Archive for January, 2011

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Published by archerchick on 08 Jan 2011

Hunting’s Greatest Thrill~ By Fred Bear


BOW & ARROW Magazine’s
BOWHUNTERS ANNUAL
1979

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com
Hunting’s Greatest Thrill ~ By Fred Bear
Why waste a good part of a a day’s hunt by not hunting?
The deer are there somewhere, waiting to match wits with you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Published by archerchick on 08 Jan 2011

Scoring in Bedding Areas – By Steve Bartylla


BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2006

Scoring in Bedding Areas by Steve Bartylla
Is Hunting Bedding Areas Too Risky? Not When You’re Armed With The Right Tactics

I was in a jam. Intending to spend much of the season on the property,
I’d invested several weeks into stand preparations. However, due
to an unanticipated twist of events, I’d have only one day to hunt
the tract. Needing to pull a rabbit out of my hat, l knew right where I’d go: to
the heart of a doe bedding area. Several hours after first light, the
rabbit emerged. With the unmistakable sounds of a chase approaching my stand,
l grabbed my bow and got into position. Tearing through the location where
does had been bedded a half hour before, The adult doe was on a mission
to lose her pursuers. With a mature 10 point mere feet behind her, both deer
blew through, and there was no chance of stopping them.

Forty-some yards behind, the nice 8-point followed. As he stopped in my shooting
lane to sniff the bed of a departed doe, l swiftly positioned the 30-yard pin and sent
the arrow into flight. A kick and explosion of energy later, all
that was left was following the good blood trail to where he lay. Hunting
bedding areas had allowed me to score yet another good buck.

When Bedding Areas Are The Only Way To Go
Hunting buck bedding areas is a risky endeavor. There are no other areas in a buck’s
home range that it knows better or is less tolerant of disturbances. Sure, bucks
will typically tolerate being bumped from a bedding area once or twice, but anything
more than that will likely cause them to relocate their core area. However, there are
times and setting where the risk of hunting buck bedding areas is worth it. A prime
example of this occurs when chasing heavily pressured deer. In this setting, the bucks that survive
their first few years do so by becoming predominately nocturnal.

Even in this setting, bucks are rarely purely nocturnal. Instead, outside of the rut
most of their daylight movement occurs in or very near to their bedding areas.
These safety zones tend to exist in isolated pockets of comparatively less pressure.
More often than not, they require extra effort to get to. Some common examples
are remote areas, sections blockaded by swamps or water features, and pockets
fenced off by challenging terrain. Another example is areas that are
simply overlooked. A buck I harvested on some heavily hunted public ground
was a great example of this. Because the patch of nearly impenetrable woods
was merely a half-acre in size, as well as being bordered by a dirt road and surrounded
by a large grass field, the scores of other hunters focused on the area’s
bigger timber. A quick scout of the area revealed that the tangle was where a
good buck called home.


Having selected a tree along the edge during the scout, I slipped in for the
hunt hours before first light. Well before shooting light, I spotted the 10-point
chasing a doe in the tall grass. When light finally came they headed for the tangle to
hole up for the day. Luckily for me, I was waiting for them. To illustrate how easily
accessible this overlooked location was the arrowed buck was nearly hit by a truck
as it made it’s last run to die on the other side of the road.

Even on land that receives moderate pressure, hunting buck bedding areas has it’s time. Frankly, anytime bucks minimize their daylight movement hunting near their bedding areas is the most consistently productive stand hunting approach. Two common examples of this occur during the decreased movement period of the October lull and the early portion of the post-rut. Stiff winds, unseasonably warm temperatures and storms also tend to reduce daylight movement. Under those scenarios, slipping in close to the bedding area can be the best option.

Keys To Hunting A Buck’s Bedroom

Regardless of what inspires the hunter to make the move, being consistently
successful at hunting buck bedding areas requires staying undetected. Luckily
following several guidelines helps. The first involves selecting a stand
location as close to the bedding area as possible, without alerting the buck to
the hunter’s presence. This distance is going to vary due to many factors. The
buck`s field of view, the level of noise made approaching the stand, wind directions
and the risk of spooking other deer must all be factored into the equation.
Woodsmanship and common sense must be used to determine the approach
distance. When in doubt, it’s always safer to err on the side of caution.

Next, the stand must be prepared .in a way that doesn’t blow the deal. When
that involves scouting and prepping-stands during season, everything should be done
the first time in. Scouting with a stand can be a pain, but repeated trips in only increases disturbances.

Minimizing disturbances also mean refrain from trimming shooting lanes, going;
during midday, performing the task silently, cutting odors and not lingering
longer than necessary.

When possible, prepping stands during the off season is a better choice. This timing allows the buck the opportunity to accept the hunter’s intrusion into his core area. However, because pressure bucks are true survivors, disturbances should still be kept to a minimum. Finally, because hunting bedding areas is a high-risk venture, these stands can easily be over»hunted. Even with great access and departure routes. as well as religiously playing the wind, buck bedding areas shouldn’t be hunted more than once every five days. Further more, targeting them during light rains has the advantage of inspiring otherwise nocturnal bucks to move earlier, as well as reducing noise and washing away odors.

Don’t Forget Doe Bedding Areas

Hunting bedding areas shouldn’t be focused solely on buck bedrooms. Doe bedding areas are also great locations. During the peak scraping, chase and breeding phases, bucks routinely cruise
doe bedding areas. With one pass of the downwind side, a buck can check the readiness of the does inside. During the chase phase, bucks commonly crash the bedding areas them-
selves.

At this point, the nearness of breeding and high testosterone levels inspire many mature bucks to dog almost any doe they encounter. As was the case in the beginning of this article, stands placed within doe bedding areas are good choices during the chase phase. The trick to pulling it off is setting the stand downwind, yet within shooting range of the bedded does. Because does are typically less nocturnal than mature bucks, getting into stand 30 minutes before first light is most often enough to beat them in. After that, it`s a matter of remaining still and waiting for the chase to begin.

For the other prime phases, a less risky placement is best. Stands placed approximately 20 yards from the down-wind edge provide the best coverage. With this placement, bucks skirting as much as 40 yards downwind are within easy range.This is also a good location to pull out the estrus scents. Because bucks are already searching for hot does, the percentage of positive responses is comparatively high. Therefore, scent drags and strategically placed scent wicks are both good choices. Furthermore, placing estrus wicks 20 yards to either side of the stand can draw downwind bucks before they hit the hunter’s odors.

Hunting a bedding area can be a high-risk endeavor. However, it’s the one location that can produce when no other will. By taking steps to minimize disturbances, many of the bucks I’ve harvested prove that these techniques can be well worth the calculated risk. For a comprehensive guide to cutting edge stand hunting methods, check out Steve Bartylla’s new book.

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www.ARCHERYTALK.com
All Rights Reserved

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Published by archerchick on 08 Jan 2011

How To Make A Custom Fit Bow Mitt – By C.R. Learn


BOW & ARROW HUNTING
October 1989

HOW TO Make A Custom Fit Bow Mit ~ By C.R. Learn

Say goodbye to cold bow hand with this quick easy project

OLD weather hunting can be invigorating;
it can also be damned cold. The idea of stalking deer in
snow is a good one since you really know what the game is
and you can tell how fresh tracks are. If you get a good shot in
the vitals, you have that blanket of white to aid in tracking.
Here the real problem of snow/ cold weather hunting is keeping warm.
We have sophisticated materials that are also made in camo colors so
you can keep the body shell and head warm. My problem.
one often heard from other hunters, is keeping the hands
warm. I have tried all types of gloves and the best for warmth
are wool. They also are the worst for holding onto your bow.

A glove on the bow hand is a must since that hand doesn’t
get much movement to keep up circulation. I took the bow mitt
idea seriously and scooted off to the yardage store for some
materials. I knew I wanted a nylon—type material that had
some waterproofing and some fake fur for the fuzzy warmth
factor inside. I also needed some Velcro for fastening the unit
together. A few dollars lighter in the pocket, I walked out with some
coated pack cloth — nylon used for making backpacks — and
some artificial wool shearing It looks like a sheared wool, r
but is all synthetic. A real wool hide will run you about sixty
dollars today and the synthetic costs a fraction of that.
I obtained some one-inch-wide Velcro strips for the unit
and started on my layout. l always make a pattern from paper
or, in this case, some single- sided cardboard.

The first dimension was the wrap over the bow and back to
the wrist. A few Cuts starting with an obvious oversize section and I stabilized on a piece
6% by fourteen inches. This allowed the cardboard to fully
wrap the hand on the bow and come back to the wrist, front and back.
It was wide enough to cover the hand as well as the
top and bottom of the grip area. The second part to get sized
was the wrap section that would attach to the wrist to hold the
mitt on the hand. I made it shorter and cut a section four by
twelve inches that will be attached to the longer and larger bow section.
That’s all the pattern you need and you can modify it if you have a larger riser section,
shoot open—handed or want more room.

