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Published by admin on 16 Nov 2009

Bulls in the Peak By Joe Bell

Bulls in the Peak

Bugling up elk during Colorado’s mid-September rut

simply epitomizes the rush of bowhunting big game.

By Joe Bell



We trudged along in the 7,500-foot elevation air, moving upward along an old two-track.  This trail would lead us to a good access point before we ascended to the high oak brush hills to intercept the elk.  It was still inky dark when we heard the distinct sound of elk antlers racking a tree.  The noise was coming just near the roadside.  We moved in to 50 yards and set up. 

 Kevin, a good friend and Bow & Arrow Hunting’s advertising director, was my guide.  Before he began his tenure at the magazine Kevin guided for Eagle Spirit Outfitters, the outfit we were hunting with, for several seasons.

  Kevin was at my rear, 20 or 30 yards back.  We waited for a bit, then I heard cow mews coming from Kevin’s diaphragm call.  It was still very dim, so I strained my eyes looking for movement.  The thrashing halted but then sliced the chilly air once again.  The bull wasn’t moving.

 I felt the desire to move, but with it still dark and my guide squeaking his mouth, I couldn’t move.  But this could be the easiest elk hunt ever, I thought.  I could creep up, wait for shooting light and arrow this bull.

 Moments later, the situation solved itself as the bull silently walked off.

 Over the years I’ve pursued elk off and on but never really seriously.  I did have a tough, unforgettable experience hunting elk on a drop-camp hunt a few falls ago in Colorado’s flattop wilderness.  After four days of wandering the alpine meadows and ridges, I got lucky, came across a rutting bull chasing three cows and fell in between.  The shot came fast, as they usually do, but I nailed the 6×7 bull with a 40-yard shot.  I was awestruck by the entire episode and became seriously hooked on the challenge of hunting elk.

Bulls in the Peak_2

 Last summer, after putting in for several premier out-of-state elk hunts, I came up empty-handed after the draws.  This directed me to Eagle Spirit Outfitters, which runs elk hunts amid some of Colorado’s best elk-rich areas.  The great thing about this outfit’s hunting areas is that permits are available over the counter!  Besides that, I’ve heard of Eagle Spirit’s excellent quality and success over the years, plus Kevin told me it was simply the place to go to hunt elk.  I was sold and I was “fit in” during the second week in September.

 Baffled by the bull’s reaction, Kevin and I continued our march up the mountain.  We could hear several bulls bugling in the distance.  With every step the sounds boosted our excitement.

 Following a well-beaten elk trail to a stand of aspens, we set up immediately as the bull responded to Kevin’s cow sounds.  The bull seemed as hot as they come, but to out disbelief, he hung up 125 yards out—only barely visible through the gap in the trees.  He was a nice 5×4.  Gosh, I hate when they do that.

  As cows shuffled around him, he galloped to the side and spun the females up the incline.  They were moving away from us.  But suddenly, we saw another bull, but this one was only a spike.  Then we heard another up the draw.  Was this one heading our way?

 Kevin and I hustled upward.  We chased and chased, but our effort proved useless.  Before we knew it, the temperatures were beginning to heat up and the prevalent elk sounds that surrounded us earlier on were all gone.  The morning hunt was over.

 We laughed and talked excitingly about the morning’s events as we drove back to the lodge.  The hunting was so exhilarating I felt numb.  I wish we could’ve stayed up there with the elk, but a warm breakfast did sound good.

I’ll have to say, for the most part, I’m a bowhunter who usually enjoys “roughing”it.  Meaning, I don’t mind a Spartan camp with a tent and no running water.  Usually, this kind of campsite brings you closer to the game, especially when you’re hunting backcountry animals like elk.  In fact, all my elk hunting has been done from rustic camps.

 That was until I came on this hunt.  We were staying in a ski-resort-type lodge that was nothing short of elaborate (really exquisite), with all the bells and whistles you could imagine.  These bells and whistles include full-time gourmet cook, cozy bedroom suites (one to two hunters per room) with our own bathroom/shower, and daily cleaning and laundry services.  How’s that for elk hunting!

Bulls in the Peak

But don’t let these fancy features fool you.  This outfit is all about quality elk bowhunting, first and foremost, and the main concern is providing you with a first-rate elk-hunting experience.  They just like to do it in style.

 In the next several days Kevin and I became a synchronized hunting team.  We got into plenty of elk, including bulls that would score in the 280s and 290s—fantastic bulls for this region.  We just kept having tough breaks.

  On one particular morning, we set up along a ridge top—on one side was all oak brush with a big pond down below, and the other side was aspens intermixed with dark timber.  Upon scaling the hillside, Kevin bugled and got a response—several responses from different bulls.  The sound of an entire herd of cows and three or four bulls grew closer and closer.

 Unfortunately the animals crossed 90 yards down slope, way out of effective range of my Mathews Q2XL.  First the cows passed, then two bulls, one a 4×4, the other a 5×5.  Once they were out of the clear, I scampered behind brush and dashed from bush to bush trying to sneak close.  All the while the bulls were shattering the mountain air with sounds of dominance.

 I was nearly within bow range when I heard the timber below come alive.  From the sounds, there were three bulls in the patch of aspens.  My breathing quickly sped up, and without notice out came a giant bull.  He was caked in mud from hoof to antlers, clearly the dominant bull of the pack—the herd bull.  His 6×6 rack glittered in the morning sun.  He would score near the 300 mark.

  With some other elk in the open, I couldn’t move.  As he walked out of sight, the others followed. Eventually, it was the fifth and last day of the hunt.  Jim Sanchez’s son, Jacob, 25, had tagged his clients out and would be helping Kevin guide me.  Jacob and his brother Joe are astute elk hunters, bowhunters themselves, who know this elk country like their own two hands.

 On the final day, Kevin, Jacob and I hiked along an old road in the early morning blackness.  We wanted to reach the base of the mountain before light.  The elk would be moving fast from the flats to high bedding areas.

Just before reaching the location, Jacob challenged a bull in the distance with his Primos Pallet Plate diaphragm bugle call.  The bull’s interest level seemed right, so we raced closer and set up.  When he didn’t come on strong, we moved closer again.  We were mimicking a real bull.

 Bulls in the Peak_3

It wasn’t too long before we spotted two bulls, one was a 5×5, the other a 4×4.  The bulls appeared to be in a sparing match—nothing heavy but surely ticking their horns together.

 Jacob signaled to follow and we moved quickly but silently until reaching the edge of a clearing.  Jacob cow called, and cow called some more.  The bull’s bugled back.  Jacob called again.

 “There he is,” Jacob whispered as the five-point bull darted up the hill away from us.  “He’s leaving.”

