Archive for the 'Personal Blogs' Category

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Published by cmgo06 on 14 Oct 2008

memories everyday

 The following is a true story.

 As each day goes bye and I am  thinking about my hold, aimming , and various “littile” things I work on each time. Being hard on my self is something I do and get mad about. For no apparent reason. However shooting a bow has tough me how to slow down and relax.

 Get home see my great kids and very understanding wife. Grab a snack and get to shooting. pratice make prefect they say . So when is it gonna pay off. I know I am “actully” shooting good. Hitting on or with in the “10 ” ring it a great shot in the feild. Yet I still want to hit that x spot. Distance is a game that I have come to find takes time.

Recently I had been invited t ofreiends camp up north (adirondacks area) . What a wonderful place it was, state foot tails near and as many miles as you wanted to walk and see. After a little time to get the feel for were I was I look at a map and got it down. There was basically a large triangle of land I heard was loaded with deer. The problem I relized was at the middle of the triangle was a farily large mountian. Trails lead alaround but up this place. It was know’n area buy hunter but hard to reach from unposted areas. Were I was it wasn’t a hour hike. What a place. I studies the map a while longer and figured I could get around. The guys who tagged me along are looking to take a hike after getting camp opened up. We went a decent hike,  along the foot talis and then following a river and back out, maybe a couple of miles. As I took another look at the map I relized just how large the area was we were entering earlier. what we had ventered was but only the samiliest tip of the iceberg. What an increadile experience that area was.

 A few days later back in reality we talk of making another trip. This time for a two day stay. I was jumping for joy. Now only if the wife is good with it i am in great shape. And what do you know she was. She must be up to something, but I will worry about that later. Now it’s game time.

 I have to admit that I have never been on a true hunting trip. I know laugh now, its ok I understand now what the trill is about up to this point. Feeling a little weary that I may not have it in me, but hell I have done almost everything else but this.Shooting has always been of intrest to me, much to my father’s “sha-grine”. Latley he seems more opening to what I am doing , guess its just I am older and he hasn’t much say. I am excited and nervious I guess. But I know if I do as I know to do I should be fine. Another day  soon and that much closer to it.

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Published by WayBeau on 07 Oct 2008

First Bow Kill

So opening day of Archery season in Virginia was this past weekend.  I was lucky in that I was able to get out for the opening day.  The last time I was able to get out for a season opener was probably 6 years ago, and it was for duck season in Mississippi.  So to actually be able to get out on opening day was great in its own right.

My bowhunting to this point has been nothing but foam in the back yard.  But let me tell you, that darn cube target from Walmart has been “killed” more times than it wants to admit, and will continue to meet my arrows until it simply can’t stop them anymore.  My father-in-law, who gave me just about every piece of archery equipment that I own and doesn’t even bowhunt, decided he wanted to scout some areas that morning and we headed to the woods.  Since I knew he wasn’t going up there to hunt, I decided to sacrifice getting into the stand before day light and took the chance of blowing the whole hunt by stomping my way to my tree.

I was in my stand, ready for action around 6:50 a.m.  Well, as my track record goes in this stand, all I saw for the first hour and a half were a bunch of squirrels (one of which almost joined me) and the occassional bird.  Around 8:15 I found myself dozing off and figured, “What the hell, I’m not missing anything anyway.”  So I decided I’d take a short nap.  Well, good ole Mr. Murphy decided to make an appearance.  I shut my eyes for what seemed like an hour (really it was only 5 minutes) and was awakened by the sound of crunching leaves.  Thanks to the squirrels, I didn’t really think too much of it until I saw something much larger than a squirrel moving out in front of my stand at around 50 yards.  I knew it was a deer, but I wasn’t sure if it was a buck or a doe.  Though it didn’t really matter, I was hoping that it was a buck since this would be my first bow kill and my very first deer, EVER.  On top of that, there is a doe that frequents this area of woods that has two fawns with her and I wasn’t going to shoot her.  So I wanted it to be a buck so that there wouldn’t be any chance for confusion and accidental shooting of the wrong deer.

