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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Whitetail Habitat and Habits~ By Bob Grewell

Bow And Arrow Hunting
October 1990

Whitetail Habitat and Habits By Bob Grewell


Bowhunters And Deer Are A Lot Alike – Learn More About Your Game and Improve Your Score!


A HUNTING PARTNER gave a few of us some good advice when he explained
about using known whitetail feeding grounds he had been tree-standing successfully
for three years. He favored a ridgetop plateau crowned with oak and hickory. To his
advantage, a brushy stream-lined ravine skirted the east side of its base. Below
this flat on the south and west sides was a massive cornfield. A bedding growth
of tangled honeysuckle and blow-down timber wrapped around the northern
lower third. It set the stage for suitable bowhunting habitat. Deer frequented the
ridge for mast and had all they needed: food, water and cover. Picking a spot
and waiting for deer movement was his proven technique.


This ridgetop was also used by early- season squirrel hunters quite regularly
Although we bowhunters don`t directly emulate the methods of squirrel-gun
hunters, Gary picked a stand site in this area, right on the perimeter where the
landscape dropped over and down into corn and bedding. This kept him directly
away from squirrel-hunting activities, but still put him in touch with a major
deer-escape route. He had selected ideal habitat, relied on deer feeding and
bedding habits and positioned himself so squirrel-hunter movements would
probably force fleeing deer past his stand.

The last day of the early season, he hadn’t been settled more than thirty
minutes when he heard the faint sound of voices far off into the hardwoods. The
hunters who were stalking the woods that morning were friends of Gary`s and
knew he was bowhunting, so they stayed away from his stand location. Shortly
after their voices broke the silence, a fat doe and apparently her two offspring
slipped past his tree and down over the hill. The action looked promising.


Before Gary had a chance to get settled again, a muffled shot was heard;
then another. Within two minutes he noticed movement in the trees. Walk-
and-stop, walk-and-stop; the buck was sneaking through the hardwoods at a
snail`s pace. Constantly looking back toward the squirrel hunters, the whitetail
didn`t pay much attention to what was in front of him. Appearing as if he felt
he had eluded the human interference, the cautious buck stopped behind a tree
not fifteen yards from Gary.


When the buck turned and looked back toward the squirrel hunters after their
voices broke the silence, Gary eased into full draw. The buck took three steps
and stopped, alert, but not frightened. The arrow whispered as it gilded into
the buck`s chest cavity. He flinched and jumped straight up. Standing motionless
and looking all around, he wobbled a little. Then, trotting past Gary`s tree, he
attempted to walk downhill, stumbling, then rolling into a briar patch. Even
though the buck lay motionless, Gary sat back down. ’


He had picked a good habitat location and took advantage of the whitetail`s
habits in this area. He also used the squirrel hunters activities to his advantage,
knowing the buck would avoid their presence. Although this bowhunter
is a rut-hunting enthusiast, he never fails to be afield before or after the rut.
The first two or three weeks of whitetail bow season are not perfect
times to be looking for rutting bucks. A bowhunter is not likely to be found
seated in close proximity of a “hot” scrape, because they just aren’t prime.


Even though one can`t concentrate on whitetail mating urges to be successful,
it is a great time to be afield. The deer haven`t been pressured a lot by hunters.
The weather is not deplorable and there are lots of deer. Many hunters score on
whitetail bucks even when these trophies aren’t yet interested in mounting a doe.
Whitetail and bowhunters are alike in many respects. Our habits and habitats
coincide. The whitetail faces a different set of problems on a daily basis, even
though some are like ours. They must develop habits that mesh with the conditions
of their habitat.


The whitetail deer generally leads a life of comfort, seclusion and sometimes
just plain luxury, except for hunting season, human pressures and changing
weather. Food, water and protective cover are all around them. This is a
“key” bowhunters can capitalize on each season. When mating urges haven`t
reached a focal point, basic necessities are a hunter`s asset as well as a deer’s;
in many cases, even more exacting than the short-spanned exposing effects of a
traveling, sex-hungry buck during the rut.


The common practice today is to hunt whitetail bucks during the peak of their
rutting activities. There`s nothing wrong with taking advantage of this natural
urge and the high-exposure effects it has on a buck`s actions. In many instances
and terrain locations, rut-hunting provides a bowhunter with an exceptional
chance to take a secretive buck. But if he waits solely for those few weeks of
prime sexual behavior, a bowhunter is missing out on a lot of other chances to
take deer.


Logically, bowhunters are constantly searching for the fastest, simplest and
least expensive means of arrowing a buck. The usual method of pursuit that
ups the odds in one’s favor is to take advantage of the exposing effects mating
has on a buck as he searches continuously for a receptive doe. But deer
activities won’t always be predictable or on time and hunters limit their opportunities
when hunting solely for mating bucks.


There are many opportunities available prior to and after the ritualistic
mating cycle that can expand one`s chances. The ability to pattern buck
exposure is more prominent when they are stimulated by their annual sexual
drives. This erratic response does help one to set up more productive stand
sites and enables a bowhunter to see more deer, more often. Patterns of travel
become more consistent and timely as bucks spend increased time on the hoof
looking for ready to mate does. Rutting bucks are a little more prone to being
visible when they are crazed for estrous does. For that we can be thankful, be-
cause bowhunting is a limited opportunity sport. anyway.


There are thousands of bowhunters who take deer each year and don`t count
on mating activities as a catalyst for success. Not that it`s any easier, because
a hunter must work just as hard and be just as smart to outwit a sneaky
buck. When we enter whitetail habitat looking for a place to hunt, it can appear
confusing. Local deer know it thoroughly. But for us, it`s like walking onto
a new car lot…so much to look for, so much to choose from. The buck usually
only exposes himself when feeding, watering and traveling to and from
bedding locations. These are the key points to concentrate on during any
given day. Habits and habitat knowledge will put you on better bucks when they
aren’t on the move for doe.


Bowhunters who plan to take bucks prior to and after the rut need to spend a
lot of time in the field. Relying on previous areas of success is a major
ingredient when taking deer, if the landscape hasn’t been altered to move
deer out or change their habits too dramatically. Deer associate with sights
and sounds in their home range. When changes occur, these animals are
automatically alerted. Although whitetail habits seldom change greatly, they do
change travel habits and feeding locations if habitats are rearranged or some form
of interference dictates their mood. But for deer that live in specific areas year round,
these changes are minimal. That`s why it is important to get to know an area
well. Learn the contour of the land, the locations of food, water and bedding.



These natural architectural features will control the daily habits of deer. Every
effort of scouting will build a storehouse of valuable information in your favor.
When a bowhunter pursues a buck without relying on rutting activities, the
hunter must study intensely. Talk to landowners, rural mail carriers and successful
hunters. Tap other successful archers knowledge to help you improve
your own. Opinion plays an important role in deer hunting and if it`s a successful
hunter`s opinion, the answers are more prone to be factual details.



Whether before or after peak rutting desires are aroused. food is a critical
influence that stimulates deer movement patterns. Bedding sites are important, as
well. The routes of travel leading to and from feeding and bedding areas are
walkways to guard. When a bowhunter is after his buck under normal conditions,
study whitetail habits and the structure of the habitat.


Any buck not interested in does is especially concerned with protecting his
own hide. This makes him tougher to get close to when he`s not overwhelmed by
a female. Extreme caution on the hunter`s part is a must. but bucks aren’t
beyond approach. If you go after a buck that has been bedded throughout the
afternoon, a logical place to set up an evening stand is along a trail that shows
obvious use.


Scouting cannot be over-stressed. Of course, deer aren’t likely to travel the
same trail. the same way. the same time, on an everyday basis. We can`t assume
deer have rigid schedules. But we can determine deer habit patterns more
accurately by thinking food and cover, and using these necessities to our


Ideally, one first locates a prime food source that is being utilized regularly,
whether it is natural. such as acorns, or artificial, like corn and soybeans. By
backtracking game trails adjoining likely feeding areas and potential bed sites,
stand site selection is easier. Choosing two or three possible stand locations
that will place you on the downwind side of predominate daily wind currents
allows you to change positions, because of shifting weather, other human
interference, or noticable habitat changes.


In no way would it be practical to suggest that one should not hunt during the
heat of mating activities. It’s a perfect time to be afield. But no hunter should
rely solely on the sexual urges of whitetails before going hunting. It would
be a genuine loss of productive hunting time to stay home during non-rut days.
If a bowhunter studies and learns normal daily whitetail habits, familiarizes
himself with the details of the terrain he intends to hunt, scouts and determines
the most popular food sources and finds likely looking bedding lairs. the efforts
will amount to a perfect foundation for hunting at any time of the season.


Then by respecting the wind`s fickle effects in exposing your scent, hunting a buck
without relying on the mating urge will be an exciting experience. It will not
only teach you more about your quarry, but will instill you with a sense of pride
from the fact that you took your deer from intentional effort, not just from random
luck. Using whitetail habitat and their habits will put you in the drivers seat.

