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Archive for December, 2010

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

Dump The Grunt-Bleats Rule! ~By Joe Byers


BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2002

DUMP THE GRUNT
Bleats Rule!
as the rut draws near, a grunt tube may be an asset, but for the best results, you can’t beat the bleat.
By Joe Byers

I could hear the buck before I could see it; his grunting sound was enough to
make my hair stand on end. In seconds a doe appeared along the ridge—its wannabe
mate right behind. The pair passed just 50 yards away, but seeing the buck’s headgear
was difficult through the thick cover. I gave a couple of grunts, which the buck ignored,
and it disappeared. Switching tactics, I cast several doe bleats in its direction, doubtful
that any call would pry it from the doe. To my surprise, I soon heard leaves shuffling.
The buck returned, walking steadily toward me, searching intently for the source of the
sound. The eight-pointer passed within 20 yards, stopped to drink from the stream
below the stand and then wandered away in search of other does.

On most days, my arrow would have flown toward the two-year—old deer that
weighed about 150 pounds. However, this was the peak of the rut in the heart of Illinois’ famed “ABP” counties (Adams, Brown & Pike). Moreover, I was hunting with Heartland Outfitters on part of their managed trophy properties. Dr. Robert “Doc” Russell, owner and outfitter, encourages P&Y minimum standards, stressing that numerous 150-plus bucks thrive in the QDM program. I had mixed emotions about passing the modest eight- pointer, yet was genuinely impressed with
the performance of the bleat call.

Bleating Super Big Time
Ironically, some 200 miles to the east on the exact same day, Ohioan Mike Beatty
was in his stand. He climbed-in around 5 p.m. in the afternoon and let things settle
down. Seeing no deer, he turned his can-style doe bleat a few times and looked
intently for results. Sure enough, he saw movement as a 150—class buck sneaked
toward him. The animal came within 15 yards, yet never left the shroud of branches
that protected it like some Star—Trek Cling on cloaking device. Not finding a doe, it
turned and walked away. The Ohio archer grunted several times, yet the buck did not
reappear. Beatty considered this deer to be a buck of a lifetime and was devastated.

Since the bleat call had worked once, he let some time pass, then made several
more “baa” sounds. Within minutes, the buck returned, or so Beatty thought. As
this deer approached through the same thick cover, Beatty saw that it was bigger.
Much bigger! It came within 12 yards, looking intently for an estrous doe.

Beatty was at full draw when the animal stopped to sniff a scent bomb. Although it was facing toward him, he aimed carefully, visualizing an arrow through the neck and into the lungs. He
released and the buck wheeled and ran. He waited 30 minutes and then began trailing by flashlight. After covering 250 yards, he chose to return in the morning. After a sleepless night, he found the huge buck at dawn, just a few yards from his stopping point. The buck is the largest whitetail deer
ever taken with a bow. With 39 points, the 11.5-pound rack scores and is the largest whitetail ever taken by any hunting means.

Back to Reality
Of course, I didn’t know about Beatty’s success, yet his experience demonstrates
two key elements. One: an archer never knows what kind of buck can be called in.
Despite the immense antlers size, this deer had not been seen previously. Two: the
bleat call can be extremely effective at bringing-in even the largest of whitetails.

As the morning wore on in my Illinois perch, I lured a small six pointer within 30 yards, causing it to change course and come directly toward me. Just as impressive were a doe and fawn that came down a ridge searching intently for the bleat.

When I returned to camp for lunch, I recommended the call to Bryce Towsley
who had been seeing a big 10-point, yet could not get it in range. Later that afternoon, Towsley used the call to bring the buck to 12 yards and made a good lung shot. That evening, we celebrated heartily with a common mindset: Holy Cow! This bleat stuff really works.

OK, IT WORKS, TELL ME MORE!

Next to a Victoria’s Secret lingerie model, I probably had the best roommate in the
world. Jerry Petersen and the Woods Wise staff hunt Heartland annually in early
November, not only for a great outdoor experience, but it’s a perfect test-track for
their deer calls. I had rarely encountered such success with a deer call and corralled
Petersen for a mini seminar.

“To understand the call, you must focus on the biology of what’s going on,” began
Petersen. “Here we are in the second week of November in Illinois. We are dealing
with bucks in the pre-rut and soon to be full rut. It’s the most exciting time of the
whitetail season. Everything works, yet if you apply calling in a more selective and
scientific way, you can be more productive than just throwing out anything.

“The first thing to understand is how a buck’s motivation is different than in early
season. Instead of seeking companionship of other bucks, he now seeks to win the
attention of does. His primary motivation is breeding, contrary to popular notion that
bucks just want to fight. Therefore, in pre-rut, you will rind much greater success in
sounding like a doe ready to breed, than two bucks ripping each other’s head off. I rattle
up bucks every year, but usually use the doe calls before I touch antlers.

“The doe—specific calls include the estrous bleat, which is a longer drawn-out a bleat that lasts a second to a second and a half and is usually repeated from two to 12 times in a series. Also, the breeding bellow is a bleat that’s louder, drawn out and starts at a high note and drops to low one.
“l like to call to almost every buck I see just for fun and as a means of gauging what I can expect for a response. lt’s a way of taking the temperature of the local deer population. On the first morning of this hunt, a spike passed by at 75 yards. I bleated three times and stopped it. Then, l added a breeding bellow to which it responded by dropping its head and giving a sharp tail wag, then came
directly to me. (The dropping of the head to a low position and an exaggerated tail wag that is repeated several times) is a fairly common response. When this happens, stop calling. Let the deer come as far as it will on its own. lf it stops, don’t call unless it walks away. Too many times the hunter thinks, ‘It worked once. more is better’ That’s a mistake. If you call when the animal is close, it will pinpoint you.

“I had good early season success in Montana with bleating and light rattling. Two big bucks passed by my stand nearly 200 yards away. l got their attention with a bleat, and then played a waiting game. They stopped in their tracks, looked and listened. They did some heavy searching for almost five minutes, just staring. With big bucks you want to fight the temptation to call repeatedly. The first time I detect a tum of a head. ear or a flick of a tail, they are going to move forward, that’s the time I make the second call. It often moves them in my direction as it did in this case. Both bucks came at a steady walk and passed under my tree. I shot an 11-point that scored in
the high 140s.”

The CanCan
“The time of year that deer are the most callable is during the pre-rut and rut,” says Will Primos, president of the call company that bears his name. “I have known about the estrous bleat for 20 years but have not been able to reproduce it in a blown call. The concept works very well. It produces a good reproduction and is easy to use. Mike Beatty used the Primos Easy Bleat because a buddy of his (a game warden) bagged two bucks using the call. ‘Do the can’ he advised, so Beatty went to a local sporting goods store and bought one.”

Primos believes that the bleat is the most powerful allure as the breeding season nears.
‘Although grunts can work, the sound a buck really wants to hear is the sound of a
doe ready to breed. When a cat goes into heat, it often screams. Bobcats do the same
thing in the wild. The bodies of estrous females go under stress when they are ready
to mate and they advertise a biological need.”

Back In Action
Armed with new knowledge and the Bullseye Buck call, I climbed into the
same stand for a second day with great anticipation. I planned to use the call only
when I saw a deer, rather than just random broadcasting. Unfortunately, by 9 a.m., I
had not seen anything. It was time for a different approach.

Putting the call to my lips. l inhaled several soft bleats, then picked up my bow
in preparation. Fifteen minutes later I repeated the bleat call routine, searching
the thickets for the slightest movements. Perhaps five minutes passed when leaves
crashed behind me. In seconds, two deer raced in and stopped within spitting distance. Rotating my head downward with great caution, I could see the antlers of a mature buck.

My bow was on a hanger within easy reach, yet l dared not move with the animals so close. The doe continued her estrous run, bounding up the steep ridge to my left. As the first leaf cracked, l grabbed my bow, locked on the release and came to full draw. Unfortunately, the buck was
stopped behind thick vines. l held and hoped. The pair crossed my entrance trail and caught a whiff of the Real Deer trail scent I had deployed. They took two more jumps, this time the buck stopped just above a cedar tree that I had ranged in at dawn. The arrow flew, catching the buck in the boiler room. Ironically, the escape trail contained no blood for the first 30 yards and then emerged like a paint spill. The buck was a bit shy of P&Y yet a mature breeder that made wonderful eating and
excellent trophy.

Hunting whitetail deer is always exciting, yet inducing a wily buck to seek you out is the grandest of all. Rattling, grunt tubes, and bleats all have their place in the communication scheme of our favorite prey. As the rut draws near, a grunt tube may be an asset, but for the best results
you can’t beat the bleat.

Archived By
www.ARCHERYTALK.com
All Rights Reserved

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

Extending Your Range – By Joe Byers


Bowhunting World
October 2002

Extending Your Range
The World Past 20 Yards
By Joe Byers

Stuck at the 20 yard threshold? Three nationally known bowmen show how to increase your effective range and make the most of each opportunity.

You guys will have about two hours to hunt and still catch the plane.:
said the manager of the Jupiter caribou camp in northern Quebec. “If
you can pack back the meat, I’ll take things from there. Just don’t miss that plane!”
Pressured by an unexpected departure schedule, I dressed by candlelight as the eastern sky began to pale. Pushing the darkness, I climbed the ridge, stopping often to survey the tundra surroundings. Several days before, thousands of caribou migrated through this area, concentrating in a narrow patch of black spruce. The nearby funnel would offer close—range potential. As the sun crested the horizon, action soon followed.

A mature white—mane bull emerged from the timber. Another animal soon followed.
Were there five, a dozen, or 207 Numbers didn’t really matter; one caribou in range was
all I sought.

Testing the wind, I retreated and then made a wide circle. Sneaking to a large rock, I
inched above the horizon, scanning the vicinity for antler tips. No caribou. Glassing
intently, I finally spotted tall velvet passing through thick brush well to my right. There
was no time to waste.

