Archive for May, 2008

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Published by Shaman on 05 May 2008

Poor Mans Turkey Target

As a person on a budget, I am always looking for ways to scrimp and save. A couple of years ago, I got into bowhunting for turkeys. Unfortunately, there was little in the way for turkey targets for bow hunters. I had bought a paper photorealistic target and tacked it to the Morrell Fieldpoint bag. It did not last long. I then took another paper target and glued it to cardboard. It lasted a little longer, but not much.

Then, I hit on the proper combination.

Ingredients:

  • Fieldpoint Bag
  • Children’s Puzzlemat
  • Photorealitstic Turkey Target
  • Glue

Glue your photorealistic target
http://www.turkeyhuntingsecrets.com/store/images/deltabkturkeytarget.jpg

To the PuzzleMat
http://karateinsider.com/images/heavy_bags/puzzle_mats.jpg

Drop your FP bag to the ground and place the puzzlemat with picture in front of your FP bag.
Since the paper is glued to the mat, the paper does not tear on arrow removal.
Shoot it like crazy! The mat and target will last hundreds of arrows worth of shots.

I’ve attached a video of how it works. Sorry the sound is a little muffled, it was windy that day.

Video of Turkey Target

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Published by Shaman on 05 May 2008

Turkey Lurky Come on By!

Turkey hunting, from first to last

My Morning, had to leave blind at 9am due to work.

  • 4:30am: head to blind, set up 1 hen facing off canter to left of blind.
  • 5:00am: get first gobble response
  • 6:00am: Finally lure the tom over the crest and he sees decoy.
  • 6:00am-8:00am: Tom stops gobbling and Struts, Preens and Stands on Log showing off. Slowly, SLOWLY displays, preens, and peck feeds down the entire length of the field edge to the right, around the corner and hangs up 30yds short and behind vegetation (not clearable)
  • 8:05am: Second Tom blast into the field gobbling like crazy.
  • 8:10am: I give up on closer Tom who is stalled and I Box Call the Field Gobbler. He approaches 60 yards out and sees decoy.
  • 8:10am-8:50am: He circles around to the left continues crossing the field, enters the woods and comes in behind me. He would not enter by 3 rear facing shooting lanes and ends up walking off as well.
  • 9:00am: I head out, no turkeys in sight.

I moved my blind.
I think the distance that the Toms have to cross from the far side of the field put them on edge when they do not see any hen movement for so long.

I got 2 shots off out of the blind last year when Paired Toms rushed the decoy, but have had 4 other times when single birds fetch up after crossing a couple hundred yards only to see the decoy never move or call back.

I’ve moved my blind over the little crest and 1/2 to the other side of the field where they usually enter to give them less distance to consider the immobile hen before they are in range.

Guess that is why they call it Turkey Hunting and not Turkey Shooting.


Day 2

Another near miss.
Set up this morning and 2 hens, a jake, and small tom come into the field.
They just would not respond to calling and calmly pecked and strolled on by out of range.

At least there are birds about!
Tomorrow I get 4 hours in the blind.
We’ll see what happens.


Day 3

This morning was even more stressful than the other morning.
A larger flock (for around here) came into the top of the field.
About 10 hens, one big tom and 1 jake (I thought).
I called to them as they crossed the top of the field and slowly 4 hens and the jake broke off and started coming by way, the long way. They did a giant circle around the field and came into the decoys the opposite side of where they entered the field.

Now, I am getting excited. They slowly come in and I notice the jack is a young Tom. More color and a 2-3″ beard. Here they come, but the tom is out the outside and they are all kind of huddled together. I draw back and hold waiting for a gap…. wait for it… wait for it….
GAH… have to let down.

They peck along slowly, with the Tom still on the outside and just poking his head up every so often and looking at the decoys. I draw back again… wait… wait… wait…….. wait. MAN!
I let down again. Still now shot. Now they are about 3/4 out of my shooting arc and still moving along.

I take a couple deep breaths and draw back again. Watching them slowly walk out of my arc and range. The whole time there was not ONE break in the flock that let me have a shot at the small tom.

I’m trying to convince myself it is for the best, that I succeeded in calling them in, and that I’ll gt another chance. I have 2 days this week, a week off, and another week before my season is over. And I know there are two other big Toms around. But man! I just wanted to tag out and eat some turkey!!!


Day 4

Yesterday:
Cold, Rainy, Damp.
No turkeys.
BOOO…


Day 5

Finally!
Got up at what I thought was 2am with the baby to feed him.
Then as I was prepping the bottle I realize it said 12:00 not 2:00.. WHOOOOOHOOOOO
2 extra hours of sleep!

