Archive for the 'Hunting Stories' Category

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Published by archerchick on 05 Jan 2011

Fun With Draw Length ~By Richard Combs

BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2006

Home Bow Mechanic- Fun With Draw Length
by Richard Combs

Archers are often advised to let their sight pins “float,” or wander over ,
the bull’s-eye, and let the precise moment of release come as a surprise.
The subconscious, or so goes the theory, is constantly attempting to center the
sights on the target, and any conscious attempt to center the sights or time the
release will result in flinching, punching the release, target panic, or other accuracy-robbing problems.

This approach works very well for a great many bowhunters, but it is based on
the major assumption that it is impossible to hold a bow steady. Bowhunters are not machines, of course, and holding a bow immobile for any period of time, shot after shot, probably is impossible. On the other hand, it is certainly possible to hold a bow steady for short periods, or (if
you can’t buy the notion of complete steadiness, to at least minimize the size
of the wobble. Look at it however you like, but holding a bow steadier is a very good thing for accuracy.

A major factor in that steadiness is correct draw length. lf you find that you have a difficult time keeping your sight pin on a 3-inch bull’s-eye at 20 yards, and if you are not pulling a draw weight that is too heavy for you, there is a very good chance that the problem is incorrect draw length. More often than not, incorrect draw length means a draw length that is too long. The conventional explanation for this is that archers tend to stretch their draw lengths to get greater speeds. As a general rule, one additional inch in draw length generates almost 10 fps in arrow speed. Competitive 3-D shooters, in particular, often attempt to maximize speed to flatten trajectory, and even bowhunters who do not shoot 3-D competitively have been influenced by those who do.

No doubt there is some truth to all this, but over the years I’ve observed that beginning bowhunters, including those who have only a vague idea what 3-D shooting is all about and who are unaware of the relation between draw length and arrow speed, still have a strong tendency to shoot at excessively long draw lengths. For whatever reason, selecting the correct draw length
seems to be a learned and even slightly unnatural thing.

A long overdue trend in recent years has been to back off on draw length.
With today’s more efficient bows, many bowhunters-and some 3-D shooters—
have discovered that they can achieve as much speed as they want without resorting to longer draw lengths. In any case, smart hunters have always been willing to trade a little speed for greater accuracy. While it is certainly possible to over compensate and move to a draw length
that is a little too short, most top shooters agree that a too short draw length is
preferable to a too long one. How critical is it to achieve precision in draw length? The better shots of my acquaintance, including the most serious 3-D competitors, have a draw length tolerance of
a quarter-inch. Anything shorter or longer than that is immediately noticeable, and they will make adjustments.

Draw Length And Draw Weight
Holding the bow steadier is not the only reason the correct draw length is
important. We mal<e reference to draw length and draw weight as separate characteristics—-which they are—but they are not unrelated. It shouldn’t be surprising that the same draw weight will
be perceived differently at different draw lengths. imagine holding your bow at full draw from a position as far back as you can reach. A draw length that is too long increases the difficulty of holding the weight comfortably, which is one reason the bow is more difficult to hold steady at longer draw lengths. The difference is less noticeable in the case of a too short draw length, but holding bow at full draw from a position in front of the optimum anchor point is also
more difficult. And either position can increase the likelihood of the arm or shoulder problems that plague too many bowhunters.
Perceived draw weight aside, it is difficult to achieve proper and consistent shooting form outside the parameters of correct draw length is a much greater tendency for the string to slap the bow arm. For purely anatomical reasons, this can be a chronic problem for some bowhunters, but excessive draw length is often a major factor. For years I watched a hunting buddy struggle with the problem. He bought custom grips, purchased bows with very high brace heights, modified his stance to an extremely open position, and experimented with some difficult and unusual shooting forms. Finally he tried a draw length that was nearly two inches shorter and the problem disappeared.

Among the more pernicious inconsistencies in shooting form is the tendency to creep forward from the wall before release. Pros have come up with all sorts of antidotes to this, including creep tuning and stops on rests and cams. Clearly incorrect draw length will magnify the problem. Not only is it initially less comfortable to hold a bow at full draw when draw length is off, but the arm, shoulder, and back become fatigued more quickly at improper draw lengths. Fatigue is a major factor in creep.

WHEN THE RIGHT DRAW LENGTH IS WRONG
You might assume that draw length is draw length – that if your optimum draw length is 28 inches on one bow, then it should be 28 inches on any bow. That is conventional thinking, but the folks at Spot-Hogg are not very good at thinking conventionally, and as they so often do, they have a different idea. As Spot-Hogg’s Cabe Johnson recently observed, differences in axle-to-axle length can make a significant difference in optimum draw length. The reason is that shorter bows have a more acute string angle at full draw than do longer bows.

Assume for instance, that you draw your string back to touch the tip of your nose at full draw, with two bows one short and one long. The distance between grip and nock point may be the same on both bows, but the distance between the riser and the string where it touches the nose will be different because of the different string angles. The tendency will be to change the shooting form to compensate- to modify the head angle, change the anchor point, extend or bend the bow arm
more. Those adjustments will probably decrease the ability to hold the bow steady and increase discomfort, not to mention reinforce inconsistencies in shooting form. The bottom line is that,
contrary to conventional thinking, there is no “right” draw length for a given individual. The optimum draw length will depend in part on the bow.

Adjust Draw
Many—though by no means all—compound bow designs offer a range of draw length adjustment accomplished by moving the end of the string to one of several different posts on the cam. Often
the range is three inches, with changes in half-inch increments. With other bows, changing draw length requires changing modules on the cam. However these adjustments are made, they may
have slight effects on let off or bow efficiency, but any loss in these areas will be more than compensated for by the advantages of shooting at the correct draw length. In most cases the bow will have to be pressed to make these changes. Changing draw length will usually require that the bow be returned. (In some cases, simply pressing the bow will require that it be returned.)
For more precise adjustments, strings or cables can be shortened by twisting. Lengthening the string lengthens the draw, and shortening the string shortens it.

The opposite is true for cables:Lengthening cables shortens the draw and vice-versa. Manufacturers of modern, high quality strings usually warn against shortening a string more than a quarter inch or so by twisting, but usually this is enough, especially if done in conjunction with moving the end loop
to another post, or changing modules. One way to reduce the number of twists necessary to accomplish the desired change is to adjust both strings and cables. To shorten the draw length, for
instance, untwist the cable a few turns, then twist the string a few turns.

Draw Length Alternatives
Repeatedly pressing the bow and making adjustments until the precise draw length is arrived at can be a frustrating and time-consuming affair, and not every bowhunter owns a press. Fortunately, there are better ways to experiment with draw length. For starters, the length of many release aids can be adjusted. Almost all wrist caliper releases are easily adjusted. You might object that adjusting the release aid is not really changing draw length, and you would be correct. Shortening the length of a release aid does move the anchor point forward, though. In fact, it accomplishes
all the objectives of shortening the draw length, without the disadvantage of reducing arrow speed. I’m all in favor of maintaining, or even increasing, arrow
speed if it can be done without a downside. ln effect, achieving the proper
anchor point without shortening the power stroke of the bow is a free lunch.
The only caveat, of course, is that the release itself should not be uncomfortably short. Many bowhunters touch the trigger with their fingertips anyway, which is not the best form. In that case,
shortening the release aid is a “twofer,” providing a better anchor point and a positioning of the finger on the trigger that is less likely to contribute to punching the release or even target panic.

Some bowhunters looking for extra 10 fps or so of speed might find that by shortening their release aid, they can actually extend their draw length without changing their anchor point. Don’t need an extra 10fps of speed? Shorten the release aid, extend the draw length, and back off on the draw weight by five or six pounds. Speed will be about the same, but you’ll be pulling and holding significantly less weight.

Bowhunters who feel that their release aid is already as short as it should be can switch to a forward trigger design release. By using a release aid with a trigger farther forward, and much closer to the jaws of the release, it is possible to shorten the release without changing the position of the trigger relative to the wrist caliper to another to another shorter style of release aid.

A similar option is to alter the size of the string loop. (If you’re not using a string loop, you should be) As with the release aid making the loop shorter will move the anchor point farther forward, while making it longer will move it back. If a longer loop makes for a better anchor point, then lengthen the draw length by changing string posts or modules, or by untwisting the string a few turns then shorten the loop. Perceived draw length will be unchanged, but real draw length will be longer with a longer power stroke and more speed.

Finally, bowhunters shouldn’t overlook the effect of grip on draw length.
We’re talking an optimum range of quarter inch in draw length for most shooters. The difference between a wrist high grip, in which the riser touches only a small bit of skin between the thumb and forefinger, and a low grip, in which it is in contact with much of the hand, can easily make a difference of half an inch.

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Published by archerchick on 05 Jan 2011

Western Deer -Double Header ~By Brandon Ray


Bowhunting World
October 2002
Western Deer Double-Header
High Plains River bottoms Offer the Best Of Both Worlds In Trophy Whitetail And Mule Deer Hunting

Which do you prefer, Coke or Pepsi? Ford or Chevy? Realtree or Mossy Oak?
When it comes to hunting deer in many western states, you’ll face a similar selection dilemma, Whitetails or Mule Deer?

In many western states a deer tag is good for one buck of either species, but not both. Before you make a decision on which species to target, consider the landscape and the hunting tactics that work best. Time of year is another important factor.
Story and Photos by Brandon Ray

Over the past two hunting seasons I’ve had the good fortune to draw deer
tags in eastern Colorado and eastern Wyoming. The landscape is very similar in
both locations. Cottonwood trees with trunks as big around as tractor tires follow the course
of small creeks and rivers across the eastern plains of both of these western states. Head-high willows and Russian olive trees crowd the banks of the waterways even more. But
these life—giving riparian zones are surrounded by endless miles of rolling hills, fragrant sage
and yellow grasses that wave constantly in a strong western breeze.

