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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Open Door To Adventure~ By Roy Hoff

Bow and Arrow
June 1972

Open Door To Adventure ~ By Roy Hoff

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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



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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Roadhunt For Muleys ~ By Marc A. Barger

Bow And Arrow Hunting
December 1995

Roadhunt For Muleys ~By Marc A. Barger
Mule Deer Trophies Are Where You Find Them!

SOMETIMES A HUNTER has to have a horseshoe located in a bodily
orifice to harvest a big-game animal! That was the case on my recent
hunt to the Cheyenne River bottoms north of Wall, South Dakota.
It was my fourth trip to this area. The preceding three had seen close
encounters with some nice muley bucks I would have been proud to harvest. One
thing or another contributed to coming home empty handed, although I came within
hairs of it going the other way on a few occasions!

The area I hunted has a variety of terrain types.
In some places, I had to pick my way carefully
along steep banks of loose rocks and sage. Other
areas were flat prairies or fields of alfalfa and wheat.
Some contained deep canyons choked with cedars.
The thing that was common to all these areas was
unpredictable winds! More times than anything
else, I was foiled in a stalk by a switch in the direction
of the wind.

I found a product, though, that allows a hunter
to have a much better idea of just exactly what is
happening as the wind swirls past. It is an amazingly
simple idea made available by Ron Carlson,
owner of The Compound Doctor (Dept. BA, 3600
Labore Road, White Bear, MN 55110). It consists
of a small bag of down feathers and …. that’s it!
Feathers! It helped me immensely in my stalks. By
cutting the comer off the plastic bag, I could carry
it in my pocket. At any time, I could reach in, pull
out a feather and launch it on its way. Unlike the
powders I normally use, the down would float on
the slightest of breezes and was highly visible for
up to 50 or 60 yards.

Earlier in October, Jeff Aulick, Bruce Hudalla,
Clint Peterson and I had ventured to Wall in search
of monster muley bucks. The bucks were bunched
up in their bachelor groups and we saw some real
bombers! On the first day, Peterson made a super
shot on a real good four-by-four that was attempting
to scoot by him. To say this got the rest of us
pumped up is an understatement!

As sometimes happens, no matter what the level
of enthusiasm, those critters outsmarted the “superior”
human mind and abilities! We were once again humbled by the uncanny
senses game animals possess. Bruce Hudalla harvested what he dubbed a
“snot-slinger” right after he educated a big four-by—four that sitting with its back
to the wall sometimes is not the best
place to sit!

The rest of the trip was not uneventful. We had many good, exciting stalks.
It just so happened that the muleys won the battles!
We vowed to return later in the year, if possible, to once again chase the bucks
in this area.

The area we were hunting belongs to three brothers —Glendon, Grant and
Greg Shearer. They have approximately 23,000 acres of some of the best mule
deer habitat a person could want to lay a boot on. It is beautiful country with
food plots of alfalfa, wheat and com. They do wonders holding the animals
in the area. Combine this with rugged terrain bordering the fields and you have
a hunter’s paradise.

Muleys are not the only game making this area their home. You can just as
easily see record-book whitetails, huge numbers of Merriam turkeys —— two
from the area are ranked in the top three in the world — pheasant, grouse,
coyotes and, at the right time of the year, those scaly things that make a heck of a
ruckus if you step too close to their tightly coiled bodies!

The Shearers offer an unguided hunting opportunity that tests hunters’
knowledge of game and their hunting prowess. It has the additional bonus of
some awesomely beautiful country and the chance at harvesting
some great animals.

Our hunt started out right away with sightings and attempted stalks on some
really nice bucks. At the time of year we were hunting, almost every group of
muley does had at least one nice buck in it. That made stalking quite a bit more
difficult with a dozen or so eyes trying to catch even one wrong move.
Jeff Aulick was the first to give it a go when we spotted a couple of nice
bucks making life hectic for some does in the
comer of one of the hay fields. Due to the difficulty in judging distances in this type
of terrain, the score was one for the muleys, zero for the hunters!
After the first few days, all of us had experienced close encounters with trophy
bucks. So far none of us had connected with one.

Some friends of ours flew in from Maine to hunt with us for a few days. After
setting them up in a few of the hot spots, I felt I needed to sacrifice one evening’s
hunt to drive into Wall to gas up the truck for the next day. Along the way, I stopped
to glass some of the muleys coming out to the fields for their evening forage. A
person driving through this country at the right time of the day can see literally
hundreds of deer in a few minutes.

One of the great things about hunting with others is that, even though I might not
see anything or be successful on a specific hunt, I always look forward to hearing
what happened with everyone else. It’s almost as good as if it had happened to me.
As I neared the area Aulick was hunting, I rounded a bend in the road and saw
numerous feeding muleys. I figured I might as well take a look to see what had
slipped by.

I grabbed the spotting scope and jumped out of the truck. Between me and the
deer was a dike that ran parallel with the road. It gave me the perfect cover to be able
to sneak up close for a look. As I peeked over the top, I saw deer directly in front of
me. Looking through the spotting scope, I saw a buck moving right toward me!
I didn’t have my bow, and I really was not ready nor did I expect to have the
chance to shoot. Iran for the truck, grabbed my bow and took off running down the
dike. As I got about even to where I thought the buck might be, I peered over the top.
Dang! He was paralleling the dike about 100 yards out.

I figured there was no way I could get close
enough before I lost daylight. Then I
heard something. On the other side of the dike I
heard a commotion. I slipped up the dike a little
farther and looked to the north. The first thing I
saw was a buck doing his best to rip apart every
willow in the ditch! I really could not believe my
good fortune. Here was a nice buck — although I
couldn’t really see what he was because he had
his rack stuck in the willows — completely oblivious
to the fact that a few yards away was his worst
enemy planning to ruin his day!

I slipped down the dike; the wind was in my
face. When I got about even with the tree, I got
ready, drew my bow back and eased up. He still
was taking out his frustrations on the willows when
I spotted him about 30 yards away. I settled the
30—yard pin behind his shoulder and slipped a
carbon sliver through his ribs.

Whopf The telltale sound of a solid hit reached
my ears. I finally had connected!
The buck took off hard and stopped about 80
yards out, then ran up on top of the dike and lay
down. If I hadn’t seen the arrow hit home, I would

have thought I had missed him! He stayed there looking around like he
didn’t have a care in the world. Then his head sagged and I knew he was mine.
Still, I wanted another arrow in him, so I proceeded to stalk closer. I got to within
40 yards and was getting ready to take the shot when I saw movement out of
the corner of my eye.

Eight to 10 does were walking down the far side of the road a mere 30 yards
away. They were looking at me, wondering what this moving clump was.
When I looked behind them, my jaw almost hit the ground! A super-nice buck
was hot on their trail! His rack was heavy and wide; he was at least a four-
by-four. He walked up on the road, scanned past me and then, can you
believe it, looked directly away from me as he stood completely broadside for
more than 20 seconds!

I can truthfully say I never thought of shooting this buck. I already had an
arrow in the other, but it was almost as if the second knew he was safe. Situations
such as this are exactly what test our ethics! Here was a true trophy of a lifetime
offering himself for harvest. A person could not have asked for a better opportunity.
All bowhunters must rise above temptation and do what is right. The big
buck sauntered off after his harem.

I looked away from him to see what was happening with the buck I had hit.
He was trying to get to his feet, but stumbled and fell for the last time. Being
lucky enough to be in the right spot at the right time was something I thought
happened only to other people.

When I got back to the cabin, I announced that everyone had better change
clothes so they wouldn’t get their hunting duds dirty when they helped drag
out my buck. No one really believed me, as they knew I had gone into town for
gas. As we topped the dike, the beams of the flashlights
glinted off the buck’s rack.

This was my first good look at my buck. He had a tall
four-by-four rack that was not really wide, but he was plenty
good for this bowhunter. I am proud of him. He will have a
special place on my wall with all the animals I have harvested.
The bow I used was a Hoyt Prostar Legacy set at 78
pounds. This is a super bow for finger shooters with its 47-
inch distance from axle to axle. The grip on this bow is
the best I have ever felt! The arrows I used were
Easton 6.3 carbons tipped with Wasp 100-grain CCL
broadheads. For a person who wants to shoot carbons, you
can’t get a better combination: fast and durable!

The camo was Predator Fall Brown. We had numerous stalks when the deer
were absolutely unaware we were as close as we were, until the wind swirled!
The down feathers taught us many things about wind currents and hunting
techniques for this type of terrain. For bowhunters who might be interested in
hunting on this land, you can write me and I can put you in touch with
the right people (Marc Barger, Dept. BA, 5616 Eagle Lane, La Crosse, WI
54601). There are many good bucks in this area, and I can almost guarantee a
hunter will have opportunities to put the moves on some trophy animals!

Four to six bowhunters per week will be allowed to hunt. Every other week is
closed so as not to pressure the deer too much.As for the monster buck that walked
down the road next to me, I hope he tries that again this year. He might not be so
lucky! <—<<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Let’s Make The American Flat Bow~ By Pierre St. Arnaud

Bow And Arrow
June 1972

Let’s Make The American Flat Bow~ By Pierre St. Arnaud

THE FLAT BOW began to appear on American
tournament lines about 1932. Prior to this, the English
longbow for centuries had been virtually the only type in
general use.

The transition from longbow to flat bow was due, in the
main, to efforts to improve bow designs by such archer-
scientists as Dr. Paul E. Klopsteg, Dr. Clarence N. Hickman,
and Forest Nagler. These men, physicists and engineers,
circumvented tradition and applied engineering principles
to the designing of bows. The application of these principles
resulted in a bow of rectangular cross section.
To understand why the longbow with stacked cross
section is functionally inferior to the bow of rectangular
cross section, refer to plate 1, types of cross sections. Let’s
consider a longbow being bent. The cross-sectional shape of
the longbow limb is narrow, thick and rounded on the belly
side. The belly C is the compression side and the back T is
the tension side.

The neutral or shearing axis N bisects the mass of the
section. In the longbow, the shearing plane is farther from
the belly than from the back. This condition imposes excessive
stress at the belly. The farther the fibers are from
the shearing plane, the greater are the compressive stresses
at the belly, and the belly overworks, and the back underworks.
To circumvent this design, and to prevent breakage
due to compression failure, the bow must be made long to
give a large radius of bend.

Refer to the sections for the semi-flat bow and the flat
bow. The neutral or shearing plane runs equidistant
from the back and the belly in these designs. All parts work
equally, and these bows are more efficient. They can be
made shorter than the longbow for the same arrow draw.
Now, let’s get on to the designing and constructing of
the flat bow. This bow is made more easily than the long-
bow. Those of you who have made the longbow will find
the same methods applicable to making the flat bow.

