Archive for the 'Bowhunting' Category

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Published by archerchick on 12 Apr 2012

Bowhunting in Paradise ~By Dale Schlehuber

Bowhunting in Paradise  By Dale Schlehuber

Bowhunting World April 1990

There ’s a bunch feeding about 300 yards below us in that brushy pocket,” whispered my father. Clifford Schlehuber had spotted 20 of Hawaii’s axis deer through his 10x binoculars from a bare knob on the ridge that divides the island of Lanai. “I’ll head over to that notch where that bunch ran Friday and try to ambush them if they get spooked,” he advised, “and you can try stalking them. But go slow! Remember, every bush and clump of trees has a deer hiding in it! ” At various times during our week-long hunt, we had spooked as many as 10 or 15 deer while stalking other animals. We had learned that the spotted axises had used the same notch to escape a hunter, so this time Clifford would be in position to arrow an animal before it could disappear into the bottom of a 500-foot-deep, two-mile-long volcanic gulch.

 

After waiting a half hour while Clifford circled behind the available cover to get to his “stand”, I started down the steep hillside, slowly stepping to avoid any leaves or twigs, following any strips of bare, red volcanic dirt, while trying to maintain visual contact with the grazing herd. The axises had routinely come out for an afternoon lunch after
disappearing early in the morning fog that is common in Lanai. Their routines and escape patterns had been learned only alter three hard days of hunting. Too often a “perfect stalk” had been thwarted by an unseen deer, so each step was followed by a careful inspection of every bush and tree. To my right a 15-foot-high mound provided an excellent observation point high enough to clearly see the herd of deer above the surrounding thicket of trees blocking my planned path. As I topped the mound, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, freezing me in my tracks.

 

Achingly. l sat down and spun on my rump toward the movement. A half-grown fawn was eating leaves only 35 yards away. After five minutes, junior’s mother appeared from behind a clump of brush 30 yards away. I had pre-set my moveable SightMaster crosshairs for that exact range, and I knew my 65-pound PSE MagnaFlite bow would send the 2114 XX75 arrow tipped with a Razorback 5 broadhead through her chest and might hit the fawn directly behind her. Waiting until the fawn moved out of the line of fire, I slowly raised, drew and picked the spot for a heart shot.

 

Just as I was releasing half my breath and increasing back tension, a set of antlers moved above the bush the doe had been in. Letting down as slowly as my burning muscles allowed, I watched the upper fork of the small buck bob back and forth as he fed. Although not a trophy class deer, he was a buck, and we hadn’t seen any horns while glassing the herd. As this was our last day of hunting, I didn’t want to return to Montana empty handed (Sure, you went to Hawaii hunting! See any two-pointers on the beach?), so I resolved to take back a tanned cream and spot-covered doe hide to add to my collection. Now, I had the opportunity for the dark brown and spotted hide of a buck along with plaque-mounted horns!

 

Distinctive Coloration

 

Axis deer are natives of India and Ceylon that are spotted for life. Does have a dark chocolate dorsal stripe that turns to a golden honey brown down their sides, becoming a creamy color and white on the belly. Nickle size spots are arranged in rows throughout the body. Bucks tend to be chocolate colored down to the belly, with older males having a charcoal color on the front shoulders and neck. The horns of axises usually have three points to a side; brow tines with a forked main branch are the norm. Large bucks will have horns in the 30-inch-plus category, and make an impressive mount. Although the average buck weighs 160 pounds, some have been known to reach 250.