To my pleasure I saw horns and started getting myself prepared to stand and draw.  I’m not sure, but I doubt if the sequence of events could have gone any better.  The buck took a few steps and stopped behind a small group of trees and bushes that shielded his view of my stand.  That’s when I stood up.  At this point he was at least 40-45 yards away.  I gave a quick grunt call and he started walking towards me again.  As he stepped behind another tree I drew my bow.  I was at full draw when he turned and started quartering very slightly toward me (he was almost perfectly broadside) at around 30-35 yards.  I settled my pins on him and as I was squeezing the trigger on my release the sun broke the clouds and brightened my pins so much that they blended with his shoulder.  At this point it was too late.  The hair trigger on my release had all ready let the arrow fly.

When I released the arrow, the buck flinched slightly.  Immediately after getting hit, he jumped in the air, spun 180 degrees and took off back through the thickets behind him.  My heart was pounding harder than it ever has.  I knew I had hit him by the way he took off, but I was a little nervous about the hit due to the last second sunshine on my pins.  So I waited an hour which would have felt like much longer had a group of does (including the momma and two fawns) not decided to stop by to snack on the red and white acorns that cover the ground around my stand.

After my hour wait, I got down and went to the last place I saw him.  While there was blood on the ground, I couldn’t find my arrow anywhere.  I was thinking the worst, muscle hit into the bone and he’s taken off with my arrow.  So I start following the blood trail.  I only make it about 40 yards into the thickets when it simply disappears.  At this point I’m starting to get nervous.  I don’t like the idea (I honestly don’t anyone that does) of shooting an animal and just letting it suffer needlessly.  Also, I had read a lot of posts by people that lost deer and I didn’t want to join that group.  So I walked in a zigzag pattern for about 20 yards and there on the ground was more blood.  My heart literally skipped a beat.  From that point on, it was like bread crumbs leading me home.  I found him piled up against a tree not 30 more yards past where I found the trail again.

I won’t bore you with the details of dragging him out of the thickets and down the mountain.  But I will tell you that he could have weighed 300 pounds, I was getting that deer out of the woods.  This was my very first bow kill and my very first deer EVER and I couldn’t be prouder.  While he’s not the biggest deer in the woods, he’ll always be a trophy to me.

5 votes, average: 3.60 out of 55 votes, average: 3.60 out of 55 votes, average: 3.60 out of 55 votes, average: 3.60 out of 55 votes, average: 3.60 out of 5 (5 votes, average: 3.60 out of 5)
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Published by Klyph on 28 Sep 2008

Planning the Perfect Hunting Season…

My wife and I have always wanted a large family. To date, we have a beautiful 4 year old daughter and a crazy “all boy” son… As many of you already know, kids take a lot of time and they deserve it! So needless to say, the amount of time in the woods, since having children has slowed some… but I am looking forward to the time when they are old enough that I can pass on the tradition and take them hunting. About a year ago, my wife had a miscarriage and as we continued to have a desire for a “big family” we decided that we would give it some time and try again as soon as the doctors felt it was ok. Once we got the ok, we began looking at our calendars and with us both working we tried to “plan” the best time to bring another little one into the world and our schedule…

With my wife being a teacher, she quickly thought, “wouldn’t it be nice to have my 6-8 week maternity leave line up with the holidays so I can get a few extra weeks off.” Without giving it much thought I agreed… what was I thinking? I wasn’t…

We have always had an easy time getting pregnant… usually we just start thinking about it and “ta-dah,” one is on the way…

Well, needless to say this time was no different. We were very excited and as we looked at the calendar to figure out the baby’s due date, it quickly hit me… the baby was due Sept 29th… and the archery season begins Oct 4th… panic quickly set it… as I shared this new found revelation with my wife, she didn’t seem to be nearly upset enough to me… She was more upset with me than the due date!

