Archive for the 'Personal Blogs' Category

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Published by djohns13 on 26 Jun 2008

Indiana 2008 Deer Forecast

Well, the days are getting hotter but shorter so it is about that time of year where most of us start to really get excited about the upcoming fall. We are starting to see some potential bruisers on the trail cameras and the fawn sightings are also fueling our obsession. The practice shooting is going well and our scouting is producing new ideas for that “can’t miss” stand site.  Maybe we have even gotten a glimpse of the giant that eluded us last fall.  Is this the year that we finally arrow that dream buck?
Well in Indiana, this just might be the year for us bowhunters to fulfill our dreams. The prospect for a record harvest is very good in 2008.  Whitetail harvests in Indiana hit a record level in 2005 with 125,526 animals being checked-in after harvest.  Epizootic hemorrhagicdisease (EHD) popped up in Indiana in 2006 heavily in Clay, Fountain, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan and Vermillion counties in the west central portion of the state, and in some areas the local deer populations were devastated.  Even with the EHD crisis in 2006, checked-in harvests totalled 125,381, just off from the previous record year.  In 2007, EHD reared its ugly head again but not nearly to the degree originally feared.  Checked-in harvests dropped to 124,427 but much of this drop was attributed to weather conditions during hunting season.  The antlered deer harvest was just about the same as in 2005, with the non-antlered harvest being reduced by approximately 1,000 deer.  During the three year period, the button buck harvest remained consistent at approximately 7% of the total harvest.

 

This brings us to the upcoming 2008 season.  The winter of 2007-2008 brought heavy snow to much of Indiana but very few conditions that would cause a heavy winter kill.  The summer drought of 2007 has been replaced with heavy rains and flooding over the central and southern portions of the state.  June rainfall over the southern two-thirds of the state have averaged 500% – 1,000% of the normal rainfall for the month.  In spite of this, very little wildlife loss is anticipated.   Agriculturally speaking, the loss is devastating and is anticipated to be the largest agricultural disaster in Indiana history.  In many areas of the southern portion of the state, the crop loss will be greater than 50% with corn suffering the largest losses but soybeans will also be affected. 

 

Because of the heavy rain, the wetland, woodland and meadow areas are experiencing strong growth and health.  Vegatation is lush and thick across the state with the berry production looking very good at this point.  It would appear at this point that browse will be in great supply this year notwithstanding any drought activity that comes along later in the summer.  For those who plant foodplots, the growth prospects look great.  Foodplots not hampered from the spring floods are looking very healthy.  The reduction in viable agricultural crops will no doubt push many more deer toward the foodplots.  I personally have seen an unprecedented number of mature deer utilizing foodplots this June.  So many, in fact, that I am mowing and spraying more areas to get even more foodplots planted in early July.

 

Since mid-May, the fawn sightings seem to be above normal compared to most years.  Throughout much of the state, the youngest mothers are producing healthy singles while the 2.5 years old and older does are producing twins and triplets in some cases.  By most accounts, it appears to be a bumper crop year for whitetails.

 

So far, all conditions point to a record harvest this year throughout most of the state.  The northeastern counties, which have led the harvest totals for several years are expected to again reign supreme as they have not been affected by weather or EHD.  Steuben and surrounding counties will continue to lead the deer harvest without a doubt and for the first time could see harvest figures reach 4,000 deer per county.  The central portions of the state continue to have an exploding deer population so harvests should be strong provided the hunter count remains consistent.  The southern counties will continue to produce large quantities of deer that are heavy in both weight and antler size.

 

As certain factors such as QDM and the Indiana one buck rule, among others, continue to play out the size of the average buck taken has improved.  Also improving is the number of record book bucks taken in both the Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young systems.  Many so-called experts are now listing Indiana as one of the top states to harvest a record book buck.  Most hoosiers have known this for several years now, but the word seems to be spreading.  While we are no Iowa yet, the odds of seeing a record book quality buck are decent to good across most parts of Indiana.  And we all know that big bucks produce baby big bucks so the trend should continue over the next few years.  Several bucks over 200 inches gross score were taken in Indiana in 2007, and many more 160 to 180 inch deer were harvested than ever before.

 

While we won’t know the actual harvest until after the fact, 2008 is setting up to be a record year in Indiana based upon both total deer taken and record book bucks.  Practice regularly, scout hard and maybe 2008 will be a hunting year that you remember forever.

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Published by bigbearsarchery on 21 Jun 2008

What It Means To Be A Bowhunter

What It Means To Be A Bowhunter

By

Craig Gillock

 

 

Bowhunter.  That’s a word many of us use to describe ourselves.  We say it with pride and conviction.  It describes who we are and what we do.  We wear it as a badge of honor.  Why?  What is it about that word and what it implies that motivates so many of us to do all the things we do?  What does it mean to be a bowhunter?

