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Published by archerchick on 23 Mar 2010

5 Stand Setups To Avoid -By Mike Strandlund

5 Stand Setups To Avoid – By Mike Strandlund
Bowhunting World Annual 2004

No matter how good they seem at the moment, don’t get sucked into setting stands in these tempting situations.

Bowhunting World Annual 2004-2005

Are you familiar with the story of the Sirens in Greek mythology?
They were the beautiful temptresses who sang a wondrous song
that ultimately lured sailors and their ships to a tragic death on
the rocks. The moral of the story? Looks can be deceiving.
Bowhunters have their own Sirens to deal with: treestand
spots that appear ever so attractive on the surface, but will ultimately
break your heart and dash your spirit asunder-onto the rocks, so
to speak. The lure that these five stands present can be nearly over.
powering. Here’s how to identify these sites before you become a proverbial moth,
nose-diving full throttle into the flames of bowhunting disaster.

Ravine Crossings
This tempting location probably claims more victims than nearly all the others combined.
Even experienced hunters can fall for its raw appeal.
Here’s how this site casts its spell: You’re scouting for a stand that will work during the rut. One good choice is a funnel between two bedding areas used by does, so you look for just such a perfect buck trap. In rough country bedding areas are typically on points and short ridges overlooking large ravines or valleys. They’re predictable sanctuaries and will show heavy
signs of bedding activity everywhere they’re found.

When crossing the ravine to check out the points on the other side, you’ll invariably notice some
tremendous trails crossing the bottom. They cut deeply into the soft earth where several trails come together to cross the ditch. Wow! A mother lode of sign! At first glance it appears to be a great funnel between two bedding areas, made even better by the fact that you can sneak up the ditch to get to the stand. They’ll never know what hit them.

You’ve just stepped into the snare that’s going to make you miserable and ruin what could have been a great area. It’s darned tough to walk past such an obviously-attractive location without spending a half hour looking for the perfect tree to place a stand. But, hold your horses for a minute. What’s going to happen when the wind blows, or worse yet, when it gusts? Your scent is going to wash all over that ravine until every deer within a quarter-mile radius knows you’re there. That’s not going to help them feel very relaxed and comfortable around home, is it?

From the number of stands I’ve seen in ravines while I’m scouting, it would appear that many bowhunters fall victim to the tremendous sign found in these places.  Remember this rule of thumb: If the spot you are considering is protected from the direct flow of the wind by features of the terrain, it ls not a dependable spot, regardless of how much sign you find. There are definitely better places to hunt the deer that made that tempting sign. The ravine crossing is a seductive spot, but it’s one you should walk past.

Beware, The “Easy” Stand
Most of us prefer a stand that’s easy to travel to, over one that requires a GPS, reflector
pins, and maybe even a bit of luck to find. Some bowhunters are comforted when they roll out of bed in the morning to know they are heading for a stand they can easily walk to. They may even go out of their way to hunt only such spots-and they pay the price.

I have a friend who loves the easy stand. In the back of Ron’s mind lurks the ever-present fear that he will get lost in the dark woods and end up spending his entire morning hiking up and down hills, trying to find his vehicle. As a result, he makes many mistakes in the type of stands he hunts. And, they are deadly mistakes for old Ron.

The classic blunder occurs when he chooses to approach his morning stands by walking directly across open fields.  Typically, in the agricultural country where we hunt together, that means he’s walking across a harvested crop field- a feeding area. And, where do you think the deer are
going to be a half hour before first light? Right Either they’re still out feeding or on the very fringe of the cover, picking their way slowly toward their bedding area (and maybe toward one of my stands). When my buddy Ron rams right into them, all bets are suddenly off.

On one edge we have treestands placed about 100 yards apart. It takes me about an hour to make my entry the back way (away from the feeding areas), while staying in the timber and using ditches, draws, and creeks to get to my stand without spooking any deer. It takes Ron about five minutes to drive his ATV along the edge of the field, walk the remaining 150 yards across the bean field, and then 100 yards through the woods to his stand. Sure, his approach is a lot easier than mine, but he may as well stay home -that’s easier yet.

Don’t fall victim to the temptation to take the easy route to your stand areas. If you are thinking about hunting a morning stand and plan to walk across a feeding area to get to it, do yourself a favor and reconsider.

“Hot” Scrapes During Peak Rut
In the first place, there is no such thing as a “hot” scrape during the peak of the rut. Bucks don’t use them then-at least not with any consistency. Beyond that, we need to resist the temptation to become too sign-oriented. Granted, buck sign sets our imaginations to churning, and we soon envision thick-necked bruisers ripping up a tree trunk or pawing dirt like some antlered Brahma bull preparing to charge.

Yet despite its affect on our imaginations, buck sign can be a seductive killer. Rarely is it a useful indicator of a great stand location and never is this more true than when you decide to sit over a scrape during the peak of the rut.

Admittedly, I’ve been sucked-in by big scrapes many times. I remember an entire season more
than a decade ago when I hunted them exclusively. All my spring scouting had been focused on finding the biggest and best scrapes on the farms I had permission to hunt. That year for a full two weeks of hunting during the rut I never saw a buck actually freshen one of those scrapes. In fact, most of them became covered with leaves as I stubbornly waited for the buck that made them to return. I became so discouraged that year that I vowed never to hunt a scrape again. And, I’ve Pretty well stuck to my guns.

Once the rut peaks, bucks are far too busy chasing and bird-dogging does to worry about freshening scrapes. If they do hit one it is purely a chance event. Sometimes they just pass through and come upon it-they’d be there with or without the scrape. Once the bucks start chasing does, I stop intentionally hunting scrapes.

There may be a time in late October when bucks actually go out of their way to hit a scrape and make them worth hunting, but during the rut these patches of pawed dirt are worthless. It will also
distract you from hunting the doe concentration areas and the travel routes between them, where the bucks can actually be found at these times.

Unless you have located a good scrape line and plan to sit above it long before the does come into estrous, you are reducing your odds by focusing on scrapes.
When you scout your hunting area, keep your eye on the ball: terrain, bedding
areas, feeding areas, and the best funnels you can find-and forget about scrapes.

Whenever you hunt a high-activity area that isn’t perfect (and very few of them are), you
run the risk of educating nearly every deer in your hunting area.

Ridges in the Evening

I love hunting along ridge top bedding areas during the morning, but I’ve stopped hunting them anymore during the afternoon. I’ve tried, and I’ll probably try again. And, I’ll come away with the same conviction: I just wasted a good afternoon hunting a dead area. It’s not like bucks don’t walk through the bedding areas in the afternoons looking for does-they do, but not for very long. The real action is already up on its feet and walking toward a feeding area.

Hunt the places the deer are moving toward, not the places they are coming from. This simple philosophy can nearly double the length of time the deer are active around your stand. Suppose the deer get up from their beds an hour before sunset and start drifting toward their feeding areas. You have a brief flurry of activity and then everything is moving away from you. Within a half hour everything is pretty well finished in the area near your stand.  That little dab of activity is just not worth the risk you take of bumping and educating deer when you try to enter the stand spot.

That brings up the second reason why you should skip bedding areas in the afternoon: it’s nearly impossible to approach them during the day without blowing the hunt.  Deer don’t pick their bedding areas randomly-they are the safest places within their home range and where they have the ultimate advantage. Your approach can either be seen or smelled by every deer within a pretty large area. You might as well just drive to your stand on your four-Wheeler trailing 10 feet of your dirty laundry behind.
These are my favorite morning spots. You can sneak in easily while the deer are close to their feeding areas and be waiting for them. But don’t let the great action in the a.m. tempt you into thinking these are good afternoon stands. You’ll be sorely disappointed.

Early Season Bedding Areas
The temptation to hunt your best morning and evening stands as soon as the season opens is almost irresistible. I used to do it, but discovered it’s another deadly mistake. Accelerating the education of your deer well before the rut means they will be tougher to hunt when prime time finally arrives.

It is only natural after being away from the hunt for several months to want to jump right into it with gusto. On top of that, you’re accustomed to a normal hunting day that includes a morning and an evening session. Unfortunately, there are few spots for a decent morning hunt during the early season, other than in a bedding area. The desire to hunt mornings will have you invading bedding areas without a clear idea of their patterns at a time when the deer are living fairly close to home and highly sensitive to hunting pressure. That’s not such a good idea.

Ramming around in bedding areas early in the season may seem logical on the surface (where else are you going to get them in the morning?), but the damage you can do to your hunting area and your odds later in the season outweighs the benefits of being in the woods a few more hours each day. Besides, if you keep them acting naturally and on a Patten, you’ll have a decent chance of taking the buck you want in the evening by hunting only where he feeds.

When deer are in feeding patterns, concentrate on your home-front honey-dos in the morning, so you’ll have them out of the way before the rut Instead, focus all your efforts on hunting the feeding areas in the evening. You can Patten them from a distance, producing almost no impact until you move in for the kill. If that honey-do list is already complete, spend your mornings watching the deer leave feeding areas from a distance. This will give you the best possible feedback about where the bucks will be found that afternoon. If you insist on hunting in the morning, definitely
stay away from your best areas and hunt bedding areas in places that you don’t plan to hunt much later in the season.

I hunted the Milk River in northern Montana a few seasons back. It’s a river bottom with very limited cover, most of it located inside the river bends and in low swampy areas nearby. The bucks are very visible from the bluffs over-looking the river and we spent our mornings watching them leave the alfalfa fields so we could peg the trails most likely to produce action when they came back out in the afternoon. It would have been hunting’s version of suicide to sit back in those river bends in the morning. Sure, we might have gotten lucky and picked off a buck when he
came back to bed, but the impact more likely would have pushed them into the surrounding coulee country or at very least made them nocturnal.

Four or five bowhunters may hunt that stretch of river during a week, but almost no one actually sits in a treestand during the mornings. The odds of ruining whatever feeding patterns we’ve been
able to uncover are too much of a risk.  We focused on the easy patterns (where they feed) and forgot about the hard patterns (where they bed). It’s good advice for anyone hunting early-season bucks.

Conclusion
Obvious spots are often the worst locations for a stand-not because they don’t contain deer, but just the opposite.  These spots are high-activity areas, loaded with sign, and probably the best
hotspots your hunting area has to offer.  But, as you’ve hopefully gathered from my observations, therein lies their greatest seduction. Whenever you hunt a high-activity area that isn’t perfect (and
very few of them are), you run the risk of quickly educating nearly every deer in the neighborhood.

There are few things you can do that will have a more damaging affect on your chances for success than spending time hunting any one of these five deceitful stands. If you resist their temptations, your success rate will reap great benefits from your discipline.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010

Funneling Deer – By Steve Bartylla

Funneling Deer – By Steve Bartylla

Bowhunting World Annual 2004-2005

It was one of the most frustrating experiences of my young bowhunting life but it was also one of the most important. As soon as school would let out, I’d grab my stuff and, brimming with anticipation, head for the stand on the alfalfa field. Yet, as darkness fell, I’d leave feeling dejected once again.