First, let’s consider the woods which can be used.
Lemonwood or dagame, a semi-tropical wood, is a good
choice. It is a good compression wood and can be used with
no regard to grain. Yew and Osage orange make excellent
bows, but let’s save these woods for a future article. They
require special treatment. Pignut hickory is high in tensile
strength and makes a tough, serviceable bow. It is good for
backing other bow woods, and it takes to hot bending

White ash is another tough, elastic wood that takes
readily to hot bending. Black walnut makes a bow of quick
cast but must be backed with hickory. Greenheart, another
tropical wood, is high in compression strength. It varies in
color from light green to nearly black. Purpleheart
(amaranth) is a deep purple color and is also a tropical

There are many other woods with which bows can be
made, but the above mentioned offer a good selection. All
of the above woods should be air seasoned for use in
bowyery. Kiln-dried wood is brash and does not yield well.
Some of these woods can be bought to your dimensional
specifications from the following dealers: Craftsman Wood
Service Company, Department BA, 2729 South Mary,
Chicago, Illinois 60608; Constantine, Dept. BA, 2051-C
Eastchester Road, Bronx, New York 10461.

You will need the following tools and materials: a low
anglerblock plane, a ten or twelve-inch half-round cabinet
file; a three by_five-inch square cabinet scraper; a six-inch
rat tail file; garnet paper, medium and fine; and a
fifty-pound spring scale.
Lemonwood is so dense and close-grained you need not
concern yourself with flat or edge grain. If you use the
other woods, order your staves flat grained. The cross
section S shown in plate 1 shows how grain should run in
your stave and B denotes the side which is to be the back of
the bow.

The stave dimensions are 65 x 1% x 5/8. Smooth the
back of the stave with a plane and medium garnet paper.
Measure your stave from end to end and mark the exact
middle. Scribe lines completely around all four sides at this

The ten-inch handle riser will bisect this line on the
belly. The riser must be flat-grained hardwood, walnut,
maple or oak and will be ten inches long by 1% inches (the
width of the stave) by one-inch.

The riser is glued directly over the middle of the stave
with equal lengths of riser to each side of the middle mark
on the stave. Be certain the riser is glued to belly side of the

Both surfaces of the glue joint must be planed square
and flat, or a poor joint will result, and the riser will pop
off. When gluing risers, use any of the following types of
glue: urea resin, resorcinol or casein. The white polyvinyl
glue creeps under stress. Be certain to read the directions on
the container for the glue used.

Apply the glue to both surfaces and center the riser on
the stave. Three three-inch C-clamps are used — one at the
middle of the riser and one about one-inch from each end.
Use small pads of wood under the clamps to prevent
marring the bow. Be careful to keep the riser from shifting;
snug up the middle clamp, then snug up the other clamps.
Proceed to tighten until you get squeeze-out glue along the
edges of the joint. Allow this assemblage to dry for a least
twenty-four hours before further progression.

If C-clamps aren’t available, wrap the riser to the stave
with one-inch wide rubber strips cut from an inner tube.
Stretch the rubber tightly to insure sufficient pressure.
After removing the clamps, clean the squeezed-out
hardened glue from the stave with a file. Lay the stave with
the back up on your work bench. Refer to bow dimensions
in plate 1.

At stations A, five inches from the middle of the stave,
scribe marks across the stave. Measuring from the side edges
of the stave, place dots at the middle of lines A. Attach
small weights to the ends of a stout thread about a foot
longer than the stave. Allowing the weights to hang freely,
bisect the dots at points A. Place additional dots a few
inches apart under the thread along the full length of the
the stave. Connect these dots with a straight edge. This line
is your datum line.

Referring to the diagram, lay out the mid-part of the
bow. The arrow rest R can be transferred to the opposite
side of the stave if you are left-handed. At one-half-inch
from the ends of the stave, station E, mark out one-half-
inch for width. From these dots, straight edge lines to the
full width of the stave at station A. Both limbs are of equal
length in this design and differ from the longbow with its
longer upper limb.

The back is now laid out. Bandsaw or hacksaw the stave
to shape. Stay a little bit away from the lines when sawing.
After sawing, work just to the lines with a plane and file,
being sure to keep the sides square, ninety degrees to the
back. This completes the contouring of the back.

Lay the stave with one side up on your bench. Lay out
the grip. If a saddle grip is wanted, lay it out as shown by
the dotted line. Do not make the bottom of the saddle too
deep, or you will weaken the bow at this point. If a deep
saddle or a straight wrist grip is desired, glue a thicker riser
to the stave. The dips are three inches long. Go to station A
on the side of the bow limb. From the back to the belly,
measure one—half-inch for your base limb thickness. From
this dot, scribe the dip to the top of the riser. The bottom
of the dip should curve gradually and become more abrupt
as it approaches the top of the grip.

Beginning from station A, measure 6-% inches to station B
and follow the diagram markings to E. Mark a 15/32-inch
thickness at station B, 7/ l6—inch at C, and again follow the
diagram to station E. Join these dots to establish the
thickness taper. Repeat this procedure on the three remain-
ing sides of the limbs. Plane and file down to the lines, and
leave the rest for tillering. The dips are sawed and filed
carefully, so the bottom of each dip feathers smoothly into
the base limb.

Place a tip of the bow against the floor, belly side to-
ward you, and exert pressure against the grips with the right
hand while holding the uppermost limb with the left. Deflect
the lower limb only a little, while judging the amount
of resistance or stiffness and examine the limb to see if it
bends evenly. Repeat with the other limb.

If both limbs seem to balance with each other, you are
ready to cut your nocks and string the bow. If there is an
imbalance, mark the stiff spots on the belly with a pencil
and scrape these spots down, checking the bend and resistance
frequently until all seems to be in balance.
Refer to nock details in plate 1. Use the six-inch rat tail
and cut into the sides at station E. Go into the wood about
one-eighth of an inch and diminish this cut into the belly as
you slant at the angle shown. If you want to use overlays to
enhance the appearance of your bow, glue hardwood blocks
to the tips as shown in plate 1. The shaded area in the
diagram shows the amount of wood to be cut and tiled
away leaving the tip shaped as shown.

When overlays are used, the nocks are cut into the back
as well as into the sides. Otherwise do not cut into the
back, because doing so will weaken the tip. String the bow
to a seven-inch brace, measuring from the back of the grip
to the string. Use a stout string for tillering.

Examine the strung bow for stiff spots and uneven
bending. Both limbs must bend evenly. Mark and scrape all
stiff spots. If one limb is too stiff, scrape it down to match
the other in curvature. When the bow balances at this stage,
you are ready to use the tiller. Use 36 x 2 x 1%-inch stock.
Cut a notch at one end to accept the bow grip. Along one
edge, measuring twelve inches from the grip notch, cut a
series of string grooves two inches apart to a location
twenty-eight inches from the grip notch. Refer to plate 1.
Fit the center of the grip into the notch of the tiller, and
slip the string into the twelve-inch groove. Place the bow on
your bench with the tiller uppermost, and step back to
examine the bend.

Mark any stiff spots, and remove the string and scrape
down. Put the bow back in the tiller at the twelve-inch
groove and re-examine. The bend of each limb should start
at the bottom of the dip and curve in a gradual, graceful
curve to the tip with no stiff areas. Both limbs should bend

Work your way up to the twenty-eight-inch groove in
this manner. Be cautious when you get to the twenty-four-
inch groove. From this draw to full draw, do not leave the
bow on the tiller for more than a few seconds. Any imbalance
can cause the bow to break while under great stress.
Shape the grip as shown in plate 1, Gc. Round off all the
edges of the bow slightly as shown in the flat bow cross-

Attach a large steel screw hook to a stud in the garage
about six inches from the floor. Hang the spring scale from
this hook. Bore a hole in the end of a yardstick, and hang
the stick on the scale hook. With the nocking point of the
string on the scale hook, draw the bow down to twenty-
eight inches and read the scale.

Sand the bow smooth, starting with medium and
finishing with fine garnet. Whisker the bow. Rub it with a
damp cloth. When dry, the whiskery ends of grain will be
left standing. Steel wool the whiskers off with 2/0 wool.
Mix a one-to—one solution of spar varnish and turpentine,
and apply this liberally to the bow. After twenty minutes,
wipe all the mixture from the bow with a clean, dry rag.

Let this dry for twenty-four hours, and apply the finish
coat full strength. The grip can be covered with leather or
heavy colored fish cord.

The flat bow can be recurved. There are two methods of
recurving, laminating and steaming or boiling. I will explain
here the process of boiling or hot bending. Lay out a board
16 x 4 x 1 3/4 inches as shown in A, plate 2. Be certain the
working or top edge is ninety degrees to the sides. Attach a
strap-iron stirrup and stop block as shown.

Leave enough room in the stirrup to accept the bow end,
the support strip, and wooden wedge. A straight—limbed
recurved bow is more highly stressed than a straight bow if
both are the same length. It is advisable to lengthen the
recurved bow. This is done by extending the distances between
stations A, B, C, D and E to 7% inches. This will
result in a sixty-eight-inch bow, measuring between the
To prepare the bow for recurving, work it down to
dimensions as you would the straight bow, but do not cut
the nocks. Using stout cord, wrap a twelve-inch strip of
fiber to the belly of the bow on the end to be boiled. Keep
the wraps very close. A length of .02-inch metal strap can
be used in place of the fibre. The strap prevents spills from
raising during bending. Fill a large bucket or can with hot
water, and place the bow end into the water. Bring the
water to a boil and continue to boil. for 1% hours. Replenish
the evaporated water with more boiling water from
another receptacle. If you add cold water, the bow cools,
and the boiling process must be begun all over again.

When the end has boiled sufficiently, remove it quickly
from the bucket, and insert it into the stirrup of the form.
Tap the wedge firmly into place, and bend the limb into
place on the form. Clamp it down with a C-clamp through
the hole in the end of the form. Be sure the tip is centered
in the stirrup to avoid twist. This operation must be done
quickly to prevent the bow’s cooling. Wrap the whole
assembly with one-inch wide rubber strips cut from an
innertube. Stretch the rubber tight as you wrap.

Let the bow end cure in the form for two days before
removing it. Recurve the other end and cure. Refer to re-
curve groove and nock detail in plate 2 The groove along
the top of the recurve retains the string. The grooves and
nocks are cut after the bow has been tested against the
floor for proper bend.

After cutting the nocks, string the bow, and mark out
the grooves along both sides of the string. The end of the
groove should end at the point where the string ceases con-
tact with the recurve. The bow is tillered and finished like a
straight bow.

The English longbow is not adaptable to recurving; the
tip overlay can be used with the recurve; aluminum foil
wrapped around the .02 metal strap before boiling will prevent
rust stains; the string for a recurved bow will be
shorter than one for an equal length straight bow. <——<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Well, It Ain’t Cecil B. Demille ~By Ted Eastburn

Bow and Arrow
June 1972
Well, It Ain’t Cecil B. Demille ~ By Ted Eastburn

Wing’s Lee Wades With Hat-Snatching Shark And, Yessir, Folks, It Is Recorded On Film

across the choppy surface of the Gulf of Mexico some two
hundred yards off the sugar white beach. A Texan stood in
the bow of the boat holding a bowfishing rig nocked with a
harpoon arrow, his right hand holding a nylon rope tied to
the front of the boat. A companion astern controlled the
outboard motor that pushed the craft at a breath—taking

A larger boat ran a parallel course some twenty yards to
starboard. The young man at the wheel of this twenty-five-
footer was the l7-year—old son of the Texan. The second
man operated a 16-millimeter movie camera. The cameraman
zoomed the lens in on the Texan in the smaller boat,
then shifted scenes to fifty yards ahead of the two craft
where three dorsal fins sliced through the water. Sharks!
“We’re coming up on them fast, Ben,” the Texan said, as
he shifted about trying to steady his position.