 Meanwhile, the other bull let out a throaty, raspy cry, “The other one’s coming!”  Jacob hissed.  “Get down!”

Bulls in the Peak_4

 Seconds later the bull appeared, about 80 yards away, and was coming straight on.  He sounded off then dropped out of sight in a small gully.  I quickly estimated distances all around with my eyes, and drew my bow.  I figured he’d come up near the 40- to 35- yard spot.

 About 10 seconds later, he popped into view, at about 45 yards away.  He blasted the air with a throaty roar.  I held and held as he stopped, bugled again and took slow steps forward.

Holding the bow for nearly a minute, I was beginning to creep at full draw, fatigue surely settling in.  I was on  my knees and out in the open.  The bull stopped, stared hard at my outline with glowing eyes and gave the look every long-time bowhunter knows.  It was now or never.  I knew if I let down, he’d surely swap ends and explode away.

With the bull facing me, roughly 35 yards away, I felt confident of placing the arrow in the soft spot below his thought.  I snapped the pin on the spot and shot.

I watched in a split second as the arrow flashed near my line of sight and smashed into the elk.  He barely staggered and walked off.  I loaded another arrow, but there was no chance for a second opportunity.

 A half-hour later, we were at the hit sight.  Strangely enough, my arrow was lying on the ground, coated only with a bit of blood and hair.  I felt utter disgust, as I knew the arrow had hit off center and glanced off heavy bone.

 We tracked what blood there was for 500-plus yards.  It was obvious the hit severed no arteries or vitals, surely a superficial wound the elk would quickly recover from.  In fact, we believe we heard him bugle again, while in pursuit of cows.

 The following evening we found ourselves on high ground, looking downward with binoculars at a dozen elk, including a couple fine bulls.  Knowing the elk were quite far and we only had very little daylight left, we ran as fast as we could to intercept the moving animals.  Jacob knew where they were headed.

 It’s amazing the amount of ground a hunter can cover when the pressure is on.  Eventually we find ourselves within near striking distance.  We crept silently through the noisy vegetation.  There were elk all around; we just couldn’t see them.

 “This way,” Jacob commanded.

 He’s right up there.  “Go as fast as you can!”

 I darted forward, dodged a bush here and there and spotted the bull.  I came to full draw as he stopped.  But there was no shot.  Twigs obscured my shooting lane.  I stepped sideways, but shooting opportunities at live animals come and go in milliseconds.  A millisecond had gone by and this one was gone.  The elk took a couple steps and entered the brush.

 Though I didn’t arrow an elk during my five days of hunting, I had an unforgettable time, plus I learned many essential lessons.  First, never take a frontal shot on an elk unless it is at point-blank range.  Second, there’s no such thing as an easy elk hunt.  There were many times I thought this “lodge” elk hunt on private hunting ground was going to be a cinch.  And three, no matter what happens, good or bad, remember, elk hunting during the peak of the rut is as good as bowhunting gets, so soak it in and keep it fun— no matter what.

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Published by admin on 13 Oct 2009

Aquatic Archery By Mark Morrison

Aquatic Archery
Spark up the off-season by hunting these underwater targets.
By Mark Morrison


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


 The list of rough fish species available to bow-fishers across the United States is nearly endless.  Due to their wide distribution, common carp, buffalo and gar are the species most often pursued.

 Because of their ever-expanding range and penchant for rapid reproduction, carp are the top fish hunted by bowfishers.  Average size “bronze-backs” range from 10 to 15 pounds.  But they regularly reach 40 pounds and monsters as large as 80 pounds have been harvested by fishing archers!  Carp are strong fighters that prefer wild close-in, fin-to-toe battles.

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


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

 Longnose gar are plentiful only if a few water-ways in my home state of Minnesota.  Still, every spring and summer, I make many treks to a few select area lakes and aim all my efforts at chasing these challenging fish.


One steamy Saturday last July still stands out in my mind.  The wind was dead calm, the air sultry and the intense sun had sizzled the temperature to near 100 degrees – nowhere near ideal conditions for any other bowhunting pursuit but perfect for hunting heat-loving longnose gar.

 I cranked my outboard to life and raced across the lake toward a small inlet stream.  I figured where the creek emptied into a weed infested bay, good numbers of gar should be there to feed and loaf.

 To avoid spooking the gar I shut the outboard down 100 yards from the inlet.  After scrambling upon my elevated shooting platform and lowering the electric foot r=controlled trolling motor, I began a methodical stalk toward the weedline.  The coon-tail weeds were unusually thick…perfect habitat for gar.

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

 The sharp Stingray fishing point and 350-pound test BCY synthetic line held firm and I soon had the gar reeled alongside my boat.


 Since I didn’t relish having my hands raked to shreds by the gars protruding razor like dentures, I was very careful when I grabbed my arrow to hoist the fish aboard.  As soon as that was accomplished I permanently still the gar with a sharp rap from my “bonker” (a short section of steel pipe).  This is necessary because a gar o this size coming to life in the confines of a boat can cause a lot of havoc including spilled tackle boxes, shredded clothing and lacerated body parts!  Hanging the substantial fish from my electronic scale revealed it to weigh an incredible 19 pounds.  I couldn’t have scripted a better start to my day.


Bagging trophies like the above mentioned gar is a result of pre-season scouting and realistic “on the water” archery practice.  Successfully arrowing underwater prey requires you to compensate for light refraction.  Simply put, refraction bends light rays in such a way that fish always appear higher (or closer) than they actually are.  To compensate for refraction you must aim low to connect with your quarry.  How low?  That knowledge only comes with shooting experience.  The best rule of thumb is to aim low, then aim lower!  Soon your instincts will take over and you’ll begin hitting with surprising consistency!  Since no two bowfishing shots are alike in range or depth, sight-equipped bows are a hindrance.  Shooting instinctively and letting the shot happen naturally is the ideal method for arrowing rough fish.  Also, to block out annoying surface glare and make the task of spotting and arrowing fish easier it is a must that you wear a quality pair of polarized sunglasses and a hat with an efficient sun-blocking brim.
 My above gar hunt represented a typical (albeit very exciting) bowfishing outing.  Previously, I started my season in early May hunting for bowfin (dogfish) and common carp.  I usually continue to hunt carp, buffalo and gar throughout the summer and into early fall.  I also travel to neighboring states to hunt Asian bighead carp (a plankton feeding riverine fish that can easily attain weights in excess of 50 pounds) and white amur (grass carp).