Axises prefer open parkland forests, but will adapt to dense rain forest. Lanai ’s kiawe (mesquite type) mid zone and the upper ridge’s eucalyptus forest provide ideal habitat. For 15 minutes the antlers moved about the thicket, without my getting a glimpse of the buck. The entire time the doe remained broadside 30 yards away, making any attempt to move impossible. Adrenaline surged through my system. as nothing can make me get “buck fever” quicker than hearing my quarry nearby but not being able to see it. Trying to calm myself, I recalled the first day of our hunt. We had spotted six deer, one a huge charcoal colored buck with 32 inch V horns and long, heavy brow tines. After a two-hour stalk covering only 200 yards, and spooking a jackrabbit-sized fawn at 10-feet that, fortunately, ran away from the herd, I finally positioned myself for a 25-yard, head-on shot.
As the buck exposed his throat while feeding on an overhead limb, I drew and released too rapidly, resulting in the arrow being deflected left of the mark by a small branch that in my haste, I had not seen. The buck and the herd disappeared into a deep gulch in seconds. Lanai is a small island forming a triangle with the islands of Molokai and Maui. The volcanic island rises steeply from the ocean, with most ofthe shoreline being 200- to 300- foot-high cliffs. The steep slope continues from the ocean upward to the plateau on the center ofthe island. This flat portion is where pineapples are grown. The northern edge of the plateau is bordered by a high ridge that rises to 3,000 feet, high enough to catch the moist trade winds. Often, this ridge is shrouded in fog and rain, providing the island with water from deep wells. Lanai City, the only town, has a population of 1,400 inhabitants, most of whom are of Filipino, Japanese and Hawaiian ancestry, brought to Lanai to cultivate 19,000 acres of pineapples by the island’s original owner, Dole.
Now, Lanai is  owned by Castle and Cook Co, whose CEO is David Murdock, a main-land businessman. Koele Company manages the islands pineapple operation, and administers the year-round fee hunting program for axis deer on the eastern half of the island. Archery permits good for the entire year cost $100, while rifle hunters must pay $280 for a one-day hunt.
The fee half of the island is divided into several zones so that each hunter can reserve an  area for himself. For a nominal fee. a guide can be hired through the Koele Company. The best time to get trophy antlers is from May through November. Horns in all stages of
developement can be seen due to the length of the matinig season. Now the real good news! The western half of the island is mantained for public hunting of axis deer and maouflon sheep. The archery season for deer is usually the last two Sundays of February (It’s a great way to take the wife on vacation and still get in some hunting.)
The nrst two Sundays of August constitute the mouflon season A one-year, non-resident license costs, get this, $20! Not only can you hunt axis deer and mouflon sheep on Lanai. but you can travel to neighboring islands and hunt feral pigs, feral goats, feral sheep, and if you draw a special permit, blacktail deer. Depending on the island and zone of the island, the limit can be two pigs and two goats . . . per day!  Also, Hawaii has over 15 species of game birds. including three varieties of francolin grouse. three types of pheasant, three types of dove, and Rio Grande turkey. All this for $20.
Summer Vacation Hunt
My mainland friends could not believe that I was going to Hawaii exclusively to hunt, especially in August. However, low summer airfares and the ability to combine the public hunt for mouflon with the private hunting for axis deer had me anxiously awaiting August’s arrival. We had decided to hunt deer for three days, then take a day off to participate in a tournament sponsored by the local archery club, No Nuff Archers, for the over 300 hunters that arrive for the mouflon season. The tournament is held on a Saturday, followed by a banquet and awards ceremony.
Hawaiians really know how to have fun! We were greeted at the airport by Assistant Game Warden Ken Sabino whom I had met in February on my first visit to Lanai. Ken had arranged for us to use his jeep, although vehicles are available at local service stations. If you rent be sure to ask for a four-wheel drive or pickup as there is little asphalt on Lanai, and most roads to hunting areas are poorly maintained.
Ken then gave us some bad news. The deer had so badly damaged the pineapple fields that the usual surrounding archery zones had been opened for shotgun hunting during weekends. Additionally, special wardens had been spotlighting and shooting the troublesome deer. We were in for some tough hunting, as the axises are normally spookier than our deer of the mainland.
Currently Lanai has only a 14-room hunting lodge, but Koele is building a first class hotel to entice scuba divers to Lanai’s crystal clear waters which are considered the best in Hawaii. However, I recommend the Hotel Lanai not only for its great dinners, but also the evening sessions on the hotel`s porch, where locals usually gather to swap hunting stores. I hope the flavor of the lodge and island will remain even after the larger hotel is completed.
Also there is an excellent beach where camping is allowed, but reservations must be made in advance. Toilets, showers and fire pits are available, and a quick swim in the ocean after a hard day of hunting really relaxes a fellow.
Pre-Hunt Tour Helps
 After we had settled in, we took a brief tour of the hunting area. Clifford was amazed by the ruggidness and variance of terrain and t His preconceived notion of a tropical rainforest covering the entire island were dashed by the island’s desert zones. Only the 3,000 foot high ridge north of Lanai City was vegetated, covered by a eucalyptus and pine forest. The other two zones were totally different mainly because of the constant mist which provides moisture on the ridge top. The coastal zone vegetation is similar to southwest of Texas mesquite. In this zone, the axises drink the brackish water of tidal pools, since there are no flowing streams on the island.
The steep, rocky, deeply gulched kiawe zone lies between the coast and cultivated plateau zones. This zone is very similar to the arid hills of the Snake and Columbia Rivers of  eastern Washington state.
For three exhausting days we traveled up and down ridges and gulches rising out of abandoned pineapple fields. Later, we learned that in their native India the deer are preyed upon by tigers. Natural selection had made them  warier than even whitetail deer.
Each day we took a two-gallon jug of water to fill our bota bags. The 85-degree humid climate resulted in an empty jug each evening. Our best discovery was that the abandoned fields had volunteer pineapples the locals called sugar pines” because they are much sweeter than those that are harvested.
Sugar pine juice and a sandwich was our lunch. On Friday the mouflon hunters began arriving on DC-3`s used to transfer them from other islands. That evening we exchanged hunting tales with the Hawaiian hunters who had rented a house for the weekend, The Hawaiians were as eager to hear our Montana elk hunting stories as we were to try the local dishes some hunters had prepared for the communal meal. Never have I met people who became friends as easily as the Lanai hunters.
Saturday, I participated in the 28 target tournament, designed as a warm-up for Sunday`s opening day of mouflon hunting. That evening, the No-Nuff Archers held an awards banquet. There were trophies for each division and three flights of first. second, and third places were presented.
Early Sunday morning, we jumped into the jeeps after a quick breakfast of rice and fish balls, which also were wrapped in dried seaweed and placed into fanny packs for our lunch. A large jeep caravan headed towards the public portion of the island. the caravan’s headlights lighting up the spiny tops of the acres of pineapples. That morning the sheep moved up and down the kiawe zone due to the pressure of 300 hunters moving about. I saw at least a dozen full curl rams, but couldn’t cross to the other side of the rimrocked canyon in which I was hunting.
Later in the afternoon. the sheep bedded down in the thick. man-high silver koa brush, somewhat like a thick, twisted willow. Mouflon sheep, natives of southern Europe, are the smallest of the world’s wild sheep. Ewes are usually a light sandy color, while mature rams have forequarters and backs that are black with a white saddle. Ram`s horns are large for the size ofthe animal, similar to a desert bighorn, with full curl and 1 1/4 curl trophies found on Lanai.
Occasionally, rather than curling outward, the horn will come back in close to the ram’s head, much like an aoudad or Barbary sheep. Non-residents may hunt mouflon only during the archery season, while Hawaiians must enter a special drawing lor licenses to hunt them with rifles.
I spotted two groups of rams and decided to try stalking the nearest trio bedded in the koa. After an hour and a half, I managed to get 80 yards from two full curls and a three-quarter curl. The stalk suddenly ended when another archer appeared on the ridgeline and spooked the rams. Five minutes later. I spotted them two canyons away, at least two hours of hard hiking for me. I elected to try for the other group of five rams and hiked in their direction. Again, just as I was nearing reasonable bow range, they were spooked by other hunters.
That Sunday no mouflon were taken, y although several archers had opportunities. David Yasumura. one of the Honolulu hunters with whom l had become acquainted. would have qualified for a “ram fever” award if one had been given. Despite having finished second overall in the previous day`s tournament, he emptied his quiver twice. trying to knock down a mouflon ram.
Buck Ignores Warning
 As I recalled the week`s events. the favorable breeze decided to swirl. The doe stared at
my unmoving form. I avoided eye contact, and my thoughts became serene and peaceful, reminding me of a superstition I have. I believe animals have senses other than the five humans have, and can “catch” thoughts.
It didn`t work, however, and she began a “head bob” routine that I had seen many whitetails perform: Fake a move for a bite of grass . . . head up quickly . . . fake the head down a little lower. . . spring up with the head and stare for 30 seconds . . . down again almost to ground level this time . . . and, up again. Then, she had my scent because the wind was directly to her. Three sharp stamps of her foot alerted the fawn, and, I assumed, the buck. also. A high-pitched “bark” and away she and her fawn sped. but without the buck. Where was he?
Doing a “duck walk” around the left side of the mound allowed me to see one of his escape routes. I hoped he hadn`t headed for the herd and spooked them, too. Wait! Freeze! There he was 50 yards away. and not running, but leisurely eating. The young buck had ignored the doe’s warning and was now broadside, neck stretched upward as he nibblcd at the fruit of a pukawie tree. The 50 yards downhill were almost bare, providing no chance of getting closer. However, I had spent the summer at our local club range and felt comfortable taking a shot at this distance. l set the sight for46 yards, allowing for the slope. I drew, let out half my breath. held the left arm solid with hand relaxed. increased back tension. and smoothly released.
The arrow sped toward the lung shot I had chosen, however, at this distance there was enough time for the buck to react to the string noise. He stepped forward. the arrow hitting him in the middle. As he circled towards where the doe had been. I could see that the liver shot was going to require some tough tracking in the dense brush in the basin.
I waited an hour before beginning to track. The orange XX75 shaft, minus the last six inches. was laying  10 yards from where the deer had been hit. The surrounding brush`s green leaves were splashed with small, almost misty red dots. making blood trail tracking more difficult. And I knew there would be no blood trail from the liver shot anyway. But, I
still looked. I began making sweeps in the general direction me deer had gone, using the  broken shaft as the center of each increasingly bigger arc.
I heard an animal crash through brush as if it had been spooked from its bed. I was sure  it had been the buck, and searched the area roughly. Three hours later we headed back in the dark. I spent a sleepless night. knowing a wounded animal was suffering. In six years of bagging several deer, two elk, an antelope and a rocky Mountain goat,  I had never lost a hit animal.
The next morning we packed our gear for our trip home. Clifford suggested we drop our bags at the airport and return to the hollow for one more hour or searching. Dad knew how much I wanted to find that buck.
Parking the jeer, Clifford headed up the hillside while I went toward the spot where I thought I had jumped the bedded deer. “l found him! I found him!” Clifford yelled. He hadn’t walked 50 yards in the waist high ferns before he almost stepped on the hidden carcass Bowhunting rarely goes as planned, and this trip has been no exception. We both had missed some relatively easy shots at deer and had had an excellent time chasing the sharp-eyed Mouflon. However. I am dreaming of returning next August not only for the hunting and beautiful scenery, but especially for renewing contacts with the friendly people on the pineapple island of Lanai.
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Published by archerchick on 12 Apr 2012

