Archive for the 'Bowhunting' Category

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Published by Casey Stutzman on 11 Jun 2012

Don’t Get Sucked into “Hunting Specific” Training

“Sport specific training” is a big buzz word for any activity. Bow Hunters scour the internet and youtube for “hunting specific” exercises that will increase their ability to harvest deer come fall.  As a fitness professional and international presenter I deal with lots of questions from clients and other trainers regarding how to develop sport specific programs but is “sport specific” really the way to go? Does sport specific training even exist in the fitness world? 

 

A good mechanic looks at the entire truck to make sure everything is working together properly for maximum performance and increased life.  He addresses problem areas as they relate to the whole.  If he does not look at the whole there can be problems, what it I want better off road traction and he decides to put on the best off road tires money can buy but never check to see if they will work well with the vehicle.They might be good tires but if they are wrong for my truck it will kill my gas mileage (performance) and possibly put extra wear and tear on other parts decreasing the life of the vehicle.

 

The body is no different.When we look at training and exercise from a sports specific platform we often miss the forest through the trees and perform exercises that are wrong for us or do not help with our weak points.Here are a couple reasons why to look past those sport specific training articles and videos for bow hunters.

 

·        The goal of any training program should be to create a solid foundation of stability and strength so you can move effectively and without limitations or pain.  All humans move the same, I’m not saying all training programs should be the same but there always needs to be a focus on building the foundations of human movement so it is ready for any sport or activity.

 

·        If you want to be sport specific play your sport!  If I want to be a better golfer I need to play golf!  You can’t exercise your way to increased sports skills.  I see ads all the time for “Bow Trainers” vertical sticks with resistance tubing so you can practice drawing your bow.  Here’s an idea, why not just draw your bow!Using an exercise routine that develop all the systems necessary to draw and hold well paired with lots of target shooting will put you way ahead of the curve.

 

·        Look at the demands of your exercise compared to what happens in real life.  You will read over and over that the bench press is a great sport specific exercise for football linemen because they have to be strong pushing people away.  True; but in a game are they on their backs, supported by a bench, moving an evenly balanced weight a slow steady pace?  If an exercise was truly sport specific it would exactly match the movements and environment of competition

 

 

As a performance and fitness professional when I work with clients and athletes of all sports and activates my goal is to clean up & increase their movement efficiency.Developing sport specific skills is their coach’s job.  For more information on movement based training check out these articles;

 

 

What Should Bow Hunters Look for in Gyms and Fitness Offerings – http://primal360.blogspot.com/2012/04/what-should-bow-hunter-look-for-in-gyms.html

 

Also check out www.TRXtraining.comfor great products and info on movement based training

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Published by Casey Stutzman on 11 Jun 2012

Where Does Your Meat Come From?

With the modern day ritual of “hunting camp” hunting does not always get associated with health and wellness. Perhaps it is because at camp there are usually more calories consumed in liquid form then sold, many items in the cupboard would survive a nuclear apocalypse and a pound of butter is the standard unit of measurement for most recipes. Hunting camp aside there is an amazing benefit modern hunting offers the hunter and his/her family when it comes to their wellbeing. I am referring to seeing your meat in the field before you see it on your plate.

 

I grew up in a suburb of Detroit and spent my whole life in metropolitan areas until I was almost 23 years old. If you were to ask me, “were does your beef come from” I would answer you “Meijer” and then look at you like you had a third eye growing out of your head. What I was really saying was I have no idea, where my meat comes from, what’s in it, what it as eaten, how it was raised and how long it has been since it met its demise. These are important things to know! We eat what our food eats, what is put into its body we put into ours. That can be a laundry list of things I would never consciously consume but do every day because I don’t know it’s there.

 

When I went out to my wife’s (future wife at the time) parent’s beef farm for the first time they sent me home with a Wal-Mart bag overflowing with fresh beef from a cow they had just sent to the butcher.  I was thrilled to get it home and slap it on the grill but when I opened it all I felt was disappointment.  The bright red hue that I had grown accustomed to seeing from my supermarket ground beef was not there so I assumed it was bad and called MB over to inform her that her folks were pedaling rancid meat. She then looked at me like I had a third eye and said, “that is the color it is supposed to be, haven’t you ever seen real beef before?” I guess I haven’t, but I instantly began to wonder what made the other meat so red and was it something that I wanted to ingest?

It was then I began realizing how much goes into our “fresh” food that really shouldn’t be there.  Luckily there are others who demand untainted sources of protein so markets like Whole Foods and other local grocery stores and butcher shops have made it easy for consumers to obtain organic and or grass fed animals that are not mass produced.  Like anything else if you want quality you are going to have to pay for it and these healthier options come with a steep price tag in comparison to their steroid pumping brethren.

That brings us full circle back to where the conversation began, hunting in all its forms provides us with an opportunity that is so rare in our modern world; to see it, shoot it, dress it, butcher it, prepare it and plate it.  One of the greatest meals of my life was eating back straps that had been walking in the field not 12 hours ago with my brother in law (who is an amazing trained chef; hence the positioning on the great meals list)

The secret to nutritional success is to take responsibility for it.  To not depend on others for your nutrition is the ONLY way for us to be at our best when it comes to fueling our bodies.  I have found no better way to take charge of the food my family eats than to get out in the woods and fill our freezer with the life giving sustenance of the land that has allowed mankind to not only survive but thrive throughout its history.

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Published by Laporte Archery on 09 Jun 2012

2012 Laporte Archery “Bow-Trap” US Demo Tour From June to August

Laporte Archery would like to introduce you to a new archery sport; the Bow-Trap!

We are organizing an introductory tour in the states of Virginia,West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North & South Carolina from June to August with a possible extension to September.

 

You can request from us a free initiation day for your Archery club or shop by email or by phone.

You will find bellow some YouTube video links.

The Archery Trap is unique and extraordinary! This is the first automatic trap in the world capable of offering aerial and moving targets.The machine is called the Phoenix and is designed for fun and competition.The Game is called Bow Trap and can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities.The Rules can be as creative or as formal as the occasion demands.

 

The initial market response has been remarkable and is proving that this is the most exciting new development in Archery for decades, as it offers a whole new dimension to the sport.

 

Archery and clay shooting make compelling partners, with Archery able to offer the following:

 

Ø  A totally environmentally friendly activity – the targets are non-toxic and re-usable and the arrows are easily collected after.

There is no noise, no pollution and no permission required. 

Ø  The machine can be set-up in 5 minutes, enjoyed for hours and then packed away without leaving any trace of having been on-site

Ø  Bow Trap is suitable for all ages and abilities and will attract a whole new client base

Ø  Can be enjoyed indoors,outdoors or at night under floodlights

Ø  Offers the ideal activity to accompany Summer Barbecue’s

Ø  As you already have the infrastructure and suitable land, your investment is restricted to the machine and archery accessories only.

Ø  With the Laporte Safety Arrow (available for indoor and outdoor use), the sport becomes completely safe for everyone to enjoy.

The machines are simple in design, user friendly and safe to operate. They are portable with a 12V battery that can launch 5000 targets with a single charge.

It offers a range of trajectories to suit all archers from beginners to professionals.

The Targets are available in 13in and 10in diameter and are re-usable with each target capable of withstanding over 500 strikes with the Flu Flu arrows and indefinitely with the Safety Arrow.

Targets are waterproof and washable. They are orange in colour, making them suitable for all backgrounds and television.