Reversing course again, I dashed through several openings, then closed the distance
toward an ambush trail. The bulls were traveling through waist—high brush, making enough
noise to cover my approach. Crouched as low as possible, I closed a final 50 yards with just
seconds to spare. My hands trembled as I ranged a scrubby bush at 30 yards. The first bull
stepped just beyond the shrub. The second bull was larger.

The duo moved steadily and I remembered a trick a guide had suggested. “Ark!” I
barked briskly, and both animals stopped. Already at full draw, I settled the 40—yard pin high
in the chest, held and released. In an instant the Carbon Express shaft flashed to the target,
zipping through just behind the shoulder. The arrow was exactly on target, a shot for which I
had prepared and practiced. In this instance, preparing to surpass the 20—yard pin spelled the
difference between success and “next time.”

Think Short, Prepare For Long
The first rule of long-range shooting is “Don’t” During my photo assignment/caribou
hunt l encountered 14 hunters, all of whom carried riiles, most zeroed—in at 200 yards.
Despite the potential for long-range hunting, employing ambush tactics put me within solid
bow range. The same is true for pronghorn, mountain sheep, and other animals that inhabit
wide—open spaces. Usually, they approach some cover that can disguise a bowhunter.
My rule of thumb: never take a long shot if you can plan a short one.

Closer is always better, especially in field conditions that may hamper form and cause
emotional duress. Humans are not bowhunting machines. Even Olympic archers exhibit a margin of error. Otherwise, they’d place every arrow in the same hole. Through proper practice and form, you can strive to minimize this error for tight groups. To ethically hunt whitetail deer from a
treestand, an archer must place an arrow within a 5-inch circle at 20 yards. This margin of error is 2.5 inches from the point of aim. Extend this degree of accuracy to 30 yards and wounding may occur, even under ideal circumstances. For this reason, the 20 yard threshold has become a ” glass ceiling” for many bowmen.

Today’s advances in archery technology such as carbon ICS arrows, one—cam bows.
fiber-optic sights, and vibration reduction- and, most notably, rangefinders—can
reduce the “error of arrows” and extend your effective range. Each year, more and more
hunters take actions to extend their effective range well beyond the 20—yard pin. Is that’s right for you? Only you can answer that question, yet consider the views of three
nationally-known bowmen.

The Author's Quebec Caribou fell to a well-practiced 40 yard shot. Closer wasn't an option but the shot was taken in confidence.


The100—Yard Pin

“People look at my sight and ask about all the pins,” says Robinson Laboratories
president and world—class shooter, Scott Shultz. “/Although I have no intention of
shooting an animal at 80, 90, or 100 yards, I have pins on my bow and practice at
those distances? Shultz has been an IBO World Champion several times and grew up with a solid background of long-range target shooting. His ability to use extended—range pins is a combination of finely tuned form and equipment “My fixed-blade broadheads fly at about 320 fps,” he says. “It’s all about alignment— little things like twisting the cable yoke. Also, I twist the bowstring to increase brace height. This increases the preload on the limbs as well as brace height? Shultz shoots a Hoyt Hyper-Tech bow set at 79 pounds, Easton A/C/C 360s and a Titanium 100 broadhead.

Shultz believes his long—range ability is an excellent insurance policy when the
unexpected happens. “If something unexpected occurs, you are helpless unless you
have those long-range pins to fall back on,” he says. “lf your arrow hits a twig, the
animal suddenly moves, or some other calamity occurs, the long-range pins may allow a second shot.”

Several years ago Shultz was moose hunting and
believed he had a stationary target of immense size. At
the moment of release the big bull took a stride, causing
a non-lethal hit. “l killed that moose at 67 yards with a second shot
in the ribs,” he says with satisfaction. “I relied heavily on my Leica
rangeiinder and plenty of practice?

Spot & Stalk To Success
Steve Kobrine was introduced to the bowhunting community through the pages
of Bowhunting World. The 30—year—old Maryland native has taken every species of
African game with a bow and arrow. His powerful arrow shot completely through a
bull elephant at 45 yards.

I had the good fortune to practice with Kobrine in his expansive backyard; where
retrieving arrows and walking for exercise go hand in hand. “I practice between 60 and 80 yards
because that’s the range I expect to shoot,” says Kobrine. “Most African game will give
you that leeway.”

Once Kobrine’s accuracy skills back- fired after shooting a Coke can at 80 yards
to demonstrate his effectiveness. The native workers then constructed a blind 80
yards from the crossing Kobrine expected to watch.
This young man’s physical prowess adds to his hunting effectiveness. A lanky 6 feet 6
inches, he shoots a full-length arrow at a draw weight of 80 tol00 pounds. This long
power stroke combined with a heavy 1,000- grain arrow can provide kinetic energy in the
100 foot-pound range.

How Far Is The Moose?
Bob Foulkrod reels them in like a Bassmasters champ. Each year he conducts a seminar on long-range shooting, one session of his comprehensive Bowhunting School. A full-size 3-D moose target stands in the background and inevitably a participant challenges the wily archer. “Betcha cant hit
that moose,” chides an archer in competitive good fun. Foulkrod displays a doubtful frown until the entire group demands the attempt. Like a con man closing a sting operation, his Golden Eagle bow bends and the carbon shaft smacks the boiler room 125 yards away.

After hearty laughs Foulkrod gets serious about determining “how far is too far?”
He is quick to suggest there’s no mathematical formula to the answer. His extensive shooting camp helps archers determine this exact point. Although targets are 3-D animals, hunters are hurried, harried, and otherwise challenged to make lethal shots on targets that pop up, drop down,
and move among obstructions. The five- inch circle is still the kill zone, yet archers
are presented with many complications to making the shot.

“We test each hunter’s limits,” says Foulkrod. “We want ethical sportsmen taking high-percentage shots and our course helps each person learn his limits.”

Small Steps To Extended Range
Kobnne, Foulkrod, and Shultz have several characteristics in common, similarities that
allow archers to compare their shooting styles, gear, and tactics. First, each man practices at long range. Even the fellow who shoots in thick cover from a treestand can benefit.
“If you practice at 60 yards, you either improve your aim or you lose all your arrows,” says Shultz. From a practice standpoint, the farther away you can group arrows, the more consistent your shafts at a closer range. A flaw in form or rest clearance may not affect your shooting at 20 yards; however, beyond 50 yards, erratic arrow placement becomes
clearly evident.

All three men shoot fixed blade broadheads and practice with them. Foulkrod has been a consistent advocate of the Titan four-blade, a large cut-on-contact head that creates a large slash factor. Like Shultz’s 100—yard pin, Foulkrod counts on the extra cutting power of his broadhead as insurance, should something go wrong.

Kobrine built a bow that exceeded 100 pounds of draw weight by customizing his gear, Unable to purchase such horsepower over the counter, he mixed and matched parts to create the energy required. All three men are experts with equipment, learning their gear inside and out. This
familiarity builds confidence in equipment and shooting skill.

“l never thought I’d give up aluminum arrows,” admitted Foulkrod several years
ago, after learning from a bad experience. Traveling through dense alders on a rainy
Kodiak bear hunt, several of his shafts bent, without his knowledge. “Feathers can get
wet and not work,” said the Pennsylvania resident, however, my Carbon Express
arrows are always straight?

Foulkrod’s shafts are beefed-up to 12grains per inch. His 500- grain arrows develop between 72 and 75 foot pounds of kinetic energy.

Scent control is a top priority of each sportsman. Shultz produces Scent Blocker
Plus, Kobrine uses Scent—Lok even in Africa, and Foulkrod employs the Hunter
Specialties scent elimination system. The message: relaxed game stands still.

RANGE & ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
Determining effective range depends as much upon the game animal as the archer.
A nervous buck at 10 yards may dodge or duck an arrow, while a feeding deer at 30
yards may not budge an inch. Reading the behavior of game animals takes experience
and expertise. Just as I stopped the caribou with a sharp vocal sound, “cow calling” will almost
always stop a bull elk in its tracks. Allow a bull or cow to move into an open shooting
lane at a known distance and then chirp. Whitetail bucks often stop at the sound of a
grunt, even a voiced “baa” sound. Feeding animals are usually relaxed and fairly stationary. In this situation, hunters can often wait until the near front leg moves forward fully exposing the heart/lung area.

An animal in a head-down position can signal a closer stalk. The sounds of crunching
acorns or grazing grass will help mask approaching footsteps. If the animal is feeding in a general direction, you can circle ahead for an ambush. Bedded game is another matter. Lying down, a deer or elk’s vitals are compressed to the bottom quarter of its body cavity. If possible, wait for the animal to stand or sneak in very close.

Haw Far Is Too Far?
Today’s digital laser optics are perhaps the greatest aid to enhanced range. With a
moderately fast arrow, misjudging distance by three yards past 40 will result in a miss
or worse. To appraise the effectiveness of your set—up, shoot at 30 yards, then take two steps backward and shoot again using the same pin placement. Standard pin shooters can use sight pin spread to judge arrow drop. Hold your 30-yard pin on the bull and then look where the 40-yard pin
points. The distance, divided by 10, is the proportional drop for each succeeding yard beyond 30. Be sure to practice at ranges other than multiples of five.

Finally, rangefinders are wonderful tools; yet require practice in actual hunting situations. Bushnell’s pocket—size optic saved my caribou hunt. From pocket—to-range—to- pocket took mere seconds.
Advances in shooting technology allow greater accuracy at longer range, however, bowhunting ethics require each archer to set his own limits. Sight pins past 20 yards shouldn’t be ego points, but insurance in case a second arrow is needed. The maximum range is the distance you can put a broadhead inside of a five-inch circle every time. Practice realistically, know your limitations, and you can release with confidence.

Archived By
www.ARCHERYTALK.com
All Rights Reserved

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

Get Aggresive For Elk – By Jeff Copeland


BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2002

GET AGGRESIVE FOR ELK
By Jeff Copeland
In the pre-rut, before the bugles begin and the weather is uncooperative, sometimes you just have to go get em!

