Archive for the 'Tips/Advice' Category

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Published by Mathews_ArchZ7 on 10 Feb 2011

Its about that time again…

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

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

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

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

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Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

Winter Feed Or Not To Winter Feed ~ By Charlie Kroll


Bow And Arrow
August 1981

Winter Feed Or Not To Winter Feed ~ By Charlie Kroll
While the Technique May Seem The Logical Answer To Protecting
Game During Severe Weather – It May Be The Worst Thing Man Can Do

IT HAPPENED on Arizona’s Kaibab Plateau in the 1920s;
sixty-thousand deer starved to death over a six-year period. It
happened in the Gunnison country of Colorado in 1942; five thousand
mule deer died of starvation during the winter. It happened in Michigan
in 1950; fifty-thousand whitetails died because there were too many
deer and too little food. It happened more recently; 1978~79, in North
Dakota where thousands of pronghorn antelope were lost through a
combination of severe storms and resulting lack of food.

Could such losses have been prevented? Under the circumstances,
probably not. For when we allow wildlife species to build to such high
levels that the available seasonal habitat cannot support them, nature
finally has to take a hand. She decrees severe winter to whittle wildlife
down to the point that they can continue to exist on the land, food and
cover available to them.

The question of whether winter feeding of deer and other wild game
is possible, feasible or advisable to prevent such losses frequently comes
up among-different groups. Interested parties include those concerned
with wildlife range and forest management, hunters, ranchers, and those
interested in conservation and wildlife in general. As a result of the wide
range of interest, coupled with a lack of precise information, a good deal
of misinformation is often accepted as factual.

The nutritional problems that confront animals
such as deer, elk and antelope during the winter are
similar to those faced by domestic species. Generally
speaking, winter browse lacks the nutritional value of
that available during the growing season. The variety
available is also greatly reduced. While variety may
not necessarily be required, a more varied diet is
usually more likely to supply needed nutrients than
will a limited diet. Coupled with this is the situation
where animals simply consume practically all edible
food in sight, particularly during heavy snowfalls and
in locations where they concentrate in protected
areas. In such situations outright starvation will take a
high toll of the population.

Information providing accurate reasons for winter
death losses is difficult to find. It is likely that most
losses occur after a relatively prolonged-period of
substandard nutrition coupled with added stresses
imposed by bitter cold, heavy snowfall that may
completely bury feed, the need to struggle through
deep drifts, etc. Animals under these conditions are
more susceptible to stresses and more likely to die.

It is natural for most people to equate game animals such as deer
l with. domestic livestock. When winter conditions make the pasturing
of stock a problem, ranchers use the technique of supplemental feeding from stored
domestic foods such as hay, grain or cottonseed cake, and most are able to
winter their cattle quite well.

lt would seem, logical, then, that similar techniques could be used
to carry more game animals on limited winter ranges or to carry
them through severe stretches of weather without a high mortality
irate, Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that simply.

The possibilities of feeding deer and other game animals during
emergency situations have been studied by a number of
states. Field observations indicate that emergency feeding has not
been successful. The likelihood is relatively poor that emergency
feeding can be successful for animals that are starving and severely
stressed. The reasons for this are partly due to the type of digestive
tract these animals have.

Deer, in common with other wild species such as elk, antelope,
moose and caribou, and domestic species such as cattle, sheep and
goats, are ruminant animals. ln ruminants, solid food that is swallowed
goes first to the rumen, a large organ which is inhabited by a
variety of bacteria and protozoa.

These microorganisms pre-digest the food before it passes into the
lower alimentary tract where the usual gastric and intestinal digestion
takes place. ln ruminants the nature of the diet has
a large influence on the numbers and types of rumen microorganisms
present. ln normal circumstances, in free ranging animals, the diet from
day to day is relatively similar, although many species of plants may be
consumed. As the season changes and different plants appear, develop
and die, the diet of the animal changes. But the change is
gradual, taking place over a period of weeks or months.

If confined animals are suddenly forced to drastically change
their diet, it takes some period of time for the rumen microorganisms
to adapt to the change. This particularly
applies when the diet is changing from a low quality forage or
browse to one with large amounts of readily available
carbohydrates — sugars and starches — or highly soluble
proteins. Such dietary changes are apt to result in abnormal
rumen metabolism and acute indigestion.

In contrast, animals with simple stomachs; humans, birds,
etc., have a digestive system which is more adaptable to
sudden dietary changes and the unfavorable effects are
usually much less severe than in ruminants.
A second reason that emergency feeding might be less
than successful is related to food and taste preferences. Deer
and antelope are browsers, preferring a diet of leaves, twigs
and tender shoots from forbes, bushes and shrubs. Elk
combine browse and natural grasses for their preferred diet.

The organisms in these animals’ stomachs are geared to digest
this natural diet. These animals will usually accept offered
hay or other supplemental food only when their natural food
is unavailable or when they’re in bad shape. With such an
abrupt change in their normal diet, the organisms necessary
for digestion fail to function and the hay compacts. Without
the normal fermentation processes in operation, the
compacted material then begins to putrefy. When that
happens, ulcers form in the true stomach and small intestine.
Bacterial infections develop in the linings of the stomach and
intestinal tract, producing toxins that are absorbed by the
body. A generalized toxemia or poisoning results, causing
extensive damage to liver, kidneys and heart. lf the condition
prevails, the end result is death.

Stockmen face similar problems when they transfer sheep
from high summer ranges to feed lots. The period of
adjustment to the change in food is a delicate one and if it is
not handled properly many sheep will be lost.
A natural question then, is why not prepare deer and elk
for this diet by spreading hay for them prior to winter? It
sounds plausible, but in actuality the animals will either
ignore the offering or nibble a little and return to their
diets of natural foods. They plainly won’t take enough to
make the necessary transition to a straight hay diet.

The physical nature of the food offered also has a
pronounced effect on consumption. In studies carried out by
the Ruminant Nutrition Department of Oregon State
University on captive Columbian blacktail deer, they learned
that these animals show a marked preference for pelleted
grains as compared to grains given in rolled or whole form.
The black tails showed a high preference for pelleted soybean
meal, corn and wheat, but much less for barley and oats. They
refused beet pulp, linseed meal, cottonseed meal and peas, all
in pelleted form. As a whole, deer showed a pronounced
preference for sweets such as molasses and various sugars.
Bucks showed preferences for bitter and sour solutions,
whereas does did not. From this information it is obvious that
the right combinations of feed ingredients would be needed
to tempt deer to eat food that is totally foreign to them.
On one winter artificial feeding ground in Colorado, 5266
deer died during one winter, their stomachs full of hay.

Studies of this project showed the artificial feeding actually
accelerated the death rate, increasing it from twenty-five
percent to as high as forty-two percent. They were counted,
deer by deer, as the carcasses were heaped in long trenches for
burial by game department employees.

A third factor that argues against emergency feeding is the
difficult and costly task that would be involved in simply
getting needed food to animals while they are still in
condition to utilize it. This could be handled in areas where
deer yard up in herds, but would not be feasible at all where
deer or other game are scattered over a wide area of rough
country.

Programs of supplemental feeding are not only financially
impractical, but might well result in further overuse of winter
ranges. Artificial feeding of wildlife is an extremely expensive
proposition and rarely a successful substitute for normal
winter forage.

In a slightly different situation and setting; that of the
South Dakota pheasant lands during a prolonged blizzard in
the early 1960s, another colossal artificial feeding attempt
was made. With the survival of an estimated nine million
pheasants threatened, some four hundred tons of surplus
shelled corn was distributed by trucks, planes and men on
snowshoes. No one knows for sure how much it really helped,
but when the statistics are balanced the whole operation
becomes slightly ridiculous. A pheasant needs about four
ounces of food a day. lf you distribute four hundred tons of
corn among nine million pheasants, it might feed a third of
them for one day.

Well, if you can’t stockpile wildlife by supplemental
feeding, what is the solution? l-low do you regulate wildlife to
avoid these situations, yet maintain them at a level sufficient
for people to utilize and enjoy? The answer is to follow the
proven principles of wildlife management. Provide the proper
complex of food, cover, and water on the land available. And,
as a specie’s habitat is shrunken by man’s industrial
encroachment, its numbers must be regulated to fit the
remaining available habitat. Each year, through regulated
hunting seasons, the natural increase must be pruned back to
a level the habitat complex can support through the winter, a
level that won’t do permanent and irrevocable damage to the
complex during times of severe stress. <—<<<

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Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

Psychology Of Whitetail Breeding Scrapes ~ By Robert C. McGuire


Bow and Arrow
August 1981

Psychology Of Whitetail Breeding Scrapes

BOWHUNTERS WHO HAVE spent time in whitetail
country have probably noticed and made significance
of remnant indicators of deer rut or breeding activity.
Classification of scrapes by size and location can
sometimes make their interpretation quite difficult,
permitting misguided hunters to spend useless hours over
non—huntable scrapes. I prefer to look at them from a
psychological perspective, from the deer’s point of view.
As defined by Roger Rothhaar, border and boundary
scrapes are those that a buck might leave when he pauses
naturally before advancing into different terrain. Since these if
scrapes are normally left by bucks early in the rut season and
since the behavioral pattern of a buck certainly changes
during the peak of rut, they are generally not huntable.


Rather, they are indicators of a buck’s pre—peak rut
behavioral pattern. When such scrapes happen to appear at
logical border, it is easy for a veteran to identify them as
indicators of a buck’s past presence but not likely
reappearance. Many hunters fall prey to early rut scrapes that
have been revisited through behavioral happenstance, rather
than sexual desire. Deer motivators other than a singular
breeding obsession may help explain some of those
good—looking scrapes that appear in likely breeding terrain.
The process of pawing the ground is a minor part of the
elaborate scraping ritual. However, backtracking a dominant
buck in the snow from its urinated scrape can be enlightening
as you see evidence of the full scraping procedure.
Arriving at a woods line before dawn, [observe the trail of
an old buck that has already crossed a road and several open
fields under the cover of darkness. His normal hunger has
been replaced by the annual breeding obsession and he pauses
in the open field prior to entering the woods. His direct path
has not included the normal night feeding areas, but he finds
himself about to enter a highly traveled woods situated
between popular feeding and bedding areas. Looking around,
he gently arches his back, pulling his rear legs together as he
urinates on his tarsal glands. The normally mild odor of urine
is intensified through interaction with the glands. Human
observers passing by several hours later will be able to detect
the odor. Pausing briefly, he begins his slow walk through the
woods on a direct trail leading to his breeding area. Passing
the scrapes he left weeks earlier just inside the woods, he does
not stop to reopen them, nor does he forage along the way.
After traveling about three hundred yards, he hesitates at the
crest of a hill just long enough to briefly urinate on his tarsal
glands again. Resuming his deliberate, slow walk, he
continues for another hundred yards and without hesitation
crosses a second road. There he pauses again to urinate on his
glands before entering the thicket area.