 

The target density is designed to stop Flu Flu arrows and allow for easy extraction. Bows that can be used include Long, Recurve and Compound bow with draw weights of up to 50 lb.

 

The machine comes with a 2 Year Guarantee.

 

The Phoenix is available as a complete “Ready to Start” Package – including targets, bows, arrows and arm protectors. This offers the added commercial benefit of hiring out the equipment.

The return on investment for the Phoenix is very attractive and expected to be inside 6 months.

 

Wherever the Archery Trap is being used you can hear the laughter, see the enjoyment, feel the pleasure and sense the spirit of competition between the participants.

What better environment can you create for your customers?

 

Please go to the following links to see the videos of the machine.

 

-Events: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBdVsFq3lIY

-Indoor Archeryhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K82gRPYM6C0

-Laporte Trap Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5na-ICHj1vg

The Phoenix Trap Presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p14bsKRK_3c

X-Tests: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXU3nP0tj4E

 

Best Regards,

 

Alain Cluber

Laporte Archery Representative for the USA

Office USA : 1 (276) 644 0094

Email : [email protected]

Website : www.laporte-archery.com

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Published by mlgunkel on 05 Jun 2012

Distance Compensating Bow Site

I am a math teacher in a small high school in Alaska and we began exploring a concept this year for an idea I had a while back.  The general thought is – if you make a laser site and have it mounted above the arrow can you align it to approximate the trajectory of the arrow?  If you can, how far would it approximate that trajectory?  We took that idea a step further and said, if we add a second laser to start approximating the trajectory where the first one leaves off we can really extend the range of the site.  In fact multiple lasers could be used to approximate the trajectory as far out as desired.  Multiple lasers would project multiple dots on the target but the lowest dot would always be the one to use.

We did in fact develop the theory behind this and built a working prototype.  It works.  The students won best of show at the local school wide district science fair.

It only took two lasers to approximate the trajectory on a Bowtech Allegiance out to 50 yards with a maximum 2″ of error.  The following video is of us testing the site shortly after we set it up.  The first clip show 5 shots at random distances out to 50 yards and the second clip shows popping balloons at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 yards on a bright sunny day.

If you are interested in the theory behind the development we established the following procedure:

This procedure includes a fair bit of math – that was of particular interest to me as a teacher using this as a learning project – but this can be automated with the computer and the initial setup of this site is actually quite simple, fast and effective.

Procedure

Since the flight of an arrow follows a decaying parabola, its trajectory can be approximated with a quadratic equation in the form of y=ax2+bx+c where y=drop and x=distance from the target.

  1. Record arrow drop from three distances covering the effective range of the bow by shooting groups of arrows from each distance and recording average arrow drop from aim point.
  2. Create three different equations using the known x and y values, with x=distance from target and y=arrow drop from aim point.

Y1=ax12+bx1+c

Y2= ax22+bx2+c

Y3= ax32+bx3+c

  1. Solve for the unknowns: a, b and c.  Do this by using a graphing calculator and setting the numbers up into a matrix and transforming the matrix to reduced row echelon form.
  2. Once coefficients a, b and c are solved for they can be plugged into the quadratic equation ax2+bx+c.  This will create the quadratic equation that predicts the arrow trajectory.
  3. Use Excel and the quadratic equation to graph the predicted arrow trajectory.
  4. Once graphed, use lines of best fit over different ranges to follow the trajectory of the arrow with an acceptable margin of error. Ultimately, these will be the lasers.
  5. By using multiple lasers, or lines of best fit, we should be able to approximate arrow trajectory out to the effective range of the bow. Multiple lasers will project multiple dots on the target, but the bottom laser dot will always be the approximating arrow trajectory.
  6. Construct a laser mounting apparatus that can be mounted onto a bow and which allows lasers be adjusted in elevation as well as fine tuned left, right, up or down. This laser mount must be rigid enough to maintain its position on the bow while sustaining the shock of repeated shots.
  7. Take the first line of best fit and find the equation of the line in slope-intercept form. B, or the y-intercept, will be the distance between the laser and the arrow.  Mount the laser at this distance above the arrow.
  8. The line of best fit will cross paths with the arrow trajectory at two places on the parabola.  Solve for the x values, or distances, where this occurs by setting the equation for the line of best fit and the quadratic arrow trajectory equation equal to each other and solve for x.
  9. Site the first laser in at the previously solved for x values by shooting a group of arrows at the two distances and adjusting the laser accordingly. After this step your bow should be striking your aiming point at the two distances.
  10. The next laser can be aligned without shooting the bow at all.  The two lasers will cross at a specific distance. This distance can be solved for by setting the equations of the lines of best fit equal to each other and solving for x.  Simply adjust the top laser so it is on top of the previous laser. Ultimately, at these two distances you will see only one dot.
  11. Repeat the previous step to align any additional lasers.

Now you can test-shoot the bow from essentially any distance that your bow is effective to and see if the lasers allow you to shoot within the predicted margin of error at these distances.

The following is the actual implementation of the procedure on the test bow (Bowtech Allegiance) with the real numbers and generated formulas.

Step 1: Record Arrow Drop.

 

Distance from Target Arrow Drop (Inches)
Group 1 15 Feet or 5 Yards 0.4375 Inches
Group 2 60 Feet or 10 Yards -5.3125 Inches
Group 3 150 Feet or 15 Yards -46.8125 Inches

 

Step 2: Create Equations.

 

0.4375=a(32400)+b(180)+c

-5.3125=a(518400)+b(720)+c

-46.8125=a(32400000+b(1800)+c

 

Step 3: Using spreadsheet program utilizing rref solve for a, b and c.

 

a= -0.0000171467764060

b= 0.00478395061728

c= 0.1319444444444440

 

Step 4: The quadratic equation predicting arrow trajectory is:

 

-0.0000171467764060x2+0.00478395061728x+0.1319444444444440

 

Step 5: Use Excel to make a graph of projected arrow trajectory using the previously found quadratic formula.

Step 6: By graphing trajectory over shorter distance ranges and using line of best fit on Excel, we were able to come up with a combination of two lines of best fit that approximates the projected arrow trajectory from zero out to 50 yards with an error of + or – 2 inches.

First Line of Best Fit:

 Second Line of Best Fit:

 Step 7: We were able to use 2 lasers and have a margin of error of 2 inches and were able to approximate an arrow strike point out to 50 yards. The top laser mount location is 25 inches above the arrow.  With a top laser mount of 33 inches we, we were able to approximate arrow strike point out to 60 yards.

 

Step 8: We chose 1 inch extruded aluminum display rail since it was readily available, rigid, lightweight and laser fixtures could be mounted anywhere along its length. This was mounted to the bow utilizing the bow’s standard site mounting holes.

 

We modified a generic green laser pointer to use as our laser sites. To allow for windage and elevation adjustment of lasers we mounted one end of the laser on a horizontal threaded bolt and the other end of the laser on a vertical threaded bolt in an aluminum square tube.

 

For our power source we made a battery pack using standard plumbing supplies and screwing it into the stabilizer-mounting hole on the bow. The bow was used as the ground and we routed one positive wire through a momentary push-button switch on the bow handle up to each laser.

 

The lasers were mounted onto the bolts by soldering a nut onto a ½ inch copper pex crimp fitting and crimping it onto the laser.

 

Step 9: The equation for the first laser line is y=-0.0137x+4.028.  The laser should be mounted at four inches above the arrow.  Mount second laser at 25 inches above the arrow, the equation for this laser is y=-0.0384x+25.132.

