Archive for the 'Bowhunting' Category

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Published by arrowflingenjoe on 29 Sep 2010

Hunting Ethics?

If you wound an animal and do absolutely everything possible to recover your game but just cant find it should you consider yourself tagged out or keep on hunting?

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Published by StorminTheOutdoors on 28 Sep 2010

Amateur video’s from PA. Public land!

Hi folks! We’re a new company out of central PA. We have been working hard preparing for this hunting season, and will be out there in just a few days. There are a few videos up that I think you may enjoy, so check them out. Kill shots coming (hopefully) and we hunt on all public land. Check out the site, www.StorminTheOutdoors.com and let us know what you think. Look forward to hearing some comments.

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Published by drycore on 26 Sep 2010

mathews monster bow

I’m looking for positive and negative comments about this bow. I have to make a big decision about purchasing it, a destroyer, maxxis, or taking back an omen that has had two cam peg breaks in a row. I need feedback please. I want speed but quality, durability, and accuracy. thanks!

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Published by drycore on 26 Sep 2010

pse cam peg breaks

I’m looking for anyone who has had a cam peg break or other bus cable breaks with the pse pro series bows

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Published by drycore on 26 Sep 2010

pse omen cam peg breaks

i recently purchased a pse omen 2010. while letting it back down it exploded. The bottom cam peg came off. I was highly pissed. I got it fixed, was showing it to my father in law. I pulled it back with a release, while letting it down in total control it exploded. Bus cable peg, and the same cam on bottom broke off. I went to a mathews monster. It shoots 353 only 13 less but has 80% let off. It shoots more true. The nice wood grip is great bacause i have giant hands. Im shooting more accurately. I fell in love with it. It only took 12 shots to have it shooting within an inch @ 20 yds. I would never buy a pse product again. In my opinion, if you make a little hand twist or whatever a pse will explode on you. Talked to another friend who had a pse axe 6. His exploded on let down also. He also went with Mathews. I like hoyt, bowtech, and mathews. I just think mathews has it down pat, like a good chevy or ford truck. They just seem to have their stuff built really well.

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Published by archerchick on 17 Sep 2010

How To Backpack A Deer The Safe Way – By Sam Fadala


Bow & Arrow August 1980
How To Backpack a Deer The Safe Way
By Sam Fadala

Ideally, we like to harvest our venison where some means of conveyance is in close proximity to the downed game, be that a vehicle a pickup truck or a willing mule ; however, many a deer must be brought out when the only “horse” around is the two-legged variety called Hunter.

Having spent many years in the Southwest before moving North, and taking a good number of Coues deer, the little whitetail buck that lives in Arizona’s rugged border mountains, I learned to take venison back to camp on my back. At first, when there were few hunters in the country, and I had not employed much common sense in the matter, I toted my venison right on my back. What a target that must have been.

Later, I got around to using my head along with my back, employing a packframe and cutting the really big bucks in two hunks, my partner taking half, I taking the other half; or leaving half to be picked up later if I had no help. Today, I still use the packframe method of taking a deer from a field to the campsite. And I still cut the really big animals in half, while carrying the smaller ones back in one piece.

Because I wanted the reader to see how the deer was situated on the packframe the photos do not reveal the bright orange cape that is tied over the animal before packing it in. In fact my son who is shown carrying the deer, his first packframe pack-out was told to remain only in that one small canyon , not revealing himself where he could be seen. Also we were on a private ranch, which cut down the chance of seeing another hunter.

However, the orange cape is always slipped over the venison before packing it back to the camp. The reader should be aware of this fact, and he never should carry anything that might make him a target.

Step one in safety, then , in backpacking the deer to camp is to disguise it’s shape so it appears to be anything but game. As suggested this is accomplished by covering it with an orange cape. Also it should be pointed out at this point that the packaged unit – the deer strapped to the packframe – is rectangular in shape, which helps break up its animal – looking outline.

Step two in the safety department is to carry only what is manageable. Size of the hunter has a lot to do with how much he can pack, but amazingly, I have seen some stout fellows crumble under the weight of a deer that goes only ninety pounds dressed. I imagine that certain muscles are not built for it, and I once witnessed a football coach who had been bragging for two days as to his physical prowess, turn absolutely crimson when he had to give up packing a small buck to camp.

The two men who were along were none too kind when the braggart stumbled for the tenth time and couldn’t get up under his ninety five-pound load. One of the fellows said, “Hey, why don’t you let me pack that to camp. There are two cold beers in the cooler- and I’d like to get one before it
gets hot.”

There is no shame in not being able to pack a heavy load to camp. But it
would be a shame to get a hernia. The hunter can tell what he is able to pack. Certainly he will feel the load as a heavy weight on his shoulders and
back, but he should also be able to walk a good distance with it before
having to rest. If there is a stretching, straining feeling in the groin, I would
suggest cutting the deer in two and packing one half at a time.
After the hunter has decided a safe load limit for himself, step three in
safety is to go slowly. The packframe should be adjusted for comfort, using
the waist belt and shoulder straps. If the deer has been cut in two, which is
accomplished after field dressing it by simply cutting through the vertebra
which marks the end of the loin and the beginning of the hams, and if the
tie-downs are firm, the load will ride remarkably well, shifting but little.

However, by going slowly there is less tendency to throw the load off balance.
Step tour in safety is never to jump down from so much as a small log
while packing the deer to camp. With such a load on tho back, even a hop
on a little hillock could strain the groin area. Stepping down slowly from
The back legs are drawn up in between the front legs, and the head tied back.
Once securely tied, the deer is transformed into a tight, easy to carry pack. any bump on the ground is the byword.

The final safety precaution is to use a walking stick. Any stick picked up
off the ground will help balance the hunter and take a lot of the weight off
his shoulders, by transferring it to the arm, arm-power aiding leg-power. I use
A Moses stick, a walking staff that can prevent a fall as well as being Leaned on.

Hunting with a backpack is no hindrance, I use a frame with a daypack slipped over lhe top bars. In dangerous country; where a storm can sock you in for days, I carry a Coleman five
pound tent, and a light sleeping bag tied to the frame. With the contents of
my daypack, I will last out a fairly fierce storm without becoming a statistic. My frame has a hook on its right side for attaching the rifle via its sling or a bow. Thus, l have both hands free,
but still can slip it off for use in a hurry, Finally, after game is taken, my
frame serves to,help me get that meat back to the vehicle.

A great advantage of hunting ,with
the packframe, I feel, is avoidance of bruising the meat. We live on our game
and perhaps,I have become overly critical of how to take care of meat. But after the game is dawn. I skin it out if the trip to the truck is a long one, then
I tie the meat, Sometimes all boned out, onto my frame. Or I use a large packsack to carry back the pure meat. When close to camp, I hurry to get the deer back where I can hang it and skin it,

Then I tie the whole animal. A half of a large deer, directly to the
frame. I do not drag the meat, bump it over Logs and rocks, drop it, slide it
down places, or use it as sled. The hunter who learns to go with a
packframe and tote his game out can transfer his learning to any big game
he might hunt. Boning out large game is a topic unto itself; however a great
deal of game meat can be packed from the woods with a large packsack, especially if the inedible parts are left behind.