Bowhunting The Midwest -By Randall P Schwalbach

Bowhunting The Midwest

By Randall P Schwalbach
Archery World Bowhunting Guide ’88
Is that a deer, or is that a horse?” Ben I exclaimed as the eight-point whitetail buck leaped in front of the truck. “Just an average Wisconsin buck,” my father replied. Two hours earlier, I had picked Ben up at the airport, and now we were within a couple miles of camp. Ben had come up from Texas for a November hunt with my father and I, and he couldn’t believe how large the first deer he saw in Wisconsin was. That deer didn’t stop and let us weigh it. but l said it might go 140 pounds dressed. Just an average Midwest whitetail. Now to put that in perspective; two weeks later, Ben killed an east Texas buck that scored 126-1/8 Typical — and weighed 88 pounds.
That’s why the Wisconsin buck we saw leap across the road surprised and impressed Ben. Midwestern deer not only have large bodies, they also have the potential for trophy antler growth. The all-time high scorer (206 1/8) was taken by Jim Jordan in 1914 in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. In the number-two spot is a Missouri buck (205) taken in 1971 by Larry Gibson. Next comes an Heinous buck, a bowkill that scores 204 4/8, taken by Mel Johnson in 1965. Just last year, another big Wisconsin buck came to the attention of Boone and Crockett scorers. Taken by Joe Haske in 1945 in Wood County, the buck scores 204 2/8 and ties for fourth place. Wisconsin is the only state to have produced two trophies scoring over 200. Not to mislead anyone, I must also point out that most midwestern deer never reach trophy size.
In Wisconsin, for example, the average whitetail supports a small six or eight-point rack. That’s because an average Wisconsin buck is a year and a half old. Very few bucks make it through their second winter because they are shot during the November gun season; a fact that archers who like to hunt bigger bucks have to deal with. If hunting big deer is your primary objective, your first challenge is to identify habitat that will hold big deer. Such habitat will have one characteristic: It must be overlooked  most deer hunters.
Finding The Bucks
To use my home state of Wisconsin as an example, some of the largest deer are taken from the southeastern counties surrounding the city of Milwaukee. Don’t let the number of subdivisions fool you. There are deer here Big deer. They become big by living in areas
where hunters typically don’t look for deer – in the shadow of development.
Gaining access to urban areas is admittedly difficult. To go out the week before hunting season and ask permission to hunt such farms is usually futile. But if you keep your eyes and ears open, you may learn of an opportunity not far from your doorstep. The point is, you are looking for a place that everyone else has overlooked.
Public hunting areas are sometimes also in the overlooked category, especially those places that are primarily marsh and river bottoms. It is likely that the only hunting pressure these areas get is from duck and pheasant hunters. Often you can use the waterfows and upland hunters to your advantage, by being there on opening day and letting the brush pants brigade drive the deer to you.
A third area in which to look for trophy bucks is the wildest, most rugged country you can find. In Wisconsin, steep hills, such as the breaks of the Mississippi river, and the big woods and swamps of the Nicolet and Chequamegon National Forests tend to keep hunter pressure at low levels. A standard rule of thumb I use in wilderness-like areas is: If you can get there by road, somebody else already has. Find a place where the roads are few, and then walk in.
Hunting the Midwest has a different flavor from deer hunting in other areas of the country. Unlike southern states, where liberal bags (some allow a deer a day) are common, the seasons in the midwest are far more restrictive. In Wisconsin, an archer is allowed one deer of either sex per season. This leads to a hunt where the bowhunter is likely to place more emphasis on killing a trophy buck. After finding an area where deer can live long enough to become trophies, the second step to shooting a big buck is to learn to pass up smaller bucks.
This should be obvious. But I know of many good hunters who do everything else right, and who always end up shooting deer with average size antlers. Then they ask why they’re never seeing trophy deer.
My first shot at a trophy was not by design. It was September, and the evening was hot. So hot that I began to feel ill while perched on an oak branch and had to kneel down on the branch (it was a big branch) and put my head low. While in this position, I heard a deer approach and looked up to see an eight-point buck, probably a yearling or 2 1/2 year old, walk by within five yards. Unable to get into position to shoot, I watched him walk away. Once he was out of sight, I regained a standing posture, in the hopes the buck would circle back. He didn’t. But on his backtrail came a much larger buck. I counted 14 tines, some of them appearing to be a foot long. I missed a five yard shot. Lesson one: Early in the season bucks travel together, so let the smaller buck pass if you’d like to see a trophy.
Time It Right
September is my favorite month to hunt the midwest. It is a perfect time of year,  when there is still abundant natural camoflauge left in the trees (leaves), yet the nights are cool enough to slow down the majority of flying insects. During the middle of these early autumn days, it warms up enough t0 make a nearby trout stream the place to be.
Beyond the  weather, I like September because the deer are still feeling relaxed from a long summer of undisturbed feeding. The first week of the bow season is when the element of surprise is in the hunter’s favor. I have taken more bucks with a bow during this first week than any other time, including the rut.
During the first week of the season, usually, the third week of September in Wisconsin, I concentrate my efforts on the oak  woods. That’s when the acorns of the white oak begin to fall.   These acorns are the sweetest of all the oaks, and they will also not last long on the forest floor before they begin to decompose. The deer know this, and they some to eat these acorns at all hours of the day.
The rut is probably the second best time to score on a buck. In the midwest, the rut occurs during the first two weeks of November. In central Wisconsin, the eighth through the 11th is when I look for the rut to peak. Given the recent increase in bowhunter pressure, however, the rutting behavior in my area has become more and more nocturnal. On the other hand, late-season hunting in December seldom sees crowded woods. A week or two after the gun season closes, the deer resume their normal feeding schedules.
The closer to winter, the more active deer seem to become, as if they are trying to put on a few more pounds before the real cold starts. This is especially true of big bucks that burned their energy reserves during the rut. If they are going to make it through the winter, they have to replenish those reserves.
Bucks start to travel together again in the late season. In this regard, it’s a lot like the early season. Don’t try and hunt the whole day during the late season. I find mornings unproductive then, because that’s the coldest time of the day and the deer remain in their beds. Afternoons when the wind dies early have been best for me in the late season.
Hunting the midwest has a charm because of the large variety of habitat types. This forces a bowhunter to be flexible in his hunting style. In wide open farm country, for example, the best use of a tree stand is not for hunting, but rather for scouting. If you spend a few evenings or mornings in a tree in a fence line, you will likely discover some patterns to deer movement. Perhaps you’ll see a small herd of deer using a corner of an alfalfa field. Try to determine the best natural funnel to that feeding area, and set up a ground blind in it.
Make sure you’ve practiced shooting from a sitting position, because you’ll probably use a stool in your blind. For a good blind, wear camouflage that matches the background, and make sure you can shoot over any kind of screen of brush that you place in front of you.
Another way to hunt farm country is to still-hunt through standing corn. This technique is best employed on windy days, when the corn is noisy. By moving across the rows, looking up and down each row before you proceed to the next, you will get amazingly close to deer, some of them bedded down.
Although I don’t personally own one, a suit of corn stalk and cattail camouflage would seem ideal for this type of hunting. Skyline or winter camouflage, with a lot of white in it, also works well, because bedded deer are looking up at the sky.
Midwestern states are full of rivers, and boat hunting is some of the most enjoyable hunting I’ve ever done. Both my father and I made our first bow kills from a canoe slipping
 silently by the alders, and both deer were shot in their beds. This technique is dynamite if nobody else is doing it. Once locals caught on to our technique, they gave the deer on that river a thorough education in what paddles banging on gunwales sound like.
The best river for floating is one small enough that allows you to shoot to either bank. However, I find it works best just to watch one bank, and let the person paddling watch the other. On my first bow-kill, Dad actually whispered to me, “Right bank,” and I still had time to locate the deer and release. One of the disadvantages of hunting from a canoe is not having prepared shooting lanes. You’ll get extremely close to a lot of deer that you’ll just have to pass up because there’s no shot. Wait it out. As you drift past, a lane may open up, or the deer may step into one on its own.
Probably the most unorthodox tactic I ever employed in a farm country situation was an amphibious ambush from a drainage ditch. I used the ditch as an approach to a cornfield where I knew the world record whitetail was hiding, then submerged my folding stool in a clump of reeds, and sat down with waders above my waist. Mallards whistled over me and sandhill cranes exulted the dawn with raspy, prehistoric voices. A family of raccoons wandered past, busy poking their hands into silt at the waters edge and never noticing me. And finally, the sound of deer feet, precisely placed on the sandy bottom of the ditch. Slow but steady, the deer approached.
I could see the reflection of his antlers in the ripples that pulsed toward me. And then, 10 feet away, his gaze met mine, but not for very long. There was no shot opportunity as the buck raced straight away from me, up the ditch and back into the safety of the corn. By that time, I was fairly chilled from the water (what did I expect from wet wading?) and went back to the car for a cup of coffee and a sandwich, which I chewed very slowly while planning my afternoon hunt. Finding a dry, leafy oak tree was what I had in mind.
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Published by Casey Stutzman on 04 Apr 2012

Why Athletes Make Better Hunters

 I am always amazed how much money hunters will spend on the newest gear and technology to gain an advantage in the woods, all while ignoring their fitness and hunting skills.  Your body is your most lethal weapon; a bow is just an extension of that weapon.  We spend time and money to make sure our equipment is in proper working order that during the moment of truth it will perform but somehow don’t see the value in that same amount of care a preparation of the “human machine” which requires far more care and matinance to perform than any bow or rifle.  Simply put athletes make better hunters because their body and sense are finely tuned to be at its best when the game is on the line.  Before you dismiss the rest of this article because you have never been into sports let me assure you hunting is a sport and you are an athlete.  Everyman is has an athlete with in him; it is that sprit that drives us to compete and seek risks and adventure.  Your instinct to be an athlete is just as strong as your instinct to hunt; the feeling you get when you triumph over a challenge is no different than the one you get when you provide for you family from the fruits of the wild. Below are 3 benefits you will receive as a hunter when you choose to release your inner athlete.
Communication – Fit athletic individuals are often thought of as having strong bodies but their true strength lies in their nervous system.  To keep it simple let’s just say the function of the nervous system is to run communications throughout the entire body.  Improved “communication” can have many benefits for hunters including;
·         Improved reaction times.  “Quick” athletes are made not born. Consistent training improves the speed of communication from the brain to the muscles and vice versa,  this allows the body to react more rapidly to a stimuli.  Vision works into the equation as well, your brain gathers enormous amount of information from your eyes, and improved communication makes this process more effective.
·         Body Awareness.  The term used to describe a person’s awareness of their body and movement is space is call proprioception.  Again through training athletes have very high proprioceptive abilities; this same ability will benefit bow hunters during their draw cycle.  Being able to “turn on” certain muscles (especially postural) at will leads to more accurate and consistent shooting.  Often in archery articles you read about the importance of practice at short ranges to develop “muscle memory” for your draw cycle, athletes will more quickly develop that memory and it will “stick” in the brains better.
good posture – the benefits of good posture are 2 fold; first it will lessen the stress put on upper and lower back from excessive sitting in a tree stand.  The second is a biggie, more accurate shooting!  Posture is all about putting the body in the proper position so that everybody shows up to work; good posture is the cornerstone of core stability.  What I mean by that is if my shoulder blades are in the correct position in relationship to my ribcage and pelvis there are more muscles active to give my “structure” rigidity and a stable platform.  In this sinerio the work of drawing and holding at full draw while keeping a steady pin are shared throughout all the muscles in the body (when standing).  It’s the difference between having 2 friends come over to help you plant a new food plot or 20.
Breathing and heart rate – this is kind of a given.  A trained body has a lower resting heart rate and is able to make better use of oxygen.  Translation for hunters; when you see that buck and your heart begins to race it will not rise to the levels that will affect your shooting because it is starting at a lower rate.  Second you don’t need as much oxygen because your body has become efficient at using it, this gives you more control of your breathing and allows you to take smaller breaths that will keep your pin on target better even at an elevated heart rate.
Recovery – Sitting all day long can be very demanding on the body.  Sitting puts us in a very negative posture that causes excessive stress and tension on specific areas, when standing this same stress provided by gravity is better distributed throughout the entire body.  A fit athletic body will recover better and faster from the stress of sitting allowing you to sit all day and then recover better so you can do it again!  Bodies that are inactive do not deal with stress well because they are not as used to it.  A fit and athletic person’s body is under the constant stress of training and exercise and responds in a very positive manner by adapting to that stress to become stronger and speed up its recovery process so it is ready for the next round.  Think of a cell phone battery, if I want to make a 30 min phone call and my battery is full I have plenty of power to make the call and can expect that the phone will recharge quickly to full power.  If I start my call with only a 50% charge on the battery that same 30 minute call will leave my battery almost fully drained and it will take me much more time to charge back up
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Published by archerchick on 04 Apr 2012