A short distance later, surrounded by dense undergrowth,
he arrives at his freshly snow-covered scrape. After nuzzling,
licking and Chewing on the overhanging branches, he starts to
paw the snow, dragging underlying leaves and debris back to
expose a fresh surface directly beneath the limbs. Taking
several alternate strokes with his front feet, he leaves a
prominent footprint in the fresh dirt as he supports himself
for the last stroke across the scrape. Finally, almost as an
afterthought, he urinates as before in or alongside the scrape.
The nibbled overhanging limbs will be of primarv interest to
any deer that later encounters the scrape and may provide
interpretative significance to hunters who observe the
behavior of deer.
If a doe has deposited estrus sign, the buck may in fact
forget about scraping and, nose to the ground, take up her
trail at a fast walk, grunting as he goes. She is usually close by
and quickly located by the buck. Although they typicallv
separate after a brief union, if the doe is nearing estrus she will
be quite receptive and they may stay together a nay or two with
perhaps moving a mile or more away from their original
meeting place.
I once spent five successive hard-hunting days over a large
scrape that l believed to be a main breeding scrape. Most of
the ingredients were there: the topography, surrounding
dense undergrowth with a few open pockets, and proximity
to known doe patterns. lt even tit Gene Wensel’s description
of a hub scrape. with small, singular, not revisited, scrapes
within fifty yards in each of three directions from the main
scrape. Finally burned out in that high tree stand, I gave it up
until late in the season.

After rut was over, I checked backjust to see if the scrapes
had been reopened. To my surprise, they looked about the
same as I recalled them from my high perch. Although it was
certainly possible that the buck`s urge had dwindled, or
perhaps l had pressured him out of his main breeding
territory, I started noticing that buck more and more
frequently back in the same area. There had to be another
explanation. Reasoning as I might if I were a deer ambling
through the woods, l was suddenly aware that the location of
this large scrape was actually a decision point, with three
trails showing moderate use converging at a single point. A
buck walking any of those three trails might ponder his
direction on reaching the junction. Since the buck had
reappeared after the peak of rut. I considered that perhaps
this was a pause location rather than a hub scrape with the
associated peripheral scrapes. It is logical that as the rut
develops in intensity, the deer turns more of his conscious
effort toward scraping and other rut activity. Early in the rut.
a buck might paw the ground simply because he has paused at
a given location and the urge of breeding is starting to tingle
within him. Though he will continue to forage for food and is
basically in his pre-rut behavioral pattern, a buck can
incidentally scrape without conscious effort.

As the rut increases with intensity. a buck will turn to
conscious scraping. Scrapes made during this intermediate
stage are purposeful, rather than of convenience. The buck
stops whatever he is doing for the purpose of leaving his sign.
He may even go out of his way to select a spot under an
overhanging limb in order to rub his eye glands or nibble
branches over the scrape location. Though not generally
revisited, and not generally huntable. these scrapes may look
like an early breeding scrape. After a buck has been swept
into his peak rut behavioral pattern, he may actually change
his range so as to accommodate his preferred breeding areas.
Veteran hunters may notice the reoccurrence of these areas
coinciding with certain environmental or pressure factors,
including crop rotation. Revisiting such an area to make
additional scrapes or perhaps to enlarge existing ones, the
buck is now so obsessed with breeding that he makes a
pronounced conscious effort to scrape.

In this extreme of peak rut scraping behavior, a buck
willfully disrupts his normal activity and may even travel to
another separate area to scrape. In early rut activity, the buck
only scrapes unconsciously or subconsciously when his
normal pattern is disrupted for any other reason and there is
occasion to pause. It is all a question of degree. The closer he
is to peak of rut, the more he will go out of his way to scrape.
While I would not generally consider the early pause scrapes
as huntable, they are good indicators of where the buck is
likely to return after his peak rutting activity diminishes.

Hunting rub lines, especially along ridges, is similarly more
I productive after peak tut when the buck returns to his normal
post-rut behavior. Buck activity is prompted by many
I complex factors, especially does in estrus. However, since an
unbred doe can come into season repeatedly, rut may be
I sustained or retriggered over a period of several months. I
have seen this in Ohio, though usually the older bucks are not
responsive to it.

Scrapes often delineate a buck’s territory, but should not
be construed as territorial sign—posts. Urinated scrapes
function as advertisements for does, rather than warnings to
other bucks. Happenstance will dictate early scrape locations,
often at the extremities of a buck’s normal pre-rut range.
However, if the scraping itself is incidental to a necessary
pause in the buck’s activity, then he normally will not urinate
at these locations, and such scrapes are superfluous to the
breeding effort. The only territorialism that exists in the deer
society is in the immediate presence of estrus sign.
Subordinate bucks, especially when accompanying a
dominant buck, will suddenly appear uneasy when they
approach a urinated scrape. Often, in the absence of a more
dominant buck, they may approach and cautiously reach out
to sniff the overhanging nibbled branches, being careful not
to step in the scrape itself.

Even if the scrape was originally established by a
dominant buck, unless the subordinate detects fresh
dominant sign he may reopen it; in essence, “taking it over.”
lf a hunter has not been detected by the deer, he may use the
deer’s behavior at the scrape as an odds indicator of seeing a
more dominant and perhaps larger buck. The more nervous
and covert his activity, the greater the odds that he is merely a
subordinate in the area. Although the dominant buck does
not always support the best antlers, trophy hunters should
hold off until they are certain they have observed number
one, before settling for a subordinate.

It is sometimes confusing when a hunter encounters
pawing activity beneath broken overhanging limbs at a food
source such as crab apples. lf it was obviously necessary for
the deer to have reached into the overhanging limbs to obtain
food not more accessible down lower, then examine the area
for other signs of excessive foraging. Torn up areas may not
reflect breeding or combat activity, especially where local
browse lines have been established. Normally during rut,
there remains a seasonal abundance of food.
lf rubs are abundant around scrapes, look closely for
combat sign. Excessive rubbing near scrapes is often an
indicator of early rut behavior although a dominant buck will
become aggressive toward a lesser buck in the area of a
urinated scrape. Plentiful rubs with no combat-sign are
normally indicative of a less huntable scrape.

There are no absolute rules of whitetail behavior, only
statistical odds of occurrence. One thing is certain, however.
Older dominant bucks become more predictable during
periods of intense rutting activity, whereas younger, lesser
bucks become less predictable! Whenever he is not
accompanied by a doe in estrus, a dominant buck will cater to
his breeding obsession on his own schedule and will maintain
supremacy over his urinated scrapes. Lesser bucks will
constantly solicit his leavin’s, and will scramble around in a
more random behavioral pattern so as to avoid encounters in
the presence of estrus sign.

Contrary to popular belief, bucks will run together at any
time during rut, except in the presence of a doe in estrus, or in
close proximity to urinated active scrapes. Just because two
large bucks are seen together in peaceful coexistence does not
mean rut has terminated! The real significance lies in their
level of mutual tolerance as you observe them near the
breeding area or in the presence of does. A friend of mine died
after having been gored by an eight-point whitetail buck he
was assigned to study for its “peculiar behavior” during the
fall rut. Though this was an exceptional case, many observers
have related incidents of extreme intolerance by whitetail
bucks in the area of active urinated scrapes.

If many bucks and does are present in a large breeding
area, a bowhunter on vigil can observe the complex hierarchy
in the local deer society. lf the “old man” is off with a hot
doe, number two buck will become dominant over the
scrapes for a short time, then number three buck, and so on.
If a lesser buck appears secure or spends time in close
proximity to the dominant buck’s urinated scrape, your odds
of seeing the large buck are greatly reduced for a day or
so. However, there is no better alternative way of
encountering the bigger buck during his random
honeymooning travels, so stick to your tree! You’ve got to be
out to be lucky and you must persevere in full confidence
that you have selected your best hunting opportunity, or else
you will let down for those few minutes you have spent
seasons preparing for. Remember, once you have alerted the
old boy to your tree stand, no breeding obsession can make
him forget you were there!

If a buck has urinated at a scrape, there is a high
probability he will return to it. However, since a buck may
develop scrapes at locations where he has detected estrus sign,
it is sometimes possible to delude a buck into developing a
major scrape to the hunter’s advantage. Just as a doe might
entice a buck to expand or initially open a scrape by her
estrus odor, a hunter might deposit the same droppings,
bloody snow, or estrus urine at a strategic huntable location.
Any of the commercially available estrus urine hunting scents
can be placed on the ground without scraping. Transplanting
ingredients from a legitimate scrape will serve to sweeten up
existing scrapes. If actual deer droppings are employed, be
sure they are not derived from the scrape of a dominant
buck.

I have used such techniques with some degree of success in
areas where I am permitted to bowhunt only the fringes of a
buck’s range. If I am certain that his breeding scrapes will be
r established on land for which I do not have hunting
permission, I often attempt to promote serious scraping in
my hunting area before he shifts into his peak rut behavior. It
is the ultimate gamble; if you leave your odor or in any way
pressure him, the buck will vacate the area. If impending rut
will draw him out of your area anyhow, then you have little
to lose. Whatever the stimulus, if the buck takes over or opens
a major urinated scrape, you can appraise its huntability
under the same criteria as any other scrape,
As you might expect, veteran deer are difficult to fool.
While I have succeeded in establishing revisited huntable
scrapes, the dominant bucks I sought invariably avoided me. I
have, however, passed up several opportunities to harvest
smaller bucks. For younger subordinate bucks, mock
scraping can be an effective hunting method. <—<<<

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Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

How To Fool A Buck’s Sense Of Smell ~ By Bob Grewell


Bow And Arrow
August 1981

How To Fool A Buck’s Sense Of Smell ~ By Bob Grewell
Here Is A Simple, Inexpensive Secret To Mask Human Odor On Your Way To Your Stand

I was tree standing downwind of a well used deer trail,
completely camouflaged. I had doused the dormant brush
at the base of the large oak tree with a liberal amount of
“essence-of-skunk.” It was late November, cold, with a
light breeze.

I’d spent the better part of four weeks determining one
particular buck’s habits and patterns. I’d finalized his
movements and was positive I had his activities nearly down
pat. Now all I had to do was nurse my patience while I sat
motionless within the oak’s array of limbs.

I rolled back the top portion of the off-brown colored glove
on my right hand, to glance at my watch; seven thirty-eight.
When I sluggishly raised my head to scan the brushy terrain in front
of me, I spotted him! A fair-sized eight-point buck, deliberately
moving toward my stand, coming in-crosswind, about eighty yards out.

He moved along at a somewhat cautious pace, with his now probing the ground.
At first I thought he was searching for a doe.
But after close observation, it was apparent he was
following the same path I’d used to approach my stand. He didn’t seem to
approve of the latent human scent I’d left on the ground.

