Archive for the 'How To' Category

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Published by admin on 06 Nov 2013

Right stand-Right time by Ron

Right stand-Right time
By Ron aka. rjs

First of all, do you happen to know anyone that seems to connect on big deer season after season? They just seem to be in the right spot at the right time. Why do you suppose this is? It’s because they ARE in the right spot at the right time. These guys understand deer habits and how to use this knowledge to set up productive stand sites. What is the right stand at the right time you ask? I’ll explain.

I break my stand sites down into categories, early season (September), mid season (Oct. 1st-25th), rut (Oct. 25th-Nov. 25th), and my favorite, all season. Each stand has its own purpose and best time of the season to hunt it. It will also have prevailing wind direction factored in and a planned access route to get in and out. Let’s break it down even further.

10-25-2013-behind house 025

EARLY SEASON

My early season stands are typically food source stands. Crop fields, food plots and water are the most productive. I usually only hunt them in the afternoons and evenings. If I do hunt in the morning, I arrive very early to avoid bumping deer out of the fields when heading to my stand. Keep in mind that deer will migrate to different foods as the season progresses. Whitetails love soybeans, but will ignore them when they start to turn yellow and dry out. Water sources can be hit or miss. If you have a week of rain it might not make much sense to sit above your favorite pond. There will be puddles in the ditches and deer can drink without traveling very far. I won’t waste my time sitting on a yellow bean field that deer have forgotten about or overlooking a pond during a rainstorm. A productive early season stand will have a food source that is active. Again, right stand, right time. I will have a couple of stands set up over food sources. Some can be hard to hunt more than a couple of times because deer will be out in the fields and I guarantee they will bust you leaving your stand or will run into your scent trail after you leave. I will hunt these setups a couple of times then move on when the crops are harvested. I have other plans for these stands later in the season and will pull them down. Now keep in mind, if you have crops in the field that mature at different times and they become an active food source, this stand now becomes more valuable and can be used longer and becomes a mid season stand too. But, more on this later….

MID SEASON
My mid season stands will also have active agriculture food sources nearby, but also take advantage of the local acorn crop. I live in SW Wisconsin and when the acorns fall, deer sightings in the crop fields drop dramatically. A lot of people call this the dreaded “October Lull”. The deer activity seems to drop off like they left the area. Trust me, they haven’t. The deer have simply adjusted to the changing food source. I will have a stand or two that will be located off the agriculture food source and by a stand of oaks. I look for an area with an old rub line. I also look for an area that the bucks will use as a staging area this time of year. If you can find a spot that has a scrapes in it year after year, this is better yet. I wait to hunt these stands until the bucks are becoming a bit more active. Most of the local bucks will visit this spot at one time or another when the rut is just warming up. Again, right stand right time. I again only hunt these stands a couple of times. Most stands are too hard to get in and out of without being busted. The last thing you want is to alert every buck in the neighborhood that he is being hunted.

Corn, bean and Buck forage oats makes this stand productive the entire season.

THE RUT

We have now transitioned from early season to the beginning of the rut. Now for everyone’s favorite, “rut” stands. It’s no secret; the bucks go where the does are. I locate my stands just like everybody else. I look for pinch points, ditch crossings-any spot that will funnel deer to me. I set up a couple of stands between bedding areas and in travel routes that contains a rub line. I have found that there is a small window of opportunity to “mini” pattern a buck before the rut fully kicks in. Bucks are now on their feet more and will start traveling from doe group to doe group, in essence taking inventory of all the local does. More than once I have watched a buck move through a travel corridor, out of bow range, realized that I needed to adjust my stand a bit, then arrowed him later that day or a day or two later. Again, right stand right time. Another type of rut stand is for hunting “cruiser” bucks. These are the bucks that you have never seen before, have no trail camera pictures of and didn’t even know existed. I set these stands strictly off the terrain features and past buck sightings. I prefer ridge tops over valleys. I find it easier to keep the wind in my favor. I hunt this setup later in the rut, after the peak breeding is over. I might not see as many deer, hunting from this type of stand, but the ones I do are usually older age class bucks. This is the only stand that I don’t worry about overhunting and may sit these spot several days in a row. Again, right stand right time.

ALL SEASON

This brings us to my personal favorite, all season stands. Remember the early to mid season stands that have food sources that last into the late season? You can catch bucks during the rut, cruising the edges farm fields looking for does that feed in these areas. Remember the early season stand overlooking a farm pond? If November is hot and dry, this stand site might prove a winner when a rutting buck comes in for a drink. What else does a stand need to be considered all season? Well, that answer is easy, all of the above. Food, water, travel routes and bedding areas in the right locations. The best all season stands will be next to a food source with water. It will be on a travel corridor between bedding areas and have access for you to get in and out without the deer knowing it. What makes this stand special? It’s the right stand that can be hunted ANY time the wind is right. Do all properties have such spots? No, unfortunately not. You can create them with a little work, but that is a discussion for a different day. Take a look at your current stands sites, see what category they fit into and see if you are hunting the right stand at the right time.