OUTSMARTING TROPHY BRUINS ~By Dr. Ken Nordberg

OUTSMARTING TROPHY BRUINS ~By Dr. Ken Nordberg

Bowhunting World June 1990

Hunters Never See Most Of The Really Big Black Bears

Urr-AUGH!” The throaty roar came from almost directly beneath our tree stand. Hair standing on end (an universal affliction among all smaller bears and humans present), the twin yearlings immediately dropped their beef bones and sprinted south, appearing from behind like a pair of rapidly bouncing, black rubber balls.

Seconds later, a scarfaced, chocolate-colored brute charged malevolently into the small opening before us. Normally, the mere appearance of a mature black bear is enough to start one‘s heart thumping and knees trembling, but this one — some 250 pounds of fulminating inferno — cast an added complexion on matters. Even though black bears, as a rule, are extremely unlikely to vent rage on humans, at this particular moment, a couple of Nordbergs, mouths agape, could not shake the feeling there are exceptions to this rule.

“There’s your bear,” I croaked softly to my youngest son.
After several tense and agonizing minutes of waiting for the
bruin to present a perfect shot angle, the tranquility of the
dripping forest was suddenly shattered by Ken’s shot, Six notable events followed immediately there-after. The heart-shot,
chocolate-brown bruin barreled into rain-soaked hazels on our
right; a bolt of lightning stabbed through the crown of a nearby
pine, showering the forest floor with sparks, and one of the
yearlings reappeared, streaking directly toward our stand.
Lurching to our feet, we found my portion of our years-old,
treestand platform cracking, the unseen (obviously near) chocolate-brown bear beginning to roar and me dangling from my armpits, camera equipment askew. I was inordinately concerned over the realization that my legs were within an easy chomp of least two crazed (and perhaps vengeful) beasts with
large and powerful fangs. Happily, the oncoming yearling
spooked at the sight of my flailing legs, rapidly opening a new
path in yet another direction, and the chocolate-brown bruin succumbed during its third roar.

This somewhat extraordinary, yet somehow typical, bear
hunting episode was the Nordberg family’s introduction to unguided, do-it-yourself black bear hunting. Being a veteran of several guided bear hunts during earlier decades, at least half of which were unsuccessful, I was not only pleasantly surprised by the relative ease with which the chocolate-colored bruin was taken, but flabbergasted by the number of unsuspecting bears we had observed within 30 yards of our stand. We’d seen  in only two days of hunting. Suddenly, we were struck with the realization that rarely-seen black bears — one of world’s largest, most powerful and most cunning land carnivores — are not only much more abundant than thought possible, but very obtainable by the do-it-yourself hunter. During the following decade, drawing l-to-3 Minnesota hunting permits in all but one year, my adventure-loving sons, Ken, Dave and John, my son-in-law Kevin Stone, and I hunted black bears with a passion.

Though 100 percent successful, we began to realize early
on, not all black bears are easy. The bears that proved to be
fairly vulnerable to our baiting techniques during legal shooting hours
were small-to-medium in size, sows and younger
boars up to 250 pounds. Most hunters would not call a 250-
pound black bear merely ‘“medium.” In the wilds, they not
only appear to be very large, but when taken by a hunter they
even feel very large, being much more difficult to move than a
whitetail deer of the same weight. Compared to “average”
bears taken by hunters, weighing significantly less than 200
pounds, they “are” large.

But we knew we had much bigger bears in our favorite
hunting area — monsters that would go 300-500 pounds, One
might even weigh substantially more than 500 pounds. Such
bears were proving to be frustratingly difficult, if not impossible,
to attract to bait during legal shooting hours. Thus, we began to experiment, knowing it would take something “special.” We knew these bears were largely nocturnal, astonishingly cunning and wary, very determined to avoid short-range encounters with humans. We knew they had excellent noses,
and we were fast becoming aware of the black bear’s extraordinary sense of hearing.

Then, it began to happen. Adding big-buck-effective know-how to our thinking, we at last began to draw large to very-large bears to our bait pits, Last fall, I put an arrow through the heart of our second-largest bear from a range of five yards. It was a 422-pound boar that will score very high in the Pope And Young Record Book, proving without a doubt that the do-it-yourself approach can provide the very best in hunting adventure.

Here`s how we do it:

Step 1—Sharpen Marksmanship

A bear hunter’s number-one enemy what facing a large bear is the hunter himself (or herself). As both Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone once observed, taking on a large black bear, one on one, is a true test of a hunter’s mettle. Neither, from what I’ve read, tried it with a bow. Of` course, they did not have the deadly archery equipment we have today, but even with a tireann in their hands, they too felt the extraordinary excitement, the suspense and the danger (whether justified or not) that is an inescapable part of every encounter with a black bear at short range. It’s a heart thumping, knee-rattling experience, all right.

The trouble is “normal” human responses in this situation contribute to inaccurate shooting. Ordinarily, when a large bear is the
target, the average hunter will be at least four-times less accurate than when shooting at a paper target. What that means is, the hunter who can comfortably put all practice arrows into a 3-inch by 5-inch target (the size of a bear’s heart) from 20-30 yards will have a devil of a time putting one arrow into a 12-inch by 20-inch area when the target is a live
bear. What that further means is, to be confident of a heart shot in the field, the hunter must either be capable of putting all practice
arrows into a l-inch circle from 20-30 yards, or limit shooting to the range from which all practice arrows can be shot into a 1-inch circle.

“Confidence” is the key when hunting bears. When you absolutely know you can hit a bear’s heart, every time, you will not be nearly as unnerved when one approaches. That‘s important. Is the heart shot so necessary? No. A lung-
shot bear (both lungs) will usually go down fairly quickly — typically within 20-30 seconds — but, if the arrow does not pass through a bear’s chest, it might be tough to track and recover. Being as fat as they are, high, single
chest wounds do not bleed much, and in 20 seconds a larger bear can easily barrel 200-300 yards. When an arrow passes through a bear’s chest, making an exit wound, the low side wound will usually bleed profusely, providing an easy-to-follow trail. If you can’t be sure of a more deadly heart shot, limit your lung shots to 10-20 yards using heavy arrows shot from no less than a 60-pound bow. Shooting through rib bones only, this should give you that
low-side wound that will lead you unerringly to your bear. Keep in mind, a large bear’s lungs are about one-third smaller than a large whitetail deer’s lungs.

An old sheep guide once advised me. “When you shoot a bear, you want to shoot it dead. You don’t want to just wound it and make it mad. Once a bear gets its adrenalin up, even if it isn’t dangerous, it can be very hard to kill.” No shot kills a bear more quickly than a heart shot, or a shot that severs major blood vessels at the top of the heart. A heart-shot bear will usually drop within 35-50 yards, and it will be very easy to follow the blood trail to the bear.

Step 2-Scout Early

Even where bears are especially abundant, to Lhe untrained eye, bear signs are unlikely to be obvious or common. Ignoring the need to find bear signs, many hunters select stand/bait sites at random, thinking mostly of
themselves in the process. They pick sites close to roads, sites easy to get to, sites with good views and such. Only about 50 percent of randomly selected stand/bait sites are likely to be productive. Once you have spent
weeks hauling hundreds of pounds of valuable groceries to an unproductive stand, you’ll start thinking, “There`s gotta be a better way.”
And, there is.