My heart rocketed into my throat as the beautiful 6×6 strode from behind the brush broadside at just 25 yards. He was following a couple of cows as they fed toward the point of a ridge. I knew something had to happen quickly because the gentle breeze tickling my left ear would be swirling around the point of a ridge. I knew something had to happen quickly because the gentle breeze tickling my left ear would be swirling around the point that the cows were headed for; but for this moment, there were too many unobstructed eyes for me to lift my bow and come to full draw. In the past few years, I’d had this dream thousands of times, but on September 3, 1999, it wasn’t a dream. It was a reality

This was my first trip to New Mexico to
hunt elk with Ray Milligan and Milligan
Brand Outfitters. Our plan was to hunt the
first week of the 1999 archery elk season,
thinking that the weather would be warm and
dry. This would allow us Lone Star flat-landers to sit comfortably in a treestand overlooking the area’s isolated watering holes and
take our pick from the parade of bulls that would get thirsty in the evenings.
That plan looked good on the drawing board»—and it probably would have turmed out exactly that way had l been left out of the
equation. l firmly believe I have personally been responsible for ending more droughts than El Nino.
True to form, we arrived in the Milligan camp to mid-40—degree temperatures and a pouring rain that turned to sleet as
me day progressed. Rain was predicted as far as the forecast extended and we knew we were in for one tough hunt.
Needless to say, Ray informed us that sitting over a waterhole would be a waste of time.

One of the benefits of being an avowed weather jinx is that you learn to be a more adaptable hunter. If I hadn’t learned
to be adaptable, a dozen arrows would have lasted me through the entire decade of the ’90s. So,
as we sat around the dinner table that first night, I tied to be the optimist.
“Elk are smart, but they’re not whitetails,”
I told my hunting partners. “This country is conducive to stalking and it’ll be just like hunting exotics back home in Texas.
If we can find them, we can kill them.”

Topping a ridge at about 5 p.m. on the second day of our hunt, I
spotted a really nice bull herding two cows down the mountain in front of me.
This trio was eventually joined by about 20 additional elk on the edge of a
meadow. I glassed the bull with my Leica 10X42s as the elk began feeding in my direction.
The oak brush-covered ridge I was on ran perpendicular to the mountain that the elk came
from and bordered the meadow where they were feeding.

With more than two hours of legal hunting time left, and the elk totally oblivious to my presence while feeding in my direction, I
already had my tag on this bull and my fork in one of his juicy steaks. However, as is often the case, it wasn’t meant to be. A lone black
bear emerged from the brush between us, and the elk herd soon hoofed it back up the mountain, destination unknown.

Not quite sure what to do, I stayed put, cursing the bear until the sun fell behind the mountain where the elk had made their escape. Then, remembering the huge open valley that lay behind the ridge to my right, I
thought maybe the elk had dropped off into it to feed. As I eased quietly around the ridge glassing the draws and headers for brown fur and calcium, I finally reached the edge of the valley. Sure enough, the elk were there, feeding away from me at about 250 yards. With sunset (New Mexico’s end of legal hunting time) only five minutes away, I decided not
to risk pushing the herd out of the area.

The next morning my enthusiasm woke me up before Scotty Wilson, the camp cook, even sounded reveille. At daylight, though, I spotted my herd and they had already returned to the security of the oak brush-covered
mountainside and were browsing their way up toward the dark timber, where they would likely spend the day. Knowing the elk were gone until evening, I used the morning as an opportunity to familiarize myself with the terrain on the side of the ridge where the herd had been feeding at sunset the day before.

Bear or no bear, this time I had a plan. That afternoon, the sky was clear and temperatures had warmed a bit. I arrived at my perch atop the brushy ridge to see if I could spot the herd that I had put to bed that morning. Around 4:30 p.m., I heard a bugle and recognized the voice from the day before. Though I couldn’t see them, over the next hour or so, I could tell from the cow calls and
bugles that the herd was moving down the other side of the ridge again. I knew where

the herd was headed, and because I knew the lay of the land, I had time to get between them and where they were going. I gathered my gear and began slipping around the ridge to find my bull. As I cautiously eased through the brush, I spotted a mule deer doe and had to wait for her to feed into the brush so I could get by without spooking her. Once I was past, the bull bugled
again and I spotted a cow less than 100 yards away. Just as I had hoped, they were feeding on the ridge that ran above the big valley and the wind was quartering from them to me.

When I figured out exactly where the rest of the herd was, I dropped off into the draw and inched forward until I could just peel; over the edge of the ridge the elk were on. As I did so, I saw a cow, a calf, another cow, and the 6×6 bull come by at 25 yards. My Bushnell rangefinder was tucked into the
cargo pocket on my right pant leg and there was no time to retrieve it. The cows fed on the side of the ridge and the bull was about to follow. His head went behind a ponderosa stump and I came to full draw. He was walking, quartering slightly away when a cow called from behind him. As he paused to
look back, my subconscious shouted “50!’ while my pin hit the crease of his front shoulder and my Mathews Black Max sent the Easton A/C/C 371 streaking at 303 fps down a collision course with the bull’s heart.

At impact. the bull bucked and kicked with both back feet as he bolted 15 yards before
piling up near a downed pine. The rest of the herd never had a clue what was going on and I
had to wait for them to feed off of the ridge. When they were gone, I ran over to put my
hands on the bull’s massive beams. I sat in awe of his beauty as I looked through his tines
at the sun setting behind the mountains across the valley, and thought about all the times
before I had played this game of cat and mouse, only to come out on the losing side.
This was my first pre-rut elk hunt and it taught me a lot. In the first couple weeks of September,
there isn’t a lot of bugling like later in the month As the week progresses, you begin to
hear more bugles in the early morning and late evening, but still not a lot of roaring back and
forth like you hear in the peak of the rut. As a result, you may find cow calling is a lot more
common and effective in getting a response. From a half-hour after sunrise to a half-hour
before sunset, cow calls may be the only elk vocalizations you will hear.

Many hunters like to go elk hunting in the rut so they can hear the bulls bugling,
and I’ll admit I enjoy that spine-tingling whistle as much as the next guy. However,
as a bowhunter, when I go elk hunting, I like to kill a bull, and it has been my
personal experience that the early season is the time where I have the best chance
at that. I can hear bulls bugle on the Outdoor Channel in my living room.

The other big difference between hunting this time frame and the rut is that when a bull
answers your calling, he typically won’t be headed in your direction. In the early season,
you can listen for bugles to determine the areas holding the elk. If you cow call and have
a bull answer, chances are he isn’t coming to you, but he will stop what he is doing and look
in your direction. When you have a bull answer, don`t continue calling like you would during the rut.
Instead, try to home-in on the bull’s location, moving to where you think you will be able to see the bull, and decide if
he is the one you want to take. If you think you are getting close to the bull’s location but
you still haven’t spotted him, then it’s time to call again to see if he is still in the area.

One thing about hunting the Southwest during the first week of September is that typically,
the mature herd bulls are not the ones out gathering up cows. Usually, the younger,
satellite bulls gather cows and do the majority of the bugling that time of year. The big
boys are usually alone, but in the vicinity, thrashing brush, making wallows and generally
keeping watch on the younger bulls while preparing for the combat to come.

When you spot a decent bull with a herd of cows, it might be worth your while to glass
the surrounding country before setting your sights on him. Such was the case with a bull I
shot last year, on another trip to New Mexico with Ray Milligan. Once again the hunting
was tough but for totally different reasons. Last year, the Southwest was in a terrible
drought and wildfires were rampant. Fortunately, the area I was to hunt was out of the
bum zone, but it was hot and very dry.

Arriving full of anticipation about ambushing at waterholes, we were in for yet another disappointment.
The drought was so severe that ponds and water tanks holding the limited
water were continually visited by the numerous bears that inhabit north central New Mexico
—not good when you’re after elk or mule deer. The parched terrain made still-hunting
difficult and slow stalking more critical than ever. It was a tough hunt but there are lots of elk
in the country Milligan Brand has leased. I spotted several good bulls and actually passed
up shot opportunities at three different ones in the 240-265-inch class. I was determined to get
something bigger than the 280 I shot in 1999.

The last morning of my hunt, I decided to go back into an area where I had seen several
different groups of elk. By that time in my hunt, I figured if I couldn’t spot a good bull, I
might be able to till my tag with a cow so I could take home some meat. I arrived in the
area I wanted to hunt just as dawn was breaking. The air was cool and crisp and I heard
bugles in several directions as I approached the top of the ridge where I wanted to glass. Of all
the bugles I heard, there was one in particular that caught my attention. It was a deep guttural
growl, followed by an ear-piercing whistle that seemed to linger in the air for an eternity. I had
to get a look at the critter making this sound.

As the early morning light altered its way into the canyon I was overlooking, I began to
make out the silhouettes of elk. My Leicas focused in on a nice 6×5 that I had passed a
couple of days earlier. I knew he wasn’t making the sound that had piqued my interest.
When it got light enough to see well, I made a couple of cow calls. Just as I finished the second
mew, another bull answered. He was an old herd bull that was now thrashing brush
directly below me about 300 yards from the herd which held the 6×5.

When the 6×5 bugled, I cow-called and the old bull stepped out of the brush nearly
causing me to swallow my diaphragm. He was a massive 6×6 that would dwarf the bull I
shot the year before. To add insult to injury he looked in my direction and bugled in my
face just for good measure. As he walked into the edge of the meadow, the 6×5 quickly.
drove his cows across the valley, up the opposite ridge and out of sight over its crest, leaving me
and the big guy to fulfill our own destinies in the quiet New Mexico morning light.

After an hour of playing cat-and-mouse with the monarch as he demolished oak brush
and ripped apart pine trees with his long ivory tipped tines, I managed to get around him so
the wind was right. In another 45 minutes I finally got ahead of him and was waiting at full
draw when he stepped into an opening between two patches of brush. My arrow
found its mark and 75 yards later I was admiring the regal beast laying on the point of a ridge
with the sun glinting off his massive beams. In the early season, before the bulls really
get fired up, many times success can hinge on the weather. When the weather tums nasty
making waterholes ineffective, you can still fill your tag if you know what to do when you
have to go get ’em! >>—>

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

TAGGED OUT – By Steven Tisdale & Brandon Ray


BOWHUNTING
October 2002

TAGGED OUT
by Steven Tisdale & Brandon Ray

To Shoot all five of the North American deer species: whitetail,
Coues whitetail, mule deer, Columbian blacktail and a Sitka blacktail,
during the course of any bowhunter’s lifetime, is a tremendous accomplishment.
To shoot all five deer species in less than a year, with three of the
five deer species taken on do-it-yourself hunts, would be phenomenal.
As one friend put it,”Now that’s the sort of thing you should write an article about!”