Even with all this variety, I always find time to make several forays for “dusk to dawn” hunts.  My7 bowfishing rig sports a 2,000-watt generator which sends power to a bank of halogen lamps that pierce the inky blackness, illuminating the water around my boat for 10 yards.  Despite the constant humming produced by the generator, rough fish like buffalo, carp, sheephead and gar are more relaxed at night and far easier to approach.  In fact nightime bowfishing is so productive many bowfishers (especially those in southern states, where daytime temps can reach dangerous levels) ignore daylight hunting altogether and do all of their bowfishing under the cover of darkness.

 I’ve been a self-proclaimed bowfishing addict for 20 years and I’ve acquired all the latest gear to make myself a more efficient predator of fish.  I didn’t start out that way though.  Like many other youngsters, I literally cut my bowhunting teeth on rough fish at an early age.  Each spring when the annual sucker spawning runs were in full gear my buddies and I would grab our little fiberglass recurves and wooden arrows( equipped with crude homemade barbed fishing heads) and dash for the nearest creek in anticipation of filling our stringers with cold water suckers.


 Those early days provided a lot of action (which is what restless young archers crave) in the form of endless shot opportunities and heavy bags of fish.  But, the real challenge was bringing our fish to shore after successful shot.  You see, at the time we neither had the inclination or resources to attach a reel and line to our bows.  So…after arrowing a fish we’d simply ditch our bows and race downstream after the fast departing fish!  Knowing where the fish was in the stream was fairly easy; we just had to keep an eye on our brightly colored fetching jutting up like oversized pencil bobber through the water’s surface.  Of course, we had to sprint well ahead or our quarry and ambush them on a shallow stretch to finally bring them to hand.  This was accomplished by grasping the arrow and fish simultaneously and tossing the squirming, slippery prize onto the bank.  It was definitely great fun for neophyte archers like us.

 Because bowfishing is a year-round, day or night sport in many states, it is ideally suited for passionate bowhunters of any age looking to extend their hunting season.  Be careful, however, because bowfishing excitement is contagious.  Your bowhunting goals may soon include harvesting trophies like 40-pound carp, 50-pound buffalo fish and maybe even 5-foot streamlined predators with bony armatures and mouths stuffed full of needle sharp teath!

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Published by admin on 12 Oct 2009

Stick Bows: See The Arrow!

Stick Bows: See The Arrow!
Shoot a visible arrow so you can identify your hits.
By Joe Blake

 At 27 yards the big pronghorn buck stood, legs splayed, as it quenched its thirst at the muddy pond.  The only problem from my perspective in the well-situated pit blind was that another smaller buck stood adjacent to the animal I was concentrating on and effectively prevented a shot.  All I could do was wait and hope that the smaller buck finished drinking and left before my target departed. 

 That’s exactly what happened!  One minute both bucks were noisily gulping down the dirty water and the next minute my buck stood alone as his counterpart turned to vacate the area.  Quickly coming to full draw, I concentrated on the trophy’s chest and released the heavy cedar arrow, but that’s when things became sketchy.  Sure, the Zwickey-tipped arrow ate up the distance in an instant and hit home with a resounding thud, but that was all I knew for sure.  You see, I had recently made up these arrows and used a black cock feather, two gray-barred hen feathers and a black nock…what could I have been thinking!


 Brighten the Way
 One of the most important points to releasing an arrow at a big-game animal is to be able to follow its flight and identify the hit, and this is virtually impossible when using dark or drab-colored fletching and nocks.  This is especially true for instinctive bowhunters who must train their eyes to the flight of the arrow in order to learn to shoot well.  Obviously, if you can’t see what your arrow is doing on each and every shot you can never complete the learning process, and for this reason it is imperative that you use the arrows that you can see well in flight.

 From a personal standpoint, I have always preferred yellow fletching and nocks more than any other color, but white, red, orange, chartreuse and others might work for you as well or better.  Each bowhunter is different and has different preferences when it comes to arrow colors and combinations.  Also, some hunters can get by with just a bright cock feather or even simply a bright-colored nock and follow their arrow’s flight just fine, which is great if you are concerned that the game you are after might pick up a quiver full of brightly colored arrows.


 From years of experience I don’t believe that bright arrows alarm game unless you are waving your bow and arrows around like a flag;  the possible exception being when you are bowhunting for turkeys because they see colors better than other game.  For this reason, I strongly suggest that a bowhunter experiment during the off-season to come up with a color combination that is visible and is to his or her liking.

 Dipping Helps Little
 On the opening hunt I had dipped the crown on my arrows in bright orange which shows up great when the arrows are in the quiver but the color of the cap dip is of little use when the arrow is in flight because you won’t see it!  As luck would have it I didn’t need to identify the hit because the arrow effectively cut the big buck’s heart right in half and he only made it 50 yards before going down in a cloud of dust.  But had the hit been less than ideal the lack of visibility from my arrows could have caused problems.  This is because identifying the hit is of paramount importance because it tells you what type of tracking job you might expect and how you should proceed.

 Now let’s fast forward nearly 20 years to a definitely older and hopefully wiser bowhunter who is carrying a quiver fill of very visible, white arrows.  White cap dip, three white feathers, white nock.  As the tall-tined eight pointer turns broadside at 17 yards the hunter sends a cedar arrow perfectly through the deer’s ribcage and watches as the shaft skips across the hay-field behind the deer.  The results mirror that of my previously mentioned antelope hunt in that the buck raced away but folded up in plain sight only 60 or so yards away.  But what differs is that I knew instantly that the shot was perfect and that the buck’s flight would be short.  The only reason I could be so sure of this was because my white feathers told me so!


 As with nearly all of life’s decisions, arrow colors are a matter of personal preference, but don’t overlook the importance of visible arrows on your next hunt.  If you are a stickbow shooter who uses instinct alone to guide your shafts then don’t even consider an arrow you can’t follow in flight.  While visibility has its practical side, also don’t overlook the sheer joy of watching your arrow arch gracefully toward its intended target, whether it is that buck of a lifetime, a 3-D target or simply a rotten stump.  There’s something almost magical about watching your arrow and target come together, and I for one intend to enjoy the experience by using visible arrows for all of my shooting.

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Published by admin on 12 Oct 2009

Map & Compass

Map & Compass
Weather you hunt wilderness elk or small woodlot whitetails,

a good topo map and compass will always increase your effectiveness as a hunter.
By Bill Vaznis

 “ It will be shooting light soon,” Bob said as he pulled the 4×4 off the road and down into a gully.  He left the diesel running and turned on the dome light to show me an old topo map complete with diagrams and plenty of notes in the margins.  “Take this old logging road down to the clear-cut, about a half-mile away,” he said, “and then work your way along this edge.  I’ve seen elk here, here and on this ridge just below the cut.  It should take you most of the morning to cover it thoroughly.


