acres of the fragrant
weed all to ourselves. The rain had something to do with it, certainly, but after
the opening day or two of sage grouse season, there is usually scant
activity, and this was the middle of the week.

We got our birds. And l was lucky enough to take mine as they
walked in the brush twenty and thirty yards away, both on the move
and using only one arrow on each. l was proud. I sure had missed
some good opportunities a few days earlier. lf the rain had continued
as a downpour, I doubt that we would have had much luck, but it
dwindled down to a friendly spattering of droplets and for bowhunting,
that was not so bad. The birds held terribly tight to their
foliage cover, and we knew they would, so we looked hard, moving
slowly. And when we did find our covey, the sage grouse moved away
at a walk instead of flying. They don’t like to fly in the wet.
Sage hens are the largest grouse in the country. Records show a
huge male bird that weighed in at eight pounds, but this is rare, sort of
like the whitetail deer that dressed over 350 pounds. A fine male will
go five pounds, however, and I have taken a couple of sixes. The lady birds
don’t weigh that much, tipping the scales at about three pounds usually,
and often even less. After hunting quail—size birds, it is almost a shock to
have a limit of only two to three sage grouse in your game jacket. They feel
like several limits of smaller birds. But size alone is not the main reason for
hunting the sage grouse. Sure, it’s fun to get such a large-winged treat as this
creature is, but there is much more to the chase than that. I like the country.

It is not difficult terrain, and it is relaxing to pad along through the
flatlands. Sometimes, the tall sage can be tough to negotiate, but most sage-
brush country is rolling or even flat, and there are many little trails through
it. Often, these birds will demand a good deal of walking, but walking in such
gentle territory is no problem; certainly nothing like chasing chukars.
The sage hen is also fun to hunt because the season generally comes in
early Fall, a hospitable time of the year in all of the sage hen states. Usually,
it does not rain. Usually, the sun is out. And our rainy trek was a rare one.
I have hunted the hens quite a number of times, but only twice has
Old Man Thunder roared at me.And I like the nature of the bird
itself. It is plenty of challenge, especially for an archer. But it runs in
good-sized coveys and when that bevy of birds is broken up, there is still
hope of closing the gap on the bunch and taking a couple birds out of it.

The sage hen is depleted by bad weather, especially by rain during the time
when the chicks are newborn, and naturally the varmints work on them.
The badger is rough on nests, and so is the skunk. All in all, it makes sense to
harvest these birds, and game departments know this. Since the largest
range of the sage hen habitat has become city, farmland and civilized in other ways,
there are no vast coveys left over all of the West, but there are still many, many
terrific locales left to hunt. If the hunter does not harvest his fair share, nature will.
The birds get up early, but they are sort of like me, rising from bed at a decent hour,
but groping around until the blood begins to flow in the veins and the eyeballs can focus.
So, for the first hour or so of the morning, in the dimly lit part of the day. activity is
minimal. Then, when the sun is fully above the horizon and beaming its
friendly warmth into the earth, the sage hens stroll to the waterhole. That
waterhole can be a key hunk of geography for the sage bird hunter, especially if
he is toting the bow and arrow, for the birds can be intercepted along
the trail and a nice close standing shot is possible.
Some folks reading this can probably down a sage hen in flight. If I ever
do it, I am going to mount the bird, save the arrow, enshrine the bow in a
glass case and give myself a tall trophy, There is little chance that this will ever
happen, however. The bird is a strong flier, but he prefers to walk. And when
I get one perambulating through the brush, I’m pretty happy about it.
Knowing the birds like that early morning drink, it is wise to stay around that
waterhole located before the hunt – the pond that had the big bird tracks
around it — and look.

Here it comes again. I know people get tired of my praising binoculars, but they
work and I want other hunters to have success, so I always suggest the glass.
(No, I do not own a binocular company.) From any swell in the earth
that can serve as a vantage point, I will search all around the waterhole for the
incoming birds. The territory I cover optically is large, as far as I can see.
Should the birds be spotted, I try to head them off. A stationary bowman is
not going to frighten the sage grouse. But move too much, and the
whole covey is liable to burst into the air and away. In the early part of the
season, an archer need not be all that careful, and I have walked up to first-
day birds as if they were semi—tame. Two days later, the same flocks are
rising from cover a hundred, two hundred yards out. They normally lift
straight up, and a really good archer should be able to nail a bird at that
point, when it is sort of stopped in space, as it were, before leveling out.

They are not the world’s fastest flier, but neither are they slow. And once
the full head of steam is up and they are really in flight, an archer is going
to have to be Howard Hill good in order to slip an arrow through one.
I actually did — and this should be in Ripley ’s Believe It Or Not — take one bird
out of the air. But I would hardly claim it as a great shot. The big male
was just coming up and preparing to level out and it was about ninety per—
cent luck that I let go of the arrow just at that precise moment. In fact, luck
was probably ninety—nine percent responsible.

If the birds do jump from under-foot and wing out over the flats, I always watch
them as carefully as possible. Not to be a broken record, but the
glass can come in very handy again. I don’t always tote the specs, but when
I have them along, I never regret it, for the landing site of the bird can be
picked out. And this is the key — pick out some object near the landing site
so that you arrive at the right place. I have watched a covey land, and then
had a tough time finding the exact place because I forgot to pick out a
mark to guide me.

The birds are usually not exactly where they came down, but the archer
should get to the spot as rapidly as possible and then scout around slowly.
Another trick to keep in mind is to search the ground when the flock
takes off, be it the first jump or the second, for often a few stragglers are
behind and these can be nailed as they walk off.
After getting water, food is next on the list, and food to the sage hen is,
not surprisingly, sage. They love the
leaves and blossoms. This is high-energy food, by the way, and in some
places elk, moose and deer, as well as the ever-present antelope of the sage-
brush plains, would be hurt badly by the depletion or removal of sagebrush,
especially when the dead of Winter has set in. After looking around the
waterhole, if no luck is granted me, I’ll shovel off and pace out the sagebrush.
This means a leisurely stroll, not a high speed chase. The birds feed slowly, too,
and a patient archer can stroll right into the middle of a covey and take his pick
of the big ones.

If the birds are on the spooky side, it is not rare to have to stalk them
with great care. Sage hens have all of the normal attributes of the avian
world — they are none too bright, but they can see like, well, like birds ~
hawks, owls and the like, and they can hear well, too. But they will often let a
hunter approach closely, if he goes slowly and if they have not been
chased over the landscape by too many people.

The big thing is seeing the hens, for they have the finest camouflage any
creature could ask for — neutral gray coloring. Around sage, they blend
right in, and even in greenery they are none to easy to see unless they move.
Naturally, when a whole flock stands out on an open hillside, they can be
sighted, but I have found a large covey, upward of forty birds, right on
the flats. They should have stood out like a cocktail gown on a heavyweight
boxer, but I did not spot the crowd of birds until one moved.

The archer who plans for sage hens should, I feel, tote along the same bow
that he would use for big game. Why? Well, certainly not for the power.
These soft—feathered birds are not very hard to put down, and my experience
with a broadhead is to have the bird flop over as if struck by a rifle. But by
using the big-game bow, a good thing happens — practice for big game is
assured. The hunter has a chance to get in some shooting at game, under
outdoor conditions, pulling the weight he will pull in the field.

