Archive for the 'Hunting Stories' Category

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Published by archerchick on 07 Jul 2011

Mark Of The Whitetail – By Steve Brockmann


Bowhunting World
February 1990

Mark Of The Whitetail By Steve Brockmann

Almost everyone enjoys seeing deer while stumbling around the outdoors
even if they’re not hunting. But, while an encounter with wild deer is almost
universally a valued experience, for the deer hunter such an encounter is
the primary objective.

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For those specifically searching for deer, the quest can be frustrating. Deer
often avoid humans, so finding them may be difficult. This is especially true
of whitetail deer, which in general inhabit heavy cover, and are usually warier
than western mule deer.

Whitetails do leave a number of signs in their passing, however, and the careful
student of the outdoors can often tell a great deal about the deer in the area from
these signs. Correct interpretations of deer sign often lead to a direct encounter
with this elusive species.

Signs left by the whitetail include droppings, tracks, trails, rubs, scrapes, beds,
browse marks, hair and shed antlers. Each can tell something about the local deer
but the best understanding always comes when all possible sources of information
are considered.

Droppings are perhaps the most commonly encountered , and most easily recognized
deer sign. Researchers have used fecal pellets to to determine diets, habitat use patterns
and population sizes. Bowhunters can determine many of the same things, though perhaps on a rougher scale, by observing the consistancy and location, and abundance of deer droppings
they encounter in the field.

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The most common form of dropping is the pellet. These cylinders range from about one-half to
over an inch in length and from about one-quarter to one-half inch in diameter. This is the deer dropping most of us are familiar with, but it is not the only type. Pellets are produced whenever deer are eating dry vegetation or browse (twigs, buds and leaves of woody species rather than grasses and forbs). Across most of the whitetail’s range, this means late summer through early spring.

The other form of deer dropping is produced when deer have been eating succulent green forage.
These are globular masses of indefinate shape. Sometimes they resemble blobs of mud, while at other times they appear more like a segmented mass of many small blobs. For the lack of a more
universal term, these soft droppings are sometimes referred to as “plops”. Plops may be up to two inches in diameter and are usually green when fresh and black or dark brown when older. They are most commonly produced during spring and early summer, when new growth is abundant.
Where palatable plants occur near banks, lakes or bogs, deer may produce plops throughout the summer and into the fall.

The distribution of droppings can be a clue to the habitat use patterns and distribution of the deer.
Successful interpretation lies on a general knowledge of deer habits, however. Whitetail deer usually bed in heavy cover during the day, and move to open areas, such as meadows, agricultural fields or timber cuts during the night. In some cases ,shrub patches or dense stands of trees are the preferred feeding sites.

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Deer usually defecate upon rising in the evening, and droppings are often deposited in a distinct pile. If you can find an area of dense brush with many such piles, chances are you have found a
frequently used bedding area. Look nearby for beds, where the vegetation has been flattened by
deer lying down.

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A relatively open, but timbered, ridge may be used as a travel corridor between the bedding area and feeding area. These corridors can sometimes be identified by the large number of deer pellets scattered along them. Deer often void while on the move, so droppings may be spread out, rather than in small groups. in some regions, bedding areas are immediately adjacent to feeding areas
so distinct travel corridors may not exist.

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Feeding areas will also usually contain deer droppings, but these are likely to be scattered at a much lower density than in either bedding areas or travel corridors.

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Areas with abundant droppings usually hold more deer than those that with fewer droppings, but one can be fooled. In the northern portion f the whitetail’s range, deer frequently concentrate in relatively small areas during the most severe weather. These wintering areas often hold high densities of deer pellets, but very few deer during most of the year. Whitetails usually select stands of mature evergreens for winter habitat, so large concentrations of deer pellets in a stand of large old pines, firs or cedars may tip you off to a winter yard.

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Shed antlers which are usually dropped in early winter, are another clue as to the location of winter ranges, and can give a good idea of the size of the bucks in the area. In most areas, the largest antlers are usually found shed on the winter ranges rather than on the heads of hunters-harvested animals.

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On winter ranges, deer are most likely to be encountered during winter, of course. It is important to realize, though, that deer coping with deep snow are often walking a fine line between starvation
and survival, and that running from humans can represent a critical drain of the deer’s limited energy. Wintering areas are usually best avoided during the time that deer are using them.

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The age of droppings can be very helpful in deciphering the routine of the local deer, but this is often difficult to determine. Very fresh droppings are wet, warm, and often steaming. Within a day
they often have adried outer coat, but are usually soft easily crushed and moist inside. Many factors including temperature, precipitation, eposure and deer diet affect the rate at which pellets
dry. In moist areas, pellets may decompose within weeks, while in drier areas they may last for many years.

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Because whitetails habitually follow the same routes, and because deer often travel in groups, whitetail habitat is usually laced with a network of trails. Researchers have found that larger deer populations make more trails than do smaller deer populations, given similar habitat. Thus an area with lots of trails usually has lots of deer. But comparing the number of deer trails in two areas of habitat types will not necessarily provide a reliable comparison of the relative sizes of the deer populations.

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Some trails connect food or water to bedding cover. Others lead to fence crossings or through heavy cover. Many of the trails are used only after dark, especially wide trails in open habitat. Chances are best of seeing deer where many trails funnel together, for example where a broken fence makes crossing easier, or where a narrow strip of cover connects two forrested areas. These areas can be very productive for the bowhunter who can slip into such an area and wait patiently down-wind, perhaps in a tree stand.

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Low fence wires, especially those marked with tufts of deer hair, often reveal where deer cross from one pasture to another. These sites should be noted by those trying to determine travel routes of deer in a given area, as they may provide another good opportunity to ambush a buck.

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Deer tracks are frequently encountered, and, depending on the circumstances, one may be able to tell where the deer was coming from from or going to, how fast it was going, what it was doing, how long ago it was there, and perhaps the sex and six=ze of the deer.

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Tracks may be found in snow, soil, or vegetation. By far the easiest to identify are those tracks left in fresh snow. If the snow is very recent, there is little doubt about how long ago
the deer was there, and there will usually be a clear record of where the deer came from and where it was going. Tracks can be followed forward, in an attempt to find the deer that
made the track, or they can be followed backwards, to find out what the deer has been
to. Some hunters have developed tracking to a fine art, and several books have been written on the subject.

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Careful tracking and persistence has led many hunters to fine bucks, but the technique is not usually an easy shortcut to a trophy, especially for the hunter. The tricks a whitetail can pull to throw a pursuer from his track are legendary; From mixing with other deer tracks, to walking in streams, to constantly circling downwind to check for followers, a wary whitetail is a challenge for any tracker.

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For the bowhunter interested in learning about deer, but wishing to avoid direct harassment of the deer, backtracking can be rewarding and often more enlightening than forward tracking. It allows one to interpret the behavior of undisturbed deer something that is difficult to do when one is forward tracking. It is also an effective way to learn the location of local feeding areas, bedding areas, and travel routes between the two.

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Whether forward-tracking or backtracking, the process is the same find a track and follow it for as long as possible, The interpretations made along the way can help you determine what the deer was doing when it was there. Gait is an obvious attribute one can determine about a track. Short, staggered strides indicate that the deer was walking slowly. It
may have been hiding, watching, and sneaking, or it may have been feeding through an
area. Nipped buds and twigs can help make a case for feeding. By noting which species are
most heavily browsed, and which not browsed, one can learn a great deal about food preferences in the area.

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Longer strides laid out along a straighter course indicate a deer moving along with a
destination in mind. Such movements are common when deer travel between feeding
areas and bedding areas. A buck in search of receptive does during the breeding season
also moves along at a good pace, so keep this in mind if tracks are found during the November rut.

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When frightened, whitetails run in long bounds, which have distinctive marks. Tracks
of all four feet register together, with distances of up to 20 feet separating each landing
mark. Snow or dirt is often thrown forward from the force of the landing and push-off of
each bound. Sometimes backtracking will reveal what scared the deer. A car, coyote, dog
or human is often the cause. If the track is very fresh, you may well have frightened the
deer yourself.

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As with droppings, aging very fresh tracks is not difficult. Tracks in snow will usually
freeze overnight, so check for a think glaze of ice in the track if a track looks crisp and fresh. In some conditions, tracks may appear new for several days, but truly fresh tracks will almost always have loose snow in the hoof print itself or along the drag marks left in
front of or behind the print. After a few hours in sunlight, or a few minutes in strong wind,
some tracks may be obliterated. In these cases, it is best to reserve judgement on the
age of the track until they are followed into a sheltered site.

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If the edges are melted out and indistinct, or an icy glaze has formed on the tracks in the
shade, they are likely a day or more old. Fresh tracks in fluffy, powdery snow may be very
indistinct, and might appear to be very old at first glance. Again, however, the snow filling
the tracks will be loose and fluffy rather than either frozen solid or wet and slushy. Knowledge of how long since the last snow, and of weather conditions since then, can be helpful in determining the age of a track.


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Obviously, small deer make small tracks and large deer make large tracks. The tracks
of fawns are relatively easy to distinguish, and the medium-sized deer traveling with them
are usually does, though small bucks could be among the does and fawns. During the November rut, bucks of any size may be traveling with the does and fawns.

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Like fawn tracks, those of the biggest bucks are not particularly difficult to identify,
though it may take a bit more experience to know what qualifies as a truly large track. In
very heavily hunted populations, few or no bucks reach trophy size, so the largest tracks
may well be those of the oldest does. Bucks continue to grow for several years after the
age at which does reach full size, however, and bucks are almost invariably larger than
females of similar age. In populations where some of the bucks are able to survive to a ripe
old age the biggest tracks are usually made by big bucks.

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A number of other clues can be used to separate tracks of bucks from those of does.
These clues become especially important when trying to decide if a moderate-sized
track was made by an adult doe or by a young to moderate-aged buck. No one sign is fully
fool-proof, and each has been contested by experienced hunters. A combination of factors, however, can usually be relied upon to reveal the sex of the deer.

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In shallow snow (under about one inch) bucks tend to drag their feet, while does tend
to lift theirs. In deeper snow, all deer show drag marks, so this cannot be relied upon in
all cases. Probably the next most reliable sign is the pattern of urination revealed in the
snow. Bucks usually leave a small, neat hole with crisp edges, where a steady stream has
entered the snow. Does, by contrast, tend to leave more of a puddle. During the rut, bucks
may dribble urine along their track, rather than stopping to relieve themselves.