First, key on edges of heavily-forested, wet lowlands, cedar swamps, areas flooded by beavers and tangled creek bottoms, for example, I don ’t know whether well fatted bears during the fall suffer from heat and need tc
drink a lot of water. if they like to bed in heavily-forested. wet lowlands, if the foods they eat are more common there or if we simply do better hunting bears where their tracks are easy to distinguish, Whatever the reason,
our most productite stand/bait sites are almost always located very near water. Not just any water. It has to be water near tangible bear
signs such as traclcs. droppings, scratch trees and evidences of feeding.

Second, key on available bear foods. In our favorite hunting area. the only wild berries available to bears during the hunting season are wild cranberries and bunchberries Both grow in wet soils, cranberries in a large
spruce bog and bunchberries beneath mature lowland cedars and other evergreens. Where oaks are common bears will spend considerable time eating available acorns. Domestic farm crops like oats. apples, sweet corn and
melons will attract bears from considerable distances. as well as garbage and carrion.

Black bears especially relish sweets of any kind. wild honey being their most common type of sweet in the fall. Insects and grubs also make up a large portion of their fall diets, evidenced by torn-open rotten logs and trees, and
ripped-open ant hills.

Third, key on big bear signs. Intending to hunt older bears exclusively, my boys and I spend considerable time searching for “big” bear signs. We ignore areas that only have signs of small to medium-sized bears, regardless of how common they may be.

No matter how much bear food is available in any one region during fall, older bears seem to forage almost continually along specific routes, unlike younger bears which commonly bed nearby and exploit a good source of food for an extended period of time, perhaps even for weeks. Unlike younger bears
which seem to remain in the vicinity of a food source long after it‘s exhausted, older bears quickly abandon the area and resume traveling widely.

Some older bears I’ve known will range over 20 square miles. The very large
bear I took with a bow last fall was occasionally seen in farm fields 10 miles apart, east to west. I have personally trailed it up to two
miles north and south from the spot where I eventually shot it.

A big bear on the move may not find a new bait for several days, It may not find it at all if the bait is not located near its usual foraging route. Even if it can smell your bait within an infrequently traveled area, a big bear may not go out of its way to visit it unless other foods are scarce. When hunting big bears, then, bears` signs are very important. Droppings
large in mass, claw marks higher than a man can reach on a bear-scratch tree (a rare find) and hind paw prints 8 to 9-1/2 inches long generally mean you’ve located a big bear’s foraging route. Without such signs in the
vicinity of your stand, you may see bears, but it’s unlikely you’ll see a trophy-class bear.

Upon discovering food placed in the woods by a human, an adult bear will fully
understand how that food got there. Nonetheless, the bear will cautiously make use of that food daily, either until the food is exhausted or until it cannot feel secure there like discovering 21 human there during regular feeding hours, for example. Once the food is exhausted, an older bear will not likely return for 3-4 days. Upon being spooked from the site by a human, it either may not retum at all or it may retum during nighttime hours only.

Where unexpected, near-encounters with humans are likely at a bait site, such as at one near a road or trail frequently traveled by humans, an older bear will either completely avoid the bait site or visit it during nighttime
hours only. Trophy-class bears are therefore unlikely to be taken near roads or trails frequented by humans. To be effective, stand/bait sites should be located at least 1/2-mile from frequently traveled roads or trails.

Hunting bears that far off-trail means the hunter must be prepared to transport heavy bait and possibly a heavy bear over considerable distances over rough terrain. This means the hunter must also locate, brush-out and
mark a conservative trail to a bait site. Once an older bear realizes a human is depositing food at a specitic site periodically, it will be very reluctant to approach during daylight hours unless the site is surrounded by
dense cover. This means a spot with a good view is unlikely to be effective for taking a big bear. It means the hunter will likely find it necessary at a good, heavily-timbered site to create a small clearing for the bait pit and a
conserative shooting lane, preserving as much surrounding cover in its natural state as possible. Wide and obvious, new clearings and shooting lanes spook older bears. Preserving cover commonly makes it necessary to position the stand very near the bait. For this reason, I often end up sitting within 10 yards. This is not usually a handicap as long as the hunter can remain reasonably calm while a bear is present. Nearer than 10 yards is not better though certainly more exciting Shot angles can become difficult at shorter
range and at five yards a bear can hear the strong beat of a human heart.

Step 3—Prepare Stand/Bait Sites

Essential to the effectiveness of an elevated stand intended for hunting any black bear is cover enough to screen a large portion of the hunter’s silhouette. Black bears do not have sharp vision. but older bears, nonetheless, readily recognize the exposed silhouette of a feared human, even when the human is completely motionless. Being tree climbers, black bears frequently gaze up into trees. Perhaps older boars, the most dominant of bears, expect to see younger bears in trees, as climbing is a common escape from possible attack.

Encounters between bears are especially common at bait pits, and so is tree climbing. Sometimes, I feel big bears mistakenly identify breathless. well-camouflaged humans on elevated platforms as cowering lesser bears.

Without adequate silhouette-hiding cover, you’re sunk. I’ve had all classes of bears identify me in trees. When that happens, I am amazed at how abruptly a black bear can disappear. With a big bear, one such alarm is all it takes. That bear won‘t give you a second chance at that site, not even a year later.

Though black bears are less intimidated by new stand sites than whitetail deer, the stand, should be erected no less than two weeks before hunting. With good cover at the platform level, such as provided by a mature evergreen,
a stand nine feet above the ground is adequate.

In Minnesota where we can begin baiting two weeks before the opener, we usually set up our stands and brush-out shooting lanes and
stand trails during the first baiting.

As illustrated, we dig bait pits about 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet deep at well-drained locations. All of the soil removed is carefully spread out around each pit so bear tracks can be measured more easily. |
Track measurements tell us how many bears are visiting our pits and how large they are. Bears eventually pack this soil down so that tracks become indis-
tinguishable. Thus, we make it a habit to loosen this soil each time we add more bait.

After depositing bait in our pits, we cover it with tive or six 100 pound plus logs six feet long. We arrange these logs tightly side-by-side, at right angles to the expected path of the hunters arrow. These logs serve several functions. For one, they protect our baits from other animals and birds. I have seen ravens clean up 100 pounds of exposed meat scraps in one weekend.

The logs also serve as measuring sticks. Any bear that compares favorable in length (nose to tail) with a six-foot log  is “a keeper? The way these heavy logs are moved from pits is also a measure of a bear. Small or medium-sized bears usually roll two or three logs to one side, opening a narrow window to the bait. Large and very large bears flip two or more completely out the way,
sometimes tossing them end-for-end several feet to one side. Placing logs at a right angle to arrow flight promotes ideal shot angles. Bears usually stand parallel to the logs — on top or to one side — providing broadside or slightly
angled positions that make heart shots easy.

Step 4—Bait Heavy & Often

There are probably as many effective baits and bait combinations as there are bear guides. Because bear diets vary from region-to-region and allowable baits vary, too, from state to state or province to province, it ‘s difficult to suggest baits that are universally effective or allowable. Rather than do that, I’ll simply explain what we Nordbergs use in Minnesota. Here, pork is prohibited (to prevent the introduction of trichinosis to bears), as well as glass, metal or plastic containers.

‘With such great latitude, we’ve had plenty of opportunity to find out what our wild bears like best. Our current “per pit” recipe for big bears is as follows:
75-100 lbs. fresh meat scraps, bones and suet
10 lbs, dry dog food
1/2 peck sweet corn on cob in husk
50 pounds of fruit preserves (dated and
unsalable)
1/2 peck backyard apples and/or other fruits
1/2 watermelon, smashed
Assorted table scraps
Bacon and cooking greases saved up during
off season (initial baiting)
2 gal. used cooking oil (initial baiting)
1 pt. honey (used only when hunting}

As you can see, we give our bears plenty to eat. We add the above amounts to our pits very four to seven days during the two weeks before the opener. As we have learned over the years, smaller amounts of bait will not keep a
large bear satisfied very long. Once bait is completely consumed, a large bear will typically resume its extensive foraging and not return again for three to four days. We try to keep this from happening by renewing baits
every four days after a large bear is on a pit.

I`ve had as many as six bears, including cubs, regularly feeding at one pit, but rarely will even this number of bears clean out a pit in less than four days. A particularly large bear will scent its food source with plenty of urine and droppings to warn off other bears, thus making our generous offering last about four days.

Occasionally, we are unable to renew baits for a week. It may take up to four days for a large bear to return. Younger bears will usually stick around a few days after a pit is exhausted, commonly returning within hours after a pit is replenished. Normally, we re—bait two to three days before hunting, and then again at noon on opening day. From that time on, additional baiting is rarely necessary. By the fourth day of hunting, our allotted permits
have been filled, and our bruins are being converted into gourmet cuts of meat.

