Archive for February, 2011

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Well, It Ain’t Cecil B. Demille ~By Ted Eastburn

Bow and Arrow
June 1972
Well, It Ain’t Cecil B. Demille ~ By Ted Eastburn

Wing’s Lee Wades With Hat-Snatching Shark And, Yessir, Folks, It Is Recorded On Film

across the choppy surface of the Gulf of Mexico some two
hundred yards off the sugar white beach. A Texan stood in
the bow of the boat holding a bowfishing rig nocked with a
harpoon arrow, his right hand holding a nylon rope tied to
the front of the boat. A companion astern controlled the
outboard motor that pushed the craft at a breath—taking

A larger boat ran a parallel course some twenty yards to
starboard. The young man at the wheel of this twenty-five-
footer was the l7-year—old son of the Texan. The second
man operated a 16-millimeter movie camera. The cameraman
zoomed the lens in on the Texan in the smaller boat,
then shifted scenes to fifty yards ahead of the two craft
where three dorsal fins sliced through the water. Sharks!
“We’re coming up on them fast, Ben,” the Texan said, as
he shifted about trying to steady his position.

Ben was Captain Ben Marler, Jr., for generations a name
synonymous with commercial and sport fushing in Destin,
“Better give hand signals when you want me to cut
speed or change directions, Bob.”
Bob Lee, president of AMF’s Wing Archery Division in
Jacksonville, Texas, nodded his understanding.
The cameraman, Harry Morlan, now sat crosslegged on
the deck of the larger craft as he reloaded the camera. A lot
of action seemed just seconds away. The young man at the
wheel, Robin Lee, handled the inboard/outboard with ease.

The distance to the sharks had closed rapidly. Suddenly
one of the three tins moved toward the small boat, then
turned to the port side. The other two fins disappeared.
“Circle around, Ben, so we have it between us and
Harry!” shouted Lee as he released the rope and eased
toward the seat.
“Hold on. Here we go!” Captain Marler cut the small
craft sharply to port in order to give Morlan a good camera
view of the anticipated action with the shark.

Lee did not make it down to the seat. As the small boat
whipped to the left, Bob Lee went to the right along with
his cherished hunting bow. The fall was more like a cart-
wheel dive. He bobbed safely to the surface and held the
bow high above the water as Marler pulled alongside.
“You okay, Bob?” the captain asked in an astonished
“Ugh,” Lee moaned as he scrambled back into the boat.
“You really clapped the spurs to that horse, Ben.”
The other boat pulled alongside. With a grin as wide as a
cinemascope screen, Harry Morlan said, “There’s nothing in
the script about taking a dive, Bob.”

“I suppose you recorded the whole thing for posterity
with that devilish camera of yours. Where’s my hat’?”
“There it is,” Marler said as he pointed to the floating
headgear some twenty yards away. He turned the boat. At
the same time, a shark fin broke the surface no more than
fifteen feet away moving in the same direction. Lee quickly
nocked the harpoon arrow and came to full draw. Too late.

The shark dove, taking the hat with him.
Bob Lee stared at the spot where his hat had been and
said slowly, “Ben, I thought you told me last night that
sharks didn’t have much of a brain.”
“I did and they don’t. Why?”
“Well, I could have sworn that one laughed at me just
before he swallowed my hat.”
Falling overboard and having your hat swallowed by a
shark are not your run-of-the mill shark hunting hazards. I
know Bob Lee disagrees with my saying these are two
hazards. No doubt he considers falling overboard a hazard,
but when a Texan has his hat eaten unceremoniously by
anything, that’s an insult. And what was worse, the fall just
described was the first of two on the same day.

The idea of a movie on bowfishing for sharks, or, for the
hounds of thesea as the ancient Greeks called them, had
originated a few months before in Colorado where Wing
Archery had rolled another movie production. Harry
Morlan had the Colorado assignment too, and the shark
bowfishing idea grew to reality when his long-time friend,
Destin charter boat captain Ben Marler, Jr., offered full

However, the hunting party had a problem. Chasing for-
aging sharks a couple of hundred yards off the Destin
beaches had provided plenty of thrills but no trophy shark
to dramatize the movie.

“We need to change our tactics a bit,” Marler suggested.
that evening over dinner.
Lee smiled and said, “I’m inclined to agree with you.
The fun is in the chase, but that bulldogging I did today can
wear a man out quick.”
Morlan grinned and muttered matter-of-factly, “It sure
makes for great movie footage.”
“I thought you said you didn’t shoot any footage of
that,” Lee queried anxiously.
“I didn’t say one way or the other. When you brought
the subject up this afternoon it was about the time that
shark was eating your hat, and you didn’t give me a chance
to answer.”

“One thing for sure,” Marler said thoughtfully as he
drummed his fingers on the table, “we can’t be dumping
you overboard anymore, Bob. Just think, twice in one day!
l’ll be losing my reputation as a shark hunter and instead be
known as a guy who tried to feed the hunters to the sharks.
That boat is just too small, Harry.”

“I have more than enough footage for a second boat
anyway, Ben. We can do things the way you normally do
them now,” Harry replied.
“Good. Tomorrow being your last day, Bob, let’s keep
our fingers crossed. Here is what we do. We use the big boat
and go out about thirty»five miles. It’ll be deep water out
there…something like four hundred feet. We’ll be wasting
our time that far out using the chase method, so we’ll get
the sharks to come to us by using baits.”
“Sounds like a change of pace and very interesting,” Lee
said. “Do we use the float on the line?” referring to the
fishing method used for two days.

“No. We’d better go to the rod and reel. The sharks out
there will probably run three hundred pounds and more.”
With the float method of bowfishing for sharks, the free
end of the line attached to the harpoon arrow is tied to a
water tight container. Lee landed several sharks which
ranged from fifty to one hundred pounds using this
method. The float was a five gallon jug. When a shark was
shot, Lee tossed the float overboard to mark the fish’s
whereabouts and to retard its movement. With Marler’s
help, the shark was then eased close to the boat and when it
surfaced Lee released broadheads. With this method a bow
reel is not used. The line is simply coiled on the boat’s

On the third day of the hunt a bow reel would be used
but not in the normal manner. When small fish are shot, it
is a simple matter of re-winding the line around the bow
reel. However, with large sharks you have a fish too tough
to handle in this manner. Instead, you pull thirty feet of
line up through the eyelets of a heavy—duty rod and reel, tie
to the harpoon arrow and wrap around the bow reel. When
the shark is shot, it will pull the line off the bow reel, and
the action will be picked up on the rod and reel.
When the fathometer recorded four hundred feet on the
third morning of the hunt, Marler cut the twin 120 engines.
Sixteen freshly-caught bonito were in the bait box. Bonito
bleed excessively when cut, thus making them ideal shark
bait. As Marler and young Lee readied the baits, Morlan
checked his movie equipment and Lee rigged the
bowfishing gear.

Nearly any bow will get the job done on small fish, but
for big game it should pull at least fifty pounds. Short bows
are also best due to the unwieldiness of a longer weapon on
a boat. Lee’s bow, which was Wing’s Presentation Two
Hunter, pulled sixty-five pounds.
Lee wrapped eighty-pound test line from a heavy duty
fishing rig around the bow reel. He joined the line to five
feet of braided leader with a swivel and attached the other
end of the leader to the fiberglass shaft tipped with a fish
point. The remainder of the three hundred yards of line led
to the 9/0 reel on a short stout rod.

Marler and Robin Lee tied strips of bonito to the styrene
floats with twelve-inch lines. No hooks were used on the
baits. These bait rigs were dropped overboard and allowed
to drift back fifteen feet before being restrained.
A considerable amount of blood had flowed into the
bucket over which the bonito had been cut. Marler poured
this into an empty bottle then fashioned a harness out of
heavy cord so that when suspended, the neck of the bottle
pointed down.