The answer to that question is very complex and no one answer is enough to explain it all.  Add to that the fact that bowhunting means something different to everyone and it makes the question almost impossible to answer.  So with that in mind I’m going to explain what being a bowhunter means to me.

Bowhunting is more than sitting in a tree stand, waiting for an animal to come walking by.  Bowhunting is a 365 days a year commitment.  It’s scouting, planting food plots, putting out game cameras, making mineral licks, studying maps, acquiring hunting ground, setting stands, constant practice with your bow, and so many other things.  Bowhunting isn’t a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.

 

Post Season Scouting and Winter Leagues

 

My hunting season starts in late January and February as soon as the late archery and muzzleloader season close.  During this time I pay extra attention to the deer I see, trying to make a list of which bucks made it through and where I’m seeing them.  This list provides me with a good starting point when I’m picking locations for mineral licks, food plots, and setting my trail cameras.

Another important habit I’ve developed during this time of year is shooting in as many winter leagues as I can.  If you want to become a better shooter and improve your accuracy nothing will help you accomplish this faster than shooting in a league with other bowhunters.

One of the truly great things about bowhunters is the feeling of family and friendship that develops between the guys and gals who share the range and the woods.  When you shoot in a league you’re giving yourself the opportunity to watch and be around other shooters and to learn about and see new products.  I consider winter leagues to be one of the most important things I do all year.

 

Deer Health and Shed Hunting

 

Early spring rolls around and for most of March and April I find myself in the woods and the fields.  This is the time when I put out mineral licks and begin preparing the ground for food plots.  I refer to this point in my season as promoting deer health.  The mineral licks serve two purposes.  First, they act as an attractant, drawing the deer into my hunting areas, allowing me to again take stock of how many animals are around.  Second, and more importantly, they provide the deer with the vital minerals and nutrients they need to promote good health and antler growth.

Shed hunting is another activity that takes up a lot of my time early in the spring.  I shed hunt mainly because it’s fun and it gives me another opportunity to be in the woods.  But shed hunting is also an important scouting tool because it gives you yet another chance to see what bucks made it through the previous season.

 

Food Plots, Turkeys, and Foam

 

As spring gets into full swing and the first signs of summer start to show on the trees and in the fields it’s time that I put in my food plots. My favorite places to plant are tucked back into the corners of fields or next to a good watering source.  I tend to plant mainly clover with a little bit of chicory mixed in.  The added forage not only helps attract deer but will help hold them well into hunting season.

Late April and may also offer another opportunity for bowhunters, turkey season.  Taking a mature gobbler with your bow can be one of the most challenging endeavors a bowhunter can undertake.  A turkey’s eyesight makes drawing a bow on them next to impossible.  When I first started hunting turkeys with my bow I approached it in much the same way as I approached deer hunting.  I would set up along a field edge or in some timber, call and if I got one to come in range, draw my bow.  The problem was that’s as far as I’d get.  When I’d draw they would bust me and bug on out.  I once even tried stalking to within bow range on some birds while hunting in Oklahoma.  The result was a recreation of the scene in the movie Jurassic Park where all the velociraptors rush past the camera, only instead of dinosaurs it was two or three hundred turkeys running or flying away.

I have since started hunting turkeys from a ground blind and have met with much greater success.  Blinds conceal your movement and allow you to set up virtually anywhere.  Just this past April I set up my blind in the middle of a wide open 300 acre hay field and took a nice gobbler at only 7 yards.  My friend Aaron sat in the blind with me and videoed the hunt.  That’s another great thing about turkey hunting; it provides plenty of opportunities to hunt with your friends.

The onset of warmer temperatures in April and May also signals the beginning of the 3-D season.  In my opinion competing in 3-D tournaments is one of the best ways to prepare for hunting season.  It allows you to take realistic shots at realistic targets in realistic hunting conditions.  Competing in these tournaments is also a fantastic way to hone your skills at judging yardage.  Besides, they’re also a lot of fun.

 

Pushing Down the Stretch

 

We’ve now arrived at one of the most critical and challenging times of the year for bowhunters, the dog days of summer.  The months of June, July, and August often leave little time to think about hunting.  Most of our time is taken up with work, family vacations, picnics, or any number of other activities one can enjoy during these warm weather months.  In spite of all this you need to find the time to put out your scouting cameras and begin placing your stands.  The information gathered at this time can be the best indicators of where deer will be at the start of hunting season.  Photos gathered now will tell you what bucks are around and how big they are.  These final pieces of the puzzle will help you make the best plan possible for the fast approaching bow season.

All this time I’m also continuing to practice my shooting.  There are numerous 3-D tournaments all summer long, plus this is the best time to practice with your broadheads.  Taking the time now to properly tune your equipment will pay off big this fall.