 

y-intercept=4.028=distance laser is mounted above the arrow.

 

y-intercept=25.132=distance laser is mounted above the arrow.

 

Step 10: Find where the first laser crosses at both places on the parabola.  See below.

Step 11: We adjusted the laser fairly close at 8.7 yards and then adjusted it to be right on at the next distance: 21.2 yards.  A quick check showed that the laser was right on at 8.7 yards as well.

 

Step 12: We solved for the distance that the laser crossed.  See Below.

 

We then aligned the lasers as to make one solid dot at 23.7 yards.

 

Step 13: There were no additional lasers.

 

Step 14: We tested the site by shooting arrows at random distances out to 50 yards, and all the arrows were within the predicted margin of error (+ or – 2 inches in elevation). See video. Further testing was done to demonstrate both the accuracy of the site out to 50 yards and the visibility of the green laser on a bright sunny day by shooting balloons at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. See video.

 

I would certainly like our students to receive feedback on your thoughts about this concept.  We did file a provisional patent on the idea.  I can be contacted at [email protected]

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Published by admin on 21 May 2012

PREPARE YOUR HUNT NOW by Ted Nugent

PREPARE YOUR HUNT NOW by Ted Nugent

Once we got the foodplots in, we took down more than forty treestands and goundblinds all across our sacred hunting grounds. Springtime isn’t just about house cleaning, turkey and bear hunting and planting crops, and in my case, greasing up the rock-n-roll machinery for a new year’s full throttle rockout, it is also about maintenance and getting a jumpstart on September even before summer rolls around.
We have found over the last fifty plus years of hardcore hunting, that quality control is always way easier, effective, and much safer than damage control. Even if we didn’t guide hundreds of hunters each season and just managed all our hunting for ourselves, there are some very simple, pragmatic basics that will vastly increase the ease and quality of our upcoming hunts with just a little bit of forethought and adequate elbow grease.
We like to take down all our treestands each spring so we can examine the chains and straps and ratchets to be sure everything is in tip top safe, quiet working order. We have all seen how chains grow into trees and straps deteriorate over time, making for some very dangerous, life threatening conditions that there is simply no excuse for.
Plus, I have to tell you; even the slightest change of location for that old stand will greatly benefit our ambush effectiveness come fall. I have found that by moving even a few short yards, critters are far less likely to nail us, and I crave every minute advantage I can squeeze out of my stand location.
A little lube goes a long way on hinges and nuts and bolts. Also by disconnecting a stand from the tree, the chance of squeaks and game alerting little noises can be eliminated. Do it.
We wipe down our Double Bull Blinds to eliminate any corrosive mildew or mold, then make sure they are bone dry before storing them in a dry, protected area.
Sometimes a little heavy duty needle and thread work will suture up some rips and tears, fortifying our pop-up blinds for a more cozy hide-away.
Where legal, now is the time to put out those mineral licks and supplemental nutritional attractants that will keep the critters coming all summer long.
Primos Swamp Donkey blocks, Red Spot mineral bags and apple and corn flavored salt blocks have worked wonders for our MI and TX properties. My buddies around the country have shared the same glowing reports as well.
Raking small clearings and finding such natural clearings in the woods or along edges are great places to broadcast WildGame Innovations Throw and Grow seed, or a homemade concoction of rye, wheat, oats, clovers and alfalfa blends to enhance game areas during the off season. It is always amazing to watch my little pockets of emerald green deer heaven spots take shape as time goes by.
As much as I crave my hunting time, I must admit that I get nearly the same kick out of doing all these different activities in my hunting areas in between seasons. I always find sheds, the occasional mushroom, leaks, wild asparagus, wild berries and wild scallions while doing this fun outdoor work, making for a great day afield everytime. And the kids and grandkids love every minute of it too.
Don’t wait till the end of summer to scramble, do it as far in advance as possible so it can all be accomplished with no rushing around.
And remember too, that groundblinds and treestands should be set back up a good month or so before opening day so that the critters get acclimated to these foreign objects way in advance. It is also beneficial to do so well in advance so we don’t intrude on our hunting areas any more than necessary too close to opening day.
And don’t forget those scent stations. I discovered long ago that mock scrapes have a very positive effect when kept going all year long. And I have also found that it doesn’t matter what kind of deer scent I use. Doe, buck, estrus, doe in heat, dominant buck, fresh, old, natural or synthetic, by keeping a scent station stinky all year, it seems like every deer in the area just has to stop by for a sniff, a rub and a pee. The consistent familiar scent seems to calm them down and give them confidence that all is well.
The exploding phenomena of trail cameras has been an eye opener to all hunters, and if you got em, use em. I’m not a nut about them, but I do set them up here and there occasionally to see what is going on and it is always fascinating to view the critters that frequent my favorite hunting spots when I’m not there.
Stretch that spirit we all so crave as long as possible. Scouting and familiarizing ourselves with our sacred hunting grounds has always been a big part of the hunting lifestyle for everyone I know, so get out of it all we can to maximize the joys we derive from our wild time. The only thing better than wild time is more wild time.

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Published by Casey Stutzman on 17 May 2012

Real Fitness for Bow Hunters

Here are some great additions you can make to your workout routine to keep your most deadly weapon in tune and ensure it is ready to perform during the moment of truth.

 

Choose athletic exercises

 

Simple or single joint exercises do not teach the body how to move better.  Hunters are athletes and need to train as such, choose exercises that have multiple joints moving simultaneously and require focus and concentration to perform.For example a bicep curl is very will not help a hunter move better, an exercise like a squat & row on a TRX suspension trainer or with a resistance band will have much more value.

 

·        Resistance band squat row

 

o  Loop a resistance band around a stationary object and grab both handles.  Begin standing facing the anchor point with your elbows driven back and your wrists touching the lower portion or your ribs.  Simultaneously squat and reach your arms towards the anchor point until they are straight then stand and return to the row position.  8-12 reps

 

Balance training

 

Simple balance training will challenge your nervous system and strengthen your brains ability to communicate with your muscles which will have a direct positive effect on your reaction time and reflexes.  Another added bonus is you gain better body awareness and control makes your shot routine more consistent and effective.

 

Balance training exercises;

 

·        Simple – single leg balance with eyes closed

 

o  Stand on one leg in an athletic stance and close your eyes.  Stand on a BOSU balance trainer or other unstable surface to increase the level of challenge.  Hold on each leg for 20-30 seconds, this is a great exercise to do between strength or conditioning sets as active recovery.