The method of tying game to the frame is simple. With a small deer, the entire animal is placed on the pack in a vertical fashion. With stout nylon cord the one-fourth-inch size is strong
enough the deer is lashed to the frame. Its legs, still protrude from the
side of the frame and its head is not secured at this point.

Next, the legs are drawn together, back legs first. The two long back legs
are aligned with the right side of the packframe and tied down, but not before they are slipped between the two front legs. Now the two front legs are tied down and onto the back legs. The head is slipped back along the frame and secured. The cord is wrapped generously around the animal. It is easy to untie later, but a loose load will bring a lot of grief.

A couple of good wraps must be taken underneath the hams of the deer or it will slip right off the frame. In loading the frame onto the hunter, I like to sit down and get into the pack first. The belt is secured and then the hunter stands up, slowly and carefully to make sure of the load. In standing up, one man helps the other. I think getting behind the seated hunter and lifting under his arms is best, in order to help him gain his fee. In carrying the deer, if it is loaded properly, the hunter can sit on a log, rock or any other object as a chair for him whenever he needs a break. Again, in getting back to the feet, it is wise to have help.

Using the packframe method has a few advantages that one would not normally consider. I recall a deer taken on the second tag, does only being allowed for the second deer, with bucks closed season. The rancher was happy to let us back into the hunting land, because we assured him that we were not going to drive off the roads. When we produced our frames he nodded and opened the gate to the back forty for us.

Another time the roads were quite muddy and a rancher was not going to let us hunt antelope on his place. He figured, and rightly so, that running off the road to pick up game would leave ruts that he would have for a decade. When assured our frames would get meat back, and not our rut-making four-wheel-drive, he let us on his land.

We were lucky, for just as we made it back to our vehicle on the main road, having packed an antelope on the frame, the rancher was driving past. He stopped and waited for us, and even helped me slip the frame off.

“Hey, you guys really do pack your meat out on your backs,” he said and next time we wanted to get on his ranch we were welcome.

As long as all the safety measures are observed, packing game out via the frame is a good standby method, as well as mainline means of getting the bacon from the woods to the frying pan.
Hunting with the pack can take a hunter into nearly untouched country off the main roads, too.
And it has actually made some friends for us.

While being able to drive within reach of the downed game is nice, some conditions don’t allow this. It is handy to have an alternate method on hand. <—-<<

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Published by archerchick on 17 Sep 2010

DEER- The Big Game Hunter’s Favorite By Jim Dougherty


BOW & ARROW -AUGUST 1980
DEER
The Big Game Hunter’s Favorite
By Jim Dougherty

About A Million years ago, we’re told, a primitive deer drifted across the great land bridge that
joined Asia to the New World along with the early sheep and many others
of our current big game animals. Just as the sheep evolved into four distinct
races, that deer evolved into two distinct groups, continuing to subdivide
until the race slowly covered what is now North America.

Today their widespread geographic distribution has made the deer the most populous
big game animal on our continent. Biologically there are currently eleven classifications of
mule deer/blacktail and twenty-seven North American whitetail groups.

As a category deer are so plentiful that anyone with even a slight outdoor
notion has a good opportunity to see them in the wild, just about anywhere.
For the big game hunter they are made to order: plentiful numbers, easily accessible and
economically feasible. Most “big-game hunters” are deer hunters, period! Deer cause more
pulses to quicken, energy and dollars to be expended, stories to he told and shirttails to be
cut off than all other big game critters combined. No animal can be hunted successfully
in so many different ways or places, provide such a variety of fine eating, keep more
taxidermists in business or cause more folks to clutch up than a respectable ·deer, and
as far as l am concerned, they are all respectable.

To most folks, deer are deer. Percentage wise few of the total amount of deer hunters pursue
both mule deer `and Whitetail, fewer still hunt blacktails, and a goodly portion have never
heard of a Coues; the sprightly desert Whitetail, or the remote Sitka blacktail, all individual
categories of deer recognized by the Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young Clubs. They are
all deer to be sure, but each has his own distinct appearance, environmental requirements, habitat
preference and whims of nature and temperament geared to remind us frequently of our human frailties.

Whenever, wherever hunters gather to tell war stories the talk most often revolves around deer hunting.
As folks are inclined to do, making comparisons about the biggest, best, smartest or tastiest is the
direction a lot of these chattering elbow-bending sessions seem to take. To the easterner the whitetail
is king, nothing is sharper, more magnificent or tougher to hunt. By comparison he thinks the
mule deer is stupid, a big-eared clod that stands around in the open inviting termination.

Northwesterners make good cases for the secretive blacktail, a close cousin to the big-bodied Rocky
Mountain mule deer, a look-alike that runs somewhat smaller and favors the thick canyons of
Washington, Oregon and the northern portions of California.

How opinions that the mule deer is stupid come into being escape me. Any animal that has been around for
thousands upon thousands of years taking the worst that man and beast can throw at him, generally
increasing in the process, isn’t stupid. The hunter who claims he is hasn’t hunted him overly much and has
been lucky when he did.

Each of the most huntable three —whitetail, mule deer and blacktail —- is a special product of its environment.
The mule deer ranges over relatively open country covering some distance from Summer to Winter while the
whitetail lives and dies in a closer, more intimate relationship with its home ground. The mule deer is easier
to locate visually than the whitetail be- cause of his living quarters, but the pattern of a whitetail buck can be
determined with a great deal of exactness. A hunter can pinpoint where he will be, sooner or later, yet not
actually see him aforehand. l am of the opinion that deer are deer when it comes time to hunt them,
and that strategies should be based on the country, time of year and weather rather than the animal’s supposed
intelligence level.

lf the whitetail is smarter than the blacktail, so be it. The blacktail is still going to be at the very top or the very
bottom of the area l plan to hunt, while the whitetail is going to be running some flat land somewhere.
l have found it quite difficult to stalk whitetails. I think this is as much because the country I have hunted
them in has not lent itself to stalking as for any other reason. Most whitetail hunting, done in the Fall when the
leaves are knee deep and noisy, when the woods are nearly bare so as to reduce cover, is not as conducive to
stalking as the aspen patches of a Colorado August.

Certainly there are exceptions. Deer are found most every-where and whitetails live in a lot of swell places
for the stalking bowhunter, but most of them do not. l have hunted mule deer in the desert, where the cover was mesquite
and greasewood and the ground sun-baked sand, where there were so few rocky areas that the deer hooves did
not wear down and they pranced about on toes that grew for inches and curled up like slippers on an elf.

You didn’t take up the trail and stalk muleys in that stuff, you laid in wait for them, like most whitetail hunters
do. The similarities between mule deer`and blacktails are many. In appearance they differ little. Blacktails are
generally smaller than the Rocky Mountain mule deer but not much different than a good many of the mule deer
subspecies whose ranges adjoin theirs. The Pacific Coast and Inyo mule deer that I cut most of my teeth on are small
deer, a big one dressing around llO pounds f`or the coastal type or some-what bigger inland. They are dark in
color with prominent markings.

Because the range of the mule deer has been expanding, the legitimate blacktail boundaries have been
changed from time to time by the record—keeping bodies to insure that sufficient separation is maintained for
purity’s sake. They will interbreed. While the blacktail is most often a small deer, as one moves further up the
coast they tend to get somewhat larger.