 

I am a Bowhunter

 

Summer begins to fade and the cooler temperatures and vibrant colors of fall start to show.  This is the time of year you’ve spent the past eight months getting ready for.  It’s the time when all your hard work and information you’ve gathered is put to use.  It is the reason you are the way you are.

So what does it mean to be a bowhunter?  It means a lot of things to a lot of people.  For me it’s a year round adventure, for others it’s something to occupy the time for a while.  What it means to you is for you to decide.  It can be as much or as little as you make it.  Whatever you decide, have fun.  That’s what being a bowhunter is really all about.

3 votes, average: 2.33 out of 53 votes, average: 2.33 out of 53 votes, average: 2.33 out of 53 votes, average: 2.33 out of 53 votes, average: 2.33 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 2.33 out of 5)
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Published by Hyunchback on 03 Jun 2008

You might be a redneck archer if…

You worked your 12 hour shift at the hospital, went home, changed clothes and then spent three and a half hours in the sun without sunscreen to participate in a 3D shoot. (Just a guess but I think that might turn Barack Obama into a redneck!)

Your arms have sunburn except for the tan line where your wrist release strap covered you.

You have mixed feelings about your performance. You are happy that you picked up 5 points more than last month’s shoot but wish you hadn’t gotten two misses.

12 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 5 (12 votes, average: 3.25 out of 5)
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Published by Montalaar on 16 May 2008

Make your own pen out of an arrow.

Did you ever wanted to have something of your bow with you although you could not shoot it? Something unique and self made? I will show you how to build your very own pen out of an old arrow. Nothing you can buy anywhere but a pen with your own quality. Something unique with your own fingerprint. Interested? You should read further.

So what do we need for our project?

At the beginning we need to get certain things straight. What kind of pen do we want to make? Do we want a ball-pen or do we want a pencil? Each thing needs the perfect shaft size for it. A pencil will not fit into a small diameter carbon shaft. Maybe you want to make your own filler. We will concentrate on two different basic types of pens as a ground level you can start developing your own way.

After deciding what pen you want to create we can get the needed materials together.

We require:

  • an arrow in a diameter that fits to your purpose

  • a pen of your choice

  • nock

  • a set of vanes

  • some hot-melt adhesive

  • a lighter

  • something to underlay, a marker, a (hack)saw, sandpaper

If you not want to change the infilling of your arrow you can also choose any other adhesive but i recommend hot-melt adhesive because you can renew your pen if it is worn out. The choice of the shaft to use is defined by your supllies. Use what you have.

Layout One – The pencil

What do we do?

Removing the point from the shaft

Before we start we need to get everything set up right and you should be in the possibility to obtain everything i mentioned above. If you use your older arrows you need at first to remove the point and i possible also the nock. In most cases the point is glued into the shaft with some hot-melt adhesive so you can heat up the point and remove it with a pliers.

Now you can decide how long your arrow will be. I do not think that your pen should have the length of your arrow. If we think about an 30“ arrow we have the possibility to make between three or four arrows out of it!

To get the right length of your shaft put the pencil right beside the shaft and mark the position of the end.

Now you can cut the shaft in the desired length. If you have access to a professional arrow cutter just use it. There is no better way to get this job done. Otherwise you can use any saw for this purpose. Be careful with alloy/carbon or full carbon shafts as they will fray out if you make any mistake and the whole thing needs to be discarded. The best way is to saw the outer surface and turn the shaft some degrees so you can remove the parts with the needed caution.

After cutting the arrow shaft you should sand paper the edges until everything feels plane and smooth. Take your pencil and sharpen it before putting it into the arrow shaft. Heat the hot-melt adhesive up until it becomes something fluid and make a drop around the middle of the pencil and push it into the shaft.

Maybe the adhesive cools down to fast so you need to heat it up again and push it even further until the perfect position is achieved. Let it cool down so that everything sits right in place.

Now you can put a nock on your arrowpen and put the vanes in your favorite design on it.

If you want to sharpen your pencil just heat up the shaft and pull out the pencil far enough to sharpen it. Let the adhesive cool down and you are fine with it.

Layout Two – The ball-pen

Maybe you want to make your own ball-pen rather than a pencil. Be advised that this will take much more time. Take a ball-pen of your choice – it should be as thin as the arrow shaft you use – and take it to pieces. You can choose between two options now. Option one is to glue the refill for the pen direct into the shaft. Option two is to reassemble the ball-pen into the shaft which will take loads of time.

Take a look at the pieces you got from disassembling the pen. You should have the refill, a spring, some plastics and the body of the pen. The front end of the pen contains the spring and prevents it from disappearing. Take a saw and remove this part from the rest of the body. We will take this and glue it onto our arrow shaft. We can match the design with some color.