So, I get up again at 2:30am, get ready and head down to my Dads.
Get there, say hi and we head out to the blind around 4:30am.
The landowner had said she saw 1 big tom and a couple jakes almost every morning, so we waited.
Around 6:45am a lone jake came in my Dad spotted him out his side of the blind.

I promised my wife that if it had a beard, I would take it down.
He had a beard, so I waited for him to get into my shooting lane and took him down at 21.5 yards.

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Published by Shaman on 05 May 2008

A doe, a deer, a female deer

It all started the week before.
The season had opened and it was another fall with my own yearling in the house (second child, 9m old). I had no time to scout, but I had a couple spots on my neighbors land picked out.

All that week as I arrived home after a long day; 4am Andrew diaper changing, 5am feeding, 6am Samantha is up, 7am off to drop off kids at Daycares (split with wife, we go in opposite directions)… I get home after a longer than usual work day and stare wistfully out the window. I know there are deer out there somewhere.

On Thursday I am supposed to put my stand up and fix my blind to place on the edge of a field. I get home to find out my wife had tweaked her shoulder working out and is out of commission. I cook supper, give the kids baths, get Andrew in bed and then retire to the living room to dream about being out in the woods.

Friday rolls around and I am going through the ‘routine’ that evening while my wife is waiting to get into the Drs office this upcoming Monday to get her shoulder checked out. By now it is hardly able to move. The phone rings, it is my brother.

“Shawn”, he says in a shaky voice while half whispering, “I just arrowed a doe!” He continues,”I finally got a shot on with the Diablo and it felt soooo smooth. She was quartering away hard but I know it was a good shot. It all felt so magical.” I ask him if he needs help tracking, though I was not looking forward to the hour drive knowing Mandy would have to deal with two kids with a hurt arm. Marc replies, “Naw. Charlie is coming to help. If we do not find it by 8:30p, I’ll give you a call back.” Around 8pm, he calls and excitedly tells me he found her. She went about 80 yards and went down. I congratulate him and ask him if Dad is going to help him skin it out tomorrow. Nope, he is busy.

So I offer to go down and help him out and I’ll find Mandy help babysitting with the kids. At that point he suggest I pack my bow up and take a turn in the stand. There were three does in the area and they all came in together. He is sure they will come back out, as he has them well timed and they are walking through like clockwork.

I ask Mandy if she would mind if I put an evening in the stand, and she agrees. She does tell me that not only do I need to do, but if I get the chance I need to take the shot. No waiting for the perfect moment. She has seen me shoot and I need to use the skills I have.

The next day I head out in the late morning down to my brothers. As I make the hour trip I am feeling a little pride in the confidence my wife has in me and her actually saying she knows I can make a humane shot even without the broadside. It fills me with confidence as I head down and makes the drive that much more enjoyable.

I arrive around 1pm and help my brother finish processing his deer. It is a nice time chatting about how exactly they came in, how he kept waiting for the broadside, but finally settled on the quartering away. I take a couple pictures for him, and while it looked like he hit it WAY back, the shockwave sliced and diced all the vitals and left the ponch in place. A textbook shot.

I head over to the landowners place at 3:30 and settle in. I sit enjoying the cool breeze (it had been 80 dgrees all week, fall in Maine – welcome global warming). I slowly turn my head this way and that, my bow across my lap holding my personally assembled arrows in the quiver. I am shooting Xweave Predators fletched myself with Blazers (2 Orange and a White cock Vane), Bohning Signature Flo Orange Nock and Slick Trick Magnums.

I pull out an arrow and place it in the Whisker Biscuit, and nock it. Staring at the broadhead, I reflect back on the decision to make the switch. Last year I took a buck with a G5 Montec, but the blood trail was less than I would have expected and I just felt my sharpening skills were not good enough to make the most of the broadhead. I bought a couple packs of ST Magnums to try out as an alternative and within my second set of 3, I was hitting 2″ squares at 20yds with no tweaking of rest or sights. I was sold.

I sit and wait. In front of me are several old and dying apple trees, still feebly bearing fruit. Several woodpeckers flitter from tree to tree while searching for bugs and soft spots in the trees to find tree worms (or whatever they really are).

Slowly the sun goes down and the sound of traffic slows in the distance. My awareness increases tenfold as the ‘right time’ approaches. I start scanning more with my eyes, working right to left and slowly turning my head to help my vision reach the tote road to my far left. Time slows down, but it is not boring. It is that time that takes out into the woods. The time where you become part of nature as a predator. Your patience becomes ten fold as you wait. Waiting like a Puma in the trees.