 “When you get to the creek, cross it just inside the cut, and have your lunch.  Then take out your compass and head 280 degrees for about a mile until you reach a rocky bluff and a line of aspens.  Follow the line of trees due south.  Keep your eyes open now because there have been a couple of big bulls seen here in recent days.  You should come out on this other logging road around sunset.  I’ll pick you up there.  Any questions?”

 “Yes,” I replied.  “What happens if I don’t hit the logging road by dark?”

 “Just shoot three arrows in the air,” laughed Bob, “and I’ll park the truck and come in to get you.  If I can’t find you by midnight, however, I’ll tell the guys back at camp that you are good and lost, and they can divvy up your gear.”

 “You won’t have to get out of the truck,” I replied with feigned sarcasm.  “Just open up a thermos of hot coffee, and hang it out the window.  I can smell a cup of hot coffee a mile away.  Besides, I know you’ve got your eyes on my bow case and Gore-Tex rain gear, so I’ll be sure to be at the logging road by dark.  See you then buddy!”


 Orienteering Basics
 It is difficult to take full advantage of a topo map when hunting for elk, moose or deer unless you know exactly where you are in relation to the map.  One way to orient yourself is by simple inspection.  Take up a position in your hunting area that offers you good visibility, and then pick out a few prominent physical features such as hilltops or a lake.  Orientate the map until its typographical symbols correspond to the terrain in front of you, and then using the contour lines try to pinpoint your exact location on the map.

 A more precise method is to set our compass at 360 degrees and place the side edge of its transparent base plate on a line parallel with the Magnetic North line.  Use the Declination Diagram found in the map’s margin.


 Now, point the Direction-of-Travel needle to the north and rotate the map and compass together until the north part of the compass needle points to the “N” on the compass housing.  (Some models have a black outline of an arrow permanently drawn inside and on the floor of the housing.  It always points to “N” on the compass housing and some outdoorsmen find it easier to align the magnetic needle with this arrow.)  Make sure your jack knife or wristwatch are not influencing the compass needle.  There, you have oriented the compass, map and yourself to Magnetic North.  It is that simple!

 Scouting Big Woods
 Topographical symbols and the spacing of contour lines can help you locate probable feeding and bedding sites, as well as runways and escape routes, from the comfort of camp.  Basically, the closer the contour lines are to each other, the steeper you’ll find the terrain.  Most ridge contours point downhill toward lowland feeding areas while valley contours point uphill towards the higher elevations—two locations elk and deer like to frequent!.

 I often study those little brown squiggles for hours trying to locate bottlenecks, saddles, gentle slopes and natural crossings that often govern the daily movements of most big-game animals.  I always check out meadows, burn-overs, clear-cuts and old farmsteads for evidence of feeding activity, and , the edges of dense swamps, nearby high ridges and the tops of steep ravines for possible bedding sites.

 One fall, while bowhunting for elk in Colorado, we found a hotspot for elk by closely studying a topo map.  We knew there was a herd of elk nearby, but they seemed to disappear from the face of the earth once the bulls stopped bugling.  A creek bed, however, caught our attention.  It seemed to meander effortlessly through the valley we were hunting.  Upon closer examination, however, we “saw” on the map where a steep ridge blocked the creek at one point causing it to flow due east for a few hundred yards before it resumed its natural course.  That herd of elk was holed up on the bend of that creek, and if it wasn’t for an unexpected close encounter with two black bears we might have arrowed one of those bulls.

 Finding Your Way Around
 There is no mystery to navigating in the big woods.  Just use your common sense and follow these basic rules and you can hunt with confidence just about anywhere in North America.


 The first rule is simple.  Before you take that initial step into the wilderness, pick out a prominent landmark to help you return to your starting point.  A mountain peak or ridgeline can often help you stay oriented without a compass—even in the dark.  In other cases, I like to use a power line right-of-way, a river or even a dirt road as a backdrop.  This will allow me to find camp even if I overshoot my starting point.

 For example, let’s say you want to hunt an aspen-covered ridge that lies due north of a large stream.  No matter where you are at quitting time, all you have to do is travel due south to hit the river.  The best part is you can be off by a half mile and still locate your starting point in the dark by simply following the river’s bank back to your vehicle.

 Of course, back bearings are not always so easy to figure out.  Let’s say your forward compass reading to the ridge is not magnetic north (zero or 360 degrees), but rather 95 degrees.  In this case, traveling due south to get yourself out of the woods could get you good and lost!


 The rule of thumb to reverse directions is to add 180 degrees if your forward reading is less than  180 degrees.  Conversely, if your forward reading is more than 180 degrees, then subtract 180 degrees.  In this latter case, your return compass reading or back bearing will be 275 degrees.

 If you can’t remember which is which, don’t worry.  Choosing the wrong formula will result in an answer of less then zero degrees or more than 360 degrees, and both of these are of course nonsense.

 Don’t wait until you get turned around to figure out how to get back to camp.  Know where you are at all times! One way to do this is to sketch your forward progress, keeping note of pertinent landmarks you encounter en route.  Write down degree bearings, too.  It is easy to forget what direction you want to follow after a day of chasing big whitetails about.


 As you hike through the woods, turn around once in a while to see what the return trail looks like.  It is amazing how different everything can appear from this new perspective!  Nothing is more disconcerting then to be on the correct path to camp, but not recognize it as such even in good light.

  A few words of caution now about navigating in the big woods—beware of lateral drift!  You can become hopelessly lost by following your compass “more or less” in the general direction you want to go.  Lateral drift occurs when you take one step in the right direction, say due north, but two or three to the “left” to go around a rock or fallen tree.  In essence, you have gone one step in the correct direction, and two in the wrong direction—due west!  Where do you think you’ll be in two hours? I can assure you it will not be due north of your original position!

 To counteract lateral drift, pick out a landmark straight ahead in the direction you want to travel, even if it is only 50 yards away, go to it, and then sight down your compass to another landmark.  Continue with this procedure, and you’ll soon be out of the woods.  Remember the shortest distance between two points is a straight line!


Of course this can be tricky sometimes, especially in the dark.  If I am going “way back,” I stuff a shoulder pack with a small flashlight, extra batteries, some dry clothes, water-proof matches, some food and a small plastic tarp in case I get a bit “bewildered” or get a shot late in the day.  Trying to find the blood trail in the big woods on a return trip the following morning can be like looking for the proverbial needle.  It might be much easier to stay with the animal overnight, and then continue to follow the blood trail the next morning in good light.

 Finally, always trust your compass.  Human beings were not born with a “sense” of direction.  If your compass indicates you must turn around and go back through the swamp, then do it!  Try and keep in mind that it is you who are confused—not your compass!

