Published by striper on 30 Jul 2012
CURIOUS ON THESE ARROWS AND IF THERE WORTH THE MONEY.HEARD THE OUTSERTS BEND.ANYONE HAVE ANY ADVICE ON THESE THANKS FOR YOUR ADVICE
Published by striper on 30 Jul 2012
CURIOUS ON THESE ARROWS AND IF THERE WORTH THE MONEY.HEARD THE OUTSERTS BEND.ANYONE HAVE ANY ADVICE ON THESE THANKS FOR YOUR ADVICE
Published by archerchick on 25 Jul 2012
Published by archerchick on 25 Jul 2012
Archery World – October 1987
My “Dream” Buck by – Michael Henson
Well concealed and silent, the westerner stalked his trophy steadily for more than three hours; like a magnet, it attracted more and more deer. Suddenly, his bowhunting partner appeared and spotted the deer, pulled his bow out of the truck and loosed the perfect arrow.
I refocused my rangefinder and looked at the yardage indicator once again. “Sixty-two yards. I don’t dare move any closer,” I said to myself. Glancing at my watch, I realized that three hours had gone by since I first spotted this record book mulie. My thoughts quickly faded though as my eyes again were drawn to the bedded-buck’s wide 5×5 rack, still in velvet. It moved periodically as he nibbled at the grass around him and methodically chewed his cud.
“He’s gotta be Pope and Young material ,” I thought. Feeding below this buck was a respectable 4×4, approximately 40 to 50 yards away. He was nice, but definitely not the quality of the bedded, larger one. Occasionally, I would also catch glimpses of a 3×3 and a doe who were also browsing a little further downhill. No matter what else was going on, my attention went quickly back to the big 5×5. What a nice animal! In 20 years of hunting deer, with both rifle and bow, I had never been this close to such a fine buck. This truly was a deer hunter’s “dream come true.” But could it come true for me?
This whole dream began in the fall of 1985 after I had moved to Aztec, New Mexico, which is located in the northwestern corner of the state. I relocated there on a job transfer from Minnesota, knowing full well I was leaving excellent whitetail country. However, I knew that I was headed for superb mule deer and elk hunting just north of Aztec, in the San Juan National Forest of southern Colorado. After moving there, it didn’t take long for me to meet the person responsible for my being on this particular mountain — his name — Peter Akins. It seems like the good Lord planned our introduction, so when Peter and I met we found out we talked the same language: archery hunting, specifically, the deer and elk dialect.
Peter himself, has never shot a big-game animal with a rifle. I don’t think he even owns one. However, with bow and arrow it’s a different story. He rarely fails to fill his elk and deer tags. I think he felt sorry for this Minnesota boy, subsequently inviting me to join him and his brothers, Russell and Mark, for the 1986 hunting season in Colorado. I was able to squeeze in my brother Jim, from back in Silver Bay, Minnesota, who ultimately plays a major role in this story. So now here I am, a little over 30 yards from a bedded-down, big 5×5 mulie.
Every time he moves a muscle or turns his head, my pulse quickens. Who would ever think a deer chewing it’s cud could get you so excited! I thought to myself, “Couldn’t I sneak my arrow by those broken trees, partially obscuring his body? This might be my best chance. The wind might change, or simply quit due to an approaching thunderstorm.” But a wee small voice said, “Patience. Just wait — let’s don’t blow it .” So I again relaxed, resting my 65 pound Golden Eagle compound in a small loop on my camouflaged pant leg.
I almost had already. Earlier, around 11:00 a.m. I was still hunting back toward camp, where I was to meet Jim for lunch at noon. It was a perfect day. A slight breeze in my face from below, and the aspen leaves overhead making a slight rustling noise in the background. During the preceding night a much needed rain shower made the walking almost noiseless. I had just moved out of some dense, dark spruce and pine trees into an area of open, mature aspen. I was slowly working my way down to a gravel road, where I would quickly walk back to camp. So far, this morning had been unproductive. I had seen neither elk nor deer, so when I looked downhill and saw a horizontal form approximately 100 yards away, I didn’t think too much about it. My first impression was that it was just another fallen log, but was it? There he was. Moving ever so slightly as he browsed on the lush green foliage. What a magnificent rack! My first thought was, “How in the world am I gonna get close enough in this open aspen for a decent shot?”