Off to my far right I hear the tell tale sound of a deer. Not surprisingly the small doe has decided to break all the normal rules of access and is coming through the thickest part of the woods instead of the easy tote roads or the two deer trails running parallel to them. I turn my eyes and head slowly, and she is walking straight in. I see that she is small. But, I promised the wife that it was meat I was after and not a trophy. If a deer came out, and did not sport spots, then I would take it.

Slowly she comes in, but relaxed. She walks straight in and under my stand. Stopping for a moment she sniffs the rungs of the ladder stand and sort of glances around. I guess the soles of my 15 year old leather slipper boots (it was so warm I could not wear my ‘hunting’ boots) did not leave much scent. She then walks out from under the stand and slowly starts walking straight away.

As she comes out from under the stand I wait for her to get out a little and then I stand and turn ever so slowly. Forest Ninja’s could not have moved so silently or smoothly. Knowing she could not see at that angle behind her I get myself into position.

She browses a little but slowly continues walking straight out. It is time for a decision! So I wait for her turn? Do I risk her walking straight ahead and under the canopy 30 yards out? I look to my right again (straight ahead of my body now) and check for following does or bucks and see nothing. This is my chance for the evening and I think of my wife back at home, hurt and watching our two kids to give me this chance. I draw.

One of the important pieces of a successful shot is to not change your style. To let your instincts do what you have done dozens, hundreds, thousands of times at home and on the range and in the 3D course (if you are lucky enough to live close). To draw the same, anchor the same, hold the same, and to take the shot when it looks and feels right. Overthink it and you take too long. Get over excited and you shoot too soon. I bring my bow up into the draw (I happen to draw upwards, always have) and line everything up, just like every other time. I envision in my mind where the arrow will go, and aim for the far lung. I ‘see’ the arrow going through to the far leg, down and through.

Without even realizing it my finger smoothly pulls and my Scott Wildcat go off. I see the arrow in flight through my VBG Triangle sight and watch as the arrow strikes HARD. The doe drops instantly and without so much as a kick breathes in and out 4, then 5 times. In the time it take for me to see her drop with the arrow still within her, I have a second arrow out of its quiver and nocked in the rest. Later I would remark to my Dad and brother than my hands just automatically did it, that the next thing I knew I had the bow in the ready position and tension on the dloop. I watch as she takes her last breathe and passes, less than 30 seconds after the shot. I can not express my concern, and then relief that no second arrow would be needed.

As I let my bow down and call my Brother and Dad, I reflect on the shot and wonder if I ‘missed’. I had certainly not intended to spine her. And the arrow not getting pass through had me concerned that I had somehow missed the vitals and hit something harder like the upper scapula. I take great care to respect the doe as I have my Dad take some pictures of where she lay. I give thanks for the bounty and we move the deer off to take care of her in preparation of getting her to the tagging station.

Later, and mostly due to the interest and thoughtful atmosphere of sharing here to help educate ourselves and others, I take special interest in capturing on my camera the entrance, exit, and damage pictures. Upon skinning out the doe I find that my shot was not bad at all. In fact, the arrow passed one blade through the spine, nicked one lung (it did not look like a pull out wound) and punctured the far lung cleanly. There was complete pass through the lower ribs on the far side and the broadhead had actually lodged in the far leg in the lower potion of the shoulder. It was that penetration that required two hands to start the broadhead back out through the body. Interestingly, and maybe it was because it was dark, we had not figured it as a pass through or I would have captured a picture of the broadhead external to the shot.

Attached below are the photo’s that relate to this story.
There are more if people are interested, but these are those that tell the story without being repetitive.

Thank you for the opportunity to share.

Equipment

2006 Diablo NH 65# 26″ DL
VBG Triangle w/G5 Peep
WB DX QS
Doinker Multi-Rod 7″ D2 Hunter
SIMS Modules as Riser Vibration Dampeners
Scott Wildcat Buckle
Radial XWeave Predator 200s @ 26.75″
Bohning Signature Flo Orange Nocks
Blazer Vanes (2 Flo Orange/1 White)
Slick Trick Magnum 100s
Benchmade Snoddy 210
Buck Woodsman 105

Game
Doe @ 75#s
16yds
Spine/Lung
0 Foot Tracking

Supporting Pictures

My second group with Slick Trick Magnum 100s.
I did not shoot a third.:

My Doe Represented:

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Published by Shaman on 05 May 2008

First Archery Buck

THE SHOT

After recovering what was left of the deer and finding the entrance and exit wounds, we saw that the shot was just about perfect height from the back of the shoulder. Now, I distinctly remember trying to hit a little lower, which with the blood, made me think I hit the heart or arteries (but you guys said arteries would spurt). Once we got out of the woods, we thought about the shot as we had looked at it in the morning before we started tracking.