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Published by admin on 07 Oct 2009

California Wild Hogs By Joe Bell


California Wild Hogs

Want real bowhunting fun?  Experience the thrill of stalking wild pigs amid

the rugged hills of the Golden State.

By Joe Bell

California_Wild_Hogs_2 California_Wild_Hogs_3          

With the June temperatures looming beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I knew a tough hunt was in store for us.  Besides brutally hot weather, my friend Art Cain and I were facing a grueling 2,000-foot climb up a towering ridgeline.  You’d think we were nuts to go climbing such a hill in this weather, but we’d spotted some giant hogs with our binoculars feeding on the tops of these ridgelines.  Each one had its snout buried ear-deep in wild oats.  Even though these hogs were a half-mile away, we could see their huge heads and “teeth bumps” along their jaws.  They were definitely worth the work. 


           As we bounced down the canyon road in the pickup, we glanced at our watches and realized it was still early, 2:30 in the afternoon.  So we decided to pull over and hunt ground squirrels for a bit.  Within minutes we were into the pesky varmints.  After many hits and misses we jumped back in the truck and continued our drive.  Rounding a sharp bend we immediately spotted a group of hogs moseying across the road.  I couldn’t believe it!  What were they doing out in 105-degree weather?

             The answer came quickly as we drove up another 50 yards, stopped the truck and bailed out.  Instantly I could hear water trickling down a nearby ravine.  Art and I grabbed our bows and trotted across a big field toward the creek.


            When we got to the creek’s edge, we slowed to a bobcat’s crawl with our arrows already knocked.  We slinked along and suddenly spotted hooves!  The pigs were on the move.  Art darted forward and I hooked to the left, just in case they were to double back.


            As I worked uphill I crouched to clear an overhanging tree branch and saw pig feet beneath the canopy of oak leaves.  The pigs were 15 yards away and closing in!  I quickly drew my bow as I saw the sight of teeth barreling down on me, from only 10 steps away!  As soon as my fingers hit anchor, the arrow was gone.

           The arrow nicked the pig’s lower jaw and angled forward into its chest.  I ran backward after the shot, but fortunately, the pig veered, charged upward, and stumbled, then slid to the bottom of the hill.  It was all over in seconds!


These Hogs are Different

          In the past few months I’ve talked to several highly experienced bowhunters who just recently tasted the fun of bowhunting California’s wild hogs, and what I heard back was, “Man was that a great hunt,” and “I’ve  never enjoyed a hunt so much.  It was incredible!”  Both of these comments came from guys that have traveled abroad to hunt animals like Rocky Mountain goat, Alaskan moose, giant elk and other coveted trophies.  So for them to say a California pig hunt was great and incredible says a lot.

            Outside California’s crowded megalopolis areas, you’ll find a maze of truly wild foothill country meshed with oak trees, poison oak, chaparral, various water ways and a number of big game, including wild feral hogs.  Because California’s country is rugged with no game fences present, the wild pigs that live here offer a supreme off-season challenge for the bowhunter.  You simply have to hunt these hogs to see what you’re missing!


   When and Where to Hunt

          In California, you can pursue wild pigs year ’round, with no bag limits.  The only thing required is a valid state general hunting license ($100 for non-residents) and a pig tag ($13 for one nonresident tag).  And with no bag or possession limit, these animals are almost considered vermin, since they are considered overpopulated on private lands and do immense damage to valuable agricultural crops.

            My favorite time to hunt pigs is generally during the cooler, sometimes drizzly late-winter and early-spring months.  During this time, your morning hunts end later and evening hunts begin sooner.  This maximizes your hunting opportunity.  But I will say, I enjoy hunting pigs at any time of the year, and I’ve also noticed that during the summer months, food and water is sparser and hogs tend to be more concentrated.  So really, take your pick.

            The Golden State offers public-land hunting opportunity, but it isn’t very good.  In fact, I would highly recommend avoiding the frustration and pitfalls associated with public-land pig hunting.  Instead, save a few extra bucks and book a private-land hunt with a reputable bowhunting outfitter.  For the last several years I’ve hunted on the Tejon Ranch, a 270,000-acre parcel of stunning flatlands, foothills and forested mountains that come chock-full of game of all kinds.  My friend and outfitter Don Smith provides the best wild pig hunting I’ve ever experienced in the state.

            Give it a Try!

          The off-season means downtime for the big-game hunter, a time to work on bow equipment, bow fish and maybe even shoot in a few 3-D tournaments.  But the thrill, adventure and adrenaline rush of big-game hunting doesn’t have to end now.  Spice up your off-season with some rewarding big-game pursuit—the pursuit of California’s wild hogs!

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Published by admin on 01 Oct 2009

Build A Simple Arrow Case By Durwood Hollis

Build A Simple Arrow Case
Inexpensive And Fast To Make—
This Plastic Tube Will Hold A Couple Dozen Shafts
By Durwood Hollis



Transporting Target Arrows or keenly honed Brodhead’s is a problem for archers everywhere.  Most arrows are sold in cardboard cartons that do not hold up well to the rough and tumble nature of repeated trips afield.  A visit to your hardware store can supply you with the necessary components to make your own sturdy, inexpensive arrow case.

 Plastic irrigation pipe, the amateur plumber’s boon, when cut to the appropriate length, fitted with a cushion inset, capped and equipped with an easy-carry handle, makes a rugged, impact-resistant and inexpensive arrow case.  No special instructions or expert ability is needed.  Simple hand tools, normally found in the home workshop and access to a band saw or reciprocating kitchen knife, and a hand drill are all you need.


 The basic supplies to put together the arrow case are:  a length of four-inch diameter plastic pipe, two end caps, plastic pipe solvent, a two-inch pad of poly foam, a carrying handle, a ten-inch length of nylon cord, and several pop-rivets.

Plastic irrigation pipe usually comes in ten- or twenty-foot lengths.  One length of pipe will make three arrow cases, so sharing expenses with a couple other archers will help defray costs further.  Thin wall pipe works best since it is strong enough to withstand the worst abuse, and is half the weight and cost of the heavier variety.  Look for pipe designated Class 125.  Cut the pipe into three equal sections of thirty-four inches.  A hacksaw can be used, but a band saw makes the job easier with clean perpendicular cuts.  File or sand edges of each cut smooth for a perfect and cap fit.

 Next, cut a two-inch poly foam cushion of the appropriate diameter to fit snugly into one end of the pipe.  This foam plug serves to cushion and protect the business end of your arrows.  Poly foam is available at craft shops in a variety of thicknesses and is both inexpensive and durable.  Impress the plastic pipe firmly on the foam, imprinting the inside diameter of the pipe on the foam.  Using a band saw or reciprocating kitchen knife, cut the foam to the proper shape.  The foam plug should fit tightly and will work best if cut slightly oversize.  Insert the foam flush into one end of the plastic pipe and cement one end cap in place over the foam plug.