 

·        Advanced – Lateral bounds with stick holds

 

o  Start on your right leg and explosively bound to your left landing on your left leg covering as much distance as possible.  After landing on the left hold for 2-3 seconds trying to maintain your balance before going back to the right.  Do 8-12 reps

 

Core stability

 

we often think of shoulder strength and core stability as two different things, fact is that they are very interconnected; a stable core equals a stronger shoulders

 

Core stability Exercises;

 

·        Simple – 10 second Planks

 

o  A plank is holding a push up position.  Perform short intense 10 second reps with 3-5 sec rest between.  Make sure your toes are pulled towards your shins, your quads (front of legs) are tight, glutes (butt muscles) are tight, abs are braced (like you are about to take a punch) and shoulders are tucked back and down (towards your back pockets)

 

·        Advanced – Bird Dogs

 

o  Begin in the plank position on your elbows. Keeping the body as stable as possible lift your right arm and left leg a few inches off the ground and hold 1-2 seconds.  Return back to the start and repeat on the other side.For a greater challenge begin with a plank on the hands.  Do 8-12 reps

 

 

Cardio target shooting

 

Next time you are out at the range take a jump rope or hit up some jumping jacks for 45-60 seconds right before shooting a couple groupings.  This will elevate your heart rate and force you to get it and your breathing under control before you shoot.  This will help mimic that excited state most hunters get when they see a deer and will improve your accuracy in those situations.  It will also help strengthen your shot process by making you really concentrate on your breathing in your pre shot routine.  Bow hunters are often also pressed for time; this is a great way to stay up on your fitness while still getting in time to prepare with your bow for the season.  I also like to hold plank positions before shooting or before I start my jump roping.  This will tire out my shoulders and core, at first it might have a negative effect on your accuracy but after a while you will find that you are more sold and stable in full draw and are able to hold the position much longer without shaking.

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Published by Casey Stutzman on 17 May 2012

What should a Bow Hunter look for in Gyms of Fitness Programs

If you are a serious bow hunter than you are serious about your fitness (if not see artice on “why athletes make better bowhunters”).  Whether you are just getting into fitness to improve your hunting skills or you are looking get the most out of your current workout program, here are a couple simple suggestions to steer you in the right direction.  There are TONS of fitness offerings, finding the ones that can be the most beneficial for hunters can sometimes be tricky, use these suggestions below to find what is right for you.

·         All the skills we talked about don’t happen by sitting on machines, find workouts that take place standing and allow participants to “move in space”.  Bow hunters should be looking for more functional fitness offerings, which should not be hard since that is the new buzz in the fitness industry.  Look for places that offer things like TRX, Rip trainer, work with resistance tubes, BOSU balance trainers, medicine balls and performance/athletic training.  I am a huge fan of Kettlebells but make sure you find a place that offers a progressive program for various levels.  Kettlebells are wonderful but are a skill in themselves and take time to master.  I am not a huge fan for Crossfit but feel it can be beneficial for bow hunters if you are able to hook up with a good Crossfit trainer.  Be very careful picking a Crossfit gym, to find the right one for you do your homework and talk to people in your area. Many of the popular Crossfit exercises and workouts require mastery of some basic skills before attempting; when you turn 16 you don’t hit the track at Daytona right after getting your license, find a location that has a progressive system for getting new members involved.   Look for a Crossfit gym that does not have beginners doing any Olympic lifting and encourages short strength workouts and rest days not just met cons day after day.

·         If you are already active take your training to the next level by getting off the machines and incorporating exercises on items like the BOSU balance trainer and TRX suspension trainer into your workout, you can find great TRX trainers and gyms at www.trxdirectory.com  Try doing your cardio by running or bike riding outside for some new variety.   Participating in more performance based workouts will help you increase your athletic machine and vastly improve your bow hunting.  These workout are also fun and very engaging making time at the gym very enjoyable.  A simple way to do this on your own is adding reaction components into your exercises. To find a great local performance trainer look for professionals that hold a Combine360 certification you can find them at www.combine360.com

·         Look into myofascial release techniques to help improve posture and recover from long and numerous sits in the stand.  Lots of personal training studios and specialty fitness business are now offering classes and sessions on the foam roller, some even offer body work by trained professionals.  This is also something you can do on your own where ever you choose to workout but it will take some research.  One of my favorite companies that deliver great MFR products and education for athletes is Trigger Point Therapy www.tptherapy.com

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Published by archerchick on 21 Apr 2012