Ben was Captain Ben Marler, Jr., for generations a name
synonymous with commercial and sport fushing in Destin,
“Better give hand signals when you want me to cut
speed or change directions, Bob.”
Bob Lee, president of AMF’s Wing Archery Division in
Jacksonville, Texas, nodded his understanding.
The cameraman, Harry Morlan, now sat crosslegged on
the deck of the larger craft as he reloaded the camera. A lot
of action seemed just seconds away. The young man at the
wheel, Robin Lee, handled the inboard/outboard with ease.

The distance to the sharks had closed rapidly. Suddenly
one of the three tins moved toward the small boat, then
turned to the port side. The other two fins disappeared.
“Circle around, Ben, so we have it between us and
Harry!” shouted Lee as he released the rope and eased
toward the seat.
“Hold on. Here we go!” Captain Marler cut the small
craft sharply to port in order to give Morlan a good camera
view of the anticipated action with the shark.

Lee did not make it down to the seat. As the small boat
whipped to the left, Bob Lee went to the right along with
his cherished hunting bow. The fall was more like a cart-
wheel dive. He bobbed safely to the surface and held the
bow high above the water as Marler pulled alongside.
“You okay, Bob?” the captain asked in an astonished
“Ugh,” Lee moaned as he scrambled back into the boat.
“You really clapped the spurs to that horse, Ben.”
The other boat pulled alongside. With a grin as wide as a
cinemascope screen, Harry Morlan said, “There’s nothing in
the script about taking a dive, Bob.”

“I suppose you recorded the whole thing for posterity
with that devilish camera of yours. Where’s my hat’?”
“There it is,” Marler said as he pointed to the floating
headgear some twenty yards away. He turned the boat. At
the same time, a shark fin broke the surface no more than
fifteen feet away moving in the same direction. Lee quickly
nocked the harpoon arrow and came to full draw. Too late.

The shark dove, taking the hat with him.
Bob Lee stared at the spot where his hat had been and
said slowly, “Ben, I thought you told me last night that
sharks didn’t have much of a brain.”
“I did and they don’t. Why?”
“Well, I could have sworn that one laughed at me just
before he swallowed my hat.”
Falling overboard and having your hat swallowed by a
shark are not your run-of-the mill shark hunting hazards. I
know Bob Lee disagrees with my saying these are two
hazards. No doubt he considers falling overboard a hazard,
but when a Texan has his hat eaten unceremoniously by
anything, that’s an insult. And what was worse, the fall just
described was the first of two on the same day.

The idea of a movie on bowfishing for sharks, or, for the
hounds of thesea as the ancient Greeks called them, had
originated a few months before in Colorado where Wing
Archery had rolled another movie production. Harry
Morlan had the Colorado assignment too, and the shark
bowfishing idea grew to reality when his long-time friend,
Destin charter boat captain Ben Marler, Jr., offered full

However, the hunting party had a problem. Chasing for-
aging sharks a couple of hundred yards off the Destin
beaches had provided plenty of thrills but no trophy shark
to dramatize the movie.

“We need to change our tactics a bit,” Marler suggested.
that evening over dinner.
Lee smiled and said, “I’m inclined to agree with you.
The fun is in the chase, but that bulldogging I did today can
wear a man out quick.”
Morlan grinned and muttered matter-of-factly, “It sure
makes for great movie footage.”
“I thought you said you didn’t shoot any footage of
that,” Lee queried anxiously.
“I didn’t say one way or the other. When you brought
the subject up this afternoon it was about the time that
shark was eating your hat, and you didn’t give me a chance
to answer.”

“One thing for sure,” Marler said thoughtfully as he
drummed his fingers on the table, “we can’t be dumping
you overboard anymore, Bob. Just think, twice in one day!
l’ll be losing my reputation as a shark hunter and instead be
known as a guy who tried to feed the hunters to the sharks.
That boat is just too small, Harry.”

“I have more than enough footage for a second boat
anyway, Ben. We can do things the way you normally do
them now,” Harry replied.
“Good. Tomorrow being your last day, Bob, let’s keep
our fingers crossed. Here is what we do. We use the big boat
and go out about thirty»five miles. It’ll be deep water out
there…something like four hundred feet. We’ll be wasting
our time that far out using the chase method, so we’ll get
the sharks to come to us by using baits.”
“Sounds like a change of pace and very interesting,” Lee
said. “Do we use the float on the line?” referring to the
fishing method used for two days.

“No. We’d better go to the rod and reel. The sharks out
there will probably run three hundred pounds and more.”
With the float method of bowfishing for sharks, the free
end of the line attached to the harpoon arrow is tied to a
water tight container. Lee landed several sharks which
ranged from fifty to one hundred pounds using this
method. The float was a five gallon jug. When a shark was
shot, Lee tossed the float overboard to mark the fish’s
whereabouts and to retard its movement. With Marler’s
help, the shark was then eased close to the boat and when it
surfaced Lee released broadheads. With this method a bow
reel is not used. The line is simply coiled on the boat’s

On the third day of the hunt a bow reel would be used
but not in the normal manner. When small fish are shot, it
is a simple matter of re-winding the line around the bow
reel. However, with large sharks you have a fish too tough
to handle in this manner. Instead, you pull thirty feet of
line up through the eyelets of a heavy—duty rod and reel, tie
to the harpoon arrow and wrap around the bow reel. When
the shark is shot, it will pull the line off the bow reel, and
the action will be picked up on the rod and reel.
When the fathometer recorded four hundred feet on the
third morning of the hunt, Marler cut the twin 120 engines.
Sixteen freshly-caught bonito were in the bait box. Bonito
bleed excessively when cut, thus making them ideal shark
bait. As Marler and young Lee readied the baits, Morlan
checked his movie equipment and Lee rigged the
bowfishing gear.

Nearly any bow will get the job done on small fish, but
for big game it should pull at least fifty pounds. Short bows
are also best due to the unwieldiness of a longer weapon on
a boat. Lee’s bow, which was Wing’s Presentation Two
Hunter, pulled sixty-five pounds.
Lee wrapped eighty-pound test line from a heavy duty
fishing rig around the bow reel. He joined the line to five
feet of braided leader with a swivel and attached the other
end of the leader to the fiberglass shaft tipped with a fish
point. The remainder of the three hundred yards of line led
to the 9/0 reel on a short stout rod.

Marler and Robin Lee tied strips of bonito to the styrene
floats with twelve-inch lines. No hooks were used on the
baits. These bait rigs were dropped overboard and allowed
to drift back fifteen feet before being restrained.
A considerable amount of blood had flowed into the
bucket over which the bonito had been cut. Marler poured
this into an empty bottle then fashioned a harness out of
heavy cord so that when suspended, the neck of the bottle
pointed down.

He punched three holes in the cap and hung this contraption
over the side of the boat just above the water. The
rig looked like a transfusion bottle, and the steady dripping
of bonito blood provided more trails to the boat.
An hour had passed when Morlan spotted a him some
fifty yards behind the boat. There was no scurrying about
on anyone’s part. It was as though the shark was expected.
It approached to within thirty yards and crossed what
would have been the boat’s wake. This imaginary wake was
also the general direction of the blood trails. As the shark
crossed the blood trail, it seemed to pause momentarily,
then continued on its original course only to do a quick
turn around to cross the trails again.

It moved closer…twenty yards back but still out of
range. Then the fin disappeared.
“What do you think, Ben?” Lee asked as he scanned the
“Hard to tell. It may be suspicious, or it may come up
on the bait from beneath. We’ll just have to wait and see,”
A gust of wind tipped a small paper cup from the transom
into the water. The cup didn’t sink but drifted away.
About thirty yards out, a gentle swirl caused it to spin. At
the same time, the dorsal tin of a shark protruded near the

“That devil is playing with the cup,” Lee said as though
he hardly believed it. The shark bumped the cup about like
a cat playing with a mouse. Lee spread his arms in a gesture
of frustration and said, “I tell you, men, I simply don’t
understand it. Here we have all these juicy baits dangling all
about and what does that shark do…he plays with a paper

The fin and the cup disappeared. A good minute passed
before the silence was broken by the noise made by Robin
Lee as he slumped back into the fighting chair.
It was inevitable that Morlan would say, “Maybe he
thinks the cup is the hat of a midget from Texas.”
They remained in that area all morning but no more was
seen of the shark. Early in the afternoon the hunt was
moved to another spot three miles southeast.

One o’clock rolled around; then one—thirty. Time was
running out. For the first time the four men harbored
doubts of the hunt’s success. Hundreds of feet of l6mm
color movie footage had been exposed, but without a
trophy-size shark there was no ending, no movie.
The minutes seemed to melt away under the heat of the
sub—tropical sun. It was too hot to do any active thinking
and a sort of lethargy settled over the boat. A blanket
smothered conversations and spirits.

Another half·hour passed. Nothing was said as Marler
pulled a bonito out of the bait box and began to slice off
hunks into the water. This abbreviated act of chumming
seemed futile. Afterall, juicy morsels still dangled from the
floats, and apparently they had been rigged in vain.
A few minutes later Robin Lee, who was still slumped in
the chair, casually pointed astern and hesitantly said, “I
think I saw…something.”

“Where?” the others chorused.
“Far back…maybe seventy-five yards,” he explained as
he bolted upright in the chair. “There…there it is again! It’s
coming our way…2igzagging!”
“Yes! Yes! I see it, too!” Marler cried, unable to contain
the excitement in his voice. “It’s coming like a freight
train…a zigzagging freight train!”
The shark veered to the left and made a wide clockwise
sweep from the port side. It circled once but stayed out of

On its second round, the shark tightened the circle and
revealed a length of approximately ten feet. The shark
circled a third time and came within range as it passed
astern. Then it did a quick change in direction as though to
leave the area by the same path from which it had

Lee came to full draw and released the harpoon arrow at
the retreating giant’s head. Line peeled from the bow reel as
the arrow struck and the fish dived.
At the same time Marler fired the engines to life and
shouted a tentative identification on the fish, “I believe it’s
a lemon shark, so be careful. They’ve been known to eat
people.” He moved the boat forward a few feet in order to
keep the shark directly out from the stern.

Before all the line had melted from the bow reel, and the
action transferred to the rod and reel, Robin Lee lifted the
rod out of the transom holder. He backed off a few feet
and awaited the tug on the rod. Instead of a tug, he was
plucked off his feet as though by a giant hand and literally
dragged on his knees up against the transom. He held
desperately onto the big rod and 9/0 reel loaded with
eighty-pound line. The reel brake was on, but he dared not
turn either hand from the rod.