As my mind was racing, I blurted out, “Actually that will probably work out great! You’ll be on vacation throughout all archery season!” The look on her face told me, everything… but she didn’t just end it with a look… “What do you mean, Vacation?”

Now I was in trouble. I couldn’t see any way out. So I tried to laugh it off… she wasn’t as amused.

So for the last 9 months, every time someone asked about the due date, I just quickly thew in a quick, “Yep, my wife loves me so much she wanted to be home with the kids during archery season, so I could have the best season ever! Isn’t she great?!” 

It’s kinda funny how men always smiled and seemed excited for me, yet women just looked at me with such disgust…

As my hopes for a hunting season seemed doomed, especially since our last two children have all been more than 5 days late… I have started looking for more places closer to home, in hopes of some quick morning hunts before and after work… I just wish daylight savings came sooner…

Well, this week Collin Jonathon was born! And its funny how this hunting season may not turn out as far as time in the woods is concerned… but it still will always rank up there as the best fall of my life!

3 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5)
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Published by WayBeau on 27 Sep 2008

Taking Stock

Let’s face it, everyone has been effected by the current economic “crisis” in one way or another.  But how have hunters been effected?  In the past, I have been the kind of guy who would go out and “restock” before each and every season.  Now, when I say each and every season, I mean EACH and EVERY season.  Dove, waterfowl, deer, turkey, squirrel.  It didn’t matter if I could use the same shot shells for dove and squirrels, or if the camo that I wore duck hunting the timber would be just as effective hunting deer on the mountain.  For some reason I always needed different gear for every season and critter.  As a result I ended up with a lot of “stuff” that I probably didn’t really need.  When I got married, not too long ago, my wife asked me a question that would put a lot of things in perspective, “What do you need all of that stuff for?”  Well, I tried to answer but simply couldn’t find a response that made sense to me, let alone a woman who has most definitely never set foot deep in the woods (well maybe when she was younger and crazier, and definitely not for the reason of hunting or being close to nature).  As a result, I took stock of what I had in my hunting closet (yes, she actually lets me have a WHOLE closet for my hunting stuff).

From that day forward, a lot of my gear hasn’t seen the light of day.  I came to realize that the things that I “had to have” weren’t really making me a better hunter.  So I simply didn’t take anything out to the woods that wouldn’t really help me, or I thought wouldn’t help me, in my goal of bagging whatever animal I was after.  The recent economic troubles our country is facing have made me take even a further look at what I’ve got.  Actually, it’s a little more than just what I’ve got, it’s how can what I have make someone else’s hunt better.  I had to ask myself whether there was anything in my closet that I didn’t use, that someone else possibly could.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make myself look like some sort of saint here.  I love my “stuff” and the last thing that I ever thought I’d find myself doing would be giving it away.  But that’s exactly what happened.  If I didn’t use it, or it didn’t have any kind of sentimental value it was out the door to the local outdoor store where they would find someone that could use it.

When I started going through my closet and cleaning out the things that I no longer used or needed I found that my closet was truly just a drawer.  Everything I needed and used would all fit neatly into a drawer.  The other thing that I found was that making due with the bare essentials makes one come up with new ways of doing things.  So instead of spending money on a new ground blind, that blown down pine tree became my new best friend.  Within a matter of about a hour there was a freshly built ground blind that looked more natural than anything you can buy in the store.  The scent elimination products that everyone seems to crave, once again that pine tree and a bunch of fresh acorns did the trick. The thing that is truly the most amazing part of it all is the level of gratification that you can get out of doing things this way and saving your money (which I’m sure our spouses appreciate as well).

And if you’re having a hard time getting through the process of taking stock and cleaning out, ask yourself this one simple question, “What did our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers all do without this stuff?”  They simply hunted. . . .and probably were a lot better at it.