Most of my blacktail hunting has been done in California and lower Oregon. I have found that they can be
hunted, for the most part, just as I would hunt muleys in Colorado or Arizona, with a lot of looking and then
stalking in the more open range. In the West bowhunting for deer starts early in the year, as early as mid-
July in some places.

Colorado bowhunting, however, starts in August and most western bowhunting seasons are in full swing
by the first of September. What a hunter experiences at that time of year is a far cry from what he
is used to if he’s a whitetailer born and bred from the eastern shore. He’s hunting big bucks traveling together,
most still carrying racks in full velvet and spending a good deal of time in the open. They are creatures of the
high lonesome, coming off a hard Winter and a Summer of plenty. Their temperament is that of a gentleman
that would like to spend the summer taking things easy.

Take care that this impression does not lull you into a false sense of security. Check back with him in November
if you care to take notes on personality adjustments. I have spent many summer months with whitetails, and
their metabolism and attitude are much different from what it will be when the first frost of Fall lays its carpet.
In fact they act surprisingly like a mule deer during the same period of time. They’ll be harder to locate because
they frequent a closer environment, but when you do find them they most often will be in the company of
others, taking things easy and sunning their headgear as it matures It’s the quiet time for the whitetail, as it is
the muley, days away from the changing weather that will stir in him the inbred knowledge that life will change
and times will get tougher.

When it comes to hunting the three I have definite preferences. For the whitetails I enjoy the game of figuring
out where they will be and setting up for them. I have found that, for me, in most cases still hunting or stalking is
not as effective. I will see a good many deer on these jaunts — southern ends of northbound beasts — but I will not
bring many to bag. I do not think it is because I am inadequate as a still hunter. I think it’s because the country
during that time of year is against me. I’m inclined to see the whitetail as a more explosive critter, less inclined to
stand about when anything signals danger, but I have seen a fair share of them that must have been suicidal.

I recall a buck, one of the few that I have still hunted that let me shoot one over, under and right through. He
seemed quite interested in the affair – well, up to a point. My son, Kelly, nailed his last buck under conditions not
normally associated with whitetail behavior. Kelly shot his first arrow at forty yards and his last, the fourth, at
ten feet. Locating a good buck and putting a stalk on him is about as much fun as my heart can stand. It is my favorite
way of hunting mule deer and black-tails, easing slowly through the country in keeping with normal movement patterns,
stopping frequently to carefully look things over. It’s a challenge worthy of any bowhunter taking advantage of the
high ground and looking for hour upon hour, searching out the pockets where the bucks feed, putting them to bed
and trying to come up with a stalk.

Most blacktail/muley country allows this type of hunting. The ground cover is right for careful footwork, there is cover to
hide in, get behind, and use for your approach. The bottom line for all deer is the same: those last few steps of
yours, moving in for a shot — or those last few steps of his as he comes to the stand. That’s when the chips are down
and the hand gets played. No matter how it comes out, you’re a lot better off for having been in the garne.

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Published by archerchick on 07 Sep 2010

BEARS – BOW & ARROW Ready Reference File


BOW & ARROW – OCTOBER 1980

BEARS – A REFERENCE

INTRODUCTION
Bears — Black, Kodiak, Grizzly or Polar — can
be found throughout the United States, and are
often sought out as a prized trophy. By
definition the bear is any of a family of large
heavy mammals with long shaggy hair, a
rudimentary tail and flat-walking feet. When it
walks, the entire surface of a bear’s foot will
touch the ground, making a large, wide—spread
print, perhaps four inches across. Regardless of
the type, bears do not generally seek out
human beings, and are most adept at avoiding
us. The majority of bears killed are chance
encounters.
Although the various types of bear will differ
in color and specific physical characteristics,
there are some generalities about each of them.
All will have muzzle-shaped heads, their jaws
and nose projecting outward. All have
extremely small eyes in comparison to their
overall size, small ears and large claws.
A/though normally slow in gait, they can
display sudden bursts of speed. All tend to be
nocturnal in nature.
The male bear is called a boar, the female a
sow

SENSORY AND PHYSICAL CAPABILITIES

Black Bear —
While most
sources indicate that the black bear has poor
vision, others state they have good eye- sight. All seem to agree
that their hearing and
sense of smell are excellent. They are also highly intelligent.
Smaller than the brown bear, the black bear is also more widespread.
They come in a variety of colors. Highly agile, they can scurry up a tree with
little effort. Top weight of a black bear is around 600 pounds. Their head is
smaller and narrower than that of their relatives, the grizzlies, and there is no
prominent shoulder hump. Their claws are shorter, more curved, and razor-sharp
for tree climbing. Although generally considered as not dangerous to man, a
black bear can easily kill a hunter, especially if cornered, wounded or threatened.

Grizzly Bear —
Termed grizzly because of the white—tipped hairs which give it
a streaked or grizzled appearance, the grizzly may reach weights of perhaps 1000
pounds. Eyesight is believed to be fairly poor, particularly when viewing stationary
objects, but its sense of smell and hearing are excellent. The grizzly is intelligent,
bold, cautious and self confident, and is considered one of the two most
dangerous animals in North America, sharing that position with the polar bear.
Normally avoiding humans, a female bear can charge suddenly if her cubs are
threatened, and is said to be able to out-run a horse for brief distances.

Kodiak Bear —
Largest of all the brown bears the Kodiak or Big Brown of Alaskan
coasts may stand over ten feet tall when on its hind legs, and can
weigh as much as 1500 pounds. Despite its bulk, the Kodiak generally
shies away from man, preferring to escape rather than fight. lt has poor
vision, but excellent hearing and scent capabilities.

Polar Bear —
Although there is currently a moratorium on hunting polar bears, the
animal is still one to consider. The largest meat eating hunter on earth, it is an
excellent swimmer. Front paws, webbed to perhaps half the length of the toes, are
capable of propelling the polar bear through one hundred yards of water in
thirty-three seconds. A mature polar bear may weigh as much as 1000 pounds or
more, and may offer a paw span of twelve to fourteen inches. Its ivory-white coat
gives it a nearly perfect camouflage. Covering its eyes and nose with its forepaw
it becomes totally camouflaged, resembling another ridge or snowdrift. The
polar bears’ greatest enemy is the walrus, which, in a one-on-one fight would
generally win out by goring the bear with its lengthy tusks.

HABITAT

Black Bear — Can be found throughout the United States, but the greatest
concentration are in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan and
British Columbia. Prime areas within the United States are Alaska,
Washington, Colorado and Michigan, Preferred terrain is forested, with
dense bedding and hiding thickets, adequate watering areas and occasional
open spaces containing fruits and grasses.

Grizzly Bear –Found chiefly in Alaska and Canada, although there are still
some in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Kodiak Bear — Also known as the Alaskan brown bear, is found along the
lower Alaskan coasts, where food supply is more varied and abundant than
that available to the inland grizzly.

Polar Bear —— Found throughout the northern Arctic regions.