I use my standard hunting bow set at its standard draw weight for my
sage grouse hunting. And I have used many kinds of arrows. I have no preference here,
as long as the arrow shoots in the bow. I do insist upon a humane, razor-sharp
broadhead, however. Again, let the hunter choose his own. I have had good luck
with the Wasp using three blades. To the best of my knowledge, these
are the states that have sage grouse, but I don’t think all of them are open
to hunting every year. They are: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Nevada,
Oregon, Washington, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The reader should write a note to the state of his choice and see if there will be a season,
when it will run, the limits and so forth. At least a heavy fee license is not required, nor is
a special drawing. A bird license can run about fifty bucks nowadays.
Some people enjoy camping out for sage hens, as they would for big game,
I am in this rank. I love it. The weather, as already expounded upon, is generally good;
not always, but usually.And it is fun to come home and eat the birds around the campfire, sharing with family and fellow hunters. In my opinion, sage grouse that are no good to eat
are rare. I have never had one I did not like. I have never fed one to any person who didn’t
say he or she enjoyed it. But part of the eatin’ is in the preparin’, and the best T-bone
steak ill-treated is only so much foul—tasting protein.

The first step toward assuring a good tasting bird is to dress it right away. I carry a
canteen of water when I remember to. And a little clean rag goes along, too. I
draw the birds, saving the edible inner parts, from which I sometimes make a
gravy. The drawn birds are rinsed in the body cavity with the water, and
then both cavity and hands can be dried with the clean cloth.
At home, using a boning knife, I strip the meat away from all of the
breast area, leaving the drumsticks and wings as they are. All of the meat is
soaked for two to three hours in a mixture of milk and eggs, beaten well, to
which has been added garlic salt and onion salt, pepper and paprika. Just
enough sauce is made to make contact with the meat. And in a bowl of meat,
about a half bowl of liquid can be added, the meat turned often so that it
soaks thoroughly. Some people put in a tad of fresh oregano to the sauce, a
tad being somewhere between a smidgen and a pinch, about a sixteenth of a
teaspoon, I suppose. Next the meat is dropped into plain
clean flour, breaded and fried in half margarine, half pure lard, hot enough
to cook all the way through, but not so hot that the breading is burned.
That’s it. Good eating!

Sage hens are a lot of fun to hunt, and a wonderful excuse for getting
into the outdoors in early Fall. Some states offer big-game archery seasons
during the sage hen hunting time, and this makes for double pleasure. A
quick check with the game departments in question will bring the facts
to the shooter. And since the birds frequent sage country, easy to walk in, hard to get
lost in, an out-of-stater stands a good chance of finding his quarry without
having a lot of prior knowledge of the area. A bowhunter can do worse. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 06 Sep 2010

Do-It-Yourself Moose Hunt – By Geoffrey C Hosmer


ARCHERY WORLD AUGUST 1986

Do-It-Yourself Moose Hunt – By Geoffrey C Hosmer

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — When Upstate New York bowhunters Bruce Wilson
and Bob Krueger began making plans for the most challenging hunting excursion
they had ever attempted, game officials, veteran moose hunters, and even a guide of 30
years experience said it couldn’t be done. Without a professional guide, and
equipped with a minimal amount of gear, it was doubtful, skeptics said, that the two could
endure for long the treacherous Canada wilderness region they had chosen for the hunt,
let alone get close enough to bull moose to down it with bow and arrow.

Yet Wilson and his partner withstood, if uncomfortably, 11 days of often miserable
conditions in their makeshift campsite nearly 100 miles north of Ottawa.
What’s more, the moose colleagues said could never be taken with a bow weighed
1,200 pounds. Wilson downed it with a single arrow from 11 yards away.

Says Wilson now: “ls that close enough?” He had become, in 1983, according to Canadian conservation officials, the first American citizen to bow a bull moose in the Province of Quebec, and on a wall in his East Rochester, N .Y., home, below the mounted antlers, is displayed the Pope & Young Club certificate that documents the impressive statistics ofthe animal ’s rack:
Greatest spread, 45-2/8 inches; 8 normal points both sides (no abnormal points); widths of palms, 9 inches and 7-2/8 inches; lengths of palms including brows, 32-7/8 and
31-5/8 inches; smallest beam circumferences, 7-2/8 and 7-3/8 inches. Total score: 153-4/8.

Robert E. Estes of Caledonia, N.Y., the Boone & Crockett Club official who certified
the measurements, has been documenting moose since 1969. “I’ve seen a lot of larger
ones, especially from gun hunters, but never a Canada moose of this size taken with a bow,”
he said. If it is remarkable that Wilson got his moose with a bow, it is even more remarkable
that he and Krueger accomplished it entirely on their own.

“We wanted to prove that we could do it without being part of an organized hunting party that provides comfortable lodgings, full-course meals, and experienced guides
who pretty much guarantee you a moose — all at considerable expense,” Wilson says.
The hunt itself cost Wilson and Krueger about $500 each — a far cry, they say, from what big-game hunters are accustomed to paying for the opportunity to come home with
such a prize. Wilson and Krueger did it the hard way, but their insistence on doing it on their own had little to do with saving money. They went to Canada to hunt, not to party. They went to
test their skills not only as bowhunters, but as outdoorsmen willing to take on what nature could dish out in a remote and formidable territory.

And they went armed not only with bows,but with respect for a magnificent creature that deserved a fighting chance: the bowhunter with his skill and determination, and the moose with his wariness and the homefield advantage.
This would be a legitimate challenge, a fair contest. All things considered, in the long run, the chances of victory, or even survival, were in favor of the moose. This is the way Wilson and Krueger wanted it, for if any satisfaction were to be reaped from the taking of such a noble animal, they would have to achieve it with honor.

Wilson, 38, had been bowhunting for 21 years. Krueger, 35, a resident of Brockport,
N.Y., had nine years experience. They were co-workers and hunted often together, generally for deer or turkey, and they became convinced that their skills with bows merited a big-game challenge. Wilson had fished in Quebec, and it was there that they would attempt the moose by bow.

Into The Bush
The preparations took a year. They spent $150 on long-distance phone calls. They hired a float plane pilot to fly them and their gear to and from Lake Ruisseau, near Le Domaine, 95 miles north of Ottawa, for $110 each way. Locating a willing, although reluctant, pilot was difficult.

Most bush pilots, they discovered, were accustomed to dropping hunters only at established camps, and many didn’t take kindly to bowhunters in the first place.
Wilson and Krueger dehydrated their own food to complement what packaged goods they would take. They took first aid and CPR courses from the Red Cross. They were tutored by a butcher and a taxidermist in how to cut and preserve the meat and hide. (The hide has been tanned and the meat, about 700 pounds, has long since been consumed. Wilson says the steaks were more tender and delicious than any he’d ever eaten.)

They studied everything about moose and their habits that they could lay their hands on, and they bought new bows. Wilson chose a Martin Cougar II and Game Getter 2117 arrows with Bear SS heads. Krueger bought a Martin Cougar Mag and XX75 2219 arrows with Bear Razor heads. They practiced with their new weapons, set at 75 pounds pull, at every opportunity, and they rehearsed their moose calls. They had learned that the call is 75 percent of the hunt.

They went on a four-day dress rehearsal camping trip in New York’s Adirondack Mountains to determine what equipment and supplies they’d need to weather the wilderness with no help for miles around. And for months they ran the hunt through their minds,
trying to envision every eventuality, hoping they had covered all the bases. They were well
aware that once the float plane pilot dropped them off, they would be on their own for at least 10 days. They would have to make do without whatever they might have forgotten.