He punched three holes in the cap and hung this contraption
over the side of the boat just above the water. The
rig looked like a transfusion bottle, and the steady dripping
of bonito blood provided more trails to the boat.
An hour had passed when Morlan spotted a him some
fifty yards behind the boat. There was no scurrying about
on anyone’s part. It was as though the shark was expected.
It approached to within thirty yards and crossed what
would have been the boat’s wake. This imaginary wake was
also the general direction of the blood trails. As the shark
crossed the blood trail, it seemed to pause momentarily,
then continued on its original course only to do a quick
turn around to cross the trails again.

It moved closer…twenty yards back but still out of
range. Then the fin disappeared.
“What do you think, Ben?” Lee asked as he scanned the
“Hard to tell. It may be suspicious, or it may come up
on the bait from beneath. We’ll just have to wait and see,”
A gust of wind tipped a small paper cup from the transom
into the water. The cup didn’t sink but drifted away.
About thirty yards out, a gentle swirl caused it to spin. At
the same time, the dorsal tin of a shark protruded near the

“That devil is playing with the cup,” Lee said as though
he hardly believed it. The shark bumped the cup about like
a cat playing with a mouse. Lee spread his arms in a gesture
of frustration and said, “I tell you, men, I simply don’t
understand it. Here we have all these juicy baits dangling all
about and what does that shark do…he plays with a paper

The fin and the cup disappeared. A good minute passed
before the silence was broken by the noise made by Robin
Lee as he slumped back into the fighting chair.
It was inevitable that Morlan would say, “Maybe he
thinks the cup is the hat of a midget from Texas.”
They remained in that area all morning but no more was
seen of the shark. Early in the afternoon the hunt was
moved to another spot three miles southeast.

One o’clock rolled around; then one—thirty. Time was
running out. For the first time the four men harbored
doubts of the hunt’s success. Hundreds of feet of l6mm
color movie footage had been exposed, but without a
trophy-size shark there was no ending, no movie.
The minutes seemed to melt away under the heat of the
sub—tropical sun. It was too hot to do any active thinking
and a sort of lethargy settled over the boat. A blanket
smothered conversations and spirits.

Another half·hour passed. Nothing was said as Marler
pulled a bonito out of the bait box and began to slice off
hunks into the water. This abbreviated act of chumming
seemed futile. Afterall, juicy morsels still dangled from the
floats, and apparently they had been rigged in vain.
A few minutes later Robin Lee, who was still slumped in
the chair, casually pointed astern and hesitantly said, “I
think I saw…something.”

“Where?” the others chorused.
“Far back…maybe seventy-five yards,” he explained as
he bolted upright in the chair. “There…there it is again! It’s
coming our way…2igzagging!”
“Yes! Yes! I see it, too!” Marler cried, unable to contain
the excitement in his voice. “It’s coming like a freight
train…a zigzagging freight train!”
The shark veered to the left and made a wide clockwise
sweep from the port side. It circled once but stayed out of

On its second round, the shark tightened the circle and
revealed a length of approximately ten feet. The shark
circled a third time and came within range as it passed
astern. Then it did a quick change in direction as though to
leave the area by the same path from which it had

Lee came to full draw and released the harpoon arrow at
the retreating giant’s head. Line peeled from the bow reel as
the arrow struck and the fish dived.
At the same time Marler fired the engines to life and
shouted a tentative identification on the fish, “I believe it’s
a lemon shark, so be careful. They’ve been known to eat
people.” He moved the boat forward a few feet in order to
keep the shark directly out from the stern.

Before all the line had melted from the bow reel, and the
action transferred to the rod and reel, Robin Lee lifted the
rod out of the transom holder. He backed off a few feet
and awaited the tug on the rod. Instead of a tug, he was
plucked off his feet as though by a giant hand and literally
dragged on his knees up against the transom. He held
desperately onto the big rod and 9/0 reel loaded with
eighty-pound line. The reel brake was on, but he dared not
turn either hand from the rod.

“The brake…the brake!” he yelled. “Someone release
the brake!”
Marler bolted from the captain’s chair and snapped off
the brake. Despite a heavy drag setting on the reel, the
sudden release of the brake caused Robin Lee to roll back on
the deck. He recovered quickly and made it to the swiveled
fighting chair.

Fifty feet back the shark surfaced and dived again, too
quickly for Lee to release an effective broadhead shot.
Robin pumped the rod and reeled in line steadily. Within
minutes the shark surfaced again. Lee planted a broadhead
near the harpoon arrow and again the shark dived.
Unrelenting pressure was applied on the big fish for
another thirty minutes, and it moved back to the surface.
Lee placed two more broadheads in the head between the
eye where the brain is harbored. The shark rolled on its
back and began to sink. The battle was over.

Marler’s speculative identification proved correct. The
trophy was a dangerous lemon shark.
Well, that wrapped up the movie. As they say in
Hollywood, “It’s in the can.”
Back in Destin, as the shark was hung from the scales
and the crowd began to gather to “oh” and “ah” at the
375-pound sight, Bob Lee walked up to Harry Morlan and
was heard to say emphatically, “Harry, now don’t be pulling
my leg…just give me a straight answer. Was that camera
running when I fell overboard yesterday’?”
“Which time,” Morlan asked bravely.

Well, the last time I saw Harry Morlan that day, he was
hastily making his way through the crowd with Bob Lee
close behind.
Much later I overheard a stranger say to another, “Up on
the highway this afternoon I saw this big fellow with a bow
and arrow chasing this other fellow carrying a camera. And
this camera fellow, he was lookin’ back over his shoulder
and yellin’, ‘Just wait and see the movie …. Just wait and see
the movie!”
And the other stranger replied, “These danged tourists
are gettin’ crazier every year.” <——<<<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Improve Your Deer Hunting Odds~ By John Sloan

Bow And Arrow Hunting
April 1990
Improve Your Deer Hunting Odds~ By John Sloan
Are you in a Hunting Rut? Give some of these Old/New Ideas a Trial~ They May Pay Off This Season!

EACH YEAR, as I get letters and calls from deer hunters who have questions
about something I have written, or when I talk with hunters who have attended
one of my seminars, I am amazed at how many simple mistakes these hunters
seem to make. Many of the folks I talk with are experienced hunters. By experienced,
I mean they have spent a lot of time hunting. That doesn’t mean they have been
successful much of the time.


I speak with hunters who still believe many of the old wives’ tales and myths
that have abounded in deer hunting lore for many years. I see hunters who have not
kept pace with change in both equipment and habitat. These changes have affected
the habits of deer and their vulnerability. In thinking back over many of these
calls and encounters, I find that there are six main areas that, if given a little more
attention and thought, can be changed to greatly improve the hunter’s chances of
success. The understanding of these areas requires that much of the hype and bull-
hockey that has been written and espoused must be cut through. Look at the factors
with clear, simple understanding and you will develop a clear, simple understanding
of the animal you are hunting.



There have probably been more words of advice on scouting than any other facet
of deer hunting. Of course, it is important. But it isn’t a great mystery rife with secrets
and complicated formulas. I do most of my scouting in the post-season. Why’? Because
I can see the ground better then. Deer walk on the ground. They do not fly. or climb trees
or hop from bush to bush. They walk on the ground and they prefer certain types of ground to others.

Deer would rather walk where the walking is the easiest. Given decent cover, a
deer is also going to take the course of least resistance. He is not going to climb a steep
ridge if there is a gentle slope nearby that will get him to the same place, but with less
effort. Deer don’t really like level ground. It is harder for them to hide there. They prefer
there be a depression through which they can travel. They prefer to have a ridge they
can get over in a couple of quick jumps. I want to be able to see the contour of the
ground first. Then I’ll take a look at the trees and the brush.