5 votes, average: 3.80 out of 55 votes, average: 3.80 out of 55 votes, average: 3.80 out of 55 votes, average: 3.80 out of 55 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5 (5 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5)
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Published by Big Shot on 26 Sep 2008

Tools of the Trade

Here I sit, having payed WAY too much to get 5 different bows tuned and ready to shoot. I ask myself, why in the world does it cost that much, and the answer, you pay for ignorance. Not theirs, but ours. Ignorance of how to do it. Ignorance of what all you would need to do it. And in the end, ignorance of the fact that you NEED to know how to do it. What would happen if one day I was on a hunt, and first thing in the day I snap a d-loop or drop my bow and knock my rest out of alignment? My day would be ruined, quite frankly my whole hunting trip could be ruined.

So I add up the money I spent on getting the work done for me and realize that I could have bought all the equipment it would take to just do it all myself. Of course, it wouldn’t be done by now (about a month after the fact), because there’s that ignorance thing I mentioned before. Can’t be that hard though, right?!? So, let the journey begin.

  • Bow press in the mail… check
  • Basic set of allen wrenches… check
  • A few bow specific tools (I’ll get into the details later)… check
  • Places to go to for information… check
  • Basic mechanical knowledge… check
  • Someone to go to when I inevitably mess it all up… not without giving away another arm!!

So, what does it take to set up shop? Not as much as you would think, but there are some must haves. First and foremost among them is a space to work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like you need a large dedicated shop, or even a dedicated corner for that matter. Your space can be as simple as your coffee table or kitchen table. A big word of advice though, get a small folding table to use instead. Nothing will hinder relations with your significant other faster than ruining said coffee or kitchen table!!! It doesn’t need to be big, just somewhere to lay out your bow and tools. If you do have to set up on the furniture, lay out an old towel for a work surface, it will keep your bow from getting scratched as well. Now that you have a work area, on to the tools.

Bow Press
There are lots of options here. You can go portable with something like the Bowmaster, or get a full blown shop style setup with the Apple Press and stand. There are tons of options in prices ranging from ~$40 all the way into the thousands. The most important thing is to make sure it will work for your bow. Some presses will not work for split limb bows without an adapter that you will have to buy. Some will not press parallel limb bows without being modified. The difference here is in the way the limbs flex on a parallel vs. non-parallel bow. Parallel limbs flex vertically when the bow is drawn due to the fact that they are essentially in a horizontal plane. Non-parallel limbs will flex somewhere between vertical and horizontal, roughly at an angle towards the nock of the string. Due to this difference, if you try and press a parallel limb on a press not designed for it, it will not press fully and could damage the bow. Same applies to the non-parallel limb on a parallel press.

Presses are used for many things. Anytime you need to modify anything attached to the string, you will need to press it so that you can separate the strands of the string to get the accessories in between them. You need it to adjust cam timing (the rotation of the cams) or change draw length mods. Also for when it comes time to change out aging strings and cables, or repair damaged ones. You shouldn’t need it that often, but when you do need it there is no substitute.
Examples….

Bow Vise
A simple device for holding your bow. It can be pretty hard to work on a bow unless you have a third arm!! That’s where the vise comes in. A simple one will hold your bow in one position allowing you to work on your bow. A better one will allow you to rotate the bow in many directions once it is mounted. This will allow you to get the bow in just the right position for the work you need to do.
Example….

Allen Wrenches
or hex keys, whatever you want to call them. You know what these things are. You will need multiple sizes. A decent standard set from any hardware store will do. I have never run across any metric, yet. It couldn’t hurt, though, to have a set of those just in case.

Screwdrivers
You won’t need them all that often, but you will need them. Have a simple set of common and philips on hand.

Levels
Not your daddy’s variety. A string level, and an arrow level.

These will help you in setting up your rest. Place the string level, where else…. on the string!!! Use it to make sure your bow is level vertically (up and down for those that always get them mixed up) when in the vise. Now you place the arrow level on the arrow and adjust your rest until your arrow is perfectly horizontal.

Nock Set Pliers and Brass Nocks
Brass nocks are useful for many things. You can use them to attach your drop away rest cord to your cable. Place them above and below a kisser button to secure it in place. And of course even use them to mark your nock point.