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Individual tracks of a buck also tend to be staggered from side to side and pointed outwards, rather than in a straight line, like those of a doe. Some authors claim that bucks will walk around dense brush patches and trees, to avoid tangling their antlers, while does will wiggle their way through or against such obstacles. My experience has been somewhat different on this matter, as I have tracked bucks through very dense brush patches. In fact, bucks have frequently been noted to use the most dense tangles of cover to a much greater extent than do the females.

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If you find a bed along the track you are following, you may be able to make out where the deer laid its head when it slept. Occasionally an antler will leave an impression in the snow here, which will give you solid evidence as to the sex of the deer. Similarly, you may be able to detect antler marks in the snow where the deer has fed, if the snow is fairly deep.

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One final bit of evidence, which pops up with a fair degree of regularity along a buck’s trail, especially during the rut, is the rub. If a lone set of tracks leads to a sapling which has had bark or branches stripped, and that material is lying on top of the snow, accept that as
final proof that you have found a buck’s trail.

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Rubs are created by bucks as they scrape their antlers on small trees. This is done in late summer to remove the velvet from the fully grown antlers, but the activity continues through the rut. Scent glands in the skin of the forehead are thought to produce a personal odor, so rubs become a business card, of sorts, for individual bucks. Be aware of rubs , even when you’re not following a trail in the snow. These indicate that a buck has passed through the area, and may be living nearby.

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Some very successful hunters maintain that individual bucks mark their consistently used travel routes by a series of rubs. These marked routes are usually found downwind of major deer trails, and are located in heavy cover. Observing a buck in such an area is
often difficult because these routes are hidden and may be used only under cover of darkness.

Scrapes are another sign left by bucks only, and have fascinated hunters and researchers for years. Scrapes are triangular impressions in the soil, pawed out by the buck during the rut. Again, a personal odor is deposited, this time from the interdigital glands found between the toes of the front foot.

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The scrape apparently serves as a meeting place for bucks, who are ready and willing to breed through much of the fall, and the does, who come into heat for only 24 hours at a time. If not bred, the doe will recycle and come into heat between 21 and 30 days later, but this happens only two or three times per year for each doe. When her time comes, each doe
must seek out a suitable buck. This is most easily done, apparently, by leaving a message
on the buck’s answering machine: she urinates in his scrape. When the buck checks back later he will notice the message and search out the doe, who is usually nearby.

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These scrapes, then, are an important sign to the deer herd, and should be noticed by the
bowhunter interested in learning about whitetails in the area. Scrapes are usually from one
to three feet in diameter, and consist of a shallow fan-shaped depression of bare soil from
which all leaves, needles, and other litter have been removed. Scrapes are often found along edges between brushy areas and mature timber, or along field edges. Often a series of small scrapes, each approximately 100 yards or more apart, will lead to a larger, more active “primary” or “hub” scrape. This primary scrape will usually be under an over-
hanging branch, which will be licked, nuzzled, and rubbed by several of the bucks in
an area.

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For the hunter, the primary scrape is the best sign of all to find, for it means that one or
more mature bucks are in the area, and probably will return. The trick becomes approaching the scrape and waiting patiently, undetected. Scrapes are usually checked from downwind, so hunters are often detected as they wait. Stands situated well downwind of scrapes have proven to be the most reliable.

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The approach to the stand must be planned carefully if one expects a reasonable shot at a
calm animal. If the wind carries your scent through the cover he is hiding in as you walk
to your stand, you likely will never see him at the scrape. The scents associated with your
boots and pants alone are enough to alert a whitetail if he encounters them on his way in.
He will probably either sneak off quietly, maybe without your even knowing, or perhaps he’ll snort, raise his tail, turn, and break into graceful, but heartbreaking, bounds.

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The route to the stand should be planned to minimize the chances of winds carrying your
scent to the deer (think about the locations of feeding and bedding areas). A cover scent,
applied to pant legs (from the knee down) and boots (the toe and the sole are the most critical) can help hide the entry trail from deer that cross it in their wanderings. A lure made from the urine of estrus does can even bring a rutting buck to your stand, right along the path you followed.

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Scrapes are perhaps the ultimate sign to the hunter, and a fascinating phenomenon for
others, but those illiterate in the more basic language of droppings, tracks, and rubs will
likely find few scrapes, and may use the scrapes they do find inappropriately. Once
daily movement patterns of the local deer are worked out, likely places for scrapes can be
predicted, and logical strategies can be plotted.

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As experiences in an area accumulate, more of the details of the deer population can
be filled in. Conjecture can be replaced by observation, and familiarity will replace
confusion. One emotion that probably will not disappear is a near constant amazement at the survival capacity of the whitetail, and a respect for the resourcefulness of a species that
continues to expand its range in the face of increasing human populations and the pressures they place on the environment. >>—>

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Published by archerchick on 06 Jul 2011

Boone & Crockett Buck ~ By Tad E. Crawford


Bowhunting World
June 1989

Boone & Crockett Buck
By Tad E. Crawford

Normally, I try not to let my deer
hunting success result from pure,
unadulterated luck. Somehow, I’m
not very proud of a trophy unearned. The hunt
of 1987 might have been a series of lucky coincidences,
all right, but I have to say, I also
worked to bring home that trophy.
The best pre-season dreamer would not
have conjured up the series of fantastic coincidences
surrounding my taking of that fabulous animal.

After all, just what are the
chances of finding both sheds, 20 yards apart,
from a Boone and Crockett whitetail? What
about the prospects of bowshooting that same
whitetail just one month later — and from an
evening ground blind five yards away! And
how about the likelihood of recovering this
huge deer, hit and lost the day before Thanks-
giving, after three days of small game hunters
and their dogs combing the area?

Now, it’s no secret we bowhunters are ever
stalking ways to improve the chances of taking
a true trophy whitetail. One of the most important
keys is patience and, as I see it, pa-
tience is twofold. First, a trophy whitetail
hunter ought to have a patient and loving wife
like my Cathy. She has to be patient with me
hunting every day in November. She must patiently
explain to all of my taxidermy customers why I could
take such a long vacation- before I had finished their
trophies. (I pity the guy whose wife can’t love him enough not
to nag when deer season starts and he is out
doing the thing he loves most.)

The second type of patience comes in
when spending time in the field and on stand,
evaluating actions and reactions of whitetails.
This is an important time: more is involved
here than just killing a deer. Even when
you’ve done your pre-season and in-season
scouting, you still have to be able to see what
you’re looking at. Interpretation of sign — or
perhaps the sudden lack of it — is very important
for success.

I estimated I had logged some 300 hours
“air time” —— time actually spent in tree
stands — when I tagged the big one. Many
was the day I spent all day, daylight to dark,
without coming down to ground level.

As I bask in my victory of last year, I can
afford to think back to all those missed shots
and opportunities at really big bucks. I do not
have a lot of record racks on my wall, but the
experience gained over the years helped me to
harvest this deer. I guess a guy has to hunt
where the big bucks are before he gets a
chance to bust one.

Northeastern Ohio has produced some
fine whitetails. Dense, overgrown strip
mines, moderate cultivation, and suburbs
provide good trophy habitat. Somehow the
deer I harvested managed to elude hunters,
poachers, cars, and who knows what for several
years. Good health and good fortune allowed him
to grow to outstanding proportions
and horn development.

Up until that year sightings of a huge buck
had been sketchy. Some said the last time he’d
been seen was three years before. Was he still
around? Then, in October, my friend Dave .
Unkefer and his weimaraner found both sheds
of a tremendous whitetail. Well, now, I mean
to tell you, these were nice horns! I rough
scored these 13-point typical sheds at about

183 Boone and Crockett points. So, the big
one was still at large.
Throughout the month of November we
found fresh. extra-large, three-inch tracks and
many large rubs on hardwood trees six to ten
inches in diameter. Then, the rut appeared to
pass and even button bucks were observed
chasing does in heat. Believe me, that’s depressing.

But the big tracks persisted. Dave and another
hunting buddy, Steve Slatzer, tracked
some very large bucks after a fresh snow. Was
the 13-pointer among them?

With snow still on the ground, the three of
us checked out a hidden cornfield we knew of.
Bingo! Buck Heaven! We kicked out six big
bucks- this cornfield was hot enough to pop.
At least a dozen good scrapes surrounding it
were rototilled.

The deer were pounding this field so well,
I couldn’t resist locking up my Amacker portable
in an adjacent oak. Covered with Camo
Leaves, it looked great, just like an old squirrels
next. I was ready.

On Monday morning, I climbed up into
that oak, which was to be my daytime home
for the next three days. But by Wednesday, the
only game I had seen were two fox squirrels,
one red squirrel, and a crossbow hunter. All
sign had grown cold — I figured we had left
too much scent when scouting — and my
thoughts drifted to a newly planted winter
wheat field about a half mile away. The deer
had to be somewhere.

It was noon and I decided to check it out.
More mindful this time of leaving too much
scent, I approached into the wind and checked
only the nearest edge of the bare dirt for
tracks. Large tracks were everywhere —-
large, fresh tracks. I resisted the temptation to
scout the edges for the best approach trails,
afraid to show any more presence than necessary.
It was possible that my target animal was
bedded on the adjoining hillside overlooking
this field, so I stayed in the shadows as much
as possible.

A tree stand was out of the question. No
large trees existed, and besides, this was November 25th,
and all of the leaves had fallen.
Little cover existed anywhere, so I quickly
gathered some light-colored weeds and constructed
a ground blind.
Once settled in, I felt good and things
seemed right. I spent the next five hours sit-
ting on a cold, bare patch of earth behind the
blind, but the balmy, sunny afternoon was
comforting. And I did not rise once for any
reason. I napped, ate a late snack of Kool-Aid
and granola bars and listened t0 the semi-
trucks rolling down a nearby highway. I had
not slept long when I was awakened by the
distress call of my bladder. I whisked out my
porta—potty, a hot water bottle I carry in the
field to keep my stands free from the scent of
human urine. Then, I settled back behind my
blind.