Now take a look at the other end of the body. As on the other end you should have an area where the body is a bit thinner than the rest. Further you should find the ‘module’ that enables the filling to change its position. We need that in our shaft.

Remove it with a saw and sandpaper it until it will fit into the inside.

As you can see i removed the plastic and sandpaperd it. Out everything together to see how long your pen needs to be. Mark your arrow shaft and cut it into the right length.

After this you need to fuse everything together.Check everything for its position and glue it together. Then check again for correct positions. Take the point we took forom the original pen and glue it onto the one side of the shaft. Do not forget to add the refill, the spring and the little plastic parts to the pen before adding the point.

Now put the vanes in your favorite design on it. Finito!

The finished product

There a hundreds of possibilities to make your individual and unique pen. Maybe you want to paint something onto it, maybe you like to engrave it. Just be creative with it!

49 votes, average: 3.80 out of 549 votes, average: 3.80 out of 549 votes, average: 3.80 out of 549 votes, average: 3.80 out of 549 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5 (49 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5)
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Published by SEAL Archer on 15 May 2008

A tired bow and the ghosts of the volcano

A tired bow and the ghosts of the volcano

It was a cold rainy morning. I walked around the cactus, trying to avoid the spines that tried to reach out and attack me. The sharp edges of the volcanic rock cut deep into my lug-soled boots as I climbed higher against the driving rain and into the cloud shrouded hillside. Razor bladed sawgrass provided a lifesaving grip, but only to a gloved hand. It was steep, almost vertical, and a single slip could be fatal with a 400 foot drop that awaited me if I lost focus, if even for an instant.
They were here. Sign was all around me. Droppings, hoof prints, bent and nibbled twigs, and bits of hair clinging to rock and bush. Their trails often leading to meadows, but just as often to the bottomless abyss I spent the day trying to avoid. They are the ghosts of the volcano.
This day was a first for me, and a transition into a more challenging hunting lifestyle than I had previously experienced. I was bowhunting for feral Spanish Goats in the Waianae mountain range above the beautiful Makaha coastline on the leeward side of the tropical island of Oahu. Unlike the better known Koolau mountains on the windward side of the island, with its spectacular display waterfalls, the Waianae range is usually dry, covered with cactus and sharp rocky outcroppings. The range, less that 20 miles to the west is more like the Arizona desert than a tropical island. This was not my first time on the mountain, but one that helped me develop more respect for both my quarry and the legions of primitive hunters that shared this experience before me. The journey, however, was not quick and painless.
On a hot sunny Saturday, many months before, I joined a friend on a hunt for these goats. Outfitted with high power rifles, we hiked up behind a resort to reach the high meadows where he had heard goat herds were plentiful. His story proved to be very true as there were hundreds of goats all over the hillsides. The lay of the land, while hard to navigate, proved too easy at providing shots of 100-200 yards. A herd of 50+ animals would look across a ravine at us and freeze in that 3D-target pose, taunting us to shoot. As a Navy SEAL, my job insisted that I use stealth and cunning to effect my mission, and getting in really close was part of the job. My off-time activities required no different discipline, so taking an easy shot was not an option for me.
I calculated that a 50 yard shot would be much more challenging, so proceeded to move in closer. The terrain, with its dips, gullies, and 10’ grass makes a simple stalk much harder than first observation would make one believe. That said, a single fatal 50-yard running shot on a nice horned Billy proved to be unfulfilling and would be my last.
As a career sailor, family man, and multi-hobbyist, my budget did not allow for me to rush out and buy the latest high tech bow and arrows to move me in the direction I needed to go, but I needed to fulfill my hunting drive. A trip to Virginia to pick up a diving system proved to be just the ticket I needed to reach my goal. Perusing the want ads, I found an ad for a compound bow with accessories for $65. I arrived at the residence where a woman showed me the bow her brother had left in her garage years before. It was a beautiful thing. An early 1970’s Browning Cobra compound bow, one piece of dark walnut from wheel-to-wheel with a thin layer of black glass backing. It was much lighter than the more modern composites and drew 47# at 28 inches. She told me it included 9 arrows with target tips and 5 broadheads, mounted quiver and pin sights. She let me walk away with the bow for $45, a great deal for both of us.
Practice, practice, practice. I sighted in my “new” bow at 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. After several days, as I was getting much better at hitting the target, the brittle plastic sight pins started to break and fall off. I managed to keep one on the bow and positioned it for 20 yards, the distance I decided as my personal shot limit. After all, the challenge of getting close is what made me transition to archery. Once I could hit an 8” paper plate from all angles and body positions while estimating my distance, I felt ready to head back to Makaha.
The island of Oahu has very liberal hunting rules and I was allowed to take one goat and one pig per day, with the season open all year. However, getting to the animals and taking them proves much more difficult than the numbers would appear.
As I started, I am back on the mountain and the weather is terrible. Clouds poured over the Waianae range’s prickly back and pelted me with rain as it tried to toss me off the cliffs before I reached my objective. I followed nearly invisible trails as they snaked through the rocky outcroppings and elephant grass. The herd posted nanny goats as lookouts, sounding an alert when I approached inside of an imaginary 50yard circle. As I would crest a ridge I would be greeted by hundreds of tails disappearing over the next ridge. The 20 yard limit was much, much harder than I could have imagined after getting my first 50 yard goat.
With the wind in my face I rounded a trail to find a small Billy blocking my path. He was 10 feet from where I stood. Reflexive action and recently developed muscle memory positioned the bow in my outstretched arm, the peepsight aligining my eye with the single 20-yard pin. Before he could move, my pin just below his jawline, I released my arrow. Time stood still. I could see the arrow flex, the plastic vanes starting to rotate as the arrow slid over the rest and left the bow. The animal stood still as my arrow sailed cleanly between its broad horns, over the cliff into the rocky ravine beyond. My heart dropped just as fast and missed a couple of beats as my arrow missed its target. At 10 feet, the Billy was too close to me, and was something I had not practiced.
An hour later I saw the back end of a large horned, brown billy round a corner in front of me. I could hear his padded hooves on the rocks as he circled back on a ledge above me. I leaned into the cliff face to nock an arrow and draw the string. The trail was less than 2 feet wide and the drop was not something I wanted to think about. I pointed my arrow upwards in the cocked bow and slowly leaned out across the trail. My movement caught the goat’s eye and he peered down at me…from 8 feet away. This time, shooting instinctive without my sight pin, I “felt” the arrow into his chest and watched him vaporize.
I waited about 30 minutes, sitting on the trail, pondering the outcome. I knew it takes some time for the broadhead to do its work, and I needed the time to hydrate and get my heartbeat back down to a normal level. The vision of the events played over again in my mind as I sat looking at the sparkling azur coastline 2500 feet below me. It took me about 10 minutes to negotiate to the point above me where the goat had been. A pile of long chest hair told me that my arrow had been true.
All my reading of bowhunting articles, practice, and my patience while sitting on the trail had paid off. Following the blood trail was as easy as following a painter splashing bushes with a soaked 8 inch wide paintbrush. I could picture the blood spurting from the clean wound with every step the goat took. The animal ran less than a hundred yards, losing several parts of my broken arrow along the way, before coming to rest in a 50 foot deep ravine. As the adreneline started to drain, I climbed down into the ravine and got down to the task of dressing out my kill.
In the spirit of the native hunters, I wanted to honor this animal for giving his life to me by using every part of it that I could. My son and I tanned the hide and made a quiver for his small target arrows, while the feet became part of a rack for our bows and arrows. The horns and skull were European-style mounted and the meat fed many friends as I danced around a BBQ fire and recounted my hunt.
My arsenal of bows has since been modernized, but my first compound is still my favorite and most productive with fish and game. The secondhand bow, once doomed for the landfill, became a legend in the hands of a believer in the true spirit of the hunt.