For the most part, whitetails thrive along the river beneath the tall trees while the mulies do
just fine in the open sage and steep coulees. Tagging a whitetail in the brushy river bottoms
calls for stand hunting. During the November rut, calling and rattling will increase your
chances. lust a couple hundred yards away from the towering cottonwoods, spot and stalk
is the best technique to arrow a big mule deer in the open. Ultimately the question is: would you
rather sit and wait or make something happen?

In November, 2000 I decided to focus on rutting whitetails in eastern Colorado with the
help of outfitter Chris Cassidy at Alpine Outfitters. Less than one year later, in September of 2001, the focus would shift to wide-racked mule deer in eastern Wyoming. My host for that trip,
Jimmy Fontenot of Wildlife Connections, assured me that early season was a great time to shoot a big mule deer with a bow. Pleasant weather and seeing lots of bucks in the open sold me on the September dates. Both hunts proved that western deer hunting can offer something for any deer hunter.

WESTERN
WHITETAILS
The 2000 season marked my third year to bowhunt whitetails on Colorados eastern
plains with outfitter Chris Cassidy. Cassidy leases some prime properties on the plains and
he specializes in helping bowhunters score on big whitetails. I asked Cassidy, a man with 13
years of experience hunting Colorado`s plains for his advice on how to bow—kill a big whitetail in a western river bottom setting. “Hunting from treestands during the rut the first few weeks in November, is by far the best way to score. The bucks move into the river bottoms in search of does during the rut. This concentrates them a little more as they come in and move up and down the river corridors looking for receptive does.” Each year Cassidy limits the harvest of mature bucks on his ranches and encourages his clients to pass up younger bucks to let them reach their full potential. It’s a plan that pays off every year. Cassidy’s success with bowhunters on the plains runs right at 75 percent. with near 100 percent shot opportunities. Most of the bucks his clients shoot measure 135 inches or more. The biggest buck taken in recent years scored over 170 inches.

My November. 2000 Colorado whitetail hunt ended the same day it began. As good as that sounds, the hunt was far from easy. l spent about 12 hours in a treestand overlooking several well—worn trails before punching my arrow into a behemoth—sized buck in the waning minutes of last light. The waiting was made even more challenging because of the numbing cold. When l got on stand before sunrise the temperature was 10 degrees below zero. The warmest it got all day was 10 above zero. While the temperatures were bone-chilling, the rut was in full swing. Throughout the
day l watched several bucks chase does through the crunchy snow near my stand.

Late in the day. when l was about to climb down from my stand. I noticed movement to the south. A good buck was crossing a creek, but well out of bow range. l grabbed the grunt call, chipped the ice from inside the plastic mouthpiece and began giunting. loud. At first l couldn’t see the buck in the trees to even know if he had heard the sound, but then he appeared on my side of the creek, 150 yards away, staring in my direction. I let out another chorus of three deep grunts. He was coming my way. At 60 yards he passed behind a cluster of trees and I seized the chance to raise my binoculars and study his rack again. I could count 10 points. I dropped the binoculars and clamped
my release onto the bowstring. At 30 yards I jerked my bow to full power. He stopped for an instant, then started to walk again just as I let the arrow go. The arrow impacted with a loud CRACK! I watched through my binoculars as the 250-pound 10-point took a few steps, then slumped into the snow.

Stand hunting during the rut is a very effective whitetail tactic in any western river bottom. Set up stands in travel corridors and areas with lots of buck sign, scrapes and rubs, and be patient. Be prepared for long days and very cold temperatures and pack a grunt call and rattling horns to lure out-of—range bucks closer to your stand. That very tactic helped me arrow my personal best bow whitetail.

PRAIRIE MULE DEER
Outfitter Jimmy Fontenot has been guiding mule deer hunters in eastern Wyoming for the
past eight years on a 65,000—acre ranch. In those years of guiding, Fontenot’s bow clients
have experienced 100 percent shooting opportunities, and only one archer has left the
ranch without taking a buck. “A realistic goal for archers on my hunt is a buck scoring between 140 and 150 inches. A patient hunter might get a chance at a much bigger buck. Our biggest bow-killed buck scored about 180 inches.

“Optics are everything on this hunt. We start each morning glassing from the vehicle or a high vantage point. I like glassing from the truck at tirst light because it allows us to move quickly and cover more ground than if we were on foot. Once a buck is spotted we will watch him hed down then try a stalk. In the evenings we watch bucks come out of the ravines and coulees, then try to use
cover or breaks in the land to get close enough for a shot. On good days an archer will get one stalk in the morning and another in the afternoon.”

The first day of my September, 2001. Wyoming mule deer hunt was as good a of hunting as you could ask for. I saw 33 bucks ranging in size from young fork horns to a couple of Wide 4x4s that would make any archer drool. Early season means bucks are usually in bachelor groups and they are not nearly as spooky as they become later in the season. The bunched-up bucks are easy to
spot, spending lots of time in the open, but they are tough to stalk. Late in the afternoon
l attempted a stalk on a symmetrical 4×4 that we guessed would score about 160 inches,
but he was accompanied by six other bucks and I never got closer than 100 yards.

At noon on the second day of my hunt I learned a valuable lesson. You can’t shoot a
big buck if your bow is in the truck. Sounds simple, right’? Here’s what happened. From one of the main ranch roads l spotted a respectable 3×3 buck bedded in the shade of a row of willow trees. The tall willows lined a shallow ditch and provided the only cover for a quarter mile. The buck under the willows was too small to shoot this early in the hunt. but I decided to loop around with my camera and take some photos.

When I belly crawled through the sage and up to the lip of the ditch I got an unexpected surprise. Bedded less than 20 yards away and staring right at me was the same big -4×4 buck from the previous afternoon!
He was lying in a shallow depression that we couldn’t see from the road. I was aimed with only a telephoto lens and the buck obviously knew that. He stood for one long minute then casually walked out to about 40 yards and stood next to the 3×3 buck. I cranked-off a roll of film at both bucks. but wished for my Mathews bow instead of my Canon camera.

Finally. the two bucks galloped across the prairie. I spent most of the afternoon trying to
re-stalk that buck. but he was super alert and I never got within range. Lesson: Even if you
can see only one bedded buck, chances are good that during he early season he’ll have
at least one partner with him.

Late in the afternoon on day three I got a second look at old white-faced 4X4 buck
in a dark ravine. l passed this same buck on the first morning. but decided now that he
was plenty big enough. A short stalk and one long bow shot later and my tag was filled.
This time the camera stayed in the truck during the stalk and I was all business! The
buck’s live weight was about 225 pounds and his yellow-colored rack sported shreds
of dried velvet dangling off the beams. The date was September l7.

Western prairies might seem bleak and lifeless at first glance. with barely enough
cover to hide a jackrabbit. but find a stretch of tall trees and shallow water winding
across these plains and you`ll likely find bowhunting gold. Whether your passion is
rutting whitetails or early season mule deer, western waterways have something for
every bowhunter. The toughest part is deciding which species to hunt.

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

Get Aggresive For Elk – By Jeff Copeland


BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2002

GET AGGRESIVE FOR ELK
By Jeff Copeland
In the pre-rut, before the bugles begin and the weather is uncooperative, sometimes you just have to go get em!

My heart rocketed into my throat as the beautiful 6×6 strode from behind the brush broadside at just 25 yards. He was following a couple of cows as they fed toward the point of a ridge. I knew something had to happen quickly because the gentle breeze tickling my left ear would be swirling around the point of a ridge. I knew something had to happen quickly because the gentle breeze tickling my left ear would be swirling around the point that the cows were headed for; but for this moment, there were too many unobstructed eyes for me to lift my bow and come to full draw. In the past few years, I’d had this dream thousands of times, but on September 3, 1999, it wasn’t a dream. It was a reality

This was my first trip to New Mexico to
hunt elk with Ray Milligan and Milligan
Brand Outfitters. Our plan was to hunt the
first week of the 1999 archery elk season,
thinking that the weather would be warm and
dry. This would allow us Lone Star flat-landers to sit comfortably in a treestand overlooking the area’s isolated watering holes and
take our pick from the parade of bulls that would get thirsty in the evenings.
That plan looked good on the drawing board»—and it probably would have turmed out exactly that way had l been left out of the
equation. l firmly believe I have personally been responsible for ending more droughts than El Nino.
True to form, we arrived in the Milligan camp to mid-40—degree temperatures and a pouring rain that turned to sleet as
me day progressed. Rain was predicted as far as the forecast extended and we knew we were in for one tough hunt.
Needless to say, Ray informed us that sitting over a waterhole would be a waste of time.

One of the benefits of being an avowed weather jinx is that you learn to be a more adaptable hunter. If I hadn’t learned
to be adaptable, a dozen arrows would have lasted me through the entire decade of the ’90s. So,
as we sat around the dinner table that first night, I tied to be the optimist.
“Elk are smart, but they’re not whitetails,”
I told my hunting partners. “This country is conducive to stalking and it’ll be just like hunting exotics back home in Texas.
If we can find them, we can kill them.”

Topping a ridge at about 5 p.m. on the second day of our hunt, I
spotted a really nice bull herding two cows down the mountain in front of me.
This trio was eventually joined by about 20 additional elk on the edge of a
meadow. I glassed the bull with my Leica 10X42s as the elk began feeding in my direction.
The oak brush-covered ridge I was on ran perpendicular to the mountain that the elk came
from and bordered the meadow where they were feeding.