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Published by archerchick on 10 Feb 2011

BONE-UP FOR BIG BUCKS ~ By Bill Ruediger

Bow And Arrow
December 1972


Following This Author’s Hunting Primer May Not Hang aA Trophy Whitetail On The Meatpole, but Will Increase Your Chances!

WHEN WAS THE last time you shot a nice buck? Most likely you have
never killed a trophy deer unless you have hunted many years and had
better than average luck. lf you look at the statistics, your chances of killing
a deer with a bow run anywhere between one in a hundred to one in five
– depending on which state you are hunting.


These statistics reflect total success— bucks, does and fawns. By the time
you get down to the numbers of hunters shooting big bucks, you are talking
about an elite group. Does this mean you should hang up your bow and find
a more productive pastime’? It depends on why you took up the sport to begin
with. Most bow-hunters know from the start where the odds lie …. with the deer.


The real pleasure of bowhunting comes from enjoying the outdoors and
matching your wits against those of a wily old buck. lf hanging meat on the
pole is your primary purpose for hunting, you’d better stick to your rifle.
By keeping a few factors in mind, it is possible to increase your chances of
killing a trophy buck. Three fundamentals l feel are essential to successful
trophy hunting are know the animal, know the area you are hunting, know
bowhunting basics. Sounds like an easy road to success, doesn’t it?
It’s not. But if you take an in-depth look at the three, you may find the
reason your chance has never come.


When l say know the animal I don’t mean you should know the difference
between an old grey mare and a whitetailed deer. Let’s hope you have
progressed at least this far! You should be familiar with what a deer eats,
where it beds down, when it is active and how it reacts to disturbances.
Read as much as you can to get this knowledge, then ask an experienced
outdoorsman to help you till in the gaps.


Food, cover and water are needed by deer to survive and all
must be available within a limited area. Learn to recognize key
browse species that deer will seek out for food. For mule deer, you
should be able to identify aspen, bitter brush, mountain mahogany,
sage and service berry. Some of the foods whitetails prefer are white
cedar, willow, aspen, sweet fern, poplar, dogwood, oak and various
berry bushes.


Learning to recognize these plants is a chore that should take a few
hours and knowing them will give you a clue as to where deer will
be during feeding periods. Deer bed down in evergreen stands
such as pine, cedar, juniper and fir. In the west, where archery seasons
are usually in late summer, deer will bed down in cooler north slopes near
water. During midday, bedding areas are logical places to hunt.


As I look back on my own deer kill record, I notice that over fifty percent
of my deer have been killed in these sites. The thick cover and soft under-
footing make bedding spots a bow-hunter’s dream. When deer are spotted
there, they are often at close distances and unspooked.


Springs, streams and isolated ponds are good spots to be near in the evenings.
Deer need water at least once a day and will usually browse their way
down to it late in the afternoon. One of my favorite stands is near a spring
situated high in a canyon. Deer and elk move down from adjacent mountain
slopes each evening and it is a rare day when I don’t see game. At such place,
it is just a matter of time before you will get a shot at a trophy buck.


Deer are said to be less aware of danger that threatens from above. This
may or may not be true, but it is worth your while to approach from
above if possible. When you look downhill, your view is over much of
the shorter trees and bushes. I have noticed most archers shoot more
accurately downhill. While it is a common occurrence to overshoot, you
will find the opposite is true when shooting uphill.


Not being familiar with the hunting site is a ticket to failure. You may
know all about the ecology and habits of deer, but if you can’t find what you
are looking for it isn’t worth much. Every year I see bowhunters tromping
into places I know are barren. I know this because I have been there myself
and found both deer and deer habitat lacking. Through the years, I have
sorted out the good places from the bad, by trial and error, until I know
spots where I usually see a dozen deer or more each day.


If possible, it is wise to choose a state with a reputation for being a
good deer producer. Look at the bow- hunter’s success in those states where
it is practical for you to hunt, then hunt the best counties of the state you
choose. If you are after mule deer, you couldn’t go wrong with such states as
Wyoming, Utah, Colorado or Nebraska. Good bets for those who prefer
whitetails would include Minnesota, Texas, Maine, Michigan and Pennsylvania.


Many hunters rely on guides to find deer. This is a good idea for those
hunters going into an area for the first time, but once you are familiar with
the hunting site it is no longer necessary, After you have hunted a location
for a week or longer, you should know the area well enough to hunt alone.
Choosing the best method to hunt is as important as knowing the area to
be hunted. One of the most successful methods is for two or three archers to
still hunt by forming a line, each hunter thirty to sixty yards apart. Keeping
the line straight is important for safety and success. Shots usually come as
deer try to sneak away from one hunter.


Often the hunter the deer is eluding never sees it. If you try this method
and all the deer you see are out of range or crashing through the brush,
slow down! You are hunting too fast. Hunting from a tree stand has ad-
vantages. In much of the south this is the only practical way to hunt. Locating
a tree a big buck is likely to pass at bow range is harder than most
archers realize. Tree stands are not mobile, and the hunter who finds himself
in the wrong spot is out of luck for the moment.


One good location for a tree stand is along a wooded fence line. Deer follow
fences unless there is some reason to make them change course. Fences are
often brushed out, and this gives the archer a natural pathway to shoot down.
Last season, Joe Thomas, one of my hunting cronies. and I were having
a tough time getting big bucks to stay still long enough for a shot.


The woods were dry and the deer were running before we had a chance to
let an arrow fly. We found the best way to hunt under these circumstances
was to stay on the largest game trails and try for shots at feeding deer. The
larger game trails were free of leaves and sticks, so walking was silent as long
as we didn’t step off the trail.


We were hunting near Logan, Utah – in the Bear River Range – and
Thomas’s chance at a big buck came five days after the opening of the
season. He was hunting his way slowly up a large game trail that meandered
through a canyon. In the course of two hours he had many chances for
shots at does, but even small bucks were hard to find.


As Thomas neared the top of the canyon he heard the sounds of a
browsing deer. At first he could not locate the animal, but after patiently
waiting for ten minutes he saw a large buck stroll out from a patch of aspen.
The buck was on a lower trail, but he was familiar enough with the area to
know the two trails come together a quarter mile down the canyon.


Thomas back-tracked down his trail, until he found a spot where he
could try a good shot as the buck walked by on the lower trail. The buck
saw Thomas too late; he arrowed the deer through the ribs as it tried to
escape. Thomas would not have tagged his buck if he had not known the best
method to use. He also knew the area he was hunting and how the buck
would probably react. Last, though just as important, Thomas took full
advantage of the situation.


This brings us to the third item — know bow-hunting basics.
Bowhunting basics separate the seasoned expert from the novice. They
include your knowledge of bow-hunting equipment, your skill in using
it and your general woodsmanship ability. Although much can be gained
only through experience, some is common sense.


As many hunters know, deer depend almost entirely on their abilities to
smell and hear for protection against man. With this in mind, it
makes good sense to always move up- wind with as little noise as possible. To
make sure you are safe, toss some dry grass or dust into the air and check its
direction periodically. Moving noiselessly calls for slow, careful walking
with a pair of good quality hunting boots. I prefer ankle-high boots with
cleated soles.


When most people think of bow-hunting, camouflage clothing is one of
the first requirements that comes to mind. No serious bowhunter should be
without it. Clothing which is rough and scratchy should be washed several
times with fabric softener before wearing. Nothing scares deer like the sound
of branches scraping across noisy fabric.

One common fault beginning bow-hunters have is failing to properly
sharpen their broadheads. I like my broadheads sharp enough to shave hair
off my arm. Some bowhunters prefer the four blade broadheads with removable
inserts. These can be sharpened to a razor edge with a double
roller sharpener, which can be bought at any supermarket or hardware store.
If you prefer a three-blade broad-head, you will have to sharpen it with
a file, as the roller sharpeners do not work with them.


Choosing the right bow can make the difference between hitting or
missing a trophy buck. Many archers use bows with too much draw weight.
Accuracy should be placed above driving power, as a shot in a vital area
with a forty-five pound bow is going to kill quicker than a bad shot from a
sixty-five pound bow. I use a bow in the fifty to fifty-five pound class and
have never shot a deer without the arrow passing completely through. Most
experienced hunters I have talked with consider a forty-five pound bow
adequate for deer-size animals.

One more factor enters into the situation before you bag your trophy
buck, and it can’t be bought, borrowed or stolen: Luck! Some of us
have more of it than others, but if you stay with it long enough, your dream
of shooting a huge buck will come true.

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Published by archerchick on 10 Feb 2011

Goose The Loose Moose~ By Rick Furniss

Bow And Arrow
December 1972

Goose The Loose Moose~ By Rick Furniss
AT 1400 Pounds Or So, Anchorage Airport Officials Rated Runway Roaming Moose As The Biggest Varmints Of The Biggest State~Till Archers Came To The Rescue!

each year by a group of enthusiastic bowhunters using the seemingly
primitive bow and arrow.
“Protecting it from what?” you may ask. Would you believe, moose?
The big moose found in Alaska (Alces alces gigas) commonly weighs
over 1400 pounds and represents a considerable threat to human life
and property, if it gets in the way of one of the many passenger jets
that use Anchorage International. There are now eight international
airlines using the airport regularly in transpolar flights between Europe
or South America and the Orient. Numerous aircraft, including jumbo
747s, keep the runways in use day and night.