Nock set pliers, obviously, are for attaching those little brass guys. A good pair will also have a lever to pry them off with.

Draw Length Arrow

Basically a long, unfletched arrow with markings toward the end. These markings are distance measurements that allow for checking draw length. It can be used for Three functions. First, draw it back with a recurve bow, or compound with no draw stop, and you can find your draw length (someone needs to help you here to make sure your form is right, otherwise you won’t get the correct draw length). Second, Draw it in your set up compound bow to check the draw length it is set at. Lastly, draw it in the same bow and use it to determine the arrow length that will be safe to use with your setup.  Although not necessary, it can come in handy.

Draw Weight Scale
Many different varieties are available. Simple ones like this that are hand held…

All the way up to digital versions, or ones that are mounted to the ceiling. They are handy if you want to know the exact weight you have your bow set to. However, not all that necessary. Example… Lets say your bow maxes out at 60#, and the company says you can adjust the draw weight by 2# per full turn of the limb bolts. Then you know that if you back the bolts out 3 turns each, then you just roughly set your bow to 54#. I don’t think it is all that important to know that it might actually be 53.2#, or 55#. If you know within a pound I would say your are good. Just get those numbers from your bows manufacturer.

D-Loop Pliers
Last thing you want while our hunting, or anytime for that matter, is for your bow to fail. If you don’t tighten your d-loop tight enough it is a sure fire failure point waiting to happen. The easiest way to tighten it is with a pair of d-loop pliers. These are specially made pliers designed to fit around a d-loop. Then when you squeeze the handle, instead of the two pieces closing tightly together, they spread. The formed head holds the knot ends in place while stretching out the loop and tightening the knots.
Example….

Serving Tool
While I’m sure serving can and has been installed without one of these, I can’t imagine doing it. A simple tool of either metal of plastic designed to hold tension on your serving thread while you wrap your string. You place your spool of thread in the tool, and use a wing nut to get the tension you desire. Then, once you have started the serving, you simply spin the tool around the string until the serving is the length you want, and then wrap in the end of the thread.

Well, that pretty well covers the most common tools you will need and see when it comes to setting up and maintaining your bow. I tried to be as comprehensive as I could, but there are quite a few gadgets out there, and I aim to cover all I can. Those will have to wait for another day however, so stay tuned for more. I’m going high tech in the next installment.  Look for part two covering lasers and more.

3 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5)
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Published by ryalred on 25 Sep 2008

The Day I Shot “Lights Out”

The Culprit

It was a beautiful, crisp, fall day and I wanted to be hunting so badly, but I really had too much work to do. It is so true, “Work really gets in the way of hunting.” So, I decided I’d do a little practicing with my relatively new Browning compound bow. I did have enough time to do that.

I have a really wonderful place to practice tree stand shooting—from my second story kitchen window. As you know the arrow doesn’t drop as much when shot from and elevated position. All I had to do to duplicate my tree stand was to open the window in my kitchen (I had removed the screen for this purpose), which was on the second floor of our home, and shoot at the targets I had set up at various distances in my back yard.

I was having a great shoot—really making me want to hunt because I was shooting “lights out” that day. My wife came into the kitchen and we exchanged pleasantries and she went about her work in the kitchen. I went down to retrieve my arrows for another round of practice. After removing the arrows from the targets I decided to move the targets around a little to give me a new shooting perspective.

I finally came back to the kitchen—my wife was doing something at the kitchen counter—and I picked up my bow and nocked and arrow. I drew and took steady aim and hit the release. What happened for the following few moments is still a blur. Immediately upon pulling the release trigger there was this absolutely awful, deafening CRASH! For an instant or two I didn’t know what had happened. The first thought that came to mind was that by bow had disintegrated. I looked at it and kind of gave my self a once over to see if I was hurt but everything seemed to be alright. About the same time I turned toward my wife and I swear her eyes were as big as half dollars and there was a look of terror on her face. She later said that my eyes were also as wide as half dollars and I too had this awful, panic-stricken look.