Published by archerchick on 25 Jul 2012
Archery World – October 1987
By Richard Martin
Dick, you doing anything right now?”
“Nothing special, why?” “I’d like you to
come out here. Want to show you something? The
man who called was a farmer in north central
Ohio, a longtime friend who lives just a few miles
from my home. And when my pickup lifted the dust in
his driveway he was sitting in his cornpicker waiting
“I’m harvesting about a 40 acre patch of corn here,
and it’s just full of deer, just full of them. They did
pretty good around here on the opening day of gun season, then the
deer just disappeared. Well, I know where they disappeared
I was interested in getting some good closeup
photos of deer, so I readied my camera and climbed up
to the cab, planning to hang on outside and shoot as I
could. Whitetails are notoriously indifferent to tractors, cultivators,
and harvesting equipment, and I expected to get close, but I
wasn’t planning on point blank range!
On the first pass through the com an eight
point buck and two does meandered out,
watched us pass, and faded back into the corn.
On the next a fat six pointer and three more
does walked out and back into still standing
stalks. Finally, I got off the picker and started
hiking in cleared stretches alongside. I could
still get within 20-25 yards of at least a dozen
deer on each pass. They knew that corn was
safe and they just wouldn’t leave until the en-
tire field had been reduced to a few isolated
rows. It was enough to start me thinking.
The Tassel Hassle
Archers don’t seem to give a hoot about
standing corn one way or the other, but gun
hunters hate the stuff. Here in Ohio and
doubtless in other mid westem states when
timber and crops mingle, they like to drive
during the gun season. And once deer have
experienced a drive or two, they head for the
center of big cornfields and stay there.
Most farmers won’t allow hunters to drive
corn for obvious reasons, and those who will
or hunt their own comfields rarely come up
‘with much. The animals ghost from row to
row, circle back around again and again, and
simply refuse to leave unless hard pressed and
hassled to distraction. Corn has kept many a
deer alive for another year.
Once again, archers don’t seem to worry
about standing corn, but they definitely
should because in many places this richly nu-
tritious food supply is an easy way to till the
freezer with venison that’s close to prime
beef. None of your stringy little mountain
deer here, just big comfed bucks that routinely
dress out 150-200 pounds plus. But before
you charge the nearest field of standing
fodder and attempt to fill your tag on a monstrous
buck, there are a few basic points to
keep in mind.
First of all, cornfields are no help at all in
country where everything is com. In areas
where fields of standing stalks stretch on for
miles the deer simply have too much choice.
They can loaf in this 80 acre patch or walk
across a fencerow to visit that 200 acre section,
or hike a few more yards and cavon in
640 acres of good cover. You get the point.
They’ll be in standing com routinely, but you
aren’t going to find them, except by great
The situation you’re looking for, and it occurs
often in the midwest, is a good sized
cornfield nestled in among timber, brushy areas,
rolling hills and valleys, in short, mixed
terrain and limited corn. They’re not hard to
find if you’ll do a little looking and I’ve man-
aged to pinpoint quite a few areas where
farmers plant corn at least every other year
and plant it in territory in the middle of prime
deer country. It makes my day when I drive by
and see those young corn shoots coming up in
One of these is definitely classic and the
first time I saw it, my mouth simply watered.
The field was about 40 acres of already chest
high corn, and on one side stood a brushy area
that was darn near impenetrable! I walked it
through, left a little blood here and there in
thickets of multiflora rose and blackberry bri-
ers and marveled, while I muttered bad things
under my breath, at the deer trails, droppings
and beds. The north side of that field had a
more open collection of hawthorne and
grasses, good warm weather cover, and again
plenty of deer trails and other sign. The third
side opened onto at least a hundred acres of
tall mixed timber, and the fourth bordered a
small highway for easy access.
Even before the corn fully ripened that
year deer began gathering to take advantage of
the rich feeding. They built trails into that
field from all directions that began to resemble minature four lane highways, and I’m surprised that I didn’t fill my tag during the first
weeks of October.
But except for the timber side there was
nothing suitable for a tree stand so I spent
much of my time ground hunting, checking
wind direction at hunts beginning, dressing in
full camouflage with face paint, and taking a
bath in a deodorizing soap before scenting
myself up with a fox urine cover scent or
whatever else seemed promising. I saw plenty
of does, had several within 10-15 yards, and
reached easy range of a forkhorn who seemed
a little small. I passed on him.