How did this problem evolve? It all started about twenty years ago, when
Anchorage International Airport was carved out of a birch and willow forest
where moose historically had lived and found winter browsing. There was
really no choice of location that wouldn’t have been the home of quite
a few moose. That’s because the Anchorage area is good moose habitat
and they refuse to be driven away, even by man’s civilization. It is not too
uncommon to see moose walking paved streets inside the city.

At first, there was little problem. But after a few years, moose began
converging on the airport grounds when they discovered an increasing
food supply where browse plants sprouted profusely on the disturbed
soil. Access was easy to these new browse sprouts, because the roads and
runways were kept plowed all winter. In addition, the airport’s 4,000 acres
was a sanctuary free from hunting, since laws forbid the use of firearms
there. Thus, the moose population thrived and grew.

Each year the jet traffic grew also as Anchorage became a first-rate
international airport. It became common to see moose trotting across the runways
and even between parked planes. An occasional irate bull moose has completely
demolished small prop aircraft after hooking horns with them.
John Heines, chief safety and security officer at the airport, explains
that “there were quite a few incidents where planes couldn’t take off or land
and twice we had bulls charge taxiing aircraft. Several times, planes narrowly
missed moose while landing.” In one incident a DC-7 hit two moose at
Anchorage, while a Boeing 727 hit one·at Cordova, Alaska.

It wasn’t too long ago that the press released a news story headlined, Moose
Challenges Jet and Wins! It sounds funny, maybe a bit ridiculous, but it
happened. Imagine your feelings when the captain of your Boeing 727 is
heard over the intercom, “There will be a slight delay before take-off while
an upset moose is chased off the runway.” Or even worse, “We are being
asked to hold over the airport, while a pesky moose is shooed from the run—

Former airport manager George La Rose further explains, “Danger to
human life and property just became too great A we had to do something to
reduce the moose.” The need for action was obvious,
but no one was sure how to go about it. Firearms were prohibited by law, so
rifle hunters were ruled out as a possibility. Rifle bullets also would have
been too dangerous on the airport, because of buildings and houses near-
by. The manager considered hiring security personnel to hunt the animals,
but the budget wouldn’t stand it. Then one of Anchorage’s most avid
archers, Charlie Bowman (who passed away last year), heard of the problem
and approached La Rose with the idea of using archers to harvest a few
animals and put enough pressure on the rest to move them off the airport
grounds. The manager was very receptive to the idea. As a result of Charlie’s
careful planning and diligent work, the state Fish and Game Department
established a special moose archery season and archers were called in to
help protect the jets.

This first hunt was to be either sex and limited to the airport grounds
only. The season ran from January 1 to March 31, 1970. Hunters were
required to meet several special conditions. They needed a bow of at least
forty pounds pull, broadheads not less than seven-eighths-inch wide or one
and a half inches long, and they were required to have the blades sharp to
the touch. Each man had to certify that he was knowledgeable about,
experienced in, and capable of shooting the bow in a proficient manner.

The hunt was limited to twenty-five hunting permits per day on a first
come, first serve basis with a mandatory check in and out each day. It was
specified that the archer must hunt or make drives in a direction away from
runways to avoid the possibility of chasing moose onto them.
This first hunt turned out to be unique and interesting. At midnight
New Year’s Eve, eighteen hunters were lined up for the first twenty-five permits.

Others showed up early on January I and hunters were turned
back when all the permits were gone. The first animal was taken shortly
after daybreak by Don Hanks of Eagle River, Alaska. An hour later, two more
cows were taken. A total of nine moose were taken by approximately
one hundred hunters during the first five days.

I talked with Hanks after he had taken the first moose. It turned out
that hunting wasn’t as easy as one would think. The area is extremely
brushy and the moose are wild. “The leaves and brush were so noisy, the
only way I could stalk close enough for a shot was to wait for big jets to
take off or land. The noise was actually an advantage, because the moose
couldn’t hear me coming,” Hanks says.

Interest remained high for most of the season, as quite a few local businessmen
sneaked out in the morning or took off a bit early in the afternoon
to walk the back roads and moose trails for sign in the fresh snow.
The deep snows in February and March made hunting more difficult
rather than easier. It didn’t take long to find yourself soaked to the waist
and exhausted. A number of archers tried walking down one of the animals,
but soon found their short legs were no match for those lanky beasts in
deep snow.

Many days, the snow was crusty as a result of the coastal weather influence.
It was impossible to walk quietly in those conditions so the kills
began to drop. Then a couple of good hunters came up with a sure-fire way
to get an animal. They would walk the backroads until a track was crossed.
By knowing the country well, one man could circle around ahead of the track
and station himself in a strategic spot. The other hunter would walk slowly
along the track. The moose would hear him coming and begin to move away.

If the man following the tracks moved slowly, the moose would keep
ahead by what it thought was a safe distance. While the attention of the
moose was focused on the man following him, the other archer could move
into position to intercept the path of the moose. When the animal came by,
the hidden archer had a good shot. This technique really worked. The two
who tried it first each got a moose the first morning they tried it and nobody
else was even getting a shot.

In this first hunt, Charlie Bowman was rewarded with a paddle-horn bull
that hadn’t yet dropped its antlers. As a result of Bowman’s work, this first
season ended as a big success. The moose population and hazard to aircraft
and life had been considerably reduced. In addition, a lot of archers
had been provided with many hours of the recreation. A total of twenty-two
moose were bagged by 279 archers who shot a total of 184 arrows. They
hunted 648 man—days and one woman-day. The only woman to participate
was Mrs. Ralph Payne, whose husband zook the twenty-first moose.

Though the problem was reduced, it wasn’t eliminated so the archers
were called in to help again in November of 1970. That season turned
out to be an interesting and beneficial hunt.
The season was extended to run from November 1 to March 31, 1971.
Enthusiasm at first was a bit higher than during the first season as more
than twenty-five archers were lined up at12:01 a.m. November 1, to receive
one of the twenty-five permits for opening day.

During the first month 232 permits are issued, 1135 hours hunted,
fifty-six shots taken, and eight moose Tagged. The first moose taken that
year was a cow brought in by Charlie Bowman. His partner took the second
moose. Bowman’s lucky partner was Bill Ryan, past president of the state
archery association.

Hunting was similar to the first season. but interest wasn’t kept as high
after the first month, because most of the resident moose had been harvested
by that time. Also, a fence was constructed around the airport to keep
most of the moose, driven down by deep snows, out of the area. A few do,
however, get in through open gates or walk around one open end that
extends out into Cook Inlet.

Thus, most of the good hunting was over at the end of the first month. The
total kill for the year was nine moose. Even though the kill was much lower
the second year, everyone was again provided with a great deal of recreation.
And, the archers had reduced the moose hazard even more.

The third season, 1971-72 turned out to be a success, both for the archers
and the airport personnel who wished the moose danger reduced.
Four moose were taken by archers. After talking to several airport personnel
it was concluded that “the archers had done a service to the airlines and
their passengers by again reducing the moose hazard.”

This had been one of the most unique wildlife management problems
anywhere. The method used to solve it is equally unique. The archers have
done their job well, proving that the bow and arrow is a useful management
tool. Former airport manager La Rose states, “l am glad to have been able to
work out an arrangement for the bowhunter to assist us in controlling our
moose population. They have performed a great service in protecting
life and human property. As a group, they are high classed sportsmen of
number one quality.”

So you can now rest easy as you make your connections at Anchorage
Intemational. It is being protected by a great group of sportsmen — the bow-
hunters. <—<<<

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Published by archerchick on 10 Feb 2011

Whitetail Fever~ By Larry Weishuhn

Bow And Arrow Hunting
February 1990

Whitetail Fever By Larry Weishuhn

Making A Video Of A Big Buck Hunt Involves Unforeseen Problems


IT ALL started out as one of your typical South Texas days. The
rut would begin as soon as the weather turned a bit cooler.
Bucks were moving well enough and each day brought sightings of ten or
more mature bucks. But we were simply not seeing what I knew was there.
For nearly a week, the mid-December weather had been warm and windy. On
some days. the wind blew so hard a bow-hunter would have had an extremely
hard time determining windage on a forty-yard shot. To make matters worse,
one of the hunters soon would have to return to Las Vegas and chameleon
from bowhunter to businessman.