Texas bowhunter Steven Tisdale did just that during the 2000 hunting season. Tisdale, 37 years old
today is the owner of Collision King Repair Center, an auto body shop in the town of Lubbock.
He has been a bowhunter for 17 years. He is like most bowhunters,
Tisdale works hard all year at his business and spends his free time with his
wife and two daughters, but come fall he finds time to slip away on the weekends to
pursue his passion, bowhunting. While the dusty panhandle town of
Lubbock is hardly at the center of great bowhunting country, there is good hunting for
both mule deer and whitetails within a couple of hours drive of the city.

Tisdale’s first taste of success came on a mule deer hunt in eastern New Mexico.
Tisdale gained permission to hunt a private ranch in the rolling sand dunes and
farm country found on the Texas/New Mexico border. Here are the details of that hunt, and others, in his own words.

Mule Deer New Mexico and Texas

Looking out my pickup window at the sun sinking down on the horizon,
I calculated that I had two or three more areas left to glass before
darkness would erase the landscape. An unproductive early season
tag had been neatly folded in my wallet for the last three months and
I was eager for another chance during this late—season, archery—only
hunt. At the base of a tall sand dune, I ditched the truck like I’d done
several times already that afternoon. I climbed the sand dune and poked
my head over the top, being careful not to be skylined. I scanned to
the west and suddenly my glasses were filled.

With a 5×5 mule deer buck less than 150 yards away. I quickly ducked
out of sight and skirted the perimeter, making mental notes of the
buck`s last location.
I slithered through the short shin oak brush and cactus using the
dunes to flank an approach route. When I thought I was getting close
I eased into position and peeked over the closest dune. The buck was
35 yards away, broadside. I drew on him and released, but a hard
crosswind combined with me being winded from the stalk sent the
arrow off course, just grazing the buck’s back. The buck, not knowing
my whereabouts, turned toward me and dropped out of sight in a low
spot. In one fluid motion I nocked a second arrow and drew as the
buck came back into view, topping the sand dune in front of me. At 18
yards I put the arrow into the oncoming buck’s chest. He turned and
ran 75 yards and collapsed within sight.

The last 10 minutes worth of events soaked into my brain as my
heart pounded and sweat ran down my brow. During the past 15 years
I have had some dry spells pursuing big game with a bow. In my
twenties, it was sometimes almost more than my restless, impatient
soul could bear. Sometimes I would be on the verge of picking up a rifle, but an occasional animal taken would quickly bring me back to the realization that it was well worth the effort to hunt only with a bow.

During the drive home I pondered on what I would do for my next hunt, just as many bowhunters would do. I had set aside five days off of work for hunting in the month of January. Visions of thick-beamed, mouse—colored
Coues bucks chasing does in the colorful deserts of Arizona filled my thoughts. I had hunted the sneaky Coues whitetail of the desert Southwest off and on for the last 12 years without success. That would be my next hunt.

(ln addition to Steven’s January mule deer he shot a second, even
larger muley buck in late October on his deer lease in the Texas Panhandle. That buck was also taken by spot—and-stalk hunting in rugged, open canyon country. A 30—yard shot downed that second, wide 5×5 muley buck.)

Coues Whitetail Arizona
Thursday evening after work, I quickly went home, loaded my truck
with gear, kissed the wife and kids goodbye, and headed west. My
plan was to camp out and stay mobile until I found a good place to
aunt. It is common to see mule deer in the lower elevations before
getting into Coues country and that is mostly what I encountered for
the next three days. During the middle of the day I tried to gather
information on hunting areas from the local ranchers, arming myself
with forest maps, a smile and a friendly handshake. After several
encounters their response seemed prerecorded, “You’re trying to get
a mountain whitetail with a bow? Why don’t you go for a muley, lot
more meat and easier to hunt’?” At the end of day four, I made a major
move to an area I had hunted several years earlier—rough terrain and
a good walk in.

Once in the new location my memory was fuzzy at first. A familiar knob
overlooking lots of stalkable terrain Finally registered.
Yes, there it is. I unpacked my optics, got comfortable and began glassing,
picking the desert apart. The Zeiss were scrutinizing hunks of land-
one tree, one rock, one cactus at a time. Veteran Coues deer hunters
will tell you that glassing is the key to success. At the first possible
light let the binoculars be your legs, they say, reaching into faraway
shadows of pinions and brush. Be patient.

One spike buck and a few does was all I found that morning. Further down in a different bowl I saw one doe, then another and another. From a half mile away I watched several more deer filter out of a low spot in a far-away crease. I decided to investigate. When I reached the low spot where all those deer were coming out, I noticed a small natural pond with about a dozen ducks on it. “Could this be the only water source in this area?” I thought to myself. As I
approached the water’s edge the ducks lifted off. There were heavy trails
leading to the water with tiny hoof prints in the mud. Two sizable pinion
pines near the pond would serve as a makeshift ground blind. As I got situated
in my new ground blind the ducks landed back on the pond confirming
what I’d suspected. Water was scarce.

Throughout that day six different deer came in for a drink, including a small 6-point buck. They all left quickly after getting a drink, as this is a land filled with mountain lions and even an occasional jaguar. I had to be back at work the next day, so reluctantly I left my newly discovered hot spot. During the
10-hour drive home I schemed on how I could return to this oasis before the season ended.

I retumed the following Saturday night, slept five hours in my truck
then made the two-hour trek to the pond equipped with a backpack and_
material better suited for constructing a ground blind. I set up my blind,
trimmed branches, and dug out a seat in the ground. I draped camo
material to keep me hidden in the shadows. It was 40 yards to the water’s edge.

At 1 p.m., I looked up from my book to see a splendid solo buck
approaching the water maybe 75 yards away. His 8 point rack glistened in the midday sunlight. I eased my bow into the ready position, putting tension on the string. He lowered his head to drink while ever so slightly leaning forward. I knew he would not linger after quenching his thirst. I drew, anchored, and settled my 40-yard pin low at his shoulder. The arrow caught the buck solid. After a short recovery I was holding the most beautiful animal of the desert.

Columbian Blacktail California

The biggest dilemma I faced was using my vacation time for my remaining hunts without interfering with my 10 year wedding anniversary in September, My wife Lynn decided to join me on my trip to northern California to hunt Columbian blacktails. In mid August we flew to San Francisco, rented a car and drove north towards Jim Schaafsma’s awesome blacktail hunting operation. Along the way we made stops in Napa Valley to taste wine, sight see and even stayed at a bed and breakfast. I wanted to the trip to be special no only because of my blacktail hunt, but I wanted Lynn to enjoy the trip as well.

The first evening of hunting blacktails found Jim and I staring at a huge 5×5 buck bedded with a small forkhorn. The big buck was colossal in size, pushing the B&C minimums according to Jim. Jim has guided loads of bowhunters to record class bucks and he has personally taken many P&Y blacktails with a bow. A few years earlier, I even shot a decent P&Y buck on my first blacktail hunt with Jim.

The air was hot and steamy and my thin cotton shirt was sweat-drenched by the time I completed the stalk. I closed to within 30 yards but just as I was preparing for the shot the smaller buck saw me and they both ran out of sight. I spend the next several days relocating that same big 5×5 and
attempting stalk after stalk, but I was never able to get a shot. Columbian blacktails are more patternable than their mule deer cousins, similar to whitetails. They hang in the same area day after day. I never got the big 5×5, but I did have several opportunities at other big bucks, including a dandy non-typical that I missed. On the last day of my hunt I shot a respectable buck at range of 25 yards. The date was August 13, the last day of the season in the unit where I was hunting.

Bowhunting early season Columbian blacktails is tough for several reasons. First the temperature is hot and miserable which keeps deer movement to a minimum in daylight hours. The heat also makes hiking and controlling the scent tough on bowhunters. In addition , the , dry conditions make grass underfoot brittle and noisy. Very tough for stalking. When the hunt was over I was very pleased to have a decent set of antlers to bring on the plane ride home. Lynn and I left norther California with fond memories and hopes of returning sometime in the future.

WHITETAIL Texas
For the first day and a half of Texas’ archery-only season, I hunted three different stands. The 90-degree-plus temperatures had deer movement to a minimum. Just a few does were spotted, but no bucks. The scorching heat made me consider another option that had paid off in Arizona,
hunting water.

It was on the second day of the season that I made a midday trip to a waterhole. The plan was to erect a tripod stand in a cluster of hackberry trees near a beaten trail at the stock pond. The timing seemed perfect for a buck to quench its thirst.

By 4p.m. I was seated in the new stand with a slight breeze in my face. A full Scent-Lok suit and scent-eliminating sprays were used to increase my odds. In order to play the wind direction it was necessary that the stand be placed where the afternoon sun beat down right on my face. For this reason, I sat facing slightly away from the trail where the sun wasn’t directly into my eyes.

It was at 5:30 p.m. peering through the sun at the trail, that I first spotted a deer. Due to the blinding sun the buck had drifted into the waterhole undetected. By the time I noticed the movement, the buck was already at the pond, broadside, with his head down drinking. Immediately I knew he was a shooter. By the time I had swiveled my stand around to get in position for a shot, the buck was already leaving the water. Experience from past hunts had taught me that once a deer was finished drinking they wouldn’t stick around for very long. Time was quickly fading away. I jerked the compound bow to full draw and tracked the walking buck’s progress through the mesquites. When the big 8-point stopped in an opening at 33 yards, the arrow was on it’s way. Hit in the spine, the buck dropped immediately. A finishing shot behind the shoulder and it was over.