There were big bucks as witness their
tracks among the corn rows, but they were
slipping in and out before dawn and holding
up in the thicket where they were safe as in
church. I couldn’t seem to win. Luckily the
landowner held off harvesting that field until
well after gun season and eventually there
came a stormy Friday night with winds and
rain, a night when deer would feed only intermittently.
Morning brought chill weather and
a light misty sprinkle, one of those dawnings
when you KNOW deer will be running late,
and when shooting light arrived I was waiting.
I don‘t wait long.
A fat eight pointer materialized out of the
mist, easing almost silently through rain
moistened stalks, and starting warily at every
sound. But he didn’t see me and I’d already
drawn my Brown Bear compound at the first
sure sign of his presence. The broadhead sped
true and shortly thereafter I was dragging my
winter’s meat to the pickup. Thanks to standing corn.
Enamored Of Cornfields
There are more things to keep in mind,
once you’ve found an isolated cornfield that
shows obvious signs of use by whitetails.
First, it should be obvious that if you hunt at
dawn, deer will be coming out of com while
in the evening they’ll be heading in. S0 you
scout the surrounding land carefully, decide
where they’ll most likely lie up during the day
and plan your tree stand spot or ground blind
accordingly. It pays to have several to take advantage
of wind direction, then you can make
an on the spot decision as to which place is
If you’re into driving for deer, you’ll find
standing stalks a real challenge, maybe more
challenge than you can handle. It’s a total
waste of time to drive a 100 acre field with
four or five men because, again, the animals
will simply circle. You’ll see one once in a
while, a glimpse here, a flashing tail there,
but any shots you get will be at shadows and
no good archer shoots at shadows. If you post
men outside the field in spots where the animals
are most likely to flee for safety, you’re
going to discover that when they leave corn,
they do so in high gear.
On one of the very few times I participated
in a cornfield deer drive, after assuring the
landowner that we’d ease down the rows and
not disturb a single stalk, we finally put out
three does and a forkhorn. The bowhunter
they ran past said, “They looked like bouncing
grey blurs and there was no chance to
make a certain hit. I let them go .”
Maybe you`re wondering at this point why
deer are so enamored by cornfields and
golden kernels of corn when they have long
acres of tasty acorns and other natural foods
that range from crabapples to sumac berries.
The answer is a simple one; like people, deer
are lazy creatures. Why roam around and for-
age as best you can, especially during late sea-
son when the lush vegetation is long gone,
when you can step into a cornfield and have
unlimited ears of high energy, extremely nutritious
corn. Admittedly, acorns have higher
food value, ounce for ounce, than corn.
They’ve more protein and more fats to go with
a high carbohydrate rating, but it’s the carbohydrate
that provides energy to burn and
maintain body warmth in cold weather, and
corn has plenty. They can probe under an oak
all morning for a fist full of acorns, using almost
as much energy as they gain, but every
stalk in a cornfield has at least one ear and
usually two of tasty provender. Wouldn’t you
make the same choice?
Every archer knows there’s no sure thing
in deer hunting. Whitetails are wild and wary,
have fine sight and chokebore noses, and their
ears can pick up a chipmunk’s belch at 50 ·
yards. But there is one situation in cornfield
hunting that comes close to being a fish in a
barrel situation, and I’ll pass it on for those
hunters who can handle the patience and slow,
careful hunting it demands.
This method won’t work well during the
early season when whitetails move in and out
of com at random. They may feed in com
early in the season, but they seldom lay up for
the day there. But in late season when other
cover is sparse and leaves have fallen to ex-
pose the thickets and usual hiding spots,
they’ll often spend their whole day in corn;
Even more so if they’re being hunted hard. So
you wait for dry conditions and a nice, steady
The wind blows through yellowed stalks
then, with a constant rustle that effectively
dampens out whitetail hearing. That steady
wind also limits their sense of smell to one
direction. So picture a late field of standing
com with good cover around, a steady, directional
wind and an archer who feels sure
there’s a good buck or two in there. He heads
upwind and starts walking.
I’ve practiced the business myself more
than once, but I still remember one archer ·
who took his biggest buck ever that way. He
said, “I started in with real care, just step by
step with plenty of time to look up and down
each row. I went about 100 feet that way with-
out seeing anything, then I peeked up and
down one row and saw two deer about 75
yards away. I glassed them with binoculars
and saw they were both does, lying down and
facing away from me. They didn’t even see me
as I slipped across to the next row, probably
because the stalks were tossing in the wind
and they didn’t pick up movement.