Dave Snyder was getting a bit anxious for a shot at a decent whitetail. Holder
of the world`s record nontypical Coues whitetail, former typical mule deer
world record and numerous other Pope and Young record book heads. he was
about to run out of time. To make matters still worse. Snyder`s friend.
Peter Shepley. was not going to let him forget about the missed shot, albeit a
nearly impossible one to have made at a Pope and Young buck a few days


Through it all, Dave contended his legendary Snyder luck would hold and. in the end, he would
succeed. Pete Shepley. bowhunter extraordinnaire and founder of Precision Shooting
Equipment. Inc., along with Dave Snyder and the PSE Adventures inVideo crew, Mike
Bingham and Mike Behr. had joined me on one of the ranches I manage for Max and
Carolyn Williams. The primary purpose was to produce a video and to enjoy hunting a
big whitetail. Neither Snyder nor Shepley ever had hunted the brush country of South Texas.
When I met them at the airport, they were anxious to try our legendary South Texas whitetails.


Prior to the arrival of my guests, Jim Jordan, who works for PSE and is based
in San Antonio, had come down to help me do some scouting. The first morning
he came back from the brush he was babbling about the bucks he had seen,
the mountain lion that had walked out in front of him, then just stood there, the
wild hogs and javelina. He went on and on. Jordan, a friend for numerous years,
is usually pretty calm and coherent. Something had him excited, but we finally got him
settled down during lunch.


“You aren’t going to believe this! I saw no less than fifteen bucks this
morning that would easily make Pope and Young. One was the biggest buck I
have ever seen in my, life. He had at least fourteen typical points and was
well over twenty-four inches wide with tines that looked as long as his legs!”
Jordan explained. ‘”He’d rank near the top of the book. He never paid any
attention to me. He simply looked my way, then went on about browsing his
way through the brush. Then I started walking back to the pickup and just as l
got to the trail, out walks this mountain lion! l`ve never seen anything like


My first thought was to act like all of what he had seen was a common, every-
day event — which it was not. Now, with time running short, we had
Snyder scratching. Having established where the major travel lanes were, we
had erected tripods just off of the trails allowing for reasonable shooting distances
and in positions where the camera-man could record any action: In the last
couple of days, Snyder and one of the cameramen had seen approximately ten
bucks, including some that were tempting. But in each instance. the camera
angle was wrong or the deer moved out of position, preventing the taping of the
shot. All this did not help.


Having been involved with various video programs, I am of the opinion that
anyone who takes an animal in a fair chase situation with a bow and while on
camera. deserves to be listed in a special record book. Hunting whitetails with a
bow is a difficult proposition. but add a cameraman who dictates when you can
or cannot take a shot and it becomes something just short of an impossibility!
Snyder`s last day arrived much sooner than we wanted. but with it came cooler
temperatures. After dropping the hunters at their camera tripods. I turned my
attention to checking whether the bucks had started coming to rattling horns or
grunt calls. Since I had no intention of taking a deer until our hunters had filled
their tags, I left my PSE bow in the


Concealed under the overhanging branches of a mesquite tree near a
scrape I had found earlier. I softly clicked a pair of antlers together and
grunted on my Haydel grunt call. Immediately. a buck charged into
view, stopping mere inches from where I was hidden. A quick evaluation of
antlers, up close and personal, left little doubt he would score well above the
Pope and Young minimum. I only hoped our guests were doing as well.


After the buck tired of our game, I walked deeper into the pasture to check
out some scrapes. Deer were moving, does were feeding and bucks were
checking on the estrus condition of the does. Occasionally, I caught a glimpse
of a buck chasing a doe and frequently saw a 6—month—old forlornly looking for
mama, a sure sign the rut was in full swing.


Later that-morning, I picked up Pete Shepley who had seen several bucks. He
described most as being good young bucks or those that simply stayed just .
out of range. Approaching Snyder’s hideout, we found him just starting to track a blood
trail. About an hour after sun—up a . young buck had walked out right in front
of him. Glancingr over his shoulder. Snyder had gotten the “go ahead and take him” signal
from the cameraman.


The animal had moved forward just as he had released. but the blood trail
indicated a lethal hit. About a hundred yards from where we picked up the
arrow. we found the buck. The Snyder ~ luck had held! How big was he’? Well, as
Snyder put it. “He- ain’t book. but he`ll eat good!” With the successful bowhunter on his
way back to Las Vegas. Pete Shelpey and I got serious about finding him a
good buck. The rut was just starting to .get serious and each day we were seeing
more and different bucks every time we hunted. It would only be a matter of
time before things would fall into place: bucks. camera angle and success.


During the days we hunted together, I came to learn quite a lot about Pete Shepley,
the engineer, the bowhunter and the man. Shepley hunted extremely hard. leaving
well before daylight and returning after the song of the coyote had put the
day to rest. His time. too. was running short: pressure was on. I suggested Pete
hunt early. come into camp for awhile, then go back out just before noon. In
years past, I had seen and taken several good bucks during mid—day, especially if
there was a full moon during the rut, which was now the case. Pete’s morning
hunt produced some deer, but not of the right sex.



In camp, we discussed mid—day hunting. The “we” included not only Pete
and me, but Ron Porter, an old friend and hunting compadre, who is the
southeastern supervisor for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
On numerous occasions, Ron and I have taken good bucks during siesta time. We
finished our coffee and made ready to continue the hunt.


No sooner had I dropped Shepley where he could still hunt his way back
to the deer stand than I spotted a good eight·point buck Shepley must have
seen him at about the same time, because he immediately nocked an arrow
and began his stalk. The buck was completely unaware of the bowhunter’s presence
and obviously was more concerned about checking his scrape than any
impending danger. As is sometime the case, the buck was so strongly in rut, he
cared little about anything else.


From a distance, through my Simmons binoculars, I watched the game
unfold. Each time the buck dropped his head to smell a set of tracks made by an
estrus—approaching doe, Pete moved a few steps closer, using what brush there
was for cover. The buck seem oblivious to everything going on. With slow
deliberate moves, Shepley inched closer and closer to the buck. When about
forty yards separated the two, I watched the hunter come to full—draw, hold for a
second, then release. Ilost sight of the arrow in flight, but could tell by Shepley’s reactions
he had scored a solid hit.


I waited but a few minutes before walking over. He had made a good hit.
The arrow had entered in the lung area immediately behind the buck’s shoulder
to exit on the opposite side. After a brief consultation, we decided to follow the blood
trail. At the site where the buck had stood, we found a few brownish gray hairs, a spot
of blood and just beyond, the blood-covered arrow. The moist sand made for ideal
tracking conditions. Within a few steps, we found bright, foamy spots of blood; a
few steps farther, a solid blood trail. It took only a few more steps to find the
downed buck. In all likelihood, if the folks at PSE’s new Arizona facility were
listening, they could have heard Pete Shepley’s yell!


The buck was mature and close to record-book quality. At that moment,
record book or not, the trophy of trophies lay before us.Did Mike
Bingham, cameraman, get it all on tape? I guess you will just have to see the ·
video to find out. It’s called, “Whitetail ever,” and concerns that malady many
of us suffer; it’s cured only by countless hours of hunting whitetail deer!!!

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Published by Mathews_ArchZ7 on 10 Feb 2011

Its about that time again…

What does everyone have for a set up…. Spring Gobbler season is fast approaching us.

Im not even using a shotgun this year, I think im gonna take my Mathews Z7 for a spin and see how it goes.

So let me know what everyone is using for a set up.

– Mathews Z7 with Easton FMJ 400 and the American Broadhead Company Turkey Tearror

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Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

The Buck And The 120-Pound Longbow~ By Richard Palmer

August 1981

The Buck And The 120 Pound Longbow ~ By Richard Palmer

DUSK WAS fast settling in, as I stood perched on a limb, fifteen
feet off the ground. My eyes strained the dim light looking for the movement
of big game. Suddenly, like a wrath from the mist, an approaching deer.

Moving farther out on the limb, I got in position to shoot. I could barely
see the spikes the deer carried. The buck drew closer and stopped broadside
about fifteen yards away. With a mighty surge of muscle, my shoulder
pulled back the 120-pound longbow. My string fingers touched the corner
of my mouth, releasing death and destruction, as the mighty longbow lunged forward.

I have been involved in archery since the age of 4, and have been an
avid bowhunter since the inception of legalized bowhunting in my home
state of New York and neighboring Pennsylvania. For fifteen years I competed
in archery tournaments, retiring when the era of gadgetry came into
being. I shoot a 120-pound longbow of my own design and manufacture. I
use this heavy bow for hunting, as well as in my practice sessions. I use heavy
three-eighths-inch shafts tipped with 160-grain two-blade broadheads when
hunting. This combination will penetrate even the heavy bones of a whitetail deer.

To date, close to thirty deer have bitten the dust.
Halloween dawned bright and sunny, the traditional day when witches and
goblins and wily critters roam. I’d been bowhunting steady for two weeks,
and hadn’t seen hide nor hair of a buck. There were plenty of does around, but
I was holding out for one of those horned critters.
My hunting territory for deer is located about fifteen minutes drive from
where I live in Elmira, New York. The land belongs to Mount Saviour Monastery, where live
a small group of brothers dedicated to a religious life of self-sufficiency. They allow public hunting
by permit only and charge a small nominal fee. Of the many areas in New
York state I’ve hunted, this has to be the most productive for deer. Over the
years I’ve bowhunted there, I’ve managed to garner eleven of the wily creatures.