As it turned out, they made very few mistakes. The amount of gear, of necessity, had to be
limited. They would be traveling either by canoe or on foot. They had to consider what they could carry and what the canoe could hold. There was, of course, another thing to consider: the addition to their load of a half ton of moose!

Besides their usual camping and hunting outfittings, Wilson’s and Krueger’s gear would include their dehydrated foods; cold weather clothing of wool (nothing with down); rain gear and good boots, of course, good knives, whetstone and butcher’s saw, large cheesecloth bags for the meat; and Kelty back packs, because they’re equipped with
frames should the meat have to be carried out.

Wilson mentions three things that would have made their mission easier. They constructed their own tree stands, but realized later that because of their size and portability,
Coleman stands would have been more efficient. They also should have taken their own
canoe. They had relied on the pilot to supply them with one and were unexpectedly charged
$110 more than they’d been originally quoted for a broken, unstable canoe that could barely
accommodate their gear. And, although they managed to make-do by fashioning a workable winch, Wilson realizes now that you can’t go moose hunting without block and tackle.

Bowhunting season would begin October 1. They were packed and ready to leave by truck for Canada September 27. What they weren’t ready for was a change in the bowhunting season regulations, put into effect just two weeks earlier, which would prohibit them from remaining in one hunting area for more than a week. Should it become necessary to move to another area for the remainder of the bowhunting season, their pilot would require an additional $110, each way, for the relocation.

They had already spent more than they had bargained on. They were determined to get their moose within the first seven days of the season. Krueger kept a diary.

Day 1: Wednesday, September 28
Anticipation high, confusion, hard work. °Left Rochester by truck 2 a.m. Arrived Mani-
waki 10:30 a.m., got hunting licenses ($205 each), and exchanged U.S. currency. Between
Maniwaki and Le Domaine saw about 15 moose on vehicles of gun hunters returning
from areas north of where we’d be hunting. Anticipation high.
Pilot arrived with float plane, accompanied by successful gun hunters. We learn now
that we can’t hunt in one area for more than a week. We hadn’t counted on that and don’t
like it at all. Took off at 3:30 p.m., scouted hunting area by plane, landing perfect. Canoe
too unstable and small for our equipment.Made arrangements for pilot to return October 8 or 9.

Scouted area for campsite. Running out of daylight. Woods extremely thick and damp.
Decided on campsite 6 p.m., cleared brush and debris, set up tent, cooked meal. No time
for anything else before dark. Very tired. Very warm, 70 degrees. Put food in canoe and
pushed it out on the lake to keep it away from animals.

Day 2: Thursday, September 29
Got up at 7 a.m. Heavy fog, damp, 40 degrees. Made breakfast, boiled water for
drinking. Organized camp area, put up tarp and pulley to hang food out of reach of animals.
Saw fish jumping, went out to try, no luck. Scouted east end of lake and found two good
areas for ambush. At 2 p.m., with slight wind, we paddled to west end of lake. Spotted
moose about 200 yards from shore —- one bull, two cows, one calf. Wind was blowing
us closer so we had to get away so as not to spook them. They noticed us when the wind
changed slightly, but weren’t alarmed. One cow and calf swam across lake. Bull and other
cow stayed where they were. Had to move and wait until Saturday for opening day of season.
Will look for ambush point. Could shoot from canoe, but it’s too unstable.

Paddled back to shore. Got dumped in the water when Bruce tried to pull the canoe
ashore with me in it. Soaked. Very glad we thought to keep extra clothes in plastic bags.
Also glad we brought extra boots or shoes for wearing around camp. Chili for dinner, too
hot. Dehydrated fruit was excellent. Very quiet, heard splash in water 75 yards away. Thought it might be a moose, investigated, saw nothing. After dinner, no talking. Heard footsteps 50 yards into the woods.

Hopes for success very high now. Will try to go out in the morning. We find area very hard
to hunt, extremely thick with no shoreline for tracking. We hope for no fog in the morning.
Still warm, 65 degrees. We realize this area will test our hunting skills.

Day 3: Friday, September 30
Heavy fog until 10:30 a.m., hot, 75 degrees after morning of 48 degrees. Uncomfortable for hunting as we brought no warm weather clothing. Made breakfast and waited for fog to lift. Decided to wait at spot where we saw moose before. No luck. Mosquitos and flies bad. Returned to camp 6:30 p.m. Started dinner after dark by flashlight and candle. Heard bull calling from shoreline only 175 yards from camp. Bull broke trees, snorted, made very angry sound, then went to water’s edge. We hope he doesn’t come through woods to campsite. He sounds as if
he’s huge. He continues to call, echoes around lake for an hour and a half. When he
started calling we gave one female call to keep him in the area. Don’t dare call more than
once for fear he’ll move toward camp.

We are taking all precautions to keep quiet— no loud talk, banging pans, etc. We’re
pretty sure he’ll stay in the area. We formulated plan to attack, trying to make sure the
bull will travel past ambush point. That’ll be difficult. Tomorrow is supposed to be hotter. We
hope not. Otherwise, everything is going well—- no problems, no accidents, no bears, but
we’re sure they’ll be coming around. Before tonight we had heard no moose calling and
didn’t know whether or not they were in rut. We know for sure that they are now. Hopes
very high.

Day 4: Saturday, October 1
At 4 a.m. we were awakened by a bull
moose calling near camp. Went to call the bull
at 2 p.m. and stayed in tree until 6:30 p.m.
After a second call we heard moose snorting
and climbing a nearby hill. We don’t think the
moose in this area are in the main rut. We
believe a few are starting but aren’t responding
to female calls. We have two more strategies
in mind. We’ll try again tomorrow and
hope the weather changes. It’s too hot to hunt.
We’ll try the area where we saw the other four
moose. Retired for the night, heard a cow
calling but no others.

Day 5: Sunday, October 2
Overcast, 45 degrees in the morning, 65
degrees daytime. In an effort to locate moose,
we chose a small pond of about three acres a
half mile or so from camp. Very thick brush,
extremely hard going. Had to use compass
and map bearings, which brought us to exact
edge of pond. Not bad! Picked two good
spots, sat for two and a half hours calling. No
response, no sightings. Perfect breeding area
— food and water — inaccessible. We know
they are here. We are also sure now that rut is
on.
We located a main moose bedding area,
probably used during the day, as the moose
likely went for food and water in the morning
and evening.
We worked up a big sweat hiking back to
camp. Found a flat rock in the lake nearby,
bathed and washed out dirty clothes. While I
was preparing dinner just before sundown,
Bruce went to the water’s edge to cool off
some fruit. All of a sudden he got excited and
motioned to me to get a bow. I grabbed his
outfit and hurried to the shore. There, not 40
yards away and only 20 yards from camp was
the big bull, with a huge rack, that we’d heard
carrying on before.
I had rattled a pan while Bruce was trying
to catch my attention in the campsite, and the
moose had mosied off. He was still within 40
yards, but a clear shot was impossible because
of the thick brush. At least we know he’s still
around. All we have to do is figure out his
route. We are going to get him.

Day 6: Monday, October 3
Didn’t get much sleep, thanks to small
animals and a bear in camp. We had no weapons
to speak of and became very nervous. We
heard a bear just inches away from the tent and
heard a deep, powerful growl just behind the
tent. We weren’t sure what it was, but there
was no damage to our equipment. We were
glad that we had maintained a clean camp and
kept our food out of reach.
We built two tree stands, five feet off the
ground, by lashing birch saplings with rope,
10 to 15 feet from the trail we knew the moose
traveled every evening. We stayed in the
stands from 2 p.m. until dark, and it poured
the whole time. Bruce hadn’t brought rain
pants and he got soaked and miserably cold. It
poured all night. The wind shifted and was
blowing off the lake and into camp. With the
wind chill factor, the temperature was seven
degrees, and we knew the wind was bad for
the hunt. No sightings.