The single biggest mistake a hunter makes is not seeing what he is looking at.
He is not assimilating the material his eyes observe and computing that into what it
means to a deer. Look at the surface of a lake. lf you never consider what is under
that surface, you’ ll not catch many small mouth bass. If you look at the trees, you’ll
never see the forest, to rephrase a phrase.



Each year I am given consulting jobs. These jobs are simply me — the guide —
telling the employer — the hunter — where he should hang his stand. Most of
the time. I have never been on that piece of property before. Here I am, charging $l5O
a day to tell a guy where to put his tree stand. Most of the time, I find that where
he had his stand last year was within twenty or thirty yards of where it should have
been. Too often. a hunter picks a particular tree. because it is a good tree to climb. It
may be a bit out in the open or a touch too far from the trail. but it is a great tree to

The stand has to be in the right place; or you might as well be sitting at camp
drinking Jack Daniels and branch water. Quite often. there is no good tree to climb in
exactly the right place. Your options are simple: You either find another place; or
make do with what you have. Frequently, even a bad tree can work just fine, if you
have a different type of stand or hunt from the ground.

Now I would just as soon be at camp with bourbon and water as sit on the ground.
So I own about four kinds of tree stands. If all you find where you hunt are little saplings,
maybe a ladder stand will work. I suggest placing ladder stands in your selected location
at least four weeks prior to hunting that area. If the trees are all huge or have lots of branches,
a lock-on stand often will work. A tree seat and a board will work in the crotch of a big tree.
A tree sling may work in almost any tree that will hold you up. I use a Quick And Quiet climbing portable stand ninety percent of the time. But if it just won’t work, I’m not so set in my ways that I won’t use something else.

Pick the stand location on the basis of deer movement, cover and the direction of
the sun. I try to have the wind at my face or quartering and the sun at my back. Here in
my state of Tennessee, the sun almost always rises in the east and sets in the
west, but the damn wind can change every twenty minutes and often does. So l don’t
get locked into not hunting a particular tree just because the wind is wrong. I simply
adjust for that.

I have often wondered just how many different scents and lures there are on the
market. I have also wondered just how many of them even come close to being
what they are reported to be. Here in Tennessee, thousands of words have been
written about a lovely teenage girl who has bagged several nice bucks over the past
couple of years using her favorite perfume. I don’t doubt it. I have a tale or two myself.
You can do everything wrong and still kill “Ol’ Snort.”

One day last hunting season, I did everything wrong. I used no masking scent or
attracting lure. I made plenty of noise going to the stand. I got in the wrong tree, waited
fifteen minutes and climbed down and moved. It was a warm, windy day and the
ground was wet from rain the day before. I had eaten a Mexican dinner the night before
and Montezuma was taking his revenge. I got down and attended to that ~
five feet from my tree. I didn’t expect to kill anything, I was just marking time.

I shot the nine-pointer ten minutes later at a remarkable six feet. I literally could
have stabbed him with a spear. Maybe he liked enchiladas? Maybe we’ve discovered
something. When it comes to masking human odor, the best product on the market costs thirty-
five cents. It’s called soap and you add water to it and use it regularly. There are
also some products that are said to eliminate human odor. I don’t know about total
elimination, but a couple of them do a pretty good job on boots and hats. I do use
them some, but only as an addition to keeping my body and clothes clean. There
is no substitute for that.

As far as attracting lures are concerned, the only thing I use is an estrous scent during
the rut and pre-rut, then use it sparingly and preferably in a spray format. The key in
using these scents is to be sure the stuff is good quality. Concerning animal urine on my
boots: I don’t use it. I doubt the urine hurts anything, but I also doubt it helps anything. I
also have not been able to see one bit of difference in leather and rubber boots, as
far as scent control goes. Just watch where you wear your boots; I really don’t think
gas or motor oil on your boot soles does much good. I do wear plastic surgical
gloves going to and from my stand. After all. it is my hands that push the branches
out of the way.


There have been millions of words written on calling and rattling. I wrote some of
them myself. I am a firm believer in calling and rattling at certain times. I am also a
firm believer that neither of these techniques are magic. They work only sometimes.
I call a lot and rattle maybe ten days a year. I call softly and usually try to sound
like a doe. If a hunter has not included calling and rattling in his or her bag of tricks,
one should consider it. Learning to do it properly may spook some deer in the beginning.
So what? There are plenty of instructional cassettes, videos and books to reference. Use
some common sense and sort out what works best for you. If you never try it, you’ll never know if it works.


In the past eight years, I have killed sixty deer. I need that many to feed my
family; that is well below the legal limit where I live. I have not killed a deer that
was over 150 yards from any sort of road. Of the ten deer I killed last year, eight were
within seventy-five yards of a road. Three of those were within thirty yards of a road.
Too many hunters walk as far back in the woods as they can before even considering
a stand site. Their rationale is to escape the other hunters and have all
the deer to themselves. Now if most of the hunters are thinking that way, it doesn’t
take a genius to see the long walk in is accomplishing nothing.

I much prefer to hunt where the deer are. If my scouting has revealed a super
stand fifty yards from a road, that’s where I hunt. If the deer don’t care about the
road, why should I’? I’ll go ahead and let the deep woods hunters have the deep
woods. I’ll stay up by the road and enjoy the lack of hunters and plenty of deer.
I have, on several occasions, killed deer within sight of my truck; I mean within
forty yards of my truck. Many of my friends and paying hunters have done the same
thing. One of my hunting partners coined the phrase, “If you can’t see the car, you’ve
gone too far.”


A popular soft drink had a slogan, which ran something to the effect, “Good
at 10-2-4.” I have found that you can apply that to deer hunting. I have been
keeping some pretty good records on the times of day we are killing deer with my
guide service. In 1988, of the forty-two deer killed, all but four were killed after
7:30 a.m. The majority were killed between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.On our afternoon
hunts, we had poor success last year. Only six deer were killed in the afternoon and
those were killed between 4:15 and 5:03 p.m.

Here, where we hunt, all the deer were killed at least one hour after daylight and
one hour before dusk; our legal shooting time here is daylight to dusk. In the past
few years, we have seen but little deer movement either early or late. What deer
we do see are usually does and yearlings. The majority of the big bucks we take
are shot around nine or ten in the morning when many hunters have left the woods.

Now I don’t even go to the stands until I can see well enough to shoot.
To put all of this in a nutshell: Scout in the post-season. Find good-looking areas
with deer sign and the sort of terrain deer like to travel. Pick out one or two stand
trees. Go back late in the summer and see if the deer are still there and if you can
shoot from your selected stand trees. If not, trim till you can or move.
Pick all stands on the basis of shooting a deer, not because it is such a good tree to
climb. If your stand won’t work, get one that will. Buy one, build one or borrow

Take a shower. If it is hot, shower two or even three times a day. Wear clean clothes.
Change twice a day, if you have to. If a set of cammies costs you $75, isn’t it worth
$75 for a good buck? Remember, the best camo you are ever going to wear is called
sitting still. Keep your boots clean and use a cover scent if you wish, but be sure that
cover scent is natural.

If you are not calling and rattling, try it. Investigate the products on the market, listen
to some seminars or cassettes, pick the products that appeal to you. Don’t use
calling and rattling as a last resort: use them as primary tools. Don’t be misled into
thinking all the deer are five hundred yards back in the woods. One editor of a popular
bowhunting magazine kills most of his bucks in his neighbor’s backyard.Re-think the old
saw about, “All the deer are killed right at daylight and right at dark.” It just ain’t so. If
you are getting tired and fidgety by 8:30 a.m. and are on the ground, “scouting” by nine,
try going into the woods at seven and hunting until eleven.

