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Published by Kevo on 29 Aug 2011

Hogbash Hog Hunting Competition

Wanted to post a link on a statewide hog hunting competition, starting in October and running through opening weekend of rifle season, day or night.  Rifle division and archery division, gonna be lots of fun some great prizes.  Awards ceremony with some awesome door prizes and live band afterwards.  Check it out at www.hornstarsoutdoors.com/hogbash

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Published by dandu005 on 29 Aug 2011

Old School Dilemma

For the last couple of years, I have been fighting a battle within that won’t settle. It isn’t so much a battle of is an act right or wrong, but whether to change and try something new. I know I am not the only one out there that doesn’t like change, so I am sure you guys know my struggle. The struggle I speak of is the switch back to traditional shooting equipment.

Currently I shoot a Mathews Reezen complete with all of the bells and whistles. I have wanted to get into shooting traditional recurve more, yet I feel that it would be bad to try to shoot both bows at the same time, splitting practice time between the two bows. It seems to be not as efficient as focusing on one method. However, I can’t get myself to make the full switch to shooting a recurve and leave the Mathews behind. Traditional archery is growing more and more popular  as each year passes, so that also puts pressure on me to pick it up and go. I already shoot a recurve around compound practice time and am proficient enough to hunt with it. Although is it wise to switch back and forth between bows during bow season and tournament seasons? I may be exaggerating any concerns about shooting both and it may be no problem at all.

Comments are desired to help not only me, but any others who may be contemplating picking up traditional archery.

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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

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

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. . .”


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Published by KurtD on 18 Jul 2011

It’s All About The Memories By: Ted Nugent

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


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


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


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

June 1989


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! ”


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.

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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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


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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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 . . .


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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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