FOOD SOURCES
General — Bear diet may include mice, bird eggs and insects. Classed as carnivores they also eat a substantial amount of
vegetation. Berries and nuts are a favorite, as is honey. Bears consume ten to twelve quarts of water daily.
Black Bear — More than three quarters of their diet is vegetation, augmented by fruits and grasses. Frequently the cause of frantic
moments in hunting camps, black bears enjoy raiding garbage dumps and campsites. If necessary, they will even eat the bark off
trees.
Grizzly — The Northwestern salmon streams and the high berry patches near them are prime spots for grizzly. They also prefer
grapes, acorns, nuts, aspen leaves and twigs, pine seeds. They will kill small game, and occasionally big-game animals, eat their fill
and then bury the remainder of the animal to feed on at a later time.
Kodiak -— Said to eat anything from blueberries to beached whale carcasses, the Kodiak is especially fond of salmon.
Polar Bears — A polar bear may consume as much as fifteen to fifty pounds of meat in one sitting.It’s favorite foodstuff is seal
meat, but also feeds on fish, berries, carrion and some plant life.

MATING AND HIBERNATION
Facts You May Not Have Known:
1. Spring is the normal mating season for bears.
2. Browns, American black bears and polar bears possess a unique
capability termed “delayed implantation” — a mechanism which
allows them to actually turn-off their reproduction cycle until
the sow has fattened herself sufficiently to allow for proper
growth of the fertilized eggs. At that point the eggs will begin to
grow, normally some time during the Fall.
3. Bear cubs normally number two or three, rarely four or a single
cub. The cubs are born during the hibernation period, sometime
during late January or February.
4. Bear cubs will stay with their mother for one to two years, or
until such time as she decides to mate once again.
5. Bear cubs are born blind.
6. Perhaps one of the greatest threats to a cub comes from the male
bear, or boar, which has been known to kill an interfering
youngster.
7. Substitute mothering is not uncommon for cubs who have
temporarily lost their true mother. If the mother does not
return, the foster parent may simply keep the cub with her as a
part of her family.
8. Normally inclined to avoid humans, the surest way to incur the
devastating wrath of a sow bear is to threaten her young.

DID YOU KNOW?
The early-style igloos of the Eskimos were probably fashioned
after the dens of the polar bear. During October the sow will seek a
den for giving birth and sleeping out the winter storms. Generally
the den is fashioned by carving and packing an entrance passage and
rounded inner chamber in the side of a slope, resulting in the
igloo-shaped sanctuary. Through the top of the chamber the sow
will punch a small hole to allow for ventilation. Dependent on
outside weather conditions she will either enlarge or reduce the size
of the hole to control the den is inside temperature.

HUNTING TlPS
General — There are three basic methods of hunting bear: stalking, with bait and with dogs.
Of the three stalking is the least successful. Most encounters with bear are chance
encounters, however a bear that is being pursued will almost always return to the
original site of the chase. A pair of quality binoculars, seven-power or eight-power, is
essential, to allow for a successful approach. Opportunities for a second shot are very rare.

Black Bear — Baiting is the most successful form of black bear hunting. Although they can
be stalked, it requires a highly skillful bowhunter to do so. Their hearing and scent
capabilities are extremely good. While garbage dumps and trash deposits are a good place to
look for black bear, so are berry patches during late Summer. A bowhunter who chooses to
hunt bears by baiting must be prepared to accept and withstand the hazards of such a
system — mosquitos and flies in overwhelming numbers. Look for bear signs. A black bear will
tear stumps apart in its search for beetles and bugs. Streams are another area to concentrate
on.

Grizzly Bear — The best time to hunt grizzly is during the salmon spawning runs. Look for
fresh droppings and partially eaten salmon. Tree stand bowhunting is especially effective
for the grizzly. They can also be hunted from a canoe. Never shoot uphill at a bear. lf hit, it
will invariably run downhill. September is an excellent month to hunt grizzly, as their coats
are at their finest. lf you hear sounds that would indicate a grizzly is near — grunting,
coughing, low woofing — be prepared for attack. Look to a nearby tree.

Kodiak Bear — Either baiting or stalking can prove fruitful, provided you know where to look. Concentrate on beaches and river banks. Springtime is the best time of year to hunt the
Kodiak, when its pelt is in prime condition. A good guide can be your greatest asset.

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Published by archerchick on 07 Sep 2010

Bowhunting The Biggest Grouse – By Sam Fadala


BOW & ARROW – OCTOBER 1980

Bowhunting The Biggest Grouse – By Sam Fadala

RAIN WAS NOT in the forecast. But the minute my brother
Nick and I discussed limbering up our bows and putting some
sage hens in the pot, we were greeted by a deluge from the
skies. We climbed into the four-wheel—drive anyway, as the sky
crackled with lightning and clouds as grim as a tornado funnel moved
in.

“Aw, don’t worry about it,” I assured Nick. “It’ll clear up. The
weatherman says so.” As I expounded on my theories, Nick carefully
wrapped plastic sheeting around his camera. Being a non—resident, and
never having hunted the sage grouse, he was hedging his bets. If there
were no birds around, he would save the day by shooting some hopefully
worthwhile film.
“Some of the best pictures I’ve ever taken were in lousy weather,”
Nick lectured, showing his great confidence in my
assurance that the rain would stop. “I don’t know why people put their
cameras away when the thunder-storms start up.” He pointed to two horses
standing close in a field, a dark sky behind them.
“That’s what I mean.”

Water buffalo aren’t always found around water.
Rock- chucks aren’t always in the rocks. Mountain lions
are not always in the mountains. But more likely than not, sage hens
are in the sage. And we had an area of literally thousands of acres of the fragrant
weed all to ourselves. The rain had something to do with it, certainly, but after
the opening day or two of sage grouse season, there is usually scant
activity, and this was the middle of the week.

We got our birds. And l was lucky enough to take mine as they
walked in the brush twenty and thirty yards away, both on the move
and using only one arrow on each. l was proud. I sure had missed
some good opportunities a few days earlier. lf the rain had continued
as a downpour, I doubt that we would have had much luck, but it
dwindled down to a friendly spattering of droplets and for bowhunting,
that was not so bad. The birds held terribly tight to their
foliage cover, and we knew they would, so we looked hard, moving
slowly. And when we did find our covey, the sage grouse moved away
at a walk instead of flying. They don’t like to fly in the wet.
Sage hens are the largest grouse in the country. Records show a
huge male bird that weighed in at eight pounds, but this is rare, sort of
like the whitetail deer that dressed over 350 pounds. A fine male will
go five pounds, however, and I have taken a couple of sixes. The lady birds
don’t weigh that much, tipping the scales at about three pounds usually,
and often even less. After hunting quail—size birds, it is almost a shock to
have a limit of only two to three sage grouse in your game jacket. They feel
like several limits of smaller birds. But size alone is not the main reason for
hunting the sage grouse. Sure, it’s fun to get such a large-winged treat as this
creature is, but there is much more to the chase than that. I like the country.

It is not difficult terrain, and it is relaxing to pad along through the
flatlands. Sometimes, the tall sage can be tough to negotiate, but most sage-
brush country is rolling or even flat, and there are many little trails through
it. Often, these birds will demand a good deal of walking, but walking in such
gentle territory is no problem; certainly nothing like chasing chukars.
The sage hen is also fun to hunt because the season generally comes in
early Fall, a hospitable time of the year in all of the sage hen states. Usually,
it does not rain. Usually, the sun is out. And our rainy trek was a rare one.
I have hunted the hens quite a number of times, but only twice has
Old Man Thunder roared at me.And I like the nature of the bird
itself. It is plenty of challenge, especially for an archer. But it runs in
good-sized coveys and when that bevy of birds is broken up, there is still
hope of closing the gap on the bunch and taking a couple birds out of it.