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Published by Frank Biggs on 08 Sep 2013

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Hunting Equipment – GPS & Mapping Systems

The following article are my opinions on the subject of GPS & Mapping Systems

Since this post, mobile technology from onX HUNT is in full swing. Your phone can now be the tool and you can even share waypoints to another user…

Private land in middle of National Forest!

Private land in middle of National Forest!

I would have to say my interested in the GPS (Global Positioning System) equipment started in or around 1998 after I started to work for a large Sporting Goods Company in the Portland Metro Area in Oregon.

This will be a two part (2) article about GPS Products and then about Topo (Topographical) mapping that is designed for hunters, hikers, walkers, fishermen and anyone else that might use a GPS in the great outdoors of the U.S.A.

Over the course of many years of working with GPS products I have come to the conclusion of what I feel is the best GPS products to use in the field. Now this is my opinion and may not be everyone’s opinion!

Having known many small private plane owner pilots, they all seem to have one GPS product system that they rely on.   I will tell you it is GARMIN and be truthful about it.

I have had the opportunity to try every large name GPS products out there that have Topo mapping that is their branded line of mapping.  There are many good GPS products out there, but they are not the best!

I want you to think about support, updates, ease of putting in waypoints, transferring waypoints to and from the computer!  Garmin is by far the easiest that I have worked with.  With Garmin one can zoom in to about 80’ and that is great when you have detail TOPO (Topographical) mapping to go with it.

As for support it is the best out there via the net or on-line, as I have used both and the last time when I could not get it done on my own, I called support and actually got tech support in my local state, which meant a lot when I was communicating my problem.

Another item of importance is that you need a GPS that has a high sensitivity internal antenna and WAAS system.   It also needs to be a colored screen vice black and white.  It should have capabilities for an SD Micro Card or have enough internal memory.  Much of our hunting, hiking or exploring is done in dense timber, or in areas that there might have a canopy.   My latest GPS Garmin Montana will work inside of my office building.

A well used Garmin Montana with lots of secret spots!
A well used Garmin Montana with lots of secret spots!

Most of my hunters that I help did not realize that Garmin has a free software download called Base Map (Computer interface program to GPS device).  This is a big deal to me and my hunters that are willing to get the proper mapping and GPS.

The mapping is from another company (Hunting GPS Maps) that is not a Garmin product, yet is able to be used with the Garmin Base Map and Garmin GPS products.

I believe that Garmin’s Blue Maps and City Streets mapping is great, but I am not a fan of the Garmin Topo Mapping.  There is not enough detail or no detail of private lands within National Forest and it does not show B.L.M. Lands.   Matter of fact there is only white (no way to know other public lands) for all other lands except National Forest which is green.

The inner face is easy and once you have the software load on both the computer and the GPS you have one of the greatest tools in the world.

If you are not computer sassy you can obtain a Hunting GPS Map on Micro Chip and install it in a Garmin GPS product.  The importance for those using the product is that you will know the public land (BLM, State, and Federal) private lands and in many cases the landowners name, then there are the private timber lands that are white with dots.  Much of the private timber lands in the west are open to the public.  The information regarding which timber lands that is open to the public should be listed with the most State Game Departments, which it is in Oregon.  Everything is color coded for the easy identifying of lands, National Forest is Green, State Lands are usually Blue, Private Lands are White, BLM is Yellow, City Properties can be purple or maroon, and the Private timber lands are White with Dots.

Just think about being out there hunting and crossing into a piece of this land thinking you are hunting National Forest and it is a Gold Mine in Eastern, Oregon or maybe a mine in Utah.   One might not like the experience they might have with an old miner.

A GPS is one of the most important pieces of equipment to have when you are hunting in areas of mixed land.

I will tell you since I first started to write this page, that my friends at onX HUNT have come out with a new product for those I Pad and I Phone users, such as my son.  You are now able to get the same mapping for their usage.  Hopefully you have a connection when out there, as least you can be legal when working the zones.

I tell my DIY Antelope-Pronghorn hunters that it is a must for them to have a product that gives the boundaries.  Just look at a place like the famous Steen’s Mountains in Southeastern, Oregon.  There are many parcels of private in the middle of BLM that is hard to tell what is what, since there is so much cross fencing.  Yes you can have a paper map from the BLM, which is fine for reference, but of course you’ve had the map for 20 years or got it from a buddy who had it for 20 yards and BLM had done land swaps.  Don’t get me wrong, I came from old school with paper BLM and N.F. maps.