Day 7: Tuesday, October 4
The temperature is 40 degrees, the wind is
cold, and it’s wet. The rain stopped for three
hours in the morning, so we spent the time
drying out our clothes and gear. The wind is
very cold and we are both wearing longjohns
and heavy clothing.
The wind continued to blow hard and it
rained all day and into the night. We took to
the tree stands at mid-afternoon with little
hope of a sighting. Moose don’t like the
strong wind and will stay bedded if they can.
We returned to camp and cooked. It seemed
that all we did was cook and eat. When it was
useless to hunt, there wasn’t anything else to
do. We hope the wind will shift tonight because
the moose probably won’t move until it
does. He’ll stay in the meadow in back of the
hill where his bedding area is. We thought of
stalking him, but that would be useless. He’d
smell us in the wind or hear us in the brush.
The tent feels like a Hilton hotel after get-
ting soaked and freezing our feet in tree stands
all afternoon. To put up with this you’d have
to be either a dedicated bowhunter or a lunatic.
If the weather isn’t against us, we’ll try the
tree stands again in the morning.

Day 8: Wednesday,0ctober 5
SUCCESS! Went to the stands at 6:30
a.m. — raining, cold and windy. Started call-
ing again, hoping moose would respond. No
luck.
Came back, slept until 2 p.m., and went
back to stands — no wind, slight drizzle. We
alternated calling with a birch bark horn we
had made and one we had bought. On the way
to the stands by canoe, we spooked the bull as
he was coming down the trail and he ran back
to the woods. We entered the stands.
On about the fourth call from Bruce, I
heard the moose snort as he was coming down
the hill towards me. He was about 40 yards
away, starting down at a sharp angle. I knew
he might go by my stand, but hoped he would
go straight for the trail. Then I would take him.

I had plenty of time to prepare because he
was coming slowly. I took off my rain jacket,
folded it over a branch, picked up my bow and
waited.

As he came closer, he went behind two
pine trees, blocking a clear shot. He was
headed for Bruce, and I wasn’t going to blow
it by taking a shot through the brush. Besides,
I knew he would hit the trail just past my stand
and end up in front of Bruce. I crossed by
fingers, thumbs, arms, legs, praying Bruce
would take him.

The wait seemed like an hour, but all of a
sudden I heard Bruce’s bow crack. The bull
let out a grunt, charged the tree Bruce was in,
and then jumped in the lake and started swimming.
Bruce had embedded his arrow in the
feathers, and would discover that he had collapsed
the moose ’s lungs and severed his
heart.

That the bull had taken to the water could
mean disaster. He might drown and we’d lose
him. I saw him take one last cough, then he
just went down for good and disappeared.
I was already out my stand and running for
the canoe, and Bruce was screaming for me to
hurry. I paddled to Bruce and we went to
where we’d last seen the moose. All we could
find of our moose was hair floating on the still
surface. We dropped my pack, anchored by
Bruce’s knife, to mark the spot and searched
by pole for an hour.

I took off all my clothes but my longjohns. I
wasn’t going to lose this moose, even if I had
to dive for it. The water was only 40 degrees,
but luckily only 12 feet deep where we saw the
bull go down. We poled around for another
hour and a half with no luck. It’s pitch dark
now. We’ll start fresh in the morning.
We planned to fashion grappling hooks
and cast in a circle so that we might at least
snag the moose and then figure out what to
do. It ’s 1 a.m. now. Bruce is still wound up
and can’t sleep. We built our first fire because
we don’t have to worry now about smoke
spooking the animals. Bruce had packed away
a couple bottles of beer. They sure felt good
going down.

Day 9: Thursday, October 6
Neither of us slept very well, thinking
about how we were going to get that moose off
the bottom of the lake. Very discouraging.
Arose at 7 a.m., had breakfast, and took to
the canoe. We paddled out about 50 feet and
noticed a rock that didn’t seem familiar. Sure
enough, our moose had floated to the surface
and to our amazement was only 10 feet from
shore. We towed the moose back to camp and
designed a crude winch out of a log and
hauled him partly up on shore.
Skinning and cutting took all day, By day ’s
end we were whipped and slept well.

Day 10: Friday October 7
Gun—hunting season begins tomorrow and
the planes are really busy. A Beechcraft
landed about a mile from us to unload
gunhunters, so we paddled over to ask the pi-
lot if he could radio our pilot to tell him we
were ready to get out. He had two antennas
sticking out of his fuselage, but said he didn’t
have a radio. We have no orange clothing and
gun-hunters are all over. We want out.
Our pilot eventually flew over, but only to
tip his wings. We wanted to get out today and
only hope he’ll land tomorrow.

Day 11: Saturday, October 8
After breakfast we packed everything but
the tent and tarp because we’re not certain our
pilot will arrive this morning. It rained all
night and it’s still coming down. The lake
level has risen almost 18 inches since Tues-
day. There is nothing to do but sit in our tent
and wait. Can’t go anywhere as the pilot
might arrive any time. Gun-hunting season is
underway. We’re tied to camp, facing the realization
that with the weather as bad as it is, we
might not see our pilot for another two days.
When the pilot flew in about l p.m., he
said he’d have to drop off some cargo and re-
turn in an hour. He hadn’t counted on carrying a moose.

Bruce and I lit up like a 100-watt bulb. We
know that when the pilot goes to his landing
dock to unload his extra cargo they’ll be gun-
hunters there. He’ll explain that he has to
lighten his load to accommodate two bow-
hunters and a bull moose.
The pilot returned and we loaded in just 20
minutes. With the extra weight, it took the
whole lake and part of a river to get airborne.
When we landed, some 80 people were
waiting to see this bull, taken by bowhunters
who, save for the necessity of a bush pilot,
had accomplished their far-fetched mission
entirely on their own.
We didn’t mind doing some showboating.

(End of Diary)
When it was over, Wilson and Krueger had
bittersweet feelings about their adventure.
They had conquered the wilderness, or at
least stood up to it in often brutal conditions,
but they were exhausted and weather-beaten.
They had indeed earned their prize the hard
way, and they were proud of it. On the other
hand, Wilson says, “Some people will never
believe that a hunter doesn’t get some kind of
morbid thrill out of killing something. You
don’t. There’s no thrill when you down that
animal, and I have no thrill when I see that
arrow connect and he dies. I hunt in a one·on-
one situation. I’m in his territory, trying to
outsmart him, and if I do, it’s a sport.”

Wilson knows that much of his success in
getting his moose must be attributed to the
unselfishness and sportsmanship of his friend
and partner, Bob Krueger. “Bob could have
taken a shot when the moose got so close. I
wouldn’t have blamed him. We both wanted it
so badly. But it would have been a tough shot.
He realized that I would have the better shot,
so he let me take him. I would have done the
same for him. I guess that’s why we hunt so
well together. The main thing was to get the
moose.”

Now Wilson and Krueger are making
plans to try the same hunt again, in the same
region, but with a better idea of the equipment
they’ll need. And, next time around, they
plan to tape the hunt with a video recorder. It
would be commendable enough for them to
take a second Canada moose with bow and
arrow, but getting the hunt on film would re-
ally be something.
Meanwhile, they can be fairly sure of one
thing: the skeptics won’t be as quick to say it
can’t be done.