The sage hen is depleted by bad weather, especially by rain during the time
when the chicks are newborn, and naturally the varmints work on them.
The badger is rough on nests, and so is the skunk. All in all, it makes sense to
harvest these birds, and game departments know this. Since the largest
range of the sage hen habitat has become city, farmland and civilized in other ways,
there are no vast coveys left over all of the West, but there are still many, many
terrific locales left to hunt. If the hunter does not harvest his fair share, nature will.
The birds get up early, but they are sort of like me, rising from bed at a decent hour,
but groping around until the blood begins to flow in the veins and the eyeballs can focus.
So, for the first hour or so of the morning, in the dimly lit part of the day. activity is
minimal. Then, when the sun is fully above the horizon and beaming its
friendly warmth into the earth, the sage hens stroll to the waterhole. That
waterhole can be a key hunk of geography for the sage bird hunter, especially if
he is toting the bow and arrow, for the birds can be intercepted along
the trail and a nice close standing shot is possible.
Some folks reading this can probably down a sage hen in flight. If I ever
do it, I am going to mount the bird, save the arrow, enshrine the bow in a
glass case and give myself a tall trophy, There is little chance that this will ever
happen, however. The bird is a strong flier, but he prefers to walk. And when
I get one perambulating through the brush, I’m pretty happy about it.
Knowing the birds like that early morning drink, it is wise to stay around that
waterhole located before the hunt – the pond that had the big bird tracks
around it — and look.

Here it comes again. I know people get tired of my praising binoculars, but they
work and I want other hunters to have success, so I always suggest the glass.
(No, I do not own a binocular company.) From any swell in the earth
that can serve as a vantage point, I will search all around the waterhole for the
incoming birds. The territory I cover optically is large, as far as I can see.
Should the birds be spotted, I try to head them off. A stationary bowman is
not going to frighten the sage grouse. But move too much, and the
whole covey is liable to burst into the air and away. In the early part of the
season, an archer need not be all that careful, and I have walked up to first-
day birds as if they were semi—tame. Two days later, the same flocks are
rising from cover a hundred, two hundred yards out. They normally lift
straight up, and a really good archer should be able to nail a bird at that
point, when it is sort of stopped in space, as it were, before leveling out.

They are not the world’s fastest flier, but neither are they slow. And once
the full head of steam is up and they are really in flight, an archer is going
to have to be Howard Hill good in order to slip an arrow through one.
I actually did — and this should be in Ripley ’s Believe It Or Not — take one bird
out of the air. But I would hardly claim it as a great shot. The big male
was just coming up and preparing to level out and it was about ninety per—
cent luck that I let go of the arrow just at that precise moment. In fact, luck
was probably ninety—nine percent responsible.

If the birds do jump from under-foot and wing out over the flats, I always watch
them as carefully as possible. Not to be a broken record, but the
glass can come in very handy again. I don’t always tote the specs, but when
I have them along, I never regret it, for the landing site of the bird can be
picked out. And this is the key — pick out some object near the landing site
so that you arrive at the right place. I have watched a covey land, and then
had a tough time finding the exact place because I forgot to pick out a
mark to guide me.

The birds are usually not exactly where they came down, but the archer
should get to the spot as rapidly as possible and then scout around slowly.
Another trick to keep in mind is to search the ground when the flock
takes off, be it the first jump or the second, for often a few stragglers are
behind and these can be nailed as they walk off.
After getting water, food is next on the list, and food to the sage hen is,
not surprisingly, sage. They love the
leaves and blossoms. This is high-energy food, by the way, and in some
places elk, moose and deer, as well as the ever-present antelope of the sage-
brush plains, would be hurt badly by the depletion or removal of sagebrush,
especially when the dead of Winter has set in. After looking around the
waterhole, if no luck is granted me, I’ll shovel off and pace out the sagebrush.
This means a leisurely stroll, not a high speed chase. The birds feed slowly, too,
and a patient archer can stroll right into the middle of a covey and take his pick
of the big ones.

If the birds are on the spooky side, it is not rare to have to stalk them
with great care. Sage hens have all of the normal attributes of the avian
world — they are none too bright, but they can see like, well, like birds ~
hawks, owls and the like, and they can hear well, too. But they will often let a
hunter approach closely, if he goes slowly and if they have not been
chased over the landscape by too many people.

The big thing is seeing the hens, for they have the finest camouflage any
creature could ask for — neutral gray coloring. Around sage, they blend
right in, and even in greenery they are none to easy to see unless they move.
Naturally, when a whole flock stands out on an open hillside, they can be
sighted, but I have found a large covey, upward of forty birds, right on
the flats. They should have stood out like a cocktail gown on a heavyweight
boxer, but I did not spot the crowd of birds until one moved.

The archer who plans for sage hens should, I feel, tote along the same bow
that he would use for big game. Why? Well, certainly not for the power.
These soft—feathered birds are not very hard to put down, and my experience
with a broadhead is to have the bird flop over as if struck by a rifle. But by
using the big-game bow, a good thing happens — practice for big game is
assured. The hunter has a chance to get in some shooting at game, under
outdoor conditions, pulling the weight he will pull in the field.

I use my standard hunting bow set at its standard draw weight for my
sage grouse hunting. And I have used many kinds of arrows. I have no preference here,
as long as the arrow shoots in the bow. I do insist upon a humane, razor-sharp
broadhead, however. Again, let the hunter choose his own. I have had good luck
with the Wasp using three blades. To the best of my knowledge, these
are the states that have sage grouse, but I don’t think all of them are open
to hunting every year. They are: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Nevada,
Oregon, Washington, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The reader should write a note to the state of his choice and see if there will be a season,
when it will run, the limits and so forth. At least a heavy fee license is not required, nor is
a special drawing. A bird license can run about fifty bucks nowadays.
Some people enjoy camping out for sage hens, as they would for big game,
I am in this rank. I love it. The weather, as already expounded upon, is generally good;
not always, but usually.And it is fun to come home and eat the birds around the campfire, sharing with family and fellow hunters. In my opinion, sage grouse that are no good to eat
are rare. I have never had one I did not like. I have never fed one to any person who didn’t
say he or she enjoyed it. But part of the eatin’ is in the preparin’, and the best T-bone
steak ill-treated is only so much foul—tasting protein.

The first step toward assuring a good tasting bird is to dress it right away. I carry a
canteen of water when I remember to. And a little clean rag goes along, too. I
draw the birds, saving the edible inner parts, from which I sometimes make a
gravy. The drawn birds are rinsed in the body cavity with the water, and
then both cavity and hands can be dried with the clean cloth.
At home, using a boning knife, I strip the meat away from all of the
breast area, leaving the drumsticks and wings as they are. All of the meat is
soaked for two to three hours in a mixture of milk and eggs, beaten well, to
which has been added garlic salt and onion salt, pepper and paprika. Just
enough sauce is made to make contact with the meat. And in a bowl of meat,
about a half bowl of liquid can be added, the meat turned often so that it
soaks thoroughly. Some people put in a tad of fresh oregano to the sauce, a
tad being somewhere between a smidgen and a pinch, about a sixteenth of a
teaspoon, I suppose. Next the meat is dropped into plain
clean flour, breaded and fried in half margarine, half pure lard, hot enough
to cook all the way through, but not so hot that the breading is burned.
That’s it. Good eating!

