Archive for the 'Bowhunting' Category

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Published by Shaman on 05 May 2008

A doe, a deer, a female deer

It all started the week before.
The season had opened and it was another fall with my own yearling in the house (second child, 9m old). I had no time to scout, but I had a couple spots on my neighbors land picked out.

All that week as I arrived home after a long day; 4am Andrew diaper changing, 5am feeding, 6am Samantha is up, 7am off to drop off kids at Daycares (split with wife, we go in opposite directions)… I get home after a longer than usual work day and stare wistfully out the window. I know there are deer out there somewhere.

On Thursday I am supposed to put my stand up and fix my blind to place on the edge of a field. I get home to find out my wife had tweaked her shoulder working out and is out of commission. I cook supper, give the kids baths, get Andrew in bed and then retire to the living room to dream about being out in the woods.

Friday rolls around and I am going through the ‘routine’ that evening while my wife is waiting to get into the Drs office this upcoming Monday to get her shoulder checked out. By now it is hardly able to move. The phone rings, it is my brother.

“Shawn”, he says in a shaky voice while half whispering, “I just arrowed a doe!” He continues,”I finally got a shot on with the Diablo and it felt soooo smooth. She was quartering away hard but I know it was a good shot. It all felt so magical.” I ask him if he needs help tracking, though I was not looking forward to the hour drive knowing Mandy would have to deal with two kids with a hurt arm. Marc replies, “Naw. Charlie is coming to help. If we do not find it by 8:30p, I’ll give you a call back.” Around 8pm, he calls and excitedly tells me he found her. She went about 80 yards and went down. I congratulate him and ask him if Dad is going to help him skin it out tomorrow. Nope, he is busy.

So I offer to go down and help him out and I’ll find Mandy help babysitting with the kids. At that point he suggest I pack my bow up and take a turn in the stand. There were three does in the area and they all came in together. He is sure they will come back out, as he has them well timed and they are walking through like clockwork.

I ask Mandy if she would mind if I put an evening in the stand, and she agrees. She does tell me that not only do I need to do, but if I get the chance I need to take the shot. No waiting for the perfect moment. She has seen me shoot and I need to use the skills I have.

The next day I head out in the late morning down to my brothers. As I make the hour trip I am feeling a little pride in the confidence my wife has in me and her actually saying she knows I can make a humane shot even without the broadside. It fills me with confidence as I head down and makes the drive that much more enjoyable.

I arrive around 1pm and help my brother finish processing his deer. It is a nice time chatting about how exactly they came in, how he kept waiting for the broadside, but finally settled on the quartering away. I take a couple pictures for him, and while it looked like he hit it WAY back, the shockwave sliced and diced all the vitals and left the ponch in place. A textbook shot.

I head over to the landowners place at 3:30 and settle in. I sit enjoying the cool breeze (it had been 80 dgrees all week, fall in Maine – welcome global warming). I slowly turn my head this way and that, my bow across my lap holding my personally assembled arrows in the quiver. I am shooting Xweave Predators fletched myself with Blazers (2 Orange and a White cock Vane), Bohning Signature Flo Orange Nock and Slick Trick Magnums.

I pull out an arrow and place it in the Whisker Biscuit, and nock it. Staring at the broadhead, I reflect back on the decision to make the switch. Last year I took a buck with a G5 Montec, but the blood trail was less than I would have expected and I just felt my sharpening skills were not good enough to make the most of the broadhead. I bought a couple packs of ST Magnums to try out as an alternative and within my second set of 3, I was hitting 2″ squares at 20yds with no tweaking of rest or sights. I was sold.

I sit and wait. In front of me are several old and dying apple trees, still feebly bearing fruit. Several woodpeckers flitter from tree to tree while searching for bugs and soft spots in the trees to find tree worms (or whatever they really are).

Slowly the sun goes down and the sound of traffic slows in the distance. My awareness increases tenfold as the ‘right time’ approaches. I start scanning more with my eyes, working right to left and slowly turning my head to help my vision reach the tote road to my far left. Time slows down, but it is not boring. It is that time that takes out into the woods. The time where you become part of nature as a predator. Your patience becomes ten fold as you wait. Waiting like a Puma in the trees.

Off to my far right I hear the tell tale sound of a deer. Not surprisingly the small doe has decided to break all the normal rules of access and is coming through the thickest part of the woods instead of the easy tote roads or the two deer trails running parallel to them. I turn my eyes and head slowly, and she is walking straight in. I see that she is small. But, I promised the wife that it was meat I was after and not a trophy. If a deer came out, and did not sport spots, then I would take it.

Slowly she comes in, but relaxed. She walks straight in and under my stand. Stopping for a moment she sniffs the rungs of the ladder stand and sort of glances around. I guess the soles of my 15 year old leather slipper boots (it was so warm I could not wear my ‘hunting’ boots) did not leave much scent. She then walks out from under the stand and slowly starts walking straight away.

As she comes out from under the stand I wait for her to get out a little and then I stand and turn ever so slowly. Forest Ninja’s could not have moved so silently or smoothly. Knowing she could not see at that angle behind her I get myself into position.

She browses a little but slowly continues walking straight out. It is time for a decision! So I wait for her turn? Do I risk her walking straight ahead and under the canopy 30 yards out? I look to my right again (straight ahead of my body now) and check for following does or bucks and see nothing. This is my chance for the evening and I think of my wife back at home, hurt and watching our two kids to give me this chance. I draw.

One of the important pieces of a successful shot is to not change your style. To let your instincts do what you have done dozens, hundreds, thousands of times at home and on the range and in the 3D course (if you are lucky enough to live close). To draw the same, anchor the same, hold the same, and to take the shot when it looks and feels right. Overthink it and you take too long. Get over excited and you shoot too soon. I bring my bow up into the draw (I happen to draw upwards, always have) and line everything up, just like every other time. I envision in my mind where the arrow will go, and aim for the far lung. I ‘see’ the arrow going through to the far leg, down and through.

Without even realizing it my finger smoothly pulls and my Scott Wildcat go off. I see the arrow in flight through my VBG Triangle sight and watch as the arrow strikes HARD. The doe drops instantly and without so much as a kick breathes in and out 4, then 5 times. In the time it take for me to see her drop with the arrow still within her, I have a second arrow out of its quiver and nocked in the rest. Later I would remark to my Dad and brother than my hands just automatically did it, that the next thing I knew I had the bow in the ready position and tension on the dloop. I watch as she takes her last breathe and passes, less than 30 seconds after the shot. I can not express my concern, and then relief that no second arrow would be needed.