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Published by archerchick on 06 Sep 2010

How To Build A Bow Weighing Scale – By C.R. Learn


BOW AND ARROW HUNTING – JUNE 1985
HOW TO BUILD A BOW WEIGHING SCALE – By C.R. Learn
An Easy and Inexpensive Gadget to Determine What Your Real Bow Draw Weight Is!

WHAT IS THE REAL draw weight of you
and your friend’s bows? You can find out for a
few dollars and time invested, constructing your own
bow weighing scale. It is a bow weighing system, most
of which can be made from cast-off wood and other
parts.

The first item needed tor making a bow weighing system is a good adjustable scale.
There are many models and types and the costs vary. The scale I finally
bought was a Texas Cotton Scale made by Hanson. I opted tor one that had one-pound graduations up to and including one hundred- sixty pounds. Now not many bowhunters or other archers reach this poundage —- perhaps a few elephant hunters — but most of us are happy with seventy or eighty, tops. Now I never want to even try to
pull a 160-pound bow, but I am interested in crossbows and they even go beyond that
range.

You need a vertical or horizontal support tor the scale. l used a piece of two-by-tour
from the scrap pile — actually, l have no scrap pile. It is a kulch pile and will all be
used someday sooner or later for something such as this— cut six-feet long. The
length will vary with the type bows you will test and the pulley system you use.


The two-by-four looked rather ratty but with the aid of a propane torch to burn off
the old latex paint, and a heavy scrubbing with a wire brush, I ended up with a good
looking piece ot wood that had a raised grain. A few coats of polyurethane gloss
finish and I had a stick that looked good.

There are several ways you can rig your system tor drawing the bows. It you have help
and are a weight lifter, you could probably get by using a single pulley to wrap a line
going from the bowstring to the scale and merely pull the rope to weigh the bow. That
doesn’t work tor me.

One system that works well is a simple boat winch. This has a crank handle and
a winch to wrap a rope or nylon line into. Tie off to the scale and merely crank the
weight up on the bow as it draws on the board. Most of these winches have a ratchet

The hoist was another problem, simply solved. It has two long strands of nylon cord
from top and bottom, These would normally be used to tie oft on a limb and to the
legs of a deer or other game while skinning. l drilled a hole in the upper section of
the board about seven inches from the top. The nylon cord was passed through the hole
and over the top, back around and tied oft behind. This allows the hoist tree movement and maximum length for pulling.

The bottom cords of the hoist were tied off around the top hanger bracket oi the
scale. This allows the scale to be moved up or down with ease. The line slips out of the
pulleys with just the weight of the scale and you stop it where you want. The pulling
line, on one side ot the pulley from the top, was tied off on the side by using a roofing
nail to wrap it around to keep the scale a constant distance from the pipe.
That completes the bow- scale weighing system. l added two pieces of angle
iron to the back, one on the board. A section of oak was cut to give me clearance between the board and clamp the other piece of iron into the vise. I now have a solid, vertical support for my weighing system.

To operate, all you need do is to position a bow on the bottom pipe section so it rests
on the grip area. Most bows today have the pistol grip style and the groove at that
point tits nicely on the covered pipe. Pull the bowstring up and over the hook at the
bottom of the scale. You may have to put a bit of tension on the scale by pulling the draw
cord to center the bowstring on the scale hook.

Pull on the lifting cord of the hoist, and the bowstring moves up the board as the
scale shows the weight ofthe bow. If you follow the AMO specifications, you can
measure from the pivot point of the grip area (the point where the grip is positioned
on the pipe) and you will have the draw weight at different draw lengths.

You will find some variations between what other bowhunters tell you they are
shooting at for draw weight and what they actually shoot. I first built a unit like this
many years ago and once took it to a shoot. Most bowhunters were happy to weigh
their bows to see what they were actually pulling. Some of the “big guys” wouldn’t
come near me. We sneaked a heavy bow while one character was sidetracked and
found he wasn’t shooting eighty pounds at all; only fifty-five!

This bow weighing system won’t cost you much cash. The wood and pipe we all
have laying around or know someone who does, so that cost is nothing. The Cotton
Scale will run about twenty dollars, give or take a few bucks, and is offered by
many dealers or in catalogs.

This scale can be calibrated with a set screw so you can get accurate readings.
The hoist system can be found in many sporting goods stores, Better yet, browse
through garage sales and swap meets until you find a hoist or winch that will cost
you almost nothing. <—-<<<

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Published by archerchick on 06 Sep 2010

…With Survival In Mind – By Teddy S. McKinney


ARCHERY WORLD – JUNE/JULY 1978

…With Survival In Mind

By Teddy S. McKinney

FOR THREE YEARS now,I have had
the exciting privilege of living among
three of the Surinam’s jungle Indian
Tribes. Surinam (formerly Dutch Guiana is located on the northeast shoulder of South -America and is bordered on
the West by- Guoana, on the east by
French Guiana and on the south by its
giant neighbor Brazil.
The country is sparsely populated,
the majority of its residents living
mainly along the coast. It is predominantly rain forest and within the vast
reaches of interior jungle dwell three
tribes of Indians-the Trio. the Akudio the Wayana. Little known to
the outside world, these expert archers
are skilled craftsmen in the art of
making “primitive” weapons.


Early one morning before the sun
had blurred away the jungle mist, Panashopa and I set out with ax and machete in hadn to cut bow staves. We intended to hunt along the way and to cut a beetree, which he had discovered on a previous hunt. After several hours on the trail, we veered off sharply into the jungle. He paused at an old rotten log and began digging at it with his toes. Noticing my puzzled look, he assured me this was indeed “woolapa” or bow wood. As he began chopping, I realized that only only the exterior was rotten and that it was the hard, reddish brown, fine-grained heartwood which he sought.

Finally after an hour or more of chopping and splitting, he had produced three suitable looking bow staves, each about six feet long. Then, using the machete, he began to chop them to a tapered point at both ends. Soon the staves began to take on a vague resemblance to longbows.


Upon returning to the village, Panashopa took the lower jawbone of a wild pig, with the tusk still intact, and began shaving the stave down using the tusk a a sort of drawknife. As the pile of fine shavings on the ground grew to resemble some strange bird’s nest, the stick of wood became a beautiful, smooth longbow—straight and symmetrical. The bow was flat on
the back, rounded on the belly and tapered gradually to a sharp point at
each end. I asked Panashopa why his people
designed their bows with such sharp
points. He replied, “That’s just the way
we do it.” However, some of the old
men of the village will tell you that
years ago when the Trios, Wayanas,
and Akudios were at war, these long,
sharply pointed bows served them well
as spears in close combat, once the
arrows were used up.


At the tips, he carved a notch so slight
I was amazed that it could keep the
string from slipping. Using strands of
“woo-lo-way-toe” fiber (probably sisal), which he had previously dried,
Panashopa twisted a bowstring by
rolling three strands between his palm
and his thigh. In a matter of minutes,
he had a durable, new, double length
bowstring. Half of it he wound around
the lower limb of the bow as a spare,
then attached it to the lower tip with a
clove hitch. He then took the loose end
of the string, placed the lower tip
of the bow on the ground, bent it with
his knee and tied the string at the top
with another clove hitch. Not satisified
with the tension, he loosened the
string, twisted it more to shorten it and
retied it. This time he handed the bow
to me with a smile.
joints, that is important for making arrows.