The monastery property comprises over a thousand
acres of rolling cultivated fields and timbered off woods;
just the type of terrain in which the elusive whitetail flourish.
The deer sometimes are so thick that the monastery
will return part of the permit fee if a bowhunter takes a deer.
The reason is that the deer get into the cornfields,
reducing the corn production considerably. The brothers use
the field crop to make silage to feed their milk cows.
one of their few sources of income. So you can understand
their anguish, when they find thirty or forty deer in their
cornfields every evening. From talking to Brother Bruno,
who issues the permits, I understand that they sometimes
help in doing the driving for the gun hunters who come up later in the season.

When purchasing a permit to hunt on their property, a map
and instructions are issued. The detailed map shows
property boundaries and terrain features. Areas of no
hunting are written in, so there can be no error on the part of
the hunter, as to where he can and cannot hunt. Portable
tree stands are preferred, as they cultivate their woods for timber.

I managed to leave work early and get over to my brother, Ken’s, house, a
few minutes past four in the afternoon. He was there already, having just arrived
home from work himself. We left for the monastery a few minutes later,
full of expectation. It was a beautiful fall day, with the sun shining and the leaves in all their
varied colors; the kind of day that makes you want to be in the woods.
While enroute, we discussed what area we would be hunting that afternoon.

Upon arrival, we each headed for our own preselected spot. Ken headed for
an old logging road in an area the deer cross frequently, on their way to a
large lush green field. I headed for a large shaggy bark tree, located in a
small clearing. This tree has a deer run on each side and is used primarily late
in the afternoon. During the day, the deer bed down in a deep gorge nearby.
Toward evening, they head uphill using the runs in the area of my tree,
as they head toward their various feeding areas.

I already had seen does come by on the different afternoons I had sat in
this tree, but I had resisted the temptation to shoot one, waiting instead for
a buck. Over two weeks had gone by and I decided that this afternoon I
would take what came: buck or doe. It was peaceful sitting in this big
old tree, contemplating thoughts serene. Occasionally looking up at the
sky, I’d count the numerous vapor trails left by the big jets on their way
to strange places. I thought to myself, what a life this is, to be able to go out
on a fabulous day like this and commune with nature.

During my reverie, I would look around occasionally. Sometimes I
found even this too much effort, as the sun and warm day tended to make me
feel lazy. A day like this should be enjoyed to its fullest. Looking to my left,
I suddenly was awakened from my lethargy. Standing broadside about
fifteen yards away, was a large doe. Slowly I got up from my comfortable
resting position and carefully inched out on to a large limb. I had my bow
in hand, nocked with a 700-grain wooden arrow, tipped with a Hill broadhead.

Moving carefully into shooting position, I started my draw. The upper
limb of my longbow hit a branch that I hadn’t noticed, so I moved farther
out on the precarious limb. I looked down and noticed I was quite a way off
the ground. I really wasn’t aware of the height, though, concentrating only on
the deer. Starting my draw again, I caught something on the bottom limb this
time and, in trying to carefully extricate the situation, I made some noise
that caught the standing doe’s attention. She looked up casually at first
and as I got the lower limb free, I caught the upper limb on the loose dry
bark of the tree. Exasperated, I tore the upper limb free; anything to get
the shot, but this was too much for the doe. and with a bound, she was into
the safety of the pines.

I couldn’t believe it. After two weeks of continuous
hunting, a perfect opportunity presents itself and I
blow it. I was standing there on the tree stand, mumbling
to myself, when I noticed brown movement coming
down the same trail the doe had used. As the deer
drew closer, I could see horns.
Moving farther out on the limb, I knew what it’s like
to be a tightrope walker. The limb I stood on was only
about six inches in diameter and here I was shooting
a 120-pound longbow that’s heavy enough to down an
elephant and takes two average men and a boy to pull.
What if in pulling the heavy bow I lost my balance and fell?

These thoughts were running through my mind. as the deer approached.
The buck drew broadside to me and stopped only fifteen yards away, about
where the doe had stood. All thoughts of falling from the tree vanished from
my mind. replaced by a dream state, as I saw the buck standing there. Perched
on that limb high off the ground, suddenly cool and methodical, my only
feeling was one of intense concentration as I prepared to make my shot.
With a smooth yet powerful pull the heavy longbow came back and my
fingers released the shaft. The heavy three-eighths-inch arrow hit the buck
in back of the left shoulder just below the center line, completely penetrating
the deer. The buck bounded away into the safety of the pines, only about fifty
feet away.

I gathered my gear from the tree and climbed down. Walking over to where I
had hit the buck, I found my arrow lying on the ground. It was saturated
from end to end with blood. I knew I had made a liver hit, which is always
fatal. Having shot close to thirty deer over the years, many of them with this same
identical hit, I knew my deer would be only a short distance away. Here’s
where experience comes into the picture. Hitting the deer is the easy part; finding
them is another story. I learned long ago that if the shot is good, the
search should be short and easy. Score a poor hit and you’ll be on your hands
and knees all night long looking for blood.

In addition to big game hunting, I enjoy hunting squirrel and pheasant with
the longbow. I have managed to shoot these difficult game species using only
the bow and arrow. Using heavy blunts, I am able to knock pheasants out of
the air. In 1978 I competed in the World’s Flight Championships held at the salt
flats in Wendover, Utah. Shooting a 133- pound flight bow, I came in second in
the professional class with a shot of 890 yards, one foot, one inch. Again in
1979, using a heavier flight bow of 145 pounds, I managed to garner a second

I have been training to break the bow pull record and hope to make an attempt
sometime in 1981. My training includes pulling on heavy bows up to 220 pounds
in weight. This tied in with weight training, has made me, I believe, one of the
strongest archers in the world. I met my brother at the car, and told
him I had made a good hit on a buck, showing him the bloody arrow.
“I figure the buck will be lying some-where in the pines, not far from where
I hit him,” I said.

We stowed our hunting gear and got out the searching and deer cleaning
equipment. We usually take everything so we don’t have to bother coming
back for something we might need. This usually consists of lights, toilet
paper, a sharp knife, small saw, drag rope, a plastic bag (for heart and liver),
and a pencil and string for filling out and attaching the deer tag to the carcass.
By this time, dusk was well on its way, so we turned our lights on and returned
to my tree. I had marked the spot where I had found the arrow, with a piece of
toilet paper. So it was only a matter of minutes to line out the direction the deer
had headed. We then walked into the pines and started looking for
blood. Side by side, we moved forward slowly, scanning to the front and both
sides. I had just moved to my left, when my brother yelled out, “There he is up
ahead. Moving to where I could see, the spike buck was lying on the pine needles.
He appeared to be peacefully asleep, but I knew it was forever. He had traveled
only about a hundred feet before expiring.

I gutted out the deer, placing the heart and liver in the plastic bag I had brought.
With the small saw, I cut through the pelvic bone to better open up the lower
cavity and allow it to air out. After we had drained the carcass and I had cleaned
my hands and cutting equipment, we started dragging deer back into the car.

Driving home with a deer always gives me a certain feeling of elation
that only a successful hunt can <—<<<

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Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

The Magic Bowhunt ~ By Jim Dougherty

Bow And Arrow
April 1974

The Magic bowhunt ~ By Jim Dougherty
The Shooting Of An Unidentified Record Trophy And The Making Of A Man

IT TAKES, I guess, a longish
time for the process of completely
growing up to run its course. One way
or another you’re at it for a long time.
With kids it seems a phenomenon that
takes an uncommon amount of years.
There’s always something you can’t do,
’cause you’re not old enough yet.
I imagine Kelly has felt this way for
quite a few years, but he seemed to
accept it with grace and went about
doing the things he was old enough to
do, biding his time. Not that he hasn’t
done a fair amount for a lad who, just
as bird and deer season came in this
Fall, wrapped himself around year
number 14. Anyhow, it was exactly
then that Kelly reached a growing-up
stage and got himself trundled out of
school, onto an airplane and off to
Texas for his first real big game hunt.
Looking at it from a parent’s point of
view, it was just as much a growing-up
situation as a matter of turns based on

As camps go it was my favorite
kind, set tight in a clump of sprawling
oaks that offered both shade and wind
protection, built neatly around a giant
center fireplace kept company by a
week’s supply of aged, fragrant wood,
tended constantly by a fine Mexican
lad named Chano. It bordered a deep
creek bed, gouged deeper by late summer
flood-stage rains, and at night
around the centerfire you could see
green eyes flicker and hear the clickty- clack o
f whitetail hooves on the rocks
as they slipped up the draw.

It was nice to be there, balanced on
your heels around the fire with a plate
of pepper—spiced pinto beans on your
knee, in the company of men who
would let a boy join right in. We were
all tuckered from the day’s activities.
Kelly and I had made a double connecting
flight that coordinated perfectly
in that all airlines were operating an
even hour-and-a-half late. The others
had spent the day attempting to waylay
the wily buck who, in spite of
impending rut, seemed to be pretty
much up to par in the mental
mechanics department — save one who
chose the wrong time and place to
run afoul of Brad Locker.