As I let my bow down and call my Brother and Dad, I reflect on the shot and wonder if I ‘missed’. I had certainly not intended to spine her. And the arrow not getting pass through had me concerned that I had somehow missed the vitals and hit something harder like the upper scapula. I take great care to respect the doe as I have my Dad take some pictures of where she lay. I give thanks for the bounty and we move the deer off to take care of her in preparation of getting her to the tagging station.

Later, and mostly due to the interest and thoughtful atmosphere of sharing here to help educate ourselves and others, I take special interest in capturing on my camera the entrance, exit, and damage pictures. Upon skinning out the doe I find that my shot was not bad at all. In fact, the arrow passed one blade through the spine, nicked one lung (it did not look like a pull out wound) and punctured the far lung cleanly. There was complete pass through the lower ribs on the far side and the broadhead had actually lodged in the far leg in the lower potion of the shoulder. It was that penetration that required two hands to start the broadhead back out through the body. Interestingly, and maybe it was because it was dark, we had not figured it as a pass through or I would have captured a picture of the broadhead external to the shot.

Attached below are the photo’s that relate to this story.
There are more if people are interested, but these are those that tell the story without being repetitive.

Thank you for the opportunity to share.

Equipment

2006 Diablo NH 65# 26″ DL
VBG Triangle w/G5 Peep
WB DX QS
Doinker Multi-Rod 7″ D2 Hunter
SIMS Modules as Riser Vibration Dampeners
Scott Wildcat Buckle
Radial XWeave Predator 200s @ 26.75″
Bohning Signature Flo Orange Nocks
Blazer Vanes (2 Flo Orange/1 White)
Slick Trick Magnum 100s
Benchmade Snoddy 210
Buck Woodsman 105

Game
Doe @ 75#s
16yds
Spine/Lung
0 Foot Tracking

Supporting Pictures

My second group with Slick Trick Magnum 100s.
I did not shoot a third.:

My Doe Represented:

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Published by Shaman on 05 May 2008

First Archery Buck

THE SHOT

After recovering what was left of the deer and finding the entrance and exit wounds, we saw that the shot was just about perfect height from the back of the shoulder. Now, I distinctly remember trying to hit a little lower, which with the blood, made me think I hit the heart or arteries (but you guys said arteries would spurt). Once we got out of the woods, we thought about the shot as we had looked at it in the morning before we started tracking.

After reinspecting the spot where the deer bucked and ran off, we are guessing he took a step forward and down as I released. The ground here is wet from a torrential Friday rain, and it was obvious in that section there were some hoof prints and then his deeper JUMP prints. So, if he had not stepped down, I probably would have had good alignment and been in the bottom of the lung on the near side.
He was also slightly quartering towards me, which is was also shown both in the prints and in the entrance and exit. When I drew and was releasing he had been broadside, so we think he dropped his ‘stand side’ leg as he stepped forward, and the hoof prints show a little spread there as well.

RECOVERY:
Just before I started my tracking last night I jumped on the PSE board and read their Guide:Tracking wounded deer by Woody Williams, and tossed some toilet paper in my pack as my neighbor and I went to track. That toilet paper saved the day. This morning we were able to follow really obvious squares of toilet paper (and some scraps when I started to run out) right back to where we had left off the night before. I’m buying some flag tape soon. The rain would have ruined the TP, but it held off.

Once we got back to the last marking, we looked around a while for more blood and there was just none to be found. So, using the last 3 markers as a guide (each about 12 years apart), I started down the most obivious trail (which was not ‘obvious’ at all. But, I was trying to think like a deer. Dad went out ahead and using my voice as a guide, while I stilled squat walked looking for blood, he started doing half circles out in front of me checking the trail from side to side. About 50 yards from the last marker (about 150-200yds total), we found the deer. Coyotes has eaten just about every single part.

ARROW and BROADHEAD – Entrance and Exit
There was a pretty good entrance wound and a sizable exit.
The arrow went in the ribcage, and the exit was just behind the ribcage.
There was no bile, or mucus on the arrow at all, and the blood was dark red.
It ‘might’ have clipped the stand side lung, but the material on my Montec has got to be Liver.
Not having BowHunted a deer before, I was not sure what I was looking at at the time.

The Trophy Pictures:


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Published by DuckBuckGoose on 04 May 2008

Tips for Securing Trophy Buck Hunting Land

Private Property Sign

These days, finding property to hunt that has a high potential to hold a trophy whitetail deer can be a significant challenge. While public land offers convenience and is open to all, it can get significant hunting pressure – which usually means that it is less likely to have bucks live to maturity. So…the best options for finding trophy hunting land tend to be; 1) Getting EXCLUSIVE permission to hunt private and rural land, 2) Leasing private hunting land or using an outfitter, or 3) Getting permission to hunt land that other hunters overlook (which may or may not be rural). In this post, I’ll dig into each of these options a little bit, and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Three Key Elements: Food, Water & Cover

First, let’s focus on what deer seek out in the land they inhabit, so we can better define what we are looking for in hunting land. For deer to survive throughout the year they need three essential elements; food, water and adequate cover. If at some point they are lacking any one of these elements they will move to a new location until they have access again to all three. Beyond these three elements, for a deer to grow into a true “trophy animal” they simply need the time to grow to a mature age without being hunted and harvested or pressured out of an area. Again, that’s where the three land options that follow should be focused on if you want to increase your odd of harvesting a trophy animal.

 

Option 1: Getting EXCLUSIVE permission to hunt private, rural land

For most hunters, this is the ideal scenario because large tracts of rural, private land that don’t have a lot of pressure can be havens for trophy bucks. But, these areas can be hard to find if you are starting from square one. To help you narrow your search there are a number of tools you can use that many hunters don’t know about, or don’t think to use. Among those are:

Tool #1: Google Maps / Google Earth.  This is an unbelievable resource that hunters of the past did not have. This tool uses the latest satellite photography to let you view your hunting area, or possible new hunting areas from a birds eye view. It will help you identify terrain features, pinch points, streams, relative distances, and will even provide you with specific GPS coordinates. Beyond that, you can draw on the digital maps and photos with the computer, save notes by location, and print them to take along on your next hunt. I would highly recommend you learn to use these tools (don’t worry, its easy) and use them often. The more you scout and the better records you keep, the more successful you will be in the field this year, and in the years to come.

Tool #2: The DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer for your state.  This tool is derived from aerial maps and has a great level of detail. It will help you identify general topography, streams, roads, and high potential deer habitat and is a great resource to keep in your truck for anytime scouting.

