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Published by admin on 29 Aug 2011

Straight Shot
with frank addington, jr.


The Aspirin Buster tour rolls on..

A variety of shows and events have made summer 2011 a busy time for me. I hope that you have enjoyed your summer. As we all anxiously await fall for obvious reasons, college football and hunting season, I took a few minutes to reflect on recent shows and events. Summer 2011 has had lots of great events…

July 15-17 I was in Alabama for the 28th Annual World Deer Expo in Birmingham, Alabama. This is one of the largest shows of it’s type in the country and I enjoyed a return visit to this venue. Bob Coker and I did some media Friday morning early, including a visit to a local Birmingham radio show. Here’s video footage of that media appearance, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dc1BMeUlFM We also did a TV news appearance while at this venue. Bob runs a great show and if you are an exhibitor this is a good opportunity to see lots of folks in one weekend, he gets a great crowd at this event.

July 28-30 I was in Coudersport, PA to perform shows at “Denton Hill” or ETAR, the Eastern Traditional Archery Rendezvous. This is dubbed one of the largest traditional archery events in the country and people come from far and wide to this event. Held at a ski resort, there are archery ranges, vendors in tents, practice ranges, the famous blanket sell where people lay items on blankets each evening to sale or trade, and lots of other fun activities. I don’t often do many “archery only” events like this so it was nice to spend a weekend among traditional archers. I met some new friends, saw some old friends, and had a great weekend. Saturday night’s 8PM show was my favorite. A little boy asked to shoot 20 arrows at once. Although I only had 12, I loaded all 12 on the string and popped a balloon with them. This was a new shot and the audience liked it so much that I have done it several times at shows since. The grand finale that night was a mustard seed. I had four spotters come up from the audience, put a black background on my net so we could all see the seed, and Jake Chapman tossed the seed into mid air. I hit it first shot! I dedicated the shot to my friend the late Rev. Stacy Groscup, who often performed at Denton Hills.

August 5-6 was the big DEERASSIC CLASSIC event in Cambridge, Ohio. This is the event that draws 15,000 plus people. I performed twice on Saturday, once in the afternoon and the grand finale was Saturday evening at 7:20PM, just before the big fifty fifty drawing took place and then country singer Josh Thompson performed. As I walked out on stage Saturday night, it looked like a sea of people. They video the show and broadcast it on the grounds with jumbotron screens. After hitting the three baby aspirin tablets, I announced to the crowd that we were gonna attempt the mustard seed shot. Conner put up a dark background on the net and did a practice throw. His next toss went up and again, FIRST SHOT! That was a great way to close the show. This is a one of a kind event that I often have heard called the “Woodstock of hunting.”

August 20-21 I joined my friend Bud at the Wheeling, West Virginia Cabela’s for a weekend of exhibitions there. I did two Saturday and two Sunday. This show was challenging weathewise, Saturday we had extreme heat and sunshine and then Sunday had high winds. We moved the show under the main entrance and had some great audiences over the four performances. I hit the mustard seed at every show, and this is getting to be a popular shot. I did two radio interviews, Chris Lawrence mentioned the show being at Cabelas on his statewide “WV Outdoors” show, and a TV news station captured the mustard seed shot on camera while I was in town. Cabela’s fed me well and I had a great time at this event. This is their third largest footprint in all the Cabela’s, at 175,000′ ft. They also have a million ‘ ft. distribution center nearby so Cabela’s has had a big impact on the economy in Wheeling, WV.

August 27-28 I will be performing at Festival in the Pines in Eau Claire, WI. I have performed in Eau Claire many times at the Northern Wisconsin Deer Classic but have not performed in Eau Claire in the summer. I am looking forward to this event. After that I head back to Nebraska for more shows and then on to other places for appearances through November. I’ll take December off to be home for the holidays before the January season kicks off another year of shows. So it goes in the life of a traveling archery showman. We are currently working on the Winter 2012 schedule and will try and post some dates/locations soon. I am looking forward to working with the Renfro family again in Indianapolis in 2012, they have a great show and I always enjoy performing there.

I’ve now added the 12 arrow shot and the mustard seed shot to our programs in most places. So far the audiences love the new shots. They are both challenging but then again so is a baby aspirin from behind the back, right? That’s the latest on the “HAVE BOW WILL TRAVEL” tour. Visit www.frankaddingtonjr.com for more information on my show. You can video footage on page 2 of the website.

Seeing is believing, see you at the show!

Until next time, Adios and God Bless.

Shoot Straight,
Frank Addington, Jr.
The Aspirinbuster

Photo is on stage at the 2011 DEERASSIC CLASSIC event.

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Published by dandu005 on 29 Aug 2011

Hunting Rig Tuned/Ready to Roll for 2011

After a month of headache and frustration, I have gotten the kinks out of my Mathews Reezen and it is in top functioning condition. This endeavor took so long after having to replace the cam, string and buss cable. Now we are ready, the ripcord arrow rest, the apex 6-pin sight, Goldtip Ted Nugent arrows and rage 2-blades. I am really excited about the final set-up, and with many nice bucks on camera, it is looking good that I will get a chance to score with my backstrap whackin’ machine. I can’t let it go unrecognized however, that this was all done with great help from the AT forum, Nuts and Bolts tuning guide, and Peterson’s Bowhunting site and their field editor videos and tech talks.

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Published by archerchick on 29 Jul 2011

The “REEL” Robin Hood & The Real Robin Hood ~ By David Barnett

The “REEL” Robin Hood & The Real Robin Hood
By David Barnett

Perhaps the greatest shot in cinematic
history was not fired in Stagecoach
or High Noon, but rather by a mysterious archer in a romantic 1938 Warner
Brothers movie called The Adventures of Robin Hood.

The shot is best remembered by archery
fans for the dramatic impact of splitting an
arrow already firmly centered in a bull’s eye.
The colorful scene appeared in the ever popular
and legendary film which is still viewed on
television, and is presently celebrating its
golden anniversary. It is likely that no picture
in movie history has done more to popularize
archery than The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Errol Flynn starred as the dashing Saxon
outlaw and swashbuckling advocate of social
justice and human rights. Robin Hood was undoubtedly
one of the most splendidly photographed and visually exciting films of the late
1930s. The New Republic wrote that “the production is done expensively and in all colors
the rainbow forgot?

Filmed in eye-dazzling technicolor, the
movie had Errol Flynn romancing the lovely
Maid Marian (Olivia DeHavilland) and battling
Norman treachery and black villainy,
personified by Prince John (Claude Rains)
and Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone).
Newsweek noted, “Taken in the spirit in
which it was intended, this colorful pageant of
fairy tale twelfth century is a grand film .”

Appealing to moviegoers of all ages, The
Adventures of Robin Hood covered the Saxon
hero of folklore from nock to tip. The movie is
set in that period of English history when
Prince John usurped the crown of his brother,
Richard the Lion hearted, who was abroad in
the Holy Land. Prince John and his henchmen
ruthlessly taxed the Saxons and the poor of the
realm, adding tothe already fat purses of the
Normans. Incensed by the excessive taxation,
and by the law decreeing that the poor cannot
hunt deer in the royal forests, Robin Hood organizes
a band of green-clad, hearty eating
Merry Men to fight the oppression until Richard
returns from the crusades to reclaim the
throne.

The Adventures of Robin Hood was a beautiful blend of romance and flair. The film was
replete with ambushes in a pristine-looking Sherwood Forest, deadly swordplay in
Nottingham Castle, mighty hand-to-hand fights, a pole fight on a log and a daring rescue from
the gallows. The high point of the picture, and the scene that is best remembered by movie-
goers, however, involved an archery tournament.

Tournament A Trap
Angered by their inability to capture
Robin Hood on his own turf, Prince John and
the sinister Guy of Gisbourne devise a scheme
to lure Robin Hood out of Sherwood Forest.
The plan calls for an archery pageant to be
held to determine who is the greatest archer in
the land. The winnerwill be awarded a golden
arrow by none other than Maid Marian. Since
the conspirators know that Robin Hood is secretly
wooing Marian, they are sure he will
appear and they are positive that they can capture him.

The best archers of the realm all assemble
on the plains outside Nottingham, including
Robin Hood in disguise. Through a process of
elimination involving target shooting, all but
two archers are eliminated — King John’s best
and Robin Hood. King John’s archer shoots
first. He draws his longbow, aims and fires.
His arrow is true and hits the center of the
bull’s eye. Tension builds. Robin Hood steps
up to his mark, draws his bow, aims and fires.
The scene has since become a part of movie
folklore and the name Errol Flynn has often
been thought synonymous for “archer” in
popular culture.

When Robin Hood was originally released, critics
of the period took immediate
notice of the archery pageant. said,
“Some hundreds of extra players are engaged
in several of the scenes, notably the archery
tournament. . .” Commonwealth wrote that
Flynn had the “swashbuckling flair for shooting
a mean arrow. . He also related that the
film was a “bow twanging tecchnicolor” saga
in which Robin Hood “betters Prince John’s
best in archery. . .”

Although there isn’t any doubt that the arrow-splitting
scene was the dramatic point of
the film, archery enthusiasts who have seen
the picture will recall that there are numerous
other scenes which are replete with ferociously
flying arrows and trick shots.

Wanted: Expert Archer
When the head honchos at Warner Brothers reviewed the screenplay of The Adventures
0f Robin Hood, they were quick to take notice of the many scenes which would require
extremely skillful trick archery. Fearful that Flynn and the other stars of the movie would
end up killing themselves or somebody else with arrows if they were actually allowed to
do the archery scenes, the studio decided to hire an expert archer to do all the shooting.

With the tacit support of the National
Archery Association (but largely through the
notorious Hollywood grapevine), the director,
William Keighley, eventually assembled
the 50 best archers in America at the Warner
Brothers studio in Burbank, California.
Keighley held a tournament (not unlike that
seen in Robin Hood) to decide who could be
entrusted with the lives of his cast and crew.
The 50 archers held a shoot-off until the number
was reduced to five. Keighley then handed
each archer six arrows and told them to fire as
rapidly as possible at a faraway target. One
archer named Howard Hill not only took the
six arrows that Keighley handed him, but
grabbed seven more from the director for a
total of 13. Hill quickly lined up all 13 arrows
on his bow and fired them simultaneously at
the target. Of the 13 arrows, nine hit the bull ’s
eye and the other four hit sevens. Amazed,
Keighley immediately hired Hill and jokingly
told him that, while Errol Flynn was the
“reel” Robin Hood, Hill was truly the “real”
Robin Hood.