I was finally able to gather my wits and take stock of the situation. The bow was intact and the arrow had indeed been launched, but there the arrow lay in the middle of the kitchen floor . . . with broken glass laying all around it. It was now evident. My wife had shut the window (the air being cool) when I went down to get my arrows. She thought I was through practicing. The window was so clean (that was unusual) that I hadn’t noticed she had closed it and she was so involved in her project at the counter that she hadn’t noticed me nock and draw my arrow.

For the life of me, I still can’t explain the arrow being in the kitchen floor. Why hadn’t it penetrated the window and gone somewhere outside? The arrow appeared to be in good condition, something I definitely couldn’t say about the kitchen window. This practice session I had done much more than shoot “lights out,” I had shot the window out.

My wife has never let me live this one down—although I still declare her to be at fault for closing the window, but of course, she lays all the blame squarely on my shoulders. It’s bad enough that she won’t let me live it down, but she has made sure all my friends and hunting buddies know what I did that day. Well, we all still get a big laugh out of it.

6 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)
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Published by bowhunterswife on 24 Sep 2008

Meat for the Freezer

As the wife of a bowhunter, I have a slightly different viewpoint than he does of hunting.  For me, it is about providing food for the family.  When Donnie comes in with a deer or a turkey, I am ecstatic because I know he is providing for us.  The Lord gave him a talent for hunting and he has developed this talent into a finely honed skill.  The man can hunt!!!

This past week he went deer hunting and usually he takes his cell phone.  However, with a new baby and gas prices so high we disconnected the cell phones (yes, this means something to this story).  So he is out in the field, sees the deer.  Sometimes in the past he will call me and say, “Honey, it’s a four pointer.  Should I shoot it?”  This is because as a seasoned hunter he is constantly looking to hunt deers that are bigger and better than what he has hunted before.  One day I remember he called about shooting an piebald deer that was a spike.  I told him to go ahead and shoot it because he had never shot a piebald before.  He chose not to because he was hopeful it would grow bigger.  Later he wished he had gone ahead and taken that deer because he never saw it again.

So …back to the story.  No cell phone to call on. The evening wears on.  I am in the dark about how the hunt is going.  The phone rings.  He is at his dad’s …with a deer. 

“I wouldn’t have shot it because it is just a little buck,” he says, “but I thought of what you might say if I had called.  I figured you would say to shoot it because we needed the meat.”

“You were right!”  I affirmed happily.

He was willing to take the jibes and ribbing from his hunting buddies, all of the “bloodthirsty” taunts, in order to provide for our family . And now we have a freezer full of deer burger and steaks!! Yummy!! Thank you, honey, for loving us enough to deal with the ribbing and give us the meat!!

What a hunter!! What a man!!

15 votes, average: 3.53 out of 515 votes, average: 3.53 out of 515 votes, average: 3.53 out of 515 votes, average: 3.53 out of 515 votes, average: 3.53 out of 5 (15 votes, average: 3.53 out of 5)
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Published by djohns13 on 12 Sep 2008