I dozed until the five o’clock whistle blew
at a distant coal mine. I peeked out through
the pokeberry weeds to see two deer feeding
intently in the wheat field about 80 yards
away. Both heads were down and, because of a
slight depression in the ground where they
stood, no antlers could be seen. The deer on
the left raised its head first, a nice “skinhead”
doe. The deer on my right seemed larger and
-holy cow! What a buck!

Now he was looking in my direction. The spread of his horns
was well beyond his ear tips. As he looked at
the doe, I counted at least six or seven points
on his left antler. At that moment, I thought I
was probably looking at the 13-point Boone
and Crockett deer of last year’s sheds. What a
privilege to be able to watch such an animal,
undisturbed, at close range and in such good
light. If only I had had some video gear.
I don’t remember getting nervous about
shooting that deer — excited, yes, but not nervous.

All I could think of was that darkness
would soon engulf us and I would have to
leave the stand, possibly spooking them. I
watched and waited.
Twenty minutes went by like 20 seconds.
The doe quit eating and slowly walked past
my blind at about six or eight yards to my left.
The wind was just right, still in my favor. Now
it was Mr. Big’s time to move. Slowly closing
the distance, he stopped about 40 yards out.
I was still glassing him when he started grunting
low, sustained grunts. He put his head
down and started walking directly at my blind.
I chucked the binoculars and grabbed the bow,
slowly.

If the truth were known, I think I was now
in a state of acute hypertension. I was talking
to myself, “The one thing you can’t do is
move quickly. Get that bow up. Wait for the
right moment to draw. Yeah, the bow is up,
and oh, *?%@$, there he is! ”

Standing broadside, only five yards away,
he just happened to stop in the two foot shooting
lane I had cleared earlier. “OK, easy does
it. Make the draw. Center the pin on that
shoulder. Smooth release and — ” What a
temptation to snap shoot. “He’s too close.
Any moment he’ll be gone.”

I talked myself into completing the draw.
Like a homing pigeon, the pin centered on the
shoulder and instantly the arrow was on its
way. A solid thunk sent the deer bolting in the
direction he and the doe were headed. I re-
member thinking, “No way could I have
messed up that shot. Had to be a perfect lung
hit. Probably find the arrow laying on the
ground from a pass through — great blood
trail. Quick recovery.” Soon I would discover
just how wrong my wishful thinking was.

You readers will now have to pardon an
interruption for a commercial. As you wait to
read what happened to the trophy buck, this
is, after all, my golden opportunity to tell you
about Camo Leaves, a product I invented and
manufacture. Camo Leaves are artificial foliage
that attach to your clothing and equipment
with Velcro. Camo leaves are designed to
break up the human silhouette and provide
better three-dimensional contrast. Picture me
— my suit, headnet, bowlimbs, gloves, all
covered with little Camo Leaves. With Camo
Leaves your prize buck — just like my prize
buck — may never know you ’re there, never
notice your draw, never think of a slight movement
as anything more than the movement of
leaves attached to branches, fluttering in the
breeze. Camo Leaves concealed me from a
buck at eye level less than five yards away!

And now, about that buck my Camo Leaves
and I took.
I waited a few minutes in the blind, my
heart racing like a runaway freight train. Sud-
denly it was raining — pouring, the first time
since I’d been hunting this year. Of all the
luck. I ran as fast as I could to a field about a
half mile away where I caught Steve making
his way back to the truck. All but out of

breath, I blurted out, “I just hit the big one! ”
Steve said he would call Cathy to tell her l
would be home late and that he would return
with a better tracking light.
I returned to the site to search for the blood
trail in the pouring rain. Three hours of
searching turned up nothing. The rain had
done a job and I was more than a little dejected
as we sloshed the mile and a half back to the
truck.

It rained all night, but at break of day we
began again in earnest, confident we would
walk right up on my deer. We found the fletch
end of my arrow almost immediately. It had
only penetrated about seven inches when the
shaft broke off.
I remember grumbling about poor penetration
when I spotted something. “Steve.
look there, a rifle! ” There lay an old 22-caliber
lever-action Marlin 39A, very rusted.

The wood stock was so rotted, it fell off in my
hands. The strangest fact of all was that the,
hammer was cocked. I didn’t know what to
look for first, deer parts. or people parts! l
figured the rifle had been there for 20 or more
years and it could wait a little longer to tell is
story. I opted for deer parts.

For three days Steve and I searched. The
few short hours of sleep I had gotten in the last
two nights began to wear heavy on me. We
were both tired from combing every briar
patch and swamp in a half-mile arc around the
hit location. I just knew that deer was hit too
badly to survive. Still, we came home empty
handed. We had been dodging rabbit hunters
and beagles for two days after Thanksgiving. I
was afraid someone had found my buck, but I
had to keep looking. Gun season would start on
Monday, an added threat that someone else
would find that deer.

Things were looking a little hopeless that
evening as I prayed to the “Great Guide” in
the big deer camp in the sky. “Lord,” I said,
“I expect you to deliver that deer to me Ill
how. I’ve worked hard. I know he’s there. Just
show me the way.”

Saturday morning came early. The
weather finally broke. As I looked into the
clearing sky, I was wishing I had a bird’s eye
view of that hunting area. Then it hit me,
could get a bird ’s eye view from a helicopter!

In an hour I had found a pilot at a local
airport and we were up. The initial thrill of
my first chopper flight faded as we circled my
hunting area for an hour and a half. I was almost
glad to hear the pilot say we would have
to head back for gas. I was getting airsick —
and heart sick. I still had seen no sign of my
buck. The pilot suggested we fly back over the
area my deer had come from, since it was on
the way back.

The pilot spotted him first. “‘Wow!” he
said. “Now I know why you rented a chopper!
is looks like an elk. Got to be the biggest
deer I’ve ever seen.”
Yep, there he was, lying in a briar patch,
only 75 yards from some guy’s back door. Of
course, I hadn’t looked in people’s backyards
for the deer. The pilot wanted to set down
right there, but I was afraid this guy would not
appreciate being awakened on Saturday morning
by a helicopter landing in his yard. We
flew off and flew back — this time in my Subaru
— and I can’t say which flew faster. New
land speed records were set that day.
It appeared my trophy buck had run about a quarter
mile from where I hit him, apparently
dying relatively soon. The Terminator double—cut
broadhead had just missed the heart,
puncturing one lung.

I tagged him immediately. We took hero
shots of me and the deer and then we salvaged
as much as possible. Somewhere in between
the photos and the excitement, I managed to
give thanks and take some measurements.
His rack now officially scores 207 Boone
and Crockett non-typical points and has 18
points over one inch in length. He was a rare
animal in that he could pass as a typical at 171
4/8 or as a non-typical.
If you count all the ring-hangers, the buck
is a 28-pointer. The inside spread is 25 inches
and the outside spread is 27 inches with 27-
inch main beams. The deer’s gross score is
214 3/8 and he has 18 2/8 inches of non-typical tine.
His girth at chest was about 52 1/2 inches
and his jaw aged him at about six-and-a-half
years old. The pads on his feet were three-
and-a-half inches long. Field-dressed weight
was 342 pounds.

For all you statisticians, my bow is a Darton 1000MX box, set at 59 pounds. I shot an
Easton XX75 Camo Hunter arrow, size 2213, and, of course, I used the best camouflage I
know — Camo Leaves. They just had to have made the difference.
Now, I will ask you again, just what are the prospects of all these
remarkable coincidences happening to one guy? Once in a life-
time? Once in two lifetimes? What are the
chances? >>—->
Editor’s Note: Camo Leaves are available
direct from the author at Camo Leaves, 6645
Cleveland Ave. S., East Sparta, OH 44626.
Under license from him they are also being
marketed nationally by The Game Tracker

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Published by archerchick on 06 Jul 2011

Elk Hunting’s Agony & Ecstasy ~By Patrick Meitin


Bowhunting World
February 1990
ELK HUNTING’S AGONY & ECSTASY
By Patrick Meitin

“What time is it!” I jumped from my sleeping bag and threw on my
clothes. It was opening morning of elk season in southwestern New Mexico
and the alarm clock had not gone off. With a lot of panicked rush we zoomed
out of camp on the four-wheeler, clutching precious bows and daypacks for
dear life. A line of silver began to crack in the eastern horizon. We zipped
around corners, bounced over rocks, and just in the nick of time arrived on
the mountain we would hunt. We were off to a hectic start, but I was elk hunting
and I could have cared less.

I started up a canyon that I knew had elk in the past. I heard a faint bugle at the
head of the canyon and pressed hard to reach it. The forest was damp and quiet, as
a soft mist fell from the low, fog-like clouds. Upon reaching the head of the canyon
I again heard the bugle, but much closer this time. Wooeeeeeeeock! Bugles began to
sound from all directions, at least five of them – mostly bad. Damn, I wasn’t alone.
It looked as if my surefire spot had been discovered. “There is at least one real bull
up here, maybe I can find him before the crowd does.”

I slowly approached the saddle at the head of the canyon I had been following noticing
the three sets of fresh elk tracks in the rain soaked ground. I heard a faint click of hoof
against rock and dropped to the ground beside a well worn game trail. I grabbed an
arrow from my Catquiver and felt the razor sharp edge of the Zwicky that tipped it, and
quietly nocked it. The two beasts rounded the spruce tree—–horses!

The riders stopped to chat a while, noting
all the “elk bugles” they had been hearing.
They seemed real proud with their logic of
bugling from horseback, saying, “The elk will
think it is another bull walking toward them.”
My somewhat sarcastic response, “More
likely you will get shot.”

That was it. I shifted my pack for a better
ride, looked skyward hoping it wouldn’t rain,
and made a beeline for parts roadless and remote.
Five miles later I sat huddled under a
tight branched pinion tree singing, “Rain,
rain go away . . .” It must have been about two
in the afternoon before the cat and dog rain
finally subsided.

I began to stillhunt down a thickly covered
ridge and really started to get into the sign. It
looked like a hundred bulls had gone on a tree
thrashing rampage. I caught movement
through a hole in the thick brush and froze in
my tracks. A yearling elk calf walked into an
opening only 20 yards away.