The pack cloth was placed on the table and one section cut
for the wrap and one for the wrist. The artificial wool shearing
material was cut in the same manner, without too much fuss
for size and tight cutting procedures. The wife had what she called
batting; fluffy cotton- looking material used in blankets and padded
clothing. She I suggested it would give added warmth and she was right,
again. I laid out a section of the batting and cut two pieces as before to add to the mitt.
At this point you need a sewing machine and a few minutes
to sew it together. I always modify as I start to sew to make the project as
simple as possible. I bought an old White Rotary sewing machine years
ago to make some camo shirts. I found that many people are afraid to try something
different and the mention of cutting and sewing a shirt scared them. Since that time. I have
sewn many miles; the largest project was a ten—by—thirteen-foot wall tent.

The machine lets you make things like this mitt that you
can’t buy. If you are afraid of your macho image. you can
have the wife make this or have a tailor do it. You will be
shocked at the price a tailor or seamstress will charge for
this little item, though. Do it yourself and have the fun of making
the entire project. Start the sewing by laying the two pieces on
the machine with the outside areas facing each other. You will pull this
inside out to finish it, so you start backward. Sew three sides
and pull the unit out, forming a large pocket. Stuff the batting in this
pocket, making certain you have it even in the corners and try to
keep it as flat as you can. It does move, so you can place it
where you want it. With the wrist section, put outside faces together, make
another pocket by sewing three sides and pull it right—side out.

Stuff this with a same—size cut section of batting and you are
almost done. The next phase is to close the raw edge, the one
you stuffed from and you have a finished product with all edges
sewn closed. Sew the mitt section and the wrist section together to make
a weird looking offset that placed the wrist section an inch longer
on the left when looking from the pack cloth side. You can
place it anywhere you like. Take the Velcro fuzzy -female side — and sew one on
each end of the wrist wrap on the wooly side. I sew this all
the way around, since it can pull off if not sewn tight. This will wrap over
and mate with the hook —male.

Velcro section you will sew on the end of the mitt section. Cut an equal three-inch length
of hook material and sew it on an angle from the far end. angling toward the outside of the
mitt section. Sew this around all sides. You will also sew the
batting in place so it won’t shift when you make this Velcro
addition through all the layers. You have just completed a bow mitt that will keep your
bow hand warm while hunting. I made one last winter and took it to Arizona while javelina
hunting. The mornings were on the frosty side in January and the mitt not only kept my
bow hand warm, but had an added advantage I hadn’t anticipated. My bow hand gets
tired of gripping the bow as l tramp over hill and wash looking for pigs. All I had to do was
relax my bow hand. The bow slipped down and was held in place by the Velcro tight closed
mitt. It couldn’t fall off and l had a chance to flex and move that bow hand to reduce
tension.

This mitt was too warm for me. By the time the sun was up.
I had to take it off, because my hand was a bit too warm, l
opened up the bottom of the mitt to allow air to circulate
and it worked great that way. It is really simple to put on.

Hold the longer wrap with the wooly side up. Place the
bow you plan to carry in that section. Pull the long gip wrap
over the bow handle and fasten it to the wrist wrap using the
upper tab. The mitt is attached to the bow at the upper grip
area. Place your hand on the riser and grip the bow as you will
carry or shoot it. Pull the other loose tab over the bottom of
the wrist and up to the mitt section using the angled section of
Velcro hook to close that section. The mitt is now closed
over your hand and grip area. You can make it tighter or looser
by adjusting the Velcro tabs. You should be careful of the
upper mitt section and be certain it doesn’t cover your arrow
rest. The front of the mitt should be below the shooting area
where the arrow will move across during draw and release.

This is easy to adjust and after a few shots you will ignore the
mitt and just use the bow normally. When not using the mitt, you
can wad it up and stuff it in your pocket or your day pack. When I
was finished using it in the morning. l opened it up flat and placed it
inside my shirt next to my back as a kidney warmer.

lf money is no object, you could purchase a shearling hide
and make the mitt from real wool. I’d really prefer that myself. but for the price l’ll use the
synthetics. <—<<

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All Rights Reserved

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Published by archerchick on 08 Jan 2011

DIXIE WHITETAILS ~ By Roger Combs


BOW & ARROW HUNTING
October 1989

Dixie Whitetails ~ By Roger Combs
Mississippi abounds in deer, offering bowhunters plenty of opportunity at reasonable cost.

MISSISSIPPI IS not usually the first state that comes to mind when
bowhunters get together to talk about whitetail hot spots. Not a lot has been written about
the area which, in fact, abounds in the elusive game most of us spend hunting
seasons pursuing. Due to several factors, whitetail deer in Dixie, in Mississippi, in particular, are
doing well.They are plentiful, healthy, enjoy growing populations in most areas and, on some well managed private and public ranges, are producing trophy antler racks.

The state’s Department of Wildlife Conservation encourages enlightened game management on privately owned farms and clubs, including the necessary food crops and either-sex game harvesting. One of the most common and earlier symptoms of a dwindling food supply is a
decline in buck antler development. In fact, say Mississippi game management experts, when a deer herd has been above carrying capacity for several years, even older bucks may grown only spike antlers.

Many of the private areas of Mississippi are leased or owned by hunting or wildlife clubs, practicing modern deer management techniques. One such is the Pecan Grove Wildlife Club at Fort Adams.
Located in the southwest corner of the state, it’s just north of the Louisiana state line and on the eastern banks of the Mississippi River. The club is owned and developed by businessman George Haynes of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Haynes obtained the old 7000—acre plantation several years ago and has implemented programs to improve deer, wild turkey, duck and small game habitat.

My introduction to the club came as a result of an invitation from Haynes through the good offices of Bill Bynum, a successful bowhunter who is familiar with whitetails in the South. The state’s deer season for archery opened the first of October and ran until November 18 in 1988. Those who hunt with archery and/ or black powder are permitted to take up to five bucks per season, plus three does.

The regular firearms season opens the day after archery season closes and runs
until past the middle of January of the following year. If they wish, archers may hunt also during the firearms season with bow and arrows, but they must abide by the gun season rules, which include the wearing of a specified minimum of hunter orange outer clothing. Only bowhunters
and muzzleloaders may take the extra three does per season.

The Pecan Grove Wildlife Club lodge is located about an hour south of Natchez, Mississippi and about an hour north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is just northwest of the early settlement of Fort Adams on the banks of the Buffalo River. Both cities have frequent airline flights from and to any place. The club acreage includes access to Lake Mary and the banks of the Mississippi River for plenty of fishing opportunities.

I flew to Baton Rouge the day before opening day of the 1988 season and was met at the airport by George Haynes. During the drive to Fort Adams, Haynes outlined the club’s program for conservation and game management. All wildlife is left in its natural state. Deer food plots are
planted. as is millet for ducks, crimson clover for turkey and deer. Haynes has initiated a timber management system, selectively cutting certain areas to enhance hunting potential. Timber cutting thins out some areas, allowing more deer browse to grow.

Haynes also has taken steps to construct a number of water control structures on the property, with better hunting in mind. The club property is located along the banks of the Mississippi and Buffalo Rivers and, because of that, subject to partial flooding from time to time. When the property was farmed, the flooding brought silt and topsoil down, creating rich farm land. Flooding also helps to restock the many fishing ponds, lakes and streams in the area.

Lake Mary is one of the large ox—bow lakes at Pecan Grove. Ox—bow lakes, explained Haynes, are formed when the river, after years of flowing around a sharp bend, eventually floods through the curve in an effort to flow in a straight line. The original river bend is left isolated, leaving an ox-
bow—shaped lake. There are hundreds along a river as extensive as the Mississippi. Lake Mary is full of bass, bream, crappie and catfish, as well as a locally popular fish called sac—a-lair. On the way to the club lodge, Haynes and I spend an hour examining his concrete boat launching ramp and fishing dock recently installed on the lake’s shore. Crossing the Buffalo River and turning off the dirt road to the parking area of the lodge, one is struck immediately by the
fact that the building is constructed upon log pilings which raise it about twenty feet
above ground level. The guest rooms, large dining room and meeting room are all on the higher level. The meat processing area and recreation/ indoor archery range room are at ground level. Whenl naively asked about the height of the building, I was reminded that, at times, the Buffalo River floods, putting much of the property under the water.

Haynes and his staff have spent time surveying the property during all seasons
to determine the natural deer travel routes, feeding and bedding areas. In some places,
they have constructed rather permanent tree or free—standing stands to take advantage of the knowledge. Before opening day, the guides are out, making a final survey and marking the
route into the tree stand locations with red tape so hunters can find their ways in the pre—dawn darkness. Undergrowth is heavy because of the rich soil and the seasonal
rainfall. In some areas, access routes have been cut through the brush to enable hunters to make their way without becoming soaked while passing through the wet growth.