“I went another 50 yards before I saw a
grey hump on the ground that turned out to be
a six pointer, and I was tempted then. But it
was still early and he didn’t see me either. I
could always come back. I was clear out in the
middle of the field when I saw a dandy. He
was lying down too, and I could see that bone
white rack. The binoculars said he was a 12
point and I wanted that one bad.
“So I backed up eight or ten rows down-
wind and eased along to where I figured I was
about opposite, then I stepped up a few rows
and saw him just six or eight yards away in an
area where the stalks were thin. He never saw
me very carefully draw the bow and I bet he
never even heard the string snap. That was the
biggest and easiest buck I ever got.”
You can argue ethics here, the question of
shooting a buck that’s lying down, but personally
I have no problem with the situation. To
approach a good sized animal that close on
foot, even with the wind to help, requires at
least as much skill as it does to properly place
a tree stand and take your shot from there.
Either way y0u’re shooting an unsuspecting
animal, and that’s what most archers strive to
That’s only my opinion and you can make
your own decision, but either way you’ll find
cornfield hunting worth the effort, and
there’ll be many a freezer filled with venison
this fall by hunters who find the right situa-
tion. Look for fields with good cover around,
set up ambush sites early, walk the rows late in
the season on windy days and I’m betting
you’ll put a fork in venison steaks, too.
They’re the closest I know to a sure thing, and
worth checking anytime. Those golden kernels
are more than a simple money crop,
they’re also a whitetail heaven.
All Rights Reserved
Published by archerchick on 25 Jul 2012
Archery World October 1987
When the Bulls Won’t Bugle
By Wayne Van Zwoll
The chase led down a rocky wash, then into the dark timber at the head of
a deep draw. The draw became a canyon farther down, beyond where he
could see. If they went there he wouldn’t follow.
The sun was up now, and he was warm. They would be, too, and he’d not see
them in the open anymore. He hurried down, sliding, grappling with the buckbrush,
snatching at the trunks of the trees to slow his descent. He wasn’t being quiet, but they
wouldn’t wait for quiet people.
Meanwhile the elk were being democratic about things. Milling about at a cut in the canyon
side, they drank from a small spring in turn, scrambled up onto the rock trail that hung
like a crooked string along a point that divided the forks of the drainage. They were lower
than he was, and the canyon gaped beneath them. There were six of them, all bulls, Bachelors,
they’d spent the dawn hours nibbling in a meadow on top, jousting with each other. Velvet hung
in tattered strips, but the animals were fat. They’d wandered off the hill into the head of the draw
when the sun got yellow.
He’d like to have got into them then, but they were too far. He’d watched them with his glasses, his belly
pressed into the grass. When they went over the lip he’d follow. But then things had gone wrong. Another
hunter had moved in from the west, and they’d smelled him just at the wrong time. He was 20 steps
from one when this other fellow moved in, 20 steps and the last inch of draw. The elk left.
Then he’d bumped them once himself, run too hard to catch up and got caught in the open. They were
patient because they hadn’t been bothered much this summer and didn’t know about arrows, or didn’t
Now, thought, thye were moving out, Enough was enough. Besides, the sun was up. The end came at the
spring, after most of the bulls had left and were strung out on the trail around the point, headed for the bowels
of the canyon. A yearling bull was waiting his turn and a five-point was standing over the water thinking that
maybe he didn’t want to leave just yet. That’s when the first arrow hit the rocks.
He didn’t pay it much mind because he didn’t know what it was. Then the next arrow rushed at him and it
was deflected. It went deep and he ran and he got up into the sun on the rocks above the trail. Then
everything went askew and he lost control and fell over and was dead.
THE RIGHT PLACES
It took me quite awhile to find that elk in the thick gut of that draw. He’d tumbled a long way. But it hadn’t
taken me much time at all to find him in the first place, in that meadow on top with the other bulls. I was
thankful for that, because when the elk aren’t bugling finding them can be a real chore. To spend more time
hunting and less time looking for elk, it’s important that you look in the right places in the right way.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you are trying to find those silent bulls,
First, know whey they’re silent. If you’re hunting before rut, before bulls are interested in cows and are
still bachelor groups, don’t expect them to bugle. They don’t do it for the fun.