© 2008 Chuck Cardamon

14 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 5 (14 votes, average: 3.14 out of 5)
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Published by Schreiber on 15 May 2008

Meditation through Archery

The act itself is simple enough, anyone can pull back a string and let go. But it is oftentimes the simple things in our lives that give us the greatest pleasure. There’s no better feeling than standing with a bow in my hands and taking aim at anything. It is almost as if another world waits for me beyond the draw and once I have that string pulled back this world slips away, melts into something that exists around but not within me. I have achieved what the Buddhist monks would call complete consciousness, where I am free of worldly cares and possessions. Nothing moves in my peripheral as I take aim at the target. There are droves of people behind me and all around me and I can feel them there, but I do not see them and I do not hear them. I can feel every breath I take as I have never felt a breath before, the air is cool as it reaches my lungs and I hold it there for a moment as it grows warm inside me and upon its release I can feel the warmth sweep through my nostrils and over my fingertips which are white with the pain against the stress of the string, but this isn’t a terrible pain, instead it is a welcome one. The type of pain that reminds us of pain and pleasure and to take them together as one entity, one that cannot exist without the other and knowing that the ecstasy of release is imminent. My only thoughts lie on the task at hand, I have for the first time ever found total control of my body “Your left arm is shaking, stop it.” And it stops. “You must stand straighter” and I do. Upon the release I feel the force of the vibration through the string and the energy exerted upon the arrow and I can stand for just a second and feel absolutely at ease with the world. And then snap back to reality upon hearing the most glorious sound of arrow tearing paper.