“The brake…the brake!” he yelled. “Someone release
the brake!”
Marler bolted from the captain’s chair and snapped off
the brake. Despite a heavy drag setting on the reel, the
sudden release of the brake caused Robin Lee to roll back on
the deck. He recovered quickly and made it to the swiveled
fighting chair.

Fifty feet back the shark surfaced and dived again, too
quickly for Lee to release an effective broadhead shot.
Robin pumped the rod and reeled in line steadily. Within
minutes the shark surfaced again. Lee planted a broadhead
near the harpoon arrow and again the shark dived.
Unrelenting pressure was applied on the big fish for
another thirty minutes, and it moved back to the surface.
Lee placed two more broadheads in the head between the
eye where the brain is harbored. The shark rolled on its
back and began to sink. The battle was over.

Marler’s speculative identification proved correct. The
trophy was a dangerous lemon shark.
Well, that wrapped up the movie. As they say in
Hollywood, “It’s in the can.”
Back in Destin, as the shark was hung from the scales
and the crowd began to gather to “oh” and “ah” at the
375-pound sight, Bob Lee walked up to Harry Morlan and
was heard to say emphatically, “Harry, now don’t be pulling
my leg…just give me a straight answer. Was that camera
running when I fell overboard yesterday’?”
“Which time,” Morlan asked bravely.

Well, the last time I saw Harry Morlan that day, he was
hastily making his way through the crowd with Bob Lee
close behind.
Much later I overheard a stranger say to another, “Up on
the highway this afternoon I saw this big fellow with a bow
and arrow chasing this other fellow carrying a camera. And
this camera fellow, he was lookin’ back over his shoulder
and yellin’, ‘Just wait and see the movie …. Just wait and see
the movie!”
And the other stranger replied, “These danged tourists
are gettin’ crazier every year.” <——<<<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Improve Your Deer Hunting Odds~ By John Sloan

Bow And Arrow Hunting
April 1990
Improve Your Deer Hunting Odds~ By John Sloan
Are you in a Hunting Rut? Give some of these Old/New Ideas a Trial~ They May Pay Off This Season!

EACH YEAR, as I get letters and calls from deer hunters who have questions
about something I have written, or when I talk with hunters who have attended
one of my seminars, I am amazed at how many simple mistakes these hunters
seem to make. Many of the folks I talk with are experienced hunters. By experienced,
I mean they have spent a lot of time hunting. That doesn’t mean they have been
successful much of the time.


I speak with hunters who still believe many of the old wives’ tales and myths
that have abounded in deer hunting lore for many years. I see hunters who have not
kept pace with change in both equipment and habitat. These changes have affected
the habits of deer and their vulnerability. In thinking back over many of these
calls and encounters, I find that there are six main areas that, if given a little more
attention and thought, can be changed to greatly improve the hunter’s chances of
success. The understanding of these areas requires that much of the hype and bull-
hockey that has been written and espoused must be cut through. Look at the factors
with clear, simple understanding and you will develop a clear, simple understanding
of the animal you are hunting.



There have probably been more words of advice on scouting than any other facet
of deer hunting. Of course, it is important. But it isn’t a great mystery rife with secrets
and complicated formulas. I do most of my scouting in the post-season. Why’? Because
I can see the ground better then. Deer walk on the ground. They do not fly. or climb trees
or hop from bush to bush. They walk on the ground and they prefer certain types of ground to others.

Deer would rather walk where the walking is the easiest. Given decent cover, a
deer is also going to take the course of least resistance. He is not going to climb a steep
ridge if there is a gentle slope nearby that will get him to the same place, but with less
effort. Deer don’t really like level ground. It is harder for them to hide there. They prefer
there be a depression through which they can travel. They prefer to have a ridge they
can get over in a couple of quick jumps. I want to be able to see the contour of the
ground first. Then I’ll take a look at the trees and the brush.

The single biggest mistake a hunter makes is not seeing what he is looking at.
He is not assimilating the material his eyes observe and computing that into what it
means to a deer. Look at the surface of a lake. lf you never consider what is under
that surface, you’ ll not catch many small mouth bass. If you look at the trees, you’ll
never see the forest, to rephrase a phrase.



Each year I am given consulting jobs. These jobs are simply me — the guide —
telling the employer — the hunter — where he should hang his stand. Most of
the time. I have never been on that piece of property before. Here I am, charging $l5O
a day to tell a guy where to put his tree stand. Most of the time, I find that where
he had his stand last year was within twenty or thirty yards of where it should have
been. Too often. a hunter picks a particular tree. because it is a good tree to climb. It
may be a bit out in the open or a touch too far from the trail. but it is a great tree to

The stand has to be in the right place; or you might as well be sitting at camp
drinking Jack Daniels and branch water. Quite often. there is no good tree to climb in
exactly the right place. Your options are simple: You either find another place; or
make do with what you have. Frequently, even a bad tree can work just fine, if you
have a different type of stand or hunt from the ground.

Now I would just as soon be at camp with bourbon and water as sit on the ground.
So I own about four kinds of tree stands. If all you find where you hunt are little saplings,
maybe a ladder stand will work. I suggest placing ladder stands in your selected location
at least four weeks prior to hunting that area. If the trees are all huge or have lots of branches,
a lock-on stand often will work. A tree seat and a board will work in the crotch of a big tree.
A tree sling may work in almost any tree that will hold you up. I use a Quick And Quiet climbing portable stand ninety percent of the time. But if it just won’t work, I’m not so set in my ways that I won’t use something else.

Pick the stand location on the basis of deer movement, cover and the direction of
the sun. I try to have the wind at my face or quartering and the sun at my back. Here in
my state of Tennessee, the sun almost always rises in the east and sets in the
west, but the damn wind can change every twenty minutes and often does. So l don’t
get locked into not hunting a particular tree just because the wind is wrong. I simply
adjust for that.

I have often wondered just how many different scents and lures there are on the
market. I have also wondered just how many of them even come close to being
what they are reported to be. Here in Tennessee, thousands of words have been
written about a lovely teenage girl who has bagged several nice bucks over the past
couple of years using her favorite perfume. I don’t doubt it. I have a tale or two myself.
You can do everything wrong and still kill “Ol’ Snort.”

One day last hunting season, I did everything wrong. I used no masking scent or
attracting lure. I made plenty of noise going to the stand. I got in the wrong tree, waited
fifteen minutes and climbed down and moved. It was a warm, windy day and the
ground was wet from rain the day before. I had eaten a Mexican dinner the night before
and Montezuma was taking his revenge. I got down and attended to that ~
five feet from my tree. I didn’t expect to kill anything, I was just marking time.

I shot the nine-pointer ten minutes later at a remarkable six feet. I literally could
have stabbed him with a spear. Maybe he liked enchiladas? Maybe we’ve discovered
something. When it comes to masking human odor, the best product on the market costs thirty-
five cents. It’s called soap and you add water to it and use it regularly. There are
also some products that are said to eliminate human odor. I don’t know about total
elimination, but a couple of them do a pretty good job on boots and hats. I do use
them some, but only as an addition to keeping my body and clothes clean. There
is no substitute for that.

As far as attracting lures are concerned, the only thing I use is an estrous scent during
the rut and pre-rut, then use it sparingly and preferably in a spray format. The key in
using these scents is to be sure the stuff is good quality. Concerning animal urine on my
boots: I don’t use it. I doubt the urine hurts anything, but I also doubt it helps anything. I
also have not been able to see one bit of difference in leather and rubber boots, as
far as scent control goes. Just watch where you wear your boots; I really don’t think
gas or motor oil on your boot soles does much good. I do wear plastic surgical
gloves going to and from my stand. After all. it is my hands that push the branches
out of the way.


There have been millions of words written on calling and rattling. I wrote some of
them myself. I am a firm believer in calling and rattling at certain times. I am also a
firm believer that neither of these techniques are magic. They work only sometimes.
I call a lot and rattle maybe ten days a year. I call softly and usually try to sound
like a doe. If a hunter has not included calling and rattling in his or her bag of tricks,
one should consider it. Learning to do it properly may spook some deer in the beginning.
So what? There are plenty of instructional cassettes, videos and books to reference. Use
some common sense and sort out what works best for you. If you never try it, you’ll never know if it works.


In the past eight years, I have killed sixty deer. I need that many to feed my
family; that is well below the legal limit where I live. I have not killed a deer that
was over 150 yards from any sort of road. Of the ten deer I killed last year, eight were
within seventy-five yards of a road. Three of those were within thirty yards of a road.
Too many hunters walk as far back in the woods as they can before even considering
a stand site. Their rationale is to escape the other hunters and have all
the deer to themselves. Now if most of the hunters are thinking that way, it doesn’t
take a genius to see the long walk in is accomplishing nothing.

I much prefer to hunt where the deer are. If my scouting has revealed a super
stand fifty yards from a road, that’s where I hunt. If the deer don’t care about the
road, why should I’? I’ll go ahead and let the deep woods hunters have the deep
woods. I’ll stay up by the road and enjoy the lack of hunters and plenty of deer.
I have, on several occasions, killed deer within sight of my truck; I mean within
forty yards of my truck. Many of my friends and paying hunters have done the same
thing. One of my hunting partners coined the phrase, “If you can’t see the car, you’ve
gone too far.”


A popular soft drink had a slogan, which ran something to the effect, “Good
at 10-2-4.” I have found that you can apply that to deer hunting. I have been
keeping some pretty good records on the times of day we are killing deer with my
guide service. In 1988, of the forty-two deer killed, all but four were killed after
7:30 a.m. The majority were killed between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.On our afternoon
hunts, we had poor success last year. Only six deer were killed in the afternoon and
those were killed between 4:15 and 5:03 p.m.

Here, where we hunt, all the deer were killed at least one hour after daylight and
one hour before dusk; our legal shooting time here is daylight to dusk. In the past
few years, we have seen but little deer movement either early or late. What deer
we do see are usually does and yearlings. The majority of the big bucks we take
are shot around nine or ten in the morning when many hunters have left the woods.

Now I don’t even go to the stands until I can see well enough to shoot.
To put all of this in a nutshell: Scout in the post-season. Find good-looking areas
with deer sign and the sort of terrain deer like to travel. Pick out one or two stand
trees. Go back late in the summer and see if the deer are still there and if you can
shoot from your selected stand trees. If not, trim till you can or move.
Pick all stands on the basis of shooting a deer, not because it is such a good tree to
climb. If your stand won’t work, get one that will. Buy one, build one or borrow

Take a shower. If it is hot, shower two or even three times a day. Wear clean clothes.
Change twice a day, if you have to. If a set of cammies costs you $75, isn’t it worth
$75 for a good buck? Remember, the best camo you are ever going to wear is called
sitting still. Keep your boots clean and use a cover scent if you wish, but be sure that
cover scent is natural.