It wasn’t that I didn’t see deer. I saw plenty when walking across the field
after dark.The problem was that they were playing “musical trails.” No matter which trail I’d set up on the deer would use another.  After a week of this, the breakthrough I needed finally came to me.

Truth be told, it was my trapping that led me to it. I was constructing a trail set for mink. To funnel mink movement down the main travel way, I had blocked several minor trails. As I set the trap, it occurred to me: Why couldn’t I apply the same technique to deer movement? From that moment on, I began to apply many of the trapping principles that focus animal travels to bowhunting.

BLOCKING TRAILS
initially, it was blocking deer trails. The alfalfa field boasted five heavily used deer trails. With the landowner’s permission, I headed out with a saw and began my task The first step was choosing the trails I wanted to hunt. Because of the level of use and flexibility for wind directions, I selected the two that exited the woods on opposite inside corners. Next, I blocked the remaining trails
along the field. To accomplish that, I piled brush and limbs at the entrances. Of course, deer still could go around, but it encouraged them to use mine.

To further encourage the use of my trails, I raked the grass and debris along the first 20 yards from the point the trail entered the woods after completion, it gave the illusion that they were the field’s only primary entrance and exit routes.  And, as important, they appeared as the easiest and most popular routes.

Finally, I followed the chosen trails into the woods. Where lesser-used trails splintered off toward the field, I blocked them as well. Unlike the trails entering the field, I only used enough branches to make it inconvenient to cross Because the splinter trails ran to the same field, it didn’t take as much encouragement to get deer to continue to follow the main trail.

Although these alterations may seem minor, they did make a positive difference Deer are lazy by nature. When everything else is equal, they will take the path of least resistance to where they want to go. After giving the farm a week off, sightings on the corner trail were noticeably up. On my third sit, even that young kid was able to arrow a deer.   The best part of this technique is that it can be used in any situation where trails break off before hitting your stand. Furthermore, the further ahead of season this is done, and the more the blockades that are maintained, the better the results.

SETTING THE TABLE
ln later years, I began creating food plots to help funnel deer activity. Outside of the rut, most deer movement consists of traveling between bedding and feeding. Therefore, introducing a prime food source can lead deer past more advantageous stand locations.

Donnie Mc0lellan runs a very successful guide service in Grant City, Missouri Bucks
& Beards Outfitters consistently sends high percentage of their bowhunters home with trophy whitetails. One of the key reasons for this is the food plot strategy they employ.
“Finding big deer has never been a problem for me,” states Donnie. “They are here.’

It is getting my hunters into stands without tipping any deer that takes work. To avoid that, I spend countless hours walking ditches.  They are one of the best ways to get in and out. In areas that don’t have good routes, I put in food plots so they draw deer through areas I can get my hunters into. I put a lot of work into it, it  is worth it, though.  A lot more hunters go home happy ”

To get the most from a new food plot, several factors should be considered. Because they can alter deer travels, the plots should be positioned to provide the most productive hunting. To do so, identifying bedding areas is key The plot should be located so stands can be positioned between bedding and feeding.  Positioning the plot so a funnel lies between it and bedding is also advantageous. Also, undetectable routes to and from the stand should be available.

Donnie agrees with these food plot placement strategies wholeheartedly. “It all keys off of the bedding areas,” he says “I’m often shocked at how many people slap food plots out without first analyzing how they will affect deer movement and how they can place them to their own advantage. If I’m going, to go through the work to put one in, my plantings are going to be positioned so they funnel deer through areas that will do my hunters the most good !”

Additional steps can be taken to make them even better. Locating plots where deer feel safe leads to better hunting.  Openings within the woods, remote corners of fields and areas bordered by thick cover all help provide the illusion of safety. If plots are positioned between 100 and 500 yards of the bedding areas, that also increases the likelihood of catching daylight movement.
Although plantings are more common, natural food sources can be manipulated to accomplish the same effect.

For example, spring fertilizing and removing competing species can increase a mast tree’s food production. Even overgrown meadows can be made more desirable through applying a lawn fertilizer and cutting them as a farmer would a hayfield. Taking these steps helps keep the grasses and weeds more digestible and nutritious, which will draw more deer. Like creating a new food plot, hunters can enhance existing food sources on locations that help funnel deer past potential stand sites.

MAKING THE BED
As stated previously, most non-rut deer travels are between bedding and feeding. Just as we can affect feeding locations with food plots and more desirable native forages, surprisingly we can also have an affect on bedding locations.  Creating a bedding area can be created with a chain saw.   First, select an are of woods and proceed to cut the trees within. When making the cut, begin it about three feet from the ground and cut down at a 45- degree angle, stopping about three-fourths of the way through. Now, the tree can be pushed over or left for the wind to do it.

One of the goals is to allow the branches  to maintain a connection to the root system.  Using this technique allows certain species such as maples and oaks, to bend without completely breaking. With the connection,  the tree will to continue to grow, albeit at a much slower pace. To increase chances of survival, the cutting should be done in the winter , well before leaf-out. Keep in mind that some trees, such as poplar, birch and most pines, will snap every time, but their tops still provide food bedding cover.

This technique immediately creates a thick tangle of cover, as well as a bounty of food. The forest floor receives increased sunlight, which promotes the growth Of new greenery and
saplings. Along with that, the trees that retain the root connection provide Leafy growth for browse and buds for winter months.

To make these locations better still, we need to understand what deer seek for bed ding. Although there are exceptions, you will find that most bedding sites offer a combination of:
At least two escape routes.
Either thick cover or good visibility
Conditions allowing them to use their
sense of smell to cover their back.

These cutting technique provide the cover deer seek. Putting these efforts into locations that meet the other criteria on our list almost guarantees that deer will use them for bedding.

For example, let’s say we have a food plot along a creek bottom, flanked by ridges on each side. Applying our cutting technique the ridge side, just below the crest, would give them everything they desired. Not only do they have the thick cover, the slope also provides visibility.

By creating a bedding area on the sides of both ridges, deer would be able to choose which allowed the wind current to best cover them from the backside of the ridge. If they sensed danger, they could drop down, cut over, or dash along the ridge in either direction.

Because Nature rarely provides all of this, deer will pack into our constructed bedding sites.

Creating Trails
As in every technique discussed up to this point, knowing how the resident deer use the area is very beneficial. However, in creating trails, knowing whitetail travel patterns is essential. In order for this method to work best, you must know where the bedding and feeding areas are. Before we discuss how to create such trails, we should discuss what deer look for in selecting a travel route:

* Cover: Deer feel safest when traveling
in heavy cover.

* Gentle corners: Because they like to
see the path ahead of them, deer don’t like
taking 90 degree turns on their trails. Gently
sweeping corners allow the whitetail to see
the path before them and anticipate the dangers
that may lie ahead

* Ease of travel: Deer are lazy creatures by nature and,
all else being equal, will take the easiest route between
two points.

* Quickest route: The quickest route
between two points is a straight line. Deer
will usually select the straightest route that
provides cover, gentle corners, easiest travel
and a favorable wind direction.

With these factors in mind, we can now begin connecting food sources and bedding
areas By cleaning 5 foot-wide trails through the thickest cover between bedding and
feeding areas, we create trails that offer ease of travel, the feeling of safety and a
corridor that will be used heavily by deer. In areas that receive significant snowfalls, pulling a weighted sled along the.- trails can achieve outstanding results. In the winter months, two of the Northern whitetail’s top priorities are conserving energy and acquiring nutrition. During this difficult season, a whitetail’s life depends heavily on the amount of energy expended compared to nutrition taken in.

Creating trails through the snow that lead to the food sources creates an irresistible draw to deer enduring these conditions. So much so that once a trail is established, the heavy traffic from the deer will keep it open all winter long Because of this, the greater the snow depth, the more concentrated the deer activity becomes.  Although it may seem like a lot of effort to create these trails, they are worth the effort.

FENCING
Yet another method of funneling deer is altering fences. Deer often travel significant distances to cross at the easiest point in a fence. For hunters, this is an advantage.

My first attempt at creating  a fence crossing occurred many years ago on my uncle’s dairy farm I had spent a summer’s day walking a barbed wire fence line that cut through the middle of his woods About every 100 yards, I would intercept a trail that crossed the fence The problem was that no trail seemed better than any other.

Luckily, I took care of this with a little work. After selecting the fence crossing that was best for hunting, I invested a day in discouraging deer to use any other. To do that I clogged the other spots where deer crawled under and fixed up the places where the top wire strand was broken or drooped.

Finally, I made the crossing by my stand even better Wrapping a strand of wire around the fence and cinching it tight created both a low spot over which deer could jump and an easier path to crawl under.

Shoveling out some dirt underneath the fence was the icing on the cake. With that, I had the best fence crossing point. Opening day of bow season found me perched in the tree that overlooked my new fence crossing. Because of the deer sign I saw during the times I inspected and maintained my fence blockades, I was brimming with confidence So much so, that I passed
shots on the first four deer that came through That may not sound like much, but in those days shot opportunities were rare and they were the first deer I had ever taken a pass on. By the fifth, a large doe, I couldn’t resist any longer and shot as she paused before crossing.   This demonstrates another advantage of these fence crossing funnels: Deer often pause, posing for the shot, before attempting to cross The result is often a perfect shot opportunity.

As productive as that technique is, we can take it a step further to promote the use of our crossing. Adding a strand to the top and bottom of the fence goes a long way towards discouraging crossings at other locations. It is best to use barbed wire when adding an extra
strand; however, bailing twine will also work.

Another way to use fencing is to erect it to funnel deer activity. A mere 20 to 50 yards is all I generally use.  Both snow fence and chicken wire work very nicely for this.

Although I use this technique very sparsely, it can be extremely effective.

For example, I have a stand that is 75 yards south of a river The most commonly used trails are within 30 yards to the south of the stand. However, every now and the- . buck skirts the river without offering me a shot opportunity. Still, if I relocated closer to the river, I would miss more opportunities.

Then, one day it hit me. Just make it so that the deer couldn’t skirt me along the riverbank. Although I could have piled brush, placing 50 yards of chicken wire from the river toward my stand was much easier.   Doing so has resulted in harvesting several three-year-old bucks that would have otherwise escaped unscathed.

The techniques discussed here all are proven for focusing deer movement When combined in a thorough plan, they provide a hunter the ability to dictate movement patterns to deer. Obviously, this greatly benefits those who want to make their lands produce the best possible hunting. However, without exception, the landowners permission must be sought before taking any of these steps.  To not do so is simply wrong.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010

Mulie Magic – By Steve Byers

Mulie Magic – By Steve Byers
September 2005

Bowhunting  trophy mule deer is no cakewalk, but every now and then it all comes together oh so sweet.