At the time that The Adventures of Robin
Hood was produced, Howard Hill had acquired
the reputation of America’s greatest
trick archer. In The Complete Book 0f the Bow
and Arrow, G. Howard Gillelan noted, “During
the depression, the great Howard Hill
made movie shorts of his extraordinary feats
with the bow.”

Hill had won numerous national archery
tournaments and was known to hunt shark,
crocodile and bear with his bow and arrow.
He also gave many archery exhibitions in
which he would shoot a cigarette from the
mouth of a courageous cohort. He even, like
William Tell, shot an apple off the head of a
dauntless subject. Hill did both the
aforementioned tricks at 60 paces.

“big five” with the 115-pound longbow,
“Grandma,” on display in the museum.
Press clippings from the era identify Hill
as “the most widely known big game hunter.”
His friendship with stars like Flynn, DeHaviland,
Rory Calhoun and Basil Rathbone only
added to his fame, and when Hill taught his
Hollywood friends to bowhunt, it was great
publicity for the sport.

Tens of thousands of people saw Hill in
person at shooting exhibitions he put on coast
to coast; millions more learned about archery
and bowhunting in the 23 short subjects Hill
filmed to run before features in movie houses
of the era.

Visitors examining “White Eagle,” the 85-pound longbow Howard Hill used in
exhibitions, would probably be surprised at the visible imperfections. Handmade, the equipment
lacks the uniformity today’s consumers have come to expect from mass-produced
merchandise. “Howard built this bow for himself, not for the public ,” his nephew explains,
and he shot every bow he owned enough to know exactly how it would perform.

As a young man, Jerry Hill remembers pointing out some flaws in a bow built for
himself. “His advice to me was to ‘quit looking for boogers and go shoot the hell out of
it.”’

When William Keighley mentioned the arrow-splitting scene to his newly hired archer,
Hill said that shooting at a stationary target was simple and that he would have no
difficulty with the shot, In the scene, Hill actually doubled for Flynn. From 100 paces, Hill fired
at the target and split the arrow in one take. The flight of the arrow is not seen, however,
because of the inability of the camera equipment of the time to track the path of the arrow.

Instead, the camera shows Hill (Robin Hood) and then quickly cuts to the splitting of the
arrow. To this day, the rare arrow in a target that splits another is referred to as a “Robin
Hood .”

Winning Their Trust
Hill was such an amazing trick shooter that he quickly won the confidence
of the entire cast. In another scene, for example, he is called upon to shoot a steel mace out of the
hand of Basil Rathbone. The director called for a stunt double, but Rathbone refused, stating that
he had complete confidence in Hill ’s excellent archery skills. Hill also did that
scene in one take.

In total, Howard Hill was called upon to perform 11 trick shots in Robin Hood. Of the
11 shots, however, he only did the previously mentioned two in one take. The other nine
shots had to be done in a number of takes, largely because Hill was required to shoot
more than one arrow at a time, in rapid succession, and hit precise targets through
moving crowds. The exact timing of the shots was imperative because many lives were at stake.

In the August 8, 1938 , edition of Collier Ls, Howard Hill claimed that his toughest shot in
the movie was shooting a man off a rapidly moving horse. “‘The target I had to hit,” Hill
said, “was moving up and down and coming forward at a terrific speed —— all at one time! ”
For the 21 weeks that Hill worked on The Adventures of Robin Hood he was paid $150
per week, plus $100 for every trick shot. In between scenes, he also taught archery
to Errol Flynn. “Errol Flynn learned archery so fast that he even went
out and bagged a bobcat,” Hill related.

What influence did the movie, Errol Flynn’s acting ability and Hill’s archery expertise
have on the growth and popularization of archery as a sport in the United States? The
exact influence, of course, is impossible to calculate. It can be ascertained, however, that
a year or so after the movie was released, the National Field Archery Association
was organized. Also, in the early 1940s, a number of states passed laws legalizing bow and arrow
hunting, thus opening a new phase for archery.

It should also be noted that between the time the NAA held its national tournament in
Los Angeles in 1934 and the end of World War II, the estimated number of bow-twangers in
the United States grew by more than 1.7 million people. Surely, The Adventures of Robin
Hood must have been a factor in this explosive growth.

Consequently, in 1988, as The Adventures of Robin Hood celebrates its 50th anniversary,
a golden arrow should be awarded to the picture for being not only an excellent film, but
also for being the greatest archery movie in cinematic history. As Robert E. Morsberger
wrote in Magill Ks Survey of Cinema, “Of all the films of 1938, “The Adventures of Robin
Hood’ is the most enduring. . .”

ARCHIVED BY
www.ARCHERYTALK.com
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Published by KurtD on 18 Jul 2011

It’s All About The Memories By: Ted Nugent

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MEMORIES
By: Ted Nugent

Growing up in the new musical whirlwind of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and the thrilling new bowhunting world of Fred Bear was very, very exciting. Inspired by these masters of rock-n-roll, I attacked my guitar and musical dreams with a passion fire the likes of which I had no control over. And as far as the mystical flight of the arrow went, I was long gone, addicted, hooked, in love L-U-V, bow and arrow crazy.

Driven by the love and discipline of my incredible parents, I practiced my guitar with a vengeance and shot my bow and arrows every day. I literally could not get enough of either of these passions, and pursued them with every ounce of my being. It was a fascinating, wonderful way to grow up in America, and my memory bank bursts at the seams with glowing, powerful images of family joy and happiness with guitars, guns, bows and arrows.

But as jam packed as my memory bank is, unfortunately the family photo album is a little sparse on snapshots from the old Brownie automatic camera. We have a few dazzling photos of our wonderful family doing all sorts of fun stuff in those early years of the 1950s and early 60s, but I sure wish we had taken the time to take more photos.

As I think back to those annual excursions Up North for opening day of bow season in October, my mind reels with graphic details of the gas stations with bows and arrows and guns and ammo on display. The firestorm of colors in those Michigan hardwoods is as if they are silkscreened on my soul.

I can see my hero Fred Bear sitting next to me at the counter of the Grayling restaurant eating our cherry pie and sipping big glasses of milk together.

How I wish we had captured those incredible memories on film.

We don’t have photos of us catching little blue gills at the woodland lake. No photos of the little log cabin on the beautiful Titabawasee River, gathering wood, hauling water, frying bacon, roasting marshmallows, shooting our bows and .22 rifles.

There are no photos of my first squirrel, my fist deer, my first rabbit.

I would have never imagined I would grow up to be a professional outdoor writer or New York Times Best Selling author, much less the American rock-n-roll guitar guy. No one could have ever guessed I would dedicate my life to promoting our honorable hunting heritage and Second Amendment rights. Photos of my early years living that life sure would have come in mighty handy for such a career.

And even if such a career had never taken shape, I would really love to be able to show my kids and grandkids photos of the old man in action as a little boy who cherished my outdoor lifestyle from the very beginning.

So here’s to everyone out there who loves the great outdoors and thrills at taking our kids, grandkids, family and friends hunting, fishing, trapping, shooting, camping, boating and exploring.

Do yourself a favor and always bring along a decent camera with plenty of spare batteries and memory cards. Take that extra time to stop and document what I believe to be the most cherished lifetime memories of all; families having fun living the outdoor lifestyle.

Capture those life forming moments when we are celebrating the outdoor life we all so love. Get a photo of the young boys and girls with their first fish, their first bulls-eye, a first burnt marshmallow or a hot dog on a stick over an open campfire. Document those glowing smiles, not just for the happy, forever memories, but also to share with other friends, neighbors and classmate just how much fun all these great outdoor activities are for everyone fortunate enough to live them.

By sharing such photos with others, I am convinced the joys will be contagious and a darn good tool for luring more and more families into the shooting sports, and we can all agree just how great that always is.

You and your entire family will be happy you did.

Guns; check. Ammo; check. Bows and arrows; check. Tent; check. Stools; check. Canoe; Check. Fishing poles; Check. Tacklebox; Check. Bait; Check. Camera and batteries; Check. Happy

 

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Published by KurtD on 14 Jul 2011

It’s All About The Little Things by Ted Nugent

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LITTLE THINGS

by Ted Nugent

My eyes nearly bulged out of my hairy little head. Dear Lord in heaven, there were beautiful big game animals seemingly everywhere. A quartet of stunning spotted axis stags stood a hundred yards yonder, standing there looking at us. Six or seven darn nice whitetails were just beyond them, casually filtering in and out of the bushy scrub. We hadn’t driven a hundred yards when a gorgeous white horned sika stag stuck his head out of a cedar thicket twenty yards off the trail. In a short thirty minute drive, I had seen more amazing big game animals than I would normally see in an entire season on average when I first started hunting. And many of these critters seemed to be so relaxed, I was aghast that it couldn’t possibly be for real.

For a guy who started bowhunting back in the 1950s, I struggled to process the information that had just smacked me between the frontal lobes. It was one of my first adventures in the wilds of the amazing Texas’ Hill Country, and I was about to implode with excitement as I was being led to my afternoon treestand.

The vast open range of this private hunting ranch was loaded with more than twenty five species of indigenous and exotic big game animals, and they were apparently in abundant numbers. Only a few bowhunters had ever hunted this place, and I was invited to sample their hunting to offer my advice on how to set it up for optimal bowhunting.

The pickup chugged up a bumpy, rocky two track road and pulled to a halt where an endless ridge of thick cedars broke off into a desert flat of prickly pear cactus and barren rocky ground. My guide pointed to a lone mesquite tree with a metal tripod wedged into the branches, and told me this was the hot spot for aoudad rams, axis deer, sika, fallow and whitetail galore. He said the feeder was to the north a short ways and would go off around sunset and I should be covered up with critters.

I am telling you, I was more excited than I think I had ever been. I said thank you and hustled over to the tripod as my guide motored off.