He was trailing my course through the ankle-high dead grass, snorting
occasionally as if in defiance. When he was within forty yards of my stand, he
stopped, threw his head up and down, snort/whistled again, and stamped the
earth, trying to intimidate me into revealing myself. Then, he veered off to
my right and made a wide berth of the oak, stopping twice and glancing back
over his shoulder in my direction, before disappearing.

In all my preparations, I had omitted using the skunk scent on my
boots on the way to my stand, mainly because the foul odor would have been
absorbed by the leather. But if I had sprinkled the cover scent on my boots
or the lower legs of my coveralls, there was a ninety-percent chance he
wouldn’t have detected my human scent trail.

This has happened to nearly every bowhunter at least one time or another,
you can be sure, whether you were aware of it or not. We are so meticulous
in preparing ourselves, our equipment and our stand area that we too often
overlook one thing; the foreign, human odor we leave on the ground, grass and
brush as we make our way to our stand. What can you do to cover your
human scent trail, yet keep the masking scent from fouling your boots and
clothes? You can use ankle scent drags, two lengths of dark colored wire and a
dull-colored piece of ordinary cloth. So simple and inexpensive to make that I
sometimes think it’s cheating by solving such a common hurdle so easily.

The ankle drags are slipped over your feet and drawn around the ankles
with the piece of scent—absorbing cloth hooked on the trailing end of the wire.
The scent — skunk scent for instance —is applied to the cloth, and as you walk
through the weeds and brush it completely wipes out your scent behind
you. It adds no additional weight to contend with, it’s inexpensive to
prepare and once you make your drags, they’ll last indefinitely.
To make the ankle scent drags, one for each ankle, use a thirty-inch—long
piece of 22—gauge black annealed wire, which may be purchased at any
hardware store. If you can’t find the 22-gauge specifically, you’ll be safe
with any wire diameter from 18 to 22-gauge. Black annealed wire is used
because it won’t reflect available light with its dull finish and won’t rust as
easily as common steel or galvanized wire. The thin diameter is used because
it’s more flexible and isn’t visible to your intended game.

Using a four-penny nail, twist one end of the wire around the body of the
nail so you’ll be able to make a slipknot, or noose. Use a pair of pliers and twist
the excess tip of the wire so that it wraps tightly, leaving no protruding end
to snag on your clothes or brush. Then, remove the nail and slide the opposite
end of the wire through this one-eighth·inch diameter hole, making
somewhat of a snare or hangman’s noose.

Next, fold up a three-inch square piece of drab colored cloth, which will
be used as the scent pad on the dragging end of the wire. Punch the straight end
of the wire through the center of the folded cloth pad, pulling it completely
through the cloth. Bend the end of the wire back and wrap it tightly around the
main length of the wire, being sure to also twist the protruding end. The scent
pad will be secured and won’t be pulled off while walking.

Now, using a three-sixteenths—ounce crimp-style lead fishing sinker, move up
two inches on the main portion of the wire, away from the scent pad, and
attach this lead weight, crimping it tightly with a pair of pliers. This small
weight will not interfere with the drag’s main function and will aid in keeping
the scent pad closer to the ground when you’re raising your foot to take a step.
The scent pad needs to stay close to the ground because the scent on the pad
will rub off on the grass and brush, to invisibly dissipate upward.

These ankle drags serve another function. Upon reaching your stand,
loosen the wire noose, remove both drags and hang them in the brush at the
base of your tree stand. The wire is of fine diameter, the cloth scent pad is of
drab color, and the scent on the cloth will disguise your human odor at
ground level, when you’re in your stand. This way the pungent skunk
scent, or whatever type of scent you choose to use, never touches your
clothing.

The actual cost of making your ankle scent drags is fifteen cents each,
or a total of thirty cents, plus a minimal amount of time. With these ankle scent
drags in your possession, you successfully mask your human scent
trail when moving to your stand site and obliterate your foreign odor at the tree
stand. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 08 Feb 2011

Hunt The Soft Mast ~ By Don Kirk


Bow and Arrow Hunting
August 1990

Hunt The Soft Mast- By Don Kirk
Little Known Whitetail Foods May Attract Large Trophy Bucks

I AM AWAKE five nights a week
devising new ways to take bigger
and better Whitetail bucks. Except
when filling out income tax
forms, boning up on how these
animals live, move about, forage and
breed is my only diversion from thinking
about hunting whitetail.

Acorns long dominated my bowhunting
strategies. Being an Easterner, this is
understandable. But these marble—sized
morsels are an unpredictable food
source. Their relative abundance ebbs
and flows from year to year. It took too
long for me to discover how the many
alternative foods used by whitetail when
hardwood mast is scarce can be used to
my advantage.

It is impossible for whitetail hunters
to know too much about what this
quarry dines on. Wildlife researchers
have identified more than six hundred
items in these animals’ diet. One area
many whitetail enthusiasts know too little
about is other important whitetail
foods, especially the so called soft mast
food group.

Acorns, the fruit of the widely distributed,
diverse oak family, are what is
referred to as hardwood mast. Although
usually less important to whitetail than
acorns, buckeyes, pecans, walnuts,
hickory, beechnuts and chinkapins are
other examples of hardwood mast.
Generally, hardwood mast is summarized
as nuts.

The soft mast food group is more
loosely defined than that of the
hardwood category, although many trees
that are hardwoods produce fleshy, soft
mast. The soft mast category includes
such easily recognized items as wild
grapes, persimmons, peaches, apples and
plums. It also includes lesser known
items like fungi — mushrooms — eaten
by deer, plus legumes such as soybeans
and corn.

Many hunters mistakenly believe the
rut is the only primary behavioral pat-
tern worth considering when formulating
whitetail bowhunting strategies. The mt
is the most driving force in the animals’
life cycle, but it is short—lived. Other
longer, seasonal patterns also exist and
even coincide with the rut. Do not
overlook the fact deer are cyclic, or
seasonal, feeders.

During the summer and winter
months, the whitetails’ food intake is
relatively modest. Socalled feeding
binges are uncommon at that time.
Feeding activity greatly accelerates during
the spring and fall months. The need
to recoup body weight following the lean
winter months explains their increased
interest in nourishment during spring.
Building up body fat reserves to help
them endure the rigors of winter is the
impetus for autumn preoccupation with
feeding.

Deer require diversity in their diets,
almost as much as humans. When
acorns are available in large numbers
during autumn, they account for fifty to
eighty—five percent of a whitetail’s daily
intake. When consuming soft mast, like
ripe persimmons or apples, these
animals may not get the same hefty shot
of protein or fats obtained when foraging
on acorns. However, they do receive
many otherwise difficult—to—find vitamins,
as well as complex carbohydrates
whitetail can easily convert to energy.
Soft mast food covers an incredibly

diverse group of whitetail foods. Contrary
to what many hunters believe, soft
mast augments the food needs throughout
the winter and they are not important
just during the summer and early
autumn months. Identifying the key soft
mast sources and ones used only
incidentally by deer is not simple. Many
of the soft mast foods utilized by deer,
like the beefsteak fungus and oyster
mushrooms, are scattered and considered
incidental to their diet needs.

Other types of soft mast food are
unknown to many hunters. During
autumn, deer eat large quantities of still-
moist, freshly fallen leaves of the flowering
dogwood for the digestive roughage
they provide. When available alongside
the brownish-colored leaves of oaks and
hickories which are high in bitter, tannic
acid, dogwood leaves are much preferred
by deer. Their deep scarlet
coloration gives a clue to the dogwood
leaf s sweet, high—sugar content.
Although they relish dogwood leaves
when feeding on acorns during the fall,
the location of these trees appears to
play only an incidental role in deer feeding
movements.

Many times, soft-mast-producing
plants are only locally important as deer
foods and easily escape notice by
bowhunters. Other soft mast feeding
areas, like a soybean field, are easily
identified by everyone. Cultivated grain
fields certainly concentrate deer, but so
do wild grains. However, success taking
deer from these open expanses requires
special tactics, different from those
available to long—range rifle hunters.
Bowhunters must identify travel routes
to and from these often heavily utilized
feeding sites.
During early winter, the seed—filled
heads of the green amaranth —— a tall,
weedy-looking plant commonly found in
cut·overs, along fence rows and sessionary
fields —— is a favorite deer forage item.
Sometimes referred to as wild wheat,
this widely distributed plant is cultivated
by natives of Central America, who
grind the seeds into flour.
Other sources of soft mast, such as
old apple or pear orchards at abandoned

homesteads, or a backwoods hollow that
is full of fruit-burdened wild grape vines,
can exert a strong concentrating force
on these animals. Whitetail, like
humans, have a sweet tooth. They are
drawn to the fragrant aroma of ripe,
fallen apples on the ground. It is not
uncommon for whitetail to overeat high-
carbohydrate sources of soft mast.
However, when this occurs, they get
rumen overload — or what some old-
timers call “bloat” among domestic
ruminants.

Acknowledging the deer where you
hunt possess remarkably diverse food

lists is the first step to understanding
how to take advantage of the soft mast
factor. In most instances, the importance
of specific types of soft mast is
either localized or important as a food
source for only short periods of time. It
is not uncommon for these two factors
to occur together.

Additionally, the abundance of acorns
where you hunt plays an important role
in deer shifting feeding emphasis from
hardwood mast to soft mast. During the
fall, acorns are the key to building body
fat content for winter. Poor hardwood
mast production forces deer to rely more
on soft mast. Even when acorns are
abundant, soft mast plays a key role in
their feeding, especially where early
bowhunting—only seasons occur.
A few years ago, I was hunting within
bow range of three large, acorn-laden
white oaks. While scouting the area, I
was impressed by the number of large
elderberry bushes that still held their
pungent, bluish-black fruit.
The elderberries would probably have
escaped my notice were it not for
Joann, my wife and photographer. For
years, she has been on a wild edibles
kick, making everything from fiddlehead
stew to her own maple syrup.
Hunting during the first morning near
the white oaks, I did not spot any deer.
At noon, I spied three white throat
patches milling about the dense elderberry
bushes, Although they were within
rock—throwing range of a ton of acorns,
the deer preferred to nibble at these
sweet, little berries.

Once located in significant numbers,
soft—mast—producing flora like elder-
berries, wild grapes, blackberries and
other similar plants can be counted on
to produce fruit season after season.
Called perennials, these plants are either
dormant during the winter, like deciduous trees,
or they will return the
following spring, unless a force such as
forest cutting or plowing changes their
surroundings.

Once the soft, moist flesh of their fruit
becomes dry and hard, many varieties of
soft mast are ignored by all but the
hungriest deer. Others, however, such as
wild rose hips. the bluish·black berries
of common greenbrier or the fleshy blue
berries of the sassafras tree, are
available over most whitetail range for
extended periods of time and they are
out during the hunting season. Such soft
mast items feature thick outer husks
able to retain moisture until spring.
Regions typically sport forests com-
posed of similar species of trees, while
local soft mast plant life varies considerably.
The varieties of soft mast are
maddeningly diverse. One key to solving
the soft mast dilemma is staying alert to
what type forage is locally available
where you hunt.