As I walked up on the fallen buck I was surprised at the rack’s tine length. The tines curved inwards and the beams were longer than expected. Small patches of velvet were still clinging to portions of the rack. The 135 inch, mature 8-point buck became my first ever P&Y whitetail from my home state. What I thought could take me months, had quickly ended on the first weekend of the season. Fantastic, only one deer species to go!

SITKA BLACKTAILS Alaska

It was on November 5th that my Sitka
blacktail hunt began on Prince of Wales
Island. My dad accompanied me on the trip,
which made this final leg of my deer season
even more special. l had two deer tags
in my pocket and my plans were simple.
Shoot the first respectable buck, then hold
out for a bigger buck.

The island was beautiful with rolling,
mountainous terrain and thick, dark forests.
Most of the terrain was so dense that glassing
and spot-and-stalk hunting was difficult.
The primary tactic was driving logging
roads, glassing into openings and along
edges, and trying a stalk if l spotted a buck.
Unfortunately, only does were spotted when
we glassed. Another popular tactic my guide
used was calling with a deer bleat in the
dark, damp forests. We called in several does
using this tactic, but never a buck.

Rainy, damp conditions plagued the first
three days of my trip. After three days of it l
was feeling like l would never dry off. Since
calling and spot-and—stalk hunting had been
only mildly successful, we resorted to still-hunting.
And so on November 7, at 11:30 in the morning, while
slowly cruising through the moss—covered timber, I
spotted a big deer and a glimpse of antler.
This was the first buck sighting of the hunt. At 25 yards, with the
buck broadside, I punched an Easton A/C/C shaft through the
buck’s chest. When I recovered the mature deer I was shocked to
see only one antler. In my rush to shoot I had only seen the buck
from the side, glimpsed multiple points and a thick beam, and shot.
His left antler beam was broken just above the base.


The following day, late in the afternoon,
I shot another buck while still-hunting. At
30 yards, I connected. Typical of Sitka
bucks, this one had a blocky frame with a
handsome cape and antlers stained the color
of rust. His hooves were also oversized. My
guide said that was an adaptation to walking
in the spongy, wet terrain. That buck had the
tip of his right beam broken off, but considering
the bad weather and tough hunting
conditions, I felt fortunate to fill both tags.
My single season deer slam was complete,
and with it I had lots of great memories.
What had started as a normal year of
bowhunting back in January had mushroomed into a full-blown,
year-long obsession of hunting deer with a bow. Every technique
and tactic was required in order to succeed.
There was spot-and—stalk hunting for
mule deer and Columbian blacktails, hunt-
ing over waterholes for whitetails, and even
still-hunting in rain—soaked forests in Alaska
for chunky Sitka blacktails. lt was never
about making a name for myself or trying to
set a record. It was just taking my stick-and-
string deer hunting to a new level. >>—>

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

The Golden Rule – By Steve Flores


Bow & Arrow Hunting
August 2009

THE GOLDEN RULE
If you fail to follow this important hunting standard, then consider it game over.
By Steve Flores

I recall one season in particular
when I somehow managed to
outfit myself with all of the latest
gear. I had the most popular bow
on the market, the most effective
camo pattern, an ultra—light treestand,
and a truckload of confidence to boot.
Yeah, I was going to be a whitetail-
killing machine. Brimming with
optimism, I set out to do some
extensive pre-season scouting. After
finding a suitable location, I hung my
stand and counted the days until the
start of the season.

Opening morning arrived and it
wasn’t long before I was up to my
fanny pack in action. With a
substantial amount of does and
smaller bucks frequenting the area, I
just knew the approaching rut would
eventually lure an old “mountain
monarch” within easy bow range.
There was little doubt I was going to
fill my tag and be the envy of all my
friends. Or so I thought.

in agriculture settings, pre-season scouting can actually be advantageous, simply because most of the observations are done from long-distances. However, don't dismiss the need for up-close scouting in these areas, which should still occur during the off-season months.


Eager to taste success, I hunted
every day that I could, regardless of
weather conditions or phase of the rut.
As a result, my enthusiastic approach
quickly turned my “dream season” into
a living nightmare. Within a matter of
days, deer sightings dropped off the
map and I unexpectedly found myself
searching for greener grass. However,
any attempt to duplicate that initial
opening-day stand site only brought
about the same result—a promising
location that soon fizzled out, never
really living up to the hype. When the
season finally did come to a close, I
had little to show for my efforts other
than an unfilled tag and a look of
bewilderment on my tired, beaten face.

So, what happened? Where did I
go wrong? I mulled over those
questions for quite some time, deter-
mined to find the answers before
velvet was shed and another season
began. After much deliberation, I
realized the answer lied in one
irrefutable rule—just one. Consequently,
if I considered this rule in
every decision I made in the deer
woods, success would likely beat down
my door instead of darting away like a
flushed rabbit.

So, what is this “golden rule”? The
answer: Never let the deer know they
are being hunted. That°s it! Plain and
simple. Now, that might sound a bit
elementary at first, but it isn’t until
you apply this straightforward idiom
to your current hunting strategy that
you start to get an idea about just how
tricky it can be to live up to. However,
nothing will have a greater affect on
your bowhunting success than learning
how to master this one commandment.
Because, regardless of everything
else you do, the tactics you employ or
the rules you follow, if you break this
one, it`s game over.

POST-SEASON SCOUTING
The first mistake many bowhunters
fall victim to is ill-timed scouting
efforts. Even though intentions are
good, the consequences often lead to a
season that doesn’t quite live up to its
expectations. While the traditional
time frame for scouting seems to be
just prior to the start of the season,
there are many problems associated
with this approach.

First and foremost is the fact that
“pre-season” scouting more or less
sounds the alarm that hunting season
is near. After months of uninterrupted
behavior, deer are unexpectedly
bombarded with human intrusion into
sensitive core areas. This increase in
activity basically kicks them out of
their off season stupor and alerts them
to the fact that it’s that time of year
again. Soon after this initial disruption,
the start of the season brings
a legion of bow-toting predators back
into the area, further increasing the
likelihood that the element of surprise
will be lost. At that point, it won’t take
a very intelligent animal to figure out
it’s being hunted. On top of all of this is the
overwhelming urge to hunt your best stand
(which is usually your only stand)
right off the bat. As described
in the opening paragraphs, this ill-fated
decision will definitely have a
ripple effect on the remainder of your
season, just as it did mine. If you fail
to give yourself adequate time to scout
and prepare separate stands for the
early season, rut and late season, you°ll
be depending on one location to do it
all. The truth is, y0u’ll never pull it
off You will burn out (educate most
of the deer in the area) your one stand
site long before the best hunting even
begins.

Consider also that much of the
sign that is found during late-summer
outings does not accurately represent
the conditions you will face once the
season begins. Though promising at
first, a great deal of it will likely prove
useless as changes in food, available
cover, breeding phases and hunting
pressure all take their natural toll on
deer travel patterns and behaviors-
not to mention your success rate.
Without a doubt, the lion’s share of
scouting should be carried out in the
post-season, well before spring arrives
and everything turns green. Rubs,
scrapes, transition routes, heavy trails,
security cover and bedding areas are
not only much easier to locate, but
more accurately represent the game
conditions you will face once the
season starts. More importantly you
can scout as much as you like,
wherever you like, without fear of
educating/spooking the animals you
will be hunting later in the year—
specifically mature bucks.

COMING AND GOING
Without a doubt, a good stand
location is only as good as the route
you take to get to it. When choosing
your access route, keep one thing in
mind——the path of least resistance
often leads to failure. What I mean is
that we tend to choose the quickest
and easiest route to our tree stands.
The problem with this is that, quite
often, we end up using or crossing
numerous deer trails along the way
essentially announcing our presence.
This happens because, for the most
part, whitetails are lazy If given a
choice, they will usually pick the path
of least resistance when traveling from
point A to point B, as long as it keeps
them out of harm’s way Oddly
humans are much the same.

While some bow hunters might
cringe at the thought of walking
additional 15 to 30 minutes, or an
extra 250 yards to remain unnoticed,
nothing will improve their chances of
success more. Sure, nobody wants to
work harder than they have to, but if
you’re serious about keeping your
quarry ignorant to the fact they are
being hunted, you should strive to
take the best route to your stand—not
the easiest.

For example, even though they can
be rocky and take more time to
traverse, I routinely use erosion
ditches, or stream beds, to access
stands hung near ridge tops or in
valleys below Not only am I less apt
to bump deer in these areas, but also,
the steep bank effectively hides my
slinking human form. And if I happen
to be moving under the cover of
darkness, my headlamp will be less
visible to any deer watching from
nearby.

Even the type of light used to
navigate the pre-dawn hours can have
an affect on educating deer to your a
presence. Like humans who are color-
blind, deer are sensitive to only two
broad bands of light: short-wavelength
light (blue-violet) and middle-wavelength
light (green-yellow). For years, I used a
blue light to make my way through the
early morning darkness, assuming I was moving
covertly Man was I wrong. Nearly
every deer that saw this blue-colored
beam turned inside out; crashing away
at a break-neck pace. I never under-
stood that reaction until I learned
more about the makeup of a whitetails
eye and its sensitivity to certain colors.
Now I use a red-colored headlamp
almost exclusively; employing a
standard “white” light only when
needed.

UNDER THE RADAR
Certainly there are additional
“measures” you can take to ensure you
maintain the element of surprise in the
deer Woods. Although you’ve most
likely never considered these seemingly
insignificant details, they are commonly
to blame for making your presence so
easily felt. For instance, how often do t
you hunt the same stand on the same
day of the week, arriving and departing
at the same time of day -every day?
I’m guilty Like I said, we are creatures
of habit. Therefore, I have little doubt
believing this mannerism makes it easy
for whitetails to figure out what we are
really up to. The trick to preventing
this from happening is to occasionally
be unpredictable.

For instance, arrive late and hunt
the midday hours instead of the
routine morning time frame. You never
know when a big mature buck will
be up roaming around, assuming
everyone has called it quits for the
morning. Imagine his surprise when
the last sound he hears is the dull thud
of your arrow finding its mark.