As I stood motionless, mostly in the open,
several cows began to filter out of the brush a
little farther than the calf. I knew there had to l
be a bull with the herd. A deep, throaty bugle
not far away confirmed my suspicions. It began to
rain again, I slowly reached around and
slipped an arrow from my quiver. Just then a
small 4×5 bull walked out to join the calf. I
didn’t want him. I had decided long before the
hunt, having killed two nice bulls previously, I
wanted at least a 300-inch class Pope and
Young bull.

The wind began to swirl a bit and I anticipated
that it was about to betray me. No
sooner had the thought crossed my mind
when the small bull and the calf grew nervous
and began to tiptoe to my left. The farther
cows sensed something was up and also grew
fidgety. The elk began to move away through
the thick brush. The deep bugle again
sounded from the trees behind the now moving elk
and I readied myself, hoping it would
be a trophy bull. I glimpsed a set of dark,
heavy beamed antlers moving toward the
opening — he was big enough. I drew my
bow.

The elk filtered down the ridge. The bull
walked quickly through the opening and offered
only a split second of shooting time. I
got my pin on his chest, panning the bow with
the moving animal. A tree jumped in the way.
He entered another opening. Just as my pin
found its place he disappeared again. I would
not see the bull again. I let my bow down,
exasperated and frustrated. “It’s only the first
day, calm down He was a good bull — about
three—forty, but it was not his day to go. I
walked down to a saddle and found a place to
get out of the rain. I fell asleep against the dry
side of an ancient juniper tree, waiting for the
rain to cease.

Suddenly my eyes were wide open, “What
was that?” A bull was bugling in the canyon
below. I glanced around and saw elk everywhere
I looked, mostly cows. I glassed all of
them, but none of them was the trophy bull I
was looking for. I still hadn’t seen the emphatic
bugling bull sol stalked down to take a
better look. The bull continued to bugle, making
him easy to home in on. When I sensed
that I was very close I let out a short, high
pitched bugle through my cupped hands. The
bull answered before the first echo sounded
from my own bugle. I grunted as best I could
through cupped hands, and waited. Crunching
rocks and snapping twigs prompted me to
nock an arrow.

As the 6×6 bull walked into the open at 30
yards. my pin settled behind the mud speckled shoulder.
I let the string down slowly and
looked a little harder at the bull’s rack. He
would go around two-eighty. It was only the
first day of the hunt, with several more days to
come, and it would be a long haul out of here
with 100-pound packs of elk steaks. I would
let him pass.

I watched the bull lose interest and turn to .
walk away, his ego inflated by having run off
the brave intruder. I noticed for the first time
that it was getting late in the evening. I drew a
deep breath and turned to walk toward the
truck.

I reached the four-wheeler around midnight,
glad to see it still there. Perry Harper,
my long time hunting partner and kamikaze
driver, dragged himself in just behind me. He
was also glad to see the four-wheeler. He too
had bee lined to the rough stuff. He had passed
up a nice 6×6 bull during the day, but having
bagged a 314-inch Pope and Young bull the
past season he was looking for bigger things.
We loaded up and zipped back to camp. Oh,
the dry sanctuary of the tent — dry clothes —
dry socks!

The alarm sounded early the following
morning. Our hunting party gathered in Perry ’s
camp trailer to compare notes and decide
where to hunt. Steven Tisdale, a college
friend on his first elk hunt hadn’t seen much
game the day before. When I told him he
could have anything that I passed up, he was
more than happy to come along with me. Arriving
at the end of the cow trail “road” after
dropping Perry off, we shut down the engine
and sat back to wait for shooting light. Soon
the sunlight began to creep up the valley. We
pushed the doors shut quietly and went forth.
It was cold and crisp alter the nightime clearoff,
the frost whispered quietly as we walked
through the knee-deep grass. Following a
barbed wire fence, we approached “the perfect
elk meadow,” a name that had come to
mind the first time I had seen it two seasons
before. I rounded a huge, ground hugging cedar
and stopped suddenly. I couldn’t believe
my eyes — a huge 7×7 bull walked tranquilly
across the meadow with his small harem of
cows. I excitedly waved Steven over to take a
look.

We huddled behind the cedar admiring the
majestic bull. A squirt of talcum powder from
a small bottle drifted back into my face. The
bull brought his head back and grunted deeply
without bugling, then lowered his head to rake
the ground with his horns. I adjusted the diaphragm
in my mouth, pressed my lips against
my grunt tube and let out my best bugle, followed
by five, throaty grunts. The bull
stopped, turned our way, and screamed at the
top of his lungs. I grunted at the enraged bull
and waited. The bull trotted toward us bugling
his head off. “He’s coming in.”

I shakily nocked an arrow, and looked up
to see the bull still coming our way. The wapati
reached the barbed wire fence 80 yards
ahead and walked behind a screening tree. I
seized the opportunity to move closer. The bull
hopped the fence without touching even a
hair. He continued past at a 90-degree angle,
caring the cedar I was using to hide myself.
I drew my bow. “This is too easy,” I thought.

The bull stopped for an instant as the string
slipped from my calf skin tab. At 50 yards the
bull had time to begin walking again, before
the arrow struck. I was in horror, as the arrow
met the elk after one long step. The arrow
disappeared into the bulls liver area. He was
hit, but was it good enough?

The bull spun and ran through the fence he
had jumped earlier and across the open
meadow. then vanished from sight. As we
watched, a small 6×6 walked into view across
the grassy meadow from a line of trees that
jutted into the open.

We watched the 6×6 through binoculars
for a short time, not believing how many elk
we were seeing already, not even 500 yards
from the truck. The small bull walked to one
of the ponderosas at the tip of the peninsula of
trees and stood beneath it’s boughs. We
turned away to start our stalk, wasting no time
in getting into the area.

We removed our shoes, and proceded.
Cold feet silent against the cutting ground, we
drew closer, feeling every twig and pebble.
Soon we were close and the chilled western
breeze still holding steady. Steven nocked an
arrow and drew a few deep breaths. He held
up the crossed fingers of his left hand and
smiled. then drifted ahead with me shadowing
him.

The bull rounded a tree 60 yards out, and
froze in his tracks at the sight of the two lumps
of moving brush. Steven slowly drew his bow
and anchored. “Sixty yards — 60 yards,” I
hissed quietly. Steven held his bow drawn for
what seemed a long time, then slowly let it
down. “Too far,” he whispered.
I cow talked very quietly to the bull but he
was no pushover. The curious bull let out a
loud bark and waited for a reaction. Pushing
the diaphragm to the front of my mouth I
barked back at him. He took a few steps toward
us then stamped his feet and let out another
ear piercing bark, This went on for at
least 10 minutes before the bull turned and
trotted away. Steven said, “If he had been 10
yards closer I would have shot. I just kept
thinking we already had one bull hit, we
didn’t need me to wound another. We still
have four days of hunting left.” That was a
hard decision for a guy on his first elk hunt.

After taking a short nap, we took up the
trail of my elk. We found one good puddle of
blood were he had entered the trees but from
there the drops were small and infrequent. We
followed mostly hoof prints in the soil when
we lost the blood. As we found even the slightest
sign it was marked so it could be referenced
if we lost the trail. We began to End less
blood sign and the ground had become rockier —
we were making very little headway.
The elks trail ended at the edge of a rim-rock
bordered canyon.

Steven and I split up to search for the bull.
I searched until the sinking sun forced me to
retreat to the truck. I was disgusted. I guess if
you hunt long enough, one day the odds will
catch up with you ~ and you will loose an
animal. Should I have taken the long shot? I
might have been able to call him closer — he
was interested enough. Why couldn’t I have
hit him better? I felt sorry for the magnificent
animal. and wished I had never seen him. I
tore my tag from my license — my hunt was
over. Sleep would be difficult tonight.

At first light the following morning Perry
and I returned to where the trail had been lost,
hoping that fresh eyes and bodies could better
follow the trail. I couldn’t believe how easy
the trail seemed after the day before. In a matter
of hours we trailed the bull to where it had
fallen. I was thankful that I had found the bull
in time to salvage the meat.

If that valiant warrior had gone to waste I
would never have forgiven myself. I still felt
hollow inside from the circumstances of the
kill, but remembered that nature is often
much crueler.

As Perry and I field dressed my bull we
heard a distant bugle. After we had gotten it
dressed and into the shade we walked in that
direction. We skirted a high rim hoping to
glass the countryside below. Finding nothing,
we sat down to eat our lunch. For no reason at
all I pulled a diaphragm from my pocket and
bugled defiantly to the valley below. Three
bulls answered me. Wide-eyed, Perry
squeaked, “Can you believe that! ”

We stalked down the mountain side toward
the closest bull, moving very slowly as we
went. After a few hundred yards Perry
dropped to the ground and nocked an arrow.

He could see elk legs a short distance down
the hill.
I bugled again adding a few deep grunts on
the end. Perry joined me with a variety of cow
calls. The forest became eerily quiet. I saw
the bull for the first time sauntering uphill at-
tempting to find his opponent.

At 25 yards the bull threw his head back to
bugle. Perry drew his bow. The bull took a
few steps forward and stopped again, broad-
side, in the open. Perry ‘s arrow shot forward
just as the bull stopped. The bright yellow
vanes spun in suspension, then stopped suddenly
as the arrow landed in the bull’s side.
The hit was good, and the bull lunged down
the hill with the Delta Zwicky-tipped wood
slicing through both lobes of his lungs.

After a short, easy trailing job we found
the bull down for good, he had gone only 90
yards. Now the work would begin. I left Perry
with his bull and returned to mine to start the
long work of whittling elk into manageable
pieces. I returned to the truck in the darkness
noticing, as I approached, that everyone was
gathered around Steven listening to his tale.
Seeing me, he excitedly continued, after filling
in a few details.

“l hid behind a cedar tree and waited,”
Steve was saying. “The bull kept coming —
straight for me. When the bull went out of
sight I tiptoed around the edge of the tree I was
hiding behind and drew my bow. The bull
walked through a gap at 40 yards. I couldn’t
get my pin on him soon enough so I waited. l
swung my bow to the next gap and put my pin
where I thought the bull would be when he
walked through. He walked through the gap
and my pin crossed his shoulder. I let the arrow fly.
The arrow hit him low in the chest
The bull whirled and limped out of sight the
way it had come. I trailed him a while, but
couldn’t find any blood so I just went the direction he
had gone — it was getting dark.”
I interrupted, “Think he’s hit good. Let’s
go back and see if we can trail him with a
lantern.”