46 votes, average: 4.04 out of 546 votes, average: 4.04 out of 546 votes, average: 4.04 out of 546 votes, average: 4.04 out of 546 votes, average: 4.04 out of 5 (46 votes, average: 4.04 out of 5)
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Published by soularcher on 14 May 2008

Cubicle Psychology…

Cubicle Psychology…

 

Joe Shuhay

 

I’m not sure if it’s the few good memories that I have of my dad, if it’s the chill-up-my-spine adrenaline rush when a shot presents itself, or if it’s the peace and solitude that I only get when in God’s green woods.  I do know that something draws me out there.  It’s something I just can’t put my finger on.  I can say that I almost always leave the woods feeling refreshed, and recharged.  I find myself thinking that if I could, I’d spend most of my time there, among the pines and oak, breathing in the cold fresh air of morning, awaiting a glimpse of movement, or traversing a ridge in pursuit of the elusive Hart of lore.  A good weapon in hand, me versus the unknown.  This is what I live for.

 

7:59 a.m., and I sit dejectedly into my padded swivel chair of my gray, artificially lit cubicle for another 9 hours of staring at a computer screen.  “How did I get here?”  I look out of the office window down the hall from me.  The bright morning sun falls on the green spring leaves of a nearby maple tree, and I feel a yearning deep within my soul to venture outside, feel the warm sun on my face, and hear the wind in the trees. 

 

Throughout the day my mind drifts to hiking and scouting, shed hunting, open fires and the like; but mouths need to be fed, and bills have to be paid…

 

There is a part of a man that no one can touch, something wild and dangerous, something that is forced to live in the gray area between the cold oppressive bars of the rat race, and the limitless wilderness.  Most boys are raised to suppress their “wild” part in favor of what is considered to be more socially amicable qualities. This goes way beyond raising our children to have respect and manners.  In these days of sexual immorality, and metrosexuals, boys are emasculated, and taught to be “nice guys”.  Then society laments the lack of “real men” in society.  No toy guns or bows, no aggressiveness.  Those boys grow up, and society then asks them to be leaders at work, on the battlefield, and in the home. 

 

Most men today live lives of quiet desperation in their offices and garages, watching action shows on television rather than living out the very things that we are programmed to do. They are slowly dying inside for want of less rat race, and more wilderness in their lives.  That reason alone is enough to understand why we hunt, and what is so attractive about the out of doors.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being a father. For me it’s God and family first.  But God also put this love of hunting and the outdoors in my heart, and I plan to pass this on to my kids, and anyone else that is interested. 

 

There is a part of a man that no one can touch, something wild and dangerous, something that is forced to live in the gray area between the cold oppressive bars of the rat race, and the limitless wilderness…

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 5 (10 votes, average: 2.60 out of 5)
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Published by csinclair on 12 May 2008

Archer and Hiker does not equal Bow Hunter

(a.k.a. 10, (more), practice tips for new Bow Hunters

Last weekend I had the first chance ever to take my bow out into the bush for a long hike on 160 acres of farmland interspersed with forests and tree stands on some private property owned by my family, where I have permission to hunt.

I didn’t actually hunt on the property this time, (not being licensed to hunt in Ontario yet, (anymore)), I was however there to get some practice and experience in getting up early in the morning, (5 AM – 1/2 hr before sunrise), gearing up with all my camo and archery gear and going for a long stalk through the fields, as well as spending some time shooting from a tree stand, (pre-existing), in full gear just to see what it was like. Lucky for me one of the neighbours came by with a big old Tom Turkey (20+ lb’s), that he shot on the first morning with a 10 Guage shotgun, (nice looking bird) we shared an after the hunt drink on my father in law’s back porch while he told me the story. He called out this old Tom with a box call, and put two rounds into him, (which may explain why I’d heard lots of them clucking on the first morning and none on the second).

First thing that I did on the first morning was set up a distance string that I’d prepared with trail tape marker measurements on it the night before. I marked the 20, 40 and 60 meter intervals on it so that I could tune my sights for some longer distances than the usual 20 to 30 meter shots I practice at home. I set my pins for 20, 30, 40 and 60 meters, I won’t take a shot any longer that at this point, maybe later with practice.

I’m very glad that I did take the time to go out get the practice like this because as I’ve been reading the articles on this site and a few others like it, I’ve come to the conclusion that no amount of archery practice and hiking can get one ready to be a bow hunter and after this weekend I think I’m beginning to understand why.

I actually had a big old Tom walk right out of the bush towards where I was practicing from in the tree stand on the first morning out, he came out of the woods about 120 meters away from the stand and came closer until I think I moved and spooked him at when he got to around 80 meters away from me, he was gone in a flash not to be seen or heard from again by me.