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

Bow & Arrow Hunting September 2005

The trek one makes to a true trophy animal can take many twists and turns. I have been on hunts where it can take weeks, sometimes months, for that one shot to happen. On the flip side of that is where Bruce Barrie’s hunt lies for mule deer and elk in western Colorado last season. Bruce hunted with my wonderful wife, Cassie, and me. As Bruce and I spoke on the phone countless times over the summer, I assured him that getting a nice mulie in the 160-plus range wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. (I think Bruce thought I might not know how to field-judge mule deer!) Our phone conversations consisted of me telling Bruce that I had just seen another 180-inch monster and him going “Really?”
I scouted a farm area near my home we call the “strip.” It consists of four large farms and is about 5 miles long and 3 miles wide. This area has turned out six “book bucks” in the past four years, with the smallest being a 161-inch 4×4. To see a group of bucks all in the 170s is not uncommon. I grew up hunting these farms as a kid, and I have had many encounters with some true giants. With only my family having access to bowhunt, we have gone on a very strict management program. We have decided on shooting only deer that we think will make it to 150 or higher. My summer scouting had turned up many “shooters,” and I was feeling confident we would get the job done. I felt like Bruce’s best chance at a buck would be on the ground doing some spot and stalk attempts.

Bruce was set to arrive in Montrose on Aug. 27, and I was sure his best chance at a “wall hanger” would be the first week of the season. When Bruce got here, he shot his bow to reassure that everything made it OK, and we went and got him an elk tag.

With the best time to hunt these bucks being in the evening, we would do some elk hunting in the mornings. I also have a ranch on the Uncompahgre Plateau, which harbors many elk and mule deer. We would spend our mornings chasing bugling bulls here. The evening before season started, I took Bruce on a short drive through some of the property we would be hunting. I have been after a large 3×3 on the strip for about five years now. Encounters with him are so common that my good friend Evan Baise began calling him “Pot Belly,” aptly named for his 350-pound frame. As we drove along the dirt road, I pointed out different fields where many large bucks had been taken over the years. When we approached a particular alfalfa field, I warned Bruce to keep an eye out for “Pot Belly,” because we had spotted him there all summer long. There he was, 40 yards from the truck, just feeding away. Bruce was amazed by the sheer size of this old mature buck. I urged Bruce to take him whenever the chance presented itself. Bruce laughed and said “Sweet!”

After a fairly uneventful first day, our second morning dawned with bulls bugling in a distant draw. We quickly cut the distance to about 400 yards of the screaming bulls. The bulls seemed to be heading toward a large ravine on a neighboring ranch. After setting up three or four times, we were nearing the fence line ourselves. I decided that we needed to get to a stand of aspens, near the lip of the large ravine . Bruce and Cassie quickly raced forward to set up, and when they got about 50 yards in front of me, I began cow calling. The bull responded with a low guttural roar from about 150 yards through the aspens.

Almost instantly another bull in the bottom of the ravine answered him. We were in the driver’s seat now! It seemed that the two bull elks were racing to see who could get to me first. I was pleading frantically with my cow call for the closest bull to come in. He responded by coming to the fence line about 30 yards in front of Bruce. When the bull jumped the fence, Bruce seized the opportunity and drew his bow. The bull was now 25 yards and nearing broadside. When the shot went off, Bruce’s setup was so quiet, the bull barely even moved. I assumed Bruce must have missed, so I took my cow calling into overdrive. I was so focused on watching the bull that I didn’t notice that Bruce had nocked another arrow. This time I watched as another arrow passed completely through the bull from only 35 yards this time. The bull stumbled stiff legged a mere 60 yards before expiring. Bruce had hit the 5×6 the first time, but an extremely quiet setup allowed a follow-up shot to be made.

I can’t begin to explain how impressed I was with Bruce’s choice of a broadhead, the 100-grain Turbo. I think it is one of the best penetrating heads that Barrie Archery has ever designed. After 20-plus years in the wapiti woods pursuing these beautiful animals, I can clearly say that the single most important aspect I look for is a broadhead that provides excellent penetration. With a large bull sometimes tripping the scales near 1,000 pounds, everything is bigger, so you need good penetration just to get to the kill zone.

It was time to shift our focus to chasing mulies the following morning. This for me, is bowhunting in its rawest form – you versus an animal with extremely keen senses on level ground. I cut my bowhunting teeth spotting and stalking mule deer, and I am proud to say that I am a much better bowhunter because of it. After blowing thousands of stalks, you become much more aware of the noise you may be making and things going on around you.

It was Aug. 30, a cool snap had hit, and we had a full moon. It seemed like everything was going our way. With a southwest wind, the game plan this morning was to slip south, with the wind in our faces, along the edge of a large marsh. Hoping to ambush a mature buck there, we set out. We quickly covered a mile or so, and as we were nearing a field edge , suddenly a large buck appeared 200 yards to our right. It was apparent that he was already aware of our presence. A mature 4×4 with good width and deep forks, I quickly judged him at 180 gross.

With the buck already aware of us, we decided to leave him alone and possibly look for him later that afternoon. We then turned and went straight east for a mile or two to a large draw. The west-facing slope of this draw is covered with a jungle of large cottonwoods and small willows, and I had seen many bucks in here all summer long.

To get to this draw we would be crossing the same field where we had seen Pot-Belly a few days before. We were both optimistic, it was still early, and we just knew good things would happen. We slowly crept our way to a large drainage ditch in the bottom of the draw. Just as quickly as we arrived, I spotted bucks, sky-lined by the rising sun. Bruce looked at me and said, ” What should we do?” I quickly replied, “I think we are in a good spot.”

Bruce must have thought I was nuts! These bucks were 300 yards away, and still showing no signs of coming our way, but over the course of scouting this draw, I had seen this same group of bucks work their way to the drainage ditch that we were now hidden by. There were six bucks in this group, and while not our largest, some showed potential. The bucks were just about parallel to us when they started down into the draw. we agreed that the largest buck might go 170 gross. I asked Bruce if he was interested in taking this buck and he gave me the combination head-nod and “Uh-Huh.”

When the bucks reached the bottom of the draw, tamaracks and willows engulfed them. We weren’t sure where they were when suddenly Bruce muttered, “Here they come.” All we could see were velvet-covered antler tips until they stepped out 30 yards from us. The big buck was the fourth to come out into the open, and he moved toward us slightly and then turned perfectly giving Bruce a quartering-away 25-yard shot.

As he drew his bow, all of the bucks peered at us. Luckily for us, there was a huge cottonwood behind us and there must have been a glare from the rising sun. With this glare in their eyes, Bruce reached full draw. When the shot broke, I could clearly see the arrow strike through the buck.

We hadn’t gone 30 yards on the blood trail when Bruce yelled, “There he is!” Bruce couldn’t wait to get his hands on him! With nearly 40 inches of mass, and 4-inch brow tines, this buck is truly magnificent! As a testament to the great habitat on the Strip, this was only a 3 1/2-year-old buck. They say give your bucks time and food. Well, I like to say give my bucks sweet corn and alfalfa, and me some time to hunt them!

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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010

Understanding Arrow Trajectory – By Roy Marlow

Understanding Arrow Trajectory – By Roy Marlow
Bow Hunting World  – February 1995

The Effect of Arrow Speed and Weight

Bow Hunting World - February 1995

On a pretty autumn day several years ago. I was cooking breakfast  after a morning’s deer hunt when I looked up and noticed a nice buck several hundred yards away. I watched him for several minutes before realizing that if he kept to his course, he would pass on a trail only about a hundred yards from camp. When he moved into the woods, I quickly donned my camouflage, grabbed my bow, and moved into the timber across the creek to intercept him.

Just as I got to the edge of a small opening, he appeared at the far edge. The setup was perfect except for a large oak tree in the middle of the clearing which had a tangle of low limbs right in line with the deer. I knelt down to allow for the estimated trajectory of the arrow under the tree and made what I thought was a perfect shot. Unfortunately, I did not allow enough room, and the arrow neatly centered a 3-inch branch. So much for that opportunity!

In reviewing the situation over my cold breakfast, I realized that I had not clearly known the arc of my arrow. In this regard, I was probably not much different from many bowhunters. A lot has been written in the last few years about depth-of-kill for different arrow speeds, and most serious bowhunters have a pretty good feel for the trajectory of an arrow just in front and behind an animal.

But very few hunters have an intimate knowledge of an arrow’s trajectory over its entire flight path. I know I didn’t, and this cost me a nice buck that morning.  In this and the next issue of  Bowhunting World, I will be discussing arrow trajectory.  I will cover the general effects of arrow
speed and weight in the absence of wind drag. The examples given are the flattest trajectories that can be obtained for the speeds listed. Drag can dramatically affect trajectory, but many clean-flying, low-drag arrows used today can come very close to the trajectories given. In each example, I am assuming that the shot is over level ground and that the shooter is anchoring three inches below his eye at the comes of his mouth.

The Effect Of Speed
The trajectory of an arrow is determined solely by its speed at any point in time. In the absence of wind drag, it will have a constant speed, and its path can be described by a type of curve called a parabola.
The only force on an arrow between the time it leaves the bow and it hits the target is
gravity. Since gravity is pulling it downward, the arrow must be shot at a slight upward angle with respect to the line-of-sight. This is called the angle of departure. The initial direction of the arrow before it starts dropping is known as its line of departure. An arrow will usually start off below
the line-of-sight and will cross it several yards in front of the bow. It will then rise to its maximum height about mid-range before starting its descent to the target. If shot corrects, the point where it crosses the line-of-sight the second time is where it will hit the target.


Table 1 and the accompanying graph shows the trajectories and several other items of interest for three different speeds of arrows shot at several different distances. I used 180 feet per second (fps) to represent a recurve or longbow, 210 fps to represent an eccentric-wheeled compound, and 240 fps to represent an overdraw cam bow. These are typical speeds for most hunters using
average-weight hunting bows and average arrow weights.

Trajectory Height
Most hunters today shoot bows that are faster than those of a few years ago, but still, their trajectories are anything but flat. At 20 yards, a 180-fps arrow will rise about four inches above the line-of-sight. A 240-fps arrow will rise by almost two inches. At 60 yards, the 180-fps arrow will rise by a whopping 47 inches while the 240-fps arrow will rise by 26 inches.

These values are interesting in light of the opinion that some hunters have of their equipment. At a 3-D shoot a couple of years ago, I heard one shooter tell another that his speed bow would shoot as flat as a bullet out to 50 yards. After listening to the conversation a few more moments, I realized that he actually believed this. I have often wondered how he would have explained the multiple pins on his bow.

Depth-Of-Kill:
For hunters who use sights, knowing the depth-of-kill of an arrow is usually much more important than knowing its maximum arc. This is the distance over which the arrow will pass through an
animal’s kill zone if the shooter misjudges the range. Most whitetail deer have a vertical kill zone of 1 to 8 inches. However, it is common to assume a 6-inch kill zone to insure that the arrow hits the vitals solidly instead of just nicking the edges.