Tool #3: Plat Books can be very helpful, once you choose the county or counties in which you think you may want to hunt. Plat books will show you who owns the various parcels of land (usually just those over 5 acres) in a particular county. Platbooks can be purchased through several sources including; the Farm Bureau, County Treasury Office, The County Soil & Water Conservation Office and other places. One convenient Plat book publisher/seller is Rockford Map Publishers (http://www.rockfordmap.com). They publish good quality Platbooks for about 20 states.

Tool #4: County Auditor Websites – As more and more public information goes online, many of the County Auditor offices are putting the key information you are looking for on the web, and all in one place. If your target county does this, consider yourself blessed, because it can be a treasure trove of the most up-to-date information, including; land owner’s names, property lines, addresses of the property and the address of where the owner lives (if different).

Tool #5: The Phone Book – Once you find the land and the landowner’s name using the plat books or county auditor’s site, the phone book can be the next tool in your arsenal to help you get permission. County phone books can be used to look up the names you find in your search. If the names can’t be found in local phone books don’t give up hope. You can still find them by visiting the County Treasury Office, and asking the good people there where the property taxes are being sent for your target parcel of land. This information is part of public record.

Tool # 6: Topographic Maps – Some hunters find these really helpful. Others don’t feel they’re necessary since many of the tools mentioned above give you a good sense for topography. However, if you are scouting large tracts of land where knowing the topography will be a key element to a successful hunt, then getting a topographic map could be a good option.

There are several places to get topographic maps, including some sporting goods stores or government offices. However, two of the most convenient places I’ve found to buy them are http://www.usgs.gov and http://www.mytopo.com. Both of these web sites allow you to buy printed maps or have custom printed maps sent to you. Both sites also have free or paid products to choose from. Here’s a tip…If you’re going to deer camp with several other hunters, that might be a good time to have a custom printed map made. That way you can use for planning your daily hunts, to detail where each of you will be hunting, and to help you determine higher potential deer travel routes. Plus, if you’re going with a group you can split the cost of the map.

 

Option 2: Leasing private hunting land or using an outfitter

Finding free land to hunt is obviously the best option, but for some people who have the financial means and limited time for scouting, finding a hunting lease or booking guided or semi-guided hunts with an outfitter can be a good solution. If looking for a lease here are a few things you’ll want to consider:

Make sure the lease you get gives you exclusive rights to hunt the land. Or, at least make sure you know and trust the other hunters who will be using the lease. There’s nothing worse then paying a lot of money for a lease and then having some “yahoos” ruin your hunting opportunities by doing something stupid.

Ask the landowner or leasing agent if you can scout the property before putting any money down on the lease. When you scout the property look for deer sign, but also make sure it has plenty of the three elements mentioned earlier; food, water and adequate cover. Also, ask if the landowner has any pictures of deer roaming or harvested on the property. Introducing yourself to neighbors and asking them about the local deer herd can be another good way to gauge a lease’s potential.

Before searching for a lease, make sure you can’t get permission to hunt the land for free. Find the properties you want to hunt, then do your homework, knock on doors and ask permission. If you get turned down, offering to lease the land can be a good fallback position.

A hunting lease is a legally binding contract that gives exclusive rights to hunt land, in exchange for a fee. If you’re not working through a broker who provides a good lease contract, make sure you get one and get it signed. Also, make sure the lease is very clear about specifics like;

• Who the landowner is

• Who has permission to hunt and scout the land (make sure you have exclusivity),

• What animals are allowed to be hunted and how (is gun hunting allowed, or is it archery only?),

• The effective dates of the lease

• If camping/fires are allowed on the land, if that is something you may want to do

• Where vehicles are, or are not allowed on the land

• What rights you have to modify the land (can you put in food plots, cut trees, etc?)

• What the price and term of the lease is

• Any other intentions you have and want to clarify in the lease

If a landowner won’t grant you exclusive permission for free, there’s nothing stopping you from asking them if you can lease their land for hunting, But if you want to greatly expand your search, there are several hunting lease brokers that you can use to find and lease land. Many of them are online and let you search properties through their online databases. Doing a simple Google search for “Hunting Lease” or “Hunting lease brokers” will help you find several options like: Basecampleasing.com, Nationalhuntingleases.com, Leasehunting.com, Findahuntinglease.com, hightechredneck.com and more.

 

Option 3: Getting permission to hunt land that other hunters overlook. 

This article is about increasing your odds of harvesting a mature trophy buck. You may think that your county or state doesn’t have any trophy bucks in it. In most cases that is not true. If you look in your state record buck you’d probably find that just about every county in your state has trophy animals on record. The key to hunting trophy bucks then isn’t necessarily finding some remote new places to hunt, but finding the right places to hunt – some of which might be much closer than you think.

Consider this…as the population of people in the nation continues to grow, many more people are choosing to move out of the congestion of cities and into the country. Often times they will buy five to ten acre lots because they enjoy being surrounded by nature. You will probably find that the majority of these landowners will not allow hunting on their properties – providing the deer population a “safe zone” to grow old in. However, these areas are worth investigating and seeking permission in. If you can get access, this can be some of the best trophy buck land around.

Finding The Edges Will Give You an Edge:

Deer are “edge animals”, and looking for different types of edges is a great strategy for finding them. For deer hunting, I’ve found that “edge” can be defined a few different ways. A “Cover Edge” is the where two types of cover meet – like where the woods and a field meet, or where a thick bedding area joins more open timber. This is often a great type of edge for setting your stand and finding travel routes. Another type of edge is what I call the “Pressure Edge”. The Pressure Edge is where a deer safe zone property borders one that you can hunt. If you’re hunting in a highly pressured region the best place to find a trophy buck is to gain permission to hunt in their safe zone. The next best place to hunt them is on the Pressure Edge, right next to a known safe zone. Gain permission in either of them and your odds of seeing trophy animals increases dramatically.

Look for safe zones and pressure edges on the urban borders and city limits, or within one of the many townships that contain good cover. Many of these areas will allow archery hunting. Sometimes a special permit is required in the more urban areas. (Make sure you check your state and local regulations and stick to the letter of the law. Nothing will tighten hunting restrictions for everyone faster than hunters who break the rules.)

A good strategy is to look at a map of your area and look for the possible safe zones and pressure edges. Places to key in on include city or county parks, scouting and church camps, airports, mining operations and gravel pits, federal wildlife areas, airports, golf courses, shooting clubs and more. One you start looking the map you will be surprised at how many pressure edges you’ll be able to find. Once you find these areas, make a list of the ones you’d like to investigate further. Then use the tools and tactics mentioned earlier in Option 1 to systematically pursue gaining permission to hunt them.