Top things I learned on this weekends excursion into the world of bow hunting training & preparation:

1.) Be prepared, although it was early May, the mornings were cold, I forgot to pack gloves and my hands were quite unexpectedly cold on the second morning. Make sure to get all your gear together the night before, check it and double check it, triple check it, (the first morning out I forgot my field glasses even though I’d packed them with my gear, I left them in the truck, doh!).

2.) Humans are very noisy, Walking through the forest in boots it’s very difficult to be stealthy, hunt from a stand or blind and learn to call your prey, the chance of you sneaking up on an animal on it’s own turf are slim in most cases.

3.) Be patient, what better way to spend the morning than sitting out in nature, being silent, scanning for animals with field glasses, (which I did remember to bring on the 2nd morning).

4.) Practice shooting from your treestand in all directions and distances, I could shoot quite easily some in some areas but really had to shift my position and harness to shoot in other directions and distances, practice and be prepared for all scenarios.

5.) Shooting unmarked distances in the wild is very difficult, (it’s critical and quite difficult to judge distances properly this is probably why so many hunters use range finders), shooting from a tree stand is also very difficult, (due to the angles involved), until you get used to it, (I was much more accurate by the end of the 2nd day).

6.) Experience is the best teacher, reading about and watching videos on a topic is not the same as doing something, if you thing you want to be a bow hunter, get out into the woods and actually spend a few damp chilly mornings in the bush doing stuff for real.

7.) Always carry a compass or GPS device, even though I was on familiar land, it would have been easy to get lost at certain points, forests can be deceptive at times and it’s easy to walk the wrong way and become lost, (it happens).

8.) Hunters who get up early, (before sunrise), dress up in Camoflaged clothing, (I was wearing Real Tree HD head to toe), and spend hours in the woods being as quiet as possible see all kinds of wildlife, (during my 2 mornings out I saw: 2 raccoons, 2 groundhogs, lots of Canada Geese, (2 Canada Geese in particular at waters edge of a pond with a nest of 5 eggs), 3 or 4 Mallards, a Great Egret, a wild Turkey, a pair of yellow bellied sap suckers, lots of crows, red winged blackbirds, sparrows and yellow warblers, (although I spotted some droppings and tracks I didn’t see any deer this time out).

9.) Talk about Bow Hunting and your desire to be a hunter with others, (I was slightly surprised by the reception that my interest received from my family and friends), I’ve been invited out hunting with a few different groups now, to hunt for various game and I’ve got permission to hunt about 1000 acres of privately owned land if you totalled up the various offers from kind folks who I’ve talked to about my interest in the sport.

10.) Being out in the bush with the Bow is like nothing else, what a great feeling, memories in the field are irreplaceable. I can only imagine the high that comes with bagging big game with a bow after my brief taste of the sport and the tiniest bit of experience that practice in full gear could provide me with, I’m more eager than ever now.

I figure that I’ll spend a few more weekends this summer up at the same spot practicing and getting used to full camo hiking, stalking and tree stand shooting before next years season, at which time I’ll be licensed for small game and hopefully pull a ticket for turkey and who knows what else. In the meantime, practice, practice, practice.

Happy Hunting!

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Published by txcookie on 12 May 2008

Succes in Failure

Success in failure

 

I have never been much for the world of trophy hunting. I grew up in an area were big deer were more than just rare, they were endangered, and almost every one I’d ever seen harvested was taken by rifle. I was in love with the arrow so a doe, or spike, or anything, actually, was truly my trophy.  

I took up Bow hunting at the age of 13 and by 15 I had my first deer. In the next 3 yrs I would take two more before joining the Air Force and missing several seasons. Funny, how a war can take you away from everyone and everything you love. After a 4 yr gap I was finally able to get some free time (thanks to hurricane Rita and a two month evacuation) to make a hunt and was able to take a small doe. The predator within me was awakened with that kill, and had the appetite of a bear after a very long winter. 

 In 2006 I was up for orders, and when I saw Iowa on the list I suddenly had a rush of thoughts and pictures with me posing with my Pope and Young’s! I was ecstatic, and when I got the assignment I was already being told from friends of how many monsters I would most likely kill. Success would be mine. 

  Iowa did not let me down for my first season. I could see more deer in just one week then I would see in an entire year back home. Bucks were everywhere, and most were way bigger than what I was used to seeing. I got a map of the land I had to hunt and started researching everything that I could about it. I learned the best ways to ambush without the help of feeders and tried to get used to playing the scent game. I felt I knew how to hunt, however this was the first time in my life I would be 100% solo with my Father and hunting buds living a thousand miles away. Hunting huge fields with little woods is a bit different than hunting the forest of North East Texas.  Everything would be different. 