Steven smiled widely, “I found him, he`s
dead! ” A handshake was in order.
With three bulls down, the following
morning was torturous work. Boning out
quarters, caping out hides, sawing antlers and
packing meat. But despite the sore muscles,
aching feet and sweat, I wouldn’t have traded
it for the world. As the last load of elk steaks
stumbled into sight under the light of the
moon and a blanket of stars, we would stop to
tally our rack scores. Steven’s 6×6 bull just
missed Pope and Young minimums at 256 5/8
inches. Perry’s heavy beamed 7×7, including
the “devil” points over his brow tines, taped
out at 295 5/8. My 7×7, after 15 inches of
deductions, scored a tidy 337. Not bad for a
bunch of flatland bowhunters!

AUTHOR ’S NOTE: New Mexico elk hunting
is at its best and getting better every season.
Elk populations are up in nearly all management
units and spreading into new areas each
year. Several areas have been opened for the
first time ever. Good elk hunting spots include
the Gila National Forest, units 13, 15A, 15B,
16A, 16B, 16C, 16D, and unit 17; Pecos Wilderness
areas, units 44 and 45; North central,
units 50, 52 and 4; and finally the San Pedro
Park area located in unit 6.
New season dates have been adjusted to
allow hunting during the peak of the rutting
period. Proposed season dates for the 1989
season are September 7-20. Resident license
fees run $38, while nonresident license fees
are $213. For more information contact, New
Mexico Department of Game and Fish, State
Capitol, Santa Fe, NM 87503. <—<<

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Published by admin on 05 Jul 2011

Aspirin Bustin’ with Hoyt Bows for 21 years!

Aspirin Bustin’ with Hoyt Bows for 21 years!
by frank addington, jr.

July 1, 2011 marks 21 years of me having a Hoyt bow in my hand and on stage. As I enter my 21st year on their prostaff I am thankful for a career that’s been so good to me. I have been on stage a total of 26 years and 21 of those have now been with a Hoyt in my hand. 21 years is a long time. Alot has changed in that time. The materials that make up the bows, arrows and accessories has changed, my show has evolved, and I now do my entire show shooting behind the back. About the only thing that’s the same is my green Bjorn net, which has been with me the entire time. I have some newer nets, but the Bjorn is the one I use most. It’s been coast to coast many times! My 2011 Hoyt Formula RX bows are state of the art, as is the new Buffalo hunting recurve. I am impressed with the way these bows perform. If you haven’t tried one of these new Hoyt recurves, you should.

I actually had Hoyt bows before being on their “official” staff. Earl and Ann Hoyt still ran the company. One year my father ordered a Hoyt recurve for me for my birthday and Ann Hoyt put a copy of a snapshot of she and I in the box with the bow. Getting photos, notes and such was the norm when Ann and Earl ran the company. In those days Ann took care of packing and shipping the bows. Earl signed some of my early bows. I also have signed arrows from both Earl and Ann that are now priceless. Earl was the deign man, seems he was always tinkering. I have some cool photos of Fred and Earl sitting and chatting, just some candid snapshots of two legends sharing bow talk.

Ann Clark had wanted me to go down the JOAD trail and get into target and FITA archery. It wasn’t to be. I found myself bored to death with field shooting and the sights got in my way when trying to shoot instinctive. I guess once you are an instinctive shooter you really never outgrow it. Anyway, I have many memories of those early days when I’d visit with Earl and Ann at shows and events. Earl and my father would usually go booth to booth and critique that year’s new bows. Once the Hoyts sold the company to Easton, a vibrant and energetic Joe Johnston assumed the presidency. Joe was a real hoot, his grin and laugh were contagious. He had a knack for PR/Marketing and really put Hoyt on the map in the archery industry. Earl and Ann still attended many of the shows so we kept up with them and shared some good meals with them over the years.

The Joe Johnston era is when I first came on board with Hoyt. Joe was a natural at the job and loved what he did. I remember he traveled with me and Hoyt sales rep Jim Wynne in the mid 1980’s. We did a series of shows in Virginia schools, some in store promotions, and also made an appearance at the Dixie Deer Classic. Here I am a young exhibition shooter sharing the stage with the President of the company! Joe stood beside the stage and watched many of my shows. He liked it except one comment. He didn’t like me taking time between shots to retrieve my arrows from the foam targets. So he insisted that he’d sent me enough arrows so that I never had to pull one during the show, “Just keep shooting” Joe would say.

We shared a great meal at the Angus Barn in Raleigh during that Dixie Deer appearance. It was what I dubbed “the President’s dinner”. We had Jim Wynne, my assistant Rob Parog, and Joe Johnston, President of Hoyt, Jim and Sherry Crumley, President of Treebark, Ben Southard, President of Loc On Treestands, Bill Robinson, President of Robinson Labs/Scent Shield, and I believe Bill Bynum was there too. All in all a great and fun crew. At that time the Angus Barn was very proper and high class. The wait staff dressed up and wore white gloves and brought you a chilled fork, etc. during the meal. My assistant Rob could do wide variety of animal noises and so Joe Johnston has him do his cricket imitation in the middle of the restaurant. It got louder and louder and seemed like a whole bunch of crickets were among us and other tables began looking around for the crickets. All at once Joe took his cowboy boot and loudly stomped the floor and yelled, “Got him”! You could have heard a pin drop and then Joe roared laughing. He was genuinely funny and a good time was had by all when ole’ Joe was around.

Addington and his assistant Rob Parog with the late Joe Johnston, circa 1980's.

Jim Wynne, the Hoyt sales rep, was also important in my time at Hoyt in the early days. Jim worked hard to promote archery, Hoyt and he often would have me do exhibitions at events to get some attention for the name/sport. Wynne was like Joe, a born promoter and he had a knack for making the PR produce sales for his dealer base. I can’t say enough good about Wynne, we remain close friends and still eat meals whenever our schedules have us in the same town. He’s moved on to a VP role with another bow company, but our friendship dates back to 1978. Wynne is one of archery’s good guys.

Another thing about Joe, he was always a phone call away. If he missed the call, at first opportunity he’d call you back. I’d have a suggestion and next thing I know it would be taken care of–whether it was something needed for my stage show, a bow for a celebrity or event, etc. Joe would listen, make his decision and take action. I always admired that about him.

During my early years at Hoyt/Easton I answered to a variety of people. I remember answering to Jack Lyons, the late Bill Krenz, Bob Ridenour, and Erik Dally. I went from Advisory Staff to Gold Staff and finally when I didn’t really fit the bowhunting pro staff or the target pro staff, Erik Dally told me I was on the “Promotional Pro Staff”. When I asked him who was on the staff, he said, “you”. He made up a title for me. We both laughed. I didn’t mind, I enjoyed being a part of such a great company. I remember Bill Krenz was really strict about reports, he wanted to see quarterly reports and year end reports. It started a habit I have to this day, I always do a year end report so that the company has feedback from my year on the road listening to consumers, and hearing feedback both good and bad. Over the years I also saw the name go from Hoyt/Easton to “Hoyt USA.” Next I answered to a young guy named Mike Luper. Of all the people I’d met at Hoyt, which were all good people, Mike seemed to have the Joe Johnston knack for publicity and promotion. He was brilliant and impressed me. I always told him he’d work his way up and run the show someday. I knew he shared Randy, Erik and Joe’s vision for keeping Hoyt the best of the best. The name has evolved into simply “Hoyt” now.

Frank and Mike Luper in New York City after Addington's performance for CNN at the 2003 FITA World Championships.

Hoyt had some good presidents after Joe too. Erik Watts and Randy Walk have both ran the show. Erik seemed to have more of a accounting view, and he put key people in place to help achieve his vision of Hoyt. When Erik left the President’s office at Hoyt, Randy Walk took over the show. Randy was young and came up through the ranks, bringing that experience with him to the President’s office. Randy’s tenure has seemed to emphasize engineering and quality products. All three men have had their own unique management style. They all have strived to keep the bows and name at the top of the archery industry. It has worked. Today Randy’s vision for Hoyt honors the Hoyt heritage and history, and brings a modern line up of bows to please today’s consumers and perform well on the shooting line at major competitions or in the woods on the hunt of a lifetime. There’s a lot of history behind that Hoyt decal. Walk has strived the push the brand past the mark to exceed customer expectations. He’s also not been one to rest on his past achievements.

I should also mention that there’s alot of unsung hereos at Hoyt. The people that answer the phones and email, the engineers and product designers, those that assemble the bows and parts, and those that run customer service. Then you have a staff in the marketing department and in the accounting department. Every single person at Hoyt seems to have one goal in mind, build the best bows and accessories they can build, take care of daily business, and pay special attention to take care of the dealers and consumer base.

I was away from Hoyt from 2003-2009 but during that time shot a SKY bow which was an Earl Hoyt design. Mathews bought the company when Earl passed away and I was with Sky/Mathews for that time frame. So with the exception of one Fred bear Kodiak, I have shot an Earl Hoyt designed bow 90% of my career.
In July 2009 I made a decision and I returned “home” to Hoyt and went back to work promoting the Hoyt brand of bows and answering to Mike Luper. It was as if I’d never been away and Crystal and the folks at Hoyt take such good care of me. When I get a consumer email or question, comment or concern I can’t answer, I send it to Hoyt and they never fail to respond and help the consumer the best they can. Like when Joe Johnston was there, if a need or concern arrises, one email or phone call and it’s usually taken care of.

Douglas Denton and the engineers at Hoyt really outdid themselves in 2010 when the Formula RX line launched! I did a video interview with Douglas at the ATA Show in 2010 so that he could explain the new concept/riser and limb design they’d come up with. It left a 30 year old design to break the mold for what a recurve could be. Next came the Hoyt Buffalo which is one of the best shooting hunting recurves you’ll ever try. Here is a LINK to that 2010 Video interview with Douglas: http://www.bowtube.com/media/778/AspirinBuster_At_Hoyt/

Now that I am heading toward my third decade with a Hoyt bow in my hand, I am excited about the future. Having had a 26 year career as a professional athelete has been a dream come true for me. I always tell people I have always admired the career of country singer George Strait. He’s been consistantly doing what he does for more than thirty years. And he seems to get better with age. By the way, in 1999 I gave George a Hoyt bow my father set up for him. You’ll find I usually try and get a bow in any high profile person’s hands that will take it, a lesson learned from Fred Bear. My shows stay booked and I typically perform between 20-30 major events per year.