“Fine—tooth comb” scouting is needed
for acquiring this knowledge. For
instance, a field planted the previous
season in deer food crop, such as
soybeans, may this year lay fallow or be
planted in a crop that is less appealing
to whitetail. Change such as this completely
alters the local soft mast factor
of the preceeding years.
Other sources of soft mast are more
predictable, but they are usually
localized and require scouting to dis-
cover. These include where groves of
persimmon trees are found, or the location
of hillsides covered with tender
honeysuckle, which deer love.

When scouting, the three keys are to
stay alert for soft mast areas, to locate
signs of where berries, fruits or buds
have been nibbled off and the presence
of hoof tracks and droppings. The freshness
of the sign helps in estimating the
current utilization level of this feeding
site. The degree of feeding at a site
enables you to determine how important
this food source is at that time.
Prior to and during the rut, the importance
of knowing what the does are
feeding on cannot be overstated. This is
where quarry will spend considerable
time during the hunting season. It is true
that bucks do not forage much during
the breeding season, but one of the best
ways to locate a trophy-class buck is to
first identify where the does are likely to
spend time.

Does reveal their estrous condition to
bucks, but it is the buck that seeks out
ready-to-breed females. Does choose
where the game will be played. It is
usually near her family group’s bedding
and/ or feeding area. Figuring the soft
mast factor into your strategy can help
you solve problems in projecting elusive
deer movements that stump many archery
hunters.

Does are more challenging to scout
than bucks. They do not leave telltale
rubs or scrapes, indicators of the presence
of a jumbo antlered buck. Determining their
movement patterns includes
following game trails to bedding sites
and exploring forage areas for droppings
and hoof marks. Doe tracks differ only
slightly from those left behind by bucks.
The most reliable difference to distinguish
the sex of the trackmaker is that
the buck often leaves a dragging mark
behind his track.
When a locally utilized soft mast
source is pinpointed, it is hunted much
the same way archers locate around
oaks dropping heavy crops of acorns.
Do not locate a deer stand any closer to
their food source than necessary to
accomplish a clean kill.

If you are using a tree stand, locate as
high up the tree as possible; at least fifteen
to eighteen feet. When the soft
mast you are hunting over is a field,
such as corn or soybeans, locate your
elevated stand a few feet inside an
overgrown fence row.
Scent use confuses many deer hunters
first discovering the soft mast factor.
The inviting aroma given off by wild
grapes, corn, apples, soybeans and other
soft mast partially enables deer to locate
these edibles.

Many manmade scent manufacturers
have expanded their lines of deer urine
and gland scents to include fluids mixed
to imitate many of the most widespread
soft mast items. In this writer’s opinion,
attempting to mask oneself or lure deer
in by using food scents is risky.
Using manufactured food scents differs
from using whitetail urine and gland
scent products. Deer scents are tricky
business, even when using high-quality
deer urine or gland scent products. They
are effective under a narrow band of
conditions, such as applying buck urine/
tarsal gland mixtures to pre—rut scrapes,
or spraying doe estrous urine on cotton
balls when the rut is in full swing.
Deer behavior during the mt generally
is predictable. Manmade food scent
products, on the other hand, vary greatly
in terms of quality and how well they
match local bowhunting conditions.
Using a soft mast food scent such as
honeysuckle at the wrong place or time
can alarm deer. Soft-mast-imitating
scents sometimes work, but sex scents
are more effective in masking human
odor. When used at the right time, they
are less likely to give the wrong
message.
If you are overlooking the subtle soft
mast factor when formulating your deer
bowhunting strategies, think again. They
may not be the most important deer
movement factors around, but like the
old saying goes, every dog has its day.
>>>—>

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Published by archerchick on 08 Feb 2011

Snake, Rattle & Roll ~ By Jerry Gentellalli


Bow And Arrow
August 1975

SNAKE, RATTLE & ROLL ~ By Jerry Gentellalli

The Rattlesnake Never Will Rank With The Big Five As A Game Animal, But Hunting It Can Be A Service To Mankind!

STALKING THROUGH THE
yellow-green landscape, my hunting pants cuffed against the sagebrush, I
spooked the tawny, striped honey bee from his flower bed of sweet. The hot
Southern California morning sun began drying up the sparkling dew drops
that clung to the meadow grass like jewelled fruit. I had just released an
arrow at a running cottontail, over-shooting it. The shaft bounced and
spun off into the underbrush. Silently the cold-blooded creature
with agate·like eyes began its stalk on the colorful fletchings of my arrow.
With each forward footstep, I came closer to the unknown killer hidden in
the cushion of leaf mold. Threatened now by my search for the lost arrow,
the deadly reptile pulled itself into the familiar tight series of coils, keeping its
wedge-shaped head motionless, readying itself to strike the intruder with its
lethal fangs.

I now was parting the grass with my bow tip, looking for the lost arrow.
Suddenly, in a flashing blur, the reptile struck. I jumped sideways, my heart
pounding, panicked by the frightening sound of the buzzing rattle on the tail
of the diamondback rattlesnake. A couple of arrows later the viper bit the
dust.

Rattlesnakes are found all the way from Canada to Uruguay. There are as
many as twenty-eight kinds. They vary only in color and size and have been
known to weigh as much as twenty pounds. The female gives birth to her
young, rather than laying eggs as do most other reptiles. The number of
young will vary among the different kinds of rattlesnakes. The Mexican
West Coast rattlesnake is one of the most prolific, giving birth to the incredible n
umber of fifty at a time. The young snakes are fully equipped to
take care of themselves at birth.

The pit viper is known for the small pits on each side of its wedge-shaped
head, located at the base of its head between the nostrils and the eyes.
These actually are extremely sensitive heat-detecting organs. The vibrations
of these organs can detect the presence of warm-blooded creatures.

The Spring sun activates the rattlesnakes’ thermostat, drawing them out
of the snake den that harbors large groups of reptiles throughout the long,
winter hibernation. Length of hibernation depends on the temperature zone
of the terrain. During late Winter, I have found them basking in the warm
gravel sand, soaking up the hot rays of the sun. The snake dens are located in
the most unlikely places: cracks in rock formations, under wood piles, in
ground-dwelling animal burrows; generally in places where are found the
small game and rodents on which they feed.

The serpent’s diamond-shaped, fish- like scales are polished and camouflaged to
blend into the colorful sand on which they tread. Their pushing, wavy crawl often
leaves shiny tracks that look like those of a flat, crooked
bicycle tire wheeling across the soft sand. Finding their imprints may lead
you to their hunting grounds. My selection of snake-hunting equipment is the
least-expensive cedar shafts and a good, steel broadhead that
can be filed to a razor-sharp edge; as most of the shooting is at close range
and generally in rocky areas. The swaying, retreating head can prove a
difficult target to hit. Sticking the reptile in its rope-like body not only
destroys the skin, but makes it possible for the reptile to fang itself,
contaminating the meat. Because of the nonexistent problem of penetration,
any bow weight can be used.

Needless to say, a good pair of leather high-top boots or knee-high
snake leggings are recommended for protecting the legs. Ranger of Augusta,
Georgia. manufactures two types of snake-proof leggings: one is heavily
woven bronze mesh, covered with heavy canvas? and the other type is of
lightweight plastic.

Of course, a snakebite kit should be carried in one’s pack. One compact,
handy snakebite kit is Cutter’s. It comes with three suction cups. a
tourniquet, antiseptic for sterilization, a razor blade for incision and directions.
This kit can be purchased from most local pharmacies or sporting
goods stores.

Although snake hunting may not be your bag, while out on an outing or
traveling the game trails, your paths may cross. The rattlesnake could turn
a day into a nightmare of terror if you or your retriever are struck with
venomous fangs. One must know immediately what actions to take to
prevent serious illness or even death.

With or without a kit, the field procedure is the same.
First of all, prevent panic. It will increase the flow of venom throughout
the body. Apply a tourniquet between the wound and the heart, and close to
the puncture. The tourniquet can be made from a handkerchief, bowstring
or any piece of cord, A stick can be used to turn the tourniquet for pressure control.

With a sterilized blade, make an incision on top of the bite. Use straight,
lengthwise cuts one-quarter—inch long
and one-eighth-inch deep. Apply suction to the incision. If suction cups are
not available, use suction by mouth, spitting out the venom.

Walk slowly for help, stopping periodically for rest. After each ten to
fifteen minutes, loosen the tourniquet for one minute, allowing for circulation.
A doctor must be reached as quickly as possible for the administration of antivenin.
This life-saving antivenum is made by injecting smaller, then larger doses of venom into a horse
until he becomes immune to it. Then the serum is made from the blood extracted from the horse.

The rattlesnake will not always strike from its familiar coiled position.
It can strike from any position with lightning speed. l witnessed this one
day while bowhunting for rabbits. The sight of the flicker of ears caused me
to change my course slowly, my eyes piercing through the sumac bush.

There I spied a young cottontail less than forty yards away. Suddenly, the
rabbit jumped, did a, full gainer. stiffened and fell to the ground.

As I reached the spot where the rabbit had fallen, I was horrified by
the sight of the diamondback with the bunny’s head in its mouth.
Quickly my broadhead took him. On removing the head of the rabbit
from the rattler’s mouth, I could see that the fangs folded back into the
roof of the mouth when not in use.

The venom is injected through the hollow fangs which spring forward and
erect with switchblade action. The venom is forced into the victim with
hypodermic action. The lower jaw is so designed that it hinges downward,
enlarging the mouth so the reptile can swallow its prey. Digging a deep hole
in the ground, I buried the cottontail and the rattler’s head for safety, so
that other animals would not suffer’ from eating the poisonous carrion.

The old folk tale about snakes wiggling and squirming until sunset is
true, I have discovered. It is an eerie experience to have a snake twisting
around in the game bag until dark. In preparing the snakeskin, I start
from where the head was, peeling the skin back from the body and rolling it
to the end — like removing a long, nylon stocking. The skin now is inside
out. With a pair of scissors or a sharp knife, cut the underside — the belly
side — to the tail. Place the paper-thin skin wet side up, tack it to a flat
board, taking care not to overstretch the constricting skin, sparingly apply
glycerine to the scale side. This gives luster and keeps the skin pliable. Roll `
the skin up like a belt. A taxidermist can tan the skin, making it strong and
soft.

I first sampled canned rattlesnake meat and found it deliciously comparable to
crab meat. There are many ways to prepare the delicate meat. I usually boil it in
a pot of salted water for thirty minutes or longer, then allow it to cool. The white meat can
then be separated easily from the bones. Then I season and prepare it in one of several ways,
frying, sauteeing or serving in a salad or with a sauce.