At the end of the day it is all about playing the odds. The more landowners you approach about getting permission, the more likely you are to get a place to hunt. And the less pressured the land you find, the more likely it is to hold mature, trophy bucks. Use this logic starting now, and you are sure to increase your odds of hanging a trophy animal on your wall in the seasons to come.

DuckBuckGoose – Cincinnati, OH

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Published by bigbearsarchery on 04 May 2008

Learning Turkey Lessons the Hard Way

Turkey season is fast approaching here in Pennsylvania.  As I sit here and go over in my head all the things I need to do to get ready for it I can’t help but recall the experiences of my first turkey hunt.

            It wasn’t that long ago, just a couple of years in fact.  My friends, Mark and Justin Nagy, called me one day and asked if I was interested in going to Oklahoma on a hunt for Rio Grande turkeys.  I’d hunted all of my life since I turned the legal age but only for whitetail and black bears, never turkey.  I had some money saved up and the idea of going on a hunt with my friends was exciting so I quickly accepted their invitation.

            Now when the situation calls for it I will hunt with a gun but I am first and foremost a bowhunter.  So naturally that was the method I chose to use on my turkey hunt.  I didn’t even take a gun.  My effective range with a bow is 50 yards and I felt confident that if I could get a turkey within that range I would have no problem making the shot.

            Finally the day of the hunt arrived and as our plane landed in Oklahoma City we were greeted by 50 mph winds with gusts that approached 60 mph.  It was mid-afternoon by the time we met our outfitter and bought our licenses.  The wind had picked up even more force by this time, so much that when we put one of our rental cars in neutral it began to slowly blow it down the outfitters driveway.  We decided to wait it out at our guide’s house in the hope that the wind would stop and we could still salvage some of the afternoon.  Around five o’clock the weather calmed down enough to go hunting and we figured if nothing else we could roost some birds for the morning hunt.

            The next morning dawned about as perfect morning as you could ask for.  Moderate temperatures, clear skies, and no winds greeted us as the sun crept over the horizon.  From the ground blind we had constructed the night before, Justin and I could see the dark outlines of the turkeys still on their perch.  As the sun climbed higher a few of the birds began to gobble from the roost.  Not long after the sound of wings drifted across the field as the birds left their trees and headed our direction, just as we had planned.

            Justin began to call softly and the morning calm was rocked by thunderous gobbles from every direction.  Justin and I looked at each other, the same thought on both our minds.  There were a lot more turkeys here than the ones we had roosted the previous evening.  I could see the tips of their fans, glowing gold in the western sun, moving closer just above the tall grass.  As I clipped my release on the string I was sure the birds could here my heart thumping in my chest.  Justin whispered, “Get ready” and I came to full draw, waiting for one of the long beards to come strutting into our decoys.

            For what seemed like hours I remained motionless, sweat running down and stinging my eyes.  My arm was beginning to quiver when I heard Justin whisper, “Let down.”

            As I did I looked and saw the birds walking into the brush a few hundred yards to our left.  Within a few moments the turkeys were out of view and Justin and I were left alone in the field.

            “What happened?” I asked, turning to look at Justin.

            “I don’t know,” he answered.  “They just walked off.  They didn’t spook.  They just left.”

            We caught the occasional glimpse of them, several hundred yards away now, as they paralleled the river on the other side of the brush line.  We tried calling the birds back to us but they would have no part of it. 

After a while Justin suggested we move further south along the river.  For the next two hours we walked and called, quickly setting up whenever we got a response.  The only reward we got for our efforts was a nice leisurely stroll through some beautiful Oklahoma country.  We decided to return to our early morning spot and construct a ground blind along the southeastern edge of the field in the hopes of catching the birds as they returned that evening to roost.

Once we finished our blind we decided to return to the truck for some lunch.  As we began crossing the field we saw the turkeys from that morning still milling about beside the river.  As quickly as we could without spooking the birds we moved to within a hundred and fifty yards and began calling.  We got an immediate response and the birds moved back into the field.  But just as had happened that morning they refused to come within range.  I had reached my breaking point and decided to put a stalk on the birds.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone how amazingly ineffective and stupid this was.

Justin stayed where he was and continued to calling I moved back into the woods and crept along the brush on the opposite side of the turkeys, I closed to within sixty yards but had reached an opening in the brush.  I waited until I thought all the birds had moved out of sight and then crossed the opening.  It might have been a successful maneuver had it not been for the ten birds I hadn’t seen right on the other side of the brush.  A series of alarm putts and those ten birds along with the twenty or so I had been following shot across the field as fast as they could go.

I stood up as my query moved further and further away.  It was at this moment turkeys burst out from every direction I could see.  There were literally hundreds of birds running or flying in every direction.  One turkey paused long enough for me to get a shot off but I was so worked up at this point that I’m not sure I even aimed.  I watched helpless as my arrow landed, stuck in the dirt five yards short of its target.  That was it the birds were gone.  I know what all of you are thinking, I’m an idiot.  Well, you’re right, I am.  Over the next day and a half I saw some hens but no gobblers. 

Finally, on the evening of the last day of our hunt I borrowed a Mossberg .12 gauge in a last ditch effort.  Thirty minutes before dark fate smiled on me and I took a nice gobbler at twelve yards.  The bird weighed out at 21lbs with an 8” beard and 1 ¼” spurs.

Taking my tom was obviously the highlight of my hunt, but it was my newfound respect for turkeys as a game animal and the hard lessons I learned that will stick with me always.

 

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Published by DuckBuckGoose on 04 May 2008

Strategic Treestand Placement – How to Find the Perfect Ambush Location

Everyone knows that hunting from a treestand can increase your odds of harvesting a deer. But if you want to set yourself up to take a mature buck, there’s much more to it that finding a straight, sturdy tree. Here are some strategies, tips and considerations to help you improve your odds of success.buck in trees

Deer Trails & Travel Corridors:
Just because you can easily see a deer trail, doesn’t mean it is a good spot to hunt. In fact, most mature bucks avoid the “super-highway”, primary deer trails, and prefer the paths less traveled. (If they didn’t, they’d probably never have become mature bucks.) Many hunters on the other hand hunt the most obvious trails. Let them have those spots. Their loss will be your gain.

When you find secondary trails, scout them to see if they have any fresh scrapes or rubs, and dense cover nearby. If they do, they’re probably a good place to start your stand location search. Next, try to find “pinch-points” or bottlenecks somewhere along that trail. Pinch points areas that tend to funnel deer into a more defined and predictable area, and can be created by both natural and man-made structure. For example, wooded fence lines can create pinch points. Thin strips of cover that connect two larger areas of cover can create good pinch points. Natural barriers like ponds and steep ravines can create pinch points. Look for all of the above and more along secondary deer trails and you’re well on your way to finding a good spot to hang a stand.