Our bait recipe evolved over a decade of experimenting with different foods. Fresh meat scraps are our staple. Though many guides swear by ripe meat — the stinkier the better- our bears have shown time and time again they much prefer fresh meat. We freeze it and store it in 75-pound blocks to assure
freshness in the pits. Dried dog food is used like a spice, mostly because bears have often tried to steal some from our dogs dish in camp. Sweet corn is a much-relished side dish. Our last two bears were shot while nib-
bling com from our pits. We dump highly aromatic fruit preserves
from 50-pound bulk containers over the logs covering our pits. It”s likely this bait alone could do the job. Apples are a perennial favorite, and they hold up well in pits for extended periods, whatever the weather. After honey,
the first thing bears reach for is the water-melon we provide. To enhance its sweet odor, we smash it into small bits just before closing our pits. While baiting and hunting, all left-over foods and scraps from our tables become
bear bait. Anything humans like, bears love.

All during the off-season, all cooking greases, especially bacon, and oils are carefully preserved in coffee cans in the back of the refrigerator. Few substances in a bait pit can draw bears from a greater distance. Using
ordinary paint brushes, we spread bacon grease on tree trunks along at least two paths.

Step 5- Hunt Afternoon to Evening

Like whitetail deer, black bears normally begin feeding well before morning’s first light. It is impossible to approach a stand at first light, or shortly before, without spooking any bear that might be there. Unless it is stormy, no human can move quietly enough.

Once you spook that big bear you’d like to take at your stand/bait site, it is unlikely you will ever see that beast again at that site during
daylight hours. Don`t take that chance. Sleep late in the morning.
Expect to ambush your bear alter 4 p.m. Head to your stand at least five hours before sunset, however. Occasionally, a bear will come in three hours before sunset. Usually, it will be younger bears first, and then progressively larger bears as the sun sets at a pit where several bears are feeding. The very largest bear probably won‘t appear until 30 to
45 minutes before sunset. And, some very large bears have a habit of appearing right after legal shooting hours are over. All you can do with a bear like that is keep trying, hoping it will eventually make a mistake.

Being at your stand at least five hours before sunset is recommended for a good reason. A wiser, older bear will commonly check for human scents, at a safe distance along the trail to your stand before approaching your bait pit. If your scent is several hours old, the bear will move in. If your scent is
relatively fresh, it will quietly leave, likely without your knowledge. This is probably the most common reason why smart, old black bears aren’t seen by average hunters, and why smart, old black bears become only nocturnal
visitors at stand/bait sites.

When hunting and fresh bait is needed, either replenish your pit at noon, and then sneak in later to hunt, or wait until five hours before sunset and use the “buddy/baiting system .” Two hunters noisily carry in bait. While
one climbs into his stand, the other noisily leaves. In the old days, we used this system routinely, but later in the day. Quite frequently, a younger bear, bedded nearby, would rush to the pit within 15 to 30 minutes after the noisy buddy had disappeared. The older bears were never fooled, however.

Step 6—Minimize Sights, Sounds & Scents

Hunting a wise, old black bear is a lot like hunting a wise, old whitetail buck. With a bear, however, eliminating identifying sounds is most important. Though bears have excellent noses, the air around a bait pit characteristically reeks with food and human odors.

Having poor eyesight even at short range, a bear at a bait pit is mostly dependent on its ears. That’s not a handicap as a bear ’s sense of
hearing ranks with the best. That doesn’t mean the hunter can afford to
be careless about sights and scents, as the honey episode reveals. The hunter must be well camouflaged from head to foot, with camo that fairly well matches surrounding cover. Normally bright and reflective human skin, both face and hands, must also be covered with appropriate camo colors.

The hunter’s clothing and body must be free of strong odors. Clothing should be washed in scentless soap, hung outside to dry and protected in scentless plastic bags from odors until shortly before you head to stand. Before wearing this clothing, however the hunter must wash his body with scentless
soap and should brush his teeth with soda Well-scrubbed, all-rubber boots are recommended.

When heading to a bear bait/stand early, the hunter should move quietly and
steadily, only pausing to ascertain that a bear is not at the bait pit and to pour a generous offering of honey on an adjacent tree trunk. Climbing carefully on to the platform making no unnatural squeaks or bumps in the process, the hunter must then sit silently and motionless until the quarry arrives, while avoiding the notice of woodland sentinels that might spill the beans — red squirrels, deer, bluejays and such. When biting insects are prevalent, put on a headnet rather than use a smelly repellent.

Step 7—Prepare For Adventure

Imagine being in my size-11s last Labor Day evening:
A swarm of yellow jackets, heavy with honey purloined from the bait pit below
danced sluggishly on buzzing wings without the warmth of a beam of evening sunlight stabbing through the heavy balsams. Slowly they drew nearer, guided by the swinging shaft of light.

Suddenly, the beam of light fades and the buzzing ceases, but you are not aware of that because your astonished eyes are riveted on the gigantic black form that has just emerged from the deep grass of the ash slough 75 yards
west of your stand. Unconsciously your body tenses, your heart lurches and begins beating more profoundly than ever before, your knees start quaking uncontrollably. It’s the biggest black bear you’ve ever seen. Inadvertently,
the shaft of your mounted arrow slips softly to the moleskin guard from beneath, you wince as bear freezes, its malevolent eyes intent upon the
landscape that hides you. Breathless, you dare not even blink an eye. Several suspenseful moments pass. Finally, the bear tums and effortlessly pads on silent feet through brush and windfalls north of your stand. It seems to
be purposefully staying out of range. Shortly, it disappears from sight behind you. You wonder, “Did I goof`? Was that arrow noise enough to keep that bear from coming in? Should I turn — steal a peak?” Then, you hear a soft shuffling beneath your stand. From the comer of your left eye,
you see the bear moving toward the pit. With your back arched so your clothing will not brush against the rough bark of your stand
tree, you begin the slow, oozing motion that will eventually end with a full draw. Although its body appears fuzzy at the edge of your vision, you’re avoiding now the alarm-triggering direct gaze, you note the bear is facing
you. You see its tawny muzzle rise; it‘s looking right at you. Again, you freeze, totally motionless. Then, you hear loud lapping. You passed the test . . . so far. As the bear intently laps honey, you resume your grand movement with the bear becoming more visible as you turn. Again it looks up. Again you freeze, your eyes diverted obliquely and your heart settling down now. Noisy lapping begins again. The upper limb of your bow rises
slowly upward from your lap. The bear turns, effortlessly sweeping three, 100-pound logs from the pit with one fore paw.

Now, the lower limb of your bow is sweeping slowly downward. Your eyes tell you lean farther outward to keep this limb from hitting the metal platform brace. Concentrating now, and hardly seeing the bear, you watch your
lower limb slip safely beyond the brace. At last you tum your eyes more toward the bear. The bruin snatches a cob of sweet corn out of the pit and drops it just to the left of the pit.

Head down, the bear rips the husk from the cob while pinning it to the ground with its forepaws. Your eyes widen as you realize the bear cannot see you now. It is standing quartering away, its left flank toward you. Anxiously, you begin your draw, stifling the urge to move quickly and listening intently as your arrow slides slowly over your padded rest and plunger. Suddenly, the strain in your right arm and shoulder is gone, your bow has let-off.

Your right forefinger resting firmly behind the trigger of your release begins to slide upward. Through the fuzzy ring of your string peep, you see the red bead of your sight surrounded by jet black fur. You visualize a vertical line immediately behind the bones that make up the bear’s left shoulder. Your bead lowers, now centered on that line. The range is a mere
five yards. Your time has come. Your right index finger eases to the front of your release trigger and slowly squeezes.

Whap! You see your bright blue and green fletches disappear into the exact spot of your aim. Instantly, the bear is gone, crashing with astonishing speed and power north through tangled alders. Then, there is no sound. You
lower your bow. Fifteen seconds pass. Then, you hear it: urr-augh. . .urr-augh. . . urr. . .

You did it! You’ve taken a monster black bear. You obviously did everything exactly right. It just couldn’t have been done any other way. You measured up. Shaking almost violently now, your body free at last to be normally human, you take in a deep breath and let it out. You look upward and see the evening star. “Lord,” you murmur, “it just doesn’t get any better than this.” For the first time in your life, you really know what that means.

 

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Published by jmtompki on 29 Mar 2012

Attention Outdoorsy Women!

For the last two years I have been working on developing my own women’s outdoor apparel line. Recently I received my samples from the manufacturer and to save time/money they used what materials they had to build the basic form. The fabric they used on my light weight shooting jacket was a brown with gold thread, making it shimmer. I liked the look of it, and asked other hunters if it would affect birds when hunting in the field and they said no.

Would you wear a jacket like this?