The season is open year around and there is no bag limit. With the big demand for their hides, meat and venom,
which is used in medicine, the rattle- snake could become an endangered species.
Some states employ snake control to exterminate the rattler. But, now, some states are looking closer at setting
some conservation measures as to hunting seasons and bag limits to protect the future of the rattlesnake,
recognizing its place in the ecological scene.

Both before and since the Revolutionary days, the rattlesnake has been
a symbol of rebellion. With its menacing rattle and lightning-quick
fangs, it is a creature that most people
take great pains to avoid. Hunting the rattlesnake probably
will never become popular or listed with the big five, but cross its path and
it becomes a danger to be reckoned
with. <——<<<

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Published by archerchick on 07 Feb 2011

How Not To Start An Archery Club – By Muriel E Jones


Bow And Arrow Hunting
December 1974

How NOT To Start An Archery Club – By Muriel E Jones

The Techniques Used in Merry Olde England May Apply Here – Complete With Tribulations!

WHAT FOLLOWS IS how a
small group of earnest, dedicated amateurs
tackled the job of beginning a
target archery club. Of course, only
archers know the fun it is; the lay
public need convincing.

There was in our village the nucleus
of a club, which had existed for many
years, although all but a few members
either had expired or drifted away to
other scenes, leaving behind a motley
collection of ancient but serviceable
equipment which was enough for the
purpose. The chairman and secretary
lived in the village and, between them,
stuffed under the doors of each house
invitations for all those interested to
attend a demonstration in the playing
fields, designating the time and date.
The afternoon duly arrived and we
presented ourselves in the field, where
a group of people were huddled together
to keep warm, it being quite
cold and windy with overcast gray
skies — not at all the idyllic scene one
would have wished for. The demonstrators
seemed to be shaking with
cold or nerves and the organizer’s chief
worry was that someone lurking
around the back of the nets would get
hit with a stray arrow.

After a short interval of clapping
one’s hands vigorously around the
body in an effort to keep alive in the
extreme cold while waiting for stragglers,
the demonstration began. This
was conducted by the organizer and
chairman, who very efficiently explained
the rules and terms of archery
and measured us to see what length of
arrow we would require and whether
we should keep our left or right eye
shut; it being advisable to have only
one open for some reason, which I
have since found unnecessary.
We were duly equipped with various
bits of leather which, we were –
told, were necessary to protect our
fingers; those without enough padding
on their arms already were provided
with armguards. We took turns at
shooting three arrows at a target,
strategically placed in the corner of
V the field with a view of missing any
stray passersby enjoying their Sunday I
afternoon walk.

One of the more important
villagers, who rather fancied himself as
a squire, turned up for a lark, I think,
missed all the introductory demonstration
but shot his three arrows,
which the organizer meekly collected
for him. Everyone else, naturally, had
to go and get their own. We all
thought this was a bit of a cheek but,
being English, we’re used to such
carryings-on, and showed our
contempt by not saying a word.
Everyone by now was blue with
cold, so the demonstration ended with
a firm promise that we would all turn
up at an appointed time and date at a
site where the former club used to
meet — this being outside the village
and inaccessible to anyone without
motor transport, which naturally
would curtail the numbers.

The evening of the meeting arrived;
heavy thunderstorm in progress —
skies absolutely black. Hence, only a
few people turned up. The organizer
had thoughtfully arranged a target
some feet from the doorway of the
pavilion and was half-heartedly encouraging
those who had turned up to
shoot from under cover of the pavilion
to save getting absolutely drenched.
He manfully retrieved the arrows for
the same reason.

The practical aspect of the meeting
soon finished, we gathered ’round to
discuss the possibilities of forming a
club while the lightning crackled overhead
and one was initiated into the
more theoretical aspects of target
archery.
I found it somewhat discouraging
to learn that one was expected to
shoot eight or even twelve-dozen
arrows at a match, and I felt this information
should have been kept from
beginners, as merely the shooting of
one arrow seemed to paralyze every
muscle in the body. Encouraging re-
marks that one must be doing it wrong
then, I didn’t find at all helpful.

Happily, the weather improved and
on the following Sunday afternoon we
had many laughs while trying our best
to hit the target only a few feet away.
Some members took it very seriously
and launched into complicated mathematical
analysis of a kind which was
received in silence and awe at first, but
with increasing skepticism as time
went by.

Little by little the targets were
moved off as the weeks went by and
proud members produced super kit
and appeared very knowledgeable
about weight in hand, etc., and the
quality if not quantity of the arrows,
and a few people embarked on the
process of making their own tackle
boxes.
It is true we lost every match that
season, but we came in good seconds;
which impressed Gladys, the barmaid
at the local pub, who had no idea that
there were only two teams participating.

Many jolly times were had
over a glass of beer, as we determined
our faults and how to overcome them.
There was an excitement one
Sunday afternoon during an at—home
match. We were sharing the field with
a cricket club, whose activities were
taking place to the right of the target
archers, when the pilot of a large red
glider decided he couldn’t possibly go
any farther and landed in the field to
our left — making it difficult for even
the most devoted archer to keep his
eye on the target.

Enthusiasm being the strong point
of new archers, we couldn’t possibly
hear of doing nothing all Winter, so we
decided to try and hire a hall for our
purposes. One member’s attempt to
hire an old airship hangar of considerable
dimensions met with little success
and much derision from the other
members. But the more modest village
hall, which allowed us to shoot a full
eleven yards, was at last hired for one
evening per week.
As the young wives used one of the
rooms in the hall at the same time,
very often one was distracted by an
arresting speech or the conversation of
forty women at once. But we
persevered.

On one occasion, owing to our
ignorance, one member whose sight
had slipped unnoticed found her arrow
nearly in the ceiling. There followed
much surreptitious comings and goings
with filler and paint before the care-
taker should return and discover the
damage; as the village hall committee
were not impressed by our prowess
and seemed very anxious, we should
take all precautions.

The most urgent consideration was
to find a site of our own. We had, on
sufferance, been allowed to use the
site of the old club. Much groundwork
had been done on the problem of a
new site by the chairman and secretary,
and we all realized that money
was a necessary factor — not only to
finance the scheme, but to pay for
equipment and ground rent and legal
fees, etc.
The money was raised by running
dances in the village hall and the villagers were pressed to buy tickets.
Fortunately, owing to the exquisite
cuisine supervised by one of our members, the people came in sufficient
numbers, if not to dance, certainly to
eat and our reputation as dance
organizers increased.

Before Summer came ’round again,
we had negotiated the club site and
after much wrangling over the
stupidity of the legal document and
the person designated to attend to it,
it was duly signed, allowing the club
the use of the site until the year 2001.
Hence, one day early in the year
finds us at the site. It is bitterly cold
and raining and the soggy grass flaps
around our knees. The site seems
somewhat overgrown and rather
daunting in prospect. However, rapid
consultation produces a plan of action
which was less than rapid in being put
into practice.

I must mention here that ours was
an exclusive club. Not purposely — we
did not intend to exclude anybody.
But the numbers remained around
twelve. One can imagine, then, that
putting into order this large piece of
ground was a difficult task for such a
small number.

But, by degrees and with
appropriate loss of funds, the site was
reduced to a manageable field. Many
tender little oak saplings were gouged
out of the ground by a machine and
were burned at the stake with appropriate
feeling. It was also easy to deter-
mine one of the boundaries, as the
litter of pigs running loose made it
clear that ground belonged to them.
We earnestly hoped the wind would be
in the right direction when we were
using the field.

Many hands were willing and it
soon took shape. Posts were erected
around the perimeter in preparation
for the endless barbed wire, insisted
upon the the Parish Council, who even
wanted red flags as well. Seemingly,
their opinion of our improvement did
not match our own.

The site not being ready for the
season, it was left sadly to itself while
we adjourned to the site of our former
glories and disappointments. That
season, the English Summer played
havoc with our progress. The
temperature rarely rose above 60
degrees and many a match was post-
poned or abandoned. Most of the kit
purchased that year included water-
proofed garments and umbrellas, as we
thought, in our innocence, how nice it
would be to erect a covered way at the
new site which would afford some
shelter from the weather.

In spite of the dampening weather,
our spirits did not diminish and our
numbers, though not increasing, did
not decrease. Enthusiasm was still
evident and we set about hiring the village
hall for the second year.
At this point I had to leave the club
and accompany my spouse to the
United States. It was with regret at not
having participated, and chagrin at
hearing how well they were progressing
without me, when I learned
the club had won nine matches during
the first season of my absence.

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Published by archerchick on 07 Feb 2011

What You See…Is What You Get! By Roy Hoff


BOW AND ARROW HUNTING
October 1973

I AM WRITING THIS in an effort to be helpful
to the countless bowhunters who travel each year
a couple of thousand miles more or less to bag a deer,
perhaps with braggin’ size, rocking chair antlers, only
to return home and explain to the ever lovin’ how come
he got skunked. I was a member of this nationwide
group of buck-missers until about ten years ago, when
I came to the conclusion there was just no way I could
meet a trophy buck on his own terms and in h·is wild
habitat and come out a winner.

Know what I did? I joined the clan who hunt from
tree stands. This select group all are of the opinion
that using a bow and arrow really is hunting the hard
way. After ten years of figuring all the angles, bagging
a trophy buck deer still is no cinch. But when I learned
to hunt from a tree stand, Lady Luck started looking
my way and with a pleasant smile.
I built my first tree stand on the Wilcox Ranch
in 1960. The site was in a big cottonwood overlooking a
forty-acre alfalfa field. No stand could have been more
comfortable, and as safe as the roof of the nearby ranch
house, but for efficiency, and putting me on an even
footing with the big Utah bucks, it was a total loss. I’ll
tell you why.

I selected a tree with a beautiful view of the field.
I found soon this could be placed last on a list of necessary conditions.
This blind was immediately abandoned except for morning hunting. The field was in a
canyon. Deer, bedded on the canyon walls, could see
everything that was going on in the stand and, of course,
bypassed the spot at a considerable distance.
Lesson number one: select the site for your tree
stand so that the game can not look down through the
branches. All the area round the stand should be well
below eye level of the hunter and well above that of
the deer. Unless you make noise, the chances are a deer
will not look up into your tree. But if he approaches
your tree from any direction which places you eye level,
you might as well return to camp.

I strongly believe that of the deer’s senses, sight
is his best alarm signal. If you can see a certain movement
at a hundred yards, I’d venture to say a deer can
see the same movement at five hundred yards. I am
mindful of a lesson in the Boy Scout manual: If a
person becomes lost in a forest and hears a plane,
he should vigorously shake a young aspen or the limb
of a tree. Rescuers can spot the movement.
On opening morning of the hunting season, as

I make my way to a previously prepared stand, I probably
resemble a junk collector. I carry a gunny sack
over my shoulder in which are: pillow, down jacket,
mittens, large-size plastic bags, binoculars, raincoat,
apple and some Tootsie Rolls. The latter item may
be kids’ stuff, but you’d be surprised how good they
taste when you’re real hungry, even those which were
left over from last year. Another item which is always
good for a laugh is my piece of carpet for the floor
of my stand, to deaden the sound if I shuffle my feet
when a deer is nearby.