My Introduction To ELK ~By Tim Dehn

My Introduction To ELK By Tim Dehn
Bowhunting World FEBRUARY 1990
Like many bowhunters, I’ve dreamed for years of hunting elk. That’s an appetite increased by the elk hunting manuscripts I review each month for possible use in Bowhunting World.
Some of the best have been submitted by Pat Meitin, who grew up in New Mexico and today lives part of the year there, part of the year with his parents in Lubbock, Texas.  Meitin wrote Choose When To Bugle for the October 1989 issue and Elk Hunting’s Agony And Ecstasy for our 1989-90 Bowhunting Guide.
What came through both those articles, and through letters and calls back and forth, was Meitin’s respect for the quarry and considerable skill in hunting them successfully.  So when Meitin offered to introduce me to New Mexico’s elk, my only concern was whether I could meet the challenge.
This would be nothing like hunting whitetails or small game in my native Minnesota.  If we drew permits for a game rich area of the Gila wilderness, we’d be camping on the perimeter and hiking the better part of each day in search of elk.  In the semi open country I’d need to be able to shoot well at least to 40 yards, Meiten said, and 50 would be better.  He warned me to expect plenty of walking.
Yes the staff here could spare me for a week, And yes, I assured my wife, most of the gear I’d need to buy would be put to use later for family camping trips.  I made the April 27 permit application deadline and a few weeks later got the word we’d been drawn.  Then I started whittling away at a rather considerable equipment list.  Obviously I couldn’t hunt a magnificent animal like elk in the camo clothing I’d bought piece-meal over the past few years.  Two shirts, fleece and poly/cotton pants, and lightweight gloves came out of the checkbook.  Hiking boots, an external frame backpack and  the camping gear to fill it were put on the charge card.
The card came out again when I found that boosting my bow’s draw weight by 10 pounds totally destroyed the good braodhead flight I’d enjoyed the previous year.  With the extra string, tab, broadheads and sight pins I needed anyway, the pro shop visits set me back $120. I had to invest in a better rest and new arrows to solve my tuning problems, but the people at Bwana Archery in St. Paul made sure that bow could shoot!
Ready To Hunt
And so could I, at least good enough to satisfy Meitin I’d have a chance at a bull if they were still in the areas he’d scouted the previous two weeks.  Meitin had met me at the Albuquerque airport and then stopped at a friend’s house in Socorro to pick up his own gear and get in some last-minute practice.
“Let’s see how your bow shoots at altitude,” he said, meaning, I think, “Let’s see if this desk jockey can hit anything? I found his cam bow, Catquiver, single pin, ultra-light shafts and Zwickey broad- heads a strange combination of high-tech and traditional. He shook his head over my launcher-style rest, wrist sling, bow sling, bow quiver and four pins set for 20 through 50 yards.
“You sure do have a lot of gadgets on that bow.” Stocking up on gas and food, we filled the back of the 4-wheel-drive Toyota and headed west toward Magdalena. The 1988 rig was on loan from Steven Tiesdale, Meitin explained, a friend from Lubbock who would be up to hunt the following week. Quiet and comfortable, it would have lulled me to sleep without Meitin’s lively tales of trapping and guiding in the Gila National Forest we were winding through. Camp was an abandoned shack a few miles from the boundary of the sub-unit we’d drawn.
We tumbled into our sleeping bags under a sky filled with more stars than I’d ever seen before, thanks to the 7,000 foot elevation. Hours seemed more like minutes before the 4:15 alarm brought hurried preparations for a morning afield. It was opening day of New Mexico’s 1989 archery elk season. Meitin had spotted a herd the week before on a mesa within a couple miles of the wilderness boundary. Hiking past another camp we headed out on one of the many marked trails used by hikers and the ranchers who lease grazing rights there.
As the sky began to lighten we heard hunters bugle behind us, but no elk. So we kept moving farther from the road, deeper into the wilderness where motorized traffic is banned. And then we saw them. Distant dots on a hillside resolved into feeding elk as we focused our binoculars. They were a mile and half away, across at least two ridges and three draws. We trotted downhill, and I labored up, suddenly conscious of the altitude and the weight of my well-equipped bow. By the time we reached the peak of the second ridge I was drenched in sweat and struggling to try and match Meitin’s combination of speed and stealth.
Then I heard him. Awesome, thrilling, magical — how do you describe the first moment you hear an elk bugle? I stood there transfixed till Meitin whispered. “Come on. He’s right up ahead .” The bull was upwind not more than 100 yards from us. We could smell elk, and I confess to thinking “Hey, this is easier than I thought.” We quietly cut the distance to 40 yards, to where we could see the waving top of the cedar he was shredding just over a rise. But we could also see four cows and a calf between us and the bull, and as they moved slowly in front of our still forms the wind changed. One of the cows winded us and the whole group trotted down the canyon. We were in hot pursuit, keeping brush between us and them, when Meitin signaled a sudden halt.
Bedded in the bottom of a canyon, ignored by the elk striding by, was a solitary cow elk. We climbed a ridge to skirt the cow, then we had a bit of luck. The small herd we were chasing bumped into another group of elk in the same canyon and as the bulls bugled back and forth to keep their cows collected, we caught up to them. We crouched under the limbs of a tree, arrows nocked, as one of the herds moved in front of us. They were alert, but unsure of our location.
We were pinned, with no cover for approach and no way way to retreat. Meitin hissed at me when I started to draw on the bull, so I waited, only to watch the monarch round up his ladies and head further down the canyon. All we could do was lay back and stretch our cramped and aching legs. “Why didn’t we shoot?” I asked. “They had to be within 30 yards .”
“Didn’t you hear me whisper 60’?” he replied. We had to pace it off before I would believe it: 63 yards from where we crouched to where the 5×5 bull had stood broadside. lt’s size had fooled me. The elk disappeared as they bedded, and Meitin and I did the same. I dozed fitfully in the heat, dreaming of elk all around me. I could hear them walking and munching grass, but couldn’t wake up. When I did, Meitin and I shared some crackers, a candy bar and a few swallows of water.
We hunted back towards the truck, a distance that seemed far further because there were no elk to lure us on and there was so little in our stomachs. The spring had long ago gone out of my steps and by dusk my right knee was signalling a halt. We reached the truck two hours later. The next morning when the first of Meitin’s three alarms began to chirp I awoke to find my knee red and swollen. I had visions of spending the rest of the hunt hobbling around camp but a few aspirin and a few hours later I was mobile again.
Meitin told me about a far mesa where he`d scouted a bachelor herd of bulls, if l didn’t mind getting wet. We parked our rig by two others and dropped down a 20-foot sheer cliff into a river bottom, fording and refording the water that wound down between the distant banks. The sun was shining, there were wild flowers all about and the periodic dunkings actually felt good. We left the river to follow a rocky streambed toward the mesa, then cut up the hillside toward the top. My lungs were burning as I breathed fast and deep in the thin air.
Glassing across the canyon we were climbing out of, Meitin spotted one bull bedded below a dead tree and four others feeding about it. The next 90 minutes were the most exciting I’ve spent as a hunter. We skirted the head of the canyon and tried to pick a route to the bedded 5×5. The mesa had few trees and we kept having to retreat to keep cover between us and our quarry, as additional elk seemed to sprout from the trees and threaten to expose us.
“There’s too many bulls,” Meitin smiled ruefully, heading back toward the canyon rim where we could use the slope of the land to cover our approach. Now most of the feeding elk were to our right, the dozing bull straight ahead. We dropped our packs and made the last 300 yards on hands and knees, avoiding the loose rocks and small cactus. Our last cover was a cedar no taller than ourselves. Meitin whispered the range. “Forty yards. When that feeding bull lowers its head, take your shot .” I tried to still my pounding heart as I rose and the bedded bull came into view. The arrow bounced off the rest but the moleskin saved me. I was able to draw without being spotted.
I picked a spot about one-third of the way up the bull’s chest, finished a prayer, re-leased.  And watched in disbelief as the arrow struck the bull ’s hind hoof where it lay folded against his chest. He was up and away before I could connect with a second shot, and if Meitin had suggested digging a grave I would have climbed right in. The angry bull led eight others off the mesa. We followed for half a mile, to pick up the arrow and satisfy ourselves the wound was not serious, then climbed back up to figure out what had gone wrong.
“You were shooting good this morning. Maybe I had the range wrong,” Meitin said. I was convinced he had, but kept my mouth shut about it. A few minutes later I was glad I hadn’t tried to duck the blame. I paced the distance off at 41 yards. Meitin’s long legs made it 39. I’d simply used the wrong pin. There wasn’t much time to worry about it. The thunderstorm we’d seen building for the past hour was starting to sweep across the mesa, and Meitin claimed an aversion to being struck by lightning.
The rain-slicked slopes wouldn’t support us so we followed the streambed down. Water slides can be fun, but not in the gloom when you’re carrying a bow and pack. The moss-covered rocks were treacherously slick. The third time I fell it was in a pool up to my chest. I had decided the night before that Meitin could see in the dark. Now I accused him of being part mountain goat.
Wet and cold, we pushed through the willows that choked the lower part of the stream bed and found where a mountain lion had pulled a big mule deer down. “Great,” I thought, “If if do break my leg I’d probably get eaten before morning.” We huddled under a tree in the river bottom, ate the last of our trail food and began the long walk downstream. The water was higher, faster, and colder and I counted how many crossings we made on the way out. Seventeen.
In The Fog The next morning we awoke to a thick blanket of fog. We were out before dawn anyway, following game trails through the dew- laden grass where elk had gone before us as they climbed out of a river bottom. Fresh rubs enticed us on, but the bulls weren’t bugling and there was no way to find them in the fog. Instead of spooking what might be just ahead, we huddled beneath some bushes until the mid-morning sun broke through. I was glad I’d followed Meitin’s advice about bringing something warm and waterproof — a Stormtek fleece parka from Fieldline.
It was late afternoon before we spotted elk, three cows and calves feeding in a valley. Constantly checking the wind with a plastic scent bottle he’d refilled with talcum powder, Meitin led the stalk. We froze when a 250- pound calf appeared on the opposite side of a
 bush, 8 yards from me and even closer to my partner. “If you want to take a cow, that’s okay with me,” Meitin had whispered minutes before. So I drew as one stopped in a downhill opening 35 yards away. and mentally chalked her up. We’d been seeing bulls everyday and midway through the hunt it was too hard to give up the hoped-for rack.
We headed back through another rain-storm, lightning striking the high mesa around us. Warming up with a cup of hot chocolate back at camp, Meitin checked the map of our hunting area. “You know where we saw the cows, and then crossed the fence at the bottom of the canyon. The map says that ’s eight miles from where we parked the truck.” “So we walked 16 miles today?” “Plus some wandering around  he responded.
Tuesday started off with promise. Driving to an area we’d hunted two days before, we caught elk in the headlamps. A small herd, including an average bull, was leaving a river- bottom pasture and a frantic calf couldn`t find its way through the fence. We parked the truck out of sight and hurried uphill, hoping to catch up with the bull at dawn. Waiting on the ridge we heard him bugle below us and decided to give chase. The herd passed us halfway down and it turned into an uphill race again, with more hunters joining from the road below.
Meitin fumed at their repeated bugling and cow talking; it seemed to quiet, not encourage the bull in front of us. We were within 60 yards of the 240 bull, a spike and two cows when the leader decided he had enough and chased his charges over the hill. They were out of sight down the ridge when we reached the top. Two receding bugles kept us pounding along until Meitin screeched to a sudden halt. We’d burst into a herd of cattle and with a stomp and a snort an old cow stampeded the lot of them down the ridge, directly after the elk.
There followed a short discussion on the merits of cattle and of how satisfying it might be to blunt a particular cow. There were still elk to be hunted. With Meitin`s direction I could pick out the tan blobs with my Steiner’s at a range of three miles. but we needed a break.
We drove 40 miles into town and filled up with gas and cheap burritos, then returned to our unit to check two hunting areas close to the road. Both had plenty of bowhunters. Dirty and a little discouraged, we decided to take a rancher up on an earlier offer of a hot shower. We got wet all right, but it wasn’t quite what we expected.
Blocking a river crossing in front of us was an older El Camino with Wisconsin plates. Pulling it out was a new four wheel drive Chevy pickup and three helpful Florida bowhunters. We smiled as the Toyota cruised through with no problems, but 30 minutes later our expressions had changed. The rancher wasn’t home, and the river had doubled in size by the time we returned to the crossing. Rain upstream was swelling it by the minute.
Bowhunters from two rigs watched as we eased into the water and then punched it.  We made it all of one-third of the way across before the engine drowned. Water was lapping at the hood as we crawled out of the windows. It took agonizing minutes for our would-be rescuers to hook together their chains and tie a rope to the end. When Meitin leaned into the torrent to catch the rope his feet were swept out from under him. He caught at a bush; I caught his wrist. Then we both fought the current and the branches it was sweeping along to get the chain hooked to the top of the bumper.
Moments later we were out of the flood with the Toyota bumper bent a crazy angle. The engine compartment was packed with pine cones, sticks and bark. It took us 30 minutes to get the motor going, rising water lapping at our feet like a reminder of the mistake we’d made in challenging this rugged land.
Down To The Wire
We slept-in the next moming. I was down to two days but not yet discouraged. Meitin had been getting us within range every day; now all we needed was a change in luck that would bring him another trophy bull or me my first elk. That afternoon we parked near a roadside hunting camp and headed up a dry wash, then followed a winding ridge into the wilderness area.
We skirted a video crew and followed the fresh tracks past wallows and beaten cedars. It wasn`t long before we heard, then saw. cow elk just over a rise. They were 35 yards away and should have been easy targets, but our greed got in the way. The herd bull was approaching and we stayed crouched over, then slowly rose when he passed behind some cover 40 yards away. Not slowly enough, apparently.
The bull took his herd out of there in a hurry. We blew a second stalk, this time on a lone cow. That was too much for Meitin. “I couldn’t stalk a dead dog this week,” he said, throwing his bow to the ground. But the elk weren’t through with us.
Turning for home we stopped on top of a ridge and spotted more elk across a canyon. We hurried after them and snuck within 80 yards before running out of cover. Crouched behind a tree, Meitin alternately bugled and cow talked to try and bring the elk off the wooded hillside and within range. There was a rag bull, about 10 cows and a wall hanger that Meiten estimated would score 340 or better.
Every time one of the cows would head our way the big bull would round it up like an angry sheepdog. Before long he got them into a bunch and literally prodded them over the hill and out of sight. It was getting dark fast, and we were in for a nasty surprise. A shortcut back to the truck turned into one canyon after another, some so steep they sent us doubling back. It didn’t help that my compass and Meitin`s dead reckoning didn’t agree.
“I don’t know which direction North is. I just know where the truck 1s.” He was right, but it was midnight before we knew it. If grit alone were rewarded, we should have gotten an animal the next day. Because dawn found us in the woods again, trailing elk up from the river bottom. We caught the group within a mile of the road, close to a fresh rub we’d seen the day before. But there ’s a big difference between seeing elk and getting close enough to shoot.
We were still 50 yards from the cows and another 30 from the bull when they got suspicious and moved out. Meitin kept us on the fresh trail and four miles later we caught them moving up a wooded valley. We moved down the hillside, keeping in the sun so the rising thermals would carry our scent from them. Then, some motion or sound betrayed us and again our quarry strode over the ridge. We hunted into evening, but not as intensely. I tried to drink in the scenery, the majestic pines, the blue mist on the distant mountains, the rosy sunset. They were part of the memories that were all I would be bringing back. They were enough.
>>—>
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Published by archerchick on 21 Apr 2012