When I got to the stand, I became somewhat concerned, for the old tripod was nearly rusted out, and I was actually scared as I climbed aboard the squeaky, swaying, dangerously unstable stand. With no tow rope, I clung to my bow as every step created all kinds of racket, and it got even worse when I settled into the cracked, chipped noisy seat.

I didn’t feel comfortable at all and was actually spooked that I wouldn’t be able to remain steady when attempting to draw back my bow. But I needn’t had worried, for I was completely skylighted eight feet off the ground, with the sun blazing on my face, making my whole body glow against the shiny blue sky. No way would any animal not see me up here.

Next thing I immediately noticed was that the steady breeze was blowing straight for the feeder, which was not a short ways away, but rather a good forty five yards away. Under the feeder was a deep depression, void of any vegetation within fifteen yards.

I furrowed my brow, squinted my sunburned eyeballs and wondered how in the hell anyone with the most minimal basic of hunting knowledge 101 could possibly think this set up could work.

I shifted my weight best that I could to minimize the squeaking, creaking, noisy old stand, nocked an arrow and hoped for the best.

Many animals were seen coming and going in all directions nonstop, but the feeder never went off, and nothing came anywhere near my strange anti-ambush spot. Right around sunset I was shocked to see my guide driving up in his noisy pickup, right at the magic bewitching hour that all hunters wait for and put in the hours for. I walked over to the feeder to discover that it was empty, and the battery was dead, and it appeared it hadn’t thrown any corn in a long, long time.

To say I was perplexed is a gross understatement. Making matters much worse, when I asked my guide how it was that the feeder wasn’t working and was much too far away for a decent bowshot, that my stand was unsafe and noisy as all hell, that the sun made me glow with no background cover at all and that the wind was the worst possible for this stand location, that his truck’s muffler announced to the world where we had gone, and that his Aqua Velva aftershave was like an olfactory warning alarm going off, he got his panties in a wad and scoffed me off like I didn’t know what I was talking about. How dare a long haired Yankee bowhunter try to tell a real honest to God Texas ranching cowboy how to kill critters on his grounds?

Yikes! My view of Texas took a very ugly turn for the worse that frightful day, I’m here to tell you.

So the lessons here my friends are mighty obvious. Stealth, safety, silence, wind, sun, background cover, maximum advantage bow shot distance to anticipated animal activity, feeders that are full and operational, decent ground vegetation so the animals have confidence to show up and move about, scent control by all players, don’t quit hunting until all shooting light or legal shooting light is over.

Big fun, happy and successful hunts, gratifying time afield and backstraps come to those who pay attention to the plethora of little details. I assure you, the critters are paying attention to every little detail, and if they pay more attention than we do, they win.  I like it when I win better, so I leave nothing to chance. Even when we do everything perfect to the best of our ability, that mystical sixth sense of the beast can turn the tables on the best of us. Think hard, think like a predator, think like an animal, learn your lessons well, and eventually backstraps will be yours. Details, details, details. Cover them all and hunt like you mean it. Me, I’m addicted to backstraps baby. I hunt to win. I hunt to kill.

 

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Published by KurtD on 14 Jul 2011

Arrow Manufacturers Dream by Ted Nugent

SQUIRREL HUNTING WITH THE BOW AND ARROW – ARROW MANUFACTURERS DREAM

By Ted Nugent

My absolute favorite hunting is treestand time with my bow and arrow. This style of bowhunting is certainly the most universally used, and conclusively proven to be the most effective in bagging big game. Whether strategizing a killer ambush site where trails converge from bedding to agriculture feed grounds or to water, or maybe watching vigil over some scattered grain or commercial food attractant, or a natural or man-made scrape, these lofty perches provide a wonderful bird’s-eye view of always spectacular wild ground that cleanses the soul.

The sights, sounds and smells of these wild places remain the ultimate attractant to this old bowhunter, but it is the elevated view that always brings the most sightings of all sorts of critters that turns my crank the hardest. I love watching everything from my elevated vantage position, and am forever turned on by the simple sightings of songbirds, nongame animals, and ultimately critters for which the season is on.

It is from treestands that I have bow bagged grouse, woodcock, quail, dove, rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, gophers, groundhogs, coons, possums, skunks, badger, armadillos, muskrats, mink, bobcat, coyote, red and gray fox, feral dogs and cats, snakes, turkey, deer, elk, bear, buffalo, probably forty plus species of African and exotic big game from around the world, and every encounter and every kill has been phenomenally exciting. I can’t wait for more.

Since I was a little bow with my longbow and cedar arrows, the ubiquitous limbrat has always lured me into the woods. Fox squirrels, reds, blacks and grays, have provided me with the most launched arrows and the ultimate lessons in archery marksmanship. You either aim small, miss small or no squirrel fricassee for you.

I remember shooting squirrels out of big old oak, hickory, elm and catalpa trees in the neighborhood, and no one ever complained. With only a very few arrows to my name, I did everything in my power to never lose or break my precious ammo supply, but shooting at such small, elusive targets was very challenging on all counts. In those days, we used steel blunts mostly on small game, so if you would miss the squirrel, at least the arrow wouldn’t stick way up there. If you missed clean and the arrow didn’t strike the tree, we learned to calculate the arch and range of our projectiles and do whatever we needed to do to find that valuable arrow. And we did.

On those occasions that we would break an arrow, as long as it was still at least fifteen or so inches long, we would whittle it to a point with our always handy dandy Boy Scout pocket knife, and just keep on shooting. With these now sharpened arrows, occasionally we found ourselves climbing like monkeys way up into the towering limbs to retrieve our precious shafts. But it was worth it, for we were in love with the mystical flight of the arrow, and quite honestly, this little Detroit whippersnapper simply could not get enough of it.

Now, the old WhackMaster doesn’t qualify any longer as a whippersnapper I suppose (though others would argue) but those pesky little russet balls of bushytailed fun still call my name throughout the year. But nowadays, my archery gear is a little different. Sure, the compound bow is a different animal in many ways, but I still have to practice like mad, I still have to employ every bit of stealth and archery discipline as any longbow or recurve shooter does, and ultimately I have to aim small and miss small. Bowhunting is bowhunting. Know that.

One thing that drives this old squirrel hunter nuts is the occasion when a big, fat, corn stealing limbrat tempts me hour after hour when I am deer hunting, knowing that if a shooter deer is nearby, no matter how silent my bow might be, a shot at a squirrel could very well alert an incoming deer to avoid my ambush. I believe that is one reason I have this little pent up vengeance for squirrels with my bow and arrow. They so tease me so often that I just have to whack them whenever I can.

One of my favorite things about my morning and afternoon bowhunting is the walk out in the morning and the walk to the stand in the afternoon. These are my squirrel bowhunting times and I often bag a bonus rodent or two for the grill.

I always have one or two arrows fitted with Judo heads for small game, and on this particular morning, I wish I had more. I had arrowed a pretty, fat doe, and was walking back to my 4 wheeler, eyes scanning for little critters to shoot. I had barely left my treestand when a rusty red squirrel actually scampered toward me. Standing in a grove of pine trees, my camo worked perfectly as the unsuspecting squirrel hopped within twenty feet of me. I drew back my already nocked arrow and let him have square in the noggin for an instant kill. I felt like I had just shot a trophy elk I was so happy.

With my little prize in my hand I continued toward my ATV when another fatty showed up at the base of a hickory tree. At twenty yards, he worked hard on a nut while I settled my pin on his ear and thwacked bushytail number two in less than five minutes. I was thrilled.

Next thing I knew, I heard the clattering of sharp claws on oak bark as two reds chased around and around in a territorial dispute. Well I am here to tell you, my next two shots with two bloody Judo tipped arrows again found their mark, in rather rapid succession I might add, to bring my rodent bag to four for the morning.

To say I was elated doesn’t even come close to my level of happiness. Unending flashes of a smiling young Nuge whizzed past my mind’s eye, and I felt rejuvenated and innocent again.

I cleaned and hung my pretty doe, then cleaned and hung my four squirrels, surely the happiest bowhunter alive in the world on a glorious fall hunting season day in America. And I didn’t even lose any arrows.

Communicate daily with Ted Nugent on his tednugent.com TalkBack. Celebrate squirrel hunting and unlimited American Dream fun with Uncle Ted at his electro campfire.

 

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Published by KurtD on 14 Jul 2011

The Best Hunting Season Of Your Life by Ted Nugent

MAKE IT THE BEST HUNTING SEASON OF YOUR LIFE – IT IS A CHOICE

By Ted Nugent

I know how we all scramble to take care of business and work hard providing for our families, hustling for optimal quality of life and the never ending American Dream of being the best, most productive that we can be. Salute to the producers so gungho dedicated to be in the asset column of America. Godbless you all. You truly are my BloodBrothers who make this country the greatest in the world. Ya all ROCK!

Being that as it may, there may be no better time than right now in America today that we desperately need to cleanse our souls and recharge our batteries while we celebrate our healing through nature hunting lifestyle.

Sometimes we wrap up a maniacal schedule to finish a project or job at hand, hauling ass to get to our sacred hunting grounds, scrambling to make it to our stand before the bewitching hour on Friday afternoon for a much needed, and dearly craved roustabout weekend of hunting. I know it and you know it.

I have found over a lifetime of outdoor cravings, that rushing around severely reduces the overall joy and pleasing effects of our outings. What I figured out many decades ago was that with but a deep breath and disciplined forethought of calendar preparation, advanced scheduling for extended hunting or fishing time is the only way to go.

I hear the harrumphing even now, but I assure you, smarter, more efficient choices can, and I am convinced, should be made. Undue stress ultimately will kill you. And it is all undue stress.

I have legions of buddies who figured out a long time ago that October and November and December are coming, and when they arrive is not the time to begin making plans. And remember who’s talking to you here; the ol MotorCity Madman that rocks like a rabid animal six nights a week, all summer long, writes books and articles for dozens of publications and websites, composes and records new killer American R&B&R&R masterpieces all year long, conducts literally 1000s of media interviews throughout the year, produces our Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild TV and others, participates in dozens and dozens of charity activities year round, conducts speaking presentations around the country, takes care of business for a large family and dozens of employees, repairs fences, fills feeders, trains dogs, cuts firewood, changes oil, cuts the lawn, plants foodplots and trees, and even with this ridiculous workload, I still enjoy more than 250 days a year hunting, fishing and trapping. Then I hit the sack.