When the rut is over and the bulls are tired, they seperate from the cows, but this time they’re more apt
to go off alone and just rest in a thicket near lots of food. Solitary and secluded, often in heavy timber and
moving very little, such elk can be very hard to find. If they bugle at all it will be at random. They won’t move and
they’re unlikely to pull you in with a string of answers to your elk whistle.
Sometimes elk can be silent during the rut. In areas where the hunting pressure is extreme, bulls hear enough fake
challenges and run into enough bugling hunters to know what is real and what isn’t.
Sometimes they don’t even care to find out, but pack their cows off to some steep, jungly corner of the mountains as
soon as they hear the first note. Outrider bulls that have been kicked around a little learn it’s best to approach a harem
silently, to find out something about the bull doing the screaming, if not to make sure it’s really a bull in the first place.
During rut- and even out of rut – elk don’t always need a reason to act as they do, and it may seem a waste of time
to find out why elk are silent when they probably haven’t reasoned that through themselves. Still,
knowing why, or at least postulating why,
rnakes a difference in how you hunt. If you are
to End elk consistently it must.
If you’re going to be hunting early, before
rut, remember that you’re as likely to find
several bulls together as to find a single bull.
l`ve taken two bulls in August. Both were in
bachelor groups. Of those shot during September, most were alone.
Bulls in groups are tough to find early because one group may hold all the bulls from
many square miles of rugged country. If you
don`t find that group you can do a lot of hiking
for little reward. It’s imperative, then, that
you know how to read sign and know enough
about elk habit to at least make a good guess
as to where the elk will be. Being familiar
with the country is certainly helpful; barring
large-scale disturbance, the same late summer
range will be favored year after year.
When you go early, spend at least a day
just covering ground. Look for fresh elk droppings; disregard sign you think is over a
couple of weeks old. Anything moist is fresh,
of course. Black droppings are older than
brown, but in hot, dry country elk pellets turn
black very quickly. Really old sign will be
leached to a tan color and cracked on the surface,
Concentrate on areas where elk forage:
grassy hillsides, small mountain basins,
openings in the timber where the light can
spur grass growth. Most elk droppings will be
when where the animals eat, albeit they chew
their cud in their beds. Remember, too, that
elk have night-time as well as day-time beds,
and that they may spend half their hours
lounging in a feeding area. They don’t use the
rims and canyon bottoms too much in summer,
because then there isn’t much reason to
seek security cover. You’ll find lots of old
droppings in some pretty inhospitable places,
but don’t look long there for fresh sign.
Tracks will be hard to find in the rims,
even if the bulls are using them, so look in the
meadows, where the elk are likely to feed and
wallow. Look for muddied water in the prints
in wallows. Examine grass and sedge stalks
that are bent (not broken) and have not sprung
back. Fresh rubs on small trees will be white,
often running with sap. Any velvet you see
will likely be very fresh. Use your nose, too,
to sniff beds and trails. Elk have a strong
smell even when they aren’t rutting and if you
can sniff them you can be sure they’re close.
Listen, as you go, for branches snapping in
canyons and thickets, for the whine of calves.
Though the bigger bulls will likely be in their
own group, they may travel or lounge near a
herd of cows, and some mature bulls will be in
the cow—calf bunches.
Last season I saw a big herd of elk on one
of my favorite August ridges. In fact, it was
the biggest herd I’ve yet seen in summer.
There were over 250 animals. Of the 23 bulls
in the group, though, only two were not year-
lings. The big bulls were off by themselves
playing cards, somewhere. I didn’t find them
till later in the season.
It’s very hard to hunt a bull in a big group
of cows like that. Too many eyes are watching
for you, too many ears listening. The wind, it
seems, is always blowing to some animal, even
if the one you want is in the perfect spot for a
stalk. Hunting the harems later is tough, but
pre-rut bulls are more sensible, and they take
their cues readily from the lead cow. Harems
tend to be smaller than late-summer herds of
cows, too. For these reasons it’s a good idea to
try to find a small bunch of bulls, or perhaps a
fragment of cow herd that holds an acceptable
You can break these big elk herds into
more manageable ones, all right, and it’s a
tempting thought. Still, if you frighten more
than a few animals or give your scent to the
herd you’re apt to move all the elk into
tougher country. That happened to some
friends recently. They broke a big group of elk
on opening day. The animals had been using
some rolling ridges that were halt timoereu
and quite easy to hunt. After a few arrows had
been shot the big herd split into several
smaller ones — and all went down into steep,
thick canyons. Thereafter the elk bedded in
those canyons and foraged on very steep, open
hillsides, always in a place that had a commanding
view and good wind coverage.