I am anxiously awaiting the 2012 line up of bows, getting the new catalog is always like getting a Christmas wish book. The folks at Hoyt seem to always be building new bows and taking archery to the next level, just the way Earl and Ann and my pal Joe Johnston would have wanted them to. As I begin a new year shooting for Hoyt, looking into the future, a Ronald Reagan quote comes to mind… “You aint seen nothin’ yet.” That goes for Hoyt and for my shows.

Addington and his Hoyt bow in front of 15,000 people at the 2010 Deerassic Classic event.

**********************************************************************************************************************************
For more info visit www.hoyt.com

That’s the latest. Until next time, Adios & God Bless.

Shoot Straight,
Frank Addington, Jr.

The Aspirin Buster
www.frankaddingtonjr.com

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Published by vaportrail33 on 27 May 2011

Do You Really Want To Video Your Hunt

By Rex Holmes, Jr.,  Scent Authority and Inventor of The Vapor Maker

In 2009 a couple of hunting buddies, Joey and Ross and I decided we would go on a 10-day deer hunt to Wyoming.  In addition to the experience of the hunt, our purpose for going was to get video footage using The Vapor Maker®, a scent dispersal product I had just debuted at the 2009 Buckmasters Expo.

To get video footage of a hunt you need a video camera and an operator.  Joey and Ross had never been filmed hunting and I had never operated a video camera, but that didn’t deter us one bit.  After all I had used a Canon digital camera with success; I just needed to get a Canon video camera to take on the hunt.  I searched Ebay and purchased a used camera I felt would be just what I needed.  The purchase came in less than 24 hours before we were to leave for Wyoming, so I had no time to even test out the camera.  I had purchased the tapes and downloaded the manual, how difficult could this be?

We had planned to leave in mid-September, barring no work or personal problems arising.  The day came; actually the night finally came because we left at 9 pm and drove the 1800 miles -26 hours – straight through to the house we had rented in Wyoming.  We unloaded and got everything ready to go hunting.  We unpacked the video camera and started to load the tapes, realizing none of us had ever seen a professional video camera before, much less turn one on or load a tape in it. Does this sound like three country boys on a deer hunt?

We got the camera on and loaded the tape in…no luck.  Just an error message that said “no tape.”  So we tried again and again….still the “no tape” message.  What’s a country boy to do, but call the customer service line?  We did and they led us through every step imaginable, still “no tape.”   I even called the pawn shop owner in Chicago, IL that I had purchased the camera from.  He could only offer to let me send it back.  Talk about frustrating, here we had come 1,800 miles to video our deer hunt and the camera wouldn’t work.  Trying to do too much too fast, I thought.   I was feeling pretty bad about the whole experience when it occurred to me there was writing inside the camera where we had been trying to load the tape.  Sure enough, it said, “push close this first.”  Presto, it worked, the tape was loaded and we were ready to film and hunt.  I didn’t think much of that customer service representative, and I could only imagine that she was relating to her co-workers the story of the three hunters who travelled across country to film a hunt and didn’t know how to turn the camera on or load the tape.

Now we were ready to head out.  With the afternoon approaching we were feeling confident that we could find a good vantage point to sit and film deer.  This afternoon would be all about getting footage of how many big bucks were out there and how they were moving.  We were excited and felt blessed because we saw 7 bucks that afternoon, one of which was about 170 inches.  We felt fortunate that we got to film him sparring with a small 6-point.  About 40 yards from us we saw a doe come across the creek and pick up a 17 inch 10-pt and take him back across the creek.  It was a great sight which I did capture on video, but Joey was so amazed he forgot to even pick up his bow.  It just so happened the wind was blowing from us to the deer, but whenever the deer would get fidgety I would use the Vapor Maker® to spray scent and they would calm down almost immediately.

It turned out to be a great afternoon and I was confident I had all kinds of footage.  We couldn’t wait to get back to camp to view the footage.   Turns out Murphy’s Law had come with us to Wyoming.  The TV at our camp was so old the antenna wires were screwed to the TV, and of course, it had no cable connection to view the video.  God smiled on us again that day because the local hardware store had a box converter to hook the camera up to the TV.   That problem solved, we were now more than ready to view the footage we had taken.

We plugged everything in and sat back to relive a great afternoon.  You can’t imagine our shock and disappointment when all we saw was the camera jumping all over the place.  I was zooming in and out and moving left to right at lightning speed.   We decided day one was a learning experience and went to bed looking forward to the next day.

We slept in that morning to give the deer time to bed down so we could slip in and hang stands.  That afternoon the wind was blowing in every direction, but we managed to slip back in to our stands.   We saw several bucks and does, but only one buck came close enough for a good bow shot.  It was a small mule deer buck which walked right under the stand without picking up our scent.  The Vapor Maker® was doing a great job of attracting deer and covering our scent.

The next morning we returned to our stands even though we felt they weren’t in the best place to hunt and film.  The deer were just starting to move when the bottom dropped out and it came a flooding rain. We had no choice but to go back to the truck and wait out the flood to protect the camera.  Even though I had brought along a heavy duty garbage bag to cover the camera, I didn’t want to take any chances of ruining it before I even figured out how to use it.  After the rain, the sun came out to a scorching 94 degrees.  We took our climbers and headed down to the river bottom.  He heat was intense and we were soaked with sweat.

We were sure this afternoon would be great for hunting and filming.  I was going to be the cameraman and Joey the hunter.  We found a tree and Joey climbed first – another learning experience.  Never let the hunter be the first up the tree when you are filming.  But we were settled in and I had used the Vapor Maker® to spray us and our stands down with 33 Point Buck lure and attractant.  I also sprayed the ground around the tree.

We didn’t have to wait long before we spotted three does and an 8-point about 14 inches coming down the trail.  Because our scent was blocked so effectively, one of the does began feeding about a foot from the tree.  The wind was swirling, but none of the deer had picked up our scent.  Soon we saw him – a 135 inch Whitetail following the 8-point right to us.  They were about 20 yards in front of us.  This was perfect; I had the camera right on them just waiting for Joey to take the shot that never came.  The big buck was moving in and out around to our left.  I thought he was going to go around us when he turned and angled back toward us.  But by then I had turned around so far in the tree I was about to fall out.   I kept filming (I hoped) and Joey finally released the shot at about 23 yards.

We found a little blood but weren’t sure about the shot.  We didn’t know how to replay the footage (or see if I had actually gotten footage) to check the shot.   Joey said there were about 7 deer within 20 yards when he got the shot off.  He said at 20 yards the buck was broadside but there were too many eyes too close to get drawn back.  We decided not to search for the deer that evening, but to head back and see if we had captured the shot on tape.

Returning to search the next morning, I literally had to crawl around on my hands and knees just to spot the tiniest specs of blood or see a footprint. When we discovered the buck, Joey had hit it a little too far back. Because of Wyoming gaming laws we had to carry the kill to a taxidermist to remove the brain stem and some other organs because of CWD, Chronic Wasting Disease.

I learned many valuable lessons during those 10 days.  One, videoing a hunt requires a lot of work and planning.  Using a video camera requires practice, more practice and patience, although in the end I was pleasantly surprised at how much of the footage I was actually able to use.  You can check it out at my website: www.vaportrailscents.com and see for yourself the beauty of Wyoming and the great deer we saw there.  Secondly, I was extremely pleased with the effectiveness of The Vapor Maker® and scents we had developed.  This was really the purpose of the trip and I felt good about what I had filmed and discovered.

All in all it was a great trip with great friends, even with Murphy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Published by ArcosFlechas on 24 Apr 2011

1st 2011 Bow Turkey MO Hunt

???Team Tagle’s Turkey Hunt: no blind, MO Public Land

Team Tagle (father-son) hit the woods early.  ?We prepared a strategy for the hunt and prepared for potential foul weather. Well, when we got to the public land, I realized I did not pack my waterproof boots nor jacket. The walk was entertaining as we had to walk a tight edge due to the rising water from all the rain we’ve had.  Yes, my feet were soaked.  After we reached, no sooner after I set my last decoy (they are named “Jose & Josefina” – smile), we saw a gobbler come off of his roost.  It was insane.., just gotten set up!!  I was not even ready with my bow and arrow set-up, nor my release. Thank goodness he was 500 yards away.  THEN, I realized I left back in the truck my binos, slate and mouth calls, masks.., I was just a hot mess. I had to count on my “natural” calling skills (if any) and began using my mouth to call that gobbler in.  Then, of course we had to be right under the 10% precipitation, it started to rain pretty good, but we hung in there.  My camera man (my son) was prepared for the inclement weather.  Boy did that gobbler repond to my calls and the decoys.  He headed toward us on a B line.., hammering away.  I was feeling my heart beat all over my body, constantly telling my partner not to make the sligthest movement.  He was putting on a show.., afterall, he was the star of this whole thing.  My son did a great job running the camera and captured some great footage.  The gobbler circled around us, but we did not count on his strutting staging area…, I had no cover as to be able to draw my bow.  15 yards away, easy shot (if I am able to pull it off), heart skippin many a beats. It was now or never, made my move, got busted and he took off toward the woods.  I was able to make a few cutting calls, and he stopped at the opposite side 20 yards away. He was still responding, curious, and began strutting again.  When he got completely behind the view of a large tree, I repositioned myself to take a shot when needed.  My son did the same thing.   I took advantage of the cover and drew my bow, holding it as long as I could.  At this point, it was all a gamble, for we did not know what side of the tree he’d come out, nor WHEN.  As the luck I’d be having, he peeked past the tree excatly when I was letting down. HUNT OVER.  This time, he was not sticking around.  To top it off, our camera fouled up on us…., again.

Despite all the challenges we had, I’d do it all over again!  Here’s why:  my son finally learned about the “rush” (wait ’till he experiences buck fever).  He learned why it’s called hunting.  He learned about the turkey’s defense mechanism – sight.  He learned how difficult it is to walk away with a slam dunk.  I learned that throughout the whole ordeal, I could not stop thinking, “I am with my son, what an honor!!”. We have a lot to learn from each other, especially how to film our hunts.   Lastly, he learned how blessed we are after the tornado hit close to home.., the turkey encounter was just a bonus.  Our prayers to all those affected by the tornado and to all our men and women who make it possible for me to have moments like this one.  Adios!!