The lodge itself can accommodate up to a hundred people during the hunting season.
In 1988, we had about sixty hunters and guides in the place the night before opening morning. Rooms are comfortable, set up with double bunk beds and enough bathrooms to handle the group. The lodge also features a meeting or seminar room, a dining room large enough for hungry hunters and food as delicious as one can find anywhere. After supper before opening day, Bill
Bynum, who does work for Robbins Scents, spent an hour discussing scents and how to
use them in the Mississippi terrain. The rut comes later in this part of the country usually cooler weather does not arrive until late December » and the rut may extend into late January. October is a bit early for establishing mock scrapes, but Bynum said he was going to try the technique in a day or so. Bynum’s plan had to be modified some- what because of Mother Nature. It began
to rain hard that night and continued through most of the opening day. Any artificial scents would have been washed away. That heavy rain was to be the ending of the most of us for the first three days of the archery season.

The rain changed the standard routes and hot spots which had been scouted over
several weeks by guides at the Pecan Grove club property. Some of the lower pockets
were flooded and the deer were using different routes to and from bedding areas.
Nobody said bowhunting was supposed to be easy. Hunters may use the permanent stands
at the club or they may bring their own climbing and portable stands. Or they may
not use a stand at all, choosing to still—hunt areas of their choice. Some stands are within a few minutes’ walk from the lodge, while others require a four-wheel-drive vehicle drive of a half—hour or so to reach.

Daniel Littleton and his crew plotted out likely areas on the maps before opening
day and assigned guides and transportation to each hunter.
Those who had the longest travel time launched earliest in order to be on their
stands well before first light. The wise bowhunter will bring a small flashlight in
his day pack or pocket so as to easily follow the marked trail into the stand. The
unfamiliar terrain can be confusing, especially in the dark and rain. Guides will
offer to escort each hunter to the stand, but another human only adds to the amount of
scent left on the trail.

Hunting the Deep South in October is almost sure to be in rain, at least part of the
time, so a bowhunter is advised to bring lightweight rainproof camo clothing. The weather is warm. but if you get soaked and a breeze comes up, you can become chilled and remain uncomfortable during hours on the stand. Another Robbins product welcomed by all, was their mosquito repellent. As soon as the rain stopped, the temperature rose and large, yellow looking mosquitoes
found us on the stands. These suckers seemed able to penetrate even heavy cloth. The Robbins repellent was effective on all my exposed skin and eventually, I rubbed some on my camouflage sleeves and trousers. I had no trouble with mosquitoes after that.

After daylight, I was able to hear, but not see some of my fellow hunters as they apparently released arrows several hundred yards away. I learned later, as the truck picked each of us up for the return run to lunch in the lodge, that none had any more luck then. There were no deer taken
on opening day. We each returned to stand in the afternoon and remained until well after dark, but nobody scored. The following day dawned bright and clear, although there were still plenty of
low areas with too much water. The weather was cool and a warm jacket felt comfortable in the early morning. Later it warmed up a bit, but the day remained comfortable in full camouflage clothing. With the rain, walking and stalking quietly through the woods was easier, because everything underfoot was wet and soft. On the other hand, deer, too, move more quietly through
the same woods.

This day, my hunting partner was Richard Sapp of Bear Archery in Florida. As we were on our way along a path not far from the lodge to take up adjacent tree stands, we jumped two whitetail does which had been hidden in the underbrush. lf they hadn’t. we probably would never have
seen them, even from ten or fifteen yards away. Neither of us had arrows out of the quiver, so we did not have a shot, but their presence gave us encouragement. State game department officials oversee and approve or disapprove local hunting club activities, while offering advice to managers about how to improve the quality and quantity of deer and other game. Pecan Grove and other neighboring private clubs generally subscribe to the state’s progressive philosophy of harvesting a large percentage of does each year, until the quality of bucks shows improvements.

To over simplify the program, it boils down to reducing the number of females
and male spikes in any given year, the expectation being that the remaining does
will fill out the habitat by giving birth to more twin fawns. Theoretically, the next~
year fawns will be fifty percent males. As this serious culling continues for four to
six years, the buck—to-doe ratio and the quality of trophy bucks improves dramatically. The state encourages the practice by permitting three does per year during the archery and primitive weapons seasons, with some other special antlerless seasons in certain locations.

Good habitat is essential to the development of trophy whitetails. Some of Pecan Grove’s cutover areas have been allowed browse. Some nearby farms have acres of soybeans and com, which promote healthy growth among the deer herds. The club also uses mineral—fortified salt licks, proven successful for improved antler development.
In some areas of the South, the whitetail herds are not noted for their quality; just their quantity. Left unmanaged, some of these herds produce small deer, with a preponderance of females. Without hunting pressures, they soon eat and reproduce their way past habitat capacity. With progressive management, private hunting clubs are able to produce plenty of healthy
trophy bucks.

My equipment consisted of an older model Jennings Unistar bow, shooting Easton 2117 XX75 Autumn Orange arrows made up by FS Arrows (Dept. BA, 2852 Walnut, Unit 2,Tustin,CA 92680.)
I carried the arrows in a bow-mounted quiver from Jennings Archery (Dept. BA, 4600 41st Blvd., Gainesville, FL 32601). I also carried a pair of excellent light gathering binoculars from Ranging (Dept. BA, Rts. 5 & 20, East Bloomfield, NY 14443). Distances in the thick growth were
not long, but the five-power glasses helped pick out details in the dim light of morning
and evening. I carried the lot in a rugged Bow Guard case from Quality Shop (Dept. BA, Box
291, Dana Point, CA 92629.) That case has seen duty through many thousands of airline miles, through wet and cold boats and truck beds, without any damage to the contents.

Most of the growth in Mississippi in October was still predominately green, although there were some early signs of changing colors. I chose to wear the ASAT camouflage clothing pattem from Brigade Quartermasters (Dept. BA, 1025 Cobb International Boulevard, Kennesaw, GA 30144) because of its durability, lightweight and ability to blend in with most habitat. When wet, the ASAT material dries quickly and the design includes lots of pockets to carry extra gear up the tree.
Undergrowth was always wet, raining or not. I was happy to have on a pair of LaCrosse hunting boots (LaCross Footwear, Dept. BA, P.O. Box 1328, La Crosse, WI 54602) which never let in any water. They are rubber on the bottom, with Cordura nylon uppers. They are fast to lace and, with wool socks, my feet never got cold, no matter how rainy it was nor how inactive I was on the stand.

On an earlier mule deer hunt in the Nevada high country, I had good use from
a pair of Deerslayer bowhunting gloves. The Ridgewood Group (Dept. BA, Box 27, Rock Island, IL 61201) makes these gloves in either right or left-handed versions, in the tan Trebark camo pattern. The bow hand glove features an integral forearm guard. The palms and fingers are made of deerskin, with three reinforced finger tabs on the string hand glove. The ground floor of the lodge includes an indoor archery range lighted for night practice. Many of us availed ourselves of the facility. That, unfortunately, was the only archery shooting I was able to do on this trip. Bill Bynum, who has hunted here before, took a doe on the second day.

Just before dark that same day, I heard one of my neighboring tree standers let an arrow fly, followed by sounds of running feet that indicated a hit deer. When the truck arrived after dark, we all used our flashlights to follow the blood trail for what seemed like hundreds of yards, until the
returning rain washed the sign away. As happens sometimes, that was a deer we did not recover.
The fourth day of the season, the day I was scheduled to head back to the Baton Rouge airport, a taxidermist from neighboring Lafayette, Louisiana, Byron Latour, downed a small three—by-three buck. It wasn’t a giant wall-hanger, but would fill the venison larder.

When I was back at our California editorial offices, George Haynes called
from Baton Rouge. He said I should have stayed for the second week of the season,
as it opened up for the bowhunters. Overall, the season saw a sixty-percent success
rate for whitetail bowhunters. l’ll have to try again another year.

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Published by archerchick on 07 Jan 2011

WHITETAIL BASICS ~ By Charlie Kroll


BOW & ARROW HUNTING
OCTOBER 1989


WHITETAIL BASICS ~ By Charlie Kroll

Still-hunting is the purest form of the sport, but becoming a lost art.

HALF A CENTURY ago, when I first began hunting deer, the longbow,
wood arrows and single—blade broadheads were the only available choices
for an aspiring bowhunter. Hunting from elevated stands was illegal and still hunting, a ground—blind ambush or a group drive were the options of pursuit.
Still-hunting was then, and remains today, the purest form of the sport, placing the hunter and the hunted on more equal footing than drives or ambushes.

Today, however, still-hunting is all but a lost art. Why do I bring it up? Simply because
I believe it is to the advantage of the novice to give it a try. By doing so, one can learn more about what makes his quarry tick and about the balance existing between instincts and reasoning than
in any other way.

We all are taught that basics win sporting events. In football, it’s the basics of blocking and tackling. In basketball, it’s the basics of dribbling, passing and follow-up and in track and field,
it’s timing and pace that separate the winners from the losers.