Locker’s encounter with the buck
was tonic for enthusiasm. Prior to the
sashay, Locker had never loosed an
arrow at a whitetail buck or any other
four-footed beast. He was acting as a
guide-transportation service, an
apprentice for a forthcoming stint as a 4
full-fledged leader of hunting clientele
on the Y.O. Ranch during the gun sea-
son. Locker was promptly and reasonably tagged “Rookie.”

The rookie had deposited others of
the band at spots they felt held the
key to personal success, and in the
pink turquoise, late Texas afternoon, .
he took a reconnaissance bump around
the landscape, checking out. gamey
little pockets for- present and future
operations. He was filling his memory
bank with the information that guides
need when he ran into the buck.

Locker’s first arrow caught the
buck cleanly, depositing him neatly on
the grass within a double handful of
paces y— a tidy piece of work for which
he was toasted soundly around the
snapping fire.
In the waning light, as Locker was
solidifying his step into the world of
bowhunting, Kelly and I were bouncing
furiously across the landscape with
Wally Chamness, seeking an appropriate
location to hunt at dawn.
lt was dark when we finished putting up stands.
I feared we were too
hasty in selecting a location, though
there was sufficient sign to indicate
good possibilities and enough visibility
to read the situation better at dawn,
when movement should be at its peak.

Texas has an uncommon amount of
deer. The Y.O. Ranch, which lays but
a short ride out of Mountain Home in
the Texas hill country, is stacked with
them. There’s a respectable smattering
of black buck, axis and fallow deer, a
goodly number of sikas, several types
of sheep, the biggest Spanish goats I
believe I’ve seen, and more turkeys
than the state of Texas probably consumes
on Thanksgiving. And that’s
only a partial list of the exotic game

It’s difficult to remember where
you are when a pass through a draw
kicks up a band of aristocratic gentle-
men turkeys or an onyx, and not even
in Africa did l get chased by a belligerent
ostrich. Looking up into mean,
steely eyes bracketing an armor piercing
beak has a tendency to put
things into new perspective, like the
worm’s point of view in the robin

The business at hand, though, was
hunting. The overcast morning had
brought a chill. The swirling clouds
held a hint of rain that passed as the
morning grew into day. The blinds
were not much better than such hasty
organization could provide, but the
morning’s observation gave hints to
patterns that could be exploited, and
by mid-day we set about the job of
turning this information into an action

Our concern was Kelly, and we
selected a spot at the center of a
wagon wheel pattern of deer activity,
placing his blind at the hub in a moss
and lichen-covered oak that provided
as comfortable a position as any tree is
likely to produce.

Youth most often is marked by
impatience. Time never passes quickly
enough when one is encumbered with
classes and books, minding younger
brothers or taking care of the yard.
Concentration and total attention are
traits that oftentimes, if not always,
you are convinced are not possessed
by any junior member of your house-
hold. Yet, give a kid a rod, reel and a
place to use it; put him in a blind over-
looking a carefully laid set of bobbing
decoys he helped get in shape, accompanied
by his own shotgun and dog,
and y0u get the total attention and
patience of a Cheyenne buffalo scout.
Kelly is the calmest of the brood
that Sue and I attempt to ride herd on.
Few things get him excited or uptight.
In reflection, l can only recall two
times when he appeared nervous.

Twice in 14 years ain’t too bad, but
maybe he’ll get human as he grows

There were five hours ’til dark
when we finished the blind, and the
calm one announced he would just as
soon stay there as do anything else.
Optimism once beat as strongly in my
breast, but that was so long ago it’s
hard to remember. Chamness and I decided
to bounce to the far end of the
Y.O., shortening our spines in order to
look over a new piece of land that
might contain a lonesome exotic.
That the vehicle made it to that
distant pasture is worthy of note,
testimony to the sturdiness of modern
machine, since neither of us could
stand full upright for days to come.

Somewhere in that desolate stretch of
ground, that the Schriener forebears
would have been well advised to leave
to the Comanches, we ran afoul of a
strange critter that observation convinced
us was a one-of-a-kind specimen
and therefore a world record, providing
it was real and didn’t eat us.

After a stalk of infinite skill, aided
by a substantial wind and enough
cover to hide the entire Rose Parade, I
knocked the beast colder than a peeled
egg, after placing a forty-five yarder
six inches over his back. However, one
is entitled to be nervous when collecting
an unidentified world record. In
case you are curious, it was later established
to be a cross between a Spanish
goat – notorious lovers — and a
Corsican ram.

In the pure black of an October
Texas night, we beat our way back to
camp with the feeble help of one head-
light. Ah camp, with its generous, life-
giving warmth snapping crisply from
the social fire. I announced that I had
destroyed an Unidentified Walking
Object, modestly tossing in that it was
also a world record since there was
only one. Then I noticed that the
sprawling oaks were festooned with

four antlered whitetail bucks, cooling
nicely in the gentle breeze. –
I uttered something truly keen,
“Did someone get a deer’?” Those who
had pointed out their possession with
pride, recounting bits of the drama as
they did. Simple arithmetic, the most I
could ever handle, proved that one
more buck than was being vigorously
claimed hung in the shadowed oaks.
Then Wally and I noted that everyone
was looking our way with varying degrees
of cat-that-ate-the-canary expressions
and that he who batted .500 and
learned to net his own bass had a large
smear of blood, presumably not his
own and therefore ceremonious, neatly
centered on his forehead and running
down the center of his nose. Of
my number two son I inquired, “Did
you get a buck“?” Always articulate, he
replied, “Sure.”

It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment,
properly done up to jazz the old man.
The show was put on by a bunch of
folks who were every bit as pleased as
the boy, who was enjoying one of his
finest and forever most-treasured
moments. The celebration was worthy
of the occasion, not only for him but
for the others who had taken their
first deer with a bow.

In the friendly light of the great
fire, while steaks sizzled merrily in
their seasoned juices, Kelly recounted
how the buck was the third that came
by his stand in what seemed a mass
migration of does and fawns. The first
he “just blew up on.” The second,
which came some time later, was
missed because he missed. The third, a
sleek four-point, came close after the
second and he “really concentrated?
The result was a stone—dead deer at his
feet and he, not sure in a positive way
what to do next, sat in his tree, the
deer there before him, until his ride
arrived in the purple shadows some
time later. He seemed surprised when I
told him my knees shook, too, and
that when they no longer shook, I
would give it up to those whose knees
properly did.

We left the Y.O. a couple of days
later, Kelly with his buck, I with mine.
It was a wonderful place and special
people. In the company of men, in
that friendly oak—covered camp, a boy
learned some and grew up some. It was
a magic time for a boy, the kind that
makes growing up worthwhile. <—<<<

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Published by bowhuntr15 on 08 Feb 2011

Lucky the Tree

My Memory of Lucky the Tree:

My name is Alex and I’ve hunted for 11 years, being able to successfully fill my freezer and share blessings with church members and friends. Happy the 2008-09 season finally came around, I could not wait to hit the woods hard that first opening week hoping to finally harvest a wall hanger. Little did I know that this year was going to be an emotional roller coaster. My wife Alex (yes, we have the same name) and I had scouted hard during the off season and had spotted a great bachelor group and thought we had patterned them well. During one of our scouting trips, we looked for a good tree to prepare. While my wife was helping me prepare shooting lanes, she found a rack of a non-typical 20 yards from “our” tree. WHAT A MOMENT and what a sign of what was to come! We ended naming that tree “Lucky”.

On opening day, I was able to leave work early, pick my wife up, and try to beat the rush of hunters. Thank God we were there early, because there were some hunters that had not done their off season “homework” and looked like lost kids. We had to “shoo” them off and hoped they had not bumped all the deer to the next county. We finally settled in at about 12:30 p.m. and got our bows ready. At the base of Lucky, I set up our blind. When 5:00 hit, deer were moving. It looked like a hunting show. A few does came out first and were using the trail we’d seen. Then, 30 minutes later, a shooter (130 class) finally stepped out, and wouldn’t you know it, it stopped right at a lane we had not cleared well. A few vines covered his vitals. I maintained drawn for what seemed forever. Sweat was seeping like never before, and I could almost hear my pulse! My wife ranged him for me at 22 yards – 3 yards inside my strong comfort level. He finally spotted us, new something was not right, never took that one step and blew right out of there! My heart sank. I told my wife why I couldn’t shoot and quickly got out of the blind with my pruners, and snipped those vines.

15 minutes later, more deer started coming out. We were waiting for the right one. Well the right one finally came. A trophy. A spike buck finally walked the same steps the 130″ class did. Stopped exactly on the same spot. He was about to start walking, but I threw a short grunt, he looked our way. My beautiful wife released that arrow and made a perfect shot with the Rage!!! Her first deer. Her first buck. Her first experience and understanding of the “THE FEELING”.