When night closes in, I put everything back in the
bag and tie it down for the night. Yes, even my bow. I,
of course, cover the fletching of my arrows with a
plastic bag as a protection from morning dew or rain.
My hunting partners look at me with tongue—·in—cheek
like I was cracking up. I explain to them when I am
returning from my blind at night or going to it in the
morning, it’s too dark for any possible shot. When making
this same journey in daylight, if I were to see a
deer I would pass up the shot. I can’t with any confidence
guess the distance of a shot, and foregoing the
shot would preclude any possibility of a bad hit.
If a bowman hunts from a tree stand, he will
fin·d there is a lot more to the sport than flinging arrows.
He will have an opportunity to see wildlife and
observe much in their kingdom he never previously
realized existed.

Often I have had a bird alight on a limb a few
feet from my nose. Keeping absolutely still, not even
blinking my eyes, I have watched the antics of these
winged creatures. It has often been humorous as a
feathered species cocks its head and curiously ex-
amines the funny—looking nearby object which was
not there the last time this roosting place was visited.
Every hunter knows creatures of our wildlife
kingdom have ways and means of communication. One
afternoon, while sitting in my tree stand on the Wilcox
Ranch in Utah, I had a fascinating experience of observing
a deer family tableau of communicating evidence
of danger followed by a signal that all was clear.
I had climbed into my tree stand shortly before
four -in the afternoon. I knew from past experience
that the chance of seeing a deer before sundown was
extremely remote. But I also had learned that it is
a good idea to arrive at your stand early, get settled
down and give any deer who has spotted you a chance
to convince himself you mean no harm.

To help resist the temptation of looking around
or glassing the area to see if a herd of bucks is approaching,
I take a·long a favorite sporting magazine
and catch up on my reading. After reading two or
three pages, I glanced ahead while turning the page. To
use an old hunter’s cliche, there, on the far side of the
alfalfa field, a herd of deer had appeared as if by magic
There were four bucks and five does, all with their
noses in the feedbag. It was a sight to quicken the pulse
of any bowhunter. It would have taken a patient and
expert stalker to climb down out of the tree, make a
huge circle and approach the herd from the wooded
side of the field. It was a cinch I didn’t have the qualifications.

I continued to watch the feeding animals
with considerable excitement and fascination.
Suddenly the scene was changed. All heads being erect
with eyes focused toward the sound of a jeep engine starting.
Later I learned the card game had broke;
up and for something to do to kill time, Waldo Wilcox loaded the
hunters into a jeep pickup and headed for Cherry Meadows,
a distance of about ten miles up Range Creek Canyon.

The deer held their position until they saw movement
of the vehicle coming toward them. They quickly
dashed across the ranch road, use a draw for a short
distance, then topped out on a small hogback where
they could get a commanding view of approaching
danger.
The four bucks immediately laid down. The does
sort of messed around, nuzzling the ground and making
like they were doing the chores. Several minutes after
the sound of the truck was lost in the distance, all the
does started making their way back to the field. The
bucks, mind you, continued with their siesta. To me,
I imagined one buck, probably the boss of the outfit,
issued a command something like: “Okay, gals, let’s
get with it! Take a run down to the field and see what
gives with those hunters who just passed by !”

The does, upon reaching the road, looked first
up, then down the canyon. Perhaps two minutes later
all five of them walked nonchalantly into the alfalfa
and started grazing. They paid no more attention to
the road or vehicle.

Suddenly, as if the boss buck had wirelessed to
see if the coast were clear, all the does, as if at a command,
turned toward the mountainside and walked
slowly single file to the top of the hogback and joined
the apparently dozing bucks. Whatever means of communication was used it didn’t take long.
The does turned around and started down the hill. The bucks then
got up and joined the procession. When the herd, led
all the way by the does, reached the road they did not
hesitate to look up and down it for possible danger.
They crossed without hesitation, walked a few feet
into the meadow and immediately resumed feeding.
As a sort of epilog to this episode, two of the
hunters, upon their return to the meadow, spotted the
deer and made a successful stalk, Hank Krohn bagged
a buck and Milt Lewis a doe. Doug Easton got some
shooting, but no hits.

I highly recommend hunting from a tree stand.
Before I go into details of construction, I want to
emphasize two conditions: right at the top, as most
important, I want to stress the safety angle. Most any-
one could sit on a stool and watch the birds indefinitely.
But seeing a deer and with quickened pulse take a shot
at your quarry, you could easily step too far or lose
your balance and fall to the ground seriously injuring
yourself, even fatally. So, be a sissy like me and wear
a safety belt of some kind. I merely tie a length of
nylon rope around my waist, with the other end wrapped
around and tied to the tree. If you ever have need
for this device, I’m sure it won’t be very comfortable,
but most assuredly will save your life.

If climbing a ten-foot ladder gives you cold shiv-
ers, then hunting from a tree stand is not for you.
Next would be the comfort part of tree stand
building. My wife, Frieda, has often called me an ol’
wiggle—butt, because I never was able to sit still in a
cramped and uncomfortable position.
Construct your stand so you can occasionally
stand up and shake the kinks out of your lower extremeties.
I don’t mean like a jack-in-the-box, so your
movements might be noticed by a big buck bedded
on a nearby hillside. Even with the luxury of a pillow
I find a brief respite from sitting, about every half-
hour, is a real pleasure.


There are a number of portable stands which have
been advertised in Bow and Arrow magazine. I personally
like Ron’s Porta-Pak. It comes with shoulder
straps, so you can back-pack it into the woods. Best
of all, for me, it comes equipped with a canvas top
seat. Remember, there will be times when you will
have to spend hours in a confined area, and the less
you move around, changing positions, the better off
and more successful you’ll be.

If you are going to hunt within a day’s drive of
your home, I’d suggest you go on a scouting expedition
a week or two before opening day of season.
Look for tracks and other signs of the species of game
you’re going to hunt. For brevity of this article let’s
presume you are going deer hunting. Search for a
spring or other watering place where tracks indicate
the game has been visiting frequently.
Now we need a tree-—one we can climb into and
out of with safety. The tree should be within four
to ten steps from a waterhole, or used deer trail. This
so that when the deer puts in an appearance, you can be
on the alert and not move an eyelash until your game
is almost directly beneath you. This is what makes
tree stand hunting so popular. A deer cannot see you
draw your bow and loose the arrow.
A word of advice: practice shooting nearly straight
down. You will find it a lot more difficult than you
think——even using a sight. Talk your club members
into setting up one tree stand target. Use it for a
novelty event if nothing else. Upon arriving at my
tree stand, I never fail to shoot a few practice arrows,
picking certain spots where I believe a deer might
appear. I have found that a twenty-yard setting will
suffice for anything around the tree, even for an actual
distance much farther.

Let’s say we found a pine tree which was just
what we were looking for. It was forty or fifty feet
high and eighteen inches in diameter. The first limb
was ten feet off the ground. Being in a national forest,
we would not be permitted to nail climbing blocks to
the tree or build a stand of a permanent nature. We
would install a portable stand and use a rope ladder
to climb up to it.

To be sure, there are many ways to climb a tree,
an·d many different kinds of trees, each presenting
a particular problem in climbing. One time I was privileged
to hunt on the Walking Cane Ranch in Texas.
The land was covered with millions of scrub cedars.
All the equipment a hunter needed in this area was:
hammer, saw, two or three nails and a one—by—six two
feet long. No devices were needed to climb these cedars.
There were lots of limbs from top to bottom. After
reaching the top, the hunter would saw off a couple
of feet from the main trunk, then nail on the board for
his seat. An added pillow was for luxury.

In all of our western states, forests are composed
of pine, fir, hemlock, aspen, cottonwood and many
other species. Personally, after I have located a good
spot for a stand, I search for a tree with a natural
opening in the foliage about the right height for a stand.
This precludes the necessity of pruning many branches
in order to see out and get an arrow through. Often
a hunter will find where lightning has struck a tree
and gouged out an opening ideal for locating a stand.
Photographs accompanying this article will give
you a good idea of how to set up housekeeping in some
tree and make like an owl. It was my dream to present
a photo of me drawing a bow and aiming at a live
deer. Sort of having my cake and eating it, too. But
I found this chore more difficult than I thought. Deer
are narrow minded and uncooperative.

One photo depicts what looks like the real thing.
Here is how the shot was accomplished. About ten years
ago, I was hunting in Rock Creek Park, near Monte
Vista, Colorado. My hunting partner was Ernest Wilkinson,
local taxidermist and founder of the Piedra
Bowhunters Club. In his display room I feasted my
eyes on a life~like full mount of a f·our—by-four mule
buck deer.

Last summer en route to Colorado for a bear hunt,
I dragged this picture out of my memory file and stopped
by Ernie’s place to sort of say hi. It took a little
arm twisting, but within the hour we had loaded the
mount into a van, driven to a spot in Rock Creek Park,
where we had long ago hunted deer together, and
set up a realistic shot of Ernie sitting on a tree stand
with bow drawn and aiming at the one—for~twenty spot
on a trophy buck.
Don’t build your stand in the top of the highest
tree. When the wind blows you’ll wish you hadn’t, and
you might get seasick! I’d say the minimum height
should be ten feet, with a maximum of thirty. Remember,
the higher you climb, the more difficult it is to
get in and out of your stand and hoist your gear to

and from. For the latter chore I use a hundred—foot
length of quarter-inch nylon cord.
I recommend you be in your stand about half
an hour before daylight. This will give time for any
body odor lingering below to dissipate. Al-so any deer
who have been alerted by the noise you made getting
to your stand will have settled down and figured that
Whatever caused the disturbance had disappeared.
Hunting from a tree stand can be really exciting
at times. You may spot your deer at a considerable
distance and then observe it slowly making its way
toward your stand. I guarantee it will raise your blood
pressure and increase your heart beat! Have an area
picked where you are fairly sure of getting a good hit,
then wait until the ·deer reaches that spot. It will be a
bit rough, but wait him out.