After reinspecting the spot where the deer bucked and ran off, we are guessing he took a step forward and down as I released. The ground here is wet from a torrential Friday rain, and it was obvious in that section there were some hoof prints and then his deeper JUMP prints. So, if he had not stepped down, I probably would have had good alignment and been in the bottom of the lung on the near side.
He was also slightly quartering towards me, which is was also shown both in the prints and in the entrance and exit. When I drew and was releasing he had been broadside, so we think he dropped his ‘stand side’ leg as he stepped forward, and the hoof prints show a little spread there as well.

RECOVERY:
Just before I started my tracking last night I jumped on the PSE board and read their Guide:Tracking wounded deer by Woody Williams, and tossed some toilet paper in my pack as my neighbor and I went to track. That toilet paper saved the day. This morning we were able to follow really obvious squares of toilet paper (and some scraps when I started to run out) right back to where we had left off the night before. I’m buying some flag tape soon. The rain would have ruined the TP, but it held off.

Once we got back to the last marking, we looked around a while for more blood and there was just none to be found. So, using the last 3 markers as a guide (each about 12 years apart), I started down the most obivious trail (which was not ‘obvious’ at all. But, I was trying to think like a deer. Dad went out ahead and using my voice as a guide, while I stilled squat walked looking for blood, he started doing half circles out in front of me checking the trail from side to side. About 50 yards from the last marker (about 150-200yds total), we found the deer. Coyotes has eaten just about every single part.

ARROW and BROADHEAD – Entrance and Exit
There was a pretty good entrance wound and a sizable exit.
The arrow went in the ribcage, and the exit was just behind the ribcage.
There was no bile, or mucus on the arrow at all, and the blood was dark red.
It ‘might’ have clipped the stand side lung, but the material on my Montec has got to be Liver.
Not having BowHunted a deer before, I was not sure what I was looking at at the time.

The Trophy Pictures:


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Published by Shaman on 05 May 2008

No Greater Joy – Children

There are few things more special than the first time that your son and/or daughter ask to do something related to hunting with you. For me, this happened this past week. My Daughter decided she wanted to help me set up my turkey Blind. Better yet, my brother was one hand with his camcorder and captured this video.

I’ve attached the video: Click Here

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Published by ToughAntlerTees on 05 May 2008

This One Was For You Dad!

January 17, 2008
I was working out of town & got a phone call from my wife. My father was in the hospital in intensive care. That was all we knew. It took me 1 1/2 hours to drive home. I rushed to the phone to call the hospital in SLC, Utah. I happen to live in Loon Lake, Wa. The Dr. reported that my dad was on life support & his liver, kidneys, & lungs were not operating on their own. I could not catch a flight until the next day at 1:00 pm.

Memories flooded my mind of my dad & they would not stop & neither would the tears. I prayed fervently that my dad would not have to suffer. I asked God to keep him alive until I got to the hospital, so that I could say goodbye.

January 18, 2008
God answers prayer. I got to see my dad & pray over him. He was staying alive by the machines, but more so by the grace of God.

January 19, 2008
He passed away while still on the machines 5 hours after I got to say goodbye.

January 21, 2008
Two days later, I was at my dad’s house cleaning it, going through photo’s etc… My wife called me & said my new bow had arrived. This was my very first bow & here I was in Utah taking care of my dad’s affairs. The arrival of the bow was exciting as I had been waiting for it for several months & was something good that I needed to hear.

Feburary 4, 2008
Two weeks later, I was able to make a trip home to visit my wife & son for a week, but had to return to Utah to finish up my dad’s estate. I had a friend of mine get me all set up with my bow & decided that I would take it back to Utah with me on the airplane.

Febuarary 11, 2008
I made a homemade target out of a plastic garbage bag & filled it with some of my dad’s old clothes & rags. I marked the center of the bag with a black solid circle with a marker. I was able to mark off 20 yards in my dad’s backyard & shoot my bow. I was at my dad’s daily cleaning & having a winter yard sales. When the stress would get to be too much, I would take out the bow & shoot about 20 – 40 arrows at the target.

Febuarary 14, 2008
On the 3rd day of shooting I got my very first robinhood! Archer’s have told me that to get a robinhood only after 80-90 shots & being a rookie is awesome! It is my first trophy & proudly hangs on my wall & will always have a special place in my heart….. This one was for you dad.

May 5, 2008
My 9 year old son now has a bow. My wife has a bow on order. We are all new to archery just this year. Archery is a wonderful sport for the whole family & I have one of the greatest memories to start out with. I can look up from my computer & hanging on the wall is my first robinhood.
This one was for you dad…….