But mark my words; I do not scramble to get in my hunting time. I thoughtfully prioritize my daily, weekly, monthly, annual activities so that I am not beat to a pulp as I am climbing into my treestand.

First order of business is to always have all my hunting gear ready to rock. I shoot my bow every day anyway, so I am always in touch with its condition and preparedness. Same with my firearms. I shoot my main guns so often that I don’t have to set aside time to sight them in. I sight them in throughout the year.

My various boots, camo clothes, survival backpack, vidcam supplies and all possibly assorted gear is maintained in total readiness so time is not wasted regrouping for an outing. I admit that the smartest move of my life was when I determined at a very young age that I would live on killer hunting grounds. No extended travel for this ol WhackMaster to get to the hunt. On both my Texas and Michigan grounds I live smack dab in the epicenter of dream game habitat, so my greatest joy in life is that I am hunting as soon as I close the door behind me.

And I am not the only one who figured this out. Many of my farming and ranching hunting buddies performed such basic decisions and enjoy the same ultimate joys of homeground hunting fun. It can be done, and it is never too late in life to choose to do so. Huge change and a huge decision? Sure. Huge fun is always better than small fun. Think huge.

Little decisions can go a long way in upgrading your quality hunting time. Vacation time is always a compromise with family desires, but nothing spells happiness like vacation during the rut. Timing is everything.

And here’s the defining power move for my quality of life; I learned a long time ago the power of the word “NO”. If I were to accept even a tiny fraction of the offers to do thing and go places, my hunting time would be severely reduced. Unless it is for a charity event or something monumental, I simply decline to go places and do things instead of staying home and hunting. That’s how you do that.

The older we get, the more focused we should get. I have and it sure brings a great smile to my face, a full freezer of straps, and a calm, fulfilling sense of ease to my overall life. It is this hunting happiness that keeps my spirit fortified and better prepares me for my next high energy, ferocious rock-n-roll assault. I work hard, and I hunt hard, and both maximize the enjoyment and productivity of the other.

Try it. I think you will agree with me.

– Ted Nugent

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Published by archerchick on 08 Jul 2011

Turkey Grand Slam ~By Stan Chiras


BOWHUNTING WORLD
June 1989

TURKEY GRAND SLAM ~ By Stan Chiras

A Novice Tells How It’s Done

I had just started hunting these magnificent birds last year and already I was hopelessly
addicted. Most turkey hunters will tell you there is no cure, and their wives will agree! I was no exception. The desire to get the Grand Slam came as the result of simply wanting to do a lot of
gobbler chasing in my second season. It seemed reasonable to let that chase take me to
places where the different species of turkey called home. The problem then became
one of “how to” and “how to afford it all! ”

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I could scratch out the time, for my occupation would let me mix travel and sales
calls, with frequent returns to my home base in Wyoming. I began calling friends,
trying to locate good spots to hunt. Being a bowhunter, I didn’t really want to lessen my
odds by hunting areas that the guns had pounded. I came up with some areas that sounded good and made me feel fairly confident of success. Nonetheless, I contacted some guides as back-ups, telling them that I wanted to first try hunting alone. My feelings are that if someone else locates and calls the bird for me, I am little more than a shooter and the essence of the hunt is lost. Besides, guides cost money and it would cost enough getting from one place to another.

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I spent the winter planning. Every detail, from equipment to travel routes to photography was studied, pondered and finalized. My plan was to get licenses in seven states and try get my four birds from them. I spent countless hours crouched in my living room practicing sitting still, calling and even aiming at gobblers on videos I had rented!


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My bow, a High Country Trophy Hunter, was tuned from wheel to wheel. I broke in
several spare strings and set up my Amacker Banjo sight to hit dead on from five to 25
yards. I shot day after day, until I could hit the fist-sized vitals of my turkey target every time
within that range. I was detemined to shoot 4 within 25 yards where my skill level would make
me confident of a clean kill.

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Every morning, before leaving for work, I would step out the door and take one, and only
one shot. There are no warm-up shots at turkeys and I expected no follow-ups. If the shot
was true, my day was off to a great start. If it was errant, I felt like a toad. Eventually all my
arrows hit the mark, the result of practiced concentation and an awful lot of desire.

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My bow was short enough that I could shoot while sitting, which greatly reduced
critical movement which had cost me shots at a couple gobblers during my first season.
That, coupled with 65 percent let-off made what I considered the ultimate turkey weapon. I
would be able to draw when my quarry’s vision was obstructed and hold for a long time if necessary.

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The last thing I did was shoot the bow set at a shorter draw length than normal for me. The
bow came a little shy of my draw and quite by accident I learned it could help. Since I’m no
student of target archery, I hope it will suffice that with the slightly shorter draw I did
not suffer from any creep and it was very easy to find a consistent form. Whatever, I was
shootiing much better than I ever had before and that`s the way to start a hunt like this one.

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A personal commitment was made as well: I would be more patient than I had ever
been my life in every circumstance I encountered. Secondly, I vowed to be persistant.
I would not quit until I dropped from exhaustion and there wasn’t a turkey season open in
the entire country. (It’s very interesting to note that three of the birds were taken on the
last day of the hunt after my hopes had been well dashed. I doubt I’ll ever give up early in
my life again!)

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Conditioning is necessary because turkey hunting can be very strenuous, both physically
and mentally. There are times when you get on a gobbler in a hurry and cross ravines or penetrate thick hillsides as though they weren’t there. Other situations are stealth, either in stalking into an area to set up or sitting still for hours on end. Both as s lot easier to do if you’re in shape.

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Still, other times will find the turkey hunter down and out and in need of a psychological lift. Perhaps the birds are not gobbling, or they come in silently and you muff the set-up. Sometimes they answer your every call for two hours and then simply walk off gobbling into the woods. At times like these, you have to find a way to make the most of the encounter. A hunter who tends to say “I almost got one in today and sure learned what I might want to do with the next one,” will find
himself ready to go the next morning. You can’t let those turkeys get you down! They’re
just teaching you a little humility.

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Wyoming Merriam’s

My first bird dropped to my Zwickey-tipped XX75 within five minutes on opening day in the Black Hills of northeastern Wyoming. As I nestled into some brush I had scoured. three gobblers were calling to the hens and each other. (As I was to learn with all my subsequent hunts, it is often best to be there on the first day, when the birds are ready and not yet fully aware of the dangers afield.)

The Wyoming Merriam’s turkey responded quickly to my call. Two gobblers came in and I shot the second, a bird with a 9 1/2 inch beard that weighed 18 pounds. He took my first arrow at 22 yards through the vitals and caught a second well-placed shaft moments later as insurance. It proved to be unnecessary. He made it over a rise and into a draw before expiring. I took the quick, clean
kill as a good omen for the hunts to come.

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The next weekend found me in Montana, searching for another gobbler and hoping my
luck would continue. I just shook my head in mild disbelief when my evening yelping
located a gobbler. A likely looking clearing would be my morning hide. Daybreak found
me nestled against a large cottonwood tree, hoping for the best.

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Have you ever seen something in the semi-darkness and had your eyes play every trick in
the book on you? Well, there I was, waiting for the fun to begin, when a subtle “spitting”
sound caught my attention. I stared into the uncertain landscape, sure I heard a tom drumming.
It had to be a gobbler, but it was much too early for one to be on the ground and I had not heard anything fly down. I began to pick out a dark spot in front of me, at a range I couldn’t determine. In the low light the spot seemed to appear and disappear, than move. I would have to wait.

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Meanwhile, the birds in the nearby trees began to gobble and my attention shifted to them. It seemed like mere minutes later when the object I had tried to make out on the ground was a clearly identifiable gobbler. He was strutting back and forth about twenty yards in front of me. I froze. Arrowing gobblers is far more complicated than getting one in range. Their eyes are
very sharp and detect the slightest thing out of place. Movement is simply impossible. Where a deer might just wait an extra second and even shrug off something if it doesn’t move again, a turkey just leaves. There are no second chances.

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Let a turkey hear you and the scenario is the same. They teach you in a hurry that one mistake is all you get. The challenge is getting your bow to full draw, aiming and shooting before they know you are there. My mental conditioning was the most valuable asset for the hunt I had and discipline
was the key. If the bird could see me, or other birds could. there was no sense in doing anything. It would seem a shame to just let a gobbler walk off. but often it was all I could do.

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Desperation attempts are a waste of time on turkeys. They only educate the birds to your
presence and lessen your chances of success for the next day. I waited for this bird to turn, facing dead away from me, when his fanned tail would effectively block him from seeing me. He
turned. I drew. I could hardly see the dual pins of my sight and a quick sighting on the brighter horizon enabled me to set in and make the shot. The arrow struck home, sending a solid “whack”
back to my ears. He turned again, stared directly at the source of the sound and caught
my next arrow squarely in the breast. My second bird was down.

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A second Merriam’s with good technique; no mistakes so far on this venture! My shooting had been perfect. Both birds were done for the first arrows, but a second shaft conveniently laid next to me had struck home both times. Had they been really needed, they would have done the job. The practice and planning were paying off.

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l thought of several setups for taking turkeys during the planning stages for this hunt. The trick is to get them in and be able to make the motion of the shot undetected. The easiest way to do this is to park yourself against a very large tree in a woods with lots of other trees in front of you. When the bird passes behind one you`ll have a chance to draw. When he steps out the shot is yours.

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Another way to fool an old tom is to draw him past you with the aid of a decoy. Try to set yourself up facing away from the bird as you call, although the urge to turn and look him over can be almost cruel! If you call and the bird comes in, sights the decoy and then approaches it, a shot at a fanned bird facing away can be your reward.

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Remember to anticipate the spot you expect the bird to be and then position yourself for that shot. Right handed archers will want the bird to the left of the way they are facing, nd the opposite is true for lefties. There is nothing more depressing than being unable to shoot because of body position.