It all paid off one evening when I passed on a 120 class deer only to be rewarded with a 150 class. He came down a trail which crossed into my best shooting lane, offering a 15yrd chip shot.  As soon as he hit the spot I drew back and all I could think was HORNS. I saw the pins, then the deer, and I just jerked. Needless to say the only thing that got hurt was a small leaf from a half-dead plant.  

The sound of an arrow missing is the toughest sound to hear, and I was crushed. I didn’t eat for 2 days and had to miss work. I swore up and down that I would get this buck or one similar before the season ended. I hunted in –15-degree weather and passed many very respectable bucks that would have probably made the paper in my hometown. I annoyed my wife, sacrificed precious gym time and eventually fell behind at work. In the end I had to settle for several tasty does, and considered my season a complete failure. 

  With post-season came the gym time and catching up with my family and work. Also I had to get my shoulder fixed, which had been really messed up with rotator cuff damage. I was beyond worried about my final season in Iowa, with my last chance to get that mossy-backed monster of the cornfield depending on a bum shoulder!  

After 2 months of Physical torture I was finally able to draw and shoot a new 49# Bow.  Getting the stands up was no easy task either–suddenly I had a new appreciation for just how important shoulders can be for a bow hunter. The first hunt was hot but productive, and in the end there was a heart-shot doe in the back off my truck! Another one would follow later that week and I had convinced myself that this would indeed be the yr.  

That’s about when things went back down hill.  The rut started at a time when I simply could not miss work, even if the Boss had no idea, and I only caught the back end of it! I decided to lower my standards to any P&Y and at the rate I was seeing them, I knew it should only be a matter of time.  My time finally came one cold windy November morning.  A good 8-point came in at 25 yards. Tailing a doe, he stopped for just a moment.  

I remember getting the bow back and telling myself to pick a spot and follow through.  I did, and watched in horror as my arrow sliced the bottom of his chest, leaving him a lot smarter but alive. Having white feathers I can tell you if I have a hit from my stand and in this case they were clean and dry, with just a dab of fat on my shaft and one white hair.   

Back into my depression I went. I was miserable. Finally I decided I had to talk to someone about it, so I called my Father. He was able to get my senses back in order. He reminded me that I had always found my own trophies in any bow kill that I had. This got me to thinking; for 2 yrs I had been bitter, worried, and anxious about deer season, obsessing over big horns! I had let it take to much time away from my family and my career.  I had even let it take the enjoyment out of the hunt. 

The more I thought about it the dumber I felt and more embarrassed I became. It finally hit me that I was in a bowhunter’s heaven and that I was hunting, not competing in a sport with a scoreboard. I needed to just have fun out there like I always had. I had always assumed that my success would be a big P&Y buck, but in the end my success was my failure. My success was finding my passion for simply being a Hunter and taking whatever I deemed a trophy, instead of competing with Magazines and TV shows for trophies.  

The final hunt in 2007 produced a small buck that most would have passed on. I remember sitting in the stand, freezing in the cold.  As I looked down to check my legal shooting time I saw something move thru one of my lanes out of the corner of my eye. With blood pumping and adrenaline surging I rose up and drew back, releasing my big fat XX75 flying at 200 fps straight into the deer’s vitals. With a thunderous crash he broke out of there, stopping just30 yards away before taking his final bed. He has been my greatest trophy to date!

 

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Published by cape buffalo on 10 May 2008

Dreams do come true!

 
Dreams do come true! As long as I’ve been hunting, my friend and I have always wanted to kill a buck with a droptine. Well it finally happened to me! One day last year while out bow hunting I saw three does acting crazy, running and jumping like rabbits. Then it happened… out walked a big buck with a droptine! I was so shaking -up I couldnt even think straight. Well the buck knew something was not right and he disapeared like a ghost. Over the next three weeks I hunted that deer hard and saw him one more time, and now it is November & I was in the woods well before daylight and as I sat their thinking where the buck could be. I saw a deer walking, but to my surprize it was the does I had always seen with him, but no buck this time. now it was around 1:30PM, so I started walking back to my truck, but on the way out I saw a deer on a ridge making scapes and walking toward me, so I stopped and watched as the deer came closer. I saw what I have waited a lifetime for walking right to me. And I drew my bow,but  I had no shot.The deer just kept walking right pass me into a large blown down tree that blocked my shot, and then it happened, at 10 yards the deer saw me, but it was too late at 10 yards I shot the arrow, It  hit the buck perfect as he ran off I sat down to think about what had just happened to me. As I calmed down I picked up a blood trail that the blind could have followed. after 150yards I found my dream buck and to my surprize he had kickers, three brow tines, double droptines and spilts plus mass. everthing you could want and more, and I thank god and my dad for a great deer and I know his off spring will be there for years to come and just maybe my son will take one this year. And, yes my son told me he wants one with 5 droptines on each side. And always remember dreams do come true!

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