Success in hunting also depends greatly on basics, but of a slightly different sort. The basics I refer to here are those governing the actions of the game, i.e., knowledge of animal senses of sight, smell and hearing and how critically these are employed. It is really difficult for the beginner to realize how honed these senses are in deer. The best way to find out is to devote some time to the one-on-one still-hunt, which is simply the attempt to discover game while slowly easing through the coverts, followed by a careful stalk to get within reasonable arrow range.

It takes some personal experience to fully comprehend the extreme acuteness of sight in an animal that can hardly distinguish a man at rest from a stump, yet can detect the slightest motion a hundred yards away across tree trunks, logs or brush and when every branch is swaying with the breeze.

To avoid the senses of sight and hearing requires not only reasonably quiet underfooting, but also acquired skill and care in moving, aided by eyesight almost as keen as that of the game.
When you begin to comprehend the sharpness of the eyes against which you are matched, you are still about as far as ever from understanding the nose of the deer. The idea that the animal can detect your odor a quarter of a mile away when no breeze is blowing is often rather astounding to the novice. Still more so is the idea that the slightest taint of human odor reaching that keen nose causes instantaneous reaction.

When a deer is alerted by sound or sight it may pause to assess the possible danger. But when man scent reaches its nose, it is gone; right now! It generally costs the beginner, as it did me, many bitter days of frustration learning that he cannot trifle with the nose of the deer.

Therefore, your first care in still hunting should be to constantly be aware of the direction of the wind, however light it may be. Pay attention fo the old adage of hunting high ground
early and low ground late in the day to take advantage of the thermal flows.

Cross currents may at time enable you to work within bow shot of a deer, but you can’t really rely on it, especially if the current tends to shift about, as it often does in hilly country. Use of a cover scent may be of help, but it is my studied opinion that if a deer can smell anything you have on, it can detect the human odor as well.

lt is almost as hard to realize the acuteness of hearing of a deer. Probably more deer are lost to the tyro through this than any other cause. The great majority of those that elude hunters, escape unseen and generally unheard. It takes long to learn that you cannot afford to crack even the lightest twig, or even let the softest snow pack too fast beneath your foot. You can hardly move
too quietly in even the wildest of cover.

There is a lot to be said for observing just how unalarmed deer move while
feeding and imitating those movements when some ground cover noise is unavoidable.
If you are in dense cover where you suspect deer are skulking or hiding, do not be misled by the fact that at such times they do not seem to mind noise. When deer hide it is because they know
what you are, but believe you cannot see them.

Some hunters believe that a day of blustering wind is a good one, providing you keep facing into it. It has been my experience, though, that such a day is a poor time to still—hunt because the
animals are highly nervous with watching and listening. The best type of day for this activity is a dull, overcast day, possibly with intermittent light drizzle, following an all-night rain.

One of my greatest bowhunting achievements was made years ago on just such a day, when I managed to get close enough to a feeding whitetail to completely unglue it by a tap on the
rump with the tip of my bow.

Incidentallly, if hunting on such a day, stick pretty much to the lower ground levels. Moisture causes air to settle and there is less chance of it carrying a message of danger than if you
were on higher ground. Of extreme importance to the still- hunter is that he sees the game before it sees him. Given two creatures in the woods, each in search of the other, the greater advantage lies with the one that happens to be still when the other one is moving within sight range. The best
time for this with deer is when they are feeding and moving, for they are nearly impossible to approach when bedded.

This is why early morning and evening are good, as then the deer are moving and feeding. Just after daylight is the best hour of all, as the animals have alternately fed and rested all night
relatively undisturbed, they are then as relaxed and unwary as they ever get. To take proper advantage of this, you absolutely have to be in their travel area, between feeding and bedding
grounds, before dawn breaks. I f you have to hurry to get there before daybreak, you might as well forget it. You will then have to go against the first law of the still—hunter: a snail’s pace.

You cannot movefast and you cannot move constantly and expect to see animals before they see you. Yes, there are certainly other considerations to be noted in order to achieve success. Among these are appropriate dress of a camo pattern blending with the general type of terrain hunted and of soft, noiseless finish; proper attention to camouflage of the face, hands and bow, some knowledge of current food preferences and knowledge of such signs as mbs, scrapes and
in-use trails.

Next to the difficulty of comprehending the acuteness of a deer’s senses is that of understanding how one looks in cover. Your ideas might come from seeing deer in a zoo or park, or from pictures. But you are almost certain to start out by looking for an entire deer, whereas you might better be looking for almost anything else. ln the woods, you seldom see more than part of a deer, at least to begin with. Concentration should be on horizontal lines and on color patches or spots out of place, plus slight movements such as that of an ear, nose, antlers or tail. To succeed at this
you need to do considerably more looking than moving.

When you are moving in cover, every step you take opens new avenues of vision. You must curb the tendency to see what’s over’ the next rise. If you don’t travel slowly you won’t see any-
thing there except perhaps the sight of a white flag waving goodbye. Again, the name of game is seeing the quarry before it sees you. Deer have good peripheral vision, but it is possible to approach one broadside, providing that you move slowly, directly toward it and only when its head is down. In such a final attempt to close within arrow range, avoid direct eye contact, concentrating instead on the spot you want to hit and remembering that whitetail usually signals a lift of the head by first wiggling its tail a bit. Of course, an approach from behind is the best one when possible, especially when the animal is moving into or across the wind.


It sometimes happens that a novice has the luck to run into a “foolish” deer or two on his first hunt. If he is successful, he will begin to think there is nothing to it. Then, of course, he may hunt
for several years with no repeat of his original success. Any bowman matching himself for several seasons against the whitetail deer will not only acknowledge the acuteness of their sensory defenses, but may come to believe that they have a sixth sense on top of all the rest.

Yes, still-hunting is the toughest way to go, but remember, if a kill every time out were the most important part of hunting, you wouldn’t be reading BOW & ARROW HUNTING. The still-hunt
is the most exciting, the most challenging and when success is finally achieved, the most satisfying adventure the lands beyond the pavement have to offer. <–<<

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Published by double.aron on 07 Jan 2011

buying a new bow?

im going to be buying a new bow this year and i have decided yet what to get but i have three in mind.  They are bowtech destroyer 350, pse omen pro, or mathews z7 extreme.  id like to see the general thoughts on these bows if you have one, things you like and dislike about them, thanks.

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Published by archerchick on 06 Jan 2011

Decoying Pronghorns ~ By Bob Humphrey


BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2006

Decoying Pronghorns By Bob Humphrey

Is it possible to lure one of the fastest and wariest of game animals into bow range, even without cover?

Before my Wyoming bowhunt last fall, my only experience with pronghorns was chasing them around Yellowstone National Park with a camera. I quickly learned just how sharp- eyed, wary and fast they were. Even my basic stalking skills and telephoto lens weren’t enough to get me close enough for a decent photo. Thus, I was pretty skeptical about the whole idea of luring them into bow range with a decoy. Still I’d heard enough stories about how effective and exciting the technique could be; so when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped.

My first chance came while bowhunting on the Medicine Bow River Ranch in southeastern Wyoming. Accompanying me were fellow outdoor writer Joe Byers, Ken Byers, of Byers Media and Mike DiSario and Teddy Burger, of Outdoor Expeditions International (OEI)- our hosts. Joe was was the only one of us fortunate enough to draw a non-resident “goat” tag, but was kind enough to invite me along to man the decoy.

It also didn’t take long for us to locate a likely band of goats. After formulating a quick plan of attack, Ken dropped Joe, Teddy, and me off behind a knoll, then drove on. The habitat consisted of low rolling plains , with topography providing the only cover. “We need to get as close as we can before we put up the decoy” advised Joe. And that’s exactly what we did, sneaking within a couple hundred yards of the herd, which consisted of a dozen or so does and three bucks. Once we were in position, Joe gave the word. Here goes nothing , I thought., as I hoisted the decoy, a Renzo’s two-dimensional buck silhouette into position.

The sharp-eyed goats immediately turned their heads in our direction, but I didn’t give us the reaction we’d hoped for. The bucks held their ground while the does, seemingly more antsy, slowly started walking away. Then the largest of the bucks made a feint in our direction, and my pulse quickened. Could this actually be working? I wondered.

The tense buck stared in our direction for several minutes, then glanced back
toward the herd, which had moved off a considerable distance. He glanced back
once more in our direction, then turned and trotted off after the herd. Strike one.
Our second attempt met with similar results. Strike two. “They’re just not in the
mood,” opined Joe. “We need to find a more aggressive buck. So off we went
once more. The ranch was overrun with goats, and it didn’t take long to find yet
another band.

The next group contained several does and one big buck. I wouldn’t know one from the next,
but I could tell by doe’s reaction it was a real good one. Even
better, he and several does were bedded near a pump station that provided ideal
stalking cover. Again we crawled as close as we could, Joe got ready to shoot, and l
propped up the decoy.