Food Sources:
Fields filled with a food source like corn, alfalfa, turnips, clover or today’s fancy food plot mixtures can be highly effective at attracting whitetails. When hunting food source fields look for the quietest, most distant corner and set up just inside the woods near that corner. Since the biggest bucks often wait until dark to enter a field, you can sometimes ambush them before dark in their staging areas inside the wood line on a field’s perimeter.

Water Sources:
Small ponds, water holes and woodland streams can be good places to ambush deer at mid-day. If you’re hunting over water sources, check the edges for tracks in the soft earth. Doing so can help you hone in on the most used sections, and will help you pick the best tree in which to set your stand.

Prevailing Winds:
No matter your thoughts about scent blocking clothing, cover scents, special breath control chewing gums, or any of the other products available to aid with scent control, do not think you can forget about wind direction. You can’t. A mature bucks nose will beat you almost every time. That said, when choosing your stand locations, make sure you know the direction of the prevailing winds in that area and choose your tree accordingly. Always place your stand on the downwind side of the expected travel path of the deer.

When hunting mountains or hill country, you also need to keep thermal winds in mind. Thermal winds change throughout the day as the air heats and cools – typically moving air uphill in the morning as the temperatures rise and back downhill in the evening as it cools.

Stand height:
Hunters have differing opinions about this, but some basic rules of thumb are; try to get to a height where you have tree limbs, leaves or other cover behind you to break up your outline. Also, the higher the amount of hunting pressure, the higher you should set your stand. A fairly standard height for stands is 15 feet at the footrest. Personally I like to be a good 20 feet in the tree where I hunt, but the conditions in your area might be different and require less or more height. Keep your weapon and expected shot range in mind also. You don’t want to put yourself so high that your expected shot with a bow is at too steep an angle and limits your ability to get a double lung or heart shot.

Give Yourself Options – Set Multiple Stands:
Even your favorite “honey hole” isn’t always going to be the best spot to hunt. Wind direction, foliage, food supply and breeding conditions are constantly changing throughout the deer season. That’s why the most successful hunters will set multiple stands and give themselves several places to hunt – so they can choose the best ambush location on any give day, based on the conditions they face.

Be Prepared To Be Mobile:
Last season I had what I thought was a great stand location set. As it turned out, it was a great stand for seeing traveling bucks – the only problem was the path they were traveling by that point in the season was 100 yards out of bow range. But there was good news…from where I was, I could tell that several bucks were following this same network of secondary paths that I hadn’t seen during my summer scouting trips. So, that following November morning I took my Summit Viper climbing stand into the woods well before daylight and set up where that network trails converged. It worked like a charm and I arrowed a nice buck at 25 yards –right where I expected him to be. The lesson here is be prepared to be flexible, and consider adding a climbing or quick setting mobile stand to your arsenal for just this type of occasion.

If you have other tips and ideas to share about treestand placement, please do so in the comments section below. Doing so helps us all get smarter and more strategic about how we hunt the whitetail woods.

DuckBuckGoose – May 3, 2008 – Cincinnati, OH

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Published by harleyrider on 30 Apr 2008

Treestand Fall Restraint Systems — Use & Tips

How to Arrive Back Home Alive

By Len Hinrichs

Evan was looking forward to this hunt like none he had ever before.  The rut was in high gear and he had an entire week of hard-earned vacation ahead of him to do nothing but bowhunt for a huge buck that he had been scouting since last year.  His close friend Jerry was due to join him the next day at their lease so that they could hunt the week together, but Evan thought he would get a head start by setting one last treestand in a hardwood funnel he just knew that big buck would be crossing sometime during the week’s hunt.  As the morning dew began to burn off, Evan began assembling several climbing sticks and fastening them to the trunk of a suitable oak; alternately climbing and fastening the sections until he arrived at 20 feet.  That completed, he climbed back down and retrieved a brand new loc-on stand purchased especially for this occasion.  After a brief rest, he muscled back up the tree with the stand in tow to set it in place.  After struggling with it’s positioning for several minutes, Evan finally managed to get the stand fastened to the trunk of the tree.  He stood on the top climbing stick rung for a few moments to survey the area from his vantage point.  It was a beautiful day and he could almost taste the backstraps as he stepped up onto the treestand’s platform.  That’s where things went very wrong……..

Jerry arrived at their hunting cabin the next morning and was curiously surprised that Evan wasn’t there.  Evan was always a reliable, punctual person so it wasn’t like him to not be where they had agreed to meet.  After stowing his gear, Jerry remembered that Evan might have gone out to place that funnel stand that they had discussed, so he set out in his car to give him a hand.  Knowing the general area where they wanted to place this stand, Jerry went there and was puzzled to find Evan’s truck but not his friend.  Sensing something was not quite right, Jerry began calling and walking a grid pattern through the funnel area until, late in the morning, he came upon the sight that will never leave his memory: the broken body of his friend and hunting partner, dead at the base of that oak.

Although the story just related and the characters described are fictitious, similar scenarios happen with startling regularity throughout hunting seasons across this country.

Background

Hunting from an elevated position, or treestand, can be a highly effective method for hunters pursuing wild game such as whitetail deer, bear, hogs, elk, turkeys, etc.  The increased elevation offers several advantages over a ground-based stand: 1) it provides a higher vantage point for improved game spotting; 2) it allows the hunter to remain hidden above the game’s normal line of sight; and 3) it provides a greater level of scent control by allowing the hunter’s odor to disperse a greater distance from their stand location.  All of these advantages make treestand hunting very popular, with millions of hunters taking to the trees each year.

However, this popularity has made treestand accidents one of the most prevalent causes of serious injuries or death suffered by hunters.  Statistics show that approximately 1 out of every 3 treestand hunters will suffer a significant fall in their lifetime.  Those aren’t good odds!

The disturbing news is that most serious treestand fall accidents are experienced by hunters who either:  don’t use any form of fall protection equipment at all; use uncertified or outdated fall protection equipment; or use or install their fall protection equipment improperly.  Typical reasons that hunters give for not using fall protection are that they find it “uncomfortable” or “inconvenient” or that it doesn’t fit in with the “macho” image of hunting.  Some contend that “I never needed one before, so I don’t need it now”.  Well, it’s pretty inconvenient to be paralyzed or dead (and none too macho)! 

The good news is that the vast majority of these injuries are preventable by using proper safety precautions and equipment while installing, ascending, descending, and hunting from elevated stands. The following general guidelines will assist you in making decisions that will make treestand hunting a lifelong, rewarding, and safe experience.