The right-hand columns of Table 1 show depths-of-kill for a 6-inch kill zone. If a hunter using an average 210-fps bow shot at a deer that he thought was 30 yards away, he would kill the deer if it was actually standing anywhere between 26.8 and 32.4 yards. At the closer distance, he would hit the top of the lungs while at the farther distance, he would cut through the bottom of the heart.
(this assumes, of course, that the deer cooperates and doesn’t jump the string.) This gives a margin of error of 3.2 yards on the close side and 2.4 yards on the far side of the animal, or a total of 5.6 yards. For the 180- fps bow, the total margin of error would be 4 yards, while for a 240-fps bow, it would be 7.8 yards.

Because an arrow is always dropping faster at the tail end of its arc, the margin of error in range estimation is always greatest in front of the animal, as shown in the “In-Front-Of-Target” and the “In-Back-Of-Target” values in the table. At long distances, this difference is minor, but closer in, it can be significant. For example, using the 210-fps bow above and shooting for an estimated distance of 20 yards, the maximum rise of the arrow would be 2.6 inches above the line-of-sight.

If the deer were actually standing anywhere between zero and 20 yards away, we will kill it. If he was beyond 20 yards, however, we would have to guess the range correctly to within 3.8 yards to kill it.

Time Of Arrival:
One reason frequently given for using faster equipment is to minimize movement of the animal due to the sound of the shot. Even the fastest equipment, however, falls short of meeting this goal totally. Humans have a simple reaction time to sound of about 0. 15 seconds. This is the time required for our brain to receive and process the sound and instruct our body to start moving. Although a deer’s reaction time has never been scientifically measured, evidence suggests that it is significantly faster than this. Once he hears the string, a deer still has to have time to move out of the way of a shot. Videos have shown that a deer can drop by over twelve inches at 20 yards
and can completely duck a 200+-fps arrow.

As shown in the second column of Table 1, a 210-fps arrow will take almost three-tenths of a second to travel 20 yards. This is twice the reaction time of a human and probably several times faster than a deer’s reaction time. At 20 yards, a 180-fps arrow has an arrival time of one-third second while a 240fps arrow will take a quarter of a second to cover the same distance.

At 60 yards, a 240-fps bow will take three-quarters of a second to reach the target. This is about four times longer than a subsonic .22 Short bullet. A 180-fps bow will take a full second. Even for the fastest equipment shot at normal bowhunting distances, a deer can react to the sound of a shot by enough to spoil the best of aim.

Effect Of Weight
Just as many hunters often don’t have a good feel for an arrow’s arc, they often fail to appreciate fully just how much the weight of an arrow can affect its trajectory. On a Westem mule deer hunt a few years ago, a good friend of mine leamed this point the hard way. Bill normally shot heavy 650-
grain arrows for his close shots on whitetails.  For this hunt, however, he switched to 500-grain arrows to give him a little flatter trajectory at the longer ranges he expected. When he packed for the nip, he threw the 650-grain arrows in the truck to use as backups. He had sighted in his bow with the lighter arrows but had no idea how the trajectories of the two shafts differed.

We got to the hunting area late at night and assembled our equipment the following morning by flashlight. Unknowingly, Bill put the hear,y arrows on his quiver and did not realize the mistake until it got light.  About mid-morning, he spotted a beautiful buck and was able to work his way to within 40 yards without alerting him. He was shooting what he considered to be a pretty fast bow and figured that the difference in arrow weights wouldn’t make that much difference. He aimed a few inches higher than normal, released, and watched as the arrow passed just under the deer’s chest. Later, back at camp, we found that the difference in trajectories between the two arrows was almost a foot at 40 yards.

If there is no wind drag, two weights of arrows which are shot at the same speed by different bows will have identical trajectories. But if shot from the same bow. their speeds will be different, and they will have different trajectories. Table 2 compares the trajectories of different weights of arrows to a 500-grain arrow that was sighted in correctly. The launch speeds are typical of a 60- pound eccentric-wheeled compound.

At 20 yards, a difference of 50 grains in arrow weight will move the impact point by over an inch. A difference of 150 grains will move it by 3 to 3-1/2 inches. As distance increases. the effect of weight differences becomes much greater. At 60 yards, adding or removing 50 grains of weight will change the impact point by over 10 inches while for 150 grains of difference it will change the
impact point by about 30 inches.

Small differences in arrow weight should also be addressed. For example, I shoot resharpenable broadheads, and I will often use the same heads for several years as long as they don’t become dinged up or bent. Before every hunting season and several times during, I will resharpen them. Recently, I went back and reweighed a dozen arrows that started out with identical weights and was surprised to find that several of them had changed by 20-25 grains due to resharpening. I usually shoot at close ranges, so this has never caused a problem. But if I had taken a little longer shot-say 40 yards- this difference would have been enough to throw my aim off by a couple of inches or so. In some cases it could have been enough to cause problems.

Measuring Trajectory
In the real world arrows have drag, and their trajectories will be a little higher than the examples -given above. For this reason, it is always a good idea to test your equipment so that you have a good feel for what it is  actually doing. This is especially important for hunters who use a single sight pin.

Measuring trajectory is a simple task that can be done as part of your normal sighting- in procedure. First, find a piece of cardboard or other material that is 1 to 3 feet wide and
several feet long. Three-foot by 5-foot panels work well and can be bought at businesses that sell packing supplies.

Next, put an aiming spot in the center of the cardboard and sight in your bow at a given distance. Then aim at the spot from several different distances and see where your arrow hits. For example, if you have sighted in a pin at 30 yards, you might shoot at distances of 7.5 yards (1/4
range), 1 5 yards (mid-range), 22-1/2 yards (3/4 range), and at something beyond 30 yards.
Shoot several arrows from each distance to get an average, and then commit these figures to memory.

To determine depth-of-kill for deer, find the distances where your arrows hit 3 inches high and 3 inches low. For larger or smaller animals, you can adjust these values to correspond to the different-sized kill zones.

Summary
With the increasing interest today in long- range shooting, some of the examples given above are very sobering. They show fairly dramatically that even with today’s fast equipment, bowhunting remains a short range sport.Even the fastest equipment will have trajectories at longer ranges that
are high and looping and that will require the ability to estimate range at very exacting levels. Taking the time to become intimately familiar with the trajectory of one’s equipment should help any bowhunter to understand its limitations and to capitalize on those hard-earned opportunities.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010

80 Years With Fred Bear – By Bob Brandau

80 Years With Fred Bear – By Bob Brandau
March 1982

We’re damn lucky to have Fred Bear around.  In a time when folks tell us there are no heroes left, we only need look to Fred to know it isn’t true.
For the bowhunter, Fred has done it all. He’s taken world-class big game on every continent and built a career around his love for a sport. He stood and was counted as a conservationist when the word was still unknown to most sportsmen.

The John Wayne of the bowhunter’s world Fred attracts a crowd wherever he goes. Autographs, handshakes and flash bulbs are as much a part of his day as the sun. Yet unlike many other people in that position, his sincere smile never fades and his patience while listening to another
hunter’s whitetail adventure is unending.

His ability as a woodsman is equalled to or surpassed by his talents as a businessman, and inventor. Much of the archery tackle we use today is based on inventions cultivated in his fertile mind decades ago. Along with a few other adventuresome pioneers, Fred turned an obscure hobby into a national pastime and industry.

Starting in a depression torn 1933 in the United States, Fred slowly built his archery company from a garage in Detroit to the world leader it is today: His factory now produces products known around the world and employs about 350 people.

Fred’s cunning as a hunter and friendly nature have brought him many honors and thrills. He’s dined with royalty and dipped beans out a can with African bushmen.  Some of the adventures he’s had would seem outlandish even when printed in a young boy’s favorite book.

And of all the game Fred has taken through the years, what has been the toughest
to hunt? The whitetail deer.

“There’s no doubt about it, the whitetail deer is the smartest craftiest game animal a man can hunt with a bow,” he said- But what does Fred consider to be the toughest most dangerous game to chase with bow and arrow? Excerpts from the book, Fred Bear’s Field Notes, and an article printed in Outdoor Life in the early 1960s show that to be the African lion.

“Of all the “if-you-start-it, I’ll-finish it” game a hunter can go after with either gun or bow, the two big wonderful cats of Africa and Asia, the lion and tiger, head my list. There is something about them that no other animal can match, a mysterious, regal quality of fearlessness and arrogance and terrible power. In my book the man who kills either of them has reached the pinnacle
of the trophy hunter’s world.”

Fred said recently that the animal he had long considered to be the top hunter’s trophy also provided him with his most exciting and memorable hunt “Well, I had a lot of most memorable hunts, I guess. The most exciting of course, was when we were ambushed by a lion for half a night in Africa. I’ve spent a few nights in a tree with a grizzly down below and a couple cape buffalo have come close and then there were the polar bears. I guess you can call them memorable in terms of excitement.   In just the case of excitement my most memorable hunt would be the lion because in most of the exciting experiences I have had, the high point was over in a second or two. You knew you were either going to get in trouble or not. But the case of the lion went on for about six hours and that certainly was memorable.”

A short time after his encounter with the lions of Portuguese Africa in 1965, he recalled the story like this:

“I eased to my knees and picked up my bow. There were two lions, both big-maned males lying beside the wildebeest carcass.  Quietly as I moved, they saw me instantly, stopped feeding and stared balefully at the blind.

“One was broadside to me, with his head turned in my direction. The other lay
behind him facing us head on. I picked the closest one and drove my arrow for a spot
behind his shoulder.

“There wasn’t enough light to follow the arrow’s flight but the lion left no doubt that it had been hit. He ripped out a roaring blood chilling snarl and both animals sprang to their feet.   The rear one shot off to the left running in long bounds. The other curved hell-bent toward the blind, growling and roaring But when he was only yards away, he swerved off to the left and streaked past
within a few feet of us. The last we heard of him was an ear-splitting roar out in the gathering darkness.

“For another 10 minutes; there was dead silence, with five pairs of ears straining for some sound that would tell us where the lions had gone and what they were doing. When it was full dark one of the pair announced his return with a roar that came from no more than 20 yards away and rattled the very leaves of the blind

“One thing we knew for sure. If either lion was bent on revenge, our brush blind would no more stop him than a garden fence stops a hungry deer. He wouldn’t even have to smash through it. He’d come sailing over and the last we’d see of him would be his black silhouette against the faint light that still lingered in the sky.

“There was half an hour of agonizing silence. Nobody moved, spoke, coughed or even cleared his throat My legs were getting stiff and cramped but it was imperative to endure it without stirring. It was cold but no one so much as touched his blanket Tension and suspense filled the blind like fog.

The lion ripped the night apart once more with a long series of roars and snarls, again only a few yards beyond our barricade. I’ve heard bears, tigers and even elephants scream their anger and defiance, and any one of them can make the hair on a man’s neck stand up like porcupine quills. But I don’t believe any other sound that comes from an animal’s throat is as awesome and frightening as the roar of a lion close up.