“The greatest hunting thrill of my life was waiting
for a record—class buck slowly make his way to a spring
near my stand. He only had to cover two hundred
yards, but the way he picked his path, hesitating at
every step, it must have taken him two hundred minutes
to reach the spot where I planned to loose the arrow.
I forced myself to turn my eyes in another direction
from time to time s·o I could not see him and to better
hold back the buck fever which was creeping in. Even
though my bow arm was a bit on the shakey side, the
arrow flew true to the spot, and I had the further
thrill of seeing the big beauty go d·own for the count.
Th·is experience took place on the Lamicq ranch in
the high country, back of Grand junction, Colorado.
John, as an outfitter, is a firm believer in hunting from
a tree stand. Annual kill success of his clients tend·s to
prove this is the only way to go. Much of the Lamicq
property, owned or leased, covers the tops of several
huge ridges. Needless to say, ·if a hunter is thinking of
bagging a trophy buck he’d better go topside.
Ecologists complain that tree stand-s are ugly and
spoil the natural wilderness of a forest. I will admit
some I have seen are an eyesore, but I have been as-
signed to a tree in a certain small area and have had
difficulty finding the tree with the stand in it. The
hunter does not have to chop off limbs with reckless
abandon, even if there were no objection. If you leave
chopped-off limbs scattered around the foot of your
tree stand, forget it! Deer know when things are not
as they were yesterday and sense danger.
A word of caution: check your game laws. There
are a couple of states which prohibit hunting from a
tree. There also are several states which prohibit hunting
except from a tree stand. <——<<<<

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Published by archerchick on 11 Jan 2011

25 Calling Tips-The Right Call At The Right Time ~By Bill Vaznis

Bowhunting World October 2005


BOWHUNTING WORLD
October 2005

25 Calling Tips by Bill Vaznis

The Right Call At The Right Time

There are two accessories I always take afield with me
these days.The first is a quality pair of binoculars. They
can help me see deer skulking in the shadows that would
otherwise go undetected. And the second is a deer call.
If I am careful, a single note can lure that buck into bow
range as if I possessed a magic flute – a buck I might add
that could easily walk out of my life forever. Do grunt
tubes work all the time? No, but most experts are pleased
if they can get one out of 10 bucks to respond favorably to
their renditions. Here are 25 tips to help insure that you will
be more than pleased on your next hunt.
?

EARLY SEASON
1. Try starting the opening day off
with a bit of rattling. Not hard
and harsh, mind you, but soft and
easy. You want to imitate two bucks
sparring in order to test each other’s
strength and weaknesses. A rattle bag
seems to work best here. ]ust rub the bag
back and forth between your hands for
1O or 15 seconds at a time, and then
grab your bow. This low-level grinding
is sure to tweak the curiosity of any
passing buck.

2. One of the problems calling to
whitetails during the early season
is the response rate. Bucks are not
worked up enough to be attracted to
a knock down, drag-out buck fight, nor are
they likely to come-a-running to an estrous
doe bleat. They will, however, investigate
a contact grunt from a young buck or doe,
or the plaintive bleat of a fawn. The trick
here is to key in on food sources and then
setup an ambush in a nearby staging area
that offers plenty of cover.
?

3. Or, try calling right outside a
buck’s preferred bedding area late
in the morning or an hour or so
before darkness. This is risky business, but
if you are careful, it can work on your very
first attempt; What call should you use?
A couple of moderately toned contact
grunts could send that bedded buck into
a frenzy. Why? Your rendition might be
interpreted as a younger buck invading
his territory to look for does.

?

BLIND CALLING TIPS

1. Yearling buck grunts, doe bleats,
doe-in-heat bleats, moderately
toned buck grunts, fawn bleats, buck
contact grunts, yearling buck tending
grunts and even fawn-in-distress bleats
are all proven deer calls. Indeed, each
fall knowledgeable hunters who know
how to imitate these basic vocalizations
in the wild tag thousands and thousands
of whitetail deer. It is the buck contact
grunt, doe~in-heat bleat and the series
of moderately toned tending buck grunts
that bag the most bucks however—
three easy calls to master.

2. Don’t be afraid to use your deer
call. Sure, improper calling can
spook a buck into the next
county, but more often than not you will
learn something about deer behavior
that can be used successfully later in
your career. You might, for example, learn
how quickly a buck will pinpoint your
exact location if you and your treestand
are not well·camouflaged.

3. When blind calling, start your
calling sequence with the volume
turned down low. A buck might
be standing nearby and come running
in to investigate. If your rendition
sounds more like a foghorn, however, a
nearby buck might vamoose without
you ever knowing he was close at hand.
?

4. Always have an arrow nocked and
ready to go before you start calling
to unseen deer. It only takes a
second for a buck to step into view and he
will be on high alert, leaving you precious
little time to prepare for a shot. One P&Y
Iowa buck, for example, came in so fast and
stopped so close to me I could not nock an
arrow without alerting him to my presence.
He escaped unscathed.?

5. Just because a buck doesn’t
respond immediately to your
calling does not mean he is not
going to come in for a look-see. He may
take 1O minutes, he might take an hour,
so don’t give up hope. Indeed, more than
one buck has been known to circle
around and show up on the downwind
side of a treestand long after the
bowhunter relaxed his guard.

6. Be sure to test the upper limits of
every grunt tube you plan on
taking into the woods with you
before you step afield. Some models lose
their tonal qualities when you blow hard,
causing a squeak that is sure to alert
any nearby deer. Don’t discard these
odd-sounding calls, however. Sometimes
a simple reed adjustment is all it takes to
bring the grunt tube back up to specs. If
that doesn’t help, save the parts. It is
amazing what authentic sounding deer
calls you can build when you mix and
match barrels, reeds and ribbed tubing!


ADD REALISM?

1. If you should snap a twig while
still-hunting or walking to your
stand and jump a deer, try a confidence
call. I like to imitate the soft
mew of a fawn as they always seem to be
stumbling about, but avoid the use of a
fawn-in-distress call. I can’t imagine a
scenario where this would help you bag
a buck holding steady on red alert. A
single low doe bleat might also calm
down any nearby deer.
?

2. If you are hunting from ground
zero, and a buck hangs up just out
of range, try grunting, bleating,
mewing or rattling from a different location.
This is a killer maneuver if you can
pull it off without being seen. Raking
an antler up and down a tree trunk, or
pawing at the ground with a stick might
be all it takes then to get that buck to
finally commit himself to the setup.
?

3. Learn to double up on your calls.
For example, try a doe-in-heat
bleat followed by a short series
of tending buck grunts. This is a hot
combination during the pre-rut as well
as the peak of the rut. A lost fawn bleat
followed by a doe-in-heat bleat and
then a tending buck grunt can be the
ticket when the rut is in full swing.
Why? A nearby buck will “think” a hot
doe is about to be bred by a buck in
attendance. The “lost” fawn only adds
realism to the ruse as does routinely
abandon their fawns while being bred.

4. When doubling up on your vocalizations,
use a single-purpose call
and couple that with notes from
a variable grunt tube. It adds a bit of realism
to your calling strategy as it sounds like
two distinctly different deer.


PEAK OF THE RUT
1. You will know the rut has kicked
in when you see bucks lingering
around feeding areas preferred
by family groups of does and fawns well
after sunrise. They will be searching for
does by scent-checking the edges of openings
and by staring off into thick wooded
areas for several moments at a time. This
is a good time to give a roving buck what
he is expecting to find—a family group
of does and fawns. He will quickly zero
in on a couple of fawn bleats followed by
a doe bleat or two. Keep your eyes and
ears open, but don’t be afraid to blind call
every 15 minutes or so, either.

2. Bucks love to cruise the edges of
major waterways during the rut
in their seemingly never-ending
search for a doe in estrus. To narrow
your search and pinpoint an exact calling
location, look for inlets and bays that
funnel bucks close to the shoreline or
“around the horn” as they trot from one
side of the bay to the other.

3. You can set up a treestand on a
downwind edge of the bedding
area, or still-hunt in and around
the thick stuff. Either way, calling blindly
to bucks by using doe-in-heat bleats
followed by moderately toned tending
buck grunts will work. Stay alert and be
ready to shoot at all times because the
action can be fast and furious!

?
SPECIALTY CALLS
1. When a buck is in the company
of an estrous doe near the very
peak of her cycle, he will often
make a clicking noise just moments prior
to copulation. It sounds much like someone
dragging their thumbnail across the
teeth of a plastic comb, with each individual
click separate and distinct.

When the rut is in full swing, this
clicking will signify to a passing mature
buck that a hot doe is somewhere nearby,
and that mating is about to take place. Use
a moderately toned or high-pitched series
of clicking, and a sexually experienced trophy
buck just might believe that a younger and less-mature
buck is about to breed, and rush in to
take over the breeding rites. A buck
decoy with a small to medium rack
might just help you complete the ruse.

2. A snort-wheeze is made by a
buck exhaling air through his
nose in a very specific cadence.
Once you have heard it, you won’t forget
it. It occurs when two bucks of similar status
suddenly encounter each other
around a food source or a doe near estrus,
and serves as a warning to the intruder
buck to back off or there will be a fight.
A buck will also emit a loud snort-
wheeze when a hot doe refuses to stand
still long enough to allow breeding to
take place. The buck is undoubtedly
warning the doe to stand still—or else!
The snort-wheeze seems to work best
during the peak of the rut when mature
bucks are tending does. Your rendition
of a snort-wheeze, either alone or added
to a tending buck grunt or an estrous doe
bleat, may be all it takes to pull a mature
buck away from a hot doe. But be pre~
pared, however, as any nearby buck will
probably come in looking for a fight!

3. If you prefer to still-hunt, as I do,
and want to call a buck in closer for
a clean shot, try a few contact buck
grunts followed by your
version of a buck making a rub—complete
with swaying sapling. lt sounds
gimmicky, but it works for me at least
once a year!
?

WHEN NOT TO CALL
Do not keep calling if the buck
does not respond in a timely
manner. He may simply not
want to come over for a look-see, so let
him go for another day. The last thing
you want to do is educate him on your
imitation grunts and bleats.

2. Do not call again if the he
appears to have heard your call
and is already working his way
toward you. Additional grunts or bleats
may only serve to confuse him or, worse
alert him to the fact that you are not
another deer.
?

3. Do not call if the buck is already
in bow range, or is looking at
you or for you just out of range
If he pegs you, the game is over. Instead
hold your ground, and let him make
the next move. lf he turns to walk away
hit him with another note. This is
another case where a decoy, buck or a
doe, can help as the buck’s attention will
be riveted on the decoy.
?

LATE-SEASON STRATEGIES

In most late-season hunts, “doe
tags” are still valid and, in fact
antlerless deer are often the
main quarry. Fawn bleats can stir a doe’s
curiosity to the point where she will
come in for a cautious look-see, whereas
a loud blast from a fawn-in-distress specialty
call can still bring a doe charging
in to rescue a stricken fawn.

2. Of course, if it is a buck you are
after, then you really have your
work out out for you! In most
cases as long as he has his rack, he is
willing and able to breed. Thus an estrous
doe bleat is always a good choice, with or
without an estrous doe decoy, positioned
facing the buck with her back legs askew.
With this setup it is imperative you
choose your treestand site carefully,
making sure you are high above the
ground and well concealed.
If your call freezes up during the
late season, you are calling too
much. Slow down, and call
more sparingly. A squeaking note now
will undoubtedly end your season.