If you are not calling and rattling, try it. Investigate the products on the market, listen
to some seminars or cassettes, pick the products that appeal to you. Don’t use
calling and rattling as a last resort: use them as primary tools. Don’t be misled into
thinking all the deer are five hundred yards back in the woods. One editor of a popular
bowhunting magazine kills most of his bucks in his neighbor’s backyard.Re-think the old
saw about, “All the deer are killed right at daylight and right at dark.” It just ain’t so. If
you are getting tired and fidgety by 8:30 a.m. and are on the ground, “scouting” by nine,
try going into the woods at seven and hunting until eleven.

Quite simply, use some common sense and think about the animal you are hunting. Whitetail
deer, sharp as they may be, are not mental geniuses. You can out think some of them. Do some simple, basic things until you are ready to try the college-level tactics. Most of all, enjoy
what you are doing and give some of these different techniques a try. They can pay
off for you.

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

How To Build Life-Like Three-D Targets ~By Jim Deitrick

April 1990

How To: Build Life-LIke Three-D Targets ~By Jim Deitrick

I CAN BARELY make out the light tan color of an elk’s back on the
steep slope above me. Looking carefully, I pick up the glint of an
antler through the timber. Moving closer, I can see the elk standing at the
confluence of a thick patch of aspens bordering a heavy stand of fir. Closer yet and
the bull comes into full view. He is a magnificent animal, poised with his head up,
listening, ten ivory—tipped points of armor tilted over his head.

While mentally compensating for the steep incline, I carefully judge the distance
separating us. In one smooth motion, I slowly raise my bow, draw and release.
The arrow flies true, heading for its mark. Thud! The unmistakeable sound of an arrow
hitting — Styrofoam?

The elk is only a target; not an ordinary target, however, but a handcrafted three-
dimensional target. With targets built in this manner, it’s easy to let your imagination take hold.
Practicing is, as every archer knows, a crucial part of being a good bowhunter.
The best practice possible is having life- size three—dimensional targets set up in a
field, simulating actual hunting conditions. Three—Ds enable a person to get a
better feel for judging distances that ordinary face targets simply cannot duplicate,
especially when shooting on steep inclines.

Three-Ds also make it possible to shoot from any position or angle without having
to move or adjust the target. Putting aside all the practical aspects, though, shooting
at these lifelike animal replicas is just pure fun. l believe anyone, with a little time and
practice, can put together good looking 3-D targets.

Unless one has previous experience, working with a buddy seems to be the best
approach on the first one or two attempts. When it comes to carving the form, one
person can sometimes see an irregularity the other person does not notice. Avoid
getting too many people on the same project, however. This sometimes creates too
many opinions, making it difficult to get anything accomplished.

I had the opportunity to work with a fellow who is exceptionally good at turning out
these lifelike targets. Mike Shetler of Carey, Idaho, has produced several
exceptional 3-D targets and together we made the elk featured here.
The materials used for construction, with the exception of the antlers, can be
purchased at most lumber yards, builders’ supply or hardware store. It is conceivable
that even the antlers could be carved from wood or some similar type of material, but
I have never tried it. It is generally much easier to End the real thing. However, real
trophy—sized antlers are a lot harder to come by. Antlers carved out of Styrofoam
would lack the strength needed for normal handling.

Many big—game animal targets that one can make have no antlers to worry about.
In fact, Shetler carved out a set of full curl ram’s horns in a sheep target that turned
out to be nothing short of incredible.

The materials we used for assembling the elk are: a large sheet of cardboard,
two—inch Styrofoam, Styrofoam glue, heavy—gauge wire, burlap, wallpaper paste,
paint in appropriate colors. The first thing to do, after deciding which
animal target one wants to make, is to find a picture of that animal in the pose wanted
from a book or magazine. With the help of an opaque projector, enlarge this image to
lifesize onto a sheet of cardboard and trace out the outline. It is important to ensure
that the selected picture must be almost perfectly broadside. lf the animal is quartering
even slightly, the result will be a distorted view when the silhouette is traced
onto cardboard. If a person can draw well, this problem can be eliminated by simply
drawing a life—size silhouette on card- board. Once drawn, this outline is cut out,
making a pattern for cutting the Styrofoam.

We used ordinary two—inch white insulating Styrofoam on the elk target. We
used one sheet of the denser blue—type foam in the center for durability. I believe
the more dense foam makes a longer— lasting target. Unfortunately, it is a lot
more costly and considerably harder to work with.

The cardboard silhouette is placed on top of each sheet of two—inch Styrofoam
and traced. The sheets of Styrofoam do not need to be wide enough to cover the
entire height of the animal. In fact, shorter legs make the target more stable for
carving and can be lengthened easily after the rest of the target is carved. Depending
upon the size of the animal target to be made, one to three sheets are cut
without legs — for the center of the body. Two or three sheets are cut for each side,
including the appropriate right or left side legs for each.

All of these layers are glued and stacked together in their correct order. Some weight
placed on top while the glue is curing will help hold the pieces evenly together. Masking
tape wrapped around the legs will hold them while they are drying. If the target is
being made with a turned head, this portion will have to be built out farther than
the rest of the body. Small pieces of foam can be used by adding them to the head
and neck area so as not to leave as much waste.

The best glue to use is one made specifically for glueing Styrofoam. It is generally
purchased in tubes and applied with a caulking gun. Builders’ supply outlets should
have the necessary materials.

When the glue is completely dry, the foam is ready to be carved and the fun
begins. We have found that an ordinary kitchen knife works well for carving Styrofoam.
The only drawback is having your spouse catch you with it and use it on you
before you can get it out of the house.

When carving the body, try not to worry about cutting off too much. This is a common
tendency and resulting in an animal with a sort of blocky squared-off look. If a
person does cut too deep, it’s a simple matter to glue on a scrap piece of foam and
start over. Once the foam is roughed out with a carving knife, coarse sandpaper
works well to bring out the fine details, especially around the head and face.
Don’t rush this process. Sometimes it is best to leave for awhile; return at a later
time with a fresh view.

Sections of heavy wire are used to support the ears and extend the leg pieces to
their proper length. It is usually best to leave the lower section of the legs over-
sized. Carving them down to lifesize will make them too weak to support the rest of
the target. Steel rods can be used for support if a person wants more lifelike legs.
However, these same rods are often detrimental to the life of aluminum arrows.
Attaching the antlers to the foam is a matter of carving out the appropriate size
hole in the head, then anchoring the antlers with several sections of heavy wire pushed
down into the head through drilled holes.

Sometimes balance can be a problem. lf the antlers are too large, the front of the
animal will be too heavy to stand on its own legs. If this happens, one possible
solution is to place some weight in the lower part of one of the hind legs.
When the carving, shaping and swearing are finally completed and you are satisfied
with the look of the form, you are ready for the next step. The foam is covered
with burlap and wallpaper paste. This process puts a heavy covering, almost like a
shell, over the entire target, adding strength and durability.

Our best luck with wallpaper paste is to use the pre-mixed variety. The extra thickness
and weight of this paste helps to hold and fill the burlap. When applied liberally,
the paste will hide the seams between sections of burlap, making a smoother skin on
the target. Any heavyweight burlap will work. We used burlap bean and grain sacks, with the
seams removed, cut into varying sizes. Larger pieces are used over the body section while
smaller strips are placed around the head and face. The entire target should
be covered with burlap. Weaker points, ears and leg extensions, are tied together
by overlapping the strips in opposing directions.

When the wallpaper paste dries, the target will be relatively strong and ready
for normal handling. If any weak points are noticed at this time, it is wise to apply
some extra burlap where needed. Most wallpaper pastes will break down
if immersed in water. When the target is completely dry, it is a good idea to apply a
generous amount of exterior paint, in an appropriate base color, over the entire target
to help protect it against the weather. However, it is not a good idea to leave a target
in the rain any longer than necessary regardless of how much paint has been applied.

With the base coat of paint completely dry, the target is ready for the final step.
Putting on the finishing color is critical to the final appearance of the target. On this
final process, we appropriated the services of a talented lady who had most of
the paints and talent to make a fair target look pretty good.

Even though we had an expert paint this elk target, that doesn’t mean anyone couldn’t
do as well with some practice. It is generally helpful to gather as many color pictures as
possible before beginning to paint. These pictures will help with the color and shading,
particularly while working on the face.

It is important to remember to not rush the job. Take your time.
Three—D targets put together as I have described will last through dozens of arrows.
However, when the vital area finally does get “shot out” and is too weak to prevent
arrows from passing through, it is time for some repair. Carefully cut out and remove
the damaged section and replace it with a new block of Styrofoam. The patch is
covered over with a new section of burlap and paste. Then, with a new coat of paint,
the target is ready for service.

It seems the closer a target appears to real life, the more fun it is to shoot at and
the harder a person tries to connect with a good shot. This extra effort improves
concentration, making for better quality practice. Many clubs also have competitions
for the best looking 3-D target constructed by members. A club can assemble a large
inventory of fine targets.
Good shooting! <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Whitetail Habitat and Habits~ By Bob Grewell

Bow And Arrow Hunting
October 1990

Whitetail Habitat and Habits By Bob Grewell


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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



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


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


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


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


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


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

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Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011

Grassland Bucks~ By Ralph Quinn

Bow And Arrow Hunting
October 1990


WHEN bowhunters think of wild, game-filled territory, they
often think of the rugged Rocky Mountains. Yet, some of the our most pristine
and productive big—game country lies in a corridor of grasslands occupying
landscapes west of the Mississippi river.
It begins in eastern Minnesota, with outliers in Iowa and Missouri, the
grasslands stretch westward to the Rockies, plunging south from Alberta to
the Texas Panhandle. Within this geographic zone, there’s a variety of
habitats from high desert plateaus, sagebrush flats to lowland savannas with
marvelously rich soils. Unlike the mountains, grasslands are subtle in nature —
as are the animals that inhabit these unique biomes.

Life here is compressed into a shallow zone between the soil and the tallest
trees. This is a land of arroyos and coulees, cottonwoods, yucca, bunch
grass, prickly pear, wild plum and wild roses. At first glance, this stark, wind-
swept country seems devoid of wildlife; but on second glance, the grasslands
come alive. In the vegetative understory sharptail grouse, rabbit, fox, coyote and
badger scamper about. On nearby prairies and sagebrush flats, sleek prong-
horns roam freely. And somewhere in the rolling flower—specked hills and
cedar edges, if we glass long enough, are deer — both whitetails and mulies.

My first encounter with grassland bucks came in 1985 during an antelope
hunt in the cattle, sheep and coyote country west of Faith, South Dakota.
Duane Bemstein, animal control specialist with the Game, Fish and Parks
Department, had invited Bill Epeards and me to sample the hunting on the prairies in
his jurisdiction. It was here I gained full appreciation of how numerous and how
cagey flatland bucks can be.

During the first three days of our scheduled seven—day outing, we concentrated on decoying
pronghorns, but it was the deer that grabbed my attention. During early—morning and late-evening
stalks, a mix of both whitetail and mulie bucks showed here and there in the dry
creeks and brushy draws that laced the country together. Amazed to find deer in
such open country, I ask our host what we were seeing.