Another half an hour went by, seeming like half the night.  Then the situation took a new turn.
A lion spoke up from half a mile away giving the half purring half moaning get-together call and another answered farther off in the distance. I had listened to those typical sounds of the African night before and thought them interesting and thrilling. Now they turned my blood to water. Our lion didn’t give us much time to worry about any other, however he let go another bone-shaking roar.

After a few minutes, the lion roared again. The silence settled down and nothing happened for an hour. At the end of that time, Luiz (one of the native guides) inched over to our side of the blind.
“Baas, I can hear lion eating,” he said. ” I think he feed on the dead one.”

We cocked our ears and sure enough we could hear the ripping of flesh and the clicking of teeth out there in the dark, 50 or 60 feet away.

For the first time we had something to go on. It was very unlikely that a wounded lion would be feeding and if this was the unwounded one, quarrelsome as he was, we were in less danger than we had feared. But if Luiz’s hunch was right by morning, the pelt of my lion would be torn and worthless.

“Will one lion really eat another?” I asked Wally, my guide. “Indeed they will,” he assured me.

By this time the tension in the blind had become too much for the native guides to bear, and they issued the ultimatum of either climbing the trees or going back to camp. Knowing that the trees would not support the three natives, and that any commotion was likely to bring on a charge from the lion, Freds party decided to make a break for it in the car.

Taking nothing but the guns with them, they piled into the car, stomped on the starter and knifed out into the African darkness.

“To my immense relief,” Fred continued, “the first thing we found when we went back the next morning was what was left of the python (shot the day before by Fred while making the blind). We agreed that it might have been the snake on which we had heard the lion feeding and our hunch proved good. When we picked up the blood trail of the lion I hit and followed it for 200 yards,
we found a magnificent cat stone dead since the evening before. Needless to say, I didn’t give the python another thought “My arrow had gone in low, back of a foreleg and ranged through both lungs, causing severe hemorrhage. A full-grown male with a heavy mane, he weighed 460 pounds and measured an even 10 feet pegged out.

“Looking back on those thrilling hours in the blind, with the lion growling and feeding in the darkness, I couldn’t blame the guides for not wanting to lion hunt again. But when I got back to camp, and I saw him reaching four feet above my head with the tip of his tail brushing the ground, I knew I wouldn’t trade that night for anything that ever happened to me on a hunt He was the greatest trophy I have killed, and he left me, as a bowhunter, no place to go.”

But Fred’s conquests as a hunter did not end after that long six-hour wait in a blind on the flats of Portuguese Africa He went on to down a polar bear, after three trys, 500 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska and a 1,800 Asiatic buffalo in Brazil. Even today he is a familiar face around many campfires in the United States, offering a tale of adventure or two.

Anyone who has been lucky enough to hear Fred spin a tale has heard one of the masters. You may be sitting in an auditorium, but when the griz growls and the guide’s hands are skinned as he climbs a tree for safety, you can taste the adrenalin in your mouth. With the gestures of a magician.  Fred can tell a story that rivals those of Davey Crockett and Mark Twain. Those
who have heard his tales more than once may notice slight changes in “fact’ as he draws them together for the audience, but it doesn’t matter since the end result of excitement is always the same.

Fred is one the few individuals who has had the opportunity to hunt most of the game animals the world has to offer. He has hunted above the Arctic Circle, at the Equator and in lands untouched by modem civilization. Based on that experience, he said that if a hunter had only one “exotic” hunt to go on in his life, he should go to British Columbia or Alaska.

“Now, Africa is great,” he said, “but in British Columbia or Alaska you can drink from any stream you happen to run across.  The hunting conditions are much better and the terrain won’t be burned up like it is in Africa during the dry season when you hunt. The mountains, the snow capped peaks and trees-yes, that s what I’d recommend. You won’t see nearly as much game, but after all the kill is the anti climax. You go to enjoy yourself and to have fun in the outdoors with the birds, the bees, the animals, and the people.”

To say that Fred represents that last generation of the wild and free American hunter would be unfair. To say that his contributions to both bowhunting and conservation make him an outstanding American would be much more appropriate.

And although Fred’s tales of excitement are untarnished with the years, the role of the hunter has taken on an increasingly important duty. Today’s hunter, Fred said, should be more concerned with environmental issues. With the nation’s foremost conservationist Teddy Roosevelt, to serve
as his “idol,” Fred has taken a leadership role in backing sound conservation practices. People should take time out of their leisure hours to help promote conservation practices, he said
“Too many hunters today place too big an emphasis on the kill. When you read the stories, the emphasis is too much on the kill-instead of being in nature’s great outdoors,” he said.
“Too many people are uncomfortable in the woods. They don’t feel at home when actually they should be. The woods is a friendly place. Yes, the woods is big place to get lost in, or to get into trouble in, but the main thing when outdoors is to use good judgment stay out of trouble and have a good time.

“A downed animal is most certainly the object of a hunting trip, but it becomes an anticlimax when compared to the many pleasures of the hunt.  A period of remorse is in order. Perhaps a few words of forgiveness for having taken a life. After this there is a self-satisfaction for having accomplished a successful stalk and made a good shot.

“But a hunt based only on trophies taken falls short of what the ultimate goal should be. I have known many hunters who, returning empty-handed, have had nothing to say of the enjoyment of time spent in nature’s outdoors.

“I like to think that an expedition should be looked upon whether it be an evening hunt nearby or a prolonged trip to some far off place, as a venture into an unspoiled area. With time to commune with your inner soul as you share the outdoors with the birds, animals and fish that live there.

And  in another vein, if it is a lengthy trip, select your companions well. A hunting trip
is a great place to test the mettle of your friends.  “I feel like one of God’s chosen people, having had the experiences I’ve had in his great outdoors,” said Fred. <–<<

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Published by archerchick on 21 Mar 2010

Do-It-Yourself ARROW STORAGE BOX -by Glenn Helgeland

Do-It-Yourself Arrow Storage Box – by Glenn Helgeland
Archery World July 1982

ARHERY WORLD JULY 1982

Storing arrows can be a pain, but here’s an efficient, neat way to store
a bunch of them attractively and safely.

All it involves is a wooden box with the key to the unit being one or two pieces of eggcrate-style covering units intended for recessed lighting. Most any lumberyard should have everything you need.

The photos with this story show the construction and finished product.

Don’t be put off by the size of the arrow box shown. I need one that size because I use a lot of different types of arrows for photographic purposes, and over the years. I’ve accumulated a lot of different types.

Now that my kids are starting to shoot, we need arrow storage for me, my wife and the kids. You want to know how fast a few kids can go through a supply of arrows? Fast enough that I make certain they’re going to shoot only wooden ones for a while; I can’t afford anything else for them.

Materials include ll4″ and/or 3/8″ plywood, 1″ x 1/2″ furring strips, wood glue, piano hinge, a handful of 4- or 6-penny box nails, about three feet of nylon webbing, two locking hooks with eyes, four stove bolts with appropriate nuts and washers, and the eggcrate units.

The best thing about this box is that the only blueprints you’ll need are in your head, and it doesn’t cost much to produce. Just figure out how many arrows you need to store and plan accordingly. One tip: Arrows can be stored in every square of the eggcrate, but you’ll do less ruflling of fletching if you store them in alternating squares. The amount of storage space you have available will help you make that decision.

Once you determine the outside dimensions of the box, cut the plywood to fit, cut four furring strip pieces to fit the full width and cut four small blocks from the furring strips to glue in place as support midway underneath the length of the upper and lower eggcrate units.

Furring strips and blocks to support the lower eggcrate unit are glued on the floor piece and to the end pieces, then nailed.  This gives good strength. Furring strips and blocks to support the upper unit are glued far enough down from the top to at least allow the eggcrate to be positioned flush with the top of the plywood.

You can recess it in as far as you like. I left a 2-l /2 inch slot on the front of the box to lighten it a bit and to make it easy to check the arrow tips to see if they were dropping in position. Trying to peer down through one eggcrate unit at another eggcrate unit and line up arrows at the same time will make you crosseyed in a hurry.

The upper front panel could be much narrower. All you really need is a strip wide enough to serve as a stiffener and to keep the eggcrate unit from sliding out. (The two eggcrate units are simply dropped in position on the furring strips. There’s no need to fasten them in.)

I used a piano hinge to fasten the box hinge on the wall. This keeps it out of my kids’ reach, yet I can drop the unit forward to make it easier for arrow placement. The webbing is simply bolted to the box with stove bolts, washers and nuts.I ran the bolts through the furring strips to gain
maximum support. The straps are fastened to my garage wall with through-the-wall collapsible nuts on stove bolts fitted with large washers.

I used locking hooks with the eyes so my kids wouldn’t accidentally knock the hooks loose and have the box crash down on their heads.

What do I do with arrows which have a fixed broadhead? I remove the insert and replace it with a screw-in insert. I have a box of field points on a nearby shelf and the broadheads are stored where my kids can’t get into them.

Cost? Depends upon the size arrow box you build. Should be less than $25, even if
you need  to buy plywood. the eggcrate units I bought cost $6.50 each.

Someday I may even get around to staining or painting the plywood. That probably
will be the same day I clean out my garage. I will have aged by then.

Just how many arrows will this huge box store? Subtracting the squares under the furring strip blocks and end pieces. I came up with 1,914 Storing them every other square means 957 arrows.

I don’t believe I’ll ever need to build a second one. I can store a pile of arrows in a small space with these eggcrate units, keeping them safe from damage. <–<<

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Published by archerchick on 21 Mar 2010

Quick Kills On Big Game – By Russell Tinsley

Quick Kills On Big Game – by Russell Tinsley
November 1971 ARCHERY WORLD

BOWHUNTING IS a sport of inches. Sometimes just a couple inches will be the difference between a hit or miss, and even a fraction of an inch might determine a quick kill or just a
crippled animal. Yet shooting a bow and-arrow is such a tough procedure that error usually is measured in inches rather than fractions thereof. So the bowhunter “hedges” on his return by reducing this mistake factor to its lowest possible denominator.

This is accomplished in several ways. Having the proper equipment which is prepared correctly is perhaps the foremost consideration. Being a skilled hunter and getting the very best shot with the least margin of error is another. And of course knowing where to place the arrow for optimum results.

A fast-propelled arrow striking an animal’s vital organs should accomplish two rudimentary assignments: create intense hemorrhaging or bring quick and humane death, and encourage sufficient external bleeding to have an easily followed blood trail.

Simple mathematics tells us that a heavy object traveling at a rapid rate of speed will create the most damage upon impact, and this is true even of an arrow which kills by hemorrhage rather than shock. The more Penetration an arrow gets, the better are the chances of getting massive damage to internal organs. And the farther a sharp broadhead- tunnels through the animal’s body cavity, the more opportunity it has to come in contact with organs and disrupt their functioning.

Bob Lee, veteran bowhunter and president of Wing Archery Company, says the draw-weight of a hunting bow “should be as heavy as a person can adequately handle-and I mean handle and not merely shoot.”

The basic theory behind this, of course, is that the heavier bow will cast heavier arrows at a faster velocity, and this results in better penetration.