The Hunter’s Gene

“You’re going to do what?” my wife asked with an angry look on her face. “Are you kidding me? There is an ice storm warning for our area today, and you think it is a good idea to climb up in a tree stand and deer hunt?”
“Sure do baby, you know me, I’ll be safe,” I shot back.
“Yes I do know you and that’s what scares me. You’re unbelievable sometimes.”
That is the way my 5:00 a.m. conversation went with my wife as I was headed out the door to go to my favorite tree last November. There was an ice storm bearing down on Indiana and I knew it could be a bad one. But the way I saw it, the storm wouldn’t rev up until about noon and there was a good chance the deer movement would be heavy before the storm started. I wanted to put one more deer in the freezer before the holidays. The day was cold with a stiff wind that seemed to penetrate every bone in my body. By 9:00 a.m. I was knocking ice off of my bow and nocked arrow. By ten I was wondering if my climber would grip the tree trunk on the way down so I decided to give it up and climb down. As it turns out, the deer were smarter than me that day and were already bedded down in preparation for the storm.
In retrospect, was it a bad hunting day? Absolutely not! My hunting partner and I both enjoyed ourselves tremendously. We didn’t bag any game, although he got very close before the bedded deer spooked and ran away. Other than his runaways, I didn’t even see another four-legged mammal that day. Most people would have detested that time in the cold but I loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat. Why? My wife would say it is because I am just not right, but I say it is because I was born with the Hunter’s gene.
Anyone one who is a hardcore hunter knows exactly what I mean when I talk about the Hunter’s gene. Anyone who isn’t generally doesn’t have a clue what I am talking about. It isn’t because of their intelligence, it’s because they weren’t born with the gene like we were. The Hunter’s gene is what drives us to do supposedly crazy things like sitting out in an ice storm, or crawling on our hands and knees through a mosquito infested swamp, or pursuing carnivores much larger and tougher than we are with just a bow and arrow. But it doesn’t stop there. The Hunter’s gene also ensures that we keep our families well-fed, well-protected and warm through those ice storms. It is what propels us to defend our families, our nation and other nations during times of trouble. It is what allows us to personally and quietly sacrifice so that others have what they need. And yes, it is what enables us to willingly go out into the depths of nature with nothing but stick and string and go to battle with the best eyes, ears and noses that exist. And even on those times where the battle doesn’t end with a kill, we are still grateful for having been able to participate, and can’t wait to do it again.
Having said all that, I realize I didn’t need to say it at all. Without a word, you already understood.

15 votes, average: 3.33 out of 515 votes, average: 3.33 out of 515 votes, average: 3.33 out of 515 votes, average: 3.33 out of 515 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5 (15 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5)
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Published by djohns13 on 11 Sep 2008

To Shoot or Not to Shoot?

Does, that is. The question is about as old as the philosophy of quality deer management itself. It might just be the most debated topic in deer hunting and management but to this day a “one size fits all” answer eludes us. What works great for one property might be woefully wrong for another. For those who haven’t made up their minds where they stand on the issue, read my theories below and see how you think they would apply to your situation. I don’t believe that my answer is 100% correct for everyone and every property, but I think it will work well for the vast majority.
The basic question is whether or not to purposefully maximize the doe harvest on your hunting grounds, and if so, do you concentrate on younger does, mature “matriarch” does, or both. The most straight-forward answer to the first question is yes; by all means maximize the harvest of does, unless your current deer population is well below the carrying capacity of the land. If this is the case, let them walk for a year or so until you see the population reaching the limits of the land, and then employ a heavy doe harvest strategy. The answer to the second question is to take both mature and young does for the reasons described below.
For those of you who have plenty of, or even too many deer for your land, here are four strong reasons why you should focus on doe harvest:
1. Does with fawns will chase their young buck offspring out of their home range to prevent the possibility of inbreeding and genetic problems. If you want the young bucks born on your property to end up on someone else’s property, leave the mama does alone. They will see to it that almost every young buck leaves in a hurry. If you want those bucks to stay and grow big, harvest their mothers and your property will become their home range. Even better would be if your neighbors don’t take any does so that you get to keep your bucks and get their runaway bucks as well.
2. The land only has so much carrying capacity for deer. Taking mature does off of the property allows more of this capacity per mature deer. As a result, almost immediately after reducing the mature doe population, birth rates rise from singles/twins to twins/triplets with the occasional quad birth. The more births you have, the more bucks that are born, period.
3. It is critical in my opinion that you harvest not just old or young does, but a combination of both. It is common for young, middle aged and very mature does to come into estrus at slightly different times. This is due to a variety of factors but the result is that by having a good mix of young, middle aged and mature does on the property, the aggregate doe population is in estrus for a longer period of time. Whether you prefer to call it a longer rut, or multiple rut periods, it all equals great buck hunting. Some have said that taking a matriarch doe causes upheaval in the herd and can even force the herd to change their patterns and/or leave the area. Others will say that without the matriarch, the chance of predation on the younger deer increases. I have seen neither of these situations. In my opinion, with or without a matriarch, the deer population is drawn to the areas with the best availability to water, food and shelter with the least predation risk.
4. Finally, with less does, bucks naturally move more to find the does in estrus. This usually means greater scrape activity, more responsiveness to decoys, rattling and grunting, etc. The greater the buck movement the greater chance they will come into bow range for you, period.
Above are what I believe to be four strong reasons to commit to a heavy doe harvest and in the meantime, increase your chances of seeing the buck of a lifetime. Good luck and good hunting.