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Published by RchurE on 05 May 2008

Journey back to field archery pt. II

I made it out for another 14 target round yesterday. Finally got some weather worth shooting in for a change. It was clear and calm and about 70 degrees. Everything started out just fine and dandy but I’ve been fighting some chest and sinus junk all last week so I was a little weak but knew I would be. I don’t think that really had any influence on my shooting but I’ll use it as an excuse since I can.

Target #1 is the bunny and it didn’t hurt me any. I shot 4 pretty good arrows for a 20.

Target #2 brought the 28 fan which I’m usually ok on. I shot 4 good ones there for a 20.

Target #3 was the 23, 20 and easy enough for another quick 20.

Target #4 – the 64 walk up. This one is usually pretty tough for me for some reason at our range. It’s a pretty flat range from beginning to end but this one is just the least little tad uphill. Actually it’s on level ground but the target is high up on blocks so it gives just the slightest incline. 64 – X, 59 – X, 55 – X, 52 – 4. I couldn’t believe it. I had just called it to my buddy too. I told him I’m bad for hitting the hard ones and losing a 20 on the short ones. I was zoned in and everything but just made a bad shot. I was still ok though because my goal is to clean everything out to 50 yards.

Target #5 is the 15, 14 and I shot a 20 on that one.

Target #6 is where it all started going downhill. It’s the 40 and I almost always 20 it but not today. I dropped the first and third arrow for an 18.

Target #7 – The 70 walk up. I’m hit and miss here for some reason. Some days I shoot it well but the days I don’t I really drop a stink pickle on it. Yesterday was one of those days. The 61 was the only one I hit so I had a 17. I went from one down after 5 to 6 down after 7.

Target #8 – back by the clubhouse we went and on to the 19-17. 20’d that one easy enough.

Target #9 was the dreaded 32 fan. I rarely 20 that one for some reason. It really intimidates me no matter how hard I try not to let it. I faired ok on it this time around knowing I needed to make up some points there. My average this year so far on that target has been 18 and I did one better for a 19.

Target #10 – WOW! Here was the 48 and man did it do me wrong! I don’t know what happened here but this target really ruined my round. I ended up with a 16 the hard way on that one. I shot my first 3 ring of the year. It really didn’t feel that bad either but it sure hit bad enough.

Target #11 was the 58 walk up and I shook off the last target and pulled it together for a good solid 20 on this one.

Target #12 is the baby 80 – 53 walk up. That dot is so small from that distance. Not sure how but I made this one look easy and shot a 20. That’s two in a row for me with this target, I got it the last round I shot too.

Target #13 – the “gimme” 36 fan. I walked over 30 yards from that 53 walk up to shoot this one and missed the first stinkin’ arrow. I then put off 3 solid shots and they were all in the X for a 19 on that big dot for that distance.

Target #14 – ahh, the last one of the day and one that normally gives me quite a bit of trouble. It’s the 44 but it’s the only one on the range that actually has enough incline to warrant a cut. I shoot it for 44 on the field round and 43 on the hunter round. I made 4 good shots for a 3x-20 to finish the day.

All in all not a bad round as I finished up with a 268. I’m really trying to push myself toward a 275 average but I haven’t hit it yet. I really need to keep my head in the game if I plan to accomplish my goal. I find myself at full draw sometimes mowing the yard, pushing my daughter on the swing, painting the kitchen, or some other distraction that just sneaks its way in there. Nonetheless, I’m having a great time, getting some exercise, and twanging a bow string.

I haven’t received any comments on the entry before this one (my first one) so maybe nobody is even reading these things. If you are though and you’ve never shot any field archery then you really should seek out a range. It truly is, in my opinion, the most fun you can have with clothes on. Heck, look me up and we’ll shoot a round.

Until next time…

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Published by Hyunchback on 05 May 2008

First “Real” 3D Shoot

I’d done a portion of a 3D shoot some time ago. Sunday was my chance to do the full thing.

As a game that is set up to be a hunting simulation it is both fascinating and fun. Trying to position around living trees, shooting up/down hill on uneven footing presents new challenges to my limited skills.

I wound up with a lot of fives and no twelves but also no zeros. That’s something of an accomplishment for me.

I still need to concentrate on my fundamentals and try to improve there. Sticking with the same bow, the same release, the same gear and working solely on the biggest variable, me.