Russell Hull Calls Deer, You Can Too~ By Russell Hull

Russell Hull Calls Deer,
You Can Too!
Archery World February 1987

By Russell Hull
On October 12, 1982, during the fall
deer season here in Kansas “yours
truly” had the experience of a lifetime.
On that calm beautiful fall evening I was
bowhunting with my daughter, Linda, who
was seven years old at the time. We were sitting
back-to-back in portable tree stands,
watching a freshly opened scrape that I had
found a couple of days before. Linda was be-
coming very fidgety and was needing to go to
the bathroom. I informed her that there was
no way she was going to go to the bathroom
around this scrape area. I gave her a piece of
sandy to help take her mind off the problem at
I slipped a piece of candy in my mouth,
under my face mask, when suddenly into the
grape walked a huge 12 point buck. After
waiting a few moments until the buck was in
line right position, I released my arrow and it
went completely through the deer’s heart and
stuck in the ground.
This was my daughter’s first time in a tree
sand and the unexpected had happened. I was
delighted and felt like I was living a dream and
at any moment I would wake up!
On that very same evening in another part
of Kansas another bowhunter by the name of
Mike Rose was also having a dream come
me. Mike shot a new state record whitetail
minutes after I shot my buck. His deer
ended up scoring 182 P&Y. (Mike later entered his buck in my “Cover Up” contest and
won lst place.)

I never miss a chance at asking a 10t of
questions when a hunter takes a really super
buck like Mike’s. I wanted to know just what

he had done to arrow a huge buck so early into
season. I was surprised when he mentioned
that he was hunting near some scrape sign and
was using a deer call. He felt that he had actually called the deer in.

I immediately became
skeptical, but very interested.
Before the next fall’s deer season rolled
around I purchased several different deer
calls and even made a couple of calls and began

experimenting. About ten years ago, I had
tried deer calling and after a few attempts had
given it up. I decided this time to give it a
better trial.
Deer calling is becoming very popular
with bowhunters because most bowhunters
are solitary hunters who are trying to kill a
deer on a one-to-one basis. Deer calling is
really nothing new as far as a hunting technique
is concerned, for it’s probably been
used for thousands of years. Early Indians
used the method with success to get close to
deer, and they were hunting at a time when
bringing home venison was essential.
As bowhunters, we have a tendency to
scout out an area, then set up our stands and
wait for something to happen. With the use of
deer calls and the right hunting techniques, I
believe you can make it happen. Don’t get me
wrong, deer calling is no different than the
success you might have at turkey calling, bugling
elk or antler rattling. It’s not going to
work 100 percent. But if you could improve
your success just 1/3 of the time wouldn’t it be
worth a try.

 
Deer are very alert and wary animals, but
they also have a natural curiosity about them
that makes them respond to a deer call. Recently
while hunting turkeys, I saw two deer
passing by. When I called on my turkey call,
they actually changed directions and came
right up to me at a distance of about 10 yards.
They walked over, smelled the decoy and
walked on up the trail. Just another example
of how a deer will respond to a natural sound
in the woods. They will almost always stop
and look towards the sound.