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Published by djohns13 on 10 Sep 2008

Eight Steps to Better Accuracy

Eight Steps to Better Accuracy

1. Get the equipment right – consistent accuracy is dependent on using the right equipment for you and ensuring that the equipment is properly tuned and working right each time you shoot. The brand new high-end bow just doesn’t shoot like one if it doesn’t fit you correctly or if it is out of tune.
2. Correct technique – once the bow fits and is working optimally, now the next wild card is the form of the shooter. With today’s technology the properly tuned and equipped bow is better than the shooter. If it could be shot by a robot, it would hit the bull’s eye all day long. It is only when we introduce form errors that the arrow group sizes begin to spread out. Have someone video you while you are shooting and then have a pro or coach review the video and make suggestions. Remember that your goal is to improve your technique so don’t take their responses too personally. We are all trying to be the perfect archer but none of us will ever achieve perfect status.
3. Create and use a draw/aim/fire routine – archery is like most other sports in that its actions can be broken down into a technique or series of techniques. Success is generally achieved when the athlete creates the technique, practices it repeatedly, builds muscle memory and mental focus, and finally executes the technique over and over in exactly the same manner. Imagine a pro’s golf swing or a guard’s free throw, both are very refined and repeatable. In archery, a routine can be developed that begins with pulling the arrow from the quiver and ends with seeing the arrow strike the bull’s eye. Many pro golfers “talk their way” through their routine, meaning that they say a phrase where each word corresponds to a specific action or movement. If they find that they are not at the right spot or doing the right action at the right time, they stop and start over. Creating a routine and sticking to it each time takes the draw/aim/fire sequence and turns it into an assembly line-like process where the actions are identical each time and the results are too.
4. Shoot from long range – one of the best ways to get good at 20 yards is to shoot from 30, 40 and 50 yards. It is amazing how we can struggle at 20 yards, then go shoot a few arrows at 50 yards, come back to the 20 and the shot seems like a layup. The confidence you build doing this will carry over to the next time you shoot the 20 yard targets.
5. Move your sight pin – one of my best friends gave me this tip and I believe it works great. Adjust your sight pin so that you hold it just under the bull’s eye for the arrow to hit the bull’s eye. This way you never lose sight of the bull’s eye while you are aiming. I was somewhat skeptical until I tried it and now I am a firm believer in this technique. Trap shooters have been doing this for years now with great success.
6. Don’t over practice – for most shooters, physical fatigue sets in rather quickly. After 20-30 arrows, the body is having trouble executing with correct form and sometimes mental fatigue is setting in. Each shooter needs to determine the appropriate stopping point and walk away at that point each practice session. I know great shooters who shoot 100 arrows per session and some that shoot only three arrows per session. They all have great accuracy so their specialized approach works well for them. I firmly believe that accuracy can be improved more by several short focused practice sessions instead of longer “marathon” sessions.
7. Shoot with family and friends – inviting others to join you makes it more fun and light-hearted. Without realizing it, the competitive juices will kick in and you will find yourself working harder to out-shoot the others. The result will be more fun and improvement for all of the shooters.
8. Learn from others – as a shooter, you are probably facing the same problems that most other shooters have faced. Work with a coach/pro or access great information sources like Archery Talk. The combined wealth of knowledge at AT is incredible and most users are very willing to help out. Don’t waste time recreating the wheel when you don’t have to.

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