“But be sure the bow and arrows are matched,” Lee adds. “This is a common mistake among many bowhunters, having mismatched tackle, and a person can’t get the needed accuracy with such equipment.”

By proper conditioning and training of the muscles, the hunter can learn to handle – there’s that key word again-a bow of heavier draw than he is now using.

But even driving an arrow completely through an animal is of questionable value unless the broadhead severs organs to induce bleeding. The bowhunter can greatly improve his odds for success simply by having his broadheads honed sharp. A dull head tends to roll flesh and organs aside while the razor like head cuts cleanly.

As a person practices with his equipment he becomes aware of his limitations and capabilities. If you, for example, find that at ranges beyond 25 yards your aim is erratic and arrows scatter, then work for shots at less than this distance. Whether you shoot instinctively or use a sight isn’t important; what is imperative is that you can put the arrow where you want to.

Now we come to that moment of truth when you are drawing on a big-game animal. Where should you aim to get the quickest kill?

If the critter had a bull’s-eye painted on it, this would be a simple matter. But the hunter usually has just a brief time to size up the situation and determine where his point of aim should be. No two shots are exactly alike.

Maybe the animal is standing broadside, quartering away or facing you.  The arrow kills a critter by disrupting either of its most vital life-sustaining functions: the nervous system or the movement of blood. The most surefire is to stop all or part of its nervous system. One deer I killed was trotting by my tree stand and I led the animal too much and instead of hitting behind the shoulder, where I
intended it to go, the arrow struck the buck’s neck and completely severed the spinal cord. The deer fell there.

But trying for a spine hit is too much of a gamble unless maybe you are in a tree stand and the animal is walking directly beneath you. Even if you are off just an inch or so to either side, the broadhead still will bury into the body and find blood-carrying vessels.

An animal’s body is a network of arteries and veins which all originate at the heart. Hit the heart or any major artery and you will get profuse bleeding; smaller vessels will give progressively less. I once shot at a buck which ‘jumped the string”. The arrow caught him in the ham, striking the
femoral artery. The resulting blood trail appeared as if it had been poured from a bucket. The deer traveled less than 35 yards before going down.

The ideal spot to induce the most bleeding, it would seem, would be the heart. It would. But the heart of any animal lies very low in the throat between the front legs when the animal is viewed from the side. Here the forelegs, brisket bone and muscle give the heart quite a bit of protection.

If the arrow is forward too much, just an inch or so, it likely will strike the foreleg and perhaps just ricochet. A couple inches low and the projectile will pass beneath the animal a miss. Too far back and it is in the body cavity where it must hit an artery or vein leading to and from the heart to get the desired results. About the only margin for error is above the heart, where there is a cluster of organs,

All big-game animals are basically the same. You’ll find the same vital organs in the same places. But the overall picture is different. A white-tailed deer, for instance, has long legs, while the javelina is squatty, built close to the ground. An elk is a much larger animal with tougher skin and bones, and although its heart is correspondingly larger, it is much better protected against even I sharp arrow.  The archer shooting from above-a tree stand Perhaps- stands a much better chance of angling an arrow into the heart region than does the hunter aiming from the ground, on the same level as his target.

To reach this area some bowhunters refer the flat two-bladed broadhead, reasoning  that with the less resistance it will knife completely through the animal, severing everything in its path.
Bill Clemets, perhaps Arkansas most successful bowhunters, is a great believer in this type head. Me, I Prefer the multi-blade head, either three or four cutting edges, preferably four.

This type of head leaves a jagged hole which really pours blood.  Also, should the head remain buried inside the animal, it will jiggle back and forth, continuing to cut, as the critter runs. But neither type is of much value unless it is sharp.

The bowhunter’s best shot, I’m convinced, is in the so-called- high lung area, just behind the shoulder.  A hit here might not give as much blood as a heart shot, but it will be sufficient and in this area there is a bit more leeway for human error.   lf your shot sails slightly high, you are apt to hit the spinal column; should it be low, you’ll be probing the heart and large artery region.  The arrow even can be too far back by an inch or two and you will have a pretty solid hit.  But let too far forward and the shoulder bone is in the way.  If this bone is hit just right the arrow might penetrate;  but usually it simply slides to the side or bounces back.  I hit a mule deer in the shoulder while on a hunt in Colorado and the arrow bounced back almost to my feet.  The broadhead tip was curled back. I doubt if the arrow created enough damage to even give
the buck a sore shoulder.

As the bowhunter becomes more experienced he will learn to aim to compensate for his own personal tendencies. With me, shots less than 25 yards tend to rise, while on out there
the arrow more likely will drop. So if an animal is close, I am low on the body. Should the arrow be on target I’m in the heart region, and even should it rise slightly I’ve got a fatal hit. On longer shots just the reverse is true: I am high, for the lungs, and even if the arrow does drop it will
connect with vital organs.

Most bowhunters think of the classic broadside as the ideal position for a shot. Since one-dimensional drawings are usually sketched this way, the hunter has a vivid mental picture of where all the animal’s organs are placed. This position comes closest to simulating target shooting. But if the animal senses something wrong and moves before the arrow arrives, then the projectile likely will hit the critter’s midsection. A high shot will pass through the body without causing any extensive damage; a low shot will find the gut region, and that is one you want
to avoid. While this might indeed be a fatal hit, there usually isn’t much external bleeding, making the animal difficult to trail, and a gut-shot creature is apt to travel for long distances before going down.

Much better than the broadside is the quartering shot. The rear quartering shot is preferred. Although the silhouette is not as large, more of what you see is vulnerable tissue. There is
less chance of a bone deflecting the arrow, and it furrows more lengthwise through the body. Common sense tells us that the farther an arrow moves through an animal, the better are its
chances of hitting vital organs. Should the arrow pass through the chest cavity there is a possibility that it might come in contact with all three vital organs – heart, liver and lungs.

From the rear, blind-side, of the animal like this, the hunter stands to put his arrow into a vital area without being detected. The head-on and front quartering shots are less desirable, one reason being that the alert animal is more apt to detect danger, and from the front body bones are a
greater obstacle.

But if you do get a head-on shot, aim for the so-called “sticking spot” just below the neck. Place an arrow solidly here and you have a dead animal. The broadhead carves directly into the body between the forelegs.

A temptation is to aim for the head. But most big-game animals have small and well-protected brains. You are more likely to get just a glancing lick than you are a kill.  For the front-quartering shot, aim just behind the shoulder. While the heart, liver and lungs are fairly well protected from this angle, the network of arteries and veins just beyond are vulnerable. If the arrow angles across
the animal, you probably will find a blood-carrying vessel. I once watched my hunting buddy Winston Burnham shoot a javelina that was trotting down a trail toward his stand, and while the
arrow hit a mite too far back, it traveled almost the entire length of the body, exiting just forward of a ham.

An autopsy revealed that the broadhead hit a rib, forcing the arrow upwards where it traveled just beneath the spine, severing several arteries and veins. The javelina wheeled around wildly once or twice, then made just two or three jumps before falling.

Now assuming you understand and know the vital areas and how to hit them and you’ve made what you consider a solid hit, then what do you do?

The consensus of most experienced bowhunters is to wait at least an hour if you think your . arrow hit the liver area or the rear half of the animal. Unless spooked, the critter usually will
journey just a short way before lying down. It becomes weak rather quickly and probably won’t have the strength to ever regain its feet.

But if the arrow hits the chest cavity and results in plenty of blood, it doesn’t make any difference whether you wait or not. The animal – be it an immense specimen like the elk, a
medium-sized one such as a mountain goat, or even the diminutive javelina -won’t travel far away. If you merely sever a large artery-you can tell if the hit results in an unbelievable amount of bleeding – then you will have no problem trailing and finding the critter.

Should the hit be in a non-vital section of the fore body, you probably will be wise to keep pushing the animal. An embedded broadhead will continue to cut and damage organs.

Even if the arrow completely passed through, don’t give the animal the opportunity to lie down and allow the broken blood vessels to clot.  No matter where you hit an animal, don’t give up on it until you are absolutely satisfied that the carcass or some telltale sign can’t be found.

Sometimes the animal might flee along way before commencing to bleed. It isn’t unusual for one to go down without leaving a blood trail of more than just a few scattered drops. Watch which direction the critter runs and pinpoint your search in that direction.  Try to find tracks, if nothing else, and search the trail meticulously for any sign which might reveal where the animal was hit. Perhaps you will soon locate the discarded arrow, broken or pulled out, or a pool of blood when
the animal stopped briefly. It is amazing the number of animals that can be found which at first were thought to be lost.

There is no satisfaction quite like that of staying doggedly on a trail and ultimately realizing success. That’s the mark of a true and dedicated bowhunter.

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Published by archerchick on 21 Mar 2010

Spring Turkey Tactics – By Randy Templeton

Spring Turkey Tactics – By Randy Templeton

MAY 2005

Fool Your Trophy Tom Using These Proven Methods

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

MAY 2005

Coming over the rise, he bellowed an eardrum-rattling gobble and strutted
for the decoy. It wasn’t long after two younger toms brought up the rear,
and it was soon perfectly clear which of the three was the boss gobbler on the ridge.

When the dust and feathers settled the big tom headed straight for the decoy but stopped
mid-stride and made a beeline for higher ground. At the time I couldn’t figure out what had gone
wrong, but I was soon enlightened when a mangy coyote came running over the ridge. I feared the jig was up and the hunt was over.

I continued to call and much to my surprise it wasn’t long after another tom answered my calls. It
sounded like the sarne tom that had been chased off. Evidently my assembly call was working.

Only minutes later I spotted the old gobbler’s head craning over the brush. The second he hit
the clearing he let out a double gobble and headed for the decoy on a dead run. At 20 paces
a Muzzy broadhead sliced through his vitals, putting the 25-pound bird in my game vest.

Most turkey-hunting gurus are sure to tell you hunting turkeys with archery gear is tough, but it also offers the ultimate challenge. Let’s take a look at several ways to improve your chances of tagging a trophy longbeard with your bow this year.

USE THE RIGHT GEAR
To be a successful turkey hunter it helps to have the right gear. Turkeys have excellent eyesight, so good camouflage is essential. Try to match your camo pattern with the surrounding
terrain and vegetation.

Likewise, the same can be said about concealment. The toughest part of killing a sharp-spurred
tom with a bow is getting drawn without getting picked off first. When I first started hunting these wary birds, popup blinds hadn’t been invented yet, my blinds then consisted primarily of brush
and burlap. Although I killed a few birds, it was nothing like today using blinds made by Double Bull Archery and Cabela’s.

A turkey’s vital area is not much bigger than a baseball, so it’s more important to be accurate than to shoot heary bow poundage. You don’t need to shoot more than 50 or 55 pounds to get adequate penetration.

Hit a turkey in the vitals or spine with a good, sharp broadhead and there’s a good chance they’ll go down immediately. I believe any broadhead will get the job done. I’ve killed birds with mechanical heads like the NAP Gobbler Getter and Spitfire, but also with fixed-blade heads like the Thunderhead and Muzzy 125.