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Published by DuckBuckGoose on 04 May 2008

Tips for Securing Trophy Buck Hunting Land

Private Property Sign

These days, finding property to hunt that has a high potential to hold a trophy whitetail deer can be a significant challenge. While public land offers convenience and is open to all, it can get significant hunting pressure – which usually means that it is less likely to have bucks live to maturity. So…the best options for finding trophy hunting land tend to be; 1) Getting EXCLUSIVE permission to hunt private and rural land, 2) Leasing private hunting land or using an outfitter, or 3) Getting permission to hunt land that other hunters overlook (which may or may not be rural). In this post, I’ll dig into each of these options a little bit, and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Three Key Elements: Food, Water & Cover

First, let’s focus on what deer seek out in the land they inhabit, so we can better define what we are looking for in hunting land. For deer to survive throughout the year they need three essential elements; food, water and adequate cover. If at some point they are lacking any one of these elements they will move to a new location until they have access again to all three. Beyond these three elements, for a deer to grow into a true “trophy animal” they simply need the time to grow to a mature age without being hunted and harvested or pressured out of an area. Again, that’s where the three land options that follow should be focused on if you want to increase your odd of harvesting a trophy animal.

 

Option 1: Getting EXCLUSIVE permission to hunt private, rural land

For most hunters, this is the ideal scenario because large tracts of rural, private land that don’t have a lot of pressure can be havens for trophy bucks. But, these areas can be hard to find if you are starting from square one. To help you narrow your search there are a number of tools you can use that many hunters don’t know about, or don’t think to use. Among those are:

Tool #1: Google Maps / Google Earth.  This is an unbelievable resource that hunters of the past did not have. This tool uses the latest satellite photography to let you view your hunting area, or possible new hunting areas from a birds eye view. It will help you identify terrain features, pinch points, streams, relative distances, and will even provide you with specific GPS coordinates. Beyond that, you can draw on the digital maps and photos with the computer, save notes by location, and print them to take along on your next hunt. I would highly recommend you learn to use these tools (don’t worry, its easy) and use them often. The more you scout and the better records you keep, the more successful you will be in the field this year, and in the years to come.

Tool #2: The DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer for your state.  This tool is derived from aerial maps and has a great level of detail. It will help you identify general topography, streams, roads, and high potential deer habitat and is a great resource to keep in your truck for anytime scouting.

Tool #3: Plat Books can be very helpful, once you choose the county or counties in which you think you may want to hunt. Plat books will show you who owns the various parcels of land (usually just those over 5 acres) in a particular county. Platbooks can be purchased through several sources including; the Farm Bureau, County Treasury Office, The County Soil & Water Conservation Office and other places. One convenient Plat book publisher/seller is Rockford Map Publishers (http://www.rockfordmap.com). They publish good quality Platbooks for about 20 states.

Tool #4: County Auditor Websites – As more and more public information goes online, many of the County Auditor offices are putting the key information you are looking for on the web, and all in one place. If your target county does this, consider yourself blessed, because it can be a treasure trove of the most up-to-date information, including; land owner’s names, property lines, addresses of the property and the address of where the owner lives (if different).

Tool #5: The Phone Book – Once you find the land and the landowner’s name using the plat books or county auditor’s site, the phone book can be the next tool in your arsenal to help you get permission. County phone books can be used to look up the names you find in your search. If the names can’t be found in local phone books don’t give up hope. You can still find them by visiting the County Treasury Office, and asking the good people there where the property taxes are being sent for your target parcel of land. This information is part of public record.

Tool # 6: Topographic Maps – Some hunters find these really helpful. Others don’t feel they’re necessary since many of the tools mentioned above give you a good sense for topography. However, if you are scouting large tracts of land where knowing the topography will be a key element to a successful hunt, then getting a topographic map could be a good option.

There are several places to get topographic maps, including some sporting goods stores or government offices. However, two of the most convenient places I’ve found to buy them are http://www.usgs.gov and http://www.mytopo.com. Both of these web sites allow you to buy printed maps or have custom printed maps sent to you. Both sites also have free or paid products to choose from. Here’s a tip…If you’re going to deer camp with several other hunters, that might be a good time to have a custom printed map made. That way you can use for planning your daily hunts, to detail where each of you will be hunting, and to help you determine higher potential deer travel routes. Plus, if you’re going with a group you can split the cost of the map.

 

Option 2: Leasing private hunting land or using an outfitter

Finding free land to hunt is obviously the best option, but for some people who have the financial means and limited time for scouting, finding a hunting lease or booking guided or semi-guided hunts with an outfitter can be a good solution. If looking for a lease here are a few things you’ll want to consider:

Make sure the lease you get gives you exclusive rights to hunt the land. Or, at least make sure you know and trust the other hunters who will be using the lease. There’s nothing worse then paying a lot of money for a lease and then having some “yahoos” ruin your hunting opportunities by doing something stupid.

Ask the landowner or leasing agent if you can scout the property before putting any money down on the lease. When you scout the property look for deer sign, but also make sure it has plenty of the three elements mentioned earlier; food, water and adequate cover. Also, ask if the landowner has any pictures of deer roaming or harvested on the property. Introducing yourself to neighbors and asking them about the local deer herd can be another good way to gauge a lease’s potential.