I know from experience how important a GPS is with trespassing and these products can save a hunt.   How many times do hunters get stopped on B.L.M. or even N.F. by ranchers that might have cattle rights on the public land?  Telling the hunter they are trespassing!  Oh!  It happens a lot in the West!  The Foreman of the famous Hay Creek back in the day would stop hunters on public roads going along the ranch and into B.L.M. and the National Grasslands.  It is one thing to get stopped by law enforcement, but not by a private citizen on the public land!

Private land in the Steen's Mnts of Oregon that may not have a fence or may have a fence and you think it is BLM.
Private land in the Steen’s Mnts of Oregon that may not have a fence or may have a fence and you think it is BLM.

When I help hunters find places at this point for FREE, I expect it to be quick and easy on my part.  The idea of helping hunters in this hectic busy lifestyle we have to shorten the scouting time in land they know nothing about.  Get waypoints to them in good hunting areas and go from there.

There is some much one can learn about a spot that they might only get to hunt a few times in a lifetime, since most special tags take so long to get.   With a Garmin Colored GPS with SD Micro slot, Garmin Base Map (Computer), Hunting GPS Maps and Google Earth, you can go from Novice to Expert in a very short time prior to your outing.

Do you really want to get Coordinates and plug them into your GPS or Mobile Device, without knowing what you are looking at? 
Be smart and move up in technology and you’ll find new avenues to hunt and be confident in the hunt!

Frank aka Cobra

 

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Published by Frank Biggs on 30 Jun 2013

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – On Being Field Prepared!

This article is about being prepared for the un-expected in the field.  

Then again on a well planned trip, you forget an important item that might just save your life!

Many years ago when I was leaving Vietnam after a tour with the 5th Marines and got into the back to the Duce and Half, which was supposed to be heading to the airbase in DaNang a not so funny thing happened.   As most know, since I was heading back to Naval Communications Station in the Philippines I turned in my M-16, 1911 and my M-3 Grease Gun.  The driver a young Marine Private, just In-Country forgot something very important, especially when you get lost and drive into enemy country.   Maybe he thought he was in CONUS and it was a trip into the countryside?   We came under fire, with the yelling and moving into the driver’s seat, we all survived.   His M-16 and bandoleers’ were still back at the command up on Hill 327!

In the modern day world I do not believe that anyone that goes out into the Great Outdoors should ever be in a situation of being lost and not being able to get back out on their own unless they are hurt and unable to move!  One can be lost of course, but one should be able to recover easily from being lost in the moment!

Yet so many times we hear of kids, hunters, hikers’, cross country skiers, snow mobile riders, and mountain climbers getting lost for days.   I wonder about the mine set of people, except the kids that should have help from guiding parents in the fundamentals of being in the outdoors.

Does one really feel that this mountain has any feeling about you? The fact that Mother Nature determines the out come of weather, one should always be on the ready for anything! Bwana Bubba

Does one really feel that this mountain has any feeling about you? The fact that Mother Nature determines the out come of weather, one should always be on the ready for anything! Bwana Bubba

Years ago mountain climbers were the direct cause of a National Guard Helicopter going down on Mt. Hood in Oregon, thus costing millions of dollars of equipment lose.

Just the recently there was a young man lost in the rugged Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.  His comment after being found was “I am going right back out”, note that it was raining hard and the area is very steep and heavy timbered with many deep canyons of no return.  Of course he did not have a GPS or any other type of communications that working in the field.  I do not think he had a clue as to the cost, plus the fact he was a flatlander (from the Midwest).

Another one lost on Mt. Hood this week had forgotten this locating beacon.  Everyone said he was a very experience mountain climber.  Mt. Hood as any other mountain doesn’t care how experience you are, as Mother Nature is not forgiving!  The Air National Guard in a Blackhawk Helicopter found his body!  Terrible as he might have fallen and died on impact, but if not maybe he would be telling the story of the climb today!

I am firm believer of modern day GPS products such as Garmin GPS’s that have high sensitive antennas that will work in deep cover.  Many do not realize that many GPS products that don’t have high sensitive antenna or WASS Enabled.  If a GPS does not these features it will not record tracks or even pick up the satellites in deep timber.

Since this post, mobile technology from onX HUNT is in full swing. Your phone can now be the tool and you can even share waypoints to another user…

Families that take their young children up in the mountains prior to Christmas to look for a tree for Christmas might think about having one of the Garmin GPS or similar products for dogs.  Funny!  Not really, as kids have a habit of moving fast and panic sets in.   Many years ago (1998) in Oregon on such a trip a young boy was lost.  I do not believe he was ever found, so the possibility of him being abducted might be there.  The instance that the parent could not see him, they could have located him quickly.