This time the reaction was much more what we had hoped for. The bedded buck
sprang to his feet and took several deliberate steps in our direction. But the does,
unnerved by his sudden movement, again started in the opposite direction. He held
his ground, then started slowly toward us, eventually covering l00 yards. Once again however,
the allure of the does prevailed over our decoy, and the buck turned and trotted
away. Strike three.

Joe did eventually manage to take a nice buck the following day, while l was
off hunting mulies. Though l wasn’t able to witness it, my experience from the
previous day was enough to whet my appetite for another try. Before I went back,
however, l wanted to learn more. So l consulted someone far more experienced.

Decoying: There’s More In It
“There’s a true art to decoying, regardless of what you’re after,” says Steve Bailey, of Renzo’s Becoys. “There’s a lot more to it than lust sticking a decoy in the ground. This much l’d learned already. What l wanted to know is what that “lot more” is; and
Bailey was eager to expound. “When decoying pronghorns,” he began,
“the first thing to consider is when you will be hunting. Prior to the rut you use a decoy
not so much as a stalking tool, but as a confidence decoy, around food sources and waterholes. In the early season,
I’m not looking for the same response as during the rut.
All I want is to give the animal a little curiosity, or make them feel more comfortable
and keep their focus away from me.” That all made sense. Pronghorn are social animals,
having others of their kind around might put them more at ease.

The next step, according to Bailey, is to decide the decoy’s intended purpose. “Do
you want it to be a billboard, or more subtle? You can set your decoy as a billboard,
out in the wide open where it can be seen from miles away, or just to get their attention
when they’re closer. Every situation is different, but if you’ve got animals visiting a
waterhole regularly, the subtle approach might be better. In either case, Bailey cautions
that it’s very important not to block entrance or exit routes—the way they want to come and go.
“I don’t want to spook them, so I may use a more subtle approach, with a decoy bedded or tucked into the brush”

The Rut
Decoying during the rut is when things can really get exciting, and it calls for different tactics. “What you get is a very aggressive buck that may cover a lot of ground, especially when he’s trying to drive out a rival or younger buck from the does he’s herded up. He may run in from a half-mile away,” says Bailey. Now you want your decoy to be a billboard. First you’ve got to locate a likely candidate. In general, Bailey looks for aggressive bucks that suit him in terms of size and age.

During the pre-rut, he looks for bachelor groups where bucks are either sparring or seriously fighting. “These bucks are probably a little more vulnerable,” he says. Later, during the rut, he looks for satellite bucks, which can be equally vulnerable. But he cautions not to be overly aggressive. “Use a decoy that’s smaller than him, or use only does. He’s probably been beat up a little and may be wary of a larger buck” He also advises against targeting mature bucks, at least for beginners. “An older buck with a big group of does is usually the hardest to decoy or pursue in any way. He’s not gonna wander too far from them or let that group get too far away.” This seemed to explain at least part of our failure in Wyoming.

Once you’ve located your intended victim, you can attack in one of two ways. Rather
than putting the decoy out right off the bat, Bailey prefers to stalk in as close as possible,
then go with the decoy. (At least we got that part right! “Once you do,” he says, “you don’t necessarily want to walk straight in and be too aggressive. Parallel him while slowly closing the distance. Often they’ll watch and study until they get tired of watching.”
That’s when things can get real interesting, according to Bailey. “It’s pretty hair-raising
and can be very dramatic. They may charge to within 10 or 20 yards then slam on the brakes, leaving a trail of dust behind ’em and making you wonder if you want to run or not.”

Circumstances often dictate how you set up and position. “When there’s sufficient cover, I’ll set up to draw the animal past the shooter and toward the decoy. It takes his radar off the shooter,” says Bailey. That’s not always possible, however, and in some cases the decoy is your cover. “When bowhunting in the open,” he recommends, “I’d have two guys and two decoys. This conceals them both and gives the illusion of more animals, for confidence. Bailey points out that movement can often be helpful. “One of the neatest tactics you can use is to mimic things going on in the wild. Use a doe and a buck decoy. Have your hunting partner or guide run one and you run the other, mimicking a buck running a doe.”

The Two Dimensional Advantage

Naturally, Bailey is partial to his Benzo‘s silhouettes, and with good reason. “The concept of our decoys is simplicity,” he relates. “Sometimes it doesn’t take much, and it doesn’t have to be three dimensional. You can use multiple decoys and take them into areas you wouldn’t have considered before. He also noted that it’s easier to sneak into decoying range with a two—dimensional decoy. “I just lay it down and go prone until I get myself out l there. Then I can push the metal rods into the dirt and the decoy is free-standing.”

Keep A Buck Call Handy
In addition to movement, you can sometimes boost your decoys’ effectiveness by
calling. “I use a call that simulates bucks being aggressive toward one another,” says
Bailey, “sort of a squeaky little snort-bark sound.” However, he advises caution. “I
don’t want to throw all my eggs at ’em at once, so I’ll save the call for last.” He notes
that a buck may charge, but only come part-way, then wander or race back to his
herd. “lf he’s not coming close enough, then I start calling to him.”

Long-Range Proficiency Helps
You also need a bow set up for Western hunting. “lt’s big country, it’s open,” says Bailey. “A decoy may only help you close the distance to 60 yards.” That calls for a fast, flat-shooting bow. Pronghorns aren’t particularly tough or thick-skinned, so you can also speed up your outfit by going to a lighter broadhead-arrow combination. More important is practice.

The goal of decoying is to bring a pronghorn into effective bow range, which out West may be more than you’re accustomed to. “Most guys are looking for a 20-yard shot. They practice at 20 and 50 yards and that’s what they’re used to.” If you’re going to try this
he recommends practicing until you’re proficient out to 50 or 60 yards. “It doesn’t take that much to fool a pronghorn,” says Bailey. “You just need a good decoy, some common sense, and a little knowledge about the animal.” He also notes that decoys won’t work all of the time. “It’s all about attitude. You gotta catch
the animal in the right mood. Sometimes it’s only a matter of a day, or even a few hours. When they’re in the right mood and everything is right, the decoy can totally fool them.” He also cautions it’s infectious. “You get to the point after a few successful stalks where if you don’t have your decoy, you don’t want to go.”

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Published by archerchick on 06 Jan 2011

The Basics Of BAREBOW ARCHERY – By Joe Henault


BOW & ARROW
October 1977

The Basics of BAREBOW ARCHERY ~ By Joe Henault
Joe Henault is a policeman in Bellingham, Massachusetts, and a member of the United States Bare Bow Association.
“What I hope to do is explain this Old, Simpler form of Archery and put it in print before it is Gone And Forgotton….”

IN THIS ERA of sophisticated archery equipment and techniques such as elaborate sights, string walking, compound bows, release aids of all types plus mountains of other gadgets too numerous to mention, wouldn’t it be refreshing to get back to a much simpler and more relaxing form of
archery? The type of shooting I would like to introduce you to I will call conventional barebow, for want of a better name.

I certainly do not want to take credit for inventing this method of shooting a bow. Variations of this type of archery have been around for a long time, I am sure. On the other hand I haven’t seen much information on this archery technique in print. What I hope to do is to explain this old,
simpler form of archery and put it in print before it is gone and forgotten. I will be referring to the field or —— more aptly named — forest round as I attempt to explain this system, but with adjustments in equipment setups it can be applied to any archery round.

You will be shooting with your fingers rather than with a release aid. I would recommend a tab rather than a glove be used for finger protection. I find that the tab allows a more sensitive anchor placement than the glove, but some bowhunters might still prefer the glove. The anchor used will be the old basic index finger in the corner of the mouth with the nock between the first and second finger.

For equipment you will need a smooth, soft-shooting recurve bow of between sixty-six and seventy inches in length. A draw weight of about thirty-two to thirty-five pounds should do for the average male target shooter, The idea of the equipment setup is to get a point-on of about fifty yards. The point—on, for those of you who are not familiar with this term, is that distance where the arrow tip can be aimed right at the center of the target and when shot correctly will hit the
center of the target. To accomplish this you will have to do a little experimenting with your equipment setup. I will list my equipment only as a guide -yours may vary due to variations in
facial structure and shooting form. I am shooting a seventy-inch Wing Presentation Two. The draw weight is thirty—four pounds at a twenty-eight- inch draw. The string is ten strand and
I try for a brace height of about ten inches. I use a Hoyt Pro arrow rest.

Arrows are X7 1816s with the extra heavy target points. Fletching is three helical feathers each 3% inches long. This is what works well for me and gives me that desired fifty-yard point- on.
Aside from the bow weight itself there are several areas you can work on in order to gain or lose yardage. The arrow size, of course is a big factor but you are limited in that you must stay within the proper spine range for the bow weight you have chosen. The choice of regular or extra heavy target points is a valuable aid in adjusting your point-on. Fletching is another item to be considered. The bigger the feather the slower the arrow will travel, lowering your point-on. A
helical fletching is quite a bit slower than a straight fletching. Four·fletch will slow you down three or four yards as opposed to three-fletch in the same feather size, Stay away from plastic or
rubber fletching if your need is to slow down the equipment. lf you need more distance these might help.