End caps are available in flat or convex configurations.  I prefer the flat caps but either type will suffice.  You will need two caps; one permanently attached over the foam cushion, another to be utilized as a closure for the arrow case.  This cap should slide off and on with slight resistance.  Drill a 1/8-inch hole in both the end cap and the side of the plastic pipe just below the cap when it is in place.  Thread a ten-inch piece of nylon cord through both holes and knot the inside to form a retaining leash for the end cap.


 Carrying handles are available in several different styles.  I like a folding handle since it easily slips out of the way when the case is not in use.  Once you have selected a handle, locate the center of the case and position the handle.  Mark the attachment points, drill and pop-rivet in place.  Rather than drilling all of the holes and then trying to line things up properly, I find it easier to drill and rivet the holes one at a time.


 Once completed, your new arrow case will hold from one to two dozen hunting arrows depending on the type of broad heads you use.  The case can accommodate a larger number of target arrows or small game points.

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Published by admin on 01 Oct 2009

Jennings Compound Bow Ad


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Published by admin on 01 Sep 2009

“Ted Nugent Trophies with Alien-X”

THE VELVET TOUCH                                                           by Ted Nugent
All bonedemonium was breaking out. I was bonulated. Overboned. Bonedacious. I needed a boneadectomy and needed it bad. Couldn’t leave well enough a bone. I was getting bone tired.  Bone, bone on the range. It was a full on bone-A-rama and I was about to lose my mind. I had never seen such a head full of bone in all my life, and the moment of truth was here and now. Bone-A-gram for Mongo!
Let me explain in pedestrian terms for all you confused bone collectors out there. It was my fifth day at America’s premier whitetail deer hunting camp,  Jim Scheifelbein’s Three Lakes Whitetails in Three Lakes, Wisconsin. This intensely managed deer paradise had been high fenced way back in 1959 by a guy who wanted to see more than spikes and forkhorns during his cherished Wisconsin deer season, and was getting fed up with all the hunters in the deer woods that shot at every deer they saw. Statistics show that more than 90% of bucks killed by deer hunters in Wisconsin, just like Michigan and elsewhere, are only a year and a half old, and are killed way before they are anywhere near maturity or capable of reaching their potential. Backstraps are backstraps, afterall, and I am a huge fan. But to each his bone.
Surely everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows good and well that Ol Uncle Ted is by no stretch of the imagination a trophy hunter. I’m just a regular old fashioned meat hunter for all intents, purposes and kill it and grill it pragmatism. But some guys want to shoot big, mature bucks, and I say more power to them. That takes a lot more discipline and patience, and of course demands hunting where there might be a mature buck.
And though Buffalo County Wisconsin produces more book bucks than any other geographical location in North America, that is a direct result of a prolonged and coordinated effort by a huge block of landowners and hard core dedicated hunters to let the young bucks walk so they can grow to their potential. Sometimes that can mean no backstraps at all. A decision that is very difficult to get contiguous landowners to agree upon.
Where such a united agreement cannot be attained, another alternative is to high fence private property, not to contain the deer so much, but rather to keep out the young buck killers so that this contained herd can be better managed, balanced, and mature. Perfect. Who doesn’t love a huge antlered stag?
Sadly, there is still the assumption that such enclosures eliminate real hunting, and such ignorance has been wildly clung to regardless of the facts. The ignorant call it “canned hunting” when in fact, the fence doesn’t help a hunter bag a deer in the least, except for the fact that the herd is healthier and usually more calm like in the good old days before hyper pressure on the animals from the growing army of hunters across the nation.
Now, mind you, I am not only a huge fan of the growing army of hunters across the nation, I have also been a part of this great American venison army for more than 55 years, and in fact promote the increased recruitment into this wonderful deer army more than anybody that has ever lived. Clearly, America needs more hunters, not fewer. Recruit already.
But here I was, as an invited guest of the Scheifelbeins along with Edwin and Lisa Waddell, parents of BloodBrother Bone Collector Michael Waddell. We converged at Three Lakes Whitetails for the unique excitement of an early deer season in August, where a velvet antlered beast might be bagged. The hunt, the challenge, dedication, early mornings and late evenings, brotherhood time around the campfire and backstrap camaraderie were all the same regardless of the presence of any fence or not. It was everything a gung-ho American deer hunter could ever want.
Edwin and Lisa were able to arrow fine trophy deer in the first three days, but the ol WhackMaster was getting skunked. I was trying to figure out when the canned hunt would begin! I have hunted deer for more than 55 years, and no one can tell me that this wasn’t real, honest to God deer hunting. I loved every exciting minute of it.
Then my luck changed, the planets aligned, and the beast beyond my wildest dreams strolled into my Northern Wisconsin wilderness forest on this fine, cold morning, and I about had a bone attack. I could barely believe my eyes as this fat, waddling stud of a stag strutted into view amongst the beautiful pines, cedars and spruce before me.
I forced myself to ignore his head, locked my gaze into the crease behind his shoulder, drew back my arrow, and willed it into his chest. The THWACK heard round the world pole axed this behemoth to the ground. Propelled by only 50# OF Martin bow thrust, my scalpel sharp Magnus broadhead sliced and shattered the old buck’s shoulders with devastating effect. All 335 pound of venison on the hoof crashed to the earth right now as if punched by a .338 Winchester magnum, and I about blew out of my treestand.
Kowabunga! Am I alone or in a hunter’s dream? The moment of truth is here and now. I felt his touch, I felt his guiding hand, and the buck was mine forever more!
Being die hard old school, even though I knew my arrow had penetrated both shoulders and both lungs, his instant fall to the earth translated as a central nervous system hit, so my second arrow was on its way three seconds later. My 3rd even faster.
My bulging, stunned eyeballs swung back to VidCamDude, Gonzo Guide Mark LaRose in shocking disbelief, as if to get his confirmation that what I thought I saw had actually taken place. I was stunned as Mark grinned broadly and rolled digital tape capturing the magical moment to share with the whole world on Spirit of the Wild TV. It was pure, primal, raw, natural, organic, wild and intense as anything could be. The beast is dead, long live the beast.