“These whitetail bucks are habitat specific, preferring to mix open spaces
in August and September with the seclusion of cedars, breaks and bottoms in
October and November,” Bernstein explained. “I guess they want privacy
early on and nighttime forays into the grasslands provide it. With browse,
water and bedding cover readily available, the deer stick in this kind of country,
especially the whitetails. They`re highly adaptable and to hunt them successfully
with bow and arrow you have to do the same.” This is an important
lesson for hunters wishing to pursue grassland bucks for the first time.

The following season — 1986 — I traveled is the mixed prairie and sage
country of Wyoming`s Area 24 near Ranchester and bowhunted the Tongue
Creek region adjacent to the Montana border. Leo Dube. of Trophy Connections.
runs an elk and mule deer camp out of Sheridan. but it was the whitetails
that really interested me.
“We have more than a few good bucks roaming the river and creek bottoms near
here.” said Dube. “I’ve collected my share of P&Y specimens.
Why don’t you pack your tree stand and climbers and sample the hunting?”
To make a long tale short, I saw some excellent whitetails along the Tongue
River and Clear Creek around Arvada, but settled for a 3×3 on the final day of
my hunt.

Twenty-five or thirty years ago, this section of Wyoming would have been been
considered mule deer country and still is, yet in the last decade, whitetails have
made a strong showing in the bottomlands. From all indications, they’re there to stay.

According to Roger Wilson, wildlife biologist with Wyoming Fish and
Game, based in the Tongue office, whitetails make up twenty—live percent
of the kill in Area 24, and…”the population is high compared to the previous
eight years.”

Neighboring Montana is experiencing a similar pattern, with whitetails making
up a larger segment of the total herd, with many areas expanding at record
Other grassland states -— Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, eastern Colorado — are
showing similar mini booms in whitetail numbers, in spite of near record kills.
“What we have,” comments Kari Menzel, big—game specialist with Nebraska
Game and Fish, “‘is an edge animal that’s adapatable and gets along well in
the eastern prairies. Where we have large blocks of agriculture going on,
he`s at his best, thriving on a number of grain crops, from milo to wheat. Not so
with the mule deer. The more we disturb his nomadic nature, the more we limit
his reproductive potential.”

Another factor directly related to increased whitetail populations is the
food base adjacent to the grasslands. In place of seasonal browse and grasses,
deer have a virtual cornucopia of energy·rich foods to draw on, even during the
roughest winter. As the arms of center~pivot irrigation sweep across the
plains states, the whitetail isn’t far behind, vacuuming surplus grains such
as milo, wheat, beans and corn, plus lush forage like alfalfa, spelts and cane.

A healthy herd translates into increased reproductive potential. The net results
are some pretty heavy—bodied and horned bucks that now roam the
grasslands. If you’re a first—timer at pursuing grassland bucks, I advise, particularly in
new, unfamiliar territory, setting up a 20X spotting scope or tripod-mounted
binocular — 10X — on a high point, then pick the countryside apart. I like to call
this style of bowhunting “bucks by the seat of your pants,” and that’s a pretty
accurate description of the tactic. Watch for activity early and late, keeping in
mind that grassland whitetails prefer to bed low along creek bottoms and feed
high, returning shortly before daybreak.

Mark those points where bucks/deer appear and disappear.
The ideal strategy is to arrive two or three days ahead of your hunt and pinpoint
crossings. traveling, feed plots, etcetera. lf you’re after any deer, set a A
tree stand a minimum of fifteen feet on or near a creek—crossing or grain crop
area and hate at it. But if you are looking for something special, take your
search one step further.

In many grasslands states, both mule deer and whitetail habitats overlap, so
you may have to go with the flow. On private ranch Operations, where access
and harvest are tightly controlled, mulies survive quite nicely, as do whitetails,
in the open prairies and grasslands. Being a habitat generalist, he is comfortable
with foothills, prairie and river bottoms, but prefers open country.

Again, if mulies dominate, set up your glassing operation on a high point and
look for deer movement from 9 or 10 a.m., then concentrate on stationary
objects from 11 to 2 p.m. Mulies usually bed then and, although not entirely
motionless, they’re tough to see. From 3 p.m. on, watch for movement again.
Mule deer like to bed high for visibility, then feed down in evening. Grassland
bucks, whitetails and mulies, have excellent long-range vision, similar to
antelope. So once the game is in sight, it`s still hunting with the emphasis on
If theres one thing trophy bucks have in common, it`s their love of solitude.
Only seldom will a P&Y animal hang around an area where human scent is
present. In searching out these bailiwicks, look along secondary coulees or washes
feeding a creek/river bottom, away from foot traffic. During the rut in late
October or November, bucks hang out around these points creating scrape

In 1987, 1 returned to Faith, South Dakota, for an either/or mulie—whitetail
hunt in the brushy creeks north of town. On the fourth day of my five—day stay, I
discovered such a hot spot. The area was a strong iifty—minute hike from the
nearest access gate. From scrape and rub activity, I guessed several bucks
were using the same staging area. That evening, I got a glance at one of the
participants. Then, on the last day, I took a chance on a forty—yard shot and tagged a
good 5×5. My ticket then was a brief grunt session using a Quaker Boy tube.
Periodically, you`ll discover a creek bottom that provides whitetails with a
natural corridor to food plots without their being seen. Usually these areas are
jungled with dense undergrowth consisting of plum thickets, waist-high grasses
or willow. With few trees to support a tree stand, the bowhunter must still—hunt
the fringes, slowly and deliberately.

With luck and perseverance, you may score.
If you work the rut exclusively — November 8-30, depending on locale —
when trees and brush are bare, camo should be combinations of grays and
browns. And don`t ignore the face and hands. In many grassland states, the
ratio of success usually is measured in how well the bowhunter is camoed.

Again, flatland bucks have eyesight second to none.
About a decade ago, overdraws hit the market with a whimper, but today
they are big business. And, if there’s a place where these devices shine, it`s in
the grasslands. Using an overdraw with cam—powered bows, a 2013 shaft
pushed by seventy pounds drops very little at fifty yards. Thus, accurate sixty-
plus—yard shots are possible. If you don’t own an overdraw, use the lightest-
spined arrow for your draw length poundage. A few grains plus or minus
make a big difference in trajectory at distances beyond thirty-five yards. By
fletching your arrows with four three-inch plastic vanes, you can stabilize
low—profile blades, even in windy conditions.

Another piece of equipment I feel grassland bowhunters shouldn’t be
without is a hand-held rangefinder. They`re light, portable and accurate. By
arriving early, you can “range” and mark a number of points and be ready
for all comers. In dim bottoms and bleak grasslands, it’s tough to estimate
distance, so a large animal usually causes shots to be short. Even though
most bucks are taken within forty yards. there are times when grassland bucks
make their own way.

During my 1988 hunt on the North Fork of the Moreau River at Usta,
South Dakota, I played the odds, placing my stand on a trail leading from a
bedding area. Much to my dismay, an “elevator” buck showed on a path
directly behind me. The rangefinder said fifty—plus yards. Within seconds, the
2013 X—7 was on its way. It was an easy mark and the buck traveled thirty
yards before piling up. If you miss an opportunity, chances are the buck will
avoid the area completely for a time.

Even with overdraws, rangefinders and cam—powered bows, the hunter
needs every advantage to get a leg up on these flag—tailed wizards. Even then,
nothing is sure until the last minute of the hunt. Last season, Wyoming expert
Leo Dube used rattling exclusively and had trouble keeping the small bucks out
of his setup. Duane Bernstein used a bleat call with some success in 1988.
My best performance came from using a combination of grunts and rattling. The
innate curiosity of the whitetail is legend and making it work is a matter of

For readers interested in hunting grassland bucks, the opportunities are
almost endless. Beginning in South Dakota`s Badlands near Belvidere and
continuing west through northeastern Wyoming near Hulett, whitetails roam
wide and free. To the south, central Nebraska’s Platte River region west of
Grand Island is great. Eastern Colorado`s plains south of Sterling is another prime
habitat worthy of consideration. So is northwestern Kansas, west of Hill City.
And so the story goes. <—<<<

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Published by archerchick on 11 Feb 2011

Tall Texas Tales Of Snake Snicking~ By C.R. Learn

Bow and Arrow

August 1972

Tall Texas Tales Of Snake Snicking By C.R. Learn

Or, A Brush In The Bush With A Rattler Rattled Our Bow Tester

THE PERSPIRATION DRIPPED down my back like a river. We were
working for javelina in the south Texas brush country so thick you couldn’t
walk. Beto Guiterrez, Jack Niles and I were looking for the elusive little pigs,
when the hunter became the hunted! Niles had split to check another
area he thought would produce, and Guiterrez and I had moved on.

Guiterrez had been in front, but stopped and motioned for me to take
the lead. He had his pig hanging. We switched positions; I glanced down
and saw the lethal coils of a Texas diamondback rattler three feet in
front of my leg. What do you do? Scream? Holler? Jump? Not me, I
froze. After I regained my breath I looked for the second snake. They
often travel in pairs. I backed slowly into Guiterrez, who looked at me with
a weird expression that inferred he wanted to go forward. Until now we
had been using hand signals.

“Beto, I think I know why you wanted me to go first this time,” I
remarked as I pointed the tip of my prototype Gordon take-down bow at
the venom-tipped coils lying in wait for a meal. Guiterrez backed a bit,
then we started rattling about what to do. I definitely wanted that snake for
a trophy provided it came to Texas standards. We had hoped to find a
snake to test the bow I was carrying. Gordon Plastics, Inc., of San Diego,
California, is not new to the bow-making business. Years ago they made
a line of bows sold under the Gordon clan emblem. My first hunter was a
Gordon Knight. What I was carrying now was the newest creation from the
lab of the Gordon plant. This bow, a bow scale. Perhaps the best feature, aside
from the under fifty dollars price tag is its light weight. The mass weight — what
you would carry in the field — is three pounds two ounces.

I had tried to fit a number of bow-quivers to the three-piece unit, but
found the only one in my collection that worked was the regular Bear eight
arrow quiver extended to full length. This quiver holds eight Gordon
Glashaft arrows with Ace broadheads left from other seasons.

Guiterrez looked at the weaving head of the diamondback that was
waiting at the trail crossing for a meal. I had no intention of being on the
menu. I had talked with the Guiterrez brothers about the possibility of
getting a snake skin trophy, and they had come up with some typical Texas
tales. Ricardo Guiterrez had a cigar box full of clipped rattler tails killed
on the ranch that spring. He handed me a thirteen rattle trophy to take
back in case I didn’t find my own.

“This spring we had quite a bit of rain,” he started his story. “The
rattlers usually mate in May. They stay on high ground to keep from being
drowned in their holes during the spring rain. They were hungry and we
stomped many every day. One morning I came over a small rise to see
a real Texas monster stretched out on the other side, meandering toward the
bottom and some dinner. That snake was so big it couldn’t coil; it just lay
there and buzzed its tail. I was mounted, so I wasn’t worried. I usually jump
off and stomp them with my boots, but this boy was too big for that. I looked
around for a stick, but couldn’t find anything I thought would be big enough.
I shook a noose into my rope, dropped a loop over the snake, and dragged it
back to the pickup where we shot it with a rifle. Honest!”