Fall Restraint Systems

Always wear a fall restraint system (a.k.a. fall arrest system or safety harness ) any time you are off the ground while hunting – it is your single most important piece of hunting equipment.  A fall restraint system is any device(s) that hunters use to attach themselves to a tree or elevated position to keep them from falling to the ground in an uncontrolled manner and subsequently allows them to safely descend to the ground after falling.  A fall restraint system should be worn at all times while off the ground rather than just at final elevation, since the majority of treestand falls occur while ascending or descending the tree, and stepping across or onto the treestand platform.  The bottom line is that a safety harness can only protect you from a fall if you are actually wearing it when you fall.

Full-body harnesses with straps that encircle the torso, legs, and shoulders allowing a fallen hunter to hang in an upright position are now the only type of fall restraint system recommended by the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association (TMA) as well as other leading hunter safety organizations.  The old-style belts or chest-type harnesses that were often used by hunters in the past are no longer recommended and should not be used.  Full-body harnesses come in several designs including the standard strap and buckle harness; vests with the harness incorporated into the shell; and hybrids that are somewhere in between. With the number of styles available, it should be relatively easy for almost any hunter to find a harness that is safe, comfortable, and easy for them to use. Interestingly enough, many if not all TMA-certified treestands now include a basic full-body harness at no extra charge.  Regardless of the type of full-body harness you choose, make sure that it is properly sized to fit you and that you are within the specified weight limits for that particular harness.  A properly fitted harness will comfortably allow enough adjustment to accommodate heavier clothing worn during cold weather.

Use the following Safety Guidelines from the TMA website to guide you in the proper use and maintenance of your harness.

TMA Treestand Safety Guidelines

  • ALWAYS wear a Fall-Arrest System (FAS)/Full Body Harness meeting TMA Standards even during ascent and descent.  Be aware that single strap belts and chest harnesses are no longer the preferred Fall-Arrest devices and should not be used.  Failure to use a FAS could result in serious injury or death.
  • ALWAYS read and understand the manufacturer’s WARNINGS & INSTRUCTIONS before using the treestand each season.  Practice with the treestand at ground level prior to using at elevated positions.  Maintain the WARNINGS & INSTRUCTIONS for later review as needed, for instructions on usage to anyone borrowing your stand, or to pass on when selling the treestand.  Use all safety devices provided with your treestand.  Never exceed the weight limit specified by the manufacturer.  If you have any questions after reviewing the WARNINGS & INSTRUCTIONS, please contact the manufacturer.
  • ALWAYS inspect the treestand and the Fall-Arrest System for signs of wear or damage before each use.  Contact the manufacturer for replacement parts.  Destroy all products that cannot be repaired by the manufacturer and/or exceed recommended expiration date, or if the manufacturer no longer exists.  The FAS should be discarded and replaced after a fall has occurred.
  • ALWAYS practice in your Full Body Harness in the presence of a responsible adult, learning what it feels like to hang suspended in it at ground level.
  • ALWAYS attach your Full Body Harness in the manner and method described by the manufacturer.  Failure to do so may result in suspension without the ability to recover into your treestand.  Be aware of the hazards associated with Full Body Harnesses and the fact that prolonged suspension in a harness may be fatal.  Have in place a plan for rescue, including the use of cell phones or signal devices that may be easily reached and used while suspended.  If rescue personnel cannot be notified, you must have a plan for recover/escape.  If you have to hang suspended for a period of time before help arrives, exercise your legs by pushing against the tree or doing any other form of continuous motion.  Failure to recover in a timely manner could result in serious injury or death.  If you do not have the ability to recover/escape, hunt from the ground.
  • ALWAYS hunt with a plan and if possible a buddy. Before you leave home, let others know your exact hunting location, when you plan to return and who is with you.
  • ALWAYS carry emergency signal devices such as a cell phone, walkie-talkie, whistle, signal flare, PLD (personal locator device) and flashlight on your person at all times and within reach even while you are suspended in your FAS.  Watch for changing weather conditions.  In the event of an accident, remain calm and seek help immediately.
  • ALWAYS select the proper tree for use with your treestand.  Select a live straight tree that fits within the size limits recommended in your treestand’s instructions.  Do not climb or place a treestand against a leaning tree.  Never leave a treestand installed for more than two weeks since damage could result from changing weather conditions and/or from other factors not obvious with a visual inspection.
  • ALWAYS use a haul line to pull up your gear and unloaded firearm or bow to your treestand once you have reached your desired hunting height.  Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back.  Prior to descending, lower your equipment on the opposite side of the tree.
  • ALWAYS know your physical limitations.  Don’t take chances.  If you start thinking about how high you are, don’t go any higher.
  • NEVER use homemade or permanently elevated stands or make modifications to a purchased treestand without the manufacturer’s written permission.  Only purchase and use treestands and Fall-Arrest Systems meeting or exceeding TMA standards.  For a detailed list of certified products, contact the TMA office or refer to the TMA web site at http://www.tmastands.com.
  • NEVER hurry!!  While climbing with a treestand, make slow, even movements of no more than ten to twelve inches at a time.  Make sure you have proper contact with the tree and/or treestand every time you move.  On ladder-type treestands, maintain three points of contact with each step.

In addition, you should keep your safety harness clean and dry and store it out of direct sunlight, away from chemicals and possible ozone sources.

Additional Tips for Use of a Fall Restraint System

There are several methods for safely attaching your fall restraint system while ascending and/or descending your selected tree.  Each has it’s specific uses depending on the task being performed.

  • Lineman style ropes which fasten around the tree and directly to D-loops on the harness belt are used to ascend and descend the tree while still allowing the climber to keep his/her hands free.  This is particularly useful for hanging loc-on stands, placing tree steps, or trimming branches.
  • Top-fastened tree ropes are attached to the tree at stand height and hang down to near ground level.  The safety harness tether is attached to the the tree rope via a small sling tied into a special Prussic knot.  The Prussic knot it designed to be slid up or down the tree rope with minimal effort, but locks to the tree rope in the event of a fall.  This setup is useful for ascending/descending ladder stands and loc-on stands that are semi-permanent or already in position.
  • Mechanical retractors are attached to the tree at stand height and consist of a mechanical reel-type retractor similar to an automatic seat belt retractor.  The safety harness tether is attached to the free end of retractor when standing on the ground and as the tree is climbed, the retractor automatically takes up the slack belt.  In the event of a fall, the retractor immediately and automatically locks thereby arresting the fall.
  • Standard tree straps and ropes are attached by looping them around the tree to be climbed then fastening them directly to the safety harness tether.  The tree strap/rope is pushed up/down the tree and snugged up with each step.  These are predominantly used while ascending trees using climbing style treestands.