We filmed the over the top shock and awe of the moment as I filled my hands with 246 inches of velvet covered head bone, marveling at his roly-poly 335 pound hulk. As hunting and game manager of Three Lakes Whitetails, Mark had seen this giant on a few occasions, but no one had got a crack at him over many a years hunting. And here he was, making an old river rat sticking bowhunting pioneer from Detroit very, very happy.
We sat there for a long time admiring this magnificent beast, and were joined soon by owner Jim Scheifelbein and his whitetail addicted BloodBrother Kevin to marvel at this phenomenal animal.
Many photos later, we loaded my buck into the four wheeler to weigh, measure, gut, skin and butcher. This buck of a lifetime will be mounted lifesize by world class award winning taxidermists Martin and Lynn Bonack of Safari World Taxidermist in Three Lakes, Wisconsin.
This stunning whitetail turned out to be the largest buck ever taken since 1959, and I could hardly get next to myself. I had felt very unlucky not getting a crack at a deer those first few days, then this. I have averaged far more opportunities at deer and far more kills under free range conditions that here at Three Lakes. But it is hard to imagine being able to encounter a mammoth of such proportions on 95% of America’s deer grounds. It was the management practice of letting this buck mature that made it possible, and the high fence is how we did it. I have hunted Illinois, Buffalo county Wisconsin, the mega buck zones of south Texas, and could quite possibly encounter such a mature specimen there and a few other places in North America. But regardless of management choice, I could not be happier than to have killed such an animal and sincerely salute Three lakes Whitetails for making it possible.
On this hunt, Ted used a 50# Martin AlienX bow, Nuge GoldTip arrows, 100 grain Magnus BuzzCut broadhead, Scott release, Sims LimbSavers, rest and sight, Lumenok, Bushnell optics, C’Mere Deer, Mossy Oak ScentLok clothing, Boggs rubber boots, Code Blue scents, Hunter Safety System vest, Knight and Hale calls, Outdoor Edge knife, Glenn’s DeerHandle
To experience the finest whitetail deer hunting on earth, visit or call Sunrize Safaris at 517-750-9060.

THREELAKESWHITETAILS.COM                                 by Ted Nugent
I have a dream. I dream of a spectacular wilderness paradise in the big timber wilds of Northern Wisconsin where the mighty whitetail deer grows to maximum potential. Where the classic hunter’s lodge is world class and the people genuine American BloodBrothers, and where my natural born predator spirit runs wild and free. And the dream lives at Three Lakes Whitetails in Three Lakes, WI, where gung-ho deer hunter Jim Schiefelbein and his team of professional whitetail maniacs have created the ultimate whitetail deer hunting heaven.
Through intense, hard core, dedicated management for more than 30 years, you can experience what the original deer hunters of North America saw with a herd of perfectly balanced, healthy, thriving monster mature bucks beyond your wildest dreams. If you seek the ultimate whitetail deer hunt for huge, trophy bucks, go to Three Lakes Whitetails and get it on. You deserve it.

Some of Ted’s Other ALIEN X TROPHIES



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Published by admin on 28 Aug 2009

Specialty Archery Acquires Bodoodle Rest Line

Specialty Archery Acquires Bodoodle Rest Line

Specialty Archery LogosmallSpecialty Archery, LLC of Spencer, IA is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of Bodoodle arrow rests from Blaine Earlywine, who had acquired the line a few years ago that had been founded by S.G. Christian in the 1970s.

Bodoodle LogosmallBodoodle was one of the premier names in arrow rests for more than 25 years, a favorite of both competitive archers and discriminating bowhunters who admired its quality construction and ability to launch arrows with a high degree of accuracy. Models like the Timberdoodle, Game-Dropper and Pro-Lite all preceded the current crop of drop-away rests yet provided total fletching clearance thanks to Christian’s elegant design.

Bodoodle rests based on that innovative design use a cradle that pivots on fine bearings, so that the speed fins that support the shaft for part of the power stroke sweep down and out of the way before they can contact conventional fletching. In the early years of the brand Bodoodle rests were among the most expensive on the market, but modern manufacturing techniques helped lower the cost at a time when other well-known rests were gaining in sophistication and price. By the late 1990s Bodoodle was considered one of the top arrow rest brands on the market. In 2004 its owner was inducted into the Bowhunting Hall of Fame.

After the death of S.G. Christian, Blaine Earlywine purchased Bodoodle from his estate and moved the firm from Coleman, Texas to Carlisle, Kentucky. Earlywine kept the Bodoodle name alive with the aid of dedicated employees, his wife Danita and young sons Braxton and Aiden, marketing several different models. They continued the Bodoodle tradition of offering rugged, perfectly machined arrow rests that were capable of providing flawless arrow flight, right along with excellent customer service.

Early in 2009 Specialty Archery, LLC and Earlywine began talking about a transfer of ownership that could take advantage of the Iowa firm’s strengths as a way to expand Bodoodle’s market share. Specialty Archery, LLC is known throughout the archery industry as a brand with a strong following among the type of precision archers who so often chose a Bodoodle rest in the past. The manufacturer of high quality scopes, peeps, and stabilizers has a strong dealer network domestically and works with most of the leading foreign distributors to sell its products world-wide. Specialty Archery, LLC also has a track record of introducing successful new products, like the Verifier lenses that screw into its peeps to sharpen the view of pins for aging hunters and the Clarifier lenses used to sharpen target faces viewed through scopes by competitive archers.

Michael Anderson, general manager of Specialty Archery, said their firm worked closely with Earlywine to insure another sale wouldn’t disrupt existing orders at a time when dealers were stocking up for the summer and fall peak sales season. “Both Specialty Archery customers and Bodoodle customers can be assured that great preparation has gone into the acquisition, so that the transition would be smooth and seamless for customers of both companies,” Anderson said. “Specialty Archery took over control of all operations including ordering, invoicing, customer service, and production starting on July 1, 2009.” 

Specialty's John RappsmallBodoodle Pro Litesmall

John Rapp holds Bodoodle’s most popular rest, the Pro Lite, which is also shown at right. Rapp works in production for Specialty Archery, LLC and also helps promote the product line at shoots. Careful planning meant  he had inventory ready to ship to customers immediately after the July 1 changeover date.

“The acquisition of Bodoodle allows us to pursue a different product line than what we currently offer,” Anderson said. “The Bodoodle name has a solid reputation in arrow rests, and Blaine Earlywine has done an excellent job in maintaining the company’s current status in the marketplace.  Specialty Archery is looking forward to the venture with a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement.  We plan to apply the same principles and practices that have made Specialty Archery successful so that Bodoodle can offer more shooters an alternative to the full capture style fixed rests and the cord-driven fall-away rests that dominate the market today.” 