The golden beauty coiled in front of me now didn’t come up to those
specifications, but was presentable. I didn’t want to shoot it in the brush,
since I didn’t want to cut the hide. I found a stick about three feet long. I
figured the old girl couldn’t reach over two feet if she did strike. I moved my
stick to her head, nestled in the coils, and touched it. The rattles hadn’t even
buzzed yet. Now they took off at full volume.

She hit the stick with such force I dropped it. She was hungry and mad.
She continued rattling and her forked tongue kept working rapidly in and
out. Guiterrez came struggling up with a small tree, and between us we moved
her into a slight clearing in the brush, so I could get a clear shot at the head.
Actually, we could have clubbed her with either of the trees we were
working with, but that didn’t occur to us at the time. I wanted this to be a
bow kill.

As we moved her out into the open, she struggled to get back into the
brush she had been coiled under. We were afraid she might have a gopher
hole there to crawl into, but we kept at her until she opened up in the
s-coil. They can strike farther from that position. But she stayed where we
wanted her.

My adrenalin was flowing freely. As I drew the arrow the bow could have
been eighty pounds, and I wouldn’t have known it. The sight window gave
me a good angle on the opened s-coiled snake. This window measures
five and one-half inches which is adequate if you want to install a bow·
hunting sight.

George Gordon, president of Gordon Plastics. has been working
with epoxies for many years. The firm decided to make a molded epoxy
riser for a strong and inexpensive bow. The end product I had at full draw was
one of the first off the shelf. The cast epoxy riser, reinforced
with fiberglass strips molded into the casting. measures nineteen and three-
quarter inches. The twenty-two-and one·half-inch limbs are attached with
knurled nuts by two bolts inserted in the molded riser.

These limbs have fiberglass tip overlays and hardrock maple laminates
in the limb. Gordon added a section of fiberglass laminate at the base of the
limb for added strength. The limbs are wide, tapering from one inch and three
quarters at the base to one inch at the tip.

When Gordon designed this bow and limb attachment system he did
something a bit different in bow making. The limbs are close to zero
tiller. There is a one—eighth inch difference in tiller between the upper
and lower limbs. The lower is stiffer. If you buy the bow and one extra limb
of the same poundage, you will have two bows. If you should break a limb,
you could attach the extra one to either the upper or lower section and
continue shooting.

Guiterrez reminded me that if I shot the rattler then, I wouldn’t have a
picture of it. I eased down on my draw kept my eye on the snake to make
sure she didn’t slither away, or worse, closer to me, and handed my camera
to him to record the event. Now began a slight comedy. Guiterrez backed up,
with the camera to his eye until he was stopped by a crucifixion thorn. There
is nothing on this bush that doesn’t have a spine that won’t puncture you
to the bone. He bounced back from the junco and told me to get closer to
the snake, so he could get us both in the frame.

The snake had increased in size from the first small coil. I knew it was
over five feet. Applying some snake lore, I thought it could strike at least
three feet. The basic rule is one third of the length, but that depends on
location and other variables. Four feet was as close as I wanted to get.
Guiterrez moved back until he was nudging the junco again and told me
to ease forward. All the time we were debating about who was going to move
where, the rattling reptile was weaving in the open-s. The head was never still.

Mad and ready to strike. I looked at the oscillating head and
told Guiterrez I wasn’t waiting any longer for a friend to answer her
dinner call. Try shooting at a three inch object in motion at five to six
feet sometime. It’s tricky. I wanted a head shot to keep the hide
intact, so I came to draw, and when my bowlock reached
the corner of my mouth, I let the Glashaft fly. It hit the rattler right be-
hind the eyes in the poison sacs.

Since a snake never knows it is dead until sundown, it continued to writhe
and twist, the tail buzzing ominously. I had my snake, but to be certain I put
another arrow into the neck, about one inch behind the head, almost
severing it when the blade hit. Scratch one dead Texas diamondback rattler
and add a unique trophy to the wall.

With my shooting style I grip the handle of my hunters until the knuckles
turn white, and this small riser gave me a good grip. The circumference of
the handle is a scant four and three quarters of an inch. There is no wood
grain to split. so there is no problem with the small riser. lf you open hand
it, there is little chance of torquing. My hand was dripping with perspiration,
partly from the August heat and partly from nerves. When you
walk into the back country of our western states. you can almost always
figure on meeting one or two of these buzzy tails. They usually rattle before
striking. I have been struck at, past, but never hit. However. they still make the
hair on the back of my neck crawl.

Guiterrez and I moved up to inspect the writhing snake. I had been
afraid my only encounter would be with a lesser specimen. This was a
respectable snake, if there is such a thing. I picked her up by the tail, and
she was so heavy that the skin started to pull apart from the weight. We had
bashed in the head to be certain she couldn’t grab us in a death swing as
she continued to wriggle in my grasp. I measure under six feet and this snake
was longer than I was tall. We stretched her out before we skinned her, and
she came to sixty-eight inches, not counting the four inches of mutilated
head and neck where I had made the second shot. This didn’t include the
eleven rattles on the tip of the vari-colored tail.

Niles came out of the brush, and we called him over to take a look at our
trophy. We related the ferocity with which she had struck at the poles we
had used to move her into the open. “She’s probably been lying up on
the high ground during these last few rainy days and moved down to get a
dinner,” Guiterrez commented. “She was hungry, and when we disturbed
her, she really fought back with her version of a double bladed broadhead,
needle variety. She doesn’t fight fair, though, since she uses a poisoned

We tied her to the tail gate of the pickup and opened her belly, slit
around the head, and pulled the hide from the carcass. The reason we know
it was a she, was the number of un-developed embryos in her abdomen. I
salted the hide and rolled it to preserve it for tanning.

We continued the pig hunting, but I was jumpy. Later that afternoon I was
ambling down a cowpath outside the brushy area, stopping to look carefully
in front and to the sides as I walked. My attention was held by a red-tailed
hawk working over a fresh kill when I heard a hiss in front of me. I jumped
straight up and about three feet over. What had spooked me turned out to
be one of the many tortoises that live in that back country. I was walking
toward it on the path and when it hissed, I heeded. I imagine the shell-
back had some tall tales to tell his Texas brothers about how he made
that two-legged monster move out of his way.

The Gordon bow had given me a clean kill at a close range. It proved
itself at longer ranges during the testing period. The draw was smooth
and even; the bow showed no signs of stacking, and the scale proved this by a
gradual build up as I weighed it from twenty-six inches to thirty, checking
the poundage. When it comes out on the market late this year, it will be
priced under fifty dollars. This will buy the bowhunter a sixty-two-inch
takedown bow that will go into a package about twenty·three inches
long. They will offer poundage varying from forty-five to sixty. My
model was equipped with a bristle arrow rest in the past center sight win-
dow and a string that braced at eight and one half inches measuring to the
pivot point of the handle.

“What we want to offer the bow-hunter is a bow with stability, compactness
and price that they can buy for themselves or members of the
family. We are working on a new method of casting that might give us a
lighter bow than the prototype and still as strong, if not stronger,” George
Gordon stated. “The riser will be one color, probably brown, and the limbs
will be finished in the usual manner. Most bowhunters will camouflage it
anyway, but it will be protected as other bows are in the limb sections. The
epoxy riser should be almost impervious to everything a hunter will encounter.”

If the production models prove as smooth and light as the one l had, it
will be well worth the modest outlay of cash. My rattler hide was turned over to
Tartaglia Taxidermy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for tanning and mounting.
I had thought of a life type mount in full coil, but the head was mashed
beyond that. We decided on a tanned hide with a deerskin trim. It turned
out beautifully. My wife allowed me to mount it over the arch in the house,
and she doesn’t like snakes.

She isn’t alone. I don’t either. That first arrow that hit the diamondback
in the poison sacs stands in a prickly pear down Texas way. I didn’t like the
idea of bringing the arrow back, since it was probably loaded with venom
from the snake, and besides, I can’t hunt with a poisoned arrow, even if
rattlers do.

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Published by archerchick on 11 Feb 2011

Salt Shaker Spirit Saga~ By John Alley

Bow And Arrow
August 1972

Salt Shaker Spirit Saga~By John Alley
Peccary Pursuing Is A Sometime Thing

WHAT ARE YOU doing?” I asked Tom Dalrymple
as he sniffed intently at the ground like an ambitious


“Checking for sign. What do you think!” he replied in a
low sober tone. “Here,” he whispered, pointing to fresh
droppings, and picking up a piece of shredded prickly pear
dripping with moisture. The piles were indeed fresh, and
their depositors weren’t far away.


My hand warmer bore a faint red glow, as I grasped it
tightly with my numb fingers. What a way to spend New
Year’s I thought gazing across the vast desert of the
Arizona lowlands. Normally I would be watching parade
queens and bowl games on the boob tube, in the warmth of
my living room.


However, I was pursuing a Javelina, a small animal standing
about twenty inches at the shoulders and weighing as
much as fifty pounds. I was bound and determined to
collect one of these wily collared peccaries which had
eluded me in the past.


Roaming the Southern borders of the United States, the
peccary acquired the collared name because of the broad
yellowish stripe running from the hind part of the shoulders
to the chest. Some prefer to call him the musk hog. The
musk sack looks like a second navel and is located in the
middle of the back about six inches up from the root of the
tail. When a herd gets separated, the first thing the pigs do
when rejoined is rub scent glands. The gland does emit a
strong odor which can spoil the flavor of the meat if not
handled properly. It is best to leave it alone if you are not
sure of what to do. Skin the animal completely as soon as


Others call them the grey ghost because of their ability
to vanish seconds after becoming spooked. The dark, salt
and pepper grey coloring makes them difficult to spot in
the thick brush and ravines they often frequent. Binoculars
are a must, as javelina can often be spotted in open areas
feeding, providing the hunter can gain a high vantage point
to glass the area.


Is the javelina a pig? Many hunters say they are, but
according to experts the javelina belongs to the family
Tayassuidae: Tayassu tajacu. Your wild boar belongs to the
Sus family. Only the white-lipped peccary found from
Paraguay to Mexico is of the same family as the javelina.


Several features separate the peccary from the pig
family. The upper tusks curve downward instead of up; the
hind limbs have three toes instead of four. Pigs have many
young, the peccary only two. They also have musk glands
and dewclaws. Pigs have neither. Unlike domestic pigs, their
tails are barely visible.


In Arizona, where the javelina has its heaviest hunting
pressure, the animal is considered the most popular with
out-of-state hunters and ranks second only to deer with
residents. The 1970 season saw more than 30,000 hunters
pursuing the grey ghost. This has brought deep concern to
the Arizona Commission.


To compound the problem, civilization is taking over a
good many of Arizona’s prime javelina territories. There’s
talk of going to a permit system that would limit the
number of animals taken each season as well as increasing
the license fees.


The current non-resident general license is twenty dollars
and the javelina tag, a dollar-fifty. There is a special archery
only license for fifteen dollars available only at the Fish and
Game offices. An archer does not need both. The season
runs statewide, January l – 3l for bowhunters, with the rifle
season February 20-26. Archers may hunt during the gun
season with the limit being one javelina each calendar year
with either bow or gun.