Quite simply, use some common sense and think about the animal you are hunting. Whitetail
deer, sharp as they may be, are not mental geniuses. You can out think some of them. Do some simple, basic things until you are ready to try the college-level tactics. Most of all, enjoy
what you are doing and give some of these different techniques a try. They can pay
off for you.

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

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

April 1990

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Whitetail Habitat and Habits~ By Bob Grewell

Bow And Arrow Hunting
October 1990

Whitetail Habitat and Habits By Bob Grewell


Bowhunters And Deer Are A Lot Alike – Learn More About Your Game and Improve Your Score!


A HUNTING PARTNER gave a few of us some good advice when he explained
about using known whitetail feeding grounds he had been tree-standing successfully
for three years. He favored a ridgetop plateau crowned with oak and hickory. To his
advantage, a brushy stream-lined ravine skirted the east side of its base. Below
this flat on the south and west sides was a massive cornfield. A bedding growth
of tangled honeysuckle and blow-down timber wrapped around the northern
lower third. It set the stage for suitable bowhunting habitat. Deer frequented the
ridge for mast and had all they needed: food, water and cover. Picking a spot
and waiting for deer movement was his proven technique.


This ridgetop was also used by early- season squirrel hunters quite regularly
Although we bowhunters don`t directly emulate the methods of squirrel-gun
hunters, Gary picked a stand site in this area, right on the perimeter where the
landscape dropped over and down into corn and bedding. This kept him directly
away from squirrel-hunting activities, but still put him in touch with a major
deer-escape route. He had selected ideal habitat, relied on deer feeding and
bedding habits and positioned himself so squirrel-hunter movements would
probably force fleeing deer past his stand.

The last day of the early season, he hadn’t been settled more than thirty
minutes when he heard the faint sound of voices far off into the hardwoods. The
hunters who were stalking the woods that morning were friends of Gary`s and
knew he was bowhunting, so they stayed away from his stand location. Shortly
after their voices broke the silence, a fat doe and apparently her two offspring
slipped past his tree and down over the hill. The action looked promising.


Before Gary had a chance to get settled again, a muffled shot was heard;
then another. Within two minutes he noticed movement in the trees. Walk-
and-stop, walk-and-stop; the buck was sneaking through the hardwoods at a
snail`s pace. Constantly looking back toward the squirrel hunters, the whitetail
didn`t pay much attention to what was in front of him. Appearing as if he felt
he had eluded the human interference, the cautious buck stopped behind a tree
not fifteen yards from Gary.


When the buck turned and looked back toward the squirrel hunters after their
voices broke the silence, Gary eased into full draw. The buck took three steps
and stopped, alert, but not frightened. The arrow whispered as it gilded into
the buck`s chest cavity. He flinched and jumped straight up. Standing motionless
and looking all around, he wobbled a little. Then, trotting past Gary`s tree, he
attempted to walk downhill, stumbling, then rolling into a briar patch. Even
though the buck lay motionless, Gary sat back down. ’


He had picked a good habitat location and took advantage of the whitetail`s
habits in this area. He also used the squirrel hunters activities to his advantage,
knowing the buck would avoid their presence. Although this bowhunter
is a rut-hunting enthusiast, he never fails to be afield before or after the rut.
The first two or three weeks of whitetail bow season are not perfect
times to be looking for rutting bucks. A bowhunter is not likely to be found
seated in close proximity of a “hot” scrape, because they just aren’t prime.


Even though one can`t concentrate on whitetail mating urges to be successful,
it is a great time to be afield. The deer haven`t been pressured a lot by hunters.
The weather is not deplorable and there are lots of deer. Many hunters score on
whitetail bucks even when these trophies aren’t yet interested in mounting a doe.
Whitetail and bowhunters are alike in many respects. Our habits and habitats
coincide. The whitetail faces a different set of problems on a daily basis, even
though some are like ours. They must develop habits that mesh with the conditions
of their habitat.


The whitetail deer generally leads a life of comfort, seclusion and sometimes
just plain luxury, except for hunting season, human pressures and changing
weather. Food, water and protective cover are all around them. This is a
“key” bowhunters can capitalize on each season. When mating urges haven`t
reached a focal point, basic necessities are a hunter`s asset as well as a deer’s;
in many cases, even more exacting than the short-spanned exposing effects of a
traveling, sex-hungry buck during the rut.


The common practice today is to hunt whitetail bucks during the peak of their
rutting activities. There`s nothing wrong with taking advantage of this natural
urge and the high-exposure effects it has on a buck`s actions. In many instances
and terrain locations, rut-hunting provides a bowhunter with an exceptional
chance to take a secretive buck. But if he waits solely for those few weeks of
prime sexual behavior, a bowhunter is missing out on a lot of other chances to
take deer.


Logically, bowhunters are constantly searching for the fastest, simplest and
least expensive means of arrowing a buck. The usual method of pursuit that
ups the odds in one’s favor is to take advantage of the exposing effects mating
has on a buck as he searches continuously for a receptive doe. But deer
activities won’t always be predictable or on time and hunters limit their opportunities
when hunting solely for mating bucks.


There are many opportunities available prior to and after the ritualistic
mating cycle that can expand one`s chances. The ability to pattern buck
exposure is more prominent when they are stimulated by their annual sexual
drives. This erratic response does help one to set up more productive stand
sites and enables a bowhunter to see more deer, more often. Patterns of travel
become more consistent and timely as bucks spend increased time on the hoof
looking for ready to mate does. Rutting bucks are a little more prone to being
visible when they are crazed for estrous does. For that we can be thankful, be-
cause bowhunting is a limited opportunity sport. anyway.


There are thousands of bowhunters who take deer each year and don`t count
on mating activities as a catalyst for success. Not that it`s any easier, because
a hunter must work just as hard and be just as smart to outwit a sneaky
buck. When we enter whitetail habitat looking for a place to hunt, it can appear
confusing. Local deer know it thoroughly. But for us, it`s like walking onto
a new car lot…so much to look for, so much to choose from. The buck usually
only exposes himself when feeding, watering and traveling to and from
bedding locations. These are the key points to concentrate on during any
given day. Habits and habitat knowledge will put you on better bucks when they
aren’t on the move for doe.


Bowhunters who plan to take bucks prior to and after the rut need to spend a
lot of time in the field. Relying on previous areas of success is a major
ingredient when taking deer, if the landscape hasn’t been altered to move
deer out or change their habits too dramatically. Deer associate with sights
and sounds in their home range. When changes occur, these animals are
automatically alerted. Although whitetail habits seldom change greatly, they do
change travel habits and feeding locations if habitats are rearranged or some form
of interference dictates their mood. But for deer that live in specific areas year round,
these changes are minimal. That`s why it is important to get to know an area
well. Learn the contour of the land, the locations of food, water and bedding.



These natural architectural features will control the daily habits of deer. Every
effort of scouting will build a storehouse of valuable information in your favor.
When a bowhunter pursues a buck without relying on rutting activities, the
hunter must study intensely. Talk to landowners, rural mail carriers and successful
hunters. Tap other successful archers knowledge to help you improve
your own. Opinion plays an important role in deer hunting and if it`s a successful
hunter`s opinion, the answers are more prone to be factual details.



Whether before or after peak rutting desires are aroused. food is a critical
influence that stimulates deer movement patterns. Bedding sites are important, as
well. The routes of travel leading to and from feeding and bedding areas are
walkways to guard. When a bowhunter is after his buck under normal conditions,
study whitetail habits and the structure of the habitat.