Or, instead of mindlessly ambling
through the timber toward your
treestand, why not try stalking your
way to it? Quite often I find deer
naturally feeding or moving through
the area adjacent to my stands when I
creep in “real quiet like.” I imagine the
normal haphazard approach, so often
used, would send them running for
cover, alert to the fact that a human is
indeed in the area.

Also, if you happen to be on land
that is heavily hunted, it may be best
to avoid aggressive call tactics. \While
they may seem enticing, some mature
bucks will be hesitant to respond,
likely associating the sounds with a
previous life-threatening encounter
that left them wise to the common
trickery of the bowhunter. You may
think you’re simply not getting a
response to your calling efforts when,
in fact, you have tipped your hand,
made your presence known, and the
deer are reacting accordingly.

Recently though, a number of my
hunting buddies have experienced some
success with the “snort-wheeze” call-
most likely because this particular
sound hasn’t been done to death by the
majority of hunters—yet. While l often
carry a variety of calls with me just in
case, l am always cautious about when
and how I use them.

CONTROLLING ODOR
You may fool a mature buck’s eyes
and ears using the aforementioned
tactics, but l promise you this: If he
gets one whiff of your man stink, the
gig is up. ln a perfect world, the wind
always blows from the deer to the
hunter—always. However, in the real
world -yours and mine—the wind
shifts, air currents drift and thermals
rise and fall. In order to have any
chance of beating the whitetails
legendary sniffer and remaining
undetected, you have to have a solid
odor-control system.

Despite what you’ve previously
heard or read, l believe it is possible to
fool a whitetail’s nose. l have done it
on several occasions. However, it takes
a lot of hard work, and no single item
is responsible for the success or failure
of my-odor control system. Rather, it’s
a culmination of several different
variables working together to form a
perfect odor-fighting team,

One of the biggest misconceptions
surrounding effective odor control is
that activated-carbon suits are a
technological miracle worker. While
they are undoubtedly essential to the
integrity of the overall system, they
can’t make up for many of the
common blunders committed while
using them. For instance, I can’t tell
you how many times I have witnessed
well-meaning hunters wearing their
charcoal-impregnated suits at the gas
station or local restaurant, oblivious to
the fact that they have compromised
its odor-adsorbing capabilities,
rendering it useless for any immediate
hunt. What amazes me even more is
that these same individuals are often
the first to declare the ineffectiveness
of such garments. I totally disagree. I
have been using carbon-lined suits
since their inception and can say
without reservation that when cared
for and used properly they do indeed
work; again, not alone, but as part of
an overall scent-control system.

When I asked his thoughts on the
subject, Scott Shultz, president of
Scent Blocker/ Robinson Outdoors, `
had this to say about controlling
human odor: “During the hunting
season, each of us seems to develop a
routine of scent elimination that
covers everything we do, or don’t do,
to try and eliminate our odor. This
routine, or system, will result in a
certain degree of effectiveness, depending
on how well we understand
and attend to all of the little details, as
well as the obvious stuff.

“Additionally the effectiveness of
our routine is somewhat further
dependant on other varying and
contributing factors, such as diet,
temperature, exertion level, atmospheric
pressure, stand location, etc., etc.
Total or complete scent elimination
is absolutely possible. However, for
most of us, with our hectic lifestyles,
becoming 80 to 90 percent scent-free
seems to work well enough to give us
the extra time and extra yardage needed
to slip a good arrow in there.”

I agree. Although a big buck may
smell me, it has long been my belief
that a proven system will reduce the
severity” of my odor to the point that
he will think I am 200 yards away
when, in fact, I am actually 20 yards
away at full draw. I have routinely
watched this scenario play out as a
buck stands downwind, nose in the
air, trying to determine how close I
really am. With the reassuring flick of
a tail, he usually comes closer, giving
me the opportunity I need to close the
deal.

Without taking anything away
from the importance of post-season
scouting and proper access routes, I
will say that scent control will
definitely make or break your hunt.
While other factors influencing success
or failure seem to have areas of gray
human odor is not one of them.
When it comes to that subject, there’s
only black and White.

If you’re not finding the success
you hoped for or you feel that your
current hunting spot isn’t quite living
up to its expectations, it probably has
little to do with your failure to incorporate
the latest “how to” tactic into
your bag of tricks. Most likely your
unrealized dreams are a direct result of
one thing, and one thing only—you
broke the “Golden Rule.” <–<<

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

MULIE MAGIC – By Zack Walton


Bow & Arrow Hunting
August 2009
Mulie Magic
Stalking desert mule deer is never easy, but the reward is well worth the pain.
By Zack Walton

It’s hard not to scream when you’re standing on a cactus wearing
nothing but socks. But after two straight weeks of practice, I was .
getting pretty good. I decided to put the pain in the hack of my mind
and continue to sneak forward. Knowing the group of` mule deer had
to be close, I tried to Focus on anything but the needles piercing my
toes. Just then, I was snapped back as to why was doing all this. I could
suddenly see the wide-racked four—point mulie reappear through the
mesquite. He was intently following two does.

The buck was obviously in full rut.
His large, swollen neck gave his body
the perception of being front-heavy As
he began moving around the group of
does, I couldn’t help but focus on him,
and while doing so, a doe had picked
up my location. The cagey “mule head”
bounded away taking with him she
and the others. It was developing into a
trend this trip. However, she went only
200 yards before settling down.
I began watching the group, trying
to anticipate their next move, when
the scene quickly turned into a
spectacular show Over the next few
minutes, I saw the large buck mount a
doe several times, finally breeding her,
square off with a smaller 3×4 and level
cacti and bushes just to prove his
dominance. The group had settled
down and grown in size when two
small bucks joined in on the fun.
With light fading, I laced up my boots
and began closing the distance on the
deer.

I had to skirt the group of deer to
get the wind in my favor by dropping
off the hilltop and circling them. I
stayed a couple-hundred yards away
and continued °°dogging” the group
until they disappeared into a small
draw By slipping into the depression,
the deer allowed me to get in front of
them without being seen, so I ducked
out of sight and ran down a wash to
where I thought the herd would go.

Shortly after finding my feet were
again full of thorns, I eased my head
above some rocks and saw big ears
moving every which way The bucks
were chasing does back and forth in
the confined canyon. What a circus.
Three different times I had a 20-inch-
wide 5×4 stop well within bow range.
“The deer don’t know you are here,
find the big boy? I kept thinking to
myself Soon enough, the wide four-
point popped out from behind some
quail bushes hot on two does. He was
easily twice the size of the does he
pushed in front of me at about 50
yards. I was hoping I had finally met
up with a large mulie about to make
his last mistake.

There is not another animal I have
chased more often, for longer periods
of time, than desert mule deer of the
Southwest. Every year I spend my
Christmas vacation in the high desert.
I have been going with my family for
the better part of two decades. And for
the past I5 years, I’ve bowhunted the
various animals that call the cacti-
infested area of Arizona home. This
past year was no exception and on
Christmas night my friend, Shawn
Wood, and I left to meet up with my
parents.

The holiday season is when I love
to hunt mule deer, because they are
more active and bucks are always
“twitterpated.” Bowhunting mule deer
during this window can be a blast.
Bucks fight cactus and each other.
Their I.Q.s plummet to that of a
stuffed animal, and they swell up like
a second-rate boxer after a few rounds
with Iron Mike. And the sight of one
classic desert giant, with wide, flared
antlers stretching from horizon to
horizon, is enough to bring you back.
I had my first introduction to these
big-eared desert dwellers 15 years ago
on the morning of my first bow hunt
for deer. Arizona allows hunters to
chase big game at the age of 10,
(two years before my home state of
California), so my first deer hunt was
in the Grand Canyon State. That

morning I found myself in the middle
of a group of mule deer and at the age
of 11, I shot my first deer with a bow.
I wish it were always so easy The
fact is, the mule deer in southern
Arizona are easy to hunt with a bow,
but difficult to kill. You can get within
150 yards with little effort, but closing
to within bow range is a minor miracle
every time. Throw in the fact that
when the rut starts, large bucks usually
will have between one and 20 does
with him—and you will have more
eyes, ears and noses to go through
than a plastic surgeon in Hollywood.
That’s when the challenge begins.
That’s the challenge I was faced with
that January afternoon.

The deer were running in circles.
“Wait for the buck to stop,” I told
myself When one doe stopped and
the buck lowered his head to sniff her,
I drew my Hoyt and settled on the last
rib of the quartering-away buck. I
remember thinking, “Constant
tension. Squeeze through.”
When the arrow struck, the buck
kicked his rear legs high in the air like
a bull looking to rid himself of a
cowboy Surprisingly, the shot did not
spook any of the deer, but as I scanned
the group, I could not find the buck I
had just hit. But he still had to be
there. The other bucks were still
chasing does, and the other deer were
feeding on cactus, all of this within
50 yards of where an arrow crashed
through the biggest deer in the bunch.
Finally, I found him concealed in
some ocotilio about 20 yards from
where I shot him. I could tell he was
badly hurt, but that I should put
another arrow in him. Control the
shaking. My second shot hit low as I
misjudged the yardage, but he didn’t
move. The next shot slid right under
the buck’s large chest and still, he
didn’t move. It was obvious
adrenaline was out of control now.
The other deer had spooked away and
here I was failing to put a second
arrow in the large buck right in front
of me. Somebody get me a bag to
breathe into. I told myself to calm
down and make the shot count and
the next arrow smacked home.

At impact, he busted through the
ocorillo for 100 yards before stopping.
The arrow had broken off from his
sprint, but I knew it had hit him
through the shoulder. The buck slowly
walked off stopping frequently I
watched him for 10 minutes before he
limped into a wash. Since the sun had
just set, I decided to leave the deer _
overnight and come back with some
help in the morning.