No matter which type of safety harness attachment system is used, the safety tether should always be kept as short as possible and should be fastened above head height while standing in the treestand.  This will minimize the distance that you can drop if you you lose your balance and fall from the stand platform.  It will also allow a better opportunity for you to crawl back into your stand should you experience a fall.

Make sure when setting stands that you extend your tree steps or ladder system at least 3 feet above the platform level of the stand so that you can step down onto the platform when transitioning to the stand.  This makes it much easier to get into your stand in the dark or during inclement weather.

Always use a pull-up rope to hoist weapons or equipment into your stand.  Make sure all weapons are unloaded and securely fastened before hoisting.

If You Do Fall While Wearing a Fall Restraint System

If the worst happens and you do fall from your stand or while ascending/descending a tree while wearing an appropriate fall restraint system, what do you do next?  The first thing is DON’T PANIC!  Assuming you’re conscious and not seriously injured, you need to make an effort to get yourself either back onto your platform or to the ground as quickly as you safely can.  Even though your harness has kept you from falling to the ground, you may now be in danger of another serious condition called “suspension trauma”.  If you are allowed to hang from your harness for even a relatively short time (i.e., less than 15 minutes), blood will begin to  pool in your lower extremities, thereby starving your central core area and brain for needed oxygen, causing you to pass out and eventually die.  It is imperative that you quickly alleviate this situation in one of several ways. 

  • Crawl back onto your stand platform.  This is possible if you attached your safety tether high and short enough that your fall was minimal and you can easily reach the platform.
  • You may have to descend the tree.  To facilitate this it is recommended that you carry an extra screw-in tree step or a length of sturdy rope sufficient to go around the tree you’re climbing in an easily accessible pocket on your person.  In the event of a fall, you can then insert the tree step or loop and fasten the rope around the tree in order to give you a place to step up to take your weight off the harness.  By alternating moving the step/rope and hanging in your harness, hopefully you can safely descend to the ground.
  • If you can’t immediately extricate yourself by climbing back onto your stand platform or safely descending the tree, exercise your legs by pushing against the tree or doing any other form of continuous motion with your body and legs.  This will help to keep blood circulating from your legs to the rest of your body.  Remember, this is only a stopgap method.  You still need to continue to try and either climb back onto the stand platform or descend the tree as soon as possible.
  • Only as a last resort, you may have to cut your tether and hopefully climb/slide down the tree trunk in a controlled fashion, minimizing injury.  For this you should always carry a knife or shielded strap cutter that is readily accessible or fastened to your harness so that you can reach it easily.  Remember that your full weight will come to bear once you cut your safety tether so hang onto the tree tightly or be prepared for a quick descent!

Summary

Hunting from an elevated treestand can enhance your opportunities as a hunter to see and kill more game.  However, these opportunities are tempered by the many risks associated with the use of treestands that should not be ignored.  Proper use of a certified fall restraint system and thoughtful installation and use of your treestand and accessories can go a long ways towards ensuring that you have a safe and successful hunt.  Remember to arrive back home alive!

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Published by treedweller on 29 Apr 2008

Trading it all in to have been in the woods

I grew up in Southwest Detroit Michigan.  My Dad was a Mailman and my Mom a bank worker.  I had a very good childhood with many friends.  We played in the local park, climbing trees, playing baseball and basketball.  As I got older, I began playing Basketball in grade school and eventually High School.  I was very competitive and was eager to excell.  I would have gone to college if not for a senior year illness that sidelined me for 3 months.  One of my highlights was being brough up to Varsity during my sophmore year of High School.  I continues to play after High School in the local Parks and Rec areas of Detroit.  I was not great but I held my own against some pretty fieces competition.  I played against ex-college and one ex NBA player.  I never had the oportunity to fish or hunt.  My Uncles and Cousins were all into hunting and fishing but I lived too far away.  After 34 years in the Detroit area my Wife, Son and myself decided to move out to the country.  Right away I took my hunters safety class and purchased my first archery liscense at the age of 34.  I had no teacher just some magazines.  I has an older PSE bow and shot often.  There is plenty of State land around my home so I started scouting.  What a feeling being in the woods for the first time in my life.  I was very inexperienced and on my first morning hunt, I went into the woods in total darkness, I walked and tried to find the tree that I had scouted but I could not.  So I picked a tree and started climbing with a second hand older climber.  I was exhausted when I reached the height that I thought I needed to be.  As the sun came up a saw 5 deer about 50 yards away, what a feeling.  They never came close enough but the funny part was that I was only about 10 feet off the ground.  I have hunted State land now for 8 years and have learned plenty.  I now hunt about 20 feet off the ground or more.  I have only taken 1 deer with my bow and 2 more with a borrowed muzzleloader, but my heart is in Bowhunting.  I have had good times and bad.  I have seen some nice Bucks, nice does, Turkeys, Coyotes, Racoons, Foxes and many more animals.  What an awesome experience.  I have alway said that my story would make a good show.  I would gladly have traded in all my Baseball and Basketball memories to have been in the woods.  Like the saying says” A bad day in the woods is better than a good day at work”  is a true statement.  My wife will be bowhunting with me this Fall, my 11 year old Son wants to but the finances aren’t there right now.  Like I said before” I would gladly have traded in all my Baseball and Basketball memories to have been in the woods.”

 

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Published by Mead on 28 Apr 2008

Why I Hunt: The Loss of a Dear Friend

     Every fall I get asked the same question: Why do you hunt?

     The answer is simple. I have always found peace in the woods.

     When I was a child I went hunting to accompany my dad. I wanted to see wild animals. On numerous occasions I had small birds land on the brim of my hat. I also had chipmunks and red squirrels scurry up my legs. Every time we went to the woods I came back with a memory.

     At the time I didn’t think these events would hang around in my memory, but as I get older the memories become more and more alive. These memories make me see how how those cold days in the woods every fall helped my dad and I create a bond that nobody can truly understand but us.

     As humans we all have best friends. I have been fortunate enough to have two of them throughout my life. My father is one of these friends. My other friend, who I also have shared many trials and tribulations with, is now gone.

     As I head to the woods this fall it will be a new era for me. I will be forever thankful that my dad will be by my side to comfort, guide and help me get through the tremendous pain and hurt that goes along with losing a person so close to me.

     When I shuffle through the leaves and trudge through the wet snow, I will have a constant reminder of this person: the gold medical alert necklace that dangles from my neck. My friend was thoughtful enough to give it to me just in case I ever need it to save my life.