Deer calling won’t always bring a deer in,
but neither will it scare or spook them away if
done properly. Sometimes they are just not in
the mood. Other times they may be cautious
or bold and aggressive. I also find this to be
true bugling elk, calling turkeys or rattling
deer horns. Rattling deer horns is Mother
Nature’s deer call. However, as with any type
of rattling or calling game the most important
thing is the right set up. This is why still hunting,
scouting and choosing a stand location is
so critical. You can’t expect to just walk out
into the woods and start rattling and calling
and expect immediate results. Using a deer
call without applying proper hunting techniques
is certainly not a short cut to success.
You must do your scouting ahead of the season
and try to plan your calling locations near
fresh scrapes, rubs, food and bedding areas.
if you can get into your stand quietly and without
being detected near a bedding area, you
will sometimes call deer out of their beds before dark.
Another good place to set up for deer calling is on a deer run
between two large areas of timber. This works well before, during and
after the rut as the bucks will be traveling a lot
looking for does in estrus. This is also a good
time to use a doe in heat lure and combine
deer calling with antler rattling.
The best weather for calling deer is on
cold and windless days. When the wind is
very calm the sound of the call will travel farther
therefore increasing your chances.
Some hunters say they don’t need to carry
a commercial call because they can make the
sounds with just the human voice. I feel it is
probably better to use a man made call because
of the louder volume which is needed
sometimes. I also hate to start coughing when
a deer is near by.
Until I see deer I call about every 15 minutes.
Then I quit calling and watch the deer to
see if they will come close. If a deer is coming
toward you, keep quiet, but if his line of travel
is taking him away from you, start to call.
Control the volume of the call depending on
how far away the animal is. Try to call in a
rhythm pattern but not too often and not too
loud.
Deer seem to be able to almost pin point
the location of a person rattling or deer calling,
and for this reason it is better not to over
call or rattle, when deer are within 50 yards or
so. This is likely to arouse the deer’s suspicion.
It also seems to work better if the terrain
for calling isn’t too open. This causes the deer
to have to look for the source of the sound.


Types Of Calls
There are three types of deer calls being
made at the present time. Let’s briefly look at
the use of each one.
The bleat deer call is designed so that the
sound it makes will cause a deer to react to the
call out of sheer curiosity. It is the cry of a
fawn or doe in distress. Big bucks will often
respond to this sound as well as does. (Ask
Mike Rose who shot a state record.) The
bucks will sometimes be following the doe
when tl1e doe comes to the call. The bleat call
will work on mule deer as well as whitetails. I
was hunting with Jim Dougherty, Jr. , last fall
in Idaho when we called in several mule deer
one evening. The bleat call is probably best
used during the early part of deer season,
when they are just moving randomly about
and are not using any specific trails.
Bleat calls can also be used in early mule
deer seasons in the mountains. Let’s say you
are sitting high on a ridge with your spotting
scope and you locate a trophy buck. The buck
beds down and you try to get a landmark on
his location so you can begin your stalk. It
takes an hour to get to the location and when
you do you have trouble relocating the buck.
Things just look different than they did a half
a mile away. But wait, you’ve got an ace in the
hole in your pocket! You take out your bleat
deer call and blow softly while you are still
hidden in the brush. Invariably a deer will get
up to investigate the sound. If you are close
enough, when he gets up take your shot, if not
let him lie back down and relax then continue
your stalk. This time you know his exact location
and the position he ’s facing.

One of the newer calls is the snort deer
call. The snort that a whitetail makes when it
is nervous and unable to identify its intruder is
generally thought of as an alarm signal. This
sound can be imitated by a smart hunter when
he is entering a tree stand in the dark or stalking
a deer that isn’t quite sure what has disturbed him.

When the intruder snorts back at
the deer, it puts the deer at ease because he
then begins to think the sound he heard is an-
other deer. I used this, one morning last fall
when I was hunting around some fresh
scrapes. I was snorted at one time on my way
to the stand; I took out my snort call and blew
one time back at the deer. After a few minutes,

I proceeded on to the stand and within
about 20 minutes I passed up an eight pointer
at l0 yards. If I hadn’t snorted back at the deer
it would have kept snorting until every deer
had vacated the area. Later in the morning I
checked the tracks and it appeared to be a
huge buck working his scrapes just before
daylight. Sometimes, during the rut a snort
will bring a buck running for a light.
The other type of deer call that I use is a
grunt deer call that is designed to imitate the
sound a buck makes when he is trailing a doe
in estrus. This grunt is sometimes described
by hunters as a “burp” or “urp” sound. Quite
often several bucks will follow this sound because
they all are scent trailing the doe in
heat.


I personally like to combine the grunt call
with rattling deer horns. I feel it makes for
more realism while trying to imitate the
sounds of a buck fight. The best time for this
is just a few days before the main tut begins
and again right after the breeding season.
Once the big bucks are with the does in estrus
it’s hard to call them away from their girl
friends.
In November of 1985, I killed two P&Y
bucks while using deer calls and rattling. The
one from Kansas was an uneven 7 x 4 (139 6/8
P&Y). I shot this buck near some scrapes and
was surprised when he let me shoot him again
after the first arrow had found its mark. This
buck was really worked up as I’ve never had
this happen before.
Three weeks later in Nebraska, after their
rifle season, I took my first non-typical whitetail
at a distance of 15 yards while using deer
calls and rattling. The buck had 16 points and
went 154 P&Y. I felt very lucky to take this
deer because they had harvested 450 deer out
of this area the week before during rifle season.
A week later they had another rifle season.
Learning to use a deer call is really very
simple and only takes a little practice. But a
little practice can pay great dividends. Just
remember to call softly and not too often.
Deer calling to me is fascinating, fun and
another extra edge that you can give yourself
while bowhunting. >>—>

 

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Published by archerchick on 21 Apr 2012