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Rio Grande

My Rio Grande bird had to be taken by another method. I was hunting a ranch in west Texas almost devoid of trees suitable for the turkey hunter to “fade” into. To make matters worse, the birds were concentrated in large flocks. Not once did I call in just one gobbler. Usually they came with hens, or jakes or even other gobblers but the number of birds was rarely under ten. That’s a lot of eyes to deal with! I had to resort to a makeshift blind.
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I carried some camo netting for just such a predicament. After calling in bird after bird to amply let them wander off I decided that it was time. A ravine that was scattered with small cedars made a perfect location for my barrier. I draped the netting between the cedars and leaned boughs up against the whole affair. A huge gobbler that had already come in on three occasions in the previous five days was my target. I hoped my blind would let me get a shot at him on my last day.

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My luck seemed to turn, because that was the only morning that I did not call a gobbler in. Perseverance would have to be the key: I decided to stay behind the netting for the entire day. That afternoon the gobbler showed up, all alone for the first time. He was history. I was sure of it.
The bum just ignored my calls. To this day it makes no sense. Eventually he wandered off into a brushy hillside. I was devastated. Since I was due to head for Florida in the morning it seemed the slam was over. I sat there and pondered my plight well into evening.

Almost miraculously, a group of six jakes came up behind me shortly before sunset. I
decided to take one, since a gobbler wasn’t likely to make an appearance. They came in
and circled my calling, offering me a head-on shot at the lead bird. The blind worked perfectly. If only I had used it earlier in the week. The arrow caught the bird off center by an
inch. But I celebrated too soon. The jake was nowhere to be found. I had to cancel my flight
to resume the search in the light of dawn. As luck would have it, I found the bird in the morning darkness while I was sneaking in to set up for another hunt (Texas allows you two spring birds so I was going to try for another before looking for the jake). Later I passed up a shot at two gobblers with medium-sized beards because I failed to recognize just what they were at first. I guarantee I will never do that again. Round tails are not jakes.

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Osceola

I gathered up my dog (who was patiently waiting in the car on all my hunts), the bird
and a bunch of gear and headed off to central Florida for what I expected to be a very tough
bird to get, the Osceola. I wasn’t disappointed, for not only were they tough to hunt, they were scarce as hen`s teeth. The practical problem of needing to make a living meant I would have to return home in only three days. It was difficult to feel confident with so little time to get to know the
area and find birds.

An important element for success on any hunt is scouting. I would rather spend three or
four days of a seven day hunt scouting, and hope my preparation would yield positive results later, than just plow in and hunt fret day one. The second night of my three precious days finally found me watching a long-bearded gobbler go to his roost. The next morning I sat against a pine tree next to the cypress swamp that held the gobbler. I almost wished this turkey wasn’t so impressive, for
not getting him would be like missing a Pope and Young buck. I said I almost wished it, mind you; I wasn’t complaining.

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He gobbled in the heavy mist of morning, a mist that was really a fog. First two hens
came down and immediately wandered off. Soon he would follow. He had to, for I had no
time left. He landed exactly where he had taken off from the night before. My decoys
were placed next to the edge of some pines and I was motionless next to one of them. He
ignored my decoys and began to wander off. Knowing full well that this old boy had gotten
that magnificent beard by letting things come to him, I decided to purr and cluck very softly.
He gobbled and fanned. With the fog and this cautious Osceola gobbler and a hunter relying
on his instincts for what to do next, the moment was pure magic.

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He hung around in front of me for a while and then just disappeared. A few purrs, ending with only slightly louder clucks carried out from my call. I kept it up for a minute or so, hoping my adversary would come back. Then my prayers were answered as he appeared off to my right, very near the spot he had flown down to. It was perfect for a left-handed shooter. I wouldn’t have to shift position at all to aim and shoot from the sitting position.

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Things looked very good. He was interested and coming in slow and deliberate. The
fog had him wet and his fan looked pretty bad, but do you think I cared! He was the lord and
master of this little piece of paradise and I had been invited for the show.The gobbler got as close as 15 yards and must have decided that the decoys should have moved by now. I was sure he would leave. It was time to act. I had strung some camo netting around me, about six feet out, to break my outline. If he turned I would draw. He did, and so did I, except he had turned straight at
me. I froze and luckily he did not notice my movements through the fog. The net had done
its job.

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It seemed like forever, but he turned away, with his fanned tail blocking me from his
sight. This time I got to full draw and came down on my target. He turned sideways and I
once again thanked my bow for its high let-off, as I had to wait for him to settle down
before letting the arrow f`ly. It struck with a solid whack, indicating a pretty good hit.
Then he surprised me and flew to the top of a nearby pine. He was history though, and I
knew it.

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A short time later he came down, while I patiently waited in silence, not wanting to risk
spooking him into the thick cypress swamps nearby. His beard was over ll inches and he was
a true trophy. Now the heat was really on. With one bird to go there was no turning back and my confidence level was soaring. An urgent pressure to succeed was overshadowing my thoughts.
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Eastern Turkey

Earlier I spoke of the planning that went into this venture. It is one of the most important factors for success, for you simply can’t get them where you can’t find them. Unfortunately, I hadn’t given enough thought to the order I was hunting the different species. I should have started with the eastern, gone after the Florida next and the other later. The reason? It’s easy for me to say now: The eastern turkey get the most pressure and react quickly, making things very tough for the
hunter, especially the bowhunter. I haven’t said much about my calling because it isn’t that good. I rely primarily on a box call and stick to a limited vocabulary of yelps, clucks, purrs, cackles and Cutts. Since I feel a little inexperienced I tend to call less often and more softly, hoping to convince a bird with the coy approach. Turkey hunters have told me a lot of things about calling and it seems many different approaches work. I think the secret lies with the birds themselves, for some days they come in like hungry wolves and other times they plan the classic “you come to me” game.

A quick trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota, since I had a tag to left to fill there. I wanted to sharpen my calling and hunting skills before going after the much respected eastern gobblers.
as with the other two Merriam’s, I found a bird the first evening out and setup in a likely opening the next morning. A whole bunch of birds came in, including five gobblers and quite a few jakes. They strutted about in front of me, offering no chance to draw with all those alert eyes on call. My only recourse was to wait for them to leave and hope a gobbler would be among the last to go, thus offering me a shot

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The last bird was fanned out and strutting across to my right. When he crossed behind a large cottonwood, one of several in front of me, I came to full draw. He stepped out and the arrow smacked home , hitting him in the wing butt. After waiting a while, I crept up a small rise, expecting to see him on the other side. What I saw was a red head and a blur of feathers as he rocketed off to some distant brush. I was baffled. The arrow had hit just where it was supposed to so he should
have been down. I decided to wait a while longer and sneak up on the brush.
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When a hungry coyote showed up and I decided to pass up the shot, it turned into a
godsend. The canine hit the turkey’s trail and immediately raced off to fetch the bird. I figured
it would be easy to follow and make the coyote give it up. But it didn’t go quite that
way. The gobbler came bursting out of the thicket and flew up to a treetop about a quarter
mile away. Now all I had to do was to wait for the bird to expire.
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After awhile I decided that he wasn’t coming down so a stalk was in order. Luckily, the
wind picked up making the bird face into it just to hold on. It also covered the sound of my
approach. I had never shot up in a tree before and decided to simply aim dead center, hoping it would be good. The arrow centered the gobbler and he was mine.

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On To The East

I got busy trying to locate birds in New York, and acting on a tip from Charles Alsheimer, called in a super gobbler. I didn’t get the bird but felt extremely good about having
called up my first eastern. Charlie later showed me a thing or two about cackling and
purring on a diaphragm which helped me make major strides in my calling. Unfortunately, hordes of hunters moved into the area that weekend and the birds went silent. I decided it would take a few days to calm things down and headed off to a farm in West Virginia, about six hours away, to try anew. I had learned a lot about these birds. They
are the ultimate survivors, fleeing at the slightest miscue. Their eyes are absolutely
unforgiving, their ears superb and their gobbles were incredibly enchanting.

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Several days of rain had put a damper on my spirits, although I kept at it every day until the noon stopping time dictated by law. Somehow the last day of the hunt snuck up and promised to be the first clear day of the week. It was now or never. A tom had gobbled
just before noon the day before in a beautiful little hollow, but refused to come to my pleadings. I would try to take him. I found it was best on all my hunts to try to set my tactics for the morning the night before and then just spend the night dreaming about the wonderful
things to come.

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I was beginning to feel like the real master of myself, more than I ever had in my life. My
mind was full of constant rumblings about the value of planning, practice, patience and perseverance (my four P’s). I slipped into position an extra hour early, as I had done on the two previous last day hunts. I was going to kill that bird, I was positive. If only one had gobbled that morning . . .

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I called three times that morning, from my hide nestled in the corner of the hollow. Since
moving was not part of the day’s program, I settled in on my Komfort Turkey pad for the
long haul, which passed all too quickly. The season would end at noon. At 10:53 my last
soft yelps of the morning broke the still air. Again, nothing.

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If you had been there you would know the feeling I cannot describe as a bird came from
under a shady tree, just across the hollow from one very shaken turkey hunter. He
strode into the bright sunlight and stared directly into the woods that held me. This was
one of the infamous ‘”silent gobblers” we have all heard so much about.
He dropped into a depression and I grabbed the bow I had foolishly put down an
hour earlier. As it turned out, I could have eaten lunch during the amount of time it took
him to reappear. Fighting the urge to rise up a little and peak to confirm his whereabouts became a difficult task, but I held firm. He appeared, still looking at my location.

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He began to scratch about and feed in the closely cropped pasture, practically in my
lap. He noticed my decoys which I had partially concealed in some bushes off to the uphill
side of my hide. I was six or seven yards into the dark forest and it felt safe. Yet he continued to scratch about, glancing at the decoys from time to time. There was no strutting,
only feeding stares. The whole time he was facing directly at this archer and offered abslutely no chance for a shot. I kept telling myself that my Grand Slam was right in front of
me and all I had to do was wait for the right moment.

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He was about 20 yards out. The shot should be a piece of cake. I glanced down to
make sure the arrow was on the rest and nothing was going to get in my way when I pulled
up. Much to my dismay, I noticed some debris on the sight and there was nothing that could be done about it. I would have to ignore it when it came time to aim.