Sage hens are a lot of fun to hunt, and a wonderful excuse for getting
into the outdoors in early Fall. Some states offer big-game archery seasons
during the sage hen hunting time, and this makes for double pleasure. A
quick check with the game departments in question will bring the facts
to the shooter. And since the birds frequent sage country, easy to walk in, hard to get
lost in, an out-of-stater stands a good chance of finding his quarry without
having a lot of prior knowledge of the area. A bowhunter can do worse. <—<<

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Published by archerchick on 06 Sep 2010

A Bowhunt On The Great Divide – By Norb Mullaney


ARCHERY WORLD – AUGUST 1986
A BOWHUNT ON THE GREAT DIVIDE – BY Norb Mullaney

It certainly wasn’t starting out very well.
The day was Sunday, September 18. I was
scheduled to catch a flight for Denver
early Monday morning with a connection to
West Yellowstone — destination, Rush’s
Lakeview Ranch, about 50 miles west of
Yellowstone National Park near the
Montana-Idaho line. On Tuesday we would
pack into a mountain base camp for a I0-day
combination hunt with licenses for elk, mule
deer and bear.

I had the flu! I hadn’t given in to a flu virus
in as long as I could remember, but
unquestionably, I had the flu! But Sunday
evening I was feeling better and Monday
morning I caught the plane, flu and all.

All seasoned air travelers are accustomed
to arriving at destination sans luggage. This is
to be avoided at all costs on a hunting trip.
Running down a bull elk and dispatching it
with a pen knife is a game for much younger
bowhunters than I. Seasoned air travelers also
know that if you have too much gear to carry
on your best bet is to check your luggage flight
by flight and transfer it yourself. Considering
the flu, it took a large cart, a sky cap, a few
bucks and a two—hour layover at the Denver
terminal to accomplish this. But I didn’t
reckon with the ingenuity of airline baggage
handlers. They put off my gear, every last bit
of it, in Jackson Hole and I arrived in West
Yellowstone with the insulated camo jacket I
was wearing, my camera and a small brown
paper sack that my thoughtful wife pressed on
me when I left Milwaukee. It contained
several Granola bars in the event my
flu-weakened appetite returned.

At the height of my frustration I met Rick
Bolin and Bob Stewart, two Ohio bowhunters
who were a part of this 10-day adventure.
They had driven over from Lakeview to meet
my flight. The fourth member of our group,
Glen Crisp, who had organized the entire
hunt, had arrived several days earlier and was
already in the high country after elk.
We left for the ranch with the airline’s
promise to locate my gear at Jackson Hole and
deliver it to Lakeview as soon as possible. I
got the distinct impression that it wasn’t likely
to be very soon though, since the next flight
wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon.

The Ranch
Lakeview Ranch was a surprise. Part of it
looks like a contemporary Montana ranch —
the rest is like something out of a Louis
L’Amour paperback executed in raw, fresh
western cedar — false fronts, hitching rails,
raised covered porches — the whole bit. The
Rushes, Keith and Kevin — father and son —
own and operate Lakeview Guest Ranch snuggled up
against the mountains that rim Centennial
Valley just north of the Idaho line.
From this headquarters they maintain more
than a dozen base camps in Montana and
Idaho. At dinner Monday evening we met our
guides, Jesse Willis, Bob Larson and Bud
Schwartz, all graduates of Rush’s Outfitter
and Guide School and selected by Keith Rush
for demonstrated ability, resourcefulness and
leadership skill.

We were scheduled to pack in about mid-
morning on Tuesday, but my fate was still in
doubt. My brown paper sack was a mighty
slim outfit for l0 days in the mountains. Tues-
day morning, as I watched Bob and Rick
ready their gear and the guides bring up the
saddle horses and pack animals to the hitching
rails, I felt as though the world was passing
me by. But I had reckoned without Keith, who
had engaged in a nose-to-nose telephone con-
versation with the airline baggage office. Just
as the Lakeview crew was bringing up the
horse trailers, a car rolled in with my gear
aboard. Frontier Airlines had driven it up
from Jackson Hole — a 300-mile round trip.
We saw our first elk while skirting the val-
ley en route the “jumping off” point. A some-
what confused yearling wandered out of the
near slopes and crossed the road just ahead of
our caravan. Bob and Rick bailed out for a try
but were never able to get within bowshot. I
did better with my camera ’s zoom lens, “bagging”
the youngster with a well placed 35 mm shot.

When we pulled off the road on the edge of
the valley and rendezvoused at the base of a
ridge, our guides set about transferring the
gear to the pack animals. It was during this
maneuver (and I use the word advisedly) that I
was impressed both visually and verbally
with one axiom of the outfitter’s code relating
to hard bow cases: “Don’t ask us to pack ’em
on a horse or a mule .” Our guides reluctantly
(but gracefully) agreed to pack mine in to the
base camp but would make no guarantee as to
its arriving in one piece or even aboard the
mule. A hard bow case is too long to pack fore
and aft and hence must ride crossways atop
the pack, making the mule look like a mountain-going Pegasus. Apparently Pegasus
avoided traversing mountain trails, particularly narrow ones with trees close spaced on
either side.

Base Camp
Our two hour ride to the base camp was
uneventful except for those of us who are
more at home in a desk chair than astride the
gentlest horse in the string. As he made a last
minute check before we headed in, Jesse had
observed, “If your knees hurt, your stirrups
are too short and if your tail hurts, they are too
long. If you experience acute agony in equal
proportions, then the stirrups are just right.
Was I ever “just right! ”

Glen Crisp caught up with us at the base
camp that evening. He and “ Goober,” another
Lakeview guide, has spent the previous week
at another camp on the Montana side. He
would spend the next 10 days with us. He had
a success story to relate. It went something
like this: “It was cool that morning when we left
camp. We headed in a different direction than
hunted on previous days. Goober had seen
two nice bulls in the area. This was my last
day in this camp and I had passed up several
chances at some nice bulls in hope of something better,
but now, down to the wire, I wondered if I’d been too choosey.

“The wind, which had been blowing the
night before, had quieted and the morning was
still. We left camp at daybreak and after an
hour’s ride, we tied the horses and started
working the ridge tops. I bugled at intervals,
but there was no response. My hope of locating
the two bulls faded with each passing call,
but there was always one more try.

“Then, about 9:30 a.m. there was a reply
that we judged to be about a quarter mile distant.
The preceding days had taught me to
work in as close as possible and not be afraid
to move. It reminded me a lot of turkey hunting in Ohio.
The old bull seemed to hang up a
lot like a tom and not be ready to take an active
part this early in the rut. The young bull
senses this and realizes that the sooner the
confrontation with the big guy, the sooner he
loses his lady friends: he’ll want to look good
in front of the ladies but won’t want to be hurt
or lose the battle. So he answers the challenge,
but as soon as you stand to move in, he
gathers his cows and takes off.