Naki selected and cut about a dozen
of the straightest he could find and laid
them in the sun to dry. Several days
later, he cut each shaft to a length of
approximately five feet and began to
straighten them by heating them over
the fire and bending them across his
chest. When he was satisfied, he then
inserted a foot-long hardwood point,
carved with barbs, into the pithy core
of the larger end of the cane. Then he
looped a small cord once around the
cane where the hardwood and the shaft
met. By holding the cord taut with his
toes and his right hand, he was able to
roll the shaft back and forth with his
Ieft hand. Amazingly, the end of the
shaft grew smaller and tapered neatly
to the point so snugly that it was
difficult to remove it!

The next step was to secure the point
more firmly with the hemp-like fiber
they call “woo-lo-way-toe.” This he
coated with a tacky resin after tying it.
The resin serves as both protective
coating and a sort of glue. Next he split
several wing feathers from the harpy
eagle and several from the black oko,
or curassow bird. These he cut into
approximate fite-inch lengths and
trimmed the outer edges. Placing two
of these along the side arrow shaft, he
began to tie them on with fine thread,
Most of the thread is wrapped around
the shaft to form a design. Occasionally,
a thread is passed through the vanes
of the feather to hold them firmly in
place close to the arrow shaft. The
cotton wrapping is then painted with a
series of dots and lines. Sometimes the
arrow shaft is painted in the same
fashion.

To distinguish his arrows
from all the others, Naki ties beautiful,
delicate little feathers from behind the
fletching to form colorful bands.

The arrow nock is formed by squeezing
the cane with the loop-rope device
about half an inch from the end. This is
then wrapped with cotton thread and
eoated with resin varnish. Sometimes
a shallow notch is cut, but often there is
none at all, since the Indians here do
not use the one-finger-above, two-
below method of drawing. Rather,
they grasp the nock between the
thumb and index finger and pull the
string with two or three fingers under
the arrow.

These bows and arrows, in the hands
of such cunning jungle dwellers, become efficient weapons. I have seen
these people stop a wild boar in his
tracks, drive an arrow through a deer,
topple a fat spider monkey from a lofty
limb and spear fish barely visible in
the swift current-all this with “primitive” weapons! How would you rate if
your next meal depended on your shooting skill? <—-<<

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Published by archerchick on 06 Sep 2010

Bowhunting The Extended Rut – By Glen Vondra


ARCHERY WORLD – SEPT 1985
BOWHUNTING THE EXTENDED RUT – By Glen Vondra

This lowa author has been
bowhunting whitetails for 15
Fars. He waited five years
before he was able to harvest
his first buck and since then he
has become more selective of
targets. “lt has only been in
the last three or four years that
the behavior patterns of trophy
whitetail bucks really started to
fall into place,” he wrote
Archery World. “The concepts
I dwell on in this article are my
own and have been borne out
by many hours in the deep
woods. l keep a daily diary
while on my stand, recording
many things including all deer
sightings and unusual
behavior.” So, here’s how they
do it in lowa. . .

Webster defines “rut” as a period of
sexual excitement of many male
animals. Deer biologists classify
the peak of the rut into a few days of active
breeding activity. Whitetail hunters see those
few days as their best chance of harvesting a
trophy buck. Although the peak provides an
excellent hunting oppornrnity, a buck’s sexual
excitement begins long before and lasts far
beyond those few precious days. Understanding
how a whitetail buck relates to these before
and after periods can extend your trophy
hunting prime time by many weeks.

I believe this time period, or extended rut,
can be divided into five semi-distinct time
periods stretching out to approximately 60
days. The beginning and ending of these
periods will vary of course, depending on your
geographic location. The following periods
relate to dates across the mid-section of the
country. Knowing when each occurs can give
the hunter a good indication of successful
hunting strategy.

Early Rut Starts in early to mid October.
During this period, the most vulnerable bucks
are those in the l-1/2 or 2-1/2 year old range.

Pre-primary Rut Starts toward the end of
October and extends through the first week of
November. Mature whitetail trophies may be
taken although generally not the area’s dominant buck.
Scrape hunting and antler rattling
are excellent hunting methods during this period.

Primary Rut Last about l0 days with the
peak occurring just prior to the middle of November.
Prime time to take the real buster.

Post Primary Rut Occurs about 10 to 15 days
immediately following the primary rut.
A good time to take a trophy buck.

Late Rut Begins after the Post Primary
and lasts until mid-December. Hard to locate
prime areas but can be an excellent time for
taking bucks during brief flurries of activity
in various isolated locations.

Early Rut

Most adult male whitetails are beginning
to “feel their oats” as ever decreasing daylight
causes changes in the deer’s hormonal
glands. Antlers have hardened and are being
put to the test on young saplings. Scrapes are
beginning to appear along held edges and major
woodland trails. This scraping tends to be
of two basic varieties. By far the majority are
made by immature bucks. Many are made after
dark at or near nighttime feeding areas and
often consist of only a few drag marks. Walking
the edge of a corn, soybean or alfalfa field
usually reveals many of these small scrapes.
Although seldom revisited during daylight
hours, the hunter can take advantage of their
location by setting on stand between the
nighttime feeding areas and the daytime bedding
areas. Look for heavily traveled trails with
tracks heading in the direction of thickets or
brushy areas within the timber.
The second variety of scrapes beginning to
be seen now are being made by mature deer in
the2-1/2to 4-1/2 year age group. These are
nearly always made at night and usually in
heavy cover or in secluded corners of field
openings. They always have an overhanging
branch that is scent marked with saliva. This
type of scrape is made up to and occasionally
through the primary rut with the express purpose of acting as a “calling card” for does
entering their estrus period.
Any trophy deer is difficult to lay claim to
now as most activity is nocturnal. Locate a faint trail paralleling
a major trail with some good size tracks and you have the makings of
a trophy buck stand. Care needs to be taken in
setting up a stand close to his bedding area
without alarming him and causing the buck to
change his habits. Extreme attention also
needs to be given to entering and exiting the
stand undetected. Well washed rubber boots
should always be worn to avoid leaving a human scent trail.

Some does will enter estrus during this
period, although few are actually capable of
being bred. Fawns born too early in the spring
have less chance for survival. An early estrus
is probably nature’s way of warming up the
doe’s inner workings for conception at a later
date. Scrapes that are visited by receptive
does during the early rut often are the hottest
scrapes during the primary rut. Although
generally futile to hunt over now, mental note
should be taken to recheck in about two or
three weeks.

Pre-primary Rut

The days are getting even shorter, the evenings crisper and the leaves are taking on an
earthy hue. The bucks are feeding less and in
different places. The trails hunted during the
early rut may be less productive now except
for a few immature bucks not into the “big
picture” yet. Actually, this is the best time to
take a mature 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 year old trophy.
These deer are making scrape lines in earnest
now. Their previous year’s experience has not
been in vain and anticipation of the upcoming
rut is running at a fever pitch. Daytime
scrape-making and wanderings are becoming
more prevalant as each day passes. The does
that came into estrus a few days earlier merely
kindled a deeper desire for what every mature
whitetail buck knows is in the offing. He
doesn’t want to be left out.
Stand hunting active scrapes during morning. and late evenings is an excellent hunting
technique now as both mature and immature
bucks will visit them during daylight hours.
Care should be taken to remain downwind
even if it means more than one stand at a
scrape. Set up as far away from the scrape as is
practical .considering your shooting ability
and existing branch cover. you are in the
whitetail’s living room and he knows the terra
firma and, flora well so shooting lane manicuring should be kept to a minimum. In several
instances, I have had bucks come to a nervous
halt, then turn and walk away when they approached a lane cleared several days before. I
now do most of my scouting during winter
and early spring before the woodland foliage
blots out the previous fall’s rut signs and finish my trimming by the end of summer.