When he finally turned away and put his head down to feed I acted smoothly and
quickly. I arrived at full draw and decided to wait for him to go through a cycle of checking
the area for danger as he had been doing between each series of scratches. He seemed to
take forever to drop that periscope (as I had come to call their heads in frustration many
times before) and I once again thanked High Country for that let-off. The pin was cluttered
with leaf matter that made aiming less than ideal.
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After 26 days of hunting and a string of success, I began to crack. Pressure had been
an integral part of the challenge all along. It made the hunts very serious matters and
added to the enjoyment. But now I couldn’t stop the pin from circling the bird. To top it
off, he took a step forward and it seemed like he would just walk away and I would be frozen there, like a fool. I was screaming at myself to
get it done.

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The arrow struck the bird, who was quartering away, dead center. The force of the 75
pound bow drove him several yards across the field. I’m not sure I remember releasing too
well. It just happened regardless of what was going on in my worn-out mind. I’d like to
think that all the practice had paid off. The gobbler flopped down the ravine and
into the woods. He was done though, for I had seen the strike. I slowly made my way over to the edge of the woods and spotted the magnificent creature. It was clear that he was expiring and, as with any game animal I have ever taken, I backed off to let him spend his last moments in peace. He never knew what hit him and my presence would only add terror to his end. I was happy and sad in a way that I can’t describe but I think a lot of you know
what I’m talking about.

?

It was over. I fell to the ground and just lay there, thinking. My eastern wild turkey was a
few yards away in the West Virginia woods. I didn’t have to get up at 3:30 a.m. tomorrow
and I wasn’t sure I liked that for the sunrise had become a special time filled with anticipation
that each day would be better than the last. I guess they had been.

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Published by archerchick on 08 Jul 2011

Muskox with a Bow~By David Richey


Bowhunting World
Febraury 1990

Muskox with a Bow~ By David Richey

The bull was big… and close Ikey Nanegoak, my Inuit guide,
had spotted the muskox bull two miles away across the frozen
tundra of the Northwest Territories. Even at that distance the
animal looked massive.

We parked the snowmobile two miles away and began a methodical
stalk through the frozen rock formations to a boulder only 20 yards from
the unsuspecting bull. The animal was close enough for a bow shot but
we first had to size up its horns and boss to see if it would make
the Pope and Young club record books. The bull’s right horn was massive
We green scored the right side, including the bony boss, at over 65 inches.
Now if the bull would only turn and give us a peek at the left side.

Five minutes later the bull swiveled around the paw at a new patch of snow
for the lichens below, and the left horn was a bitter pill to swallow. It was
broken off eight inches back from the tip, and badly broomed like the horns of a full curl
bighorn ram.

“Too bad,” Ikey said as we started figuring deduction points. “If both horns would have
been equal that would be a new world record muskox.”

My muskox hunt had begun the day before with a grueling sled ride behind Nanegoak’s.
Yamaha snowmobile on a 90-mile journey across frozen Queen Maude Gulf to an
isolated trappers shack at one end of Victoria Island. The island, north of the northwestern
mainland portion of the Northwest Territories (NWT), is one of several NWT islands that
support good muskox herds.

My experience with winter is in Michigan is heavy snow and occasional temperatures
that plunge to zero. It couldn’t prepare me for an April hunt on an Arctic island where the
thermometer often registers 70 degrees below zero.

Snow squeaked underfoot and my nostril hairs froze instantly in the minus 40-degree
temperature as our snowmobile and sled skidded to a halt on Queen Maude Gulf. We’d
just begun my muskox hunt, and four hours after departing from Cambridge Bay on Victoria
Island, we had troubles.

It wasn’t serious yet, but anytime hunters have problems in cold weather, the complexion of
the hunt can change in a moments notice. A whiteout had washed across the barren Gulf, and
robbed us of all visible landmarks and our sense of direction. It was impossible to see the faint
snowmobile track leading across the gulf toward the island shack we would use as our hunt
headquarters.

Conditions can rapidly change in
the arctic, and seconds later the whiteout had
disappeared and was replaced by bright sun-
light.
“Hurry. We go fast, and find the snowmobile track,”
Nanegoak urged.
I didn’t need further encouragement. The
idea of being stranded on the ice when the
bottom fell out of the thermometer is enough
to get anyone moving quickly, despite the
bulky caribou skin parka, skin pants and
mukluks.
We found the old trapping shack two hours
later and just before daylight passed into the
nothingness of an arctic night. The all-white
arctic rock ledge holding the trappers shack
stood out like a sore thumb in the landscape,
but the bone-chilling cold made it look as inviting
as a palace in the tropics.
Nanegoak and l unload food and survival
gear — including an emergency radio -— from
the 24-foot sled that had beat my backside
nearly raw over 90 miles of frozen Queen
Maude Gulf and Victoria Island`s wind-swept
island rock. The sled had pounded its way
over pressure ridges and rocks, and the snow-
mobile had broken a ski en route to our island
shelter.

A quick supper, some quiet conversation
and an hour of listening to Inuits talking on the
radio provided our evening entertainment.
Eight hours of deathlike sleep rallied me
around for the next day ’s hunt.
The day dawned clear, cold and bright, and
with a cherry-red sunrise gave high expectations
of seeing my first muskox. Nanegoak,
from Bathurst Inlet, was making breakfast as I
scratched rime from the tiny window for a
look at the barren landscape.
An arctic white fox was nosing around
near camp, and with two quick shots my cam-
era recorded his image on film. We quickly
ate our breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast and tea,
and began the hour-long process of getting
ready to hunt.

It’s not easy donning caribou skin parkas
and mukluks over other clothing. The skin
garments were tight fitting, and my antics of
pulling on this highly effective Eskimo garb
reminded me of an old lady pulling on her
girdle.
“Today, all I want is to see a muskox,” I
said. “Just get me close enough to a few animals
so I can see what they look like. I want to
gauge just how long the chest hair is, and the
exact location of the heart and lungs in that
massive chest.
“If we find a trophy animal today I’ll hunt
tomorrow. I’d like a rubberneck tour of the
island to see its wildlife and landscape. I don’t
want my hunt to end the first day.” Nanegoak
speaks excellent English, and he promised a
tour that would show me white fox, Peary caribou and muskox.
My butt bounced against the hard wood
seat of the sled as Nanegoak’s snowmobile
pulled me along at 15 miles per hour. Several
white foxes scuttled away through nearby
rockpiles, and Peaiy caribou bounded over
the frozen landscape like youngsters hopping
down a sidewalk on Pogo sticks.

Two hours later I saw what I’d traveled
thousands of air miles to see — muskox.
Nanegoak spotted the first herd nearly two
miles away, and they looked like black lumps
of coal against the snow-covered island rock.
“We’ll stalk closer for a better look,” he
said. “We can get to within 100 yards, and
you can study the animals before you start
hunting.

“Maybe one of the bulls will meet your
requirements. If there’s a big bull in that herd
we can come back tomorrow and stalk him
again. He probably won’t be too far away unless
some wolves move in and chase them
away.”
The stalk went without incident, and
brought us to the close-up vantage point described at the beginning of the story.
“Much of the time muskox horns are
nearly identical Nanegoak said after we discovered
the broomed left horn. “He’s the
largest muskox I’ve ever seen. He’s big, but
with the deduction points he probably wouldn’t
score 100 points. Let’s look for another herd, and maybe we can find something
rnore symmetrical.

Muskox are considered an arctic oddity. It
is neither an ox nor does it exude musk.
Rather, it is a close relative to the bison.
We studied the bull for several minutes. As
an ethical bowhunter, and one concerned with
making a clean kill, it was my wish to determine
the depth of the chest and the length of
the chest hair. An arrow shot too low would
sirnply cut hair from the brisket and allow the
animal to get away. Or, even worse, an arrow
improperly placed may wound the muskox.

We finally left the muskox and walked for
a half-mile before talking. Nanegoak proceeded
to explain the Inuit’s position in guidng muskox
hunters on the arctic islands.
“Muskox thrive on many arctic islands
and in some parts of the mainland Northwest
Territories,” he said. “‘They grow long hair
which offers insulation from extreme cold,
and that hairy pelt enables them to survive
temperatures that can drop to minus 70 degrees.

“These animals are an important food
source for the Eskimo people. Robes are
made from hides, and the meat is eaten. We
treat trophy bulls with respect and these animals
are the only ones we allow sportsmen to
hunt. For our purposes we prefer to eat cows,
calfs and immature muskox bulls.”

Nanegoak said paying hunters may only
take the hide, head, horns and 50 pounds of
meat from their kill. The Eskimo people use
the rest of the meat leaving nothing to waste.
My April hunt, just before the muskox
season ended, came as winter was ending its
six-month grip on the arctic. Even so, Victoria
Island’s evening temperatures plummeted
to minus 40 degrees and only reached IO degrees
below zero during the day.

Our sole consolation that evening was the
trappers cabin. It was snug and warm, heated
by a propane cookstove and a kerosene heater.
The sun had lost its feeble hold on the day’s
warmth, and as it plunged out of sight the temperature
dropped 20 degrees in as many minutes.
Dawn breaks like thunder in the arctic.
The sun popped over the eastern horizon of
Queen Maude Gulf, and one minute it was
dark and the next the world was bathed in
bright sunshine.

“Ready to go hunting?” Nanegoak asked
as the breakfast pancakes, eggs and sausage
were shoveled down. “Today we’ll find other
muskox, locate a big bull and try to get close
enough for a shot. If we have any luck we’ll be
back by dark with a fine trophy bull.”
I wiggled into my parka, pants and mukluks after
dressing in wool pants and a down
jacket. A wool stocking cap kept my ears and
head warm. I was ready.

Nanegoak was warming the snowmobile
as I double checked my Oneida Screaming
Eagle bow. I chose the bow for this hunt be-
cause it is less apt to freeze and snap in the
bitter cold temperatures. Wood bows with
wood or fiberglass limbs may shatter when
used in very cold weather.