The night lasted for an eternity,
and after searching in the morning,
with help from my dad and Shawn,
we found the buck 150 yards from
where I last saw him. Both of the
arrows had penetrated the chest cavity
the first slicing the liver before cutting
through the bottom of the chest, and
the second hit both shoulders and cut
through the top of the chest.
The trip was a wonderful success,
as I had seen lots of animals and taken
a marvelous mule deer that was 26
inches wide and gross scored right at
the Pope & Young minimum. Along

with the one-horned buck I’d taken on
the last day of the December season,
and l had two archery-killed bucks in
difficult terrain. To make the hunt
more amazing, everyone in my
hunting party took animals.
My Christmas-time trip is a perfect
ending to my bowhunting season. The
high desert offers sunshine during a
usually cold winter at home and an
opportunity to hunt a different time
of the year for me. And with the right
amount of luck, l get to bring home my
last, and best present of the season. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

TUNDRA FUN – By Warren Anderson Jr.


BOW & ARROW HUNTING MAGAZINE
August 2009
TUNDRA FUN

Come along on this fun-filled journey in pursuit of central barren-ground caribou amid Canada’s Northwest Territories.

By Warren Anderson Jr.

I think caribou are fantastic animals; not many other species in North America can grow as much antler in such a short amount of time or cover the open landscape they call home faster than an Olympic track star. They inhabit pristine country and going to the Northwest Territories to chase them with a bow is an incredible challenge. They are also excellent table fare, yielding a flavorful meat that is tender and worth the effort. I had hunted caribou once before in Newfoundland a few years back, and that experience left me with a hankering to chase them again. So, in January 2007, my wife and I met with the folks from Peterson’s Point Lake Lodge at the Denver Sportsman’s Expo. After talking with the owners and some of their staff we decided to send a deposit and book a hunt for the first week
in September 2007. Although my wife doesn’t hunt, I was able to talk her into going as a non- hunter and sharing this once—in-a—lifetime experience with me. Some friends of ours had hunted with Peterson’s in the past and all gave glowing references. Although all of my buddies were rifle hunters, the staff at Peterson’s had guided several bowhunters and were well versed in the challenges that archery equipment poses.

We arrived in the town of Yellowknife in the Northwest
Territories via commercial airline, and then took a floatplane an hour and a
half north to camp. The Peterson’s camp sits on the shore of Point Lake,
which is a large body of water 70 miles in length, located just south of the
Artic Circle. The area is so pristine that the ice—cold water is safe to drink
straight from the lake. After cabin assignments and introductions with all
the staff and other hunters in camp that week, I headed down to the beach
to check my archery equipment.

I had been paired up with another bowhunter named Vince (the only
other archer in camp that week), and he also came down to check that his
equipment had made the trip without incident. I knew Vince had been to
Peterson’s a few years earlier and had not gotten an opportunity at an animal,
so we decided that he would have the first crack at an animal when we went
out the first day We shared a few stories, and I knew he would be a good
hunting partner for the next week.

On our first day on the tundra, we had great weather and spotted several
groups of bulls right off the bat. Our guide, Egan, helped judge the quality
of the animals and suggested that we could do better. That afternoon we
found a group of six bulls that made the grade, and Vince was on the chase.
He slithered into position as the rest of us sat in a boulder pile and looked on.
The way he crept to within range of these bulls, you would have never
guessed that he was a treestand hunter from Wisconsin who had never stalked animals in such open habitat. The caribou stood, sensing something was up, and Vince got his chance. The distance was a little closer than he had estimated and the arrow sailed harmlessly over the largest bull’s back.
We headed back to camp empty-handed, but with a great first day on
the books. That night in camp we ate like kings and shared stories of the day
Some of the other hunters had taken animals, so we listened to their adventures and admired their trophies.

On the second day of the hunt, we were again treated to great weather, a
gorgeous sunrise, no bugs and plenty of caribou. We each had a Pew stalks,
but no shots presented themselves. We also saw several bear tracks along the beach,
and that night, we had a bear visit camp. It had Pound the buried
freezer that the lodge used for storing eggs, peaches and jalapenos! Needless
to say after the surprise of jalapenos, we didn’t think the bear would be
back.

On the third day of our trip, my wife elected to stay in camp and relax.
We loaded into the boat and headed for one of the large islands on the
lake. \When we neared the island, we spotted two groups of bulls. After
sizing them up, we beached the boat and made our way to the top, over a
series of saddles and rock outcroppings. We slowly inched our way
around the numerous dips and peaks and could not relocate the target
animals. After getting the slip from the bulls, we were headed back to the
boat when a bull appeared out of nowhere and busted us. We were in a
little meadow crossing a boulder field when I heard Vince sharply say my
name in a high-pitched whisper. I froze and got our guide’s attention,
and when we looked to our right, there stood a good bull, with the sun
shining from behind him, illuminating his velvet-covered antlers.

Vince whispered, “Would you shoot that bull?” I answered yes, but
in our current situation, it seemed unlikely that I would get the chance.
After a few minutes, the bull moved off behind the saddle, and the chase I
was on. The bull busted us again as we were making our way to him and
trotted around another saddle. We stayed in pursuit, but at the next ridge
he had a cow and a calf with him. I was able to stalk within 30 yards and
get drawn on him twice but, each time, the cow or the calf was blocking
his vitals, preventing a shot. The group headed back in the
direction they had come from, and now Vince was back in the game.
Egan motioned for me to slip around behind them and cut off the escape
route while Vince crept close, trying for a shot. I hustled around several
knobs and lost track of both the bull and my two hunting partners. When I
eased up over the saddle and looked to my right, Vince and Egan were
motioning frantically that the bull was to my left. I was confused because
there was nothing but a large expanse of tundra, and I thought I should
surely be able to see a caribou in the wide open.

Just then, I saw his antlers bobbing from behind a large rock shelf and
knelt down to range the distance. When the bull took a few steps out
away from the rock outcropping that had concealed him, I drew and placed
the 30-yard pin in the sweet spot behind his front shoulder and triggered
the release. The arrow hit home with a thud, and I watched him tear out across the tundra and tip over. After some back slapping and photos, Egan caped the head while Vince and I packed the meat back to the boat. When I
returned that evening, my wife was happy for me, but a little sad that she
missed out on the whole experience.

That night, just before dark, the skinner was coming out of the meat
shed when he encountered a grizzly bear about 10 yards away. He had just
closed the electric fence and was reaching in to turn on the power, when
he turned around and saw the bear. Both he and the bear were startled at
the same time, and all he could muster to shout was, “Bear!” The skinner
made fast tracks for the guide’s quarters, and the rest of the staff came
piling out, shooting into the air to encourage the bear to move along.

As I watched the bear running out through the tundra, the owner of the
lodge walked past me and said, “I told that skimmer to keep the shotgun
loaded. I bet it will be loaded tomorrow.” He just kept walking back
to his cabin, as if nothing had happened. The skimmer was still shook
up the next morning and retold the story over a cup of coffee. He was in
no hurry to get out to the meat shed, and he took a good ribbing from all of
us before we headed afield.

On the last day of our hunt, my wife again elected to stay behind. I still
had my second tag in my pocket, and we spent most of the day trading stalks on different groups of bulls we found. In the early afternoon, while out on the lake, our guide spotted a lone bull in some thick cover. We beached the boat and tried to get the drop on him. We lost track of him in the tall
willows, and on our way back to the lake, we walked through a saddle,
when Vince and Egan froze. The bull had looped around and was sleeping
standing up when we came through the saddle. He had now spotted Vince
and Egan, but hadn’t seen me. Vince said they were busted, but if I thought
I could get the drop on him, for me to go ahead and do it.

I belly-crawled ahead to a small rock and ran out of cover. I was still
60 yards from the now-bedded bull, with no chance for a shot. I slid
backward until I had some cover and motioned to the guys that I was going
to go over the top of the ridge and come at him from the other side. As I
was sneaking around the knob, I felt the wind hit my back. Had I been
stalking a deer or an elk, I would have just headed back, but I knew that
sometimes you can get away with a bad wind on caribou. I crawled to
within 35 yards of the bull and waited for his next move. After about 10
minutes, he got up and started to feed to his right, which brought him to 30
yards broadside of my position. I drew the bow and slid the 30-yard pin
behind his front leg. When the arrow hit, he crow-hopped in a circle and fell
over dead within 15 yards.

We soaked in our final afternoon on the tundra as we worked on
quartering and skimming. We shared a few laughs and admired the orange
and red leaves of the landscape we were about to leave. It was a great way
to end a fantastic hunt. He wasn’t the largest bull in camp, but the stalk was
one that I will remember for a long time. As we said our goodbyes before
getting on the plane, my wife and I filled up our Nalgene bottles with our
last drink of the pristine waters of Point Lake and wished that the end of
our trip hadn’t come so soon. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 30 Dec 2010

ON-YOUR-OWN ELK – By Mike Poulin


BOW AND ARROW HUNTING
AUGUST 2009

ON-YOUR-OWN ELK

Many Bowhunters are under the impression that all elk hunting is either too expensive or just not feasible to do on your own, which just isn’t true. Here’s how you can plan your very own elk bowhunt, all on a relatively small budget.

By Mike Poulin

Have you been sabotaging or
limiting your hunt opportunities on false beliefs? Does
out-of-state elk hunting seem so cost-prohibitive you just
won’t apply? Do you think drawing an out·of-state elk tag
is nearly impossible? Do you think you can’t get a
public-land bull elk on your own? Well, l once believed these exact lies,
until a fellow hunter educated me. Come along with me while I share
with you how to obtain tags, and how an average hunter like me prepared
and connected on a public-land bull.

ENTRY INT0 ELK HUNTING
As a die-hard Nevada mule deer hunter, the thought of hunting elk, let
alone out-of-state elk, came slowly for me. As you may know, claiming a
Nevada elk tag is rare. On the other hand, an archer in this state has very
good draw odds and many opportunities to hunt mule deer.
But the lure of these “bigger” deer animals pulled at me, so I threw
caution to the wind and initially opted for the easier-to-obtain cow elk tag. By
alternating between applying for a cow elk tag one year and the bull elk tag
the next, I could start to build and retain my bull elk bonus points. In
short order, it worked; soon I was hunting cow elk in the Ely, Nevada
area. And this is how I got hooked on elk hunting.