Brace height and number of strands in the string also can be used to advantage. Generally the higher the brace height the slower and smoother the bow will shoot. Stay within the manufacturer’s recommended brace height however. In the bow weights I have mentioned you will probably use either a ten or twelve-strand string ~ten if you need more speed, twelve to
slow the bow down a little. Generally, the problem will be one of slowing down the equipment. Try not to pick a bow that is super fast to begin with.

An exception to some of these equipment suggestions would be the bowhunter who prefers to use his hunting equipment year-round while
shooting the field course I have found that the large helical fletching 125 to 150-grain 1 field points on the average hunting arrow keeps the point·on down pretty well, enabling the hunting archer to use pretty much what he likes in the way of bow length and weight

I have set up my equipment so that the point on of both my target and hunting equipment is the
same so that I have little trouble switching from one to the other, except for the conditioning of the extra muscle needed to handle the hunting equipmierit. I find it only takes
about two weeks to condition myself
for my forty-five pound hunting bow after shooting my target equipment

That’s about as far as the equipment requirements go. Now, let’s get to the actual shooting technique. From the bunny shot up to about 30 yarder, this system will require the archer to employ pretty much an instinctive technique in order to hit the target.

What is instinctive shooting and how effective is it? Simply stated, instinctive shooting is shooting by feel. It’s like throwing a ball- there’s no particular system, you just know when it looks right. You hold for the elevation and line that looks good. and shoot and adjust as necessary until your arrows start to group where you want them. LIke most other archery styles, the key to success is a good, solid, constant anchor and good basic shooting form. As for how effective instinctive shooting is, I have seen good instinctive shooters pack a group of arrows as tight as any sight shooter at twenty yards. It does take a few years, however to attain this type of accuracy. Also it is very difficult to be real consistent at much over thirty yards without some type of system. Once you feel comfortable with your shooting style and are grouping well at these closer targets you can go about determining your point on. The Point-on is key to our system.

In order to determine your point-on, find a butt with nice soft turf both in front and behind the bales. Stand at the fifty-yard mark. Draw back and anchor. Aim the tip of your arrow right at the middle of the target and shoot a few arrows. If you’re hitting paper, you’re in good shape. Hold above or below the spot as you may find necessary in order to hit the five ring. If you’re not on paper for fifty yards you will have to go back to the equipment suggestions described earlier and fool around a little until you are on paper. Fifty yards should be one of your easier targets.

When you have your fifty-yard point-on well established and are able to group well at this distance, move up to forty five yards. Using an eighteen inch face, draw back and hold. Concentrate your primary vision on the target with both eyes open but pick up the arrow tip in your secondary vision. Hold the arrow tip about two or three inches under the bottom edge of the eighteen-inch target paper. Shoot a few arrows. If they group high widen the gap between the arrow tip and the bottom of the target. If your groups are low raise the arrow tip right up under the target paper. Practice until you get your gap jus tright and can hit forty-five yards consistently.

Now move up to forty yards, you should be able to hold just about a full face under this one or eighteen inches and hit. Again adjust your gap as necessary. Remember to close the gap between arrow point and target to raise hits and open the gap in order to lower the hits.

Now, let’s try thirty-five yards. Hold about a face and a half under the paper for this one. In other words, your gap will be a little wider than it was for forty yards.

Now let’s go back to fifty-five ards. At fifty -five yards I use the little plastic finger that sticks up on the Hoyt rest and holds the arrow in position. If you look you will see that it sticks up alongside the arrow at full draw just far enough back from the arrow tip to make a perfect sight a fifty five yards. Just hold the little plastic finger right on the middle of the target and you should hit. Hold above or below the center of the target as you find necessary in order to hit a nickel.

At sixty yards we will start using the shelf of the bow itself for our gaps rather than the arrow tip. You will be looking under the arrow rest. Draw back and aim, placing the bow shelf about two or three inches under the bottom edge of the twenty four inch target paper. Shootfew arrows and adjust as necessary. Your arrow tip will be well above the target but you will have to keep an eye on it to maintain your line.

Move back to sixty-five yards when you feel confidenent in your sixty-yard gap. For sixty-five yards, try holding the bow shelf right across the top of the five ring. Shoot a few arrows and adjust if necessary.

For seventy yards you will just about have to hide the top of the target with the bow shelf. For eighty yards it’s back to good old instinct. You could change to an under the chin anchor for seventy and eighty but I’m kind of a purist and would rather not.

Since there are only two shots at eighty yards in a field round I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over
them but you can get to the point where you will hit them just as often as not.
I’m sure you have gathered by now that there are a lot of variables connected to this system. There are. But if you get that fifty-yard point-on the rest should fall pretty close to what I have described. If you increase your point-on you can gain some accuracy on your longer shots but your middle distances will suffer and as a result your total round will suffer. For uphill shots, if the hill is quite steep, you may have to tighten up your gap just a little. Open up the gap if the target is
down a pretty good hill.

What type of scores can you expect from this system? That depends first of all, of course, on how good your basic shooting form is. I will not attempt to get into that at all. Keep in mind that this is not intended to be instant archery and score should not be the predominant factor. Full enjoyment of the sport and relaxation should be your primary goals. If its 560s you want, stick with the more
regimented forms of archery. I would think that a 400 field score would be good and this should be possible in a season or two if the archer already has good shooting form. One fellow at our club started from scratch a year ago and has been able to maintain a 400 average this past season. I generally shoot about a 460 to 470 on the average day. My best official score is 501. I shot a 498 field round and a 452 unmarked animal round to win the 1976 United States Bare Bow Association Championship.

One of the biggest problems you might run into with this type of shooting (or any form of archery, for that matter, where the fingers are used to release and no clicker is used) is that old malady target panic. I prefer to call it lack of control. This problem can be handled, however, and some of
you may never have it. In my opinion, the ability to draw a bow back, hold it, aim it well and then shoot when you want to without the aid of any gadgets is the challenge in archery. I can’t always do it but when I can, “how sweet it is.” The less you worry about score and the less you worry
about missing the better will be your chances of maintaining good control.

What I have attempted to give you is just a guideline. Once you get into conventional barebow shooting I’m sure you will come up with some variations of your own. I hope some of you have found this interesting and will want to give it a try. If you do, I’m sure you will enjoy
the freedom and relaxation that should be a part of field archery but
that has somehow become lost. <——<

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Published by archerchick on 06 Jan 2011

Colorado…Where The Big Muleys Come To The Hunter! ~By Ed Welch as told to Roy Hoff


BOW & ARROW
October 1977

Colorado…Where The Big Muleys Come To The Hunter!
And Where An Easterner Finally Realized His Western Dream
By Ed Welch as told to Roy Hoff

THE ONLY ADJECTIVE in my limited vocabulary that can adequately
describe my l975 bow and arrow deer season at John Lamicq’s is outstanding!
We, the “Boys From New York,” scored four for six during the two weeks of our hunt.
After two rather dry years for myself at Lamicq’s, dreams of a record muley finally
materialized. For background music, my bowhunting experiences date back to 1946
when I arrowed my first whitetail at ten yards with a fifty-three-pound homemade recurve. Since that time, I have scored on over fifty whitetails in both New York and Pennsylvania.

After this rather impressive record, and with confidence at a high level,
my bowhunting partner Ben Swan and I decided that 1973 was the year to
hunt with John Lamicq in “Colorful Colorado.” Swan took a nice buck in 1973,
drew a blank in 1974, and scored again in 1975 with a typical four-by-four.
My first Colorado muley came suddenly on the second full day of our 1975 hunt.

Nelson Harrington, Swan and I were planning a stalk near upper Four-A – which is a section of high-timbered ridge — early in the afternoon of the second day of the hunt. lt was August 18, with temperatures in the eighties. My plan was to still—hunt just below the rim of the ridge, meeting Harrington and Swan under an out- crop of rocks at about 3:30 p.m. part way along the hogback.

They, in turn, would hunt the opposite side of the ridge to the prearranged spot. Having hunted this area in previous years, l was alert for bedded deer just under the rim, It seemed as if I had
hardly begun my stalk through the sage and scrub oak when I raised my head to scan a long, narrow, grassy area directly on top of the ridge. To my surprise, heading toward me at a
trot with nose to the ground was the largest-antlered and biggest-bodied mule deer I have ever seen!

I suddenly realized that I was standing in the open and entirely exposed to this monster. Not only did I feel inferior and inadequate to cope with such an animal. but it was also immediately apparent that I was standing directly in the middle of the very same deer run he had chosen. My only recourse was to drop down onto one knee and try to hide myself behind a small blow-down consisting of one three-inch-diameter branch of aspen with no leaves.