All of your input and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Jess

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Published by mountainarchery on 14 Mar 2012

St. Jude Children’s Hospital Archery Benefit

Mountain Archery of Gruetli-Laager, TN will the hosting their 3rd Annual St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Archery Tournament June 23rd and 24th.  All proceeds of this tournament will be donated to this hospital. We raised $2500.00 last year  with over 80 shooters. We want to get the word out to the archery  community  to hopefully raise more money for these kids.  We will have 20 McKenzie Targets situated on a nature trail, pop out novelty, plywood buck novelty, turkey trio novelty,  5 day Kansas Bow Hunt Drawing, bows to raffle, deer target door prize, prizes signed by some of the pros, and refreshments.  Check out our schedule on www.mountainarchery3dshoots.com. If you can not come, please tell a friend. Thanks!!!

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Published by KurtD on 15 Feb 2012

THINK DEER – by Ted Nugent

THINK DEER                                                                                           by Ted Nugent

You can’t really close your eyes and read this, so instead, concentrate as you read and pump images of deer into your brain. Envision all those stunning beasts you have been so blessed to encounter over so many hunting seasons, and burn that beautiful picture deep into your cranium. Imprint it on your psyche, make it an actual element of your being. Now, doesn’t that feel good.

I am typing this little ditty in my Ranch King deer blind on a cold December afternoon, and I have eight whitetails in front of me right now, all within twenty yards. I sit spellbound.

An old matriarch doe is crazy alert, two doe fawns and a very handsome button buck with huge pronounced nubbins could care less as they nibble away. There is a yearling doe, a yearling three point buck, and a fat stud of a three year old eight point beast. They own me.

My heart is racing rather predictably, and I only keep typing because I am trying to convince myself to not shoot the handsome eight pointer.

Steady Uncle Ted. Steady as she goes.

For all the right reasons, I should kill that old doe as part of my Texas Parks and Wildlife Managed Land Deer Permit plan. We figure eight more does gotta go off our ground, and she’s an old gal that would be perfect to take out to better the herd. We shall see.

I really love hunting, ambushing and killing deer, love watching and videoing them, love being a natural part of their world, love grilling and eating them, really love sharing their sacred flesh with the regional Hunters for the Hungry program and the families of the US Military, but what turns me on the most is the intelligent, stewardship system by which we manage deer and all wild game for healthy, thriving populations and properly balanced conditions. By doing so, I can forever enjoy and celebrate all those other ways that I love deer.

I just looked up again from my laptop, and now there are ten deer. Another shooter doe and a scrawny spike horn buck arrived, and they are all bulking up on feed in the cold weather. They constantly look around and flinch at every bird, every breeze, and for many unknown reasons. What an amazing creature. I would propose that for millions and millions of us, our lives would be dramatically less enjoyable without deer. I know it has always been a powerful force of joy, inspiration and awe for me and my family.

The two big does just stood up on hind legs and went into that flurry of cartwheeling punches with their front hooves. That is some violent behavior right there, and any one of those cloven hooved blows could kill you outright. I am sure that while we are all conveniently tucked away in our cushy homes throughout the year, whitetail deer are knocking the living bejesus out of each other, including killing each other at a much higher rate that anyone really understands.

The button buck is way out of his league haranguing the old girl, as the rut is up and down for the last couple of months. I am real tempted to kill the puny spike and forkhorn, but at only one and a half years of age, their first set of antlers in no way provides a meaningful indicator of their genetic potential. Have you ever noticed that once we decide to not shoot a particular animal, that they pose perfectly broadside with their leg forward for the longest periods of time?

I just gulped a deep breath of freezing air, for a dynamo buckaroo just arrived on scene to take any deer hunter’s breath away. This majestic stag has ten perfectly defined points on his tall, wide, sweeping rack, and represents the kind of monster buck I would never have dreamed of coming in contact with growing up in the Midwest deer woods.

This incredible beast has no idea that a blood thirsty venison addict is only fifteen yards away in this dark blind, with a bow and arrow and razor sharp broadhead and the tags to go with them.

He noses the does and the other bucks give him lots of room, and with all the commotion, you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to get to full draw on such a great deer. But I just gaze, video it all and type away, for though this buck’s antlers are very impressive and highly desirable, I can tell by his trim neck, brisket and body that he is only two and a half years old, the very definition of a quality deer management specimen to let walk.

I am so proud of myself. I am learning, and his presence literally increases my excitement just knowing such quality bucks are around. It wasn’t that many years ago that I would have killed him in an instant, but like so many other hunters these days, I know I can get all the venison I need by killing the right deer and letting the right deer grow to their potential.

Shooting light is gone now, all the deer have moved off, so I put away my vidcam, attach my quiver back on my bow and get ready to shut down my laptop, absolutely thrilled beyond words that I am a deer hunter. I head home with my soul filled with allthings deer.

Tomorrow in another day, and tomorrow is another deer. I will now fill my belly with some scrumptious backstraps and keep the spirit of the deer alive in everything I do.

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Published by KurtD on 15 Feb 2012

TEXAS TEN – by Ted Nugent

TEXAS TEN                                                                                 by Ted Nugent

 

I never really stop hunting. It is indeed a cherished, time honored lifestyle for me. A wonderful, totally alive, day by day celebratory outdoor lifestyle of great, deeply appreciated, heartfelt gratification. Self-sufficiency. Rugged individualism. Hands-on conservation. Private land ownership. Property rights. Privacy rights. Experimenting in “self-government”. We the people resource ownership and stewardship. The right to keep and bear arms. Live free of die. Don’t tread on me. Surely the ultimate American Dream the way I see it. Independent. Free. Self evident truth, God given right’s. Pursuit of happiness guaranteed. Perfect. You can’t do this in France.

 

The supremely enjoyable daily routines of checking my trapline, killing varmints, choosing and planting foodplots, running irrigation, positioning new deerstands, constructing groundblinds, upgrading old ones, checking fences and gates, filling waterholes and feeders, trimming shooting lanes, practicing with rifles, handguns, shotguns and bows, arranging and upgrading targets and ranges, training dogs and introducing new people to the joys of shooting, watching and studying wildlife and constantly strategizing ambush zones for my hunting clients, and more, are all chores and enjoyable outdoor activities that I really look forward to each day. Rocking my brains out nearly 100 concerts per year pretty much keeps me busy throughout the summer any way you cut it, so these wonderful activities which I live for in between rockouts do indeed keep me bright eyed and bushy tailed in a constant, energized way. When the actual official hunting season shows up in the fall of the year, my state of mind doesn’t need too much adjusting back to my natural predator mode and spirit. In fact, with the amazing year round hunting opportunities for exotic wildlife in my new adopted homestate of Texas, there are not any “No Hunting” days in my life. How cool is that? Godbless Texas, Godbless America and Godbless the beasts all!

 

Back in my ancestral homegrounds of Michigan, the seasonal changes are palpable. The air tastes different. Dramatic change is tangible. The planets do indeed realign and there is a mystically altered pulse in the wind. Ya gotta love that. Meanwhile, in the great Republic of Texas, one must routinely check the calendar so see if summer will ever end. Texas is hot. Usually hotter. For an old dyed-in-the-wool Michiganiac, it is a bit of a psychological adjustment to deal with all this blazing sunshine and brutal heat. But as a guitarplayer-cum-U.S. Marine, I can improvise, adapt and overcome with the best of them. And I do. There is no Plan B. It is time.

 

So it was, as the blistering fireball in the LoneStar sky grilled my inner being, nonetheless, the calendar read October and my spirit insisted on liftoff. All that dedicated boot time on my hunting grounds had kept me abreast of whitetail activity, and this day I chose a tall ladderstand nestled deep, and hidden within the green embrace of a tall pine tree overlooking a winding, rocky creek course amongst the thorny screen of greenbriar, assorted impenetrable tangles and relentless juniper. A line of huge, towering pecan and live oak trees made up the forest before and behind me, and with the gentle southwest breeze, my confidence ran high. It is always a roll of the hunter’s dice, but we had a full on backstrap mojo going on this day. I could feel it. You never know, but we always hope.

 

After a long wait, the eye-candy parade of beautiful, sleek, healthy does and fawns ghosted from the shadows as the sun dipped lower. Some of the whitetails were red, some brown, others slate grey. A few of the fawns still showed remnant spots, confirming that the breeding does indeed continue well into winter. Momentarily, a small forked horn, a spike and a fat, muscular, slick six joined the group. My elevated ambush hideout gave me a perfect viewing position to watch the group of 20 plus deer carryon undisturbed, and again provided me the greatest joy that is being a hunter. To be on the inside of their natural world has a powerful healing and calming effect on me, and I studied each animal in detail through my Yukon binoculars. Mutual grooming, prancing, kicking, nipping, licking, head butting, sparring, browsing and constantly examining their surroundings with an uncanny alertness entertained me completely. I love every minute of such encounters and it represents a prime allure to the great outdoors lifestyle. The critters never let you down and there is never a dull moment.