With more than two hours of legal hunting time left, and the elk totally oblivious to my presence while feeding in my direction, I
already had my tag on this bull and my fork in one of his juicy steaks. However, as is often the case, it wasn’t meant to be. A lone black
bear emerged from the brush between us, and the elk herd soon hoofed it back up the mountain, destination unknown.

Not quite sure what to do, I stayed put, cursing the bear until the sun fell behind the mountain where the elk had made their escape. Then, remembering the huge open valley that lay behind the ridge to my right, I
thought maybe the elk had dropped off into it to feed. As I eased quietly around the ridge glassing the draws and headers for brown fur and calcium, I finally reached the edge of the valley. Sure enough, the elk were there, feeding away from me at about 250 yards. With sunset (New Mexico’s end of legal hunting time) only five minutes away, I decided not
to risk pushing the herd out of the area.

The next morning my enthusiasm woke me up before Scotty Wilson, the camp cook, even sounded reveille. At daylight, though, I spotted my herd and they had already returned to the security of the oak brush-covered
mountainside and were browsing their way up toward the dark timber, where they would likely spend the day. Knowing the elk were gone until evening, I used the morning as an opportunity to familiarize myself with the terrain on the side of the ridge where the herd had been feeding at sunset the day before.

Bear or no bear, this time I had a plan. That afternoon, the sky was clear and temperatures had warmed a bit. I arrived at my perch atop the brushy ridge to see if I could spot the herd that I had put to bed that morning. Around 4:30 p.m., I heard a bugle and recognized the voice from the day before. Though I couldn’t see them, over the next hour or so, I could tell from the cow calls and
bugles that the herd was moving down the other side of the ridge again. I knew where

the herd was headed, and because I knew the lay of the land, I had time to get between them and where they were going. I gathered my gear and began slipping around the ridge to find my bull. As I cautiously eased through the brush, I spotted a mule deer doe and had to wait for her to feed into the brush so I could get by without spooking her. Once I was past, the bull bugled
again and I spotted a cow less than 100 yards away. Just as I had hoped, they were feeding on the ridge that ran above the big valley and the wind was quartering from them to me.

When I figured out exactly where the rest of the herd was, I dropped off into the draw and inched forward until I could just peel; over the edge of the ridge the elk were on. As I did so, I saw a cow, a calf, another cow, and the 6×6 bull come by at 25 yards. My Bushnell rangefinder was tucked into the
cargo pocket on my right pant leg and there was no time to retrieve it. The cows fed on the side of the ridge and the bull was about to follow. His head went behind a ponderosa stump and I came to full draw. He was walking, quartering slightly away when a cow called from behind him. As he paused to
look back, my subconscious shouted “50!’ while my pin hit the crease of his front shoulder and my Mathews Black Max sent the Easton A/C/C 371 streaking at 303 fps down a collision course with the bull’s heart.

At impact. the bull bucked and kicked with both back feet as he bolted 15 yards before
piling up near a downed pine. The rest of the herd never had a clue what was going on and I
had to wait for them to feed off of the ridge. When they were gone, I ran over to put my
hands on the bull’s massive beams. I sat in awe of his beauty as I looked through his tines
at the sun setting behind the mountains across the valley, and thought about all the times
before I had played this game of cat and mouse, only to come out on the losing side.
This was my first pre-rut elk hunt and it taught me a lot. In the first couple weeks of September,
there isn’t a lot of bugling like later in the month As the week progresses, you begin to
hear more bugles in the early morning and late evening, but still not a lot of roaring back and
forth like you hear in the peak of the rut. As a result, you may find cow calling is a lot more
common and effective in getting a response. From a half-hour after sunrise to a half-hour
before sunset, cow calls may be the only elk vocalizations you will hear.

Many hunters like to go elk hunting in the rut so they can hear the bulls bugling,
and I’ll admit I enjoy that spine-tingling whistle as much as the next guy. However,
as a bowhunter, when I go elk hunting, I like to kill a bull, and it has been my
personal experience that the early season is the time where I have the best chance
at that. I can hear bulls bugle on the Outdoor Channel in my living room.

The other big difference between hunting this time frame and the rut is that when a bull
answers your calling, he typically won’t be headed in your direction. In the early season,
you can listen for bugles to determine the areas holding the elk. If you cow call and have
a bull answer, chances are he isn’t coming to you, but he will stop what he is doing and look
in your direction. When you have a bull answer, don`t continue calling like you would during the rut.
Instead, try to home-in on the bull’s location, moving to where you think you will be able to see the bull, and decide if
he is the one you want to take. If you think you are getting close to the bull’s location but
you still haven’t spotted him, then it’s time to call again to see if he is still in the area.

One thing about hunting the Southwest during the first week of September is that typically,
the mature herd bulls are not the ones out gathering up cows. Usually, the younger,
satellite bulls gather cows and do the majority of the bugling that time of year. The big
boys are usually alone, but in the vicinity, thrashing brush, making wallows and generally
keeping watch on the younger bulls while preparing for the combat to come.

When you spot a decent bull with a herd of cows, it might be worth your while to glass
the surrounding country before setting your sights on him. Such was the case with a bull I
shot last year, on another trip to New Mexico with Ray Milligan. Once again the hunting
was tough but for totally different reasons. Last year, the Southwest was in a terrible
drought and wildfires were rampant. Fortunately, the area I was to hunt was out of the
bum zone, but it was hot and very dry.

Arriving full of anticipation about ambushing at waterholes, we were in for yet another disappointment.
The drought was so severe that ponds and water tanks holding the limited
water were continually visited by the numerous bears that inhabit north central New Mexico
—not good when you’re after elk or mule deer. The parched terrain made still-hunting
difficult and slow stalking more critical than ever. It was a tough hunt but there are lots of elk
in the country Milligan Brand has leased. I spotted several good bulls and actually passed
up shot opportunities at three different ones in the 240-265-inch class. I was determined to get
something bigger than the 280 I shot in 1999.

The last morning of my hunt, I decided to go back into an area where I had seen several
different groups of elk. By that time in my hunt, I figured if I couldn’t spot a good bull, I
might be able to till my tag with a cow so I could take home some meat. I arrived in the
area I wanted to hunt just as dawn was breaking. The air was cool and crisp and I heard
bugles in several directions as I approached the top of the ridge where I wanted to glass. Of all
the bugles I heard, there was one in particular that caught my attention. It was a deep guttural
growl, followed by an ear-piercing whistle that seemed to linger in the air for an eternity. I had
to get a look at the critter making this sound.

As the early morning light altered its way into the canyon I was overlooking, I began to
make out the silhouettes of elk. My Leicas focused in on a nice 6×5 that I had passed a
couple of days earlier. I knew he wasn’t making the sound that had piqued my interest.
When it got light enough to see well, I made a couple of cow calls. Just as I finished the second
mew, another bull answered. He was an old herd bull that was now thrashing brush
directly below me about 300 yards from the herd which held the 6×5.

When the 6×5 bugled, I cow-called and the old bull stepped out of the brush nearly
causing me to swallow my diaphragm. He was a massive 6×6 that would dwarf the bull I
shot the year before. To add insult to injury he looked in my direction and bugled in my
face just for good measure. As he walked into the edge of the meadow, the 6×5 quickly.
drove his cows across the valley, up the opposite ridge and out of sight over its crest, leaving me
and the big guy to fulfill our own destinies in the quiet New Mexico morning light.

After an hour of playing cat-and-mouse with the monarch as he demolished oak brush
and ripped apart pine trees with his long ivory tipped tines, I managed to get around him so
the wind was right. In another 45 minutes I finally got ahead of him and was waiting at full
draw when he stepped into an opening between two patches of brush. My arrow
found its mark and 75 yards later I was admiring the regal beast laying on the point of a ridge
with the sun glinting off his massive beams. In the early season, before the bulls really
get fired up, many times success can hinge on the weather. When the weather tums nasty
making waterholes ineffective, you can still fill your tag if you know what to do when you
have to go get ’em! >>—>

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

TAGGED OUT – By Steven Tisdale & Brandon Ray


BOWHUNTING
October 2002

TAGGED OUT
by Steven Tisdale & Brandon Ray

To Shoot all five of the North American deer species: whitetail,
Coues whitetail, mule deer, Columbian blacktail and a Sitka blacktail,
during the course of any bowhunter’s lifetime, is a tremendous accomplishment.
To shoot all five deer species in less than a year, with three of the
five deer species taken on do-it-yourself hunts, would be phenomenal.
As one friend put it,”Now that’s the sort of thing you should write an article about!”

Texas bowhunter Steven Tisdale did just that during the 2000 hunting season. Tisdale, 37 years old
today is the owner of Collision King Repair Center, an auto body shop in the town of Lubbock.
He has been a bowhunter for 17 years. He is like most bowhunters,
Tisdale works hard all year at his business and spends his free time with his
wife and two daughters, but come fall he finds time to slip away on the weekends to
pursue his passion, bowhunting. While the dusty panhandle town of
Lubbock is hardly at the center of great bowhunting country, there is good hunting for
both mule deer and whitetails within a couple of hours drive of the city.

Tisdale’s first taste of success came on a mule deer hunt in eastern New Mexico.
Tisdale gained permission to hunt a private ranch in the rolling sand dunes and
farm country found on the Texas/New Mexico border. Here are the details of that hunt, and others, in his own words.