Imagine my feelings when he continued at a trot, pausing only long enough to raise his head and test the wind. Fortunately, the wind was in my favor so on he came! At fifteen yards the impossible happened. He stopped. raised his head and decided to change direction ninety degrees.
His new course took him directly behind a small pine tree, screening him entirely from my view. Now was my chance! Raising on one knee, I brought my forty-four-pound custom recurve to full draw and held at his approximate point of reappearance. It seemed like ages, but probably only a
second or two passed when he stepped from behind the pine tree, offering me a perfect lung shot.
As my arrow left the bow I knew I had him. His heavy antlered head swung in my direction with his eyes and facial expression appearing to ask, “Where in hell did you come from?” The arrow buried itself in his huge body directly behind the scapula, penetrating completely through the lungs and exiting between the first two ribs on his right side.

With an excited lunge, he bolted over the edge of the ridge and down the canyon wall. Suddenly, all was quiet. Needless to say, I was shaking like a leaf with the excitement and anticipation of finding my once-in-a-lifetime trophy. After taking a moment to calm down, I descended the canyon wall and scanned the area for the direction he had taken. A short walk brought me within
sight of him, sprawled precariously in the middle of a large scrub oak which had retarded his plunge toward the bottom of the canyon.

After taking pictures, I glanced at my watch – exactly 3:30 p.m., August 18. I had finally realized a life-long ambition – to hunt Colorado and successfully take a trophy mule deer.
The remainder of this story is rather anti-climactic. As any dyed-in-the-wool hunter knows, when the kill is made, the work begins. After completing the field dressing, I made my way to our prearranged spot, only to find Harrington and Swan heading in my direction. Their stalk had been
fruitless, but as they approached me, I could contain myself no longer. The excited look on my face together with my bloodied hands had them begging for the story.

As we made our way to the kill, I still found my good fortune hard to
believe. The deer had fallen in a tangle of scrub oak on a steep shale slide,
making it nearly impossible for three people to drag it up to the, top of the
ridge. In addition, my pickup was still about two miles away, parked near
Lamicq’s narrow dirt road. With the deer, estimated at about 250 pounds, field dressed, we had no recourse but to quarter it and backpack it out. Three trips were necessary to gain the top of the
canyon with the cape and meat. After arriving at Lamicq’s and more picture taking, the story was told again. Some friends of ours from Florida, Cecil Hatcher and his family,

were overjoyed at our success as their luck so far had been rather lean. The next day required a trip to Colscotts Locker Plant in Grand Junction to package and freeze the meat and a stop at the taxidermist to make final arrangements for mounting my muley. The next week was to see a repeat of this story when Swan connected with a fine, typical four-by-four. His story will be arriving by mule deer, as well it should, because that, as you know, is the “name of the game”! <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 06 Jan 2011

Ground Attack ~ By Jeff Murray

BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2006

GROUND ATTACK – By Jeff Murray

When it comes to getting close, your tactics toolbelt should include blinds.  No longer the cumbersome contraptions they once were.  Today’s innovative blinds are proving their worth with top guides and outfiitters.

According to recent Pope and Young records, about three-fourths of all
whitetail entries involve treestands. But as much as I love a “height advantage”
I find myself land-lubbing it more and more each year. In fact, I’m just about convinced
that the portable ground blind—which used to be an oxymoron I0 years ago—is as
effective as the portable treestand.

Have I lost my mind? Some of it. I know I’ve lost my narrow-mindedness, not to mention
a few staunch opinions. And I’m also losing some habits, such as fighting with treesteps
in my sleep; dreaming about falling out of trees, and nightmares about swaying in wind
and rain from dark-dawn to dusk-dark.  My new outlook is fueled by two key factors.

First, the latest portable designs are, well. more portable than ever. And second, we’ve
learned a lot about ground pounding from a decade of hardcore experience. We’ve
learned for example that blinds are ideal for turkeys. But blinds are equally deadly on
pronghorns, mule deer and elk. We’ve even learned that whitetails are susceptible to the
right blind at the right place with the right tactic.

Need proof? How about the 200—inch 5×5 buck that Mike Wheeler guided New Jersey
bow hunter Aaron Moore last year.   If that deer isn’t big enough for you, consider the 2003 monster (38 points, 307 5/8
harvested by 15—year-old Tony Lovstuen.
Yes, it was taken from a ground blind.

OLD VS. NEW

The first portable blind I hunted out of was an Invisiblind that Mark Mueller asked me to
field-test. Erection and disassembly were a little time-consuming, no doubt, but it was a
leap in the right direction. Mueller figured out back then that camo netting goes
with portable blinds like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches go with kids. He relied on the
netting mainly for concealing hunters inside and the ability to shoot broadheads through
the material. But the netting proved to serve another important purpose .

In 1995 I first heard about Double Bull Blinds and I got my hands on a lightweight
model the following year. This blind date was made in heaven. The pop—out hubs
locked rods in place that, in turn, stretched the walls of the tent-like structure neatly
into place. In seconds l was up and running and down ‘n’ dirty bowhuntin’. My new blind
was a constant companion in turkey country, and I was madly in love with it.

Shortly thereafter I discovered the “coiled” spring steel concept. Today, anyone can stow
away, say, on Ameristep Doghouse portable, even if an airline ticket is part of the hunt; the
blind’s dimensions are a mere 2×24 inches. And blinds keep getting better and better.
Double Bull now offers the Matrix, a 360-degree viewing and shooting blind that has all
the bells and whistles. Not to be outdone,  Ameristep is promoting the Brickhouse Half-
N-Half that features two complementary camo patterns on opposite sides, just in case the
scenery calls for flexibility. Underbrush incorporates  3-D leafy material that blends naturally
with surroundings and moves in synch with Natures wind currents; the Bowhunter spans 5×5 feet and weighs—what else?—5 pounds.
Then there’s a series of Excent (carbon-activated fabric lined) models from Eastman Outfitters to help deal with scent buildup.

GETTING GROUNDED

Blinds offer several distinct advantages. Most are strategic, but the one topping my list
is psychological: l’m addicted to eye-to-eye combat, with game being clueless to my
presence. I feel like the Invisible Man inside a portable. Other advantages include:
*Extreme portability (no treesteps, no ladders, no safety belts).
*Surprising scent—control (top models sporting a roof and four walls confine scent
with remarkable efficiency).
*No trees, no sweat (set up where you want, not where a tree says so).
*Deke out turkeys and deer with a well-placed decoy.

*Hunt aggressively while relaxing (ignore wind, rain, snow; relax in a folding camp chair or recliner).
* Hunt trophy elk and pronghorns near waterholes without a pick and shovel.
*Make a mule deer’s frontline defense- acute eyesight—his Achilles’ heel.
This is all possible if you follow the rules. Start with no flappin’. lf your blind flaps in the breeze, it will spook game. Period. So
make good use of tent spikes, but also make a discerning purchase and eliminate models
that are loose-fitting and baggy. Another bugaboo associated with ground blinds is the Black Hole Syndrome. Deer are
especially spooky when confronted with a small, dark object. Perhaps its because critters such as fox, coyotes and wolves prey out of
dens. Regardless, the best antidote is camo netting. Because it reflects sunlight, it replaces dark shadows with greens, browns and grays.
“I remember the day we finally saw the Iight,” recalled Brooks Johnson, of Double Bull
Archery. “We got a tip from Mike Palmer, a custom bowyer from Texas with a ton of experience
hunting whitetails from the ground. He told us about the netting, and over the years we’ve
continually improved ways to eliminate the dark openings on our silent windows.
Ironically, after removing black from the setup, the next critical step is adding black-
today, all Double Bull blinds are jet black inside, as are the carbon-fabric-lined models
from Eastman Outfitters and Ameristep. “If a bIind’s interior is camouflage material
and you wear camouflage clothing,” adds Johnson’s partner, Keith Beam, “you’re fine
as long as you don’t move. But the instant you draw your bow, deer will usually spot
you. We learned that from twin-blind setups we filmed out of. Nowadays, we always wear
black inside—we even customize the upper limb of our bows—because black against
black is virtually invisible. You’ve got to experience it to believe it ”
To that end, Double Bull offers a complete  line of “Ninja” accessories, including a black
head cover and a black fleece jacket. When  the weather is warm (a little greenhouse
effect can really heat up these blinds), a   Scent-Lok Base layer long-sleeve top is ideal.
This ultra-lightweight polyester garment  contains scent-eliminating activated charcoal
plus an anti-microbial bacteria fighter.   “You get a great one-two punch,” says veteran
bowhunter Tod Graham. “Invisibility plus  personal odor elimination. But you still need to
go the extra mile, scent-wise, on the outside [of  the blind]. For example, when hunting out West,
cut some sage brush and place it on the roof.   In farm country, fresh cow pies will do. In deep
woods, cedar and pine boughs are great.”