Before searching for a lease, make sure you can’t get permission to hunt the land for free. Find the properties you want to hunt, then do your homework, knock on doors and ask permission. If you get turned down, offering to lease the land can be a good fallback position.

A hunting lease is a legally binding contract that gives exclusive rights to hunt land, in exchange for a fee. If you’re not working through a broker who provides a good lease contract, make sure you get one and get it signed. Also, make sure the lease is very clear about specifics like;

• Who the landowner is

• Who has permission to hunt and scout the land (make sure you have exclusivity),

• What animals are allowed to be hunted and how (is gun hunting allowed, or is it archery only?),

• The effective dates of the lease

• If camping/fires are allowed on the land, if that is something you may want to do

• Where vehicles are, or are not allowed on the land

• What rights you have to modify the land (can you put in food plots, cut trees, etc?)

• What the price and term of the lease is

• Any other intentions you have and want to clarify in the lease

If a landowner won’t grant you exclusive permission for free, there’s nothing stopping you from asking them if you can lease their land for hunting, But if you want to greatly expand your search, there are several hunting lease brokers that you can use to find and lease land. Many of them are online and let you search properties through their online databases. Doing a simple Google search for “Hunting Lease” or “Hunting lease brokers” will help you find several options like: Basecampleasing.com, Nationalhuntingleases.com, Leasehunting.com, Findahuntinglease.com, hightechredneck.com and more.

 

Option 3: Getting permission to hunt land that other hunters overlook. 

This article is about increasing your odds of harvesting a mature trophy buck. You may think that your county or state doesn’t have any trophy bucks in it. In most cases that is not true. If you look in your state record buck you’d probably find that just about every county in your state has trophy animals on record. The key to hunting trophy bucks then isn’t necessarily finding some remote new places to hunt, but finding the right places to hunt – some of which might be much closer than you think.

Consider this…as the population of people in the nation continues to grow, many more people are choosing to move out of the congestion of cities and into the country. Often times they will buy five to ten acre lots because they enjoy being surrounded by nature. You will probably find that the majority of these landowners will not allow hunting on their properties – providing the deer population a “safe zone” to grow old in. However, these areas are worth investigating and seeking permission in. If you can get access, this can be some of the best trophy buck land around.

Finding The Edges Will Give You an Edge:

Deer are “edge animals”, and looking for different types of edges is a great strategy for finding them. For deer hunting, I’ve found that “edge” can be defined a few different ways. A “Cover Edge” is the where two types of cover meet – like where the woods and a field meet, or where a thick bedding area joins more open timber. This is often a great type of edge for setting your stand and finding travel routes. Another type of edge is what I call the “Pressure Edge”. The Pressure Edge is where a deer safe zone property borders one that you can hunt. If you’re hunting in a highly pressured region the best place to find a trophy buck is to gain permission to hunt in their safe zone. The next best place to hunt them is on the Pressure Edge, right next to a known safe zone. Gain permission in either of them and your odds of seeing trophy animals increases dramatically.

Look for safe zones and pressure edges on the urban borders and city limits, or within one of the many townships that contain good cover. Many of these areas will allow archery hunting. Sometimes a special permit is required in the more urban areas. (Make sure you check your state and local regulations and stick to the letter of the law. Nothing will tighten hunting restrictions for everyone faster than hunters who break the rules.)

A good strategy is to look at a map of your area and look for the possible safe zones and pressure edges. Places to key in on include city or county parks, scouting and church camps, airports, mining operations and gravel pits, federal wildlife areas, airports, golf courses, shooting clubs and more. One you start looking the map you will be surprised at how many pressure edges you’ll be able to find. Once you find these areas, make a list of the ones you’d like to investigate further. Then use the tools and tactics mentioned earlier in Option 1 to systematically pursue gaining permission to hunt them.

At the end of the day it is all about playing the odds. The more landowners you approach about getting permission, the more likely you are to get a place to hunt. And the less pressured the land you find, the more likely it is to hold mature, trophy bucks. Use this logic starting now, and you are sure to increase your odds of hanging a trophy animal on your wall in the seasons to come.

DuckBuckGoose – Cincinnati, OH

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Published by bigbearsarchery on 04 May 2008

Learning Turkey Lessons the Hard Way

Turkey season is fast approaching here in Pennsylvania.  As I sit here and go over in my head all the things I need to do to get ready for it I can’t help but recall the experiences of my first turkey hunt.

            It wasn’t that long ago, just a couple of years in fact.  My friends, Mark and Justin Nagy, called me one day and asked if I was interested in going to Oklahoma on a hunt for Rio Grande turkeys.  I’d hunted all of my life since I turned the legal age but only for whitetail and black bears, never turkey.  I had some money saved up and the idea of going on a hunt with my friends was exciting so I quickly accepted their invitation.