Questions, comments or orders may be directed to:

Specialty Archery  
1211 38th Ave. W
Spencer, IA 51301

The toll-free number is (800) 555-2856. You can contact Mike Anderson by email at
[email protected] or find out more on-line at

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Published by admin on 25 Aug 2009


To the disconnected minds of city folk and nonhunters, I suppose now would be as good a time as any to pose the age old, rhetorical question: are we having fun yet? Certainly the cloud of six billion Ontario mosquitoes covering my face and hands were having the time of their lives, in spite of the fact that I had systematically killed more than a billion or so of them in the last few hours. The hordes of buzzing, flitting, stabbing, bloodsucking pests were clearly oblivious to my heroic destruction of so many of their carnivorous comrades, and on they sucked at the most inappropriate of times. Now they had me. Temporarily, that is, but they had me. There was nothing I could do to save my own blood supply now.
I could have carefully smashed a few hundred more per swipe if I dared, but now, after another long, joint numbing five hour stationery vigil, I was not about to give away my predator ambush position for anything, including the sweet revenge of much loved mosquito slamming.
For before me, finally, moving ever so cautiously into shooting position, was the long awaited arrival of a big, fat, ebony furred black bear, and the magical spirit of the bear owned me. It is the only diversionary tactic that I know of to take such a swarm of mosquitoes off my mind. I tried to think like a US Marine Corp warrior; improvise, adapt, overcome. Semper Fi! I wanted to kill this black bear in the worst way, so damn the torpedoes and the mosquitoes, it’s killin time baby, and I will not be denied.
Even though I was in the epicenter of the world’s densest black bear population, at a bait site set up by one of the best, most experienced bear hunting guides in the world, we all know that hunting is, has been and always will be hunting. Right place and right time is always the guiding hunt dictum, and so far our merry camp if thirteen die hard bear hunters were skunked, and the naked gamepole was painful to look at. I was on a mission from God; redeem WFO Thunder bay Ontario BearCamp, and whack me a handsome Ursus rugsteakus, and quick.
Garth Matyasovoszky and his gung-ho hunt crazed guides operate WFO Outfitters up here in God’s Country Canada, and I was fortunate to share a spirited camp with a gang of my fellow Michiganiacs. Michigan hunters are found in pretty much every hunting camp around the world, for we Winter Water Wonderful sporters are the real McCoy, and we truly crave our hunting life. Watching these guys shoot their bows each day at the range was a clear indicator that something was going to die. I had my work cut out for me. And here it comes.
I am amazed that I can even see a bear in the ultra thick Canadian bush. Waist high and head high dense vegetation conceals the forest floor, and every dark shadow looks like a bear part if you look at it long enough. But after a lifetime of treestand time, dare I say, probably more than any human in history, my predator radar tends to pick up on every and any little indicator, and fortunately I saw the tan muzzle of this bear as it slowly swayed amongst the greenery at about 35 yards deep in the forest, and immediately knew it was a bear. And a good sized bear at that. After three long, bug biting days on stand, I was absolutely locked onto this animal with a throttling desire to kill it. Bears are not an endangered species, but this one was. Immanent, deadly danger.
To kill a bear with a bow and arrow is one of life‘s greatest challenges, but add the increased difficulty of capturing it all on video yourself, and we have us a genuine mission impossible. But they don’t call me the WhackMaster for nothing, and the predator ballet was in full swing mode as I slowly pushed the record button on my vidcam, and ever so slowly lifted my bow for the shot.
It was here where the kamakazi skeeters were in a maniacal feeding frenzy, a bloodsucking orgy of ravenous proportions on my face and bowstring hand. But I’m from Detroit, so I simply ignored them and concentrated on the ribcage of my quarry. When the big bear’s foreleg stretched out a little, my lightweight 50# Martin AlienX bow drew smoothly back to anchor, I picked out my favorite hair on the beast and sent my 400 grain love projectile dead center into the pumpstation. Now I’m not the world’s greatest bow shot by a long shot, but when I’m on and the Great Spirit is with me, the planets do align, and good luck saves my day. It was beautiful!
The scalpel sharp Magnus broadhead sliced in and out of the 300 pound beast in an instant with bright red blood spraying on everything. The bear ran 25 yards, stopped, swayed, took two steps and fell over dead, the classic death moan following less than five seconds after arrow impact. It was heavenly.
I immediately slapped a few thousand mosquitoes to death, then turned the vidcam on a very happy, smiling bowhunter’s face to rejoice the moment of truth that all bear hunters dream of. The jubilant exaltations were elevated to a passionate peak by the three days of challenging, difficult torture, and I danced the hunter’s kill dance of joy. Yes, I celebrated and glorified the bear’s death, for it was perfect, natural and exactly what I flew up to Canada for. The mighty Canadian rugsteak has landed baby, and it is partytime for real conservationists everywhere. I hunt to kill, and my dedication to be the best predator I can possible be is cause for maximum celebration, and the party never ends at the Nugent huntcamps. Know it, love it, live it, cherish it, kill it and grill it. I always do. Tooth, fang and claw is my life, and I couldn’t be happier.
The bloodtrail was a beautiful thing to behold. The Magnus broadhead had given me five incredible bloodtrails on bears so far this year, and this red river lead me to a very dead, very handsome, magnificent beast. My sow surely weighed a good 300 pounds plus, and her rich, shiny deep black coat was immaculate. I could barely drag her for a solo video recovery, but managed to set her up for a respectful salute to the black bear magic we all love so much. I could lose my hand in her long, thick hair, and her brown muzzle made her as pretty a black bear as you could ever want. I sat there deeply moved, even the bugs were forgotten in the presence of the mighty beast.
Back at camp, we all rejoiced our numerous kills that night, and the X on my bear’s heart told the story of my bowhunter dedication everyday at the range before each hunt to aim small, miss small. When hit properly, a bear dies fast, and makes for a very easy tracking job. Mid body behind the foreleg with a slight quartering away angle spells instant death, and I was happy I practiced everyday.
This gorgeous bear was going to make a fine rug, the sweet backstraps succulent on the grill, and the skull, teeth and claws would bring me powerful spirit medicine for my family. With more black bears in North America that at any time in recorded history, now is the time to plan a black bear hunt. The spirit of the mighty beast will be with you forever.
On this hunt, I used a 50# Martin AlienX bow, Sims Limbsaver arrow rest, fiber optic sight and accessories, Scott release, GoldTip 5575 arrows, 100 grain Magnus BuzzCut, Bushnell rangefinder and binoculars, Rhino Skin undergarments, Mossy Oak ScentLok and BugOff clothing, LaCrosse rubber boots, ThermaCell, Skin Armor soap, Code Blue scent eliminator and bear attractant, Outdoor Edge SwingBlade knife, 3Rd Arm vidcam arm, Hunter Safety fall restraint vest and Glenn‘s DeerHandle.
To book a bear hunt with Ted Nugent and WFO Outfitters, or for killer hunting opportunities around the globe, visit or call SUNRIZE SAFARIS at 517-750-9060.

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