LEARN TO READ THE SIGN
A good turkey hunter scouts heavily and knows where his quarry roosts and struts. A
week or two before the season opens, spend time glassing suspect roosting areas from a
distance during the last hour of daylight. Once you’ve located a roosting sight, then spend time glassing at first light and find out where the turkeys go when leaving the roost. On opening day, set up an ambush and waylay your bird.

You might also consider scouting the property on foot. The late Ben Lee (the well-known turkey call maker) once told me that a gobbler likes to roost close enough to water to hear his droppings splat. I’ve since realized there’s a fair amount of truth to that and I now look for roosting sights near waterways. If you find droppings and feathers beneath large, mature trees you can be sure turkeys are roosting overhead.

Differentiating between gobbler and hen droppings is fairly easy. A gobbler’s droppings
are elongated and often shaped like the letter ‘J,” whereas a hen drops compact piles or
wads. Droppings with a chalky appearance are generally very old.

Keep an eye open for scratch marks in the timber too. Turkeys scratch up cow pies and
turn over leafs and bark from trees searching for their daily intake of insects like crickets,
ants, grasshoppers and caterpillars.

One way to determine whether or not the scratch mark are old or new is to know when
it last rained. If it hasn’t rained recently and the scratch marks are sharply defined, chances
are the sign is fairly new. Likewise, if scratch marks appear washed out then they occurred before the last rain.

Also, look for tracks after a rain. You’ll find tracks near crop-field edges, creek/river- banks, dirt roads and other areas void of vegetation. If the tracks you find in a given area
are few, chances are you won’t find many turkeys either. Continue scouting until you find an area with more abundant sign.

Turkeys also like to dust in dry and powdery soil almost daily. They use the same
locations year after year, much like whitetails do with annual scrapes. Dusting sights are
typically shaped like a bowl and you’ll often find them near field edges, dirt roads and
sandy spots. While scouting, keep a keen eye open for a dusting bowl and you’re likely to
catch a tom frequenting it during midday.

CALL SPARINGLY
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a world champion caller, but I’ve learned enough to get the job done. For me, there’s nothing more exciting at the crack of dawn than to have turkeys gobbling their fool heads off from a nearby roost. In the early years, when a turkey gobbled, I called back.

The longer the conversation would drag on, the louder my calling became. On some occasions it
worked, but other instances the tom would shut up and move away silently. The point to be made here is that beginning hunters often make the mistake of calling too much or too loud. Either one could chase a wary gobbler off!

If you’ve got a few years under your belt, then you know an old longbeard has the knack for taking a fancy to one hen at a time. A wise old tom wont always come to any one call so learn to “talk the talk” on several types. It might be a mouth, slate or box call that coaxes in the tom, so be sure to carry a wide variety of calls.

THE RIGHT SETUP
Killing a turkey on any given day is a matter of being in the right place at the right time and using the right call. If you can’t set up in the right location you surely wont kill a turkey. Turkeys
like to strut in open lanes or green meadows, so avoid thick, gnarly timber ridges or tall grass fields.

Two seasons back I had trouble closing the distance on three old birds that liked strutting the edge of a plowed cornfield that was surrounded by a CRP field. I had scouted the area the week before and watched the toms work the edge of the field. The closest spot to set up was some 60 yards away.

For two days in a row I called the gobblers to the field’s edge, but they stopped short of my effective range.  On the third morning I moved the blind to a narrow green strip 10 yards away.
As the first hint of light gave way I let out a couple of soft clucks, and all three gobblers responded from their roost in unison. A few minutes later it was a fly-down cackle, several yelps,
clucks and purrs that brought the old sultan strutting into range.

PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING
All gobblers have distinct personalities and some are pretty moody, so success could hinge on your call presentation. Take for example a turkey that continues to answer your call with a gobble versus one that gobbles every five or 10 minutes without any rhyme or reason. The tom that continually answers is the one that’s probably “hot to trot” and offers the best odds of shooting. There could be several reasons why the other tom is less talkative. For instance, he might be
call shy or he is with a hen.  Regardless, you’ll need to assess the situation and weigh out the odds.

The afternoon of opening day this past spring I had an o1′ gobbler hang up for nearly an hour before I was able to serve up the right combination of calling and persuade him into committing.
I set up my blind 20 yards from the edge  of a green strip bordering an untilled soybean field. To test the temperature of the birds in the area, I began with a few yelps and cutts.
Almost immediately a gobbler sounded off and within minutes he appeared along the edge of the field some 100 yards away. As I continued using the same series of calls, the tom moved
closer. Unfortunately, for every two steps forward he took one back the opposite direction. When I limited the calls to just yelps and purrs he began shaving off the distance.

At 25 yards I drew my bow and let the string slip free. The instant the broadhead hit the tom he flew straight into the air and then slammed to the ground in a heap.

IT CAN TAKE TWO
Every year the majority of hunters take to the woods alone. As the season grows long it’s not unusual for turkeys to become wary of anything that sounds like a single hen. In this scenario a call-shy tom is more apt to come into what sounds like more than one hen. Therefore, you might consider “doubling up” on a gobbler if you’ve failed alone.

Another twosome tactic is for the shooter to stay put while the caller continues to move away. This sounds like a hen moving away and has a tendency to give the gobbler the idea a hot hen is slipping from his reach.  When a bird consistently “hangs up” and you’ve made several fruitless attempts, you should pair up with a friend. This tactic positions the shooter in the general location where the tom has been hanging up.

BE PATIENT
One of the biggest dilemmas in turkey hunting is knowing what to do when a tom hangs up just out of range. More often than not there’s usually a barrier that prevents him from progressing all the way. In most cases it’s a barbed-wire fence or deep ditch.

Regardless of whether the turkey stops answering or continues to answer but won’t come in, the first thing I usually do is stop calling and wait 15 minutes or so. If the turkey doesn’t show, then I’ll move in the direction where he was last heard and call again. If the turkey continues to answer then there’s a good chance of killing him. If he wont answer after making a couple of moves then it’s probably a lost cause.

The odds of calling a tom away from a hen are slim but not impossible. I’ve done it a couple of times. I’ve actually had better luck scattering the flock and then calling the gobbler
back a few minutes later.  Like whitetail hunters, turkey hunters have a tendency to leave the
woods too early. Experience has proven that restless gobblers begin roaming the woods looking for hens or strut on hilltops in exhibition during the midday hours.

If you know or suspect a gobbler is “henned up,” you might consider waiting until late morning or early afternoon (in states that allow late hunting) to try calling. A tom will sometimes leave his hen midday to search for others, at which time he’s vulnerable to calling. On a couple of occasions I’ve called in the same tom later in the day that was non-responsive in the morning.

USE A BLIND
Although I’ve bagged turkeys with my bow by spot and stalking or ambushing them in various ways, erecting a blind is the best way to go. The type of terrain often dictates the best method for ambushing a gobbler. Let’s take for example gnarly dense cover. It’s nearly impossible to spot and stalk through it without alerting a bird. A better approach might be building a blind from the
natural surroundings or using a popup blind.

This reminds me of a big gobbler my brother Mark was hunting back in the 1980s. The old tom liked strutting along a fence line on top of a hill where he could see all around. There was a big pile of old wooden fence posts in the corner that Mark used to build a four-sided blind along the
fence line. The following day he killed the old bird at 20 paces.

Big toms aren’t pushovers and they don’t come running to everything that sounds like a yelping hen. To consistently tag a mature gobbler each spring you need to stay on top of your game. No single tactic will guarantee success, but a combination of the tactics mentioned in this article is sure to up your odds. <–<<

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Published by admin on 03 Mar 2010

UNCLE TED BOWHUNTING TECH TIPS

 
UNCLE TED BOWHUNTING TECH TIPS-The Road to Backstraps
by Ted Nugent
 

I bow hunted 360 days in 2009. Being the first year in my life that I didn’t tour, at the tender age of 61 I figured why not! And let me tell you, dear Lord it was exciting!
 
I started bow hunting around 1955 with my dad. We didn’t know exactly what we were doing, but we sure loved doing it. Rarely killed anything in those early years, but we learned the hard way. Eventually, we began to figure it out.
 
In 2009, I killed numerous bears, moose, hogs, kudu, impala, warthog, nyala, sable, eland, waterbuck, wildebeest, Lechwe, Oryx, Aoudad, axis deer, fallow deer, sika deer, Nilgai antelope, blackbuck antelope, mule deer, javelina, whitetails galore, black tails and a bunch of turkeys. It was a spectacular hunting dream come true.
 
The only thing better than bow hunting is more bow hunting. I give away sacred meat as gifts to the deserving. It is a beautiful thing.
 
And as always, it takes constant trial and error and a relentless determination and tenacity to kill game consistently with sharp sticks. As a perfect human being, I blow it royal on occasion. It is how we are made. Pretty darn good, but ultimately incomplete, and mistakes will be made. The real trick in life is to learn from our mistakes, and as someone who bow hunts more than probably any human being alive, my mistakes are aplenty. And hence, so are my lessons.
 
From these often painful lifetime bow hunting lessons comes a few clear and present truisms that I am pleased to share with my Blood Brothers of the mystical flight of the arrow. Fortunately in this day and age, unlimited lessons abound from the plethora of bow hunting TV shows, informative articles by professional bow hunting writers and shared information at the ubiquitous archery shops across America and beyond.
 
My first recommendation is to pay close attention to the master bow hunters on TV. The best of the best like Chuck Adams, Michael Waddell and his Bone Collectors, Fred Eichler and his stunning bow hunting wife Michelle. Great information on strategies can be found on nearly every show by Randy Ulmer, Greg and Jeff Miller, Pat Reeves, Lee and Tiffany Lekosky and so many others. Some provide more instruction than others, but I for one watch as many as I can in order to glean applicable info from them.
 
Great writers like some of those above, plus Joe Bell, Brandon Ray, Mike Ray and numerous other die hard bow hunters will steer you straight, and if paid attention to, provide lessons from them before you have to make mistakes yourself.
 
If I had to chose one word to overview bow hunting, it would be “stealth”. Quiet, ultra aware, sneaky, tuned in stealth.
 
Stealth is ultimately all about a higher level of awareness. For modern man to attain a higher level of awareness than the beasts we hunt is not an easy thing. In fact, it is almost impossible. But it can be done, and by tuning to our surroundings with every ounce of our fiber, our actions, everything, our chances at penetrating the mystical defense zone of prey animals increases exponentially to the effort we put forth. That’s bow hunting 101.
 
Hunt ultra slow. Even in our tree stands. Remain crazy still. Move like a sloth. Radar our surroundings. Examine every detail. Stop often and go as slow as we possibly can. Fred Bear always told me to stay in the shadows and to not step on anything I can step over. Sneaky is as sneaky does.
 