“On one occasion I had a 3×3 bugle in
reply and then run with his cows. I gave chase
and caught up with them after a couple of
hours. I moved in close and forced a response
from the small bull. I was 20 yards from his
cows and only 30 yards from him, and he had
little choice but to become more aggressive. I
bugled and grunted, using the small bull reed
call and grunt tube. He lowered his head and
started sneaking back toward me. I let him get
about 12 yards from me and then stood up and
waved my hands. (That was when I was being
choosy). The bull didn’t know what to do.
He finally took off down the mountain and his
cows went up.

“Back to the bull at hand. By now we were
about 100 yards from him, but were separated
by a small park. I pulled back, keeping what
wind there was as much in my favor as possible.
I moved six more times in the next hour
and finally managed to get within 35 yards of
the bull. I had worked down-wind and came
in on his left side, well concealed by the
brush. I called. He replied and started moving
toward me. I tried to project the sound of the
bugle and grunts to confuse him about my
exact location. I had located another bull close
in, but wasn’t certain which was the larger of
the two. But that morning it was first come,
first shoot.

Just then the bull stepped around a tree 15
yards out! I eased back my 65-pound Qua-
draflex and released the Graphlex 17-8. It was
a good hit. The arrow passed completely
through and lodged in a pine 10 yards the

other side of the animal. The Bohning Blazer
broadhead performed well. The bull went
down in about 45 yards. He was a nice 5×5
weighing about 800 pounds. As Goober and I
viewed my elk, I said to him, in all humility,
‘Well, that’s one down — let’s go join the
other guys and tag one in Idaho!’ ”
Glen left Goober and the elk at the ranch
that afternoon and headed out to join us. His
tale heightened our anticipation and set the
stage for the next 10 days. Little did we realize
then that it was to be primarily his stage!

We were field testing a number of equipment
items on this trip — Quadraflex bows,
Sagittarius quivers, Jim Crumley’s Trebark
camo clothing and Graphflex arrows. These
were planned tests. Certain other items of
personal equipment, including four posteriors
and eight knees, were also subjected to
rigorous field test procedures. This phase of
the tests, although unplanned, was inseparable
from our mode of transport. The test
results? When I rode, I hurt, but it did get
better as the hunt progressed.

Wednesday morning we rolled out well before light,
enjoyed an excellent camp break-
fast, and were mounted and headed up the
trail through the timber toward the ridge in the
dim light. At the top of the ridge we split up,
with guides Jesse Willis and Bob Larson escorting
Bob Stewart and me east along the
ridge; Bud Schwartz led off to the west with
Glen and Rick.

A mile or so along the ridge, in a loose
stand of pines, Bob Larson spotted an elk no
more than 40 yards ahead. It crossed the trail,
moving off to our right. Bob Stewart and I
slipped off our mounts and attempted a still-
hunting encircling maneuver without success.
We never had another glimpse of the animal.
We were unable to identify it as bull or
cow but regardless, the close-in sighting
could only be considered encouraging.
Further along the ridge the guides called a
halt. We tied the horses and moved across to
the brow of the steep timbered slope that offered
a panoramic view of Big Sky country.
Immediately to our rear an equally large section
of Idaho stretched off to the south.

We stayed there glassing the lower hillsides,
ridges and scattered meadows for several hours.
A small band of elk drifted in and out of sight in an
aspen-dotted meadow atop a small hill about a mile
northeast on the opposite slope. Our guides, Jesse and Bob, called
on their knowledge of the terrain and developed a strategy that sent
Bob Stewart with Jesse down the slope and up the valley while
Bob Larson and I rode eastward along the ridge to a position opposite the elk.
Once there we moved off the ridge and down into a large grassy area that
extended well below the timberline in an immense “V.” At the vertex
of the V a well-used game trail led up from the valley below and the aspens
beyond. Jesse and Bob speculated that if the elk moved out of the
aspens, they might well head up the trail and give me a shooting opportunity.

As it turned out, the elk moved out before
Jesse and Bob Stewart reached the aspens, but
they chose the opposite slope. The only thing
Bob and I saw come up that trail was a hot and
weary Bob Stewart.
We saw a great deal of that ridge during
our stay in the mountains. Glen and I huddled
under my space blanket beneath the low
branches of a pine on a cold, rainy and windy
day at the edge of a meadow that straddled its
top. The elk were using this area frequently,
but we saw none that day.

On another occasion, after a heavy rain
had made the normally difficult trail down to
camp a bit hair-raising, and the heavy cloud
cover brought on an early blackness in the
timber that rendered my night vision totally
inadequate, Jesse led the way off the ridge and
back to camp with my tiny flashlight. Moving
down that steep, slippery trail required supreme
concentration on my peripheral vision
(the best for night vision) just to make out the
faint blur which was the rump of the white
horse less than IO feet in front of my nose. My
greatest solace was that I was astraddle “Old
Deuce,” a mountain horse of many years experience
and a will all his own. Old Deuce
was my mount for most of the hunt by universal accord
a distinct tribute to his mountain wisdom, sure-footedness,
generally amiable disposition and a tolerance for damn near
anything on his back. Old Deuce would even pack
fresh meat, a task usually reserved for mules
in the Rush remuda.

We made it down the steep side slope that
night without serious mishap thanks to Jesse,
my fast-fading mini-flashlight and horses that
must have a strain of bat blood. There were
two minor casualties — Glen lost his cherished
trophy-taking arrow, and Old Deuce
slithered past a tree that put my Sagittarius
bow quiver to the supreme test and came close
to taking my bow arm off in the process. How-
ever, the Sagittarius was restored the next
morning by some judicious straightening and
still serves its intended purpose. If it could
handle that collision with the tree trunk and
survive, it’s a remarkably tough quiver. Perhaps
what surprised me the most was that I
hadn’t lost a single arrow!

On Thursday of the first week Glen Crisp
bagged his Idaho elk. It had snowed the pre-
vious night accumulating three to four inches
in the meadows and on the ridges. Glen was
hunting by himself, as he often did, working
the diaphragm and tube at frequent intervals.
Off to one side of the main ridge and part way
up the opposite slope in the heavy timber he
coaxed a response. The bull was a good distance
away but continued to bugle as hunter
and prey mutually closed the gap. Glen
worked his way up the slope keeping to the
best cover, confident that he now had an interested
and aggressive bull at the other end of
the challenges. He finally glimpsed the lone
elk at the edge of a small sloping meadow.
Fortunately, the immediate locale offered
excellent cover and he was able to ease within 35
yards as the bull moved along the edge of the
meadow, seemingly trying to pinpoint the
source of the challenge. The moment at hand,
Glen’s Quadraflex sent another l7-8 shaft on
its way. The bull never made it out of the
meadow. Glen led us to it early the next
morning with the pack mules in tow. Jesse and Bob
Larson skinned, caped and quartered the 6×6,
carefully separating the tenderloin for a spe-
cial camp dinner that Bob promised would be
worth remembering. Indeed it was!

That evening he cleaned the loin, sliced it
into half—inch thick steaks and liberally salted
each steak. Then he packed it tightly into the
base of a one-gallon glass jar and covered the
surface with aluminum foil. The jar was immersed
in the creek to a level well above the
meat and left for two days. Sunday evening
Bob pan fried the tenderloin slices and we en-
joyed some of the most delicious eating I can
remember. True, it may have been enhanced
by a day of active hunting, but it was my introduction
to elk tenderloin and one I will never
forget.