Mule Deer New Mexico and Texas

Looking out my pickup window at the sun sinking down on the horizon,
I calculated that I had two or three more areas left to glass before
darkness would erase the landscape. An unproductive early season
tag had been neatly folded in my wallet for the last three months and
I was eager for another chance during this late—season, archery—only
hunt. At the base of a tall sand dune, I ditched the truck like I’d done
several times already that afternoon. I climbed the sand dune and poked
my head over the top, being careful not to be skylined. I scanned to
the west and suddenly my glasses were filled.

With a 5×5 mule deer buck less than 150 yards away. I quickly ducked
out of sight and skirted the perimeter, making mental notes of the
buck`s last location.
I slithered through the short shin oak brush and cactus using the
dunes to flank an approach route. When I thought I was getting close
I eased into position and peeked over the closest dune. The buck was
35 yards away, broadside. I drew on him and released, but a hard
crosswind combined with me being winded from the stalk sent the
arrow off course, just grazing the buck’s back. The buck, not knowing
my whereabouts, turned toward me and dropped out of sight in a low
spot. In one fluid motion I nocked a second arrow and drew as the
buck came back into view, topping the sand dune in front of me. At 18
yards I put the arrow into the oncoming buck’s chest. He turned and
ran 75 yards and collapsed within sight.

The last 10 minutes worth of events soaked into my brain as my
heart pounded and sweat ran down my brow. During the past 15 years
I have had some dry spells pursuing big game with a bow. In my
twenties, it was sometimes almost more than my restless, impatient
soul could bear. Sometimes I would be on the verge of picking up a rifle, but an occasional animal taken would quickly bring me back to the realization that it was well worth the effort to hunt only with a bow.

During the drive home I pondered on what I would do for my next hunt, just as many bowhunters would do. I had set aside five days off of work for hunting in the month of January. Visions of thick-beamed, mouse—colored
Coues bucks chasing does in the colorful deserts of Arizona filled my thoughts. I had hunted the sneaky Coues whitetail of the desert Southwest off and on for the last 12 years without success. That would be my next hunt.

(ln addition to Steven’s January mule deer he shot a second, even
larger muley buck in late October on his deer lease in the Texas Panhandle. That buck was also taken by spot—and-stalk hunting in rugged, open canyon country. A 30—yard shot downed that second, wide 5×5 muley buck.)

Coues Whitetail Arizona
Thursday evening after work, I quickly went home, loaded my truck
with gear, kissed the wife and kids goodbye, and headed west. My
plan was to camp out and stay mobile until I found a good place to
aunt. It is common to see mule deer in the lower elevations before
getting into Coues country and that is mostly what I encountered for
the next three days. During the middle of the day I tried to gather
information on hunting areas from the local ranchers, arming myself
with forest maps, a smile and a friendly handshake. After several
encounters their response seemed prerecorded, “You’re trying to get
a mountain whitetail with a bow? Why don’t you go for a muley, lot
more meat and easier to hunt’?” At the end of day four, I made a major
move to an area I had hunted several years earlier—rough terrain and
a good walk in.

Once in the new location my memory was fuzzy at first. A familiar knob
overlooking lots of stalkable terrain Finally registered.
Yes, there it is. I unpacked my optics, got comfortable and began glassing,
picking the desert apart. The Zeiss were scrutinizing hunks of land-
one tree, one rock, one cactus at a time. Veteran Coues deer hunters
will tell you that glassing is the key to success. At the first possible
light let the binoculars be your legs, they say, reaching into faraway
shadows of pinions and brush. Be patient.

One spike buck and a few does was all I found that morning. Further down in a different bowl I saw one doe, then another and another. From a half mile away I watched several more deer filter out of a low spot in a far-away crease. I decided to investigate. When I reached the low spot where all those deer were coming out, I noticed a small natural pond with about a dozen ducks on it. “Could this be the only water source in this area?” I thought to myself. As I
approached the water’s edge the ducks lifted off. There were heavy trails
leading to the water with tiny hoof prints in the mud. Two sizable pinion
pines near the pond would serve as a makeshift ground blind. As I got situated
in my new ground blind the ducks landed back on the pond confirming
what I’d suspected. Water was scarce.

Throughout that day six different deer came in for a drink, including a small 6-point buck. They all left quickly after getting a drink, as this is a land filled with mountain lions and even an occasional jaguar. I had to be back at work the next day, so reluctantly I left my newly discovered hot spot. During the
10-hour drive home I schemed on how I could return to this oasis before the season ended.

I retumed the following Saturday night, slept five hours in my truck
then made the two-hour trek to the pond equipped with a backpack and_
material better suited for constructing a ground blind. I set up my blind,
trimmed branches, and dug out a seat in the ground. I draped camo
material to keep me hidden in the shadows. It was 40 yards to the water’s edge.

At 1 p.m., I looked up from my book to see a splendid solo buck
approaching the water maybe 75 yards away. His 8 point rack glistened in the midday sunlight. I eased my bow into the ready position, putting tension on the string. He lowered his head to drink while ever so slightly leaning forward. I knew he would not linger after quenching his thirst. I drew, anchored, and settled my 40-yard pin low at his shoulder. The arrow caught the buck solid. After a short recovery I was holding the most beautiful animal of the desert.

Columbian Blacktail California

The biggest dilemma I faced was using my vacation time for my remaining hunts without interfering with my 10 year wedding anniversary in September, My wife Lynn decided to join me on my trip to northern California to hunt Columbian blacktails. In mid August we flew to San Francisco, rented a car and drove north towards Jim Schaafsma’s awesome blacktail hunting operation. Along the way we made stops in Napa Valley to taste wine, sight see and even stayed at a bed and breakfast. I wanted to the trip to be special no only because of my blacktail hunt, but I wanted Lynn to enjoy the trip as well.

The first evening of hunting blacktails found Jim and I staring at a huge 5×5 buck bedded with a small forkhorn. The big buck was colossal in size, pushing the B&C minimums according to Jim. Jim has guided loads of bowhunters to record class bucks and he has personally taken many P&Y blacktails with a bow. A few years earlier, I even shot a decent P&Y buck on my first blacktail hunt with Jim.

The air was hot and steamy and my thin cotton shirt was sweat-drenched by the time I completed the stalk. I closed to within 30 yards but just as I was preparing for the shot the smaller buck saw me and they both ran out of sight. I spend the next several days relocating that same big 5×5 and
attempting stalk after stalk, but I was never able to get a shot. Columbian blacktails are more patternable than their mule deer cousins, similar to whitetails. They hang in the same area day after day. I never got the big 5×5, but I did have several opportunities at other big bucks, including a dandy non-typical that I missed. On the last day of my hunt I shot a respectable buck at range of 25 yards. The date was August 13, the last day of the season in the unit where I was hunting.

Bowhunting early season Columbian blacktails is tough for several reasons. First the temperature is hot and miserable which keeps deer movement to a minimum in daylight hours. The heat also makes hiking and controlling the scent tough on bowhunters. In addition , the , dry conditions make grass underfoot brittle and noisy. Very tough for stalking. When the hunt was over I was very pleased to have a decent set of antlers to bring on the plane ride home. Lynn and I left norther California with fond memories and hopes of returning sometime in the future.

WHITETAIL Texas
For the first day and a half of Texas’ archery-only season, I hunted three different stands. The 90-degree-plus temperatures had deer movement to a minimum. Just a few does were spotted, but no bucks. The scorching heat made me consider another option that had paid off in Arizona,
hunting water.

It was on the second day of the season that I made a midday trip to a waterhole. The plan was to erect a tripod stand in a cluster of hackberry trees near a beaten trail at the stock pond. The timing seemed perfect for a buck to quench its thirst.

By 4p.m. I was seated in the new stand with a slight breeze in my face. A full Scent-Lok suit and scent-eliminating sprays were used to increase my odds. In order to play the wind direction it was necessary that the stand be placed where the afternoon sun beat down right on my face. For this reason, I sat facing slightly away from the trail where the sun wasn’t directly into my eyes.

It was at 5:30 p.m. peering through the sun at the trail, that I first spotted a deer. Due to the blinding sun the buck had drifted into the waterhole undetected. By the time I noticed the movement, the buck was already at the pond, broadside, with his head down drinking. Immediately I knew he was a shooter. By the time I had swiveled my stand around to get in position for a shot, the buck was already leaving the water. Experience from past hunts had taught me that once a deer was finished drinking they wouldn’t stick around for very long. Time was quickly fading away. I jerked the compound bow to full draw and tracked the walking buck’s progress through the mesquites. When the big 8-point stopped in an opening at 33 yards, the arrow was on it’s way. Hit in the spine, the buck dropped immediately. A finishing shot behind the shoulder and it was over.

As I walked up on the fallen buck I was surprised at the rack’s tine length. The tines curved inwards and the beams were longer than expected. Small patches of velvet were still clinging to portions of the rack. The 135 inch, mature 8-point buck became my first ever P&Y whitetail from my home state. What I thought could take me months, had quickly ended on the first weekend of the season. Fantastic, only one deer species to go!

SITKA BLACKTAILS Alaska

It was on November 5th that my Sitka
blacktail hunt began on Prince of Wales
Island. My dad accompanied me on the trip,
which made this final leg of my deer season
even more special. l had two deer tags
in my pocket and my plans were simple.
Shoot the first respectable buck, then hold
out for a bigger buck.

The island was beautiful with rolling,
mountainous terrain and thick, dark forests.
Most of the terrain was so dense that glassing
and spot-and-stalk hunting was difficult.
The primary tactic was driving logging
roads, glassing into openings and along
edges, and trying a stalk if l spotted a buck.
Unfortunately, only does were spotted when
we glassed. Another popular tactic my guide
used was calling with a deer bleat in the
dark, damp forests. We called in several does
using this tactic, but never a buck.