Another hunting method that has a considerable chance for success now is horn rattling.
The pecking order for herd dominance is being established now and the hunter should use
this to his advantage. Smaller bucks generally
approach rattling out of curiosity, while larger
bucks are looking for a confrontation and can
be equated to a barroom brawler with a few
beers under his belt. There is no real secret to
rattling, as some people claim. Just imagine
two bucks fighting as you clash and grind”the
horns together. and stay downwind of the likeliest approach routes. I’ve found antler rattling most productive on clear, cold and still
mornings just prior to the primary rut.

The moon phase seems to have an affect on
deer activity during this period. A clear sky
and a full moon keep the bucks moving at
night and they disengage activity earlier in the
morning. However, mid-day is a good time to
be on stand now as they tend to-get up and
roam after a good morning’s rest.

Primary Rut

An occasional flurry of light snow marks
the most eventful period of the dedicated
whitetail hunter’s life. Ice has formed along
the banks ofa bottomland bayou as the hunter
makes his familiar pre-dawn trek to his stand.
Does are coming into estrus now and activity
is elevating to a peak. A third class of buck is
getting heavily involved in the act now. Joining the immature and mature 2-1/2 to 4-1/2

year old bucks is the area’s true trophy – the
dominant buck. Depending upon hunting
pressure, this may be anywhere from 3-1/2
years to as old as a deer can get in the wild. I
once laid claim to a grizzled gray beard that
was aged by jaw/tooth method at 6-1/2 years
old but have heard of bucks that were much
older. At some point in the old fellow’s life,
antler growth and symmetry take a regressive
turn, but until that happens, the dominant
buck generally sports some pretty impressive
headgear.

Most scraping is now being done by lesser
bucks who could be compared to teenage boys
visiting the local hangouts in search of
friendly girls. The big boys don’t have time to
mess around with such frivolous endeavors
when the does are receptive.
Active scrapes are still productive, al-
though the bigger bucks will generally scent
check them from a distance. Locate a faint
trail with large tracks downwind of an active
scrape (50 to 100 yards) and you should have a
trophy stand. Now is the time to take note of
the most used scrapes you found during the
early rut but which failed to see activity dur-
ing the daylight hours. You can bet your best
broadhead that the bucks haven’t forgotten
them.

Does tend to move into traditional breeding areas as the rut approaches. Bucks travel
even farther distances to be with the does. At
this time of year, hunting an area with a large
concentration of females can be more productive than traditional trail watching or even
scrape hunting, as many scrapes are abandoned now. Bucks will tend to mosey around
with their nose to the wind, generally following no trail at all. They do move a lot during
the day and only past experience will clue the
hunter in as to where these traditional breeding areas are. I’ve hunted areas with very few
scrapes, and certainly no “hub scrapes”, although bucks could be seen chasing does
throughout the day.

If scrape activity is fairly hot, and then
tapers off to nothing during the primary rut,
it’s a good indication that the area has been
heavily cropped of bucks and the buck/doe
ratio is low. This presents a situation where
bucks do not require scrapes to locate receptive does and competition from other bucks is
minimal.

Horn rattling is less effective now, especially for trying to entice the dominant buck.
It is virtually impossible to rattle in a buck
who is tending a doe. Rattling will, however,
still be effective in ringing the bell of the
lesser bucks of the herd.
The primary demise of trophy bucks at
this time is not necessarily because they lose
any of their innate caution, but they do tend to
make themselves vulnerable by moving
around more during daylight hours and often
their attention is focused on a nearby doe.

This is especially important to bowhunters,
who have to wait for a 20 or 30 yard shot.
Outdoor temperatures seem to play a bigger role than moon phase now. Although
bucks will move night and day with little rest
because of their sexual obsession, if the
weather is unseasonably warm, the balance of
breeding takes place during the cool of the
night. I recall one year with a warm November in which visual sightings were few but
fresh tracks had appeared around my tree
stand each morning. This is still the time to be
spending as much time as possible on stand,
no matter what the weather conditions are.

Post-primary Rut

Most does have completed their estrus cycle and have conceived. Only the bucks with a
number of years experience under their belts
realize that the fun is over and retreat again to
their impregnable lairs. Most deer, however,
will still be on the prowl looking for willing
does. It won’t dawn on them until a couple of
weeks after the peak that they’re wasting time
and energy. With the odors of the rut still
fresh in their nostrils, the post-primary rut
may be the time a good estrus doe urine lure
will work to the hunter’s greatest advantage.
Leave scent trails to your stand and also
freshen previously active scrapes with the
urine. Antler rattling will again work well to
entice a trophy whitetail within range, although not as well as during the pre-primary
rut.
Most bucks will still be traveling the normal rut routes, but activity will steadily decline as this period progresses. Activity will
diminish to rhe point that it seems all the
bucks have disappeared. Then, the late rut
will begin.

Late Rut

Stand hunting during the frigid temperatures at this time of year can be unbearable,
but with a little luck and a lot of fortitude,
trophies can be had. A few does did not conceive during the previous peak plus some
yearlings are experiencing their first estrus.
These deer again activate the area bucks into
another brief flurry of action. This can occur
anytime between the first of December until
the middle of the month. It will occur in small
isolated areas and last only a couple of days in
each area. It is easy to miss completely unless
one is very familiar with traditional breeding
areas and checks them on a regular basis. Occasionally the areas with the good early rut
scraping activity will get hot again.

Whitetails in the northern tier of states
may be heading to their winter yarding areas
at this time of year. A concentration of deer as
it occurs during yarding will surely result in
some breeding activity, perhaps even into January. Hunters familiar with such an area
should get some good results by setting up on
the downwind periphery of a yard. Most of the
bucks in the area will be chasing any doe that
comes into heat. As was the case in the early
rut, don’t expect to take a real buster as these
fellows are loners and generally won’t join a
yard until later, if at all.

Hormonal changes associated with the
early dropping of antlers in older whitetail
bucks have an affect on their sexual desires.
This could be nature’s way of preserving winter fat reserves in her prime breeding stock.

The late rut can still provide some good hunting for the hardy and persistent bowman.

There you have it – the extended rut. Bear
in mind that this is only a simplified evaluation and will do a hunter little good unless one
can apply the concepts to his or her own hunting areas. The best advice I can provide a budding whitetail trophy hunter is this: be in the
whitetail’s habitat as much as possible before,
during and after the rut. Blow the urban cobwebs out of your brain and try to progress into
a natural rhythmic flow. Little by little, the
pieces of the puzzle will all come together and
you’ll be one step up on putting a beauty on
the den wall this coming year >>—->

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Published by archerchick on 05 Sep 2010

Bowhunting with The Dutchman – By H.R. “Dutch” Wambold

Archery World – May 1968

Bowhunting with the Dutchman

By H.R. “Dutch” Wambold

During the first days of May as the waters of the

streams warm under the rays of the spring sunshine,

the spawning run of the carp makes its appearance

in the backwaters.

This is the time of the year when many archers

tape their.bowfishing reels on their bow, round up a

few solid glass fishing shafts and points and hit the

waters for some fast shooting fun.

Bowfishing for carp finds many variations by which

to enjoy the sport. Shooting can be done from a

canoe as it is guided into productive waters, or from

any boat for that matter. The method that apPeals

to most bowhunters is the sream bank stalking, or

getting right into the water to work onto the carp.