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Published by archerchick on 11 Jan 2011

Bulls At The Buzzer ~By Jeff Murray

Bowhunting World October 2005


BOWHUNTING WORLD
OCTOBER 2005

BULLS AT THE BUZZER By Jeff Murray

A golden sunset should have been framed with the sound of elk music. But the only thing golden
about my day was that it was about to be over. Where were all the bulls? How
can l be in two places at once? My mind races with questions that beg answers.
But all l can do is slump forward to catch my breath and try to clear my mind.
indeed, clear thinking is the name of the game when the pressure’s on. You see,
my Colorado elk archery season is slipping away. In fact, my hunting season now
boils down to 13 hours of hunting light. In bowhunting terms, that’s 780 minutes (or 46,800 seconds) to pull off an upset at the buzzer. If you ever find yourself in this predicament, here’s what to do when you think you’re one neuron short of a synapse.

WHY BETTER LATE
THAN NEVER LATE

Sound game plans consist of sound components. One of them is flexibility. (I’ve
killed a lot of bulls on the 10th day of a seven-day hunt) But when you’re down
to the wire, you can’t just sit there. You have to do something! Which begs the
question: Why would anyone pick a hunt that ends when a state legislature or conservation department says so? I’ll tell you why: Because the bottom end of archery
season is better than the top end for, well, top-end bulls. While I’ve always suspected
this was true. the last couple of seasons taught me how true it is. All you need is
one good reason, but here are three:

First, weather is almost always more
of a help than a hindrance at the tag end of the season. You simply cannot ignore
the fact that searing temperatures put bulls down. And it goes from bad to
worse when a drought overlaps a heatwave. Give me frost or a little dusting
snow and l promise you elk will be on the move, oftentimes migrating predictably
from summer ranges at timberline to winter ranges at lower elevations.

Second, aggressive calling tactics rule the roost this time of year. In fact
there are so many strategies to choose from that l might have too many in my
quiver of tricks, More on this later and third, the biology of this phase of the rut makes bulls more susceptible to bowhunters than at any other time of year (again, lots more below). Add it up,
and the math is sound: The last week is the best week. That being the case,
here’s a fistful of strategies for ending the season with a bang.

THE BUDDY MANEUVER
l used to hunt with a guy who was a recluse. He avoided hunting with other
guys mainly because he thought it compromised his hunting opportunities.
Yet lied often complain about monster bulls tied call within bow range but couldn`t
get broadside. l’m wired differently. lt`s no secret that l relish the opportunity to
double -up on elk with my like·minded buddies. We’re an unselfish crew and
seem to have matured into enjoying each others’ successes as much as our
own. lf that describes you, then you’re in a good place. Now’s the best time to
buddy-up on a bull.

“[The late season] is tailor-made for aggressive calling, and that means the
more callers, the better,” says Ralph Ramos, a veteran New Mexico guide
appearing often in these pages over the years. It’s not uncommon [for me] to set up two hunters with two or more callers. You need good communication, and you need to read the situation properly, but it’s a tactic that’s loaded with potential for
this time of year.” It’s been said that a pessimist sees a calamity in every challenge, and that an
optimist sees a challenge in every calamity. There’s a challenge here, all right, but how you handle it determines whether or not it ends in calamity. So let’s set up the setup. “Most bowhunters don’t separate themselves far enough from the callers,” Ramos began. “When [l`m calling] l like to get anywhere from 90 to 150 yards away from my hunters. Most guys set up 30 to 40 yards away, like they’re hunting turkeys. This simply doesn’t allow you to maneuver the bulls.”
Man, is Ramos ever right on.

Early in my bowhunting career l`d routinely get stuck in the proverbial 150-yard hangup: I’d get pinned as I watched the bull I desperately wanted pace back and forth out of bow range. Occasionally he’d bluff·charge 40 to So yards closer, giving me false hopes he’d end up in my lap. But he rarely did. Now I realize it was my fault. I needed better separation from my buddy’s calling. One-hundred-fifty yards may seem like a long way, but take Ramos’ advice: Better to be too far apart than too close. Next, you need to decide how aggressive you want to get and how soon you want to get aggressive. This is a critical decision, especially with the waning
season on the line. “When the caller keeps the proper distance from the hunter, you’ve got options,” Ramos continued. The hunter should be thinking how best to close the gap while his
caller concentrates on distracting the bull. I want to really work over the bull so he thinks he’s got plenty of space to protect his cows and bugle back at me. I make no attempt to keep quiet while I’m calling; I like to sound like an approaching is herd of cows with a straggling bull or two. I’m as aggressive as I can be.

Now here’s where things get dicey. If the bull appears to be drawing closer, great—you’re about to experience the moment of truth. All you have to do is get the caller to back off a little bit to make
the bull think he’s got the invading, rival bull on the defensive. The risk, of course, is challenging the bull beyond his comfort zone, which may trigger him into retreating with his harem. But drawing this line in the sand is what separates the pros like Ramos from the rest of the elk crowd.
Master this technique, and you’re about to graduate to the big leagues!

A final word on maneuvering bulls. Use common sense and you should be able to broadside a bull: If the bull is bugling to the right of the shooter, swing around to the left and call away from the
bull. Do the opposite if the bull seems to be circling wide left of the shooter. Pay strict attention to what you hearing don’t let the wind fool you—and stick with the program. It takes some practice,
but you’ll learn from every mistake. Finally, remember to make plenty of elk noise as you call.

NEW LIGHT ON DARK TIMBER
In the Desert Southwest, bulls don’t begin losing their harems till mid-October—after the completion of archery seasons—and the weather tends to remain quite balmy throughout the bow
season down there. But things are different further north, particularly in states like Wyoming, Colorado and Montana. As the bow season matures, the elk landscape transforms into a new season. For one, late September stimulates elk migrations: for another, rut dynamics change. Guide Roger McQueen notes these changes and keeps one step ahead.

“The whole key this time of year is anticipation.” he says. “You can never chase elk. You’re way better off intercepting them. That is why I do so much better scouting in dark timber; I want to be ready when the herd drops down [from] timberline.”

In a sentence, McQueen is looking for telltale clues that elk are at mid-slope. A carpet of snow certainly helps. But a sudden artic blast coud affect the location of elk bedding areas. “It’s well
known that north-facing slopes are preferred, ” he said. “That’s where the cover is thickest. But bulls will occasionally sun themselves [on the south side] if the thermometer really plummets. An elk magnet would be the head of a basin, say 7,000 feet where bulls can slip over either side of the top.”

Another dark timber axiom is cherry-picking benches -where the terrain briefly flattens out before dropping off again – along extremely steep slopes. Elk concentrate here, and it’s easier to call in bulls for broadside shots.

“Calling in the timber can be frustrating,” admits McQueen. “You have to scramble a lot to make sure the thermals don’t betray you. And it’s easy to get caught out of position because you can’t see bulls until their almost on top of you. On the flip side, you probably won’t get many 100 yard hang ups.”

Once again, the late season challenge boils down to call tactics. It all
depends on how desperate you are, says McQueen: Conventional wisdom calls for
answering a bull after he’s had a chance to speak his mind: get the conversation heat»
ing up gradually But I find that in dark timber, for some reason, I can cut off the bull- interrupt him in the middle of his bugle-with a bugle of my own. This ticks him off and often brings him in on a trot; however, in more open terrain its a big gamble and often sends the bull packing.


SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

Dan Evans sells Trophy Taker arrow rests for a living, but that’s just an excuse to
hunt elk in as many states as he can each fall. Evans has racked up multiple-state
kills for the past several years essentially because he hunts like respected 3-D
archer Randy Ulmer does. What do the two have in common? They sleep with elk. Evans will even bunk out in a tree if that’s what it takes to down a monster bull and Ulmer, an Arizona resident fortunate enough to hunt bulls in that state more than once in a lifetime, knows this
is the best way to score on bulls topping the 375 Pope and Young mark.

So how can the rest of us get in on the bit? First learn how to bivouac. Start
by getting yourself a backpack that’s small enough to pack inside a bigger
camp pack. The bigger pack gets you to set up at your spike camp, and the small·
er pack equips you for a two» or three day rendezvous. Now you can bed down
where the elk take you, which could be a mile or four from base camp.

“Bivouacking is made to order for the late season,” says Bryan Leck, a wiry
Colorado bowhunter who lives out of his pack for weeks on end each September.
“You waste no time and lose no sleep traveling back and to camp each day, I mean the instant
you wake up, you’re close to an elk and can start hunting. You can hunt at a higher pace from the sunrise to sunset. “While this is true, the key to this technique is securing a good water supply

Don’t Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
And speaking of not wasting time (when there’s no time to waste) I learned a valuable lesson a few years ago from New Mexico outfitter Tom Klumker. He taught me not to waste precious hours. l was obsessive compulsive about
thermals mining a hunt but, like he says, theres no hunt to ruin unless you try.

Sure, you can’t rely on down drafting thermals [like sunrise and sunset], he told me. But if you can determine the
flow of localized air currents, you can still stay downwind from elk most of the time.
Ralph Ramos agrees: “l really like midday during the last few days of the season, because a bedded bull is pretty likely to respond to your bugle. It he’s preoccupied with cows, on the other hand, he might not answer.” Ramos adds a cautionary note on exactly what a bedded bull is apt to sound like. “It’s more like a moan: oah-ah. So if you sharpen your ears and listen for this sound, the bulls are going to give up their location. And that’s what it’s all about.”

RATTLE UP A RUTTING BULL
I’ve saved the best tactic for last—rattling. My Cutting Edge column covers this hot new tactic, but here are some additional pointers to keep in mind”
• You can rattle any time, anywhere.just be sure to start with subdued sparring sounds before replicating a donnybrook encounter. Sometimes that’s all you need.
• The Sparring Bull call, pioneered by seven-time Elk Call Champion Audrey Hulsey, is for real. This intrigueing vocalization is what bulls make when they push and shove. And it can’t be effective without having to rattle.

Hot tip: To help position bulls for a quality shot, Hulsey jury-rigs an oversized plastic baseball bat to cast the:
Sparring Bull calls.
• Rattling works best when the demand for cows exceeds the supply. The
tag end of the bow season in northern elk states is about as good as it gets, since this is when bulls run out of estrous cows ,and harems become harder to manage. ;
• Satellite bulls are suckers for rattling and the spar call If you’re hunting where the satellites are impressive specimens—wilderness areas, limited entry units, private ranches——you’re in for a
real treat.
• Like bugling, two bowhunters can be more effective at rattling than one. But take Ramos’ advice and separate the rattler from the Shooter by at least 100 yards. And don’t forget to make may ruckus. Stomp your feet, shake bushes, break sticks, even tumble rocks down the slope!

About the only thing that can ruin a late-season hunt is the season ending before your tag is filled. But that shouldn’t happen if you plan ahead and make every minute count! >>—->

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