It`s better not to split such herds or even
hunt them. Nibble at the fringes, if you must.
But when a big herd vacates an area it will
likely take with it any chance you have of finding
a small group of elk and will alert any
resident bachelor bulls.
When you go early, take your bugle. but
don’t use it a lot. A blast or two from ridgetop
at dawn and dusk won’t alarm elk, and it may
bring an answer from a bull that doesn’t have
anything better to do. Be aware, though, that
anytime you bugle you tell the elk where you
are. If they investigate and find out what you
are they will be much harder to approach
later, and harder to talk to.
Even when the rut is on, it’s a good idea to
be conservative with your bugling. Lots of
hunters bugle better that I do, and there are a
lot of different views on how best to whistle a
bull. But in areas where bulls have heard
hunters before you must be careful you don`t
say something you’ll regret later.
For example: One of my hunting partners
is quite handy with a bugle. Last year he was
working some shrubby cover at timberline in
a favorite elk basin. He decided to bugle.
lmmediately he was answered. The bull came in
so fast my friend had no time to set up or move
to better his wind coverage. The bull got well
within shooting range, but presented no good
shot and left when he winded my partner.
Bugling bulls are unpredictable. Setting
up takes time. It may be that the stand you so
painstakingly search for and prepare will be
of no use if the bull that answers decides to
stay where he is. Nonetheless, if you aren’t
prepared to receive a bull, it’s better not to
Once in a while you can find a ridgetop
viewpoint that will serve as a launchpad when
you bugle to locate a bull. If you don’t think
the bulls will come to you or even answer you
more than once or twice, bugling from the top
can put you into elk. A bull that answers
should be stalked immediately, and if you run
the first half you’ll just get there quicker.
Don’t bugle after you get an answer, and don’t
stay on the ridge to see if he will talk to you
unless you are set up to receive him or intend
to come to him as another bull.
Remember that elk cover ground quickly
at a walk, and if the bull that answers you is
moving you may have little time to home-in
before he moves into oblivion. One bull that
bugled at me from 400 yards was about a mile
farther down the ridge when he finally took
my arrow. I had run as much as I dared, and
the footing was good. He was just walking.
Fortunately, he bugled a couple more times
and gave me a line to follow.
If the bulls have become call-shy in the
area you hunt during the rut, try using your
bugle more sparingly, moving into the elk as
you would stalk a deer. You might see more
lone bulls, and you’ll almost surely boost
your chances of penetrating a harem to get to
the herd bull. Bugling just enough to locate
the animals is especially useful if you, like
me, do not sound as much like an elk as an
Hunting after the rut is particularly tough.
By late October even the most garrulous bulls
are silent, and they’re tired. The bigger the
bull, in fact, the more tired he is. He’s spent
from two to three weeks gathering his harem,
servicing it and keeping other bulls at bay. He
hasn’t eaten much, has drawn his strength
largely from stored lipids in his liver. He’s
ready to lie down and eat. He doesn’t want to
play games with hunters, and he’ll go wher-
ever he thinks hunters won’t. He knows lots of
You know the kind of places he ’s thinking
of: the lodgepole jungles, spruce thickets, al-
der tangles. If there were just a few of these
pockets you could hunt them all and eventu—
ally find him. But there are many square miles
of good security cover, and you have to admit
that if they were vulnerable the rifle hunters
would kill a lot more elk and you wouldn’t see
as many bulls as you do. So the thick stuff is
good for both you and the elk. Still, how do
you hunt it?
There’s really no secret here. Unless
you’re blessed with a tracking snow, you must
just work your way to a bull. Think first of all
the places you’d want to be if all you wanted to
do was eat and sleep and not be bothered.
That will eliminate a lot of country. Next,
don’t hunt that country you’ve eliminated —
no matter how pretty it is or how far you can
see or how many elk used it in August. You
can’t spare the time, frankly, to hunt easy
places. Not if you want to kill elk.