Rainy, damp conditions plagued the first
three days of my trip. After three days of it l
was feeling like l would never dry off. Since
calling and spot-and—stalk hunting had been
only mildly successful, we resorted to still-hunting.
And so on November 7, at 11:30 in the morning, while
slowly cruising through the moss—covered timber, I
spotted a big deer and a glimpse of antler.
This was the first buck sighting of the hunt. At 25 yards, with the
buck broadside, I punched an Easton A/C/C shaft through the
buck’s chest. When I recovered the mature deer I was shocked to
see only one antler. In my rush to shoot I had only seen the buck
from the side, glimpsed multiple points and a thick beam, and shot.
His left antler beam was broken just above the base.


The following day, late in the afternoon,
I shot another buck while still-hunting. At
30 yards, I connected. Typical of Sitka
bucks, this one had a blocky frame with a
handsome cape and antlers stained the color
of rust. His hooves were also oversized. My
guide said that was an adaptation to walking
in the spongy, wet terrain. That buck had the
tip of his right beam broken off, but considering
the bad weather and tough hunting
conditions, I felt fortunate to fill both tags.
My single season deer slam was complete,
and with it I had lots of great memories.
What had started as a normal year of
bowhunting back in January had mushroomed into a full-blown,
year-long obsession of hunting deer with a bow. Every technique
and tactic was required in order to succeed.
There was spot-and—stalk hunting for
mule deer and Columbian blacktails, hunt-
ing over waterholes for whitetails, and even
still-hunting in rain—soaked forests in Alaska
for chunky Sitka blacktails. lt was never
about making a name for myself or trying to
set a record. It was just taking my stick-and-
string deer hunting to a new level. >>—>

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

The Golden Rule – By Steve Flores


Bow & Arrow Hunting
August 2009

THE GOLDEN RULE
If you fail to follow this important hunting standard, then consider it game over.
By Steve Flores

I recall one season in particular
when I somehow managed to
outfit myself with all of the latest
gear. I had the most popular bow
on the market, the most effective
camo pattern, an ultra—light treestand,
and a truckload of confidence to boot.
Yeah, I was going to be a whitetail-
killing machine. Brimming with
optimism, I set out to do some
extensive pre-season scouting. After
finding a suitable location, I hung my
stand and counted the days until the
start of the season.

Opening morning arrived and it
wasn’t long before I was up to my
fanny pack in action. With a
substantial amount of does and
smaller bucks frequenting the area, I
just knew the approaching rut would
eventually lure an old “mountain
monarch” within easy bow range.
There was little doubt I was going to
fill my tag and be the envy of all my
friends. Or so I thought.

in agriculture settings, pre-season scouting can actually be advantageous, simply because most of the observations are done from long-distances. However, don't dismiss the need for up-close scouting in these areas, which should still occur during the off-season months.


Eager to taste success, I hunted
every day that I could, regardless of
weather conditions or phase of the rut.
As a result, my enthusiastic approach
quickly turned my “dream season” into
a living nightmare. Within a matter of
days, deer sightings dropped off the
map and I unexpectedly found myself
searching for greener grass. However,
any attempt to duplicate that initial
opening-day stand site only brought
about the same result—a promising
location that soon fizzled out, never
really living up to the hype. When the
season finally did come to a close, I
had little to show for my efforts other
than an unfilled tag and a look of
bewilderment on my tired, beaten face.

So, what happened? Where did I
go wrong? I mulled over those
questions for quite some time, deter-
mined to find the answers before
velvet was shed and another season
began. After much deliberation, I
realized the answer lied in one
irrefutable rule—just one. Consequently,
if I considered this rule in
every decision I made in the deer
woods, success would likely beat down
my door instead of darting away like a
flushed rabbit.

So, what is this “golden rule”? The
answer: Never let the deer know they
are being hunted. That°s it! Plain and
simple. Now, that might sound a bit
elementary at first, but it isn’t until
you apply this straightforward idiom
to your current hunting strategy that
you start to get an idea about just how
tricky it can be to live up to. However,
nothing will have a greater affect on
your bowhunting success than learning
how to master this one commandment.
Because, regardless of everything
else you do, the tactics you employ or
the rules you follow, if you break this
one, it`s game over.

POST-SEASON SCOUTING
The first mistake many bowhunters
fall victim to is ill-timed scouting
efforts. Even though intentions are
good, the consequences often lead to a
season that doesn’t quite live up to its
expectations. While the traditional
time frame for scouting seems to be
just prior to the start of the season,
there are many problems associated
with this approach.

First and foremost is the fact that
“pre-season” scouting more or less
sounds the alarm that hunting season
is near. After months of uninterrupted
behavior, deer are unexpectedly
bombarded with human intrusion into
sensitive core areas. This increase in
activity basically kicks them out of
their off season stupor and alerts them
to the fact that it’s that time of year
again. Soon after this initial disruption,
the start of the season brings
a legion of bow-toting predators back
into the area, further increasing the
likelihood that the element of surprise
will be lost. At that point, it won’t take
a very intelligent animal to figure out
it’s being hunted. On top of all of this is the
overwhelming urge to hunt your best stand
(which is usually your only stand)
right off the bat. As described
in the opening paragraphs, this ill-fated
decision will definitely have a
ripple effect on the remainder of your
season, just as it did mine. If you fail
to give yourself adequate time to scout
and prepare separate stands for the
early season, rut and late season, you°ll
be depending on one location to do it
all. The truth is, y0u’ll never pull it
off You will burn out (educate most
of the deer in the area) your one stand
site long before the best hunting even
begins.

Consider also that much of the
sign that is found during late-summer
outings does not accurately represent
the conditions you will face once the
season begins. Though promising at
first, a great deal of it will likely prove
useless as changes in food, available
cover, breeding phases and hunting
pressure all take their natural toll on
deer travel patterns and behaviors-
not to mention your success rate.
Without a doubt, the lion’s share of
scouting should be carried out in the
post-season, well before spring arrives
and everything turns green. Rubs,
scrapes, transition routes, heavy trails,
security cover and bedding areas are
not only much easier to locate, but
more accurately represent the game
conditions you will face once the
season starts. More importantly you
can scout as much as you like,
wherever you like, without fear of
educating/spooking the animals you
will be hunting later in the year—
specifically mature bucks.

COMING AND GOING
Without a doubt, a good stand
location is only as good as the route
you take to get to it. When choosing
your access route, keep one thing in
mind——the path of least resistance
often leads to failure. What I mean is
that we tend to choose the quickest
and easiest route to our tree stands.
The problem with this is that, quite
often, we end up using or crossing
numerous deer trails along the way
essentially announcing our presence.
This happens because, for the most
part, whitetails are lazy If given a
choice, they will usually pick the path
of least resistance when traveling from
point A to point B, as long as it keeps
them out of harm’s way Oddly
humans are much the same.

While some bow hunters might
cringe at the thought of walking
additional 15 to 30 minutes, or an
extra 250 yards to remain unnoticed,
nothing will improve their chances of
success more. Sure, nobody wants to
work harder than they have to, but if
you’re serious about keeping your
quarry ignorant to the fact they are
being hunted, you should strive to
take the best route to your stand—not
the easiest.

For example, even though they can
be rocky and take more time to
traverse, I routinely use erosion
ditches, or stream beds, to access
stands hung near ridge tops or in
valleys below Not only am I less apt
to bump deer in these areas, but also,
the steep bank effectively hides my
slinking human form. And if I happen
to be moving under the cover of
darkness, my headlamp will be less
visible to any deer watching from
nearby.

Even the type of light used to
navigate the pre-dawn hours can have
an affect on educating deer to your a
presence. Like humans who are color-
blind, deer are sensitive to only two
broad bands of light: short-wavelength
light (blue-violet) and middle-wavelength
light (green-yellow). For years, I used a
blue light to make my way through the
early morning darkness, assuming I was moving
covertly Man was I wrong. Nearly
every deer that saw this blue-colored
beam turned inside out; crashing away
at a break-neck pace. I never under-
stood that reaction until I learned
more about the makeup of a whitetails
eye and its sensitivity to certain colors.
Now I use a red-colored headlamp
almost exclusively; employing a
standard “white” light only when
needed.

UNDER THE RADAR
Certainly there are additional
“measures” you can take to ensure you
maintain the element of surprise in the
deer Woods. Although you’ve most
likely never considered these seemingly
insignificant details, they are commonly
to blame for making your presence so
easily felt. For instance, how often do t
you hunt the same stand on the same
day of the week, arriving and departing
at the same time of day -every day?
I’m guilty Like I said, we are creatures
of habit. Therefore, I have little doubt
believing this mannerism makes it easy
for whitetails to figure out what we are
really up to. The trick to preventing
this from happening is to occasionally
be unpredictable.

For instance, arrive late and hunt
the midday hours instead of the
routine morning time frame. You never
know when a big mature buck will
be up roaming around, assuming
everyone has called it quits for the
morning. Imagine his surprise when
the last sound he hears is the dull thud
of your arrow finding its mark.

Or, instead of mindlessly ambling
through the timber toward your
treestand, why not try stalking your
way to it? Quite often I find deer
naturally feeding or moving through
the area adjacent to my stands when I
creep in “real quiet like.” I imagine the
normal haphazard approach, so often
used, would send them running for
cover, alert to the fact that a human is
indeed in the area.

Also, if you happen to be on land
that is heavily hunted, it may be best
to avoid aggressive call tactics. \While
they may seem enticing, some mature
bucks will be hesitant to respond,
likely associating the sounds with a
previous life-threatening encounter
that left them wise to the common
trickery of the bowhunter. You may
think you’re simply not getting a
response to your calling efforts when,
in fact, you have tipped your hand,
made your presence known, and the
deer are reacting accordingly.