I decided to make my first try at the little desert
dwellers. Gil Smith and I were hunting near the Tucson
mountain wildlife area. We were driving out of a dirt road
after another disappointing day’s hunt without seeing any


It was cold with the wind chill factor being around ten
degrees. We noticed a half frozen die-hard archer walking
along the highway and offered him a lift to his car. That
was Dalrymple, as it turned out. His total expression told of
a day like ours. I can still remember him clasping his
Alaskan-like mittens together muttering something about
somebody and their mother behind every saguaro cactus,
and the few kind words he had for each of them!


We hunted the next few days together but to no avail.
That particular hunt ended without seeing any javelina, but
I did get an invitation from Dalrymple to return and hunt
with him the following season. During the course of the
year, I received word that my newly acquired hunting
partner had located some super hot spots and our presence
on opening day would bring the javelina festivities to a fine


A Tucson resident nearly all his life, Dalrymple had been
bowhunting for three years and had yet to collect a
javelina. His strong determination has brought him to spend
countless hours on research and study of javelina habitat.
As I learned in the days that followed, it takes extreme
patience and concentration to encounter a band of pigs.
Most hunters have their own way in which to hunt. I too
have adopted set patterns. However, in the past few years
after hunting various types of game animals, I have had to
change these patterns to meet the challenge of the species
hunted. The javelina is no exception.


The javelina comes quite easy to some. I know a bow-
hunter who has filled his javelina tag for six years straight.
and a rifleman going on his fifth year and who has yet to
see one. I know of at least fifteen archers this year who
blanked out. About one-third of them saw pigs. The average
bow kill ratio has been around one in ten. The most successful
hunters are those who familiarize themselves with
javelina habits and the area they plan to hunt.


Dalrymple and others like him firmly agree that the
most prominent areas to locate javelina are those with the
slightest hunting pressure. This was our problem with the
wildlife area the year before. Javelina are gregarious animals
and travel according to set feeding patterns. When they are
disturbed, they leave the area, not returning for days.
Finding an unspooked herd is the whole trick.


Most herds have their favorite bed grounds and feeding
areas. A herd may work an area of two square miles often
leaving beds and returning in a few days. An undisturbed
herd will often have a range of a half mile, but the area will
rotate depending on available foods and weather

Our scouting party consisted of Dalrymple, his long time
hunting partner Don Dole, and myself. We would enter an
area and look for relatively fresh sign not more than three
days old. It is always quite possible that only a short distance
will separate a good hunting area from a poor one.
lf sign is not evident, move on. Areas which have been
productive in the past are the Tucson mountain area, Santa
Catalina, Santa Ritas, Tumacoris and the San Carlos Indian


A javelina’s primary diet is vegetation such as prickly
pear, grass roots and mesquite beans. They frequently eat
prickly pear for filler and moisture, not nutritional value.
This means they can live in areas where there is no permanent
water. Preferred foods are tubers, cactus fruits like
the bisnaga pod and the roots of the Christmas cactus. Like
most animals, they will feed in the early morning and late
evening hours, particularly during the winter time. They are
not cold weather animals as was proved during the extremely
cold winter of 1967 when herds of the northern
part of the state were severely reduced.


The New Year found me rising slowly in the pre-dawn
hours. Coyotes were talking in the nearby foothills. The
temperature had been dropping for several nights. The
mercury reading was twenty degrees.


The limbs of my fifty-five pound Marauder bow
seemed a bit stiff. I drew back a tew times to warm it up. A
few shots are always helpful in cold weather. l drew back
slowly, concentrating on a small bush at twenty yards, and
released. Wham-Bam-Pow echoes my aluminum arrow
sailing three feet over the bush, striking rocks on its desent
to the badlands. After a few more shots and the killing of
the bush, my numb soul seemed ready, daring a javelina to
appear within shooting range.


Our first place of attack was a group of caves in a wash
bottom. Dalrymple’s theory says that, “in rainy weather,
with the temperature below thirty degrees, the chances of
locating pigs around cave areas are fantastically high. They
will also bed down under ironwood and palo verde trees on
the sunnyside to keep warm.”


We reached the caves only to End them vacant, with tiny
tracks scattered about. “They must have smelled us,”
whispered Dole. Peccaries do have a terrific sense of smell.
They can smell tubers six inches under the ground. Hunting
downwind of them is a must. The use of artificial scents
does not help matters much and often tends to spook the
animals. The old underarm deodorant trick seems to work


We worked about fifty yards apart searching for the
slightest indication of fresh sign. Quite often while feeding,
individual members of a herd will scatter in search of their
favorite item, ranging a hundred yards or so. This explained
why we often found tracks going in all directions. This can
be misleading, however, if followed long enough, quite
often they will join the others.


I had to marvel at Dalrymple and Dole’s manner of
tracking. I considered myself a pretty fair tracker before I
met up with these two bloodhounds.


While tracking, the prickly pear cacti became the most
evident sign. The cacti will dry quickly depending on the
weather. Most often it will form a white film over the
freshly eaten parts in about an hour. It will usually be
shredded, scattered on the ground near the plant. The
javelina bite the green fruits that are covered with clusters
of half-inch long spines. They will usually remove pear pods
by knocking them off with the front feet.


Javelina use their noses, feet and teeth to remove some
of the spines. Once they get started, they chew through
spines and all without difficulty. They can eat century
plants and Lechuguilla (shin dagger) as we would eat an
artichoke, removing the outer leaves and eating out the
heart of the plant.


We kept the pace slow, often near a stand still. “You
nearly always hear them before sighting,” mentioned
Dalrymple, pointing at his ear as though committing
suicide. I nodded, listening to the left and right for that all
important grunt or ruckus that javelina often make.


We were roughly a half-mile from the caves when we
found the fresh droppings as mentioned earlier. A few yards
farther Dalrymple stopped, pointing his finger to his ear. I
was still somewhat amazed that we could be on the right
trail. Then a faint sound ahead directed my eyes to a wash-
out twenty yards away. There they were, but only for
seconds, as ten to twelve javelina bolted from the brush and
disappeared. It had happened quickly, as many had said it
would. The grey ghosts were gone. Maybe my last step was
a bit hard, but in any case I thought I had blown it. Naturally
my first reaction was to run after the herd and try for
a chance shot.


“No” muttered Dalrymple, waving his arms frantically
to get me to hold still. Certainly this man must have a screw
loose I thought, tempted to start the four minute mile. To
my right Dole had his bow up, as though to drill my hide if
I took another step! I was out-voted! A series of woof-like
grunts sounded out from the departed animals. To my
amazement. Dalrymple began imitating these snorts a few
times and the pigs began returning! It is not uncommon for
this to happen. The trick is not to woof before the javelina
does and not over a couple of times as it will spook them.


They weren’t totally aware of what had spooked them
and were joining forces once again. Their eyesight is considered
poor, and they will often run into the hunter in
their rush to escape. This is often mistaken for being
charged by a ferocious beast. lf the animals are unprovoked.
they appear to be deathly afraid of human beings.
I quickly spotted two of them coming straight toward
me. Off to my left. Dalrymple was at full draw as a huge
boar trotted past him at twenty feet. The arrow struck the
boar through the shoulders. A piercing scream rang out and
the prized javelina dropped within a few feet. Oddly
enough the others were not distracted by the incident and
kept coming. One of the two I had spotted darted at Dole
while the other stopped behind a bush directly in front of
me. Dole shot at his pig, missing by inches.


I slowly drew back a 2018 aluminum shaft loaded with a
black diamond delta broadhead and waited for the little
fellow to step out. My arm began to tire, and I let up on the
arrow. At that instant, the pig jumped out and trotted in a
parallel line to my right. I eased the arrow back again, and
released. The arrow whizzed past the chest of my quarry in
a beautiful miss! I quickly drew another arrow from my
bow quiver, but another shot was not possible. Realizing I
had just screwed up, I moved toward Dalrymple and his
fallen trophy. It was a beautiful boar, field dressing out at
forty pounds. My victorious companion was elated to say
the least.


That afternoon found me contributing a bottle of Cold
Duck to the Dalrymple’s victory party, and toasting the
celebrated javelina woofer. In the days that followed I saw
only one other pig and did not manage a shot. I had been
back in Los Angeles only a few days after that, when the
opportunity came to return to Tucson.


Two long-time friends, Midge Dandridge and John
Crump wanted to try their luck. Neither had hunted the
elusive animal before, and they were anxious to give it a
try. I was looking for a way to get my bottle of Cold Duck
back and quickly made the group a threesome.


There is always the possibility of calling up javelina with
a varmint call. To the javelina, the call sound is similar to
that of a little pig in distress. The herd will send out
members to investigate the trouble, rushing in with teeth
gnashing and hackles up. It seems to work best with a high-
pitched call, blown about three or four blasts.


One evening as Midge and I walked back to the truck, we
decided to try to call. I consider her to be one of the finest
women varmint callers around, better than most men. Midge
blew the call twice and two javelina immediately appeared.
They quickly disappeared, apparently spooked. She blew the
call again. I could hear an animal coming hell bent for leather,
out of the brush ahead. At forty yards I could make out the
silhouette of a pig coming across a rock slide. I shot, only
to have him jump the string! Looks like my luck was still


Two days later it began to change. We met up with a
young fellow. Grant McClain, who had recently returned
from a stint with Uncle Sam. He was gung ho to do some
hunting and had access to some private land. He was persuaded
with not much trouble, to join up with us!


The following morning we drove at daylight to an area
where a cowpoke had spotted a large herd of peccaries the
day before. The idea was to work a large wash bottom, with
Midge and I on one side and Crump the other. Grant would
stay in the bottom some thirty yards behind us. I took a
couple of steps and stopped to listen. Things looked barren
with the sound of Gamble’s quail calling in the distance. I was
now in the area where the javelina had been last seen.


As I took another step the brush below shook with
frantic movement. I strained my eyeballs on a set of
nostrils, belonging to a pig pointed my way from under a
slumped over iron wood bush.


A front on shot isn’t the greatest in the world, presenting
a relatively small target. I maneuvered into shooting
position hoping for him to turn broadside. His nose in the
air and hackles up, he turned slowly. I quickly answered by
sending an arrow his way. The shot was good, passing completely
through the mid section. It is totally unreal how fast
the little critters can move. Javelina bolted in every
direction, nearly mowing down Grant who stood in their
way of retreat. I lost sight of my wounded pig among the
swiftly retreating animals.


Half of my arrow was found a short way up the wash
with small splotches of blood nearby. I was dumb-founded.
Where was my arrowed peccary?
“There,” said Midge, pointing at the wounded animal
backing into a bush. I quickly put an arrow through his
chest. He collapsed in his tracks. I had won!

As we drove back to town the sun was setting, illuminating
the once Indian-inhabited mountain ranges with one
of those never-to-be-forgotten Arizona sunsets. That Cold
Duck will sure taste good!!

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