            Now when the situation calls for it I will hunt with a gun but I am first and foremost a bowhunter.  So naturally that was the method I chose to use on my turkey hunt.  I didn’t even take a gun.  My effective range with a bow is 50 yards and I felt confident that if I could get a turkey within that range I would have no problem making the shot.

            Finally the day of the hunt arrived and as our plane landed in Oklahoma City we were greeted by 50 mph winds with gusts that approached 60 mph.  It was mid-afternoon by the time we met our outfitter and bought our licenses.  The wind had picked up even more force by this time, so much that when we put one of our rental cars in neutral it began to slowly blow it down the outfitters driveway.  We decided to wait it out at our guide’s house in the hope that the wind would stop and we could still salvage some of the afternoon.  Around five o’clock the weather calmed down enough to go hunting and we figured if nothing else we could roost some birds for the morning hunt.

            The next morning dawned about as perfect morning as you could ask for.  Moderate temperatures, clear skies, and no winds greeted us as the sun crept over the horizon.  From the ground blind we had constructed the night before, Justin and I could see the dark outlines of the turkeys still on their perch.  As the sun climbed higher a few of the birds began to gobble from the roost.  Not long after the sound of wings drifted across the field as the birds left their trees and headed our direction, just as we had planned.

            Justin began to call softly and the morning calm was rocked by thunderous gobbles from every direction.  Justin and I looked at each other, the same thought on both our minds.  There were a lot more turkeys here than the ones we had roosted the previous evening.  I could see the tips of their fans, glowing gold in the western sun, moving closer just above the tall grass.  As I clipped my release on the string I was sure the birds could here my heart thumping in my chest.  Justin whispered, “Get ready” and I came to full draw, waiting for one of the long beards to come strutting into our decoys.

            For what seemed like hours I remained motionless, sweat running down and stinging my eyes.  My arm was beginning to quiver when I heard Justin whisper, “Let down.”

            As I did I looked and saw the birds walking into the brush a few hundred yards to our left.  Within a few moments the turkeys were out of view and Justin and I were left alone in the field.

            “What happened?” I asked, turning to look at Justin.

            “I don’t know,” he answered.  “They just walked off.  They didn’t spook.  They just left.”

            We caught the occasional glimpse of them, several hundred yards away now, as they paralleled the river on the other side of the brush line.  We tried calling the birds back to us but they would have no part of it. 

After a while Justin suggested we move further south along the river.  For the next two hours we walked and called, quickly setting up whenever we got a response.  The only reward we got for our efforts was a nice leisurely stroll through some beautiful Oklahoma country.  We decided to return to our early morning spot and construct a ground blind along the southeastern edge of the field in the hopes of catching the birds as they returned that evening to roost.

Once we finished our blind we decided to return to the truck for some lunch.  As we began crossing the field we saw the turkeys from that morning still milling about beside the river.  As quickly as we could without spooking the birds we moved to within a hundred and fifty yards and began calling.  We got an immediate response and the birds moved back into the field.  But just as had happened that morning they refused to come within range.  I had reached my breaking point and decided to put a stalk on the birds.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone how amazingly ineffective and stupid this was.

Justin stayed where he was and continued to calling I moved back into the woods and crept along the brush on the opposite side of the turkeys, I closed to within sixty yards but had reached an opening in the brush.  I waited until I thought all the birds had moved out of sight and then crossed the opening.  It might have been a successful maneuver had it not been for the ten birds I hadn’t seen right on the other side of the brush.  A series of alarm putts and those ten birds along with the twenty or so I had been following shot across the field as fast as they could go.

I stood up as my query moved further and further away.  It was at this moment turkeys burst out from every direction I could see.  There were literally hundreds of birds running or flying in every direction.  One turkey paused long enough for me to get a shot off but I was so worked up at this point that I’m not sure I even aimed.  I watched helpless as my arrow landed, stuck in the dirt five yards short of its target.  That was it the birds were gone.  I know what all of you are thinking, I’m an idiot.  Well, you’re right, I am.  Over the next day and a half I saw some hens but no gobblers. 

Finally, on the evening of the last day of our hunt I borrowed a Mossberg .12 gauge in a last ditch effort.  Thirty minutes before dark fate smiled on me and I took a nice gobbler at twelve yards.  The bird weighed out at 21lbs with an 8” beard and 1 ¼” spurs.

Taking my tom was obviously the highlight of my hunt, but it was my newfound respect for turkeys as a game animal and the hard lessons I learned that will stick with me always.

 

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