There are also hand-held 2 way radios that will reach with line of sight for 25+ miles.  Years ago there was a man lost in Oregon and the searchers were able to find him as he had a 2 way radio that he was sending out for help.  It was picked up some 50+ miles away.

Persons that are going mountain climbing on such treacherous places such  Mt. Hood, Mt. Lassen, Mt St. Helens or any other place with glaciers and changing weather at moment’s notice should have a locating beacon at all times with them.  You can rent them on most mountains or just buy one.  It is not required in the liberal state of Oregon.  A few mountain climbing organizations’ feel it infringes on one’s right.  Thou it is ok to bring out a team to find the lost souls and maybe lose a person in the search or equipment.

Have I forgotten about the cell phones, which have become so good with GPS and long lasting batteries?   One can always have a solar cell and recharge the phone when there is some sun.   I know it all about the weight when climbing, hunting or hiking right!?

For some it all about the money, yet how much does a pair of cross country skis cost, the outfit, the Weatherby rifle, and the mountain climbing goggles?   Yet again is about being macho or just knowing you are the best.   I feel the same way, but I know from being turned around a few times, that it better to be safe and make it back to camp then spend the night out.  I have spent the night out in bad weather, not due to being lost, but because the conditions would put me at risk in treacherous rimrock of the John Day River Canyon!

Years ago while hunting in the Snake River Canyon I came out on the ridge road two hours after dark fell upon the Snake River and wondering where my horse was located.  It was such a relief for me that Czar whinnied and I was able to get to him quickly.  I never carried a GPS in those days, as they were new and I only packed a compass.  I could have walked out as there was the ridge road, but how about Czar.  A GPS in hand I could have plugged in the waypoint where I left Czar while I was elk hunting.

My thoughts are the following and if one ever wanted to hunt with me and I don’t have many hunt with me as I do not want the responsibility of them!

The equipment with the following attached is required!

1)      Cell Phone – GPS capabilities if you not going to have a GPS.

2)      A two way handheld communications device, similar to Motorola’s.

3)      GPS – Colored with mapping capabilities – GARMIN is preferred.

4)      onX HUNT (onXmaps) to go with the Garmin GPS and a Mobile device

5)      If in treacherous mountainous areas a locating beacon is required.

6)      Some extra batteries for devices that are not using lithium batteries

7)      Your own toilet paper!

In closing with just the GPS, one can back track to their original starting place and if the GPS has Topographic mapping, one could possibly figure out a direct route back if the terrain is manageable.

Don’t leave home with just your clothes, the basics and your bow or rifle!

Bwana Bubba

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Published by DJ on 29 Jun 2012

Have you ever wanted to really pattern the Big Game Animals you hunt?

To do that, you have to collect weather data, lunar data and solar data for the times you are seeing animals and the times you aren’t. Obsessive Hunting Disorder  does this for you.

You enter the location, time of day and the animal activity and all of the other data is automatically calculated for you. Create reports to pull the information that has been entered by you and many other hunters.

This is how you really pattern an animal!

You cant do it without Obsessive Hunting Disorder

Visit Today : www.obsessivehuntingdisorder.com

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Published by mlgunkel on 05 Jun 2012

Distance Compensating Bow Site

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

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

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

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

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

Procedure

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

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

Y1=ax12+bx1+c

Y2= ax22+bx2+c

Y3= ax32+bx3+c

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

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

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

Step 1: Record Arrow Drop.

 

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

 

Step 2: Create Equations.

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

a= -0.0000171467764060

b= 0.00478395061728

c= 0.1319444444444440

 

Step 4: The quadratic equation predicting arrow trajectory is:

 

-0.0000171467764060x2+0.00478395061728x+0.1319444444444440

 

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

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

First Line of Best Fit:

 Second Line of Best Fit:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Step 13: There were no additional lasers.

 

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

 

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

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Published by admin on 21 May 2012

PREPARE YOUR HUNT NOW by Ted Nugent

PREPARE YOUR HUNT NOW by Ted Nugent

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

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Published by Casey Stutzman on 17 May 2012

Real Fitness for Bow Hunters

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

 

Choose athletic exercises

 

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

 

·        Resistance band squat row

 

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

 

Balance training

 

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

 

Balance training exercises;

 

·        Simple – single leg balance with eyes closed

 

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

 

·        Advanced – Lateral bounds with stick holds

 

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

 

Core stability

 

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

 

Core stability Exercises;

 

·        Simple – 10 second Planks

 

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

 

·        Advanced – Bird Dogs

 

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

 

 

Cardio target shooting

 

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

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Published by Casey Stutzman on 17 May 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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Published by archerchick on 21 Apr 2012

My Introduction To ELK ~By Tim Dehn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

 

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