Recently though, a number of my
hunting buddies have experienced some
success with the “snort-wheeze” call-
most likely because this particular
sound hasn’t been done to death by the
majority of hunters—yet. While l often
carry a variety of calls with me just in
case, l am always cautious about when
and how I use them.

CONTROLLING ODOR
You may fool a mature buck’s eyes
and ears using the aforementioned
tactics, but l promise you this: If he
gets one whiff of your man stink, the
gig is up. ln a perfect world, the wind
always blows from the deer to the
hunter—always. However, in the real
world -yours and mine—the wind
shifts, air currents drift and thermals
rise and fall. In order to have any
chance of beating the whitetails
legendary sniffer and remaining
undetected, you have to have a solid
odor-control system.

Despite what you’ve previously
heard or read, l believe it is possible to
fool a whitetail’s nose. l have done it
on several occasions. However, it takes
a lot of hard work, and no single item
is responsible for the success or failure
of my-odor control system. Rather, it’s
a culmination of several different
variables working together to form a
perfect odor-fighting team,

One of the biggest misconceptions
surrounding effective odor control is
that activated-carbon suits are a
technological miracle worker. While
they are undoubtedly essential to the
integrity of the overall system, they
can’t make up for many of the
common blunders committed while
using them. For instance, I can’t tell
you how many times I have witnessed
well-meaning hunters wearing their
charcoal-impregnated suits at the gas
station or local restaurant, oblivious to
the fact that they have compromised
its odor-adsorbing capabilities,
rendering it useless for any immediate
hunt. What amazes me even more is
that these same individuals are often
the first to declare the ineffectiveness
of such garments. I totally disagree. I
have been using carbon-lined suits
since their inception and can say
without reservation that when cared
for and used properly they do indeed
work; again, not alone, but as part of
an overall scent-control system.

When I asked his thoughts on the
subject, Scott Shultz, president of
Scent Blocker/ Robinson Outdoors, `
had this to say about controlling
human odor: “During the hunting
season, each of us seems to develop a
routine of scent elimination that
covers everything we do, or don’t do,
to try and eliminate our odor. This
routine, or system, will result in a
certain degree of effectiveness, depending
on how well we understand
and attend to all of the little details, as
well as the obvious stuff.

“Additionally the effectiveness of
our routine is somewhat further
dependant on other varying and
contributing factors, such as diet,
temperature, exertion level, atmospheric
pressure, stand location, etc., etc.
Total or complete scent elimination
is absolutely possible. However, for
most of us, with our hectic lifestyles,
becoming 80 to 90 percent scent-free
seems to work well enough to give us
the extra time and extra yardage needed
to slip a good arrow in there.”

I agree. Although a big buck may
smell me, it has long been my belief
that a proven system will reduce the
severity” of my odor to the point that
he will think I am 200 yards away
when, in fact, I am actually 20 yards
away at full draw. I have routinely
watched this scenario play out as a
buck stands downwind, nose in the
air, trying to determine how close I
really am. With the reassuring flick of
a tail, he usually comes closer, giving
me the opportunity I need to close the
deal.

Without taking anything away
from the importance of post-season
scouting and proper access routes, I
will say that scent control will
definitely make or break your hunt.
While other factors influencing success
or failure seem to have areas of gray
human odor is not one of them.
When it comes to that subject, there’s
only black and White.

If you’re not finding the success
you hoped for or you feel that your
current hunting spot isn’t quite living
up to its expectations, it probably has
little to do with your failure to incorporate
the latest “how to” tactic into
your bag of tricks. Most likely your
unrealized dreams are a direct result of
one thing, and one thing only—you
broke the “Golden Rule.” <–<<

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

MULIE MAGIC – By Zack Walton


Bow & Arrow Hunting
August 2009
Mulie Magic
Stalking desert mule deer is never easy, but the reward is well worth the pain.
By Zack Walton

It’s hard not to scream when you’re standing on a cactus wearing
nothing but socks. But after two straight weeks of practice, I was .
getting pretty good. I decided to put the pain in the hack of my mind
and continue to sneak forward. Knowing the group of` mule deer had
to be close, I tried to Focus on anything but the needles piercing my
toes. Just then, I was snapped back as to why was doing all this. I could
suddenly see the wide-racked four—point mulie reappear through the
mesquite. He was intently following two does.

The buck was obviously in full rut.
His large, swollen neck gave his body
the perception of being front-heavy As
he began moving around the group of
does, I couldn’t help but focus on him,
and while doing so, a doe had picked
up my location. The cagey “mule head”
bounded away taking with him she
and the others. It was developing into a
trend this trip. However, she went only
200 yards before settling down.
I began watching the group, trying
to anticipate their next move, when
the scene quickly turned into a
spectacular show Over the next few
minutes, I saw the large buck mount a
doe several times, finally breeding her,
square off with a smaller 3×4 and level
cacti and bushes just to prove his
dominance. The group had settled
down and grown in size when two
small bucks joined in on the fun.
With light fading, I laced up my boots
and began closing the distance on the
deer.

I had to skirt the group of deer to
get the wind in my favor by dropping
off the hilltop and circling them. I
stayed a couple-hundred yards away
and continued °°dogging” the group
until they disappeared into a small
draw By slipping into the depression,
the deer allowed me to get in front of
them without being seen, so I ducked
out of sight and ran down a wash to
where I thought the herd would go.

Shortly after finding my feet were
again full of thorns, I eased my head
above some rocks and saw big ears
moving every which way The bucks
were chasing does back and forth in
the confined canyon. What a circus.
Three different times I had a 20-inch-
wide 5×4 stop well within bow range.
“The deer don’t know you are here,
find the big boy? I kept thinking to
myself Soon enough, the wide four-
point popped out from behind some
quail bushes hot on two does. He was
easily twice the size of the does he
pushed in front of me at about 50
yards. I was hoping I had finally met
up with a large mulie about to make
his last mistake.

There is not another animal I have
chased more often, for longer periods
of time, than desert mule deer of the
Southwest. Every year I spend my
Christmas vacation in the high desert.
I have been going with my family for
the better part of two decades. And for
the past I5 years, I’ve bowhunted the
various animals that call the cacti-
infested area of Arizona home. This
past year was no exception and on
Christmas night my friend, Shawn
Wood, and I left to meet up with my
parents.

The holiday season is when I love
to hunt mule deer, because they are
more active and bucks are always
“twitterpated.” Bowhunting mule deer
during this window can be a blast.
Bucks fight cactus and each other.
Their I.Q.s plummet to that of a
stuffed animal, and they swell up like
a second-rate boxer after a few rounds
with Iron Mike. And the sight of one
classic desert giant, with wide, flared
antlers stretching from horizon to
horizon, is enough to bring you back.
I had my first introduction to these
big-eared desert dwellers 15 years ago
on the morning of my first bow hunt
for deer. Arizona allows hunters to
chase big game at the age of 10,
(two years before my home state of
California), so my first deer hunt was
in the Grand Canyon State. That

morning I found myself in the middle
of a group of mule deer and at the age
of 11, I shot my first deer with a bow.
I wish it were always so easy The
fact is, the mule deer in southern
Arizona are easy to hunt with a bow,
but difficult to kill. You can get within
150 yards with little effort, but closing
to within bow range is a minor miracle
every time. Throw in the fact that
when the rut starts, large bucks usually
will have between one and 20 does
with him—and you will have more
eyes, ears and noses to go through
than a plastic surgeon in Hollywood.
That’s when the challenge begins.
That’s the challenge I was faced with
that January afternoon.

The deer were running in circles.
“Wait for the buck to stop,” I told
myself When one doe stopped and
the buck lowered his head to sniff her,
I drew my Hoyt and settled on the last
rib of the quartering-away buck. I
remember thinking, “Constant
tension. Squeeze through.”
When the arrow struck, the buck
kicked his rear legs high in the air like
a bull looking to rid himself of a
cowboy Surprisingly, the shot did not
spook any of the deer, but as I scanned
the group, I could not find the buck I
had just hit. But he still had to be
there. The other bucks were still
chasing does, and the other deer were
feeding on cactus, all of this within
50 yards of where an arrow crashed
through the biggest deer in the bunch.
Finally, I found him concealed in
some ocotilio about 20 yards from
where I shot him. I could tell he was
badly hurt, but that I should put
another arrow in him. Control the
shaking. My second shot hit low as I
misjudged the yardage, but he didn’t
move. The next shot slid right under
the buck’s large chest and still, he
didn’t move. It was obvious
adrenaline was out of control now.
The other deer had spooked away and
here I was failing to put a second
arrow in the large buck right in front
of me. Somebody get me a bag to
breathe into. I told myself to calm
down and make the shot count and
the next arrow smacked home.

At impact, he busted through the
ocorillo for 100 yards before stopping.
The arrow had broken off from his
sprint, but I knew it had hit him
through the shoulder. The buck slowly
walked off stopping frequently I
watched him for 10 minutes before he
limped into a wash. Since the sun had
just set, I decided to leave the deer _
overnight and come back with some
help in the morning.

The night lasted for an eternity,
and after searching in the morning,
with help from my dad and Shawn,
we found the buck 150 yards from
where I last saw him. Both of the
arrows had penetrated the chest cavity
the first slicing the liver before cutting
through the bottom of the chest, and
the second hit both shoulders and cut
through the top of the chest.
The trip was a wonderful success,
as I had seen lots of animals and taken
a marvelous mule deer that was 26
inches wide and gross scored right at
the Pope & Young minimum. Along

with the one-horned buck I’d taken on
the last day of the December season,
and l had two archery-killed bucks in
difficult terrain. To make the hunt
more amazing, everyone in my
hunting party took animals.
My Christmas-time trip is a perfect
ending to my bowhunting season. The
high desert offers sunshine during a
usually cold winter at home and an
opportunity to hunt a different time
of the year for me. And with the right
amount of luck, l get to bring home my
last, and best present of the season. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 31 Dec 2010

TUNDRA FUN – By Warren Anderson Jr.