The large doe carp bursting with eggs keep work-

ing the muddy bottoms of the backwaters making

their nests. The smaller buck carp keep bunting the

doe to force the eggs out of her. In hunting waters

where this takes place, the large doe will rise to the

surface of the water, roll, showing her large dorsal

fin, give a flip of her broad tail and head for the

bottom again.

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By the time you spot the doe rolling, or hear the

splash of her tail, the carp has usually disappeared

beneath the surface. If you can get into a shooting

position in jig time, all you have to aim for is a slight

swirl in the surface to indicate where the carp had

been. Using some “Mississippi Dippage” you hold

for where you think the carp might be and let go.

The shooting is fast, and the misses are numerous

while the action is tremendous. This type of blind

shooting averages about one hit out of three shots.

If you get into the middle of things and spot a

large doe being bunted around by several smaller

buck carp, you can usually work within range for a

shot while the large doe is still rolling to elude the

males. Nlany times you may wind up with two small-

er buck carp being skel.ered lvhen you miss the old

gal!

Early morning, just before sunrise, seems to be the

ideal time for top action when the spawn is at its

height. The waters are calm, a mist hangs or.er the

surface, and the splash of working carp are the only

sounds. Stalking along the stream banks during this

early morning bowfishing finds many of the carp

hugging the shorelines, and working along the under-

cuts in the banks. If you move slowly, and do not

teveal your profile you can shoot quite a few sleepers.

If you get too close to the edge of the water the carp

will spot you and spook.

Another good opportunity for some fast shooting

can be had if a shallow section of riffles or gravel

bar happens to be in the course towards the back-

waters where the carp are headed for. By working

your way into an advantageous position and playing

the waiting game you may find yourself in for some

fast and furious shooting if carp are working their

way past at the time. When this is the case you can

see your target in the shallows as the carp splash

their way across into deeper waters beyond.

Stingrays

When May ends and the carp start slowing down,

one can find plenty of action in salt water bow-

fishing. June finds the stingrays coming into the

coves and bays for the long summer months that lay

ahead.

The feeding grounds of the rays are where the

clam and oyster beds are located. The rays feed

mainly on mollusks. The early days of June find

the larger rays working into the coves as the mating

season is at its peak. Large numbers are seen during

the first couple weeks after which the numbers seem

to taper off until late August.

This type of bowfishing requires a boat and out-

board. Although .any boat can be used, the ideal

model should have a small quarter-deck so that the

bowfisherman can stand high and up next to the

bow as the coves are trolled, slowly looking for the

sign of a ray. This position also gives the shooter

the advantage of left and right as well as dead ahead

shots on the scooting rays.

Cruising at trolling speed, a sharp lookout is kept

for the darker holes or nests of the rays on the

bottom. Many times a ray may be lying in these

nests and either spook as the boat approaches, or

play possum as the boat passes overhead. An

experienced eye can many times spot the end of the long

tail protruding out of the nest and get a guzzy shot.

At other times when the ray spooks before the boat

reaches his nest, the powerful wings will leave a mud

trail of churned sand along the bottom. The boat is

quickly turned to follow this trail with motor gunned

wide open. When the ray is spotted the shooter on

the bow signals the operator into position for a shot

at the fast moving ray from a moving boat. This

type of shooting takes a few misses to get the hang

of proper lead and compensation for light refraction.

Only a short length of line is placed on the bow

reel, about 30 feet, and the end opposite the arrow is

tied to a small float which is taped to the upper limb

of the bow on the belly side. When the ray is hit,

you hold onto the bow with both hands until the

line has all played off the reel. The float is torn

from the bow as the ray flees. Now you follow with

the boat until the ray stops to sulk on the bottom.

The float is now picked from the surface and

quickly attached to the end of a line of a game fish

rod and reel rig.

Now the bowfisherman becomes the

worker as you start pumping and trying to horse

the big ray in alongside the boat. When the ray on

the end of your fishing arow is a 100 pounder with

a four to five foot span on those powerful wings, you

have your work cut out for you!

Fishing waters should be from three to five feet

in depth and as calm as weather will permit to see

to the bottom. \Vatching the incoming and outgoing

tides will clue you as to when the right time will

permit ideal conditions. Polaroid sun glasses are a

must and help greatly in reducing the light refraction

which will mislead placing the shot in the right place.

Sharks

Most salt waters find some sharks around. The

bigger species are usually found miles offshore in

deeper waters that average from 40 to 90 feet. This

of course does not apply to the tropical waters of the

Florida Keys or similar areas.

When trying for sharks in the northeastern waters,

late surnmer seems to be the most ideal time. Although

small boats can be used and will get results in many cases,

the big sharks are out in deep waters

and require a boat that can ride the open sea.

Chumming must be done to attract the sharks.

When a shark bowfishing trip is planned, a regular

fishing boat seems to be the best bet. Several years

ago I did some shark bowfishing with Captain Munsen

who specializes in this type of sortee. He calls

himself the “Monster Fisherman” and brings in many

good sized sharks.

Operating from Montauk Point on Long Island,

Munsen works his broad-beamed power boat 40 miles

offshore to where the continental shelf lies. Here

the waters drop off to 90 feet or better. This is shark alley.

A chum slick is now spread for several miles.

As the boat drifts along over the shark waters, the

oily slick of the chum winds into the distance behind.

When the chum atracts the sharks up from below,

and the fins are spotted, a teaser bait is thrown out

on a hand line to lure the shark in close to the

boat.

The bowfisherman has rigged himself with about

20 feet of line, one end of Which is attached to the

end of his fishing arrow, and the other is tied to an

innertube on the deck alongside his feet. The line is

carefully coiled so that it will play out freely when

the arrow is put into the shark.

The tube follows overboard, and the shark takes off.

Later, when the shark has played itself out fighting the

inflated innertube, which is painted a bright

yellow, you check the waters with binoculars to spot

the float. The shark is now worked in to the boat

and killed.

Our day’s shark bowfishing found me shooting a

nine-foot blue shark and missing a leviathan that

must have gone at least l2 foot or better!

Care must be taken to attach the line only to the

nock end of the glass shaft. This will keep the line

clear of rubbing on the shark’s hide which is like

sandpaper and will cut the line. About a six foot

length of flexible and light wire cable leader is good

insurance against the shark cutting the line while it

fights the innertube float.

Light Refraction

The nemesis all bowfishing faces is light ray refraction

on the surface of the water. The position

of the sun overhead in comparison to the location

of the bowfisherman, and the target’s direction of

movement presents some optical illusions.

For example: With the sun shining down from

behind the bowfisherman and the fish swimming

away, requires that you shoot behind the fish to make

a hit. Should that same fish be swimming in towards

you, you shoot ahead of the fish to make your hit!

Should the fish be swimming from left to right

in front of the bowfisherman’s position you again

shoot below to make a hit. If the fish is swimming

from right to left you again aim below to hit. This

of course is taking for granted that the sun is still

behind the bowfisherman.

Should the sun be in front of the bowfisherman,

and shining into his face, cross-swimming fish from

either side will appear to be closer to you and will

require shooting over them to make a hit.

Polaroid glasses eliminate most of this refraction

problem as well as enabling the wearer to see into

the depths to spot the fish. Surface glare is eliminated

by the polaroid lens.

Whatever your bow shooting activities might be

during the summer months, don’t pass up the chance

for some bowfishing action in your locality. The

change of pace is a welcome one, and the recreational

pastime is a satisfying experience.

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