     I used to sit in the woods and wonder what my friend was thinking. I would ask now and then, but I never felt like I knew for sure. I always wondered what I could do to make our friendship better. We had been friends since childhood. We had counted on each other for comfort and security. Now, more than ever, since I lost this dear friend, I’m thankful that dad and I formed the friendship we did when I was young. He doesn’t replace my friend, but he is there to help me get beyond my loss.

     I can now see how important those trips to the woods were for me. When I was young, dad taught me how to deal with my feelings. I learned that it was okay to be mad, angry, happy or sad. I am thankful for this because I’ve had every type of emotion on this roller coaster ride the last year.

     My dad might not have known what he was giving to me at the time because I sure didn’t know. However, over the last few years I have learned that he gave me the inner strength that I would need on my journey through life. He also gave me the ability to understand that if you sit tight under the trees, even in the pouring rain, you can still find miracles in the harshest of times. I’ve seen deer pick through the leaves in search of food. Although it’s pouring rain, the deer don’t acknowledge the weather. They move forward just to survive. It makes me realize that I too must continue moving ahead.

     One year I regularly observed the same group of deer early in the season. As the season progressed a fawn disappeared, but the family carried on in normal fashion. I always wondered what happened to that fawn. I will never know, but I could see that the family moved along because time doesn’t stand still for anyone or anything. Although I lost the closest friend of my life I know that I must move forward.  There’s no going back in time and there’s no figuring out the ups and downs in life. Sometimes the answers are right in front of us if we only open our eyes to see them. I’m sure nobody will ever take my friend’s place, but I may start new memories with a friend I haven’t met yet or a friend who has stood in the shadows waiting for more of my time.

     When I was a boy, my dad taught me to expect the unexpected. One night my father brought me bowhunting. We sat on a log a few feet behind a stump. As the sun faded and the woods became gray a deer ran stratight at us. The deer jumped over the stump and landed about a foot to our left. The deer never knew we were there. That night I learned that you never know what might happen.

     This lesson came back to me last fall. Although I always enjoyed hunting, I hunted with half a heart in the early part of the fall. By the middle of the fall I just couldn’t go back to the woods. My friend was gone. Gone like a leaf falling from a big oak on a windy fall day. It was just like the deer from when I was young. A few snapping sticks alerted me and my dad that the deer was headed toward us, but we didn’t know what to expect.

     The experience with my friend was similar to that childhood memory. My friend was quiet, reserved and just didn’t welcome much discussion. I tried to talk, but the communication was non-existent. Before I knew it my lifelong friend had disappeared. I sat for months on end in the darkest of nights trying to figure out why, but nobody could help. I felt lost in a huge tract of wild forest. I was as empty as a well without water.

     Every hunter has a favorite spot. My favorite spot is a big oak tree on the side of a mountain. Every year I go to this place because it gives me something I need, something I can’t describe to anyone.

     It’s the same thing my friend gave me. As nobody can replace a fallen tree, nobody can replace this person. A new journey has started for me. Hopefully If I cross enough hills and valleys I can find a new tree to sit under. A tree to support my back, rest my shoulders on and listen to my dreams.

     I go to the woods every year to find myself. I love to sit as the sun peeks out from behind the mountains first thing in the morning. I love to hear the woods come alive with animals. I also like sitting silently and thanking my parents for making me who I am today.

     The next time somebody asks you why you hunt, please take the time to think about it. Take your child with you or your niece or nephew or the neighbor’s kid. You could affect their lives in more positive ways than you could ever imagine. I thank my mom and dad for always being there and showing me the way.

     As for my friend who is gone, I want you to know that you were one of the greatest memories I will ever have. I want to thank you for saving my life on numerous occasions in the middle of the night when I suffered from diabetic insulin reactions. I know it wasn’t easy and I know it wasn’t fun. But, find comfort in the fact that I will be forever thankful that you gave me the ability to continue living and walking across the forest floor every fall in search of inner peace. Thank you and goodbye, my friend. I will never forget you.

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Published by csinclair on 22 Apr 2008

10 Things every Archer who wants to be a Bow Hunter should know.

Practice in full camo gear.

1.) Bow hunting / hunting is / can be very expensive when starting out, having all the best gear isn’t necessary to practice your archery skills, (good archery skills is the basis for Bow Hunting), get decent quality gear and practice lots.

2.) Bow hunting / hunting can be / (is) very time consuming if you’re serious / passionate about it.
(Make sure your spouse, girl/boy friend is OK with it, because it can / will be time a consuming obsession).

3.) Be a student of the hunt, there’s more than one way to do it, every old timer is your teacher,
do lots of reading, talk a little, but listen a lot.

4.) You will accidently hurt / bruise your bow arm with the string from having improper form at some point, don’t be discouraged, learn from it, improve.

5.) If you’re using a mechanical release, you will hurt your face / nose / lip / eye / etc.. with a pre-mature / accidental release, (one fellow I talked to said he even broke his own nose, apparently it’s pretty common when new to the sport).

6.) Practice makes perfect, there’s no substitute for practice. If you think you’re shooting well, step back 10 or 20 yards and think again. Practice, practice, practice.

7.) Be safe and careful, remember to practice safety for you and for others around you, nobody want’s to get hurt.

8.) Be respectful of nature, including the land, prey you hunt and other animals you’re not hunting,
that may live in the area you’re hunting / practicing / scouting in.

9.) Practice for hunting in the gear / clothing that you’d be wearing during a hunt, if you don’t practice shooting in full gear, how will you know if you can perform when the moment comes.

10.) Do your research with regards to local laws, rules and regulations, don’t get into trouble, you’re an ambassador of the archery / bow hunter community, be responsible, set a good example.

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Published by Gear Junky on 20 Apr 2008

The Bull

(While I work on my next series of must-have gear recommendations, here’s a poem that I spent at least twenty minutes on. Get your Kleenex ready.)

The Bull

My bugle echoed across the ridge,

his quickly fired back;

We each stalked angrily toward the meadow,

both eager to attack.


His antlers tipped with ivory gleamed

like candles in the dew;

My arrows tipped with razors

longed to find their bloody hue.


His breath could chill a mountainside,

his growl meant certain doom;

My stomach growled from last night’s taco,

my breath could clear a room.


With unbridled fury he raked a sapling,

then grunted deep in rut;

I grunted when an ice-cold sapling

jabbed me in the butt.


He proudly strode into the open

and welcomed a fair fight;

I proudly hid behind a stump

and gripped my weapon tight.


He closed the gap to thirty yards –

then stopped to turn away;

Before his instincts could save his hide

my arrow made him pay.


His spirit is still resting

in the meadow on that ridge;

Part of him rests upon my wall,

and part of him in my fridge.

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