BOW & ARROW HUNTING MAGAZINE
August 2009
TUNDRA FUN

Come along on this fun-filled journey in pursuit of central barren-ground caribou amid Canada’s Northwest Territories.

By Warren Anderson Jr.

I think caribou are fantastic animals; not many other species in North America can grow as much antler in such a short amount of time or cover the open landscape they call home faster than an Olympic track star. They inhabit pristine country and going to the Northwest Territories to chase them with a bow is an incredible challenge. They are also excellent table fare, yielding a flavorful meat that is tender and worth the effort. I had hunted caribou once before in Newfoundland a few years back, and that experience left me with a hankering to chase them again. So, in January 2007, my wife and I met with the folks from Peterson’s Point Lake Lodge at the Denver Sportsman’s Expo. After talking with the owners and some of their staff we decided to send a deposit and book a hunt for the first week
in September 2007. Although my wife doesn’t hunt, I was able to talk her into going as a non- hunter and sharing this once—in-a—lifetime experience with me. Some friends of ours had hunted with Peterson’s in the past and all gave glowing references. Although all of my buddies were rifle hunters, the staff at Peterson’s had guided several bowhunters and were well versed in the challenges that archery equipment poses.

We arrived in the town of Yellowknife in the Northwest
Territories via commercial airline, and then took a floatplane an hour and a
half north to camp. The Peterson’s camp sits on the shore of Point Lake,
which is a large body of water 70 miles in length, located just south of the
Artic Circle. The area is so pristine that the ice—cold water is safe to drink
straight from the lake. After cabin assignments and introductions with all
the staff and other hunters in camp that week, I headed down to the beach
to check my archery equipment.

I had been paired up with another bowhunter named Vince (the only
other archer in camp that week), and he also came down to check that his
equipment had made the trip without incident. I knew Vince had been to
Peterson’s a few years earlier and had not gotten an opportunity at an animal,
so we decided that he would have the first crack at an animal when we went
out the first day We shared a few stories, and I knew he would be a good
hunting partner for the next week.

On our first day on the tundra, we had great weather and spotted several
groups of bulls right off the bat. Our guide, Egan, helped judge the quality
of the animals and suggested that we could do better. That afternoon we
found a group of six bulls that made the grade, and Vince was on the chase.
He slithered into position as the rest of us sat in a boulder pile and looked on.
The way he crept to within range of these bulls, you would have never
guessed that he was a treestand hunter from Wisconsin who had never stalked animals in such open habitat. The caribou stood, sensing something was up, and Vince got his chance. The distance was a little closer than he had estimated and the arrow sailed harmlessly over the largest bull’s back.
We headed back to camp empty-handed, but with a great first day on
the books. That night in camp we ate like kings and shared stories of the day
Some of the other hunters had taken animals, so we listened to their adventures and admired their trophies.

On the second day of the hunt, we were again treated to great weather, a
gorgeous sunrise, no bugs and plenty of caribou. We each had a Pew stalks,
but no shots presented themselves. We also saw several bear tracks along the beach,
and that night, we had a bear visit camp. It had Pound the buried
freezer that the lodge used for storing eggs, peaches and jalapenos! Needless
to say after the surprise of jalapenos, we didn’t think the bear would be
back.

On the third day of our trip, my wife elected to stay in camp and relax.
We loaded into the boat and headed for one of the large islands on the
lake. \When we neared the island, we spotted two groups of bulls. After
sizing them up, we beached the boat and made our way to the top, over a
series of saddles and rock outcroppings. We slowly inched our way
around the numerous dips and peaks and could not relocate the target
animals. After getting the slip from the bulls, we were headed back to the
boat when a bull appeared out of nowhere and busted us. We were in a
little meadow crossing a boulder field when I heard Vince sharply say my
name in a high-pitched whisper. I froze and got our guide’s attention,
and when we looked to our right, there stood a good bull, with the sun
shining from behind him, illuminating his velvet-covered antlers.

Vince whispered, “Would you shoot that bull?” I answered yes, but
in our current situation, it seemed unlikely that I would get the chance.
After a few minutes, the bull moved off behind the saddle, and the chase I
was on. The bull busted us again as we were making our way to him and
trotted around another saddle. We stayed in pursuit, but at the next ridge
he had a cow and a calf with him. I was able to stalk within 30 yards and
get drawn on him twice but, each time, the cow or the calf was blocking
his vitals, preventing a shot. The group headed back in the
direction they had come from, and now Vince was back in the game.
Egan motioned for me to slip around behind them and cut off the escape
route while Vince crept close, trying for a shot. I hustled around several
knobs and lost track of both the bull and my two hunting partners. When I
eased up over the saddle and looked to my right, Vince and Egan were
motioning frantically that the bull was to my left. I was confused because
there was nothing but a large expanse of tundra, and I thought I should
surely be able to see a caribou in the wide open.

Just then, I saw his antlers bobbing from behind a large rock shelf and
knelt down to range the distance. When the bull took a few steps out
away from the rock outcropping that had concealed him, I drew and placed
the 30-yard pin in the sweet spot behind his front shoulder and triggered
the release. The arrow hit home with a thud, and I watched him tear out across the tundra and tip over. After some back slapping and photos, Egan caped the head while Vince and I packed the meat back to the boat. When I
returned that evening, my wife was happy for me, but a little sad that she
missed out on the whole experience.

That night, just before dark, the skinner was coming out of the meat
shed when he encountered a grizzly bear about 10 yards away. He had just
closed the electric fence and was reaching in to turn on the power, when
he turned around and saw the bear. Both he and the bear were startled at
the same time, and all he could muster to shout was, “Bear!” The skinner
made fast tracks for the guide’s quarters, and the rest of the staff came
piling out, shooting into the air to encourage the bear to move along.

As I watched the bear running out through the tundra, the owner of the
lodge walked past me and said, “I told that skimmer to keep the shotgun
loaded. I bet it will be loaded tomorrow.” He just kept walking back
to his cabin, as if nothing had happened. The skimmer was still shook
up the next morning and retold the story over a cup of coffee. He was in
no hurry to get out to the meat shed, and he took a good ribbing from all of
us before we headed afield.

On the last day of our hunt, my wife again elected to stay behind. I still
had my second tag in my pocket, and we spent most of the day trading stalks on different groups of bulls we found. In the early afternoon, while out on the lake, our guide spotted a lone bull in some thick cover. We beached the boat and tried to get the drop on him. We lost track of him in the tall
willows, and on our way back to the lake, we walked through a saddle,
when Vince and Egan froze. The bull had looped around and was sleeping
standing up when we came through the saddle. He had now spotted Vince
and Egan, but hadn’t seen me. Vince said they were busted, but if I thought
I could get the drop on him, for me to go ahead and do it.

I belly-crawled ahead to a small rock and ran out of cover. I was still
60 yards from the now-bedded bull, with no chance for a shot. I slid
backward until I had some cover and motioned to the guys that I was going
to go over the top of the ridge and come at him from the other side. As I
was sneaking around the knob, I felt the wind hit my back. Had I been
stalking a deer or an elk, I would have just headed back, but I knew that
sometimes you can get away with a bad wind on caribou. I crawled to
within 35 yards of the bull and waited for his next move. After about 10
minutes, he got up and started to feed to his right, which brought him to 30
yards broadside of my position. I drew the bow and slid the 30-yard pin
behind his front leg. When the arrow hit, he crow-hopped in a circle and fell
over dead within 15 yards.

We soaked in our final afternoon on the tundra as we worked on
quartering and skimming. We shared a few laughs and admired the orange
and red leaves of the landscape we were about to leave. It was a great way
to end a fantastic hunt. He wasn’t the largest bull in camp, but the stalk was
one that I will remember for a long time. As we said our goodbyes before
getting on the plane, my wife and I filled up our Nalgene bottles with our
last drink of the pristine waters of Point Lake and wished that the end of
our trip hadn’t come so soon. <—<<

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Published by bhowardoutdoors on 22 Dec 2010

Why Hunt?

I’ve been given the honor and opportunity to write a blog about something I dearly love and enjoy.  Who could pass up a chance to write a blog on hunting and fishing?  So with the pertinent task of coming up with something so special that it would send the public into a frenzy to read this blog, I began wondering; do I open with a short autobiography?  Well, that would certainly send everyone into frenzy, but not the type the I would like!

How about a few stories of hunting successes this season?   That will surely follow, and at the end of the blog will be a contact address for you to send information and pictures of your trophies. But for the first blog, I’ve decided to explain why we hunt, what we hunt, and why it is important.

Fred Bear, a man known as the father of bowhunting, once said “Don’t base the fun or experience of hunting on whether you get an animal or not.  The kill is way, way down the line.  You can enjoy the woods.  You can enjoy the companionship of the birds, and the fish, and the animals, the color of the leaves…”  It really holds true.  Some of my best experiences have been without the climactic shot to bring down the game.  Every fisherman remembers the ‘one that got away’, but may not be able to tell you anything about the three fish she caught two weeks ago.  The beauty of God’s canvas with you being an integral but non-invasive part of it, that’s really the goal.