Not just the stealth necessary to get within bow range of the beast, but the imperative stealth of coming to full draw without alerting the animal. The number one violation of this stealth consideration is the self imposed curse of so many archers choosing a bow with too heavy a draw weight. This is a pet peeve of mine, as I am convinced that it is the number cause of attrition in our sport. The archery industry itself is mostly to blame, as it is oftentimes nearly impossible to find a bow under 70 pounds at a pro shop anywhere.
 
Many of my bow hunting friends and I kill everything that walks with 45-50 pounds draw. My petite little wife Shemane, and others, kill consistently with less than 40 pounds. This way we can draw our bows without lifting them up in the air or contorting our bodies which is certain to alarm game. Bottom line, lighter is better. Graceful bow hunting kills game, not kinetic energy and velocity. Know it.
 
Silence is imperative, and that comes from soft, quiet clothing and gear, and how we move. Our arrows sliding across the rest is often the cause of close by game becoming alarmed to our presence. Silence that bow and arrow rest.
 
Scent is always critical. Even with the incredible scent reducing clothing and sprays available today, that I absolutely believe in and use, it is nearly impossible to remain scent free to the degree necessary to fool the nose of prey animals. Wind direction should always be considered and utilized. The nose knows.
 
Timing is a key component of stealth. Even with perfect camouflage, critters can pick up on the slightest movement. Don’t draw that bow if you can see the animal’s eyeball. And not just the target animal, but any animal that might pick up on our movement and alert the others. Wait for the best shot opportunity possible, and then when you decide to draw, do it. Do not get caught at partial draw, or you’re done.
 
Obviously, those who bring home the backstraps do so because they hunt where the game is. Advance scouting will save us time, so we don’t waste any hunting where there is no or little game. Zero in on the best habitat with the most game activity to maximize opportunities.
 
Do not underestimate the benefits of baiting game. If you don’t like it, don’t do it, but I am a big fan of baiting. When acorns are raining down, or alfalfa fields provide the bait, take advantage of them. But if a little spilled corn or C’Mere Deer will help present a shot, for God’s sakes why not?
 
A mock scrape it bait. Food plots are bait. Apple trees, or apples tossed about are bait. Acorns are bait. Waterholes are bait. Doe pee is bait. Use it all. Have fun. Kill game. Live it up.
 
Practicing with archery tackle is more demanding to reach deadly proficiency than with firearms. I believe it is a daily thing. Aim small, miss small. Pick a spot. Shoot 3D animal targets to memorize the exact spot on a form so it all falls into place naturally at the moment of truth. Practice makes perfect, particularly in bow hunting.
 
A cocked, locked and ready to rock bow hunter must be in good physical and mental shape. Good sleep, a smart diet, and overall health is essential to be at the top of our game. Archery is 90% mental, so good physical conditioning and a solid, at ease confidence is imperative.
 
These are some of the Nugent Bow hunting Rules my family, friends and I adhere to. They can make the difference between backstraps and heartbreak. And we all know that backstraps are better every time. Backstraps or bust.

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Published by archerchick on 22 Feb 2010

Aquatic Archery – By Mark Morrison

Aquatic Archery – By Mark Morrison
April 2005

Spark up the off-season by hunting these underwater targets.

http://www.bowandarrowhunting.com

April 2005

To archers like myself who eat, sleep and bleed bowhunting, it seems there’s never enough time to bowhunt. When there is ample time, sometimes our prey is scarce and the waiting game we play can become monotonous. The same can also be said for sport fishing. However, when you combine these two great past-times-bowhunting and fishing-you’ll step into an all out action-packed activity called bowfishing, one of the fastest growing segments of archery today.

The list of rough fish species available to bow-fishers across the United States is nearly endless. Due to their wide distribution, common carp, buffalo and gar are the species most often pursued. Because of their ever-expanding range and penchant for rapid reproduction, carp are the top fish hunted by bowfishers. Average size “bronze-backs” range from 10 to 15 pounds. But they regularly reach 40 pounds and monsters as large as 80 pounds have been harvested by fishing archers! Carp are strong fighters that prefer wild close-in, fin-to-toe battles.

Arguably the most aesthetic of rough fishes are buffalo (including bigmouth, black and small mouth), which have a distinctive color scheme that features jet-black dorsal areas that fade into shiny silvery-blue sides. Typical buffalo weigh 10 to 15 pounds and trophy specimens grow as large as 30 to 60 pounds! Buffalo are speed merchants, well known to knowledgeable bowfishers for their tremendous battling skills. When struck with a well-placed fishing arrow buffalo don’t hesitate to employ their inherent speed to streak bullet-like for deep-water sanctuary. It sometimes takes a Herculean (but always fun) effort to bring the fast departing fish under control!

Although gar (shortnose, spotted, long-nose and alligator) are found throughout the U.S., they are more predominate in southern waters. Typical spotted and shortnose gar encountered on the water average 5 pounds and hefty specimens will weigh as much as 10 pounds. Longnose gar (easily recognized by their ultra-long, tooth-filled ‘noses”) weigh 5 to 20 pounds and monsters as large as 50 pounds have been bow-bagged in the extreme southern tier of their range. Alligator gar are the monarchs of the rough fish world. “Gator” gar inhabit rivers and reservoirs in the gulf coast regions of states like Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. These gar are formidable opponents that can tip the scales in excess of 200 pounds! Although any size “gator” gar can test a bowfisher’s mettle, seasoned fish hunters agree that the bench-mark for trophies is 100 pounds.

Longnose gar are plentiful only in a few water ways in my home state of Minnesota. Still every spring and summer, I make many treks to a few select area lakes and aim all my efforts at chasing these challenging fish. One steamy Saturday last July still stands out in my mind. The wind was dead calm, the air sultry and the intense sun had sizzled the temperature to near 100 degrees – nowhere near ideal conditions for any other bowhunting pursuit but perfect for hunting heat-loving longnose gar.

I cranked my outboard to life and raced across the lake toward a small inlet stream. I figured where the creek emptied into a weed infested bay, good numbers of gar should be there to feed and loaf. To avoid spooking the gar I shut the outboard down 100 yards from the inlet. After scrambling upon my elevated platform and lowering the electric foot controlled trolling motor, I began a methodical stalk toward the weedline. The coon-tail weeds were unusually thick…perfect habitat for gar.

Approaching the inlet I was astonished to observe an estimated 100 gar lazily hanging out at varying depths within the weeds. I immediately stopped the trolling motor and silently drifted through the incredible school of gar. My search for a suitable trophy didn’t take long, because a huge long-nose unexpectedly surfaced and gulped air not 5 yards off the boat’s bow!

I carefully brought my recurve to full draw, picked an aiming spot on the gar and drove my heavy Muzzy Penetrator arrow at the gar’s enameled hide. The arrow’s impact was akin to striking a match to gunpowder. One moment the gar was slowly slicing through the water, the next it was displaying acrobatic maneuvers that would’ve made a sailfish seasick! The sight of a 5-foot gar completely clearing the water and shaking it’s toothy beak from side to side was awe-inspiring.

The sharp Stingray fishing point and 350-pound test BCY synthetic line held firm and I soon had the gar reeled alongside my boat. Since I didn’t relish having my hands raked to shreds by the gars protruding razor-like dentures, I was very careful when I grabbed my arrow to hoist the fish aboard. As soon as that was accomplished I permanently silenced the gar with a sharp rap from my “bonker” ( a short section of steel pipe).

This is necessary because a gar of this size coming to life in the confines of a boat can cause a lot of havoc including spilled tackle boxes, shredded clothing and lacerated body parts! Hanging the substantial fish from my electronic
scale revealed it to weigh an incredible 19 pounds. I couldn’t have scripted a better start to my day. Bagging trophies like the above
mentioned gar is the result of pre-season scouting and realistic “on the water” archery practice. Successfully arrowing underwater prey requires you to compensate for light refraction. Simply put, refraction bends light rays in such a way that fish always appear higher (or closer) than they actually are. To compensate for refraction you must aim low to connect with your quarry.

How low? That knowledge only comes with shooting experience. The best rule of thumb is to aim low, then aim lower! Soon your instincts will take over and you’ll begin hitting with surprising consistency! Since no two bowfishing shots are alike in range or depth, sight-equipped bows are a hindrance. Shooting instinctively and letting the shot happen naturally is the ideal method for arrowing rough fish. Also, to block out annoying surface glare and make the task of spotting and arrowing fish easier it is a must that you wear a quality pair of polarized sunglasses and a hat with an efficient sun blocking brim.

My above gar hunt represented a typical, (albeit very exciting) bowfishing outing. Previously, I started my season in early May hunting for bowfin (dogfish) and common carp. I usually continue to hunt carp, buffalo and gar throughout the summer and into early fall. I also travel to neighboring states to hunt Asian bighead carp (a plankton feeding river-ine fish that can easily attain weights in excess of 50 pounds) and white amur (grass carp).
Even with all this variety, I always find time to make several forays for “dusk to dawn’ hunts. My bowfishing rig sports a 2,000-watt generator which sends power to a bank of halogen lamps that pierce the inky blackness, illuminating the water around my boat for 10 yards. Despite the constant humming produced by the generator rough fish like buffalo, carp, sheephead and gar are more relaxed at night and far easier to approach. In fact nighttime bowfishing is so productive many bowfishers (especially those in southern states, where day- time temps can reach dangerous levels) ignore day-light hunting altogether and do all of their bowfishing under the cover of darkness.


I’ve been a self-proclaimed bowfishing addict for 20 years and I’ve acquired all the latest gear to make myself a more efficient predator of fish. I didn’t start out that way though. Like many other youngsters, I literally cut my bowhunting teeth on rough fish at an early age. Each spring when the annual sucker spawning runs were in full gear my buddies and I would grab our little fiberglass recurves and wooden arrows (equipped with crude homemade barbed fishing heads) and dash for the nearest creek in anticipation of filling our stringers with cold water suckers.
Those early days provided a lot of action (which is what restless young archers crave) in the form of endless shot opportunities and heavy bags of fish. But, the real challenge was bringing our fish to shore after a successful shot, You see, at the time we neither had the inclination or resources to attach a reel and line to our bows. So…after arrowing a fish we’d simply ditch our bows and race downstream after the fast departing fish! Knowing where the fish was in the stream was fairly easy; we just had to keep an eye on our brightly colored fletchings juning up like oversized pencil bobbers through the water’s surface. Of course, we had to sprint well ahead of our quarry and ambush them on a shallow stretch to finally bring them to hand. This was accomplished by grasping the arrow and fish simultaneously and tossing the squirming, slippery prize onto the bank.

It was definitely great fun for neophyte archers like us. Because bowfishing is a year-round, day or night sport in many states, it is ideally suited for passionate bowhunters of any age looking to extend their hunting season. Be careful, however because bowfishing excitement is contagious. Your bowhunting goals may soon include harvesting trophies like 4O-pound carp, 50-pound buffalo fish and maybe even 5-
foot streamlined predators with bony armatures and mouths stuffed full of needle sharp teeth!

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