Later that week I had several encounters off my stand on Lucky. It was on October 8th that I harvested a beautiful buck, too – the Rage. I’ve harvested more deer since then. My wife skipped the next year because of her pregnancy, and on Feb. 24, 2010, my son Marko was born!!!!

Hunting is a big part of my life, but only because of my wife’s support. We plan to teach our son about the outdoors, and that it’s not the size of the rack that’s most important, but moments like these – that mama and I shared that led to her first bow kill, down to how we “met” Lucky the Tree. The spike she shot, her first deer, is literally……, our millennium buck. That experience was the trophy for me. That was the “wall hanger” in my heart. I will NEVER forget October 1, 2008.

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Published by archerchick on 08 Feb 2011

Hunting Staging Areas ~ By Dan Brockman

Bow And Arrow Hunting
August 1990

Hunting Staging Areas ~ By Dan Brockman
Look For These Productive Spaces Between Feeding And Bedding

MY SON, Jeremy, was 6 years old and
showing some interest in hunting. I don’t
know if it was the hunting which interested him, or the
chance to spend more time with Dad.
Since it was only about the second week of
Wisconsin’s long archery season, it would
be a good time to take him along. The
weather was mild and even if he did fidget
and spook the deer, I still had a long
season ahead of me to find a good buck.
The plan was to take him to a farm
about two miles from home where I had
permission to hunt. The farm has a good
deer population and plenty of hunting

Earlier that year, I had found a
three—trunked maple which would easily
hold two tree stands and happened to be
growing within bow range of a couple of
well used trails. In fact, I had hunted
from that particular tree just that morning
and had let a small buck and a couple
of does pass within bow range. It
looked like a good place to take Jeremy
on his first bowhunt.

Just after getting settled into our stand
that cool, cloudy September evening, we
began seeing deer. The fourteenth deer
to come by us that evening was a six-
point buck that took an arrow through
the lungs as he passed at fifteen yards. It
wasn’t the big buck I had in mind when
the season opened, but with Jeremy
there on his first hunt, it was a special

A week later, a friend of mine hunted
from the same stand and shot the fourth
deer he saw, a good—sized adult doe.
The following year, the stand produced
many sightings, but no shots were taken.
In the past three years, that stand has
been hunted about twenty times by me
or friends, with deer sighted often within
good bow range, on all but two or three
of those hunts.

This isn’t the only stand I hunt, nor
the best, but it does share something
with my most productive stand sites: It
is in what I call a “staging area.”
It’s common knowledge that deer and
most other game often bed in one area
and feed in another, with trails or travel
areas leading between the two areas.
Most hunters know that an effective
hunting tactic is to set up along these
trails, particularly for the bowhunter.
The trick, though, is knowing just where
along these trails to set up. This is
where the staging areas come in.

A staging area is an area where a deer
can securely observe the activity in and
around a feeding area before entering.
The staging area is usually about fifty
yards wide and located near the feeding
area, but the actual size and exact location
will vary, depending on terrain,
cover and hunting pressure. It may be
only ten yards wide or it may be 150
yards wide. The staging area may be
tight against the feed area, or it may be
a half—mile away from it. A staging area
often has fairly definite boundaries and
usually the staging area has thicker
growth than the surrounding area. A
deer wants to be able to stand in the
staging area and remain hidden while
still being able to scent and/ or sight-
check the feeding area.

Staging areas are often used as
nighttime bedding areas where the deer
can periodically return overnight to rest
and chew their cuds. In the morning, as
the deer head back to their bedding
areas, they will often spend some time
in the staging areas, usually arriving
there just before first light.

Typically, a staging area has a lot of
brush and small trees, but not so much
as to severely limit visibility. Remember,
they want to be able to see out
While the trees may be thick, there will
seldom be heavy ground cover such as
thick ferns or briars. Many of the staging
areas I’ve found are typified by
young saplings interspersed among
mature trees. These saplings serve three
C0ver.· This is the m0st important
asset 0f the small trees. The deer can
stand still among the saplings and
remain virtually invisible while observing
what is going on in and around the
area they are approaching.

Food: Normally, as the deer mill
about in the staging area, they will feed
on available food sources such as
mushrooms, acorns, leaves and other
Rubbing trees: This, I believe, is
more a consequence of the area and
activity taking place there than it is a
The other identifying characteristic of
a staging area is the deer trails. You’ll
often notice that the trails from the feeding
area to the bedding area will funnel
down into the staging area, but within
the area, individual trails may be difficult
to find. This is a result of the fact
that the deer often leave established
trails when in a staging area and mill
about, leaving either faint trails or a
confusing array of trails.

It can be easy to confuse a staging
area with a bedding area. At times, a
staging area may serve as a daytime
bedding area. Although often subtle, a
bedding area is usually thicker, with
more ground cover and is secluded by
some feature of the topography. A
daytime bedding area will have deer in it
during the daytime, whereas you’ll
generally only see deer in a staging area
in the evening, early morning, or over-
night. A staging area is located between
the feeding and bedding areas, usually
close to the edge of cover.

Since deer use a staging area as a
place where they can observe the
activity of other deer in and around the
feeding area, you’ll see a definite
increase in buck activity in a staging
area during the rut. The bucks can stand
in the staging area and observe any
activity in the feeding area. They can
also short-cut any does heading for the
feeding area and harass them for a
while, rub the small trees in the area,
make scrapes and spar with other bucks.

Just as the rutting period begins, you’ll
see a flurry of sparring and rubbing
activity in the area. Remember, most of
the deer in any given area pass through
the staging area. It works a bit like the
community center.
The past couple of seasons, I’ve spent
a few days each fall in another staging
area I found on a pre-season scouting
trip. After leaving the field edge, I
followed the trails, rubs and scrapes
back through almost forty acres of
mature oaks, maples and aspen to the
area I was searching for. There lying
tight against the property line fence, was
an area about eighty by one hundred
yards which had been planted with a
scattering of red pines. The area held all
of the ingredients of a good staging area.
Although more than three hundred yards
from the field edge, the open hardwoods
between and a slight elevation advantage
allowed ample coverage of the surrounding area.
There was a good, thick bedding area three hundred
to five hundred yards behind and there were plenty
of small trees for cover and rubbing.
The pines had been planted randomly
among the many trees and varied in
size from about six feet to twenty feet
tall. The fact that the pines were there
wasn’t too impressive; what was
impressive were me many rubs and
scrapes in the area Of the couple hundred
pines, there must have been rubs
on forty percent of them.

Once you`ye found a staging area and
determined where the deer are feeding
and bedding in relation to it, as well as
where they’re traveling through, it’s time
to plan how to hunt the area. The most
important consideration when planning
on hunting a staging area is the wind
direction in relation to where the deer
will be when you enter and where they
will travel when you are in the area.
A deer’s sense of smell is its best
method of defense. Once they’ve detected
human odor inside of their personal
“danger zone” the gig is up. They may
not spook outright, but they will be
cautious in their approach for many
times after. Once deer are alert to
human presence, they become highly
wary and careful. For this reason, you
must play the wind to your best ability.
In most situations, a tree stand will be
your best method for hunting a staging
area. Whether gun or bowhunting, a
tree stand holds many advantages for
the hunter It can put you above ground
level air currents; you can get out of the
deer’s direct line of sight; you have the
added safety advantage of being out of
the path of others shooting. You’re also
shooting safely into the ground.

To realize the scent and sight advantages
of a tree stand, you must place it
high enough. In my opinion, anything
under twelve feet elevation and you’re
better off on the ground. I prefer to hunt
with the platform of my stand in the
eighteen- to twenty-six-foot range to try
to get some control of my scent and be
well out of the line of sight. If you think
a stand under ten feet is keeping you

above the deer’s nose and eyes, you are
either hunting simple deer or you are
extremely lucky. If either is the case,
then you aren’t seeing many deer.
Regardless of the height of the tree
stand, safety should be a primary concern;
always wear a safety belt.
Returning to the aforementioned area
in October, I found it littered with fresh
tracks, droppings, browse sign and a
scattering of early rubs. A crooked
white oak standing within twenty yards
of heavily used portions had an ideal
location about twenty—two feet up to tie
in my MKM rope—on stand. Once the
stand was in place and a couple of
shooting lanes cleared, I left the area so
it could settle down a few days before I
would hunt it. Careful not to overhunt
any of my stands, I returned to the area
once or at the most twice a week
through October and into November.
The area was hot! As the season progressed,
the rubs and scrapes in the area
multiplied with every visit. I saw does, I
saw bucks, I saw bucks chasing does, I
saw bucks chasing bucks. After passing
up many shots at small bucks through-
out the fall, I finally shot a spunky six-
point in the last days of the early

Last year I returned to the area early
in October and the second night there a
fork-horn and an eight-point tried to
amble by me. A Rocky Mountain
broadhead pushed by seventy-five
pounds of Pro Line power zipped
through the eight-point and a short trail
led to the end of my Wisconsin archery

One of the biggest advantages of hunting
staging areas is that they are productive
throughout the fall. Early season,
pre-rut, rut, late season, even during
pressure times, a staging area can be
productive. In fact, staging areas are of
the few which will be productive during
pressure times, such as during the gun
season. Since the deer are accustomed
to using the staging area as a secure site
where they can observe what is going
on, they will often head there when