How To Hunt Javalina – By W.R. Tony Dukes

How To Hunt Javalina By W.R. Tony Dukes
Texas holds more javelina than any other state.
Stretching like a vaquero awakening from his siesta, the Texas brush country sweeps south and west away from San Antonio, a badland full of wild critters. From deer, mountain lion, bobcat and coyote, to dove, quail and turkey, it’s a paradise for those tough enough to withstand the country’s dry and thorny character. Javelina, the “desert pig,” thrives here.
Hundreds of miles away, west of the Pecos River, the terrain changes but the Texas toughness of the land- scape remains the same. This too, is home to the Lone Star state’s many roaming, squealing javelina bands.
Some quarter million of these bristly little beasts call this area home, creating a bowhunting opportunity too good to be missed. Actually, the quarter million figure is a conservative estimate by Texas game managers.
No detailed surveys. of javelina numbers have been done, but the state reports 18.000-20,000 harvested each year, mostly as kills incidental to firearm deer hunting. Texas holds more javelina than any other state. Also know as collared peccary, these pint sized “pigs” look a lot like hogs, but are not of the same family as pigs or wild boar. Features like a single dew claw on the hind foot, and four teats (only two are functional) separate them from the Old World swine.
Although javelina are classed as big game, they really fall somewhere between big and small game in size. In a Texas study, live adult javelina averaged 55 pounds, while an average, field dressed peccary falls somewhere in the 30-40 pound range. Nevertheless, Texas game management accords the javelina big game status, and fortunately, some protection. At one time, javelina were hunted for the soft, thin leather their hides provided. Many ranchers sought to exterminate them, but in recent years, attitudes have changed.
Today, javelina are no longer considered pests, and some ranchers are beginning to realize the peccary’s value as a bonus game animal for their regular, deer hunting clientele and for special javelina only hunts. Javelina require two things — food and cover. The most dense javelina populations invariably are found where prickly pear cactus is abundant. On almost all ranges, this succulent plant provides more than half of the javelina’s diet while providing most of its water requirements. The prickly pear diet is supplemented by forbs, vines, grasses, and green browse from woody shrubs. Thick brush provides cover from weather and enemies.
Whitebrush or beebrush, and blackbmsh, all acacia types, are favored in south Texas. In the hill country, cedar breaks and turkey pear offer the same protection. The javelina’s only natural enemies are mountain lions and coyotes.
Most bowhunters seeking javelina do their hunting in January and February, a time when brush has lost its leaves and daytime javelina activity increases. However, the season is open year round in most of south Texas, and from October to nearly the end of February in other areas.
During the summer months, javelina are active almost exclusively at night, laying up in the shade during the hot daytime hours. A band of javelina, usually 10-15 animals, inhabits a range of about one square mile, making them predictable if a fair amount of scouting has been done. By carefully scanning mesquite flats, scendaros, roads and other open areas, javelina can usually be spotted if they are in the area.
The animals seem to have no aversion to feeding in and crossing openings, explaining why spotting and stalking is the most popular method bowhunters use to purse the little “pigs On a stalk, the only thing a bowhunter has to worry about besides thorns and rattle- snakes is a javelina`s keen nose, its best defense.
The critters are nearly blind and have only a fair sense of hearing. So with caution, it`s not difficult for a skilled hunter to move within easy bow range. For the patient bowhunter, baited areas and watering holes make productive stand sites. Stands are typically located on the downwind edge of an opening in the thorny thicket, with the bait placed in the clearing. Javelina have a never-ending appetite for corn and can smell the grain at a distance of one-quarter mile. In good “pig” country, it is not uncommon to have bait visited within 24 hours of its placement. Like bear hunting, a persistent hunter that can keep still will usu- ally be rewarded with the opportunity for a shot. Since there are few trees capable of hold- ing a tree stand in the brush country, tripods are the elevated stand of choice. The little “pigs” can also be taken successfully from pit or ground blinds, however, their sense of smell must be respected the same way as that of a whitetail.
It`s impossible to talk about the javelina’s sense of smell without mentioning the rank odor the animal itself gives off. When down-wind from a bunch of javelina, a hunter can easily smell the beasts, and its not an odor easily mistaken, or forgotten. The cause is a musk gland located on the animal’s back, used as a means of communication. By far the most exciting way to hunt these Southwestern animals is by calling them. By imitating a young javelina in distress, a whole herd of calm, feeding peccary can be transformed into a charging, tooth-popping gang. Calling can make for some fast-paced, hair- raising action as the little critters come running.
Another great thing about javelina hunting, particularly calling, is that it ’s not critical to be hunting at dawn. This allows the bow-hunter to savor an extra hour in the sleeping bag or a chance to check out gear and sling a few practice arrows. A hunter won’t be rushed if he decides to do both. Unlike rattling whitetails where the shooter sets up in front of the rattler, when calling the javelina shooter positions himself as close to the caller as possible.
The “pigs” will come directly to the source of the call, often nearly bumping the caller and shooter as they move through. Some hunters have been unnerved by the response of the javelina, mistaking the action for an aggressive attack. The same type of activity is often observed after a band of javelina are spooked by a bowhunter trying to stalk the animals.
In fact, the javelina “at tack” is seldom more than the blind movement of the nearsighted animals as they try to leave the area in the quickest way possible. Javelina do possess vicious looking teeth, but they seldom show real aggression unless cornered. They do, however, seem to fight constantly among themselves making woofs, growls and grunts in the process, a factor that can aid hunters scouting for the animals.
The javelina`s mean looking dental gear are not tusks as referred to with wild boar. The 2·inch, razor sharp extrusions are actually canine teeth used for rooting and tearing some of the tough desert plants they eat. The teeth can inflict injury in a battle, a factor that has led to a decline in the number of hunters and outfitters that will risk running dogs on the little beasts.
Weather conditions on a January or. February Texas javelina hunt can range from that of a summer safari to cold and wintry, all within a few days. Long underwear and a good warm jacket are items to pack along. Rain gear is a must because this is the time of year that Texas gets most of its precipitation. Many hunters wear chaps and snake leggings to protect them in the endless brush. A good pair of tough leather boots are standard fare.
Camouflage clothing is helpful, but neutral tone outerwear will work just as well for this type of hunting. Javelina aren’t know for being tough to kill. Actually, when compared to other big game animals, the peccary goes down easily. Any well-placed broadhead from a medium weight hunting bow will do a nice job dispatching them. Shots average 2-20 yards when javelina come to the call. Usually darting through the underbrush, javelina make small, deceptive targets. The fast-moving, close-range shooting gives instinctive shooters an advantage here. Bait hunters can dictate their own distances by their setup and personal confidence.
Felt-lined rugs, full or shoulder mounts or a pair of handmade leather gloves are some of the exciting options the successful javelina hunter can have produced to remember his
hunt by. It’s a good idea to find out in advance how the taxidermist wants the trophy caped or cut. A bleached skull, canines glistening, always makes a nice addition to any trophy room. Anyone who has field dressed a javelina knows too well the smell of these critters. The musk gland, located high on the rump of the animal, is a four-inch dark area lacking hair. It can easily be removed by taking a knife and cutting around the area. However, because javelina often are loaded with fleas, many hunters prefer to skin the animal on the spot. In this case, there is no need to remove the musk gland because it comes off with the skin.
Javelina, with their almost exclusive vegetarian diet, make good eating at a young age. When hunting for meat, select the medium sized animals in a group. Trophy sized javelina, whether boar or sow, are not palatable, Don’t expect to get much meat from these “pigs.” An average animal yields only about 15 pounds.
Javelina Shoot Out
Way down south near the Texas border town of Laredo is a particular tract of land chock full of javelina. The Callahan Ranch lazily encompasses some 135,000 acres of Texas badlands. Here is the home of the annual Texas Javelina Shoot Out, originated in 1980. Behind a Texas-sized handlebar moustache, a squealing javelina call and a razor sharp Snuffer, you find Ron Collier, co-organizer of the annual javelina shoot. Collier and long-time hunting pal Ed Foreman are pioneers of javelina calling in Texas. Both are veteran bowhunters.
Each year these two, along with about 450 other bowhunters, visit the Callahan Ranch to camp, exchange hunting stories and chase the desert “pigs  Precision Shooting Equipment (PSE) is a major sponsor of the gathering. The hunt is open to the public for a nominal registration fee and 1990 marks the tenth an- nual event. For more information write to Ron Collier, 7700 Delafield Lane, Austin, Texas 78752.
Whether you team up with the other bow-hunters at the Callahan Ranch or set up your own “javelina shootout,” hunting these animals can be a quick cure to the midwinter blahs. Javelina can`t compare to a trophy bear, deer or any of the other animals listed by the Pope and Young Club record keepers, but they are just challenging enough, and just easy enough to score on, to make the hunt well worth the effort. And when that first bunch of javelina is encountered, the excitement will easily over-shadow any doubts about the small size of this animal. The thrills are big!
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