SETUPS FOR BLIND LUCK

How you set up a blind is as important as  where you place it. What works for one
species likely won’t work for another. Let’s start with turkeys. l recently asked Ameristep’s
Pat McKenna if their blinds helped beginners with gobblers. He sent me a stack of testimonials.
Consider that 15-year-old Ashely Cole   shot her first big tom with her father on a
Wisconsin hunt; Justin Temple scored on   his first tom in Michigan; Mike Gaboriault, a
disabled Gulf War veteran from Vermont,  followed suit. These turkey success stories
seem to have no end!  Set up a blind where turkeys are likely to pitch off a roost, and
return to it toward evening (where legal hunting hours apply). Or, find a travel route
connecting loafing and feeding areas. You’ll see for yourself if you watch a little TV and
let Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo (Archers Choice), Mike Avery (Outdoor Magazine), or
the Scent-Lok gang take you along for the ride.   The antelope, according to guide and
outfitter Fred Eichler, is the perfect big game if species to take portable blind—hunting to
the next level. “From 10 years of antelope  guiding, l’d say you get the best of both
worlds—a good challenge, yet good odds if you do your homework.”
Eichler offers these tips for the prairies:

*When setting up a blind on a water hole or cattle tank, first determine the side
with the most tracks along the shoreline. To further tip the odds, pile up some
sagebrush on the opposite side to discourage antelope from drinking there. Even an
arrow in the mud with a flapping sock can redirect antelope to your side of the pond.
“*Wind can be a factor, but antelope usually rely more on their eyes than their noses,
especially where there is little human activity.  Although Eichler has harvested antelope
on the same day he’s set up his blind, its usually best to give them time to acclimate to the
setup—as much as four weeks, if possible.

Whitetails are the big leagues of the ground attack game. Start by mastering the
“50/100 Rule. Interestingly, in dense cover where visibility is limited to 50 yards or less,
it’s critical that the blind not be recognizable.  The best tack, according to outfitter extraordinaire Steve Shoop, is building a brush
pile during the off season, then sawing a hole inside and placing the blind within. This hides the blind, all right, but also gives deer
a chance to get used to the brush pile.

Popular TV host Jay Gregory tried blind-hunting last year and arrowed a fine whitetail. “If you’re lucky enough to
hunt an area with cedars, try this,” Gregory says. “Prune just enough boughs to wedge your blind up against the tree trunk. Then
place the boughs on top and in front of the blind. The scent of the fresh [cuttings] seems

to help, and cedars are usually thick enough to obscure the blind. I shot my buck on the
same day I set up my blind!”
Now for the “100” part of the 50/100 Rule.
Ironically, deer tend to ignore a blind when they can spot it from 100 yards or more.
Apparently, they eye it over and, if nothing moves and no scent alerts them, they consider
it a part of the landscape much like, say, an abandoned truck or tractor in a field. ln fact, wherever man-made
structures are common, ground blinds are ideal, according to a noted whitetail guide like Wheeler. Zero in
on windmills, abandoned buildings, farm machinery, center pivot irrigation stations, old tires, hay bales, silos, fences, gates—you
name it. “Deer are already used to something  different in their area,” Wheeler maintains, “and a blind just seems to fit right in.”
Elk are particularly vulnerable to a discriminating blind setup. A few years ago,  Nebraska buddy Doug Tryon shared a secret
mountain-top burn in southern Colorado where elk fed predictably on the lush vegetation. But they showed up only when the wind kissed
their noses, and it was impossible to get below them. So I came prepared and tucked a portable
blind into a clump of junipers. Blind luck!  Cows meandered within feet, and a raghorn wandered with in 10 yards. Soon a nice bull
showed up and took the whole herd with him, but here’s betting he’ll be there again this fall ….

Levi Johnson, from Winnette, Montana, guides elk for Flatwillow Creek Outfitters
considers a ground blind a top tactic for arrowing big bulls:
“Once our bulls gather cows,   there are too many eyes and  noses for the average hunter
to deal with. But setting up over water, especially on a  hot September afternoon,  can simplify a complicated
hunt. ln 2005, Mike Huff  and l watched a nice 300- class 6X6 steer his cows
into a steep draw where the wind was all wrong  for a morning hunt. So we backed out and returned in
the afternoon, set up our blind on a waterhole at the end of the draw and, in the scorching
100 degree heat, watched the bull jump into the pond with a cow and calf next to him.
They were clear up to their bellies when I shot the bull at 45 yards.
“Last fall, I set up my blind near a different waterhole on the second evening of archery

season. I’d tried in vain to hunt this waterhole with a treestand, but the wind was always giving me away. Well, I heard what sounded like
hooves pounding turf, and when I peered out of my window I saw about 20 cows and a big 7×7 heading straight for me. I let all of the elk
drink, and the bull was within easy bow range when my arrow found its mark.”

Johnson’s keys to hunting elk with ground blinds;

*Since elk don’t seem too bothered by blinds, don’t waste a lot of time brushing them in. In fact, you can hunt out of a blind
the day you set it up over a waterhole.
*Always stake your blind down no matter the weather. In Western states like Montana, it can be calm one second and a tornado the next.
*Open only the windows you intend to shoot out of, and leave the others shut tight; the less light inside the blind the better.
Stay calm and wait for a good shot.  When Johnson’s friends watched the video of last year’s hunt, they wondered why it took
him so long to shoot. The longer you let a bull relax at a waterhole, the better the results. Be patient. Resist the urge to leave the
blind for any reason. Stay put and stay tuned.
Mule deer, like the one whitetail expert Tod Graham is posing with above, can be had
for the right price The price is mainly scouting for details. “Glass fields early and late to
locate a worthy buck, figure out his bedding area with different winds, and take good
notes Graham says. “Once you see a buck use the same trail twice, you can kill him
with a blind. The third time’s the charm.  “I don’t worry much about cover, because
it usually doesn’t exist in good muley country.

Just put your blind where you can get off a good shot—even in the middle of a field.
Mulies must think it’s a hay bale the farmer has relocated because they don’t veer
around it. I remember telling this to my guide in Alberta last year. I’d suggested we
set up my portable blind on the downwind side of a wild oat field where a big buck

was hanging out with a bachelor group of six other bucks. The guide chuckled at my suggestion, but l got the last laugh when he
helped me drag 195 inches of muley antlers back to his truck.”
Drew H. Butterwick, Double Bull pro staffer and host of Art of Deception (Men’s Channel), loves bowhunting black bears out
of a portable ground blind. “Close contact is why we bowhunt, and a blind can put you in the heart of the action,” he says. “But blinds
are superior to treestands for bear hunting. It is easier to intercept ’staging’ bruins that
hang back from a bait as darkness  approaches. And you get a 360-degree view that usually allows you to see under tree
branches that would otherwise obstruct  your vision from an elevated stand. l also believe you can do a better job of judging
bears at eye level. Last and maybe not least, mosquitoes and blackflies can be kept to a minimum – the shoot through camouflage
netting on my Matrix model acts as bug netting.”

Final footnote; While bears don’t associate blinds with danger, they are inquisitive creatures and could do some
serious damage if you don’t remove the blind after each day’s hunt.

lf an African safari is on your crosshairs, Butterwick recommends stowing away a  portable blind in your luggage.“A moveable
pop-up blind offers many more options than pits and fixed setups,” he says. “The wind is always shifting, and swapping sides of a
waterhole really increases the odds. Portable  concealment can mean the difference  between no shot and a record-class animal.”

THE ART OF BLINDSIDING:
HOW TO SHOOT

Tod Graham hunts exclusively from ground blinds and has blindsided more than 20
Pope and Young whitetails. Learn from his proven shooting tips;
*Practice drawing your bow inside the blind to gauge how much clearance you need for bow limbs and arrows.
*Always double-check the gap between  the window opening and your sight pins. If you don’t rehearse the draw, you could end up
missing the window and shooting the wall.

Visualize where the shots are most likely to occur; you’ll probably be right more

times than not. Position your chair carefully; Graham likes to shoot at a 45edegree angle to the window.
* Practice shooting arrows out ofa blind, including through the netting, especially if you aren’t used to shooting from a sitting or —
kneeling position.
* Always use a rangefinder if time permits; depth perception is affected by the netting.

For ideal blind placement, avoid a rising and setting sun in your face. Also, setting
up in the shade improves your ability to see through netting.
Use a bow holder, such as the one Double Bull Archery markets, to keep your bow
in a handy position. (You may have to be quicker on the draw from the ground than
from a treestand)
*Practice shooting from inside the blind at different distances, angles and times of
day. Be sure to dress in hunting garb.  The dark interior of a ground blind reduces the amount of light available to your
sight pins. You may need a larger peep and possibly a light (check local regulations).
•Blinds can often accommodate two hunters. Practice together ahead of time to avoid the proverbial Chinese fire drill.

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