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Published by kr5639 on 21 Apr 2011

ARMGUARD/Gear Pocket with Call Strap by Neet

I have found this armguard has many uses outside of just archery.  I was able to put a tackle box in the pocket and used 2 wine bottle corks by attaching to the call strap and it worked great for fishing.

I bought it from Neet (item N-AGP-1) and it can be found in the new 2011 catalog.

http://www.neet.com/contact.html

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Published by billhowardoutdoors on 04 Apr 2011

Through a Child’s Eyes

North Carolina offers youth days for hunting some species each season. It gives the youth a chance to go out and have an adult guide them through a hunt, allowing only the child to take a shot. April 2 is youth day for turkey. Bearing that in mind, I feel obligated to share a story a new friend, Chase Shepherd shared with me.

+ + + + +

I closed my eyes while my dad smeared camouflage face paint on my forehead. “Just hold still. We’re almost done,” he whispered. I was ready for the hunt to begin. I loaded my gun, strapped on the gun rest, and put on my hat. “Got everything?” Dad whispered.
“Yeah,” I replied, while I too, was in a whisper.
We started walking back to the area my dad picked to hunt. “Today’s the day you’re killin’ a turkey,” Dad whispered.
“I hope so” I whispered back.
My dad stopped about five minutes later and whispered, “Go sit at that tree, I’m gonna’ set up the decoys.”
“Okay,” I replied.
???? I did my best walking over, trying not to make any noise. I finally stopped at the tree and watched my dad set up the last decoy. It was still dark out so we had enough time to sit down and get comfortable.
Dad sat down first, and then I sat down in between his legs. He set his gun up against the tree and then instructed me to practice aiming on the decoys.
?? The sun just started to rise, and all I heard was gobbling. It was crazy! Then my dad started calling. He did some average hen calls, and that’s when he whispered, “Don’t move!” My mind started racing! Is this really going to happen? Is it a big one? Am I ready? I started to shake as I glanced over. It was a big tom, beard dragging the ground, walking back and forth. “Don’t move,” Dad whispered again.
Then the turkey heard a hen across the creek behind us, and never came in. I was devastated. When all of the sudden, “Here comes two more!” Dad whispered. It wasn’t over yet. My heart started pounding once again. The two turkeys were running to us! I gripped the cold metal of my gun. Then they jumped up, and started attacking our decoy, they were flying in the air, and hitting it with their spurs.
I pulled the trigger, but not hard enough. Since the gun didn’t fire I had to wait for another open shot.
Finally the time came. One of the turkeys stopped, and stared right at us. This time I squeezed the trigger, and the turkey dropped. My dad shot at the other turkey, but it was flying and he missed.
We stood up and started high-fiving and fist-bumping.
“You smoked him buddy!” Dad exclaimed.
Then we walked over to claim my trophy. When we got there we exchanged high-fives again. “You killing a turkey means more to me than me killing one,” Dad said.
When we got back to the truck, we started to take pictures. Some were with Dad’s cell phone and others with the digital camera.
That was the greatest day of my life. It was exciting, fun, and most of all…an adrenaline rush.

+ + + + +

I believe Chase gives us an inside look at how a child feels sharing the outdoors with his parent. It is a memory that will last long after his dad can no longer go out in the fields, yet it is also a memory he will surely share with his kids in the future. I am also sure if you asked Chase’s dad about that day, he too would agree it was one of the greatest days of his life as well.

Bill Howard is an avid bowhunter, hunter education and IBEP instructor, and outdoors columnist for the Yancey County News and Wilson Times (North Carolina). You can read his blogs and catch video on www.billhowardoutdoors.com.

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Published by Double s on 01 Apr 2011

REMINDER: No Selling. This is for Archery, Hunting Blogs & Articles only.

Selling is NOT allowed in the ArcheryTalk Articles and Blogs. For sale or trade items belong only in the ArcheryTalk Classifieds. Posts selling or trading will be deleted. This section is for Articles and Blogs related to Archery and Bow Hunting. Any post not related to Archery or Bow hunting will be considered Spam and trashed and the user deleted. Questions about Bows, Equipment, etc. need to go into the Archerytalk Forum under the correct section. Spammers will be automatically deleted.

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Open Door To Adventure~ By Roy Hoff


Bow and Arrow
June 1972

Open Door To Adventure ~ By Roy Hoff

When Alaska Was Reopened To Bowhunting The Trophy Possibilities Were Staggering!

IT WAS INDEED A GREAT DAY in bowhunting circles when
word was flashed that the Alaska Game Commission had again
legalized bow and arrow as a hunting weapon in the Territory of Alaska.
The new legislation was effective during the fall of 1954. All
big game animals were legal except grizzly and brown
bear. There was a good reason for the prohibition.
Most present-day bowmen, no doubt, believe the
bow and arrow has been legal ever since the Eskimos
moved in. That’s not true.

?

Prior to 1930, Art Young and Saxton Pope received
world-wide publicity in newspapers and magazines
and in theaters where movies were shown of
their Alaskan adventures depicting the successful bagging
of grizzly and Alaska brown bears. The success
of these famous hunters set the stage for a tragic event.
A party of state-side hunters figured they knew all the
answers, but learned the hard way they were mistaken.
In a tragic episode involving a grizzly, one member
of the party lost his life and some others were mauled
so badly they barely escaped with their lives. Shortly
afterward, hunting with a bow and arrow in what is
now our fiftieth state became a no-no!

?

The new law specified that moose could be taken
only in the Anchorage area. Other big game such as
caribou, deer and black bear (excepting grizzly and
brown) could be taken anywhere in the Territory.
Members of the Alaska Bowmen initiated a long
and arduous campaign of public relations between the
bowmen and members of the Game Commission. The
ring-leaders, with whom we were in constant contact,
were Royce Martin, Ivan Blood and Bob Myers, to
whom bowhunters on the North American Continent
owe much.

?

Having worked for the news media nearly all my
life, it took little persuasion to convince myself I should
be on hand for the festivities.
On a – dream-trip like this, a guy must have a hunting
buddy or two, so I invited Bill Childs of Alameda
and Tim Meigs of Oakland, a couple of dyed-in-the-
wool bowhunters in California, to join me.

?

We met in Seattle, chewed the rag with Glenn
St. Charles, founder of the Pope and Young Club,
then boarded a Northwest Orient Airlines plane for
our destination in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
The flight is about 1700 miles, practically all over
water. To me the only impressive sight was the Alaska
Range, with many snow-covered peaks rising abruptly
from the seashore to an average altitude of 18,000
feet, much higher than any mountain in -the States.


?

As our pilot turned the nose of our plane in to-
ward Anchonage, we passed over Montague Island and
proceeded up Turn again Arm to Cook’s Inlet. My cam-
eras really clicked. Keni Peninsula, noted for its many
species of big game, was in plain view for many miles
and we wondered what fabulous hunting stories the
island could tell.

?

That night we were guests of honor at a very nice
banquet staged by the Alaska Bowmen. Each of us was
presented with a “bellykin” made from walrus tusks,
as a talisman to carry with us on the hunt.
In the morning, our guides: Royce Martin, Mortimer
Moore and Ivan Blood, packed our duffel on two
pack horses. Frieda, my wife, was provided a saddle
horse. It was a seven-mile hike to moose camp which
was on a shelf of a nearby mountain where the view
of Anchorage and the surrounding valley was superb.

?
Upon arrival we received our first hunting thrill.
The boys unveiled a fine set of moose antlers (still in
the velvet) and a quarter of the carcass hanging in a
nearby hemlock, all ready for cooking, Ivan was the
lucky hunter. He had bagged the animal during the time
the boys were setting up camp. It was thoughtful of the
boys to provide our party with camp meat and, let me
tell you, there is no tastier meat than moose, if prepared
correctly of course, and Frieda attended to this
detail. Boiled moose ribs, yum, yum!

?

With a moose already in camp it appeared we’d
have little difficulty in filling our tags early and then
head out for caribou country. Coming events did not
work out that way. Moose had been in the area, that
was certain, but all but an occasional straggler had departed
for parts unknown. There were lots of tracks
but none was fresh. We hunted hard for three days.
Other members of the party reported sighting a nice
bull. The best I could report was one “maybe.” We
all came to the conclusion we were hunting a “dry hole.”

?

All of us were pleased when we broke camp and
headed back toward Anchorage, and for the opportunity
to dry out. This was the early part of September
which is their rainy season. If you plan to hunt here
at this time be sure to take plenty of “foul weather
gear.” I’d suggest an outfit consisting of: lightweight
rubber hip-length waders, rubber pants (bib overall
pattern) and rubber parka-coat. If you don’t like to
hunt with your ears covered, wear a rain hat and tuck
in the parka. The parka comes in handy to keep your
ears warm in the evenings and early mornings.

?

Returning to Northern Sporting Goods, our head-
quarters in Anchorage, we were greeted with glowing
reports of the many moose sighted by local hunters together w
ith a few kills – right at the edge of town! In
fact, as we were being briefed on what had transpired
in our absence, in walked Charley MacInnes, one of
the Territory’s popular and successful bowhunters. He
was smeared and spattered with blood. The broad
smile on the Scotsman’s face told us louder than words
there was meat on the table.

?

“Where is he, Charley?” we asked in unison. Our
hero merely headed for the door motioning us to follow.
A most beautiful sight greeted us. There in the bed of
a pickup truck was a beautiful set of moose antlers resting
on a spring-sagging cargo of moose meat.
McInnes was a very impressive person. He actually
hunted wearing kilts, symbolic of his ancestory,
or his shorts. Charley pointed out he was a “lone wolf”
type of hunter who believed it is tough enough for a
bowman to stalk quietly through the woods without ad-
ding noise-producing makers such as Levi overalls.

?

One arrow proved to be “curtains” for the big
moose. Further, quoting Charley, here is what he said:
“On September 6, at 6:10 a.m., I was hunting in
the Goose Lake area and spotted a bull below me headed
my way. I waited until he came to within forty feet,
whereupon he stopped, apparently sensing my presence.
I eased my bow up carefully and released a broadhead.
The bull whirled and dashed off down the slope. He
disappeared in the brush for a few seconds, but I saw
him when he came out on the flats below.”