I learned so much in those three seasons bowhunting cows as I encountered
huge bulls that I could only watch in awe. Observing the inter-
action between bulls and cows, I developed quite a respect for both sex’s
sense of vision and smell. One could argue that going cow elk hunting
those three seasons rather than staying home and just earning points helped
develop me as an elk hunter. So, word for the wise: Do whatever elk hunting
you can, even if that means chasing cows.

OUT OF TIME—TIME TO GO
OUT OF STATE
The longing to go after one of those impressive bulls just grew .
stronger with time. Building bonus points was good, but I knew it might
take 10 years or longer for me to draw a coveted Nevada bull elk tag.
One day, I was lamenting the fact that I wasn’t getting any younger and
it might take quite a number of years for me to get a Nevada bull tag. My
friend Mark Hueftle listened patiently before asking me why I had been
limiting myself to my home state.
I told him because of expense, and he basically laughed. He said not all
hunts are expensive, and many could be done successfully without a guide.
And plenty of western states had good elk draw odds for nonresidents.

Mark offered to help me research some nearby states and to apply along
with me. Over the next few weeks, Mark and I looked into hunting in
Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Soon thereafter,
we applied for a few limited tags, and purchased an elk point in a few states
that allow you to do so.

Our research had identified some good draw odds for certain hunts in
Wyoming. In the end, we applied for a Wyoming general bull elk tag. Their
system for out-of-state general tags is by draw, but with a special twist. If
you paid the regular license/ tag (the cost at the time, 2005, was $493), but
if you were willing to pay nearly twice that at ($895), you were placed in a
“special” draw pool. The reality was that few hunters would be willing to
pay the higher fee, and therefore, the draw odds in that pool of hunters
would be better than the more numerous “regular” pool of hunters.
We ended up paying for the “special” and ended up getting tags.

WISH FULFILLED—NOW WHAT?
Not only did we each obtain a general-area tag, but one of Mark’s
friends, who had relocated to Cheyenne a few years before, was
about to be recruited. Soon, his buddy Bob Koehler, purchased an
over·the-counter tag too. One added benefit of Bob’s enlistment
was that, if we wanted to hunt in any of the designated wilderness
areas of Wyoming, law required you to have a resident
accompany you. Though we ended up not hunting in the wilderness areas,
Bob’s contacts in Wyoming helped us narrow down which general area to
hunt in the state.

Getting bull elk tags was just the start of our adventure. I knew that this
hunt was not going to be as easy as my broken-country cow elk hunts,
especially if the public area we picked was heavily hunted and heavily
timbered. Outlined below are the key activities we employed to narrow the
general areas down and to prepare for the hunt:

RESEARCH ONLINE AND
READ REPORTS
By using herd reports and differentiating the general area’s characteristics
and topography we were able to rule-out some areas. Neither Mark nor I
were fond of hunting in an area too populated by bears, and thus we
marked some bear areas off our list as soon as we found out.

SPEAK TO A GAME
DEPARTMENT BIOLOGIST
OR LOCAL CONTACT
Knowing we wouldn’t have a chance to scout the remaining areas,
we needed to get first-hand information. That meant person-to-person
contacts. Besides, talking with one of the biologists, we were able to have
Bob ask some of his friends in the state about a couple of different
hunting spots. This helped us narrow it down to just two places.

LEARN ABOUT ACCESS ROADS
BY USING MAPS
Whether online or hard-copy use maps to locate roads into the hunt
area. Vehicle closure areas and wilderness boundaries are very
important to identify before the hunt. We used some online topo map
services to review the areas and ended up making certain each hunter carried
a map of the area.

PREPARATION . . .
PREPARATION. . .
Gear preparation, clothing choices, practicing elk calling, exercising-
especially up hills—shooting up and down hills, travel plans, and almost
every facet of the trip needs to be planned out. Doing it yourself adds to
the fulfillment, but it takes some planning. Think about possible scenarios and bring the appropriate gear and some backup clothing. Due to my less—than-stellar directional aptitude, I brought along a GPS in addition to the compass and map.

READ THE DETAILS
By reading the regulations, we knew that our Wyoming “special”
general tag was really a rifle tag, but that by purchasing an archery permit
and paying, we would be able to hunt in the archery season. If we failed to
connect, we had the option of returning during rifle season.

ON TO THE HUNT
The sound was like a reverberating electric guitar as the arrow oscillated
back and forth, harmlessly embedded in the tree trunk. My dream of arrowing my first bull elk seemed to be vanishing as fast as the massive 6×6
and his harem showed up. Moments before, Bob Koehler and
I had split up to pursue different bands of bugling elk. Having more
than one band of elk within striking distance was a good problem to have
for sure. I had raced over the ridge in hope of intercepting that fast moving
herd that was working toward the thicker timber. Each time I heard a
bugle I could tell they were getting closer, and I needed to get in front of
them as quickly as possible.

Quickly I dropped down over the ridge into their projected path. I identified
a tree to crouch beside,
nocked an arrow, and tried to catch my breath. Moments later, the sound
of footsteps, mews and the shapes of sleek cow elk filtering through the
trees greeted me. My rangefinder read 39 yards. I knew the bull was close
behind and I had little time to prepare myself for his appearance.

Drawing my bow was effortless, and my confidence swelled as I
positioned my 40-yard pin on the walking bull. In a split second, the
massive form of a rutting bull totally filled the space in between two trees.
Still, something seemed wrong as I released the arrow. The bull had
stopped, but just as I let go he began walking again. My arrow missed and
struck a tree just behind the bull.

A sense of disappointment overpowered me like a thick fog. It
seemed like someone had just knocked the air out of me. Fortunately, a
thought crossed my mind: In videos, the callers all seem to call right after
the shot.
With very little faith, I reached down and grabbed the rubber
Hoochie Maina call hanging on my belt and gave it a push with my
thumb. The sound of the call had barely ended when a loud bugle
erupted just 25 yards away Looking through the pine needles to my left, I
could make out a large, tan body with dark legs, and I thought I could see
antlers. A whir of motion caught my attention as a smaller-bodied bull
trotted past while the other elk saw me and quickly vacated the area.

Satellite bulls, of course, I thought to myself I used the call again and
another enormous bugle erupted from the bull but this time at 10 yards! I
narrowed my eyes in hope that he wouldn’t see me through the tree cover
and wondered if he could hear my pounding heart. Time seemed to be
standing still as my emotions jumped back and forth between joy and {right.
The tree was the only thing between me and the bull, and he was
now peering through the branches trying to find the owner of that sweet
cow mew. Not seeing anything, the 6×5 stepped downhill to go around
the tree. I drew my Hoyt bow and swung my body around, just in time
to see his big body step out at 8 yards.

My 20- and 30-yard sight pins both appeared behind his shoulder
and I concentrated to hold them both behind his shoulder as I released. The
arrow was gone, and the bull raced away at break-neck speed. I finally
heard myself exhale and tried to follow the bull visually.

SUCCESS AT LAST
It took many minutes to collect myself, but finally I looked over and
saw the crimson-stained arrow buried in the ground just 20 yards from my
position. As different as the tree-embedded arrow was from this
reddened arrow, so were my emotions. The disappointment that was so real just a few moments before.

However, they were gone once I saw the bull approximately 600 yards
away on a rock shelf overlooking a beautiful creek. The sight of the 6×5
antlers gave me reason to pause. It is funny how a successful shot alters ones perception. Somehow, the landscape seemed different. The views of the
countryside seemed richer, more vibrant, even enchanting and heartwarming. I remember myself having a warm glow and I am sure I must have had a stupid grin on my face.

After packing the cape and backstraps back to camp, I found out
that Mark had connected on a bull too. With only the one day left to
hunt, I felt elated. “Thank you, God” is all I could say.

What a hunt. Earlier in the week, Bob had filled his mule deer tag on a
small buck. Then both Mark and I were able to connect with just one day
left. On our last day we called a nice bull to within 10 yards of Bob (that
almost walked over him) but he was pinned down and couldn’t get a shot
without spooking the bull. Unfortunately Mark and I made a costly
mistake thinking we should just hunker down and be quiet, rather
than try and turn the approaching bull with a soft mew. It cost Bob the shot.
and we learned an important lesson. Just because some bulls are call-shy,
this one was coming in to the calls and therefore the rule didn’t apply.

Subsequently the next year, we paid the regular general price and
failed to obtain a tag. We did, however, build a bonus point which, the
following year, allowed us all to draw tags once again, but this time in the
regular pool. Bob’s brother from California, Dave Kohler, got a tag along with us.

And so Dave, Mark, Bob and his brother, James, and I hit the slopes
about the middle of September. Within two days, Dave had arrowed
his first bull. Though it was a spike, he was elated. I missed a 6×6 on day six
at 54 yards, and on another day got surprised by a 5×5 that left me
without a shot. I had opportunities but ended up coming home empty
handed, but not without great memories.

Mark, on the other hand, passed on some smaller bulls early on and,
after a small snowstorm, arrowed a nice bull high up on a remote ridge.
Of course, as Murphys’ Law goes, the only two guys carrying real packs that
day were Dave and I. Mark used his very soft pack and did some MacGyver-like rigging to carry out the horns and backstraps.

BOTTOM LINE COSTS
In 2005, Wyoming general tag/license was $493. I spent nearly
twice that for the special tag/ license at $893. I believe the archery permit was
about $20. Above and beyond my normal food costs and gear, I figure I
spent approximately $1,200 total. This included my special tag, archery
permit and gasoline.

In 2007, the cost was lower. We each paid $591 for the general tag, and
about $900 each total for an entire 14-day trip. Now that} affordable do—it—
yourself elk hunting. My thanks go out to Mark Hueftle of Reno, Nevada,
and the Koehler brothers of Nevada, Wyoming and California. Let’s do it
again—very soon! <—<<

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Published by ashleylubold on 29 Dec 2010

Doinker 30″ Stabilizer and 8″ Back Bar

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Published by ashleylubold on 29 Dec 2010

Sure-Loc Supreme 10? Sight Bar

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