Any buck not interested in does is especially concerned with protecting his
own hide. This makes him tougher to get close to when he`s not overwhelmed by
a female. Extreme caution on the hunter`s part is a must. but bucks aren’t
beyond approach. If you go after a buck that has been bedded throughout the
afternoon, a logical place to set up an evening stand is along a trail that shows
obvious use.


Scouting cannot be over-stressed. Of course, deer aren’t likely to travel the
same trail. the same way. the same time, on an everyday basis. We can`t assume
deer have rigid schedules. But we can determine deer habit patterns more
accurately by thinking food and cover, and using these necessities to our


Ideally, one first locates a prime food source that is being utilized regularly,
whether it is natural. such as acorns, or artificial, like corn and soybeans. By
backtracking game trails adjoining likely feeding areas and potential bed sites,
stand site selection is easier. Choosing two or three possible stand locations
that will place you on the downwind side of predominate daily wind currents
allows you to change positions, because of shifting weather, other human
interference, or noticable habitat changes.


In no way would it be practical to suggest that one should not hunt during the
heat of mating activities. It’s a perfect time to be afield. But no hunter should
rely solely on the sexual urges of whitetails before going hunting. It would
be a genuine loss of productive hunting time to stay home during non-rut days.
If a bowhunter studies and learns normal daily whitetail habits, familiarizes
himself with the details of the terrain he intends to hunt, scouts and determines
the most popular food sources and finds likely looking bedding lairs. the efforts
will amount to a perfect foundation for hunting at any time of the season.


Then by respecting the wind`s fickle effects in exposing your scent, hunting a buck
without relying on the mating urge will be an exciting experience. It will not
only teach you more about your quarry, but will instill you with a sense of pride
from the fact that you took your deer from intentional effort, not just from random
luck. Using whitetail habitat and their habits will put you in the drivers seat.

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Foothills Pronghorn – By Fred and Dora Burris

Bow and Arrow Hunting
October 1990

Foothills Pronghorn ~ By Fred and Dora Burris
Speedy Pronghorn Antelope Are Inhabiting Deer And Elk Domain in Some Locales

WHEN l WAS introduced to hunting, my father taught
me to first spot my game, then plan my stalk. When I took my first
bow and arrow into the hunting field, I was surprised how difficult it was to approach
game to get within arrow range, The most difficult species to approach is pronghorn

In fact, trying to stalk these far-sighted characters of the open sage can be a totally
frustrating experience. They can keep you in sight and out of arrow range day after
day. By hunting water tanks and man—made reservoirs, I could let the antelope walk up
to me. Yet, somehow, I never lost the desire to stalk rather than wait for my antelope.
Later, when my wife, Dora, and I moved to Cody, Wyoming, I found a workable
solution for my stalking fever; it was the foothills.

Although most of the West’s antelope live on the prairies, a substantial number
of pronghorn roam the foothills country. Some roam even higher. On Carter Mountain
west of Meeteestse, Wyoming, antelope range up to and above timberline.

We call the country between the expanded prairie and the rugged peaks, the foothills.
At this point, the terrain undergoes dramatic changes. Low obscure ripples
transform into impressive folds. Shallow depressions develop into deeper and narrower ravines.
Slopes rise abruptly. As the elevation increases, plant life slope
changes, too. Junipers and cedars dot the ridges. Higher up, the junipers and cedars
mix with and give way to the pines. Here antelope, mule deer and sometimes elk
thrive together.

Even though the foothills are better suited for stalking pronghorn, the antelope have
adapted well to life in the higher elevations and steeper terrain. They are alert and
smart. They have sharp eyes like their flatland relatives and foothills antelope
have developed sensitive noses. Most of all, they know how to use the terrain to
their advantage.

The foothills antelope use some of the same survival tricks that their flatland relatives use.
However, they have also added a few new maneuvers they have learned
from the mule deer and wintering elk that share the same foothills environment.
Similar to mule deer, foothills pronghorn often bed down just beneath the
ridgeline with their backs to the wind. This makes it nearly impossible for the stalker
to slip up on them from behind. If the terrain appears favorable, I look for an
approach where I can quarter into the wind.

Since the foothills breezes are shifty, some method of keeping track of the wind
direction is helpful. A small neutral—colored marabou feather tied onto the upper end of
your bowstring will indicate wind direction. Marabou feather fibers are fluffy and
light and they are easily moved by the slightest air current.

Like the elk, the foothills pronghorn often feed just below the ridgeline, yet they
stay high enough to stare over the top of the ridge whenever they raise their heads.
We like to climb high and use this same technique to locate our foothills pronghorn.
Once we are high, we can peek over the ridge top as do the elk and antelope.
Only the top of the head and eyes are exposed for possible detection. That is a
great deal less than the complete profile of a human.

Much like the prairie antelope, the resting foothills herd is sometimes protected
by a single lookout; this sentry is often a doe. The lookout lies on the crest of the
ridge or an elevated position and constantly watches.
If danger is spotted, the guard jumps to its feet. A warning snort follows and the
herd alerts. Now all the herd focuses in on the potential danger. If frightened, the
foothills pronghorn can vanish in seconds down a steep draw or over the next ridge.

Since the foothills are often steep, sturdy shoes help support the arch and ankle. Our
personal preference is a shoe six inches high with a soft, aggressive sole and heel.
The rugged sole gives added traction and the heel works much like a brake while
traveling down hill.

Wedge soles can slip on loose dirt or gravel. l learned this while hunting the
precipitous foothills north of our Cody home. Fred Marks and 1 were contouring a hillside
when I lost my looting. The wedge soles skimmed over the loose gravel like downhill
skies on snow. l was fast approaching the top of a fifteen—loot sandstone cliff when l
realized the danger I was in. I flopped down on my belly and dug in my elbows
and toes. l was shaken, scratched and bruised. It was also the last time I wore
wedge soled shoes in the hills.

In addition to good shoes, proper camouflage is a helpful foothills item, Choosing
the appropriate camouflage color or pattern for the foothills is not as difficult as
many other hunting situations. During archery season, the foothills colors range
from fall gold to rich juniper green. Therefore the choice of camouflage can vary,
too. We have used camouflage clothing with backgrounds from light tan to jungle
green. All have worked well for us in the foothills.

Once, while I was hunting with my Uncle Orville, he dressed in light gray-blue coveralls.
I was amazed at how difficult he was to see among the varied shades and shadows
of the foothills. For those of use who must wear eye glasses, there is always the possibility of
our glasses’ rims or the glass itself reflecting sunlight. In addition, eye glasses fog
when a person perspires during colder weather. I tried unsuccessfully to use contact lenses
to overcome these problems.

My own personal prescription is difficult to fit with contacts. Therefore, I use the
sun and natural thermals to help me over- come these disadvantages associated with
eye glasses. To reduce reflections, I like to hunt both evening and morning with the sun to my
back and the wind in my face. Putting the sun at my back helps prevent the direct
contact of the sun with eye glass frames and lenses.

There is another more important advantage: It is just as difficult for a pronghorn to
look into a low sun as it is for you. Therefore, it is more difficult for an antelope to spot a
careful hunter or a reflection when the hunter has the sun at his back.
Here in the Rocky Mountains, our pre-dominate winds blow from the west. By
hunting a drainage that flows from west to east, I can usually have the early morning
sun to my back and the breeze in my face.