The bow performed flawlessly, and I
screwed Game Tracker Terminator Double
Cut broadheads to my 2217 Easton shafts.
Now, all I had to do was to stay warm until we
spotted a muskox herd.
We cruised the seemingly barren island
until we found the muskox. Northwest Territories
law forbids getting closer than two
miles to muskox by snowmobile. If we spotted
some animals we’d have to stalk on foot to
within bow range.

We would ride for 10 minutes, approach
the top of a hill and park just below the crest.
Ikey and I would sneak up to the ridge and
glass for muskox. Two hours passed before
we spotted a muskox herd.

“No big bulls in that herd,” Nanegoak
said after glassing the animals. “There are 14
small bulls, cows and yearlings but nothing of
trophy size. Let’s go back to the snowmobile
and try another area.”
The sharp-eyed Inuit spotted another herd
three hours later. He pulled the snowmobile
and sled to a halt below a windswept ridge,
and studied the herd intently before giving me
a thumbs-up sign.

‘“There’s one big bull in that herd,” Nanegoak said.
“The big one is with a smaller bull,
and they are 200 yards from 12 other muskox.
Get ready, and we’ll go on foot from here.
Stay low, and we’ll follow this ridge line until
we reach that rock pile. Then we’ll move to-
ward the animals, and you’d better pray that
another rock outcropping is there to provide
cover. Grab your bow, and let’s go.”

He led me on a slow stalk toward the herd.
It was easy for the first mile but then we had to
crouch low and run from boulder to boulder to
reach a shallow depression that offered good
cover. It gave us cover for another half-mile.
Nanegoak suggested we rest for a moment
behind a huge boulder while he crawled to the
top of a ridge to check the big bull. He wiggled
through three inches of snow to glass the
muskox, and several minutes later was back
wearing a broad grin,
“We’re still a half-mile from the bull and
he’s big,” the guide said. “His horns will
score at least 100 Pope and Young points, and
perhaps a bit more.

That was great news. The minimum score
to enter a muskox in the prestigious Pope and
Young scoring competition is 65 points. Any
animal over 90 points is a trophy to be proud
of, and a bull that scores above 100 points is
exceptional .

We began a rock to rock stalk that took 30
minutes before we crawled within 50 yards of
the big bull. Now the big and the small bull
were only 100 yards from the herd as they
slowly fed toward that direction.
We had run out of cover. We stalked as
close as we could without moving into the
open, and now the bull was close, but still too
far away for a bow shot.
“Can you hit him from here?” Nanegoak
asked as he apparently read my mind. “It’s a
long bow shot but it may be tough getting
closer.”

I practice shooting my bow year-round,
but most of my shots are at 30 yards or less.
I’m competent at that range but never practice
at 50 yards simply because I prefer getting
closer or not taking a shot.

“It`s too far,” I said. “We either have to get
closer or find another bull in an area where we
can stalk to within 30 yards.”
For me, the thrill of the hunt lies in the
stalk and knowing a good shot can be made.
Wounding a big game animal is a sin, and the
thought of a 50-yard shot was something I
wasn’t prepared to try.
Nanegoak thought about the problem before his fact lit up.
“Old Eskimo trick,” he said. “We’ll walk
slowly and as close as possible until the
muskox turn, and then we stop. I’ll move
slowly across in front of them, and as they
watch me, you move closer. Just move slow
and quiet, and move only when they stare in
my direction.”
We moved slowly out from cover, and I felt
as exposed as a nudist in church. We began
walking toward the two bulls, and when they
sensed our movement their heads turned our
way.

We stopped and stood motionless for 30
seconds. Nanegoak began walking slowly
across in front of the bulls, and they looked
his way. My mukluks made little sound as I
eased forward, a step at a time, in a completely
exposed stalk.
The guide would move, and the bulls
would face the moving man. Then it was my
turn, and soon I sensed that slow movements
didn’t disturb the animals. I sneaked to within
30 yards before determining that it was time to
draw and shoot.

My Screaming Eagle came to full draw,
and the 30—yard pin snugged down low behind
the front shoulder of the big bull.
It was a good hit, and 20 seconds later the
bull lurched off on a short run. It staggered
and fell after running only 50 yards. The Double
Cut broadhead had done a good job of
cutting through thick hair and hide, and the
bull was dead within 30 seconds of the hit.
It was a thrilling hunt. The kill was anticlimatic
compared to the unique open-ground
stalk, spending several days with my young
Inuit guide, and learning more about myself
and the land I hunted.

Make no mistake about it: Muskox hunting
is not for the faint hearted. The weather
during an arctic winter is brutally cold, and
all bowhunting equipment must function
properly. And one costly mistake can jeopradize
the life of a careless hunter.

However, in this day and age it is a hunt
where sportsmen have an excellent chance of
scoring on a Pope and Young record-book animal.
The animals are majestic in their all-
white environment, and both the hunt and the
terrain is fascinating.

Now, my 100 6/ 8-inch record-book
muskox is mounted life size. It reminds me of
a wild and free land, and the stark beauty of
the arctic environment is forever etched in my
memory.
This trip proved that Canada ’s wild North-
west Territories offers great bow hunting
action . . . even in the dead of winter. Perhaps
one day I will return, and relive one of the
most memorable hunts of my career.

EDITOR ’S NOTE: David Richey has been
a fulltime outdoor writer-photographer for
more than 21 years, and this article was based ‘
on a hunt he made in April 1988. It was his
seventh trip to the Northwest Territories.

Richey is the staff outdoor columnist for
The Detroit News, Michigan’s largest daily
newspaper and the fifth largest in North
America. He rates his midwinter arctic experience
as one of the finest in his many years of
traveling around the world in search of magazine articles.
He and his wife, a well-known fish and
wild game cook, live on a 100 percent diet of
fish and game taken on their trips. >>—>

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Published by archerchick on 08 Jul 2011

Adventures in Antelope~ By Rick Sapp


BOWHUNTING WORLD
June 1989

Adventures in Antelope ~ By Rick Sapp

?

At the moment, momma and the kids were relaxing by an indoor heated
pool at a plush motel in the Black Hills which, according to the Black Hills
Chamber of Commerce, is one of America‘s top family vacation destinations. They were
going to see Mount Rushmore and Bear Country U.S.A. and Devil ’s Tower. They
would pay to watch “incredible trained animals operate the Bewitched Village” at the
Reptile Gardens near Rapid City. If they really got lucky, the Ghosts of Deadwood Gulch
Wax Museum wouldn’t have closed for the season and, of course, everyone was excited
about the dino dogs and bronto-burgers served at the Flintstones “original” Bedrock
City.

?

Not dad, though. Dad was sitting in a hole in the ground, in the dark. Dad was shivering
because the wind was blowing 40 miles an hour and because it was raining and, occasionally,
hailing. Dad, dressed for temperatures in the 70s when the chill factor was in the
20s, was catching his death of cold. No “Family Approved Attractions” for dad. Instead, dad
was having fun! He was bowhunting antelope. I was an incredibly lucky man. Oh, not
lucky to miss the dino dogs or the 20-minute Rushmore blasting movie at Rushmore-Borglum
Story with mom and the kids, not really. I was lucky because in the most miserable weather
I could imagine for September in Wyoming, with pale yellow smoke belching out of Yellowstone Park 250 miles northwest and filtering eerily through my blind, a fine pronghorn antelope buck was walking into my shooting lane on Frank and Elaine Moore’s Spearhead Ranch.

?

Unquestionably, the opportunity to bow-hunt pronghorns is an adventure that should
involve the entire family. You can drop your spouse (wife or husband) and children in the
Black Hills where they can enjoy some of the most spectacular tourist sights since the
invention of neon and plastic and, just 100 miles farther west, you will find some of the finest
pronghorn hunting in the U.S. Everyone will be happy and you’ll be a hero. Now, it isn’t
very often you have that chance, is it?

?

Bowhunting Antelope

?

Antelope are open country grazers and September is an ideal month to bowhunt them
in Wyoming. Because they water several times during the day, alone or in groups, the
most productive way to bowhunt these prairie speedsters is by ambush at a waterhole. They
can be stalked, but because their vision is eight times more acute than a human’s, stalking t
hem is tough and usually requires longer range accuracy than most bowhunters can
muster.

?

Ambushing antelope requires discipline and endurance. If you are hunting from an
open ground blind or sitting above a watering tank strapped to a windmill, you’ll need to be
extremely careful with your movements – from early in the morning until dark. In this
respect, bowhunting antelope is like bow-hunting whitetails. You can not predict when
they will come to water, but they do come, every day, and that fact is consolation for
endless hours alone in a blind.

?

?

Make your hours in a blind comfortable. Take a book, lunch and a full water bottle.
Don’t forget a pee bottle and a roll of toilet tissue, either. Take a bag of hard candy or
chewing gum. If the blind is open, you’ll need protection from the sun and wind. Because
the prairie is glaringly bright through midday, you’ll be glad you remembered polarized
sun glasses such as the popular sportsmens’ glasses made by Bushnell. On the high
prairies, the wind is a continual companion and you’ll need a lip balm like Chap Stick or
Overcast 15 Sunscreen. And, if you have hacked your blind out of the hard prairie,
you’ll want a cushion like a Therm-a-Seat to ease the pain on your backside. Although
designed more for protection during cold weather, the beauty of the Therm-a-Seat is
that the multiple thorns, stickers and prairie cactus can’t destroy it, because the foam seat
is puncture-proof.

?

The same gear you use bowhunting whitetails is fine for antelope. A full-grown buck
antelope weighs less than 100 pounds. Remember, though, that a blind is a restrictive
shooting environment, so whatever you hunt with, arrange it in the blind so that you can
come to full draw quietly, with a minimum of visible movement and with total clearance for
your bow and arrow.

?

When antelope come in to a water hole or cattle feed station, they’re alert with their eyes
and ears – but not their nose. I’ve never had a problem with human odor when bowhunting
antelope from ground blinds; either I’m buried in the ground and surrounded with aromatic sage
or they’ve seen my movement from hundreds of yards and refuse to come in. Generally, antelope will study a water hole from 100 yards to a quarter mile away, watching for danger before they come in. Then, it will be at a run. If you’re dozing, you’ll open your eyes to find the prairie goats already in your shooting lane. Don`t rush! They will probably put their heads down once or twice
only to jerk them back up suddenly and look around. When they do put them down for good, they’ll take a long drink. Draw then, relax and take your shot.