?

“He stopped in an open spot and appeared to at-
tempt to turn his head back in my direction. At that
moment, I heard the breath go out of his lungs and saw
him collapse. It sounded a lot like letting the air out of
a rubber mattress. I’d estimate from the time the bull
was hit until he keeled over dead, was about fifteen
seconds. The broadhead entered the rib cage and passed
through the lungs.”

?

During our interview, I documented a few hunting
tips which I’ll pass along to you: He always spreads
his clothing on spruce boughs overnight, washes with
plain soap just before the hunt, wears clean clothes,
uses no tobacco or shaving lotion. A parting remark
was, “Any shot in the rib cage may be considered as
a fatal hit !”

?

We had to kill time for a day waiting on Mert
Marshall, who was to guide us into the caribou country,
returning with a party of successful hunters (we
hoped). So we took a sight-seeing trip to view a couple
of glaciers. Upon our return – as usual – it was the
same story: Another moose had been bagged. Don
Goodman was the successful hunter. Following is the
exciting and humorous story he told me:

?

It seems Don is more of a novice bowhunter than
an experienced old timer, though, I must say he could
hold and shoot a hefty stick of seventy-five pounds and
place an arrow pretty close to the spot he was aiming at.
Don had been out several times, hunting in proximity to
the Campbell Air Strip at the edge of Anchorage, but no luck.
On this particular morning he
had hunted the spruce-covered hillsides and was re-
turning to his car through the middle of a swamp.

Suddenly, not over twenty yards in front of him, up
jumped a bull moose from its bed in the buffalo grass.
It stood broadside apparently unperturbed at the intrusion.
Don loosed a carefully aimed broadhead and ob-
served the feathers as they disappeared into the rib
cage. Don swears this dumb-dumb moose never even
so much as batted an eye.

?

The hunter immediately drove another shaft into
the animal not two inches from the first, with about the
same reaction from the moose.
“‘That critter,” said Don, “just shuffled his feet,
stuck out his neck a little closer toward me and just
glared. As I nocked the third arrow I looked around
to see if there were a convenient tree I could climb or
at least hide behind. There was none, so again I blazed
away. By this time I was so dog-gone nervous and
shaking so badly I hit him in the foot.


?

“By the time I loosed the fourth arrow I was a
physical wreck and missed that big hulk completely. I
started desperately praying for help-a fellow bowman,
shotgun hunter, or maybe somebody with a stout club.
As I fumbled for another arrow I stood transfixed by
a sight I couldn’t believe. Just when I thought I was
a goner, over he went dead as a mackerel!

?

Subsequent investigation showed both of the first
two arrows had completely penetrated the animal’s rib
cage and were found sticking in the ground beyond. In
my estimation, there is not the slightest doubt but what
the first arrow would have done the trick.
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service,
the Keni moose of Alaska is the largest of its kind on
earth. Bulls reach a weight of 1,400 pounds or better
and with an antler spread of six feet and more.
Of the sixty hunters who participated in this hunt,
six were successful in bagging a moose.

?

Statistics on tackle show a radical change in re-
cent years. Ivan Blood used an eighty-pound recurve;
Charley MacInnes shot a seventy-nine-pounder. Seldom
do we see bows this hefty any more.

?

We joined Mert Marshall at Eureka Lodge across
from the huge Matanuslca glacier, 125 miles northeast
of Anchorage where, after loading our duffel, we took
a swamp buggy ride fifty miles up the river bed to the
headwaters of the Little Nelchina River into the tundra
and land of muskeg.

?

In all this wide world there’s no ride just like that
on a swamp buggy After eight and a half hours on
this vehicle, it was the concensus of our gang that the
best way we could compare it was a combination of
which the worst part was like riding a Brahma bull
bare-back; the average as that of riding a pack horse
with the saddle stirrups too short; and the real smooth
portion as that of riding on a lumber wagon over a
cobblestone road!

Ment designed and built two of these swamp-
buggies with but one thought in mind a really rugged
conveyance which would carry parties of hunters
into the back country which is impassable, except on
foot or horseback.

?

Construction of the swamp-buggy started with a
Model A Ford engine. The frame was four-inch pipe
welded together. The body was made of heavy gauge
steel plate. C54 17 x 21 airplane tires were mounted
on the front, and earth—mover truck tires, with non-skid
tread, on the rear. A magneto was used for ignition, as
many times on this· trip the engine was almost entirely
submerged We went through water holes so deep, and
over boulders so huge, it didn’t seem possible a motor-
driven vehicle, other than an army tank, could accomplish
the feat. There were no refinements such as body
springs or soft cushions on the outfit.We all were grateful
when Mert announced we had reached our camp site.
We shook the kinks out of our weary bones, downed a
heaping plateful of Frieda’s ptarmigan stew, and hit the sack.

?

?

Next morning, our day’s activities started on a
sour note. I had a confrontation with Moore, our licensed guide.
He chawed me out for starting a campfire, explaining
in an unfriendly manner that only
sissies built campfires which spook the caribou out of
the area. I didn’t strike any fighting pose, for I knew
he could lick me. Suffice to say, if I were paying the
bill for this trip I should have something to say about
turning on a little heat. The fire was built. Breakfast
was eaten and we prepared to leave for a day’s hunt.

?

Tim was chomping at the bit and decided to climb
the riverbank to take a look see. He topped out slowly,
looked around for about two seconds, then dashed madly
back to the fire and told us he had sighted a small
herd of caribou feeding within a stone’s throw of the
camp. They must have been looking the other way,
when mama told them not to approach a campfire.

?

?

Bill and Tim, accompanied by Moore, sneaked
downstream for a few hundred yards, then made a successful
stalk on a nice bull. Bill put an arrow into him.
The animal started to run. Fifty more or less steps
farther and he folded in a heap – not from the effects
of an arrow but a bullet! The guide said he
thought the animal was escaping, and it was- his legal
responsibility to kill it. I was sure we could have track-
ed down the wounded animal, but the damage was
done. Take a tip from me, hire a guide who is familiar
with bow and arrow hunting.

?

In the meantime, Ivan and I headed out in the
direction Tim had seen the caribou herd. Nothing
was in sight so we fanned out. I turned to my right
and started walking parallel to the river. Making a
sweeping glance, I saw Frieda on the riverbank at our
camp waving her arms and motioning something was
just ahead up river. I sneaked down to the bank and
looked over. There were eleven head of caribou drink-
ing from the stream. I had goofed! The herd spotted
me and moved on. I use the word moved because, in-
stead of like state-side animals, they didn’t run. They
just walked. I tried to catch up with them, but they
could walk faster than I could run. Of course, I must
say this was not a cinder path, but muskeg which is not
conducive to speed. Who was it who said caribou
won’t come near a campfire? Phooey!

?

In succeeding days, Mert taught me much about
hunting caribou. There are two species: the barren-
ground, which is the most abundant game animal in
Alaska, and the woodland, which is found in Canada.
Caribou are migrating animals to the north in spring
and summer and to the south in the fall. Herds travel
hundreds of miles to find new ranges and are constantly
on the move in search of lichen or “reindeer
moss” their favorite food which grows in abundance on
the muskeg-covered tundra.

?

Both sexes of caribou have antlers. The bulls, of
course, have the larger. Considering these animals are
nomads, there is no sense in building a blind during
hunting season facing toward the south. All your game
will be heading south, so face north. We did not build
any blinds, merely hiding in the willows growing at
the edge of the riverbed where we’d constantly glass
the deep etched caribou trails which run north and
south through the tundra for hundreds of miles.

?

One morning, Mert set up an ambush for Tim
and me. We were keeping our eyes peeled on trails
where they skylined. Suddenly, perhaps five miles
distant, we spotted a herd of caribou approaching.
We did not see the animals, just antlers! We could
see those fascinating five-feet-high antlers for several
minutes before the body of the lead animal came into
view.

?

Now for the strategy. That was the last look at
our quarry for perhaps thirty minutes. Mert indicated
hiding places for us across the stream from where we
watched our guide – not the herd! By slow hand move-
ments Mert signaled us the approach. All we had to
do was wait until a big bull got within four feet of us,
then drop him in his tracks with a well placed broad-
head. Things didn’t work out that way.

?

Mert finally signaled us to attack. We raised up
ever so slowly to take a peek. About a hundred yards
ahead on a hillside were four bulls apparently having
stopped for a snack. We figured we had them in the bag,
but they wouldn’t come down any farther.
Tim and I really tried to make a perfect stalk.

?

After some difficult maneuvering, we reached a spot
where we both were concealed from the herd in a
dense growth of willows. By lying flat on our bellies
we could barely see a dim outline of the herd, but
this was all we wanted or needed, just enough view
to keep the herd under observation. Terrain and willow
growth were such we could not contact our guide
for instructions. So we decided to stay put until the
herd came down, even if it took hours of waiting.
We must have lain in that one spot for more than
an hour. It was exasperating to watch our game graze
slowly down the hill toward us until almost within
bow range, then turn around and work back up the
hill. I had to restrain myself from attempting a Joe
Dolan shot at the herd. They were always closely
grouped and at one time were within less than one
hundred yards from us.

?

I petted and stroked my little Walrus tusk talisman,
but it didn’t work. The bulls worked slowly back
up the hill. Then very slowly topped the hill and disappeared.
For several seconds their bodies were out of
sight, but we could still see the tips of their antlers and,
judging from the way they fooled around on our side
of the hill, Tim and I figured they’d stay put for at
least a few minutes. We ran up the side of that hill as
fast as we could and when we topped out we very
cautiously peeked over expecting to see them nibbling
right in front of us.

?

We slowly stood up and scanned the barren hills
in every direction. Our game had disappeared.
We rejoined Mert who pointed out one phenomenal
characterisltic of caribou is their ability to disappear
in an area where there is no cover. We concluded
the herd must have known we were in the area though
they seemed to be peacefully grazing, without a care in
the world. It was just a ruse to outwit us.
So ended our Alaska hunt. Score: two trophies
for three hunters. Question: How come I had to be
the bridesmaid?

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