As the sun warms the foothills, the thermals sometimes shift by the afternoon. If
this shift takes place, I hunt the late afternoon from west to east. Again, I have the
sun at my back and the breeze in my face. In the foothills country, some of the
large ranches allow hunting without fees, but some also restrict the hunting to two
weeks in November. This is a cooperative compromise between the ranches,
sportsmen and the Game and Fish Department. However, this bars the bowhunter
during archery season. Although this is somewhat of a disadvantage for the
bowhunter, all is not lost. The foothills contain some large parcels of public lands
that are open to hunting.

Many of these public lands have state highway or county road access to them.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has excellent maps of many areas that
indicate land ownership. These maps outline deeded, state, BLM, Forest Service Lands,
etc. A BLM map of the area you plan to hunt is helpful.

For Wyoming map information, con-
tact: Bureau of Land Management, P.O.
Box 518, Cody, WY 82414.

For Colorado map information: Bureau
of Land Management, 2850 Youngfield
St., Lakewood, CO 80215.

For Montana: Bureau of Land Manage-
ment, 810 East Main, Billings, MT

When you write for map information,
ask for a map order form. The map order
form includes a map index for that particular state. Maps cost $4 each and the
scale is 1 to 100,000.

One of my most memorable antelope hunts took place in the foothills a few years
ago. Dora and I spotted a Pope & Young Club record buck in the foothills just below a
pine-covered hog—back. For the next hour and a half, I crept forward up a shallow depression,
traveling on my hands and knees. I crawled on my belly to get to within arrow range. Then I
waited for more than ten minutes for the buck to tum broadside. Somehow I managed
to slowly bring my bow into position and draw my arrow without detection.

As I look up on my office wall and see the old buck, I relive that stalk over again.
Since then I have stalked the foothills for pronghom as often as I can draw a permit.
Most of the time, the pronghorn easily outsmarts me. But the foothills country is the
place to test your stalking skills for pronghorn. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Grassland Bucks~ By Ralph Quinn

Bow And Arrow Hunting
October 1990


WHEN bowhunters think of wild, game-filled territory, they
often think of the rugged Rocky Mountains. Yet, some of the our most pristine
and productive big—game country lies in a corridor of grasslands occupying
landscapes west of the Mississippi river.
It begins in eastern Minnesota, with outliers in Iowa and Missouri, the
grasslands stretch westward to the Rockies, plunging south from Alberta to
the Texas Panhandle. Within this geographic zone, there’s a variety of
habitats from high desert plateaus, sagebrush flats to lowland savannas with
marvelously rich soils. Unlike the mountains, grasslands are subtle in nature —
as are the animals that inhabit these unique biomes.

Life here is compressed into a shallow zone between the soil and the tallest
trees. This is a land of arroyos and coulees, cottonwoods, yucca, bunch
grass, prickly pear, wild plum and wild roses. At first glance, this stark, wind-
swept country seems devoid of wildlife; but on second glance, the grasslands
come alive. In the vegetative understory sharptail grouse, rabbit, fox, coyote and
badger scamper about. On nearby prairies and sagebrush flats, sleek prong-
horns roam freely. And somewhere in the rolling flower—specked hills and
cedar edges, if we glass long enough, are deer — both whitetails and mulies.

My first encounter with grassland bucks came in 1985 during an antelope
hunt in the cattle, sheep and coyote country west of Faith, South Dakota.
Duane Bemstein, animal control specialist with the Game, Fish and Parks
Department, had invited Bill Epeards and me to sample the hunting on the prairies in
his jurisdiction. It was here I gained full appreciation of how numerous and how
cagey flatland bucks can be.

During the first three days of our scheduled seven—day outing, we concentrated on decoying
pronghorns, but it was the deer that grabbed my attention. During early—morning and late-evening
stalks, a mix of both whitetail and mulie bucks showed here and there in the dry
creeks and brushy draws that laced the country together. Amazed to find deer in
such open country, I ask our host what we were seeing.

“These whitetail bucks are habitat specific, preferring to mix open spaces
in August and September with the seclusion of cedars, breaks and bottoms in
October and November,” Bernstein explained. “I guess they want privacy
early on and nighttime forays into the grasslands provide it. With browse,
water and bedding cover readily available, the deer stick in this kind of country,
especially the whitetails. They`re highly adaptable and to hunt them successfully
with bow and arrow you have to do the same.” This is an important
lesson for hunters wishing to pursue grassland bucks for the first time.

The following season — 1986 — I traveled is the mixed prairie and sage
country of Wyoming`s Area 24 near Ranchester and bowhunted the Tongue
Creek region adjacent to the Montana border. Leo Dube. of Trophy Connections.
runs an elk and mule deer camp out of Sheridan. but it was the whitetails
that really interested me.
“We have more than a few good bucks roaming the river and creek bottoms near
here.” said Dube. “I’ve collected my share of P&Y specimens.
Why don’t you pack your tree stand and climbers and sample the hunting?”
To make a long tale short, I saw some excellent whitetails along the Tongue
River and Clear Creek around Arvada, but settled for a 3×3 on the final day of
my hunt.

Twenty-five or thirty years ago, this section of Wyoming would have been been
considered mule deer country and still is, yet in the last decade, whitetails have
made a strong showing in the bottomlands. From all indications, they’re there to stay.

According to Roger Wilson, wildlife biologist with Wyoming Fish and
Game, based in the Tongue office, whitetails make up twenty—live percent
of the kill in Area 24, and…”the population is high compared to the previous
eight years.”

Neighboring Montana is experiencing a similar pattern, with whitetails making
up a larger segment of the total herd, with many areas expanding at record
Other grassland states -— Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, eastern Colorado — are
showing similar mini booms in whitetail numbers, in spite of near record kills.
“What we have,” comments Kari Menzel, big—game specialist with Nebraska
Game and Fish, “‘is an edge animal that’s adapatable and gets along well in
the eastern prairies. Where we have large blocks of agriculture going on,
he`s at his best, thriving on a number of grain crops, from milo to wheat. Not so
with the mule deer. The more we disturb his nomadic nature, the more we limit
his reproductive potential.”

Another factor directly related to increased whitetail populations is the
food base adjacent to the grasslands. In place of seasonal browse and grasses,
deer have a virtual cornucopia of energy·rich foods to draw on, even during the
roughest winter. As the arms of center~pivot irrigation sweep across the
plains states, the whitetail isn’t far behind, vacuuming surplus grains such
as milo, wheat, beans and corn, plus lush forage like alfalfa, spelts and cane.

A healthy herd translates into increased reproductive potential. The net results
are some pretty heavy—bodied and horned bucks that now roam the
grasslands. If you’re a first—timer at pursuing grassland bucks, I advise, particularly in
new, unfamiliar territory, setting up a 20X spotting scope or tripod-mounted
binocular — 10X — on a high point, then pick the countryside apart. I like to call
this style of bowhunting “bucks by the seat of your pants,” and that’s a pretty
accurate description of the tactic. Watch for activity early and late, keeping in
mind that grassland whitetails prefer to bed low along creek bottoms and feed
high, returning shortly before daybreak.

Mark those points where bucks/deer appear and disappear.
The ideal strategy is to arrive two or three days ahead of your hunt and pinpoint
crossings. traveling, feed plots, etcetera. lf you’re after any deer, set a A
tree stand a minimum of fifteen feet on or near a creek—crossing or grain crop
area and hate at it. But if you are looking for something special, take your
search one step further.

In many grasslands states, both mule deer and whitetail habitats overlap, so
you may have to go with the flow. On private ranch Operations, where access
and harvest are tightly controlled, mulies survive quite nicely, as do whitetails,
in the open prairies and grasslands. Being a habitat generalist, he is comfortable
with foothills, prairie and river bottoms, but prefers open country.