Using the elevation to advantage, either si-
dehilling or hunting up half a day and down
half a day, work the mean stuff. Be extremely
conscious of the wind. Be quiet, too. Lone
bulls are a lot more alert to snapping twigs
than were those herded elk you stalked in Sep-
tember. You won’t see many elk now, and the
going won’_t be easy; but this is hunting at its
best. Any bull you arrow this way will be a
trophy. It is a challenge few hunters accept,
Whenever you hunt the silent elk, recog-
nize that you’ll see fewer animals than when
they’re vocal. A positive outlook is crucial,
and you won’t have it if you’re thinking about
all the elk you should be seeing or the latest
magazine article that described a small band
of archers fighting off hordes of screaming
bulls. Face reality. Hunt harder. Smile. Shoot
a grouse for supper. Remember that the elk
are close. Your scouting and knowledge of elk
habit and the country have confirmed that. All
you need to do is find out exactly where they
A post—script: There are some things that
all elk hunters should know and successful
hunters do know. They’re simple, logical
things and easy to remember. Oddly, a lot of
hunters act as if they never heard of them.
They’re basic things, the kind of things you
never talk about with other hunters because
you think they’ll think you’re talking beneath
The truth is, elk are very basic creatures,
and they survive by doing a few basic things
very well. A lot of hunters are much too so-
phisticated to kill elk regularly. If you want to,
though, review these things:
Buy good binoculars and use them like
you’d use your eyes. This is especially impor-
tant when the elk don’t bugle because you
can’t locate them with your ears. Those bulls
don’t switch off their senses, ever. Make the
most of yours. Give yourself lots of time to
glass from ridges, particularly at dawn and
dusk, and glass the heavy cover around you
when you work the thickets. You could spot
the antler tine of the biggest bull you’ll ever
Get yourself in shape. In the off-season
keep exercising regularly. It should hurt a lit-
tle and should be a real nuisance. If it isn’t you
aren’t doing enough. Often I’ve been just too
late to catch a bull passing through an open-
ing, too tired to get around a feeding herd in
time to beat the thermals. Had I been a little
harder, I might have taken more elk. Some of
the bulls I have shot, certainly, would have
escaped had I not been as fit as I was. Many
times your physical condition will decide the
climax of your elk hunt. It’s different than
Shoot well. If you miss you might as well
not have hunted. Missing or crippling is
worse than not shooting. If you pass up a shot,
you`re making a judgement. The hunt is be-
hind you, and though the climax might not be
what you had hoped, you have come that far.
To miss is to fail. True, it is to fail in only a
small part of the hunt. But it is a crucial part.
Once a brakeline ruptured on the pickup I was
driving. I was going quite fast. It was a little
failure, but it carried big implications. Prac-
tice as much as you possibly can, know your
range limits and stick to them. Most of the
time you can get closer if you really try, any-
If you hunt early, be prepared to take good
care of your elk. Elk cool slowly and they
must be skinned and quartered as quickly as
possible to avoid unpleasant flavor in the
meat. I’ve shot bulls when the night air cooled
only to 60 and day-time temperatures reached
80. Frankly, the meat wasn’t the best I’ve had;
but it was edible because I worked quickly,
hung the quarters in the shade, kept them
clean and covered with cheesecloth. Washing
in cold water doesn’t hurt as long as the meat
dries soon. It could help in cooling, and it
might well be necessary to remove hair and
offal and other matter that would surely taint
the meat. If you pack your animal out on a
horse or your back, keep it away from sweat.
dirty clothes, camp fuel.
Your elk hunting gear should be in top
shape at least a week before you go, and it’s a
good idea to have spares of everything you
could imagine breaking or losing. Throw in a
rubber blunt or two if the grouse season is on.
Shooting a grouse with a rifle can scuttle an
elk hunt, but taking one with an arrow won`t
disturb other game and is a good way to keep
your distance eye and shooting muscles in
shape during the hunt. Don’t forget basic first
aid items, fire-starting kit, compass. Carry
them with you and accept the extra weight as
necessary insurance. <—<
All Rights Reserved
Published by Seven Springs on 17 Jul 2012
We’re happy to announce that if you are interested in participating in the Seven Springs Bowhunters Open on August 10 and 11, you do not need to be an IBO member. If you call the IBO, they will give you a Guest Pass to experience the fun at the greatest gathering of Bowhunters and Shooters in the World.
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