As outdoorsmen, our targets are usually the majestic whitetail deer with a crown of bone, or we may hope to bring in the strutting tom eager to meet a new mate.  The trout may be fooled into attacking a cork with feathers believing it to be an unlucky insect.  All have garnered our passions; our unrelenting efforts in pursuit of the biggest and most beautiful of Darwinian challenges.  We have entered nature’s domain, and blended in and became part of nature.  We accepted the challenge and try to conquer nature in its own territory.

 We come up with reasons for hunting and fishing, such as nature tends to overproduce, or disease and famine will destroy more wildlife than hunters if we do not help balance the carrying capacity of the land. But really, what I have found goes back to what Fred Bear stated. I do not have the first dove I killed mounted on the wall. But I do have a fond memory of hunting with my grandfather and my father. I was using an old Ithaca 20 gauge side-by-side that my grandfather and father used as a child. I also have a wonderful memory, and fortunately, a wonderful picture of my son and I walking off a field in Eastern North Carolina with two tundra swan on our shoulders.  My son used the old Ithaca 20 gauge side-by-side that I used as a child.  Hunting is a bridge of generations.  It’s a constant with many variables.   It’s something we must protect, but we must not abuse.  This is why we do what we do and why we enjoy it so.

I look forward to sharing your hunting and fishing experiences, as well as thought provoking and entertaining insights through this blog each week.

 Bill Howard is a Hunter Education and Bowhunter Education Instructor , a Wildlife Representative and BCRS Program Chairman for the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, and an avid outdoorsman.  Please forward any pictures or stories you would like shared to [email protected]

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Published by trutested on 17 Dec 2010

Dangerous Encounter

As a hunter there are certain hunts that just stay with you and actually drive you to get off your butt and hike the miles required to find the game your after. These memories stick with you and you remember what is the most important about the sport of hunting. Those little unexpected discoveries each and every day that you have to look for and be in touch with the energy of the outdoors to see but most of all, Feel! My Javelina season in the mountains near Ashfork, Arizona was the perfect theater for this moment to play out.

Joining me on this hunt was my boss Greg, Sam, and the mortgage guy Dave. We had obtained leftover tags after missing the original draw because of busy work schedules and downright forgetfulness. Luckily I found that all the tags were not drawn and even though the area is just not known for great populations of Javelina I had spotted a herd the year prior and had a good notion where to find some pigs. After finding out we had the tags I traveled up a couple weeks prior and scouted the area. I found some tracks in the area and felt like I was in the right place so I told the guys and in a couple weeks the hunt was on!
We entered the area after staying the night in Flagstaff at Greg’s cabin the weather decided to not lend a hand and a snow storm was on it’s way. We had to go home early that day after spending only a few hours in the field. No big deal good friends and not at work, no problem! The journey back to the cabin was an adventure to say the least! The snow really fell and gridlock was upon us on the I-40. The next day things were about the same and because the area I’d scouted was quite a ways from Flag we decided to try a spot Dave had heard about near Ashfork. I did not know the area at all but it looked promising lots of cover, cliffy mountains, caves the whole bit. We parked the vehicles and I headed out while Greg and Sam decided to sit water. I gave Sam my .223 because I wanted to attempt and harvest my pig with my bow. With the fellas at the water Dave went out on his quad to search for tracks and I set out on foot. After about 300 yards I topped out on a ridge and instantly spotted sign. Deer, Elk and javelina had been working in the thick junipers and I was feeling excited. I found a game trail and followed it for about 100 yard when I discovered a fresh lion track. Bah Bump, Bah Bump my heart thumped in my chest. This track was only about an hour old! I followed the tracks for a while but my senses came back to me. I have a bow! Not the best weapon to have when going against 150 pound of killing machine. So I go from kitty mode back to pig mode but nevertheless stoked to see sign of all the critters. I journeyed for probably another mile or so and came to a cliff face. I scaled down to the base and searched for sign found a skull of a javelina and decided to get above and check the base of the entire cliff from there. As I walked into a u-shaped part of the cliff I noticed a lion scrape at the base of the juniper. Holy cow! He is close by! I round the corner about 100 yards away and see motion in the thick brush believing it’s probably a pig I nock an arrow and go on a few steps forward. Again the movement and then it looks up and I see white on its chest and this is no pig! The lion who’s track I’d seen and scrape I’d just passed sat below me not 20 yards away. I froze! What the heck do I do now! He has me located and I have a damn stick in my hand! I kneel down slowly and try and gain control of my adrenalin my heart is pounding like a drum and I have to make a choice. We stare at each other for about 5 minutes the rock under my knee is creating some serious pain and I have no clean shot! Finally I have to move I draw back my bow and whoosh the Lion jumps 10 feet to the top of the cliff at the opposite edge and as quiet as a mouse runs away! What a moment! Did that just happen. I have hunted for 25 years and observed barely a tail of a lion and now I had just had one 20 yards away.! What a day my life as a hunter is complete! Bury me now cuz it gets no better!

As I returned to the place where my friends were, taking about 20 foot strides I recall the elation and great excitement. I couldn’t help but yell and thank God for that moment. My senses were wired and alive, I felt like I could do anything. As I pretty much screamed the story to my buddies they were in absolute amazement. To this very day that memory sticks with me like it was yesterday. So everyday when I awake and say you know I think I’ll sleep in or stay inside where it’s warm I’m reminded of what I could miss out on.

Thanks for reading God Bless

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Published by admin on 10 Dec 2010

TOUCHED BY THE HAND OF GOD by Ted Nugent

TOUCHED BY THE HAND OF GOD
by Ted Nugent

It was January 6, 2006, when 26 year old United States Marine Corp Warrior, Corporal Josh Hoffman, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, instinctively improvised, adapted and overcame. With his fellow Marines, he surrounded and captured the terrorists in Fallujah, held them at gunpoint and prepared for the next step in securing the Iraqi village from the hands of evil.
Out of the eerie silence in that God forsaken desert hellhole, a single 7.62x39mm round erupted from a nearby shack, the 139 grain full metal jacketed round slamming straight into the young warrior’s neck, dropping this brave man in his tracks.
Thanks to the Herculean efforts of his fellow Marines, Josh would survive his injury, receive a purple heart, and then head into the toughest journey and challenge of his life. Completely paralyzed, this dedicated sniper and avid outdoorsmen was told he would never run, jump, dance, laugh, smile, talk, shake hands, wave hello, hunt, fish, hike, or fire his beloved rifle ever again. It was all he could do to relearn how to inhale and exhale with the help of a ventilator to struggle through every day from here on out. It was a heartbreaking and graphic example of the tragic price heroes pay for freedom in this insidious war on terror.
How the hell I fit into all this superior human condition I will never know, but clearly God has blessed me with this holy connection that brings me into the lives of these very special human beings. Truly, I am not worthy.
As it turned out, Josh was a big fan of Uncle Ted rock-n-roll and our unapologetic celebration of American freedom and the hunting lifestyle on our Spirit of the Wild TV show. Dear Lord, how lucky can a man get? We were contacted by the Hoffman family when they heard about the incredible Liberator unit created by my hunting BloodBrother Pete Odlund of West Bridge Tooling up in Lowell, Michigan.
This amazing invention consists of a wheelchair friendly platform framed by a rail system that holds a rifle, pistol, shotgun or crossbow, and can be activated and controlled by a joystick or even a small “sip and puff” tube.
Pete and his wonderful family have dedicated themselves to helping charitable causes and handicapped individuals get back into the wild again for many years. His annual Hunt For A Cure Cystic Fibrosis fund raiser is always a record setter, and they are a perfect example of an American hunting family that just gives and gives and gives some more.
When Josh arrived at our little log cabin in the Michigan wilderness, everybody put magnum heart and soul into making him and his family feel welcomed and loved. Because of his terrible injuries, Josh hadn’t been able to speak or express himself in years, but we all saw a smile in his eyes when we explained how he could fire a sniper rifle once again with the help of The Liberator.
We set up some plastic gallon water jugs against the tall bank of our lane, and settled Josh into the unit, instructing him how to sip and puff the .270 into firing position.
As we all know, aim small miss small is tough enough when you can gently manipulate arms, body, head and fingers, but for a guy who literally cannot move, Josh taught everyone in attendance a whole new level of patience and perseverance. It was truly a beautiful thing.
We all wanted to grab the gun frame to zero it in on the distant jug, but knew that Josh wanted to do it himself. He hadn’t done anything on his own in three years, much less pulled the trigger on a sniper rifle.
But we’re talking US Marine Corp here, and Josh kept sipping and puffing till eventually those crosshairs on the small screen were solid, dead center on a jug, and with a final double puff, KABOOOM!
1 plastic Taliban head blown to smithereens, SIR!
I’m here to tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the forest that memorable moment as Josh lit up like a kid on Christmas morning, the biggest toothy grin spread across his handsome face and some pretty impressive noises to go along with it. His girlfriend Heather was so moved, she broke down, and I personally had to look away for a moment to compose myself.
Improvise, adapt and overcome. Semper Fidelis. Where there is a will there is a way.
We went on to blast more jugs that day with beautiful Angela Kline showing her amazing marksmanship skills, even though she has severe Cerebral Palsy. We also took a family of great young men on a hunt at the Knowlton’s Laguna Vista Ranch near Pearsal, Texas, with The Liberator where these four brothers, all with various stages of Muscular Dystrophy were able to Liberate a few backstrappers for the campfire.
If you know a special needs person who would feel the soul cleansing powers of the shooting sports, I can assure you The Liberator can make it all come true.
Please visit the two websites, Libertyworx.com and wbtooling.com to make it happen. It’s fun to be around when special people are touched by the hand of God. And by the hand of Pete Odlund, too.

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