Again, if mulies dominate, set up your glassing operation on a high point and
look for deer movement from 9 or 10 a.m., then concentrate on stationary
objects from 11 to 2 p.m. Mulies usually bed then and, although not entirely
motionless, they’re tough to see. From 3 p.m. on, watch for movement again.
Mule deer like to bed high for visibility, then feed down in evening. Grassland
bucks, whitetails and mulies, have excellent long-range vision, similar to
antelope. So once the game is in sight, it`s still hunting with the emphasis on
If theres one thing trophy bucks have in common, it`s their love of solitude.
Only seldom will a P&Y animal hang around an area where human scent is
present. In searching out these bailiwicks, look along secondary coulees or washes
feeding a creek/river bottom, away from foot traffic. During the rut in late
October or November, bucks hang out around these points creating scrape

In 1987, 1 returned to Faith, South Dakota, for an either/or mulie—whitetail
hunt in the brushy creeks north of town. On the fourth day of my five—day stay, I
discovered such a hot spot. The area was a strong iifty—minute hike from the
nearest access gate. From scrape and rub activity, I guessed several bucks
were using the same staging area. That evening, I got a glance at one of the
participants. Then, on the last day, I took a chance on a forty—yard shot and tagged a
good 5×5. My ticket then was a brief grunt session using a Quaker Boy tube.
Periodically, you`ll discover a creek bottom that provides whitetails with a
natural corridor to food plots without their being seen. Usually these areas are
jungled with dense undergrowth consisting of plum thickets, waist-high grasses
or willow. With few trees to support a tree stand, the bowhunter must still—hunt
the fringes, slowly and deliberately.

With luck and perseverance, you may score.
If you work the rut exclusively — November 8-30, depending on locale —
when trees and brush are bare, camo should be combinations of grays and
browns. And don`t ignore the face and hands. In many grassland states, the
ratio of success usually is measured in how well the bowhunter is camoed.

Again, flatland bucks have eyesight second to none.
About a decade ago, overdraws hit the market with a whimper, but today
they are big business. And, if there’s a place where these devices shine, it`s in
the grasslands. Using an overdraw with cam—powered bows, a 2013 shaft
pushed by seventy pounds drops very little at fifty yards. Thus, accurate sixty-
plus—yard shots are possible. If you don’t own an overdraw, use the lightest-
spined arrow for your draw length poundage. A few grains plus or minus
make a big difference in trajectory at distances beyond thirty-five yards. By
fletching your arrows with four three-inch plastic vanes, you can stabilize
low—profile blades, even in windy conditions.

Another piece of equipment I feel grassland bowhunters shouldn’t be
without is a hand-held rangefinder. They`re light, portable and accurate. By
arriving early, you can “range” and mark a number of points and be ready
for all comers. In dim bottoms and bleak grasslands, it’s tough to estimate
distance, so a large animal usually causes shots to be short. Even though
most bucks are taken within forty yards. there are times when grassland bucks
make their own way.

During my 1988 hunt on the North Fork of the Moreau River at Usta,
South Dakota, I played the odds, placing my stand on a trail leading from a
bedding area. Much to my dismay, an “elevator” buck showed on a path
directly behind me. The rangefinder said fifty—plus yards. Within seconds, the
2013 X—7 was on its way. It was an easy mark and the buck traveled thirty
yards before piling up. If you miss an opportunity, chances are the buck will
avoid the area completely for a time.

Even with overdraws, rangefinders and cam—powered bows, the hunter
needs every advantage to get a leg up on these flag—tailed wizards. Even then,
nothing is sure until the last minute of the hunt. Last season, Wyoming expert
Leo Dube used rattling exclusively and had trouble keeping the small bucks out
of his setup. Duane Bernstein used a bleat call with some success in 1988.
My best performance came from using a combination of grunts and rattling. The
innate curiosity of the whitetail is legend and making it work is a matter of

For readers interested in hunting grassland bucks, the opportunities are
almost endless. Beginning in South Dakota`s Badlands near Belvidere and
continuing west through northeastern Wyoming near Hulett, whitetails roam
wide and free. To the south, central Nebraska’s Platte River region west of
Grand Island is great. Eastern Colorado`s plains south of Sterling is another prime
habitat worthy of consideration. So is northwestern Kansas, west of Hill City.
And so the story goes. <—<<<

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Published by archerchick on 16 Feb 2011

Bowhunting The Third Season ~By Ralph Quinn

Bow And Arrow

Bowhunting The Third Season ~ By Ralph Quinn

LASHES OF GRAY light were beginning to punch
holes in a seamless canopy of inky clouds as I hiked
toward a distant hedge-row. The bitter December wind slowed
my progress. Periodically, l`d huddle against the cold, glass the expanse of
corn stubble, then continue. Twenty minutes later I arrived at the ancient oak


Seemingly for the hundredth time, l`d scale the main stem, anchor my portable
perch in place and watch another day end in the farm country of southern
Michigan. Hopefully, however. tonights hunt would be different.
For three days now the weather had been typical of third-season hunts: rain,
sleet. snow and sub—freezing temperatures; the local deer herd was under
wraps. With the Canadian front passing to the north, the bucks would be on the
move again. Thoughts were still bouncing about when the first whitetails
entered the field from the south. Single file. like ants in a line, the animals
picked their way through the dense cover surrounding the planting, then
flooded across the field.


Temporarily distracted, I didn’t notice the entrance of a second group from the
east; four bucks, led by a high—racked trophy. Almost on cue, the big Whitetail
turned south and stiff—legged to the center of the corn stubble. From here, the
buck diverted his attention on the feeding herd. The staredown continued for
several minutes. Satisfied, the big boy put his legs in motion and headed down
the fencerow.


Checking the wind as he moved, the buck ambled closer. In a few seconds
the animal would be opposite my stand and I’d have to make a move. As the
buck reached the brushed shooting lane I carefully leaned away from the tree.
The bow eccentrics rolled over. The sight pin found its mark. At the release,
the buck exploded into full flight. I followed the whitetail’s noisy escape.


Fifteen minutes later I took the trail. The path was easy to follow in the
drifted snow. In the beam of my flashlight the blood showed bright red.
Fifty yards into the secondary maple growth I found my prize wedged against
fallen timber. If you haven’t guessed it by now, bowhunting the third/ late
season for whitetails in farm country is, in a word, fantastic. Under normal
early—season pressure, dominant bucks are almost entirely nocturnal.
These animals are solitary and avoid contact with man.


In mid—October the bow and arrow hunter may get a brief glimpse of a trophy buck
as it makes a hasty retreat from a food plot After a few of these accidental
chance meetings the whitetail begins to pattern the hunter who is at an extreme
disadvantage. The rut in early November changes the picture slightly in favor
of the bowhunter, but you still have to cash in on the temporary distraction.


During December, the third season, the story is different. Initially, my interest in
late—season bowhunting centered on avoiding the crowd. A few years back it wasn’t
unusual to run into a few bowhunters in the cornbelt region. Today, however,
that’s changed. Lease hunting, increased numbers of two- and three-season hunt-
ers and a surge in bowhunting numbers has forced the devotee to adopt a different
time slot or give up serious hunting. For me, the solution was simple:
hunt the third season — December —— and eliminate all but the most hardened
whitetailers. There are other, more important considerations, too.


When game departments establish seasons on whitetails, top billing is given
to peak rut periods. Bowhunters are given an excellent opportunity to tag a
trophy before the gun hunt. In Michigan, for instance, the peak rut period occurs
during the first full week of November and continues to mid month. Bowhunters
who stick with late fall early winter have a good chance of tagging a buck, if
they are able to tough it out. A few dominant bucks are tagged during the
firearms season, but once the army of redcoats disappears, the late-season fan
can get down to the serious business of buck hunting; not for immature 1 1/2-year-
olds, but breeding bucks in the 3 1/2-to 4 1/2-year class.