Several mornings we rode to the top of a
high ridge that commanded a spectacular
view of the surrounding peaks, ridges, slopes
and valleys. It was a great spot from which to
glass the clearings and meadows and several
sage-carpeted saddles that were favorite
haunts of mule deer and elk. Not only that, it
was a good jumping-off place because you
could slip down into the timber in any number
of directions to initiate a mile-or—more-long
stalk on observed game or still—hunt into
promising areas like the beaver pond in the
creek in the next valley.

It was a Sunday that Bob Larson led me
down the slope toward the beaver pond and
high enough on the opposite slope to spot 13-
plus mule deer grazing in four groups on an-
other section of the slope from the ridge we
had just left. The closest group was at least
1200 yards away — beyond the beaver pond
and above a healthy stand of aspens that grew
about a third of the way up the slope. We toiled
up through the aspens, moving from spruce to
spruce, picking our way through the sage until
we reached a run—off channel that led up-slope
toward the largest group of deer, By this time
we were within 200 yards of our objective and
the cover was getting sporadic. We could see
the mulies farther up the shallow draw, work-
ing in and out of the sage and higher brush.

We closed the distance to about 100 yards, but
at that point they must have winded us be-
cause they moved up-slope at a brisk walk. We
counted eight animals in the group as they
topped out on the ridge and faded out of view.
When we reached a vantage point that permit-
ted us to survey the slope, it was void of deer.
The other groups had also departed for parts
unknown.

On our way back to the ridge where we’d
left the horses we moved in on a young cow
moose browsing in low brush and small aspens
at the base of a slide. She was totally
unimpressed by our intrusion. She’d look and
browse, then casually look some more before
returning her attention to the vittles at hand.
As we worked up-slope to circumvent the
slide and the fault that appeared to have
caused it, she was still at it as serenely unconcerned
as a Holstein in a Wisconsin pasture.
On another occasion, several days later.
three of us rode down a timbered draw and
surprised a moose family of three — a sizeable
bull, a cow and her half—grown calf. They
were reluctant to leave the draw and herded in
front of us for a hundred yards or more before
the bull led them off into the pines. We knew
that the Rushes had a moose hunter in camp,
but he was hunting from a different base. He
had the license — we had the moose.

Jim Collin’s is Lakeview’s senior guide.
He is also the principal instructor for the Outfitter
and Guide School. Part way through our
hunt Jim rode into camp and informed Bud
Schwartz that his carpentry skills were
needed back at the ranch. Jim would join our
group as the third guide for the remainder of
the hunt. I had the privilege of hunting with
him and observing him in action for two days.
During that time we walked in on a group of
cows and calves, but had only a fleeting
glimpse as they faded into the heavy cover. A
couple of bulls answered Jim’s bugle, but they
weren’t aggressive and never let us get close
to them. Still, I came away from those two
days with a picture of a man who impressed
me as a true sportsman and conservationist
a lover of nature and wildlife. I don’t think
Jim noticed me watching as he reached into an
obscure crevice in the rocks on a high ridge
and extracted an empty beer can that he
tucked into his back-pack. He was cleaning
up the refuse left by someone who didn’t cherish
the natural beauty of that isolated wind-
swept spot as much as he did.

Late in the second week of our hunt Rick `
tagged a nice 4×4 mulie after a stalk that took N
him halfway around a mountain and occupied
the best part of a day. He kept after that buck
with dogged determination and finally maneuvered
the shot that brought him down. We
hadn’t seen many mulie bucks and Rick was
not about to let that one get away.

The Hunt In Review
One thing worth noting — Trebark camo
in the brown, gray and black pattern is an excellent choice for a western hunt. It blends
right into the sage and other brush and it is totally at home in the tall timber, offering the obscurity
that bowhunters want.

This chronicle would hardly be complete
without some mention of Homer — by far the
outstanding mule in the Rush’s remuda.
Homer is a piebald Missouri canary who, according
to the Lakeview crew, had a sweet,
amiable, and remarkably tolerant disposition
until, like the biblical Samson, Delilah in the
form of Keith Rush, parted him from his
crowning glory. Hormer’s flowing mane was
roached to enhance his mule like appearance.
Apparently Homer was greatly affronted by
this tonsorial violation and became unpredictably
cantankerous. If the remuda was missing
in the morning, it would be Homer who led
them off. He appeared to know every trick in
the book for shedding a pack and had a mind
of his own that never seemed to be in agreement with that of his rider.

While we had licenses for bear in both
Montana and Idaho and saw ample evidence
of their presence, we never did quite get
around to hunting specifically for the bruins.
Our guides quoted statistics that credited the
average Montana bear to be in the neighbor-
hood of 175 pounds live weight. Judging from
the height of the claw marks on bear trees
along the trails, these had to be the tallest and
skinniest bears imaginable. As I sat aboard
Old Deuce and looked at the claw marks, they
extended to levels considerably above my
head.

It seems to be a bowhunter’s nature to be
interested in what equipment is used in the
field by other hunters and how it performed
under conditions of the hunt. All four hunters
in our camp carried Quadraflex bows ranging
in draw weight from 60 to 70 pounds. Properly
set up, the Quadraflex is one of the best
performing round wheel compounds available,
with a rating velocity of about 205 fps. I
have found it to be a very forgiving bow, read-
ily tunable, and capable of great tolerance for
arrow spine and weight distribution. I have
used these characteristics to great advantage
in machine test work when it was desired to
shoot a wide range of arrow shaft sizes or to
compare the penetration of various broad-
heads of different weights.
The Quads performed well on the hunt.
About the only misadventure happened to
Rick Bolin’s bow. One limb developed a small
glass splinter from a nick early in the trip. We
worked it over with a fine file until the splinter
was blended out and he shot it after that with-
out problem.
Considering the unusual tolerance of the
Quadraflex, it is possible to select from a
wide range of arrow types. Glen Crisp elected
Graphlex 17-8s while I preferred the 18-8
size, even with a lower draw weight. Bob Ste-
wart and Rick Bolin used Easton aluminum
shafts which, if I recall correctly, were 21 17s.
The Sagittarius bow quivers adapted well
to the Quads, but it is important to select a
mounting system for these quivers that is
compatible with the bow in question. For
bows with conventional limb adjustment bolts
and associated washers, Sagittarius offers a
two-piece quiver with mounting brackets that
fit under the limb bolt washers. This system
provides an extra long span for the grip on the
arrows plus overall reduced weight of the
quiver — two excellent features.

I had equipped my Quad with a detachable
bow sling that was developed by Wayne
Carlton. It attaches with the quick disconnect
fasteners that are common on rifle slings.
This device proved very helpful when toting
the bow on horseback or on steep mountain
trails where both hands are required for
climbing or descending.
Our 10-day hunt seemed too short — at
least it did to me, since I returned empty
handed. While I was inexperienced with this

type of horseback pack-in trip, I felt that we
were in the hands of experienced, competent
and considerate outfitters who did everything
possible to make our stay a pleasant, memorable event as well as a satisfying hunt.
If you have a craving to hunt the Divide
Country with the expanded possibilities of a
two-state bag, you should certainly consider
Rush’s Lakeview Ranch. Their alternate pro-
grams for photography, snowmobiling, skiing, fishing or just plain dude vacationing
offer non-hunters in the family many adventure
opportunities as well.

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