 

Early season bucks tend to hang out in bachelor groups, and the slight glint of bone through the scrub materialized into antlers as five stud boys emerged from the tangle down below. The first two were handsome 2-3 year old eight pointers, followed by a 3-4 year old 9, then another young eight. It was the arrival of massive, tall, wide, light colored antlers that got me. With a dandy set of impressive antlers towering over his distinctive, Roman nosed face, one hog of a mature buck strode up the creek embankment and waddled into view. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that Texas whitetails are small, for this old granddaddy of a buck was every bit as fat, muscular and heavy as a Kansas or Michigan brute up North. I could tell by the deep chest and brisket, and the fat belly that I had before me a 7+ year old trophy. Now the slight trembling began.

 

Slowly lifting my binocular, I examined this fine buck carefully and realized that I knew this old boy. I had encountered him in this same grove late last season. His distinctive white legs and exaggerated white facial markings clearly identified him as my old buddy. My bow was already at half mast, Scott release locked onto my bowstring, and my mind made up.

 

The does and fawns and younger bucks backed away as the old boy strode toward the small piles of Wildlife Innovations Buck bran I had put out as an attractant, and now my inner predator ballet was going into the gutpile pirouette hyper two step. I dance divinely.

 

A slight screen of leaves on a young cedar elm separated my arrow from his vitals, so I had no clear shot. It doesn’t take much interference to deflect a speeding arrow, so I held tight. As goes bowhunting, the big boy kept his forward shoulder toward my position for a long while, and life around me ceased to exist. It was just his ribcage and my broadhead that existed, nothing else.

 

With a graceful swing of his long neck and head, he took a step to his right, bringing his bulky chest clear of any obstruction, and the mushy 55# CP Oneida bow flexed back smoothly on its own. I zeroed in dead on the crease behind his left foreleg, and the next thing I knew, big white feathers were dangling out of his armpit as he and all the other deer exploded at once. Angling forward as he had turned, the zebra colored GoldTip shaft had surely sliced through his ribs and into the life pumping heart of the old beast, his sagging hindquarters telling of his imminent demise. Big Jim swung the SpiritWild vidcam from the now departed buck’s vaportrail, onto my now smiling, giddy face for the whole word to share, and I was one happy American bowhunter to say the least.

 

We captured on tape all the glory and joy of this wonderful, perfect hunting connection, then filmed the short, quick bloodtrail and recovery to the heartshot monster. Everytime we collect these wildlife gifts, a Nuge party erupts in the forests and wildgrounds of the world, knowing and celebrating the thrills of being so intimately functional as a beneficial, positive participant in this natural tooth, fang and claw world. Every exacting nuance and detail of the pre-event, anticipation, encounter, shot preparation and intense action is relived and articulated as clearly as possible, so that the viewer of our Spirit of the Wild TV shows and videos better understands the depth of spirit, form and function of the real world that we are living and documenting. Life and death is it. It is perfect. Shame on those who pretend otherwise. Rejoice to be a player.

 

For the Best of Spirit of The Wild DVDs or Ted Nugent Hunt Music CDs, contact tednugent.com or call 800-343-4868. Dealer inquiries welcome.

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Published by huntermt on 30 Jan 2012

reality hunting

I have been waiting for a reality based hunting show to come out on on of the networks for a long time, I want something I can be involved in and go online and vote for hunts I liked and recommend thing I want to see. I recently stumbled upon Outlanders on the Outdoor channel and although the hunt I watched didn’t appeal to me, the idea behind the newish series is what I wanted. They take everyday hunters and build an eposide around their choice hunt. In the hunters everyday honey hole. Next season you can enter in a drawing to have this be you, they opened up like 10 spots. I love this! I cant wait to see me and my buddies on tv.

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Published by archerchick on 11 Dec 2011

The Top 10 Trophy Whitetail States – By David Freed


Archery World September 1984
The Top 10 Trophy Whitetail States
By David Freed

ave you ever wondered which state
H harbors the most trophy whitetail
bucks? Your days of wondering may
be over, if trophy distribution statistics of
Pope and Young whitetail entries can be considered
an accurate indication of where those
big bucks can be found and are being taken.
It may not be a shock to you that the top 10
states for trophy whitetail bucks (with typical

antlers) are all located in the Upper Midwest.
The states among the top 10 go no farther east
than Ohio, no farther west than Nebraska or
South Dakota, and no farther south than Kansas.
The state farthest north is Minnesota.
And Minnesota just happens to be the top
state overall.
According to the statistics, which include
animals taken up to the 13th recording period

that ended in 1982, Minnesota has had 210
whitetail deer that have exceeded the minimum
score of 125 in the typical category.
Minnesota’s top entry scored 181-6/8. far
short of the 204-4/8 all-time record that M J`
Johnson took in Peoria County, Illinois. in
1965. Minnesota’s top entry ranks just eighth
on the all·time list, but more than half of Minnesota
deer on the Pope & Young record
books exceed the 140 mark.

The states that round out the top 10 for
total number of typical whitetail entries with
Pope & Young are: Wisconsin 177, Iowa 173,
Illinois 147, Kansas 124, Ohio 119, Indiana
94, South Dakota 83, Michigan 71, Nebraska
50.

Altogether, the top 10 states account for
1,248 of the 1,627 typical whitetail deer that
were entered with Pope & Young through
1982. It means that a whopping 77 percent of
Pope and Young typical trophy whitetails have
been taken in those 10 states alone.

And if you turn to trophy Whitetail deer
with non-typical antlers, you get close to the
same results, Minnesota again is the leader,

with 34 entries above the 150 minimum mark.
Iowa pulls in second with 18, Illinois is third
with 13, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Ohio tie for

T
fourth with nine, Nebraska is seventh with
seven, and South Dakota,Montana, and
Michigan tie for eighth with five. The only
difference between the typical top 10 and he
non—typical top 10 states is Montana is
included in the non-typical category instead of
Indiana. (And Indiana ties for 11th place with
Kentucky with four. Montana. by the way,
does rank 11th among states for typical
entries.)

So we’ve pointed out the top 10 states as
far as sheer number of whitetail deer entered
with Pope & Young. Minnesota. for now, is in
the lead. But where have the top 10 all time
deer been taken?

As stated before, M.J. Johnson leads the
typical antler whitetail pack with a 204-4/8
entry that he shot in Peoria County in 1965
Two of the top 10 all—time official entries are
from Illinois.

Meanwhile, Iowa has three entries in the
top 10 — the second and third place entries
and the fifth place entry. Right there are three
typical whitetails that reach above the 190
mark.

Nebraska has two in the top 10 (Sixth and
ninth) and Colorado (fourth). Kansas (seventh),
sigh ». and Minnesota (eighth) each have one.
See the accompanying chart for localities,
renters, and dates.)
As far as the non-typical whitetail all-time
top 10 list, Del Austin holds the record with a
279-7/8 deer he shot in Nebraska’s Hall
county in 1962. It is Nebraska’s only top 10
entry. Illinois leads all states with three top 10
enties (third, fifth, and eighth).
Iowa has two in the top 10 (seventh and
ninth, while Kansas (second), Wisconsin
(fourth), and Minnesota (10th) each have one.
So what do all these statistics prove?
It definitely proves Minnesota has had the

most trophy whitetail deer make the Pope &
Young record books.
And it definitely proves the Upper Mid-
west is a hotspot for bowhunting whitetail
deer. The statistics bear out the fact that the
most Pope & Young entries are from states in
the Midwest.

But it cannot be considered a totally accu-
rate way to judge where the most trophy
whietails are or where they’ve been taken.
“Mlinnesota is one of the best states, but
there are may be areas as good or better than
Minnesota,” says David H. Boland, Pope &
Young member who has been figuring out trophy
distribution statistics since 1978. “The
interest in entering with Pope & Young may
not be as high. Not all archers enter deer —
due to the lack of measurers, economics, or
lack of interest or time .”

It does cost $25 to get an entry made with
Pope & Young and there is a process to go
through and though there are more than 500
official Pope & Young measurers in North
America, they are not always conveniently located

“In Minnesota there are a fair amount of
measurers who are quite interested and want
to get animals entered.” Boland said. “It
proves you have to have the interest .” Boland,
by the way, lives in Minnesota.
Boland estimates that only 1/3 of record
book heads are measured. And without a
higher percentage of heads entered, “you
don’t have a totally accurate representation of
where the trophies are,” Boland says.
And, in Minnesota, about all a bowhunter
can go after are whitetail deer and black bear.
“‘The amount of people who hunt deer figures
in ,” Boland says. “The more hunters, the
more entries .”

A combination of factors are necessary for
a deer to be trophy size and Minnesota, along
with all the other Upper Midwest states, has
that combination.
“You have to have heredity,” Boland says.
“The father and mother have to have characteristics
that provide for offspring to be trophy
size.”

Good feed is also necessary, Boland says.
And deer simply need X amount of years
to grow racks to trophy size, which means
they must be able to survive hunters, weather,
and food shortages.

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