In December, snow typically blankets the whitetail’s world and after a few
brief flurries of “secondary rut” activity—— when multiple bucks pursue unbred
does — the average buck is primarily concerned with food gathering, not
breeding. Not that the late-season trophy is a dumb goat pursuing such
urges. With fat reserves low. bucks will feed often and travel long distances to
get nutritious high—energy grains like corn, soy beans, milo. It’s this behavior
that puts the Whitetail in front of the hunter’s sights and, in many instances.
during good shooting light


Another factor playing to the advantage of the late—season hunter is the
social interaction of whitetails December/ January. Early in the year,
bucks buddy around in bachelor groups. As the rut approaches, they disband
going solo much of the time. ln the mid season, subordinate bucks will rejoin the
herd and even though dominant bucks may not travel with the group. they are
always close by, on the fringes. lt`s the post season yarding or changing of
habitat that makes late hunts so productive. One of my best whitetails came in
1985 from such a setup.


During the pre-rut in late October, I’d located a prime scrape area, adjacent to
a pothole-infested bottom and from the activity I guessed a number of bucks
were using the locale. Rubs, territorial and breeding scrapes lined the trails and
openings leading to and from this hideaway. The weeks prior to the mid-November
firearms season slipped by with only one sighted an eight point, but
I knew there were more. Each time out I guessed wrong and the whitetails some-
how escaped. The gun hunt arrived November 15. The weather was
inordinarily warm and breeding fell off sharply. The rutting bucks went into
neutral and didn`t surface until December 8.


When I pulled my bow up the spindly cottonwood the temperature hovered at
a grim l2 degrees F. By sunset, it dropped into the single-digit area. The
whitetails showed at 5:30 p.m., right on schedule. but by the time the buck got
within range it was dark, dark. Three days went by and the story didn’t
change, too late and too dark. On‘the fifth try, however, I got my chance and
temperature played a key role in the outcome.


The mid-day high on December 13 was a record low for that date; the thermometer
registered l0 degrees. I thought of canceling the hunt, but by
late afternoon I was bundled in down and wool, waiting. If the whitetails
moved early I’d get the chance. My prediction was correct and the herd showed
at 4:30. By dusk, the herd buck, a good 5×5, fed below my stand. A twenty-tive-
yard shot and I tagged my sixth late-season whitetail.


Once you’ve located an area where deer are actively feeding and traveling,
skirt the region and make note of routes entering heavy cover. These will usually
be bedding regions. Now, back up and find a zone that has sufficient cover to
hide a buck’s comings and goings and set up. Too many hunters stand at the
margins of feed plots and expect a buck to drop in their lap. After a Whitetail
enters a food area, he’s on alert, looking for danger. He expects danger in the
open, particularly in good light. Dozens of eyes and ears from herd members
don’t help the cause any. By taking a stand some distance from a grain field
or mast crop, in adjacent covers, you stand a better chance of getting a shot
on a respectable animal.


Away from feed areas, whitetails on the move are alert, but not as
easily spooked. Generally, the closer the bedding area is to food plots, the more
alert the animals will be. Stay well back and you`ll be better off.
Of the problems confronting third-season bowhunters, temperature has to
be the biggest obstacle to success.


Actually weather can be a two-edged sword. Low temps make whitetails
travel and feed over a wider range to maintain body fats, so the bowhunter has
a better opportunity of scoring. However, grim can and do play havoc with a bowhunter
locked in a tree stand. Cold feet, legs and numb fingers are tough to control under stress.


You can ease some of the pain by warming your trunk – chest region – with a down vest, then the feet and head. Insulated felt boot packs are, in my opinion, the best for cold weather bowhunting. I generally layer clothing to to maximize heat retention: cotton and wool socks, plus wool blend underwear, followed by wool pants and sweaters. Cover the head with a quality wool skull cap with eye slits and you’ll endure the cold.


If there’s a weakness in a late season clothing system, it’s keeping shooting/release fingers
warm and flexible. I’ve tried a number of cures and found nothing does the job as well as a leather hand-warmer mitt lined with sheep wool. Additionally, this accessory serves as a spare hand to carry climbing spikes, bow cords, tabs, flashlights, scents, etc. While traveling to and from stand areas, I often wear a white disposable coverall made of Tyvek, then zip out of it prior to climbing the tree. I’ve repeatedly stumbled into whitetails feeding ahead of their scheduled time. Quite often
late-season bucks travel during mid-day periods – 9 am to 2 pm- and bed near food plots. If you’re not prepared you’ll blunder into a situation which could spook the trophy of a lifetime.


Basically, hunt strategy for late-season whitetails is simple. First, find the feed and you’ll find the deer. Second, if does are gathered, the bucks won’t be far away, particularly if a second rut phase is in progress. Under normal late-season conditions – snow covered landscapes – whitetails prefer corn to forage – alfalfa, rye, etc, but if there’s no snow, they’ll be attracted to these islands of green until forced to switch. If there are no crops in your hunt area, concentrate on mast crops such as acorns and beechnuts.


If stand productivity is slow, you might check out the solunar tables, corrected to your geographic area. Scheduling stand periods based on moon phases has merit and is worth checking out. For instance when the moon is full, whitetails feed at night, traveling less in the day. So normal evening and morning stands are not likely to produce well.


However, when a new moon – dark of the moon – dominates, deer feed less after dark and often bed near food zones to take advantage of reduced light periods. With the herd feeding to maintain body temperatures, stands near crop areas during the first and last quarter, plus the new moon usually are productive. And the fact that fewer bowhunters are bumping around can’t hurt the strategy.


Patience and dedication are two traits the late-season bowhunter must possess in large quantities or it will be a long wait between bucks. When your opportunity comes, move slowly. Even though whitetails are more at ease in traveling areas, they aren’t an easy mark. Pick a point and don’t wait for a standing target. It may never come.


Finally, quiet every piece of bowhunting equipment before heading afield. Then you’ll avoid the buck’s second line of defense, his hearing. Bowstrings, eccentrics, quivers, arrow rests, sight windows should be given special attention. In cold weather, sound travels great distances and one false slip could cost you a successful shot.

Third-season hunting is super if you plan well, hunt smart and persevere until the last minute. Remember it’s the persistent bow and arrow hunter who score season after season.

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Published by sliverslinger on 15 Feb 2011

vane clearance problems

Picked up a used 2003-2004 bowtech extreme a few years ago on ebay after my bow was stolen. Have actually wrecked the trophy ridge drop away that came with it and now i can’t index the shorter 4 inch vanes to not make any contact with the trophy taker thats on it now. I either hit the cables or the containment wall of the rest. Cock feather up, i hit the cables. index away from cables i hit the rest wall. any ideas? should i try fletching 4 x 4 inch vanes at 90 degrees? will that work with a three blade broadhead?


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Published by murphytcb on 13 Feb 2011

How long should my micro adrenaline last

I got a browning micro adrenaline for free, its an 05/06 swill this bow last for a while. I am just getting into bow hunting but want to practice alot before i go into the field and heard good thins about this bow. It is set to 28” draw and 50lbs. it shoots real nice and has a 4 pin tru glo sight . should this last me a while. thanks for the info

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Published by TikkiMan05 on 12 Feb 2011

Trophy Ridge VS Cobra sights…Pros/Cons

Hey yall,

     I’m looking to purchase a new 5-pin sight and have been looking at the Trophy Ridge Hitman and the Cobra Python. I’m on a limited budget and I’ve been looking around, and so far it looks like I can get either one for around $70. What’s yall’s opinion between the two? Anyone that owns one, how do you like it and have you had any issues with it? Thanks for yall’s help and input.


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