?

I drew the “Grandpa Blind” the night before the hunt began on the Spearhead Ranch.
Frank oriented us to the blinds and the hunting procedures and then Elaine filled us with
barbecue chicken, home-made biscuits, potatoes and spinach salad. The weather looked
threatening, but after a year of drought, Frank admitted he was torn between praying for rain
and realizing that rain and wind made the bowhunting difficult, even in his fully-enclosed blinds.

?

Monday, I was lucky. I had antelope at the blind several times: bucks, with horns above
their ears and black cheek patches; does, with the characteristic, tiny twisted horns only a
few inches in height; and fawns. It was the first day, so I waited, just enjoying the show.
What were mom and the kids doing while I was hunched over in this incredibly lousy
weather? Sleeping in. An omelette, pancake and bacon breakfast. A dip in the covered,
heated pool. Video games. A warm nap and on and on.

?

Tuesday, I was lucky again. I put on every stitch of clothing I had brought except Monday’s underwear: a reversible Fieldline camo jacket, one side quiet cloth and the other a
nylon shell, helped protect me from the chill wind blowing through the cracks in the blind.
A Bob Fratzke Winona Camo knit sweater and a light pair of 100 percent polypropylene
long underwear from Kenyon Products in Rhode Island helped my body retain heat during
a long day.

Antelope moved to the blind’s water and cattle feed late in the day. At 4:45 p.m., eight
does and fawns wandered in, fed, watered and moved away. At 5:30, nine does and fawns
and one good buck, his horns well above his ears, appeared. I eased into position and
waited. From a kneeling position, the shot was slightly uphill. As the buck moved from
feed to water, through the crowd of antelope, I drew, aimed and released. The 2317 Easton
shaft tipped with the 125-grain, three-blade Terminator Double Cut broadhead, propelled
by my 67-pound American Timberwolf cam bow, speared the buck in mid-stride, crushing
its left shoulder and projecting out the opposite side. It ran 100 yards and piled up.

?

?

As the adrenaline subsided and my heart dropped down out of my throat, I wondered
what mom and the kids were doing. Were they gawking at the “mechanical cowboy band and eight-foot jackalope” at Wall Drug, an hour east of the Black Hills? Were they listening to
“PeeWee Van Family” present an original mountain and country music show, “hillbilly-
style,” at the Mountain Music Show three miles north of Custer? Heck, I still had time to
join them, maybe even on the 400-foot-long twister slide at Rushmore Waterslide Park
where, “The water’s heated and the fun is non-stop.”

?

“Hey, wait for me kids! Guess what I did in Wyoming. I was in this hunting blind on the
Spearhead Ranch, see, looking for a big buck antelope and one day …. ”

?

Moore’s View

?

I was lucky to have a big black-horned buck walk into my shooting lane the second day of my antelope hunt at Frank and Elaine Moore’s Spearhead Ranch in Converse County, Wyoming, 100 miles west of the Black Hills. It gave this Mid-Westemer time to tour the ranch and ask owner Frank
Moore a few questions which evenings in the bunkhouse might not have allowed.

?

Frank, how did you and Elaine get started on the Spearhead Ranch?

My great granddad came to Wyoming as a cowpuncher on a trail drive a century ago and got work on the Ogalalla Ranch. In those days, the big spreads were owned by cattle barons who lived in England. For them, having a ranch in Wyoming was like having a cabin in the mountains would be for us. After a couple tough winters, though, they lost a lot of money. When they sold out, my great granddad ended up with the Ogalalla and it’s come down through the family ever since. Daddy bought the Spearhead, adjacent to the Ogalalla, in ’72 and Elaine and I sold a farm near Douglas and moved up to operate it. The Spearhead and the Ogalalla are about 40,000 acres each. By “big ranch” standards, the Spearhead’s not that big…but it’s still a big ranch.

?

For bowhunters who’ve never been to Eastern Wyoming, how would you describe
the landscape where they’ll be bowhunting antelope?

It’s rolling grassland, good short grass prairie; probably some of the best grass country
in the state. The Spearhead is predominantly covered with native gamma grass and
sage. It doesn’t look like a lot of feed out there, because ’88 was very dry, but this is
good grass with lots of punch to it. It’s really good feed. Aside from having huntable populations of antelope, elk, turkey, whitetails and muleys, we run 2,500 sheep and 450 cows. According to the Game & Fish people, antelope and sheep feed on different things, but it’s basically the same: gamma grass – and sage in the winter.

?

How did you get started outfitting bow-hunters?

Elaine and I started guiding hunters as a personal business, a way to make a little extra
income. In ’78, we had our first bowhunters on the ranch and the season went pretty well,
even with a lot of mistakes on our part. Pretty soon, though, we started making a little bit of
a name. With ranching being as poor a business as it has been the last couple years, a lot of
people are turning to hunting for income. When I got into the outfitting business, people looked
at me like I was crazy, but now there are a bunch doing it. It has turned into another source of income for the ranch. Bowhunting got into my blood in a hurry. In ’80, I killed my first deer with a bow and was hooked. I shoot a Bear recurve, because I need something mechanically simple that I
can throw in the back of the truck, something that can stand some abuse and won’t end up
tearing up before I need it.

?

How do hunting and ranching get along?

Not real well. Better now that I’ve gotten support from the family, though. Fall is a busy
time of year on a ranch. I have to work hard before and after hunting season to make up for
it. It’s just something you have to work around. There’s a certain amount of conflict between outfitting and my own hunting. I can fit the business into the ranch, but when I try to I
fit my own bowhunting time in, too, something has to give. Somebody has to take up the
slack for me. Outfitting hunters is a lot of work. People try to figure out the kind of money you’re
making and they think you’re really hauling it in, but it’s not a business to get rich on. For
me, because I already have the ranch and ranching covers most of my overhead expenses, outfitting is a good source of income. Still, it takes a lot of work year round trying to
stay on top of things. Annually, it’s probably a quarter of my time.

?

What ’s the future of bowhunting out here?

It’s getting bigger all the time. Game & Fish really struggles to manage antelope populations. They can’t control winter weather and if they don’t control the hunting kill, they end up with a lot of antelope, but no trophies. Because I take does off every year and strictly control the hunting, I’ve still got antelope on my place that’ll go 16 inches. I’d say the herd quality is as good now as it has
ever been. The reason I can maintain good herd quality is that bowhunters won’t take the cream of
the crop. They just can’t do it. They’ll take a lot of antelope and they’ll take nice ones, but
they can’t shoot them at long range. So, I have good success with bowhunters and still have
quality, year after year.

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I do have to take some gun hunters, though. I’d like to just take bowhunters, but I
can’t get enough kill to maintain herd balance. With 2,000 antelope on the ranch, I
should take 150 to 200 every year. I don’t have any problem at all with rifle hunters,
but as a rule, bowhunters are more serious. They’re out there to hunt, not just have
a good time. They’re serious about their hunting, because they have to be. Rifle hunters
know they’re going to get something. We’ve been 100 percent with rifle hunters…it’s not
a problem. It’s just a matter of what they want. That’s almost secondary to rifle
hunters, though. They’re there to have some fun and BS and get away from home.

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Tell me about your facilities. Your bunkhouse is two heavy-duty 24×60 foot trailers joined at the middle. It has a kitchen and dining room, toilets for men and women, complete shower and bath facilities, separate rooms for every two to four hunters and even a washer and dryer.

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Our bunkhouse is a wilderness oil field camp. It came out of Canada. It’s designed for
a crew to live in way back in the woods, when they have to stay until they get a job completed.
It’s built heavy duty so oil field roughnecks can’t tear it up. Roughnecks are a pretty
hard bunch and they don’t take good care of things. That’s why it’s got the funny doors like
you see on walk-in coolers. The bunkhouse can handle 27 hunters at a time, but the ranch itself can easily handle 30. Years ago, when the law allowed open hunting, it wouldn’t be unusual to have over 100 hunters out there. To be able to provide the kind of service I think you should provide, l2
is the most I can take and still get to know people, provide a hunt they feel is a quality experience and not just a commercial operation that’s only running people through to get their money.

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Frank, my blind was triangular. It measured eight feet to a side and the plywood
walls were sunk in the ground three feet. With the awful weather we’ve had this
week, I was glad it was covered, too. And it wasn’t a problem sitting still for a couple
days when I could sit in a bucket seat out of a car. How did you learn to build such
terrific blinds?

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We started with pit blinds. Although they were hard to dig, they worked well; but they
don’t work for just anybody. You’ve got to be a dedicated hunter and willing to sit still, because
you just can’t make a pit blind concealed enough for someone who hasn’t bowhunted
much. Then we went to blinds made from hay bales. They were naturals and they held your
scent in, but they were hard to build. It took about a pickup load of hay per blind and, as a
rule, you lost half the hay. You lost more than half the feed value of the hay while it was just
sitting there exposed to the sun, too. And hay bale blinds deteriorate pretty fast. People get
excited and knock the sides down when they get something, or cattle knock them down.

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So, I wanted to go to something easier to work with and something more permanent.
After a lot of trial and error, we eventually went to solid wall panels and then buried
them. They had looked bad when they were totally above ground. So, it was trial and
error. And a bowhunter here a couple years ago suggested the bucket seats – $5 from a
junk yard in Casper! These blinds are easier to maintain and a lot more comfortable than
anything else I know of.

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You have 10 years in the business of outfitting bowhunters. What should a bow-hunter ask when he books a hunt here or elsewhere?

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l’d say, just talk for a while about the general hunting situation and get a feel for the
outfitter to see if you like and trust the person first. Then ask about the quality and about the
distance of shots. Ask about the percentage of people getting shots, not about the percentage
of kills, because kills depend on the quality of bowhunter you’ve got in a blind. Get some references and then call them. Find out if the outfitter is telling the truth, if he’s honest. That’s really all you’re booking the hunt on. If he doesn’t tell you the truth, you’re going to get a bad hunt. To me, that’s the most important thing.

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