Of course, as feeding and bedding
areas change according to seasonal
changes in cover, so do the staging
areas. A staging area in September may
not be used in October. Likewise, an
area you find this year may not be used
next year. As in all other deer hunting
tactics, you must have a regular, active
scouting program to stay on top of what
the deer are doing and remain a consistently
successful hunter. Don’t fall into
the trap of using staging areas as your only
hunting tactic. A good deer hunter
has many methods in this game plan,
varying them according to what the conditions
dictate. Once you learn to identify staging areas,
you’ll probably find yourself using them as your primary
hunting tactic and doing it successfully,

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Published by archerchick on 08 Feb 2011

Blacktail Deer Strategy ~ By Larry Jones

Bow and Arrow Hunting
August 1990

Blacktail Deer Strategy ~ By Larry Jones
Oregon’s National Blacktail Hunt Is The Place To Try Several bowhunting Methods

I SPOTTED a doe fifty yards away. Blacktail are quick to detect danger
and she bounced over a log and disappeared into a vine maple thicket. It didn’t
matter that she had seen me. I was committed to taking a blacktail buck on video.
A mile from the tree where I’d just set up my Loggy Bayou stand, the cameraman
and my son, Steven, were trying to get a kill shot on video. I had chosen a tree that
overlooked a spot where two trails crossed. The mud in both trails was cut and gouged
with deer tracks. The bucks were in rut and there was plenty of deer movement. Now
that my stand was in place, as soon as Steven bagged his buck, I’d be ready.
I carefully eased each foot down as I moved toward the spot where the doe had
bounced out of sight I pushed some broken fern aside and eased in front of a huge
stump. I slowly scanned the vine maple thickets that skirted the old—growth timber.

I saw a leg move and a doe appeared. She weaved right, then left, moving like a
dancer as she made her way through the vine maples. She smoothly dipped under a
windfall and walked onto the open timber trail. I noticed his gray muzzle first, as a buck
followed. He was hot on her heels, head low, nostrils flaring, sucking in her scent.

It would have been an easy shot They walked within ten yards of me. His three—by—three
rack would have easily made the minimum for the Pope & Young Club record book.
l was really enjoying this. It was a typical cool, moist November Oregon morning. A gray
mist drifted through the huge old—growth firs. Dew dripped from their crossed and intermingled
branches. Lime green moss was in sharp contrast with the evergreen canopy, as it waved in the breeze
like strands of uncombed hair, This was a beautiful stand of untouched timber, but I
knew by the blue and pink ribbons dangling from low brush and limbs, it would soon be cut and logged.

l had just figured out the travel routes of these blacktails. Once the timber was logged, I’d have to change area or strategy.
This has happened to me before and, because the habitat had changed and some-
times hunting pressure increased, l’ve had to use a variety of strategies to hunt
blacktails. When l swapped stories with other hunters during Oregon’s recent National Blacktail Hunt, I found they had used different
tactics and strategies to bag blacktails. In fact, a whopping forty—one percent of the hunters who entered the hunt took deer.

Randy Spanfellner of Molalla, Oregon, took a Boone and Crockett Club qualifying
buck that green-scored 132%. Spanfellner took his buck by rattling antlers. He was
walking an old skid road that he knew eventually would lead him into a super blacktail area.
He decided to conceal himself among the trees along the road and try rattling antlers.
He smeared some Buck Stop doe lure onto his hat and clashed the
antlers together. Moving only his eyes, Spanfellner watched a few minutes and
rattled again. The monster buck appeared and Spanfellner was able to hit him squarely from eighteen yards.

Neil Summers, the hunt director for Oregon’s National Blacktail Hunt, used a
different hunting strategy to bag a four—by—five Pope & Young Club record book blacktail. Summers waited for fresh snow to
blanket the upper peaks, then drove logging roads looking for concentrations of blacktails. He drove until he found an area
that had a lot of deer tracks. He even saw a couple of bucks cross the road, so he was sure it was a super spot. Summers then
used the melting snow falling from tree branches to cover his sound. He moved slowly through the area, carefully watching for deer.

Within an hour, he spotted a big-bodied buck courting a doe. Summers crept to
thirty—five yards, then decided to use the ” Summers shooting strategy.” He nocked
an Easton 2317 camo shaft, tipped with a Thunderhead 125 broadhead, drew his
eighty—five—pound High Country compound bow and launched his arrow into
the snow under the buck. Summers claims he does this to give the animal a chance. I
think he just missed. Summers must be lucky or good, because the buck didn’t
even flinch and gave him the second shot.

His arrow struck home and, after a short tracking job, he tagged his trophy blacktail.
Another friend of mine, John Higgins, uses trees as an ambush tactic. Higgins doesn’t use a tree stand, he uses forty feet
of nylon rope, a safety belt, climbing spurs and a folding wood saw. He carries these items in his pack and, when he finds some
trails that are cut up with deer tracks, he considers the direction of the wind, selects a tree and climbs up. Once in the tree,
Higgins attaches his safety belt and pulls up his bow and pack with the nylon rope.

The rope can also be criss—crossed and woven between trees for a place to sit. He
removes limbs with his saw so he will have a clear shot. Higgins has had great success
using this system. Higgins states, “The reason I’m successful is, I don’t make a lot of racket
putting up a tree stand and I can quietly climb a tree without disturbing deer. If l see deer
using a nearby trail, I just untie my rope, climb down and change trees.”
Higgins` system works, but not everyone wants to sit on a limb all day. Higgins
toughs it out and, during the last two years, he has proven his strategy on blacktails by
bagging a buck each year.

Tom Crowe and many other hunters use the spot and stalk method to fill their
tags. Crowe bagged a pure albino blacktail buck on his November 1988 bowhunt. He
was on the Pearson Spoilers team and was hunting the Evans Creek Unit. Their team
strategy was to drive logging roads and glass the edges of timber and clearcuts.
Once they spotted a buck, they would stalk it for a shot.

Crowe said he first thought the albino blacktail was a goat. His partner, Curt
Mendenhall, looked it over with his binoculars and decided it was a deer. They
moved closer and, after they were positive it was a deer, Crowe made a careful,
deliberate stalk, which ended in a thirty-yard shot. Crowe took his trophy on his
birthday and is having his spike buck mounted, because it’s rare to find a pure
albino of any species.

Reed Peterson, who came from Arizona to hunt blacktail, enjoys calling game. He
studied deer calling and the first morning of his hunt he made the sound of a fawn
bawling to bring a two—by—two buck to within fifteen yards of his tree stand. Peterson, a
good friend of mine, was on my team. I told him the contest wasn’t important.
What was important was having a good time hunting blacktail deer. Peterson
passed up the forked horn and during his hunt called in several more deer. One day,
Peterson sat next to an opening in some bushes. He used a deer call to make fawn
bawls and rattled antlers. After several sequences, he called in a doe with a three-
point buck in hot pursuit. Good luck was in the buck’s favor; Peterson never got a
shot at him.

I did a lot of calling myself and, two days in a row, I called deer to my tree
stand. Both days doe came in with bucks l following Several years ago, Bob McGuire
and I were hunting whitetail deer in Ohio. McGuire is an excellent whitetail hunter
and he has used his voice to call in does and bucks. He said, “You can’t call in a buck when
he’s tending a doe.” Well, I made a simple statement, “Why don’t you call in the doe? The buck will
follow.” McGuire got a big grin on his face and said, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?”
“I guess it’s too simple,” was my response. The same calling strategy works on blacktails. ’

My son, Steven, used tree stands, rattling and grunting to successfully call in
bucks. Steven and I find that rattling from a tree is the most successful way of taking
a blacktail buck as he comes to our call. Otherwise, the thick brush allows the buck
to detect us before we see him. The height of our stand lets us see the buck sooner and
we can quietly wait for the right opportunity for our shots.
A couple of years ago my good friend, Dwight Schuh, took the biggest blacktail
buck during the Oregon Bowhunters’ first National Blacktail Hunt. Schuh had used
a deer call and rattling to bring in several bucks, but, because ofthe brush, he wasn’t
able to get a shot. The next day, he located an area that had rub trees and lots of deer
tracks. He set up his tree stand, climbed in and waited an hour before rattling and calling.

Schuh felt if he waited, any buck within hearing would forget the noise he
had made while setting up his stand. He called and rattled several times. After an
hour-and-a-half, Schuh saw a big—bodied, heavy- antlered buck approaching and quietly waited.
The buck stopped broadside twenty-five yards away. His shot sent the arrow through both lungs
for a quick kill.

Hunting blacktails is challenging. When choosing a hunting strategy, pick one that
will work for you. If you can’t sneak quietly through brush, use a tree stand. If you
like to glass for bucks, you can spot and stalk. If you like to fool them by calling and
rattling, try that. Whatever strategy you choose, you` re going to have a super time
when hunting blacktail deer. >>>—>

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