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Published by billhowardoutdoors on 07 Apr 2011

Persistence Pays

My daughter has always been interested in my hunting and fishing trips. Several years ago, I carried her out to the field to let her shoot the old Ithaca 20 gauge shotgun I grew up with to get her used to handling it so she could go on a dove hunt with my dad, my son, and I. The kick did not bother her, but she hated the BANG. She wanted no part of gun hunting.
Over the last few years, she has wanted to go bow hunting with me, and she has helped me when I was practicing several times. We purchased another bow for my son this Christmas, since he had outgrown the youth bow we had for him. Naturally, it became a hand down to Julianne. I had to adjust the draw length and draw weight for her, but at the time, she still could not pull the bow back. I told her to keep practicing pulling it back and by spring when the red horse sucker fish make their annual run, she could go bow fishing with me.
Bow fishing in itself is a very unique style. It is set up with a line attached to a heavy solid core arrow, tipped with a barbed point. When aiming, the saying goes “aim low”, because the refraction of the light through the water makes the fish appear at a higher angle. Think of looking at a straw in a glass of water. The straw is not really bent, but it looks that way through the glass. Also, unlike bow hunting, where you are trying to get a clean kill by hitting the vitals, bow fishing just requires you to hit the fish. Your object is to get the fish on the arrow and then bring it in.
Well, over the first few months of this year, Julianne pulled and pulled and pulled. Finally one night, she called me and my wife into the living room. “Watch! I can pull it back now!” Her excitement caused my son to roll his eyes!
Just as they do every year, the sucker fish made their spawn in late March, and as I had promised, the first night I saw they were running I carried Julianne out to the creek banks. For a period of a week, and easily over a hundred attempts, and through several bow fishing arrows (the rocky bottom of the creek is not that great on the fish points) Julianne and I attempted to get her first take with a bow. We went at night using a light, went during the day using polarized glasses, I honestly believe she probably went in her dreams while sleeping. Occasionally she would take a break, and my son and I would get a few fish, then she would be at it again.
My regular job allows me to work four days each week, and during the sucker run, my weekday off was on a Friday. I usually carry the kids to school on my day off, so I made my usual track. After dropping my son off at high school, we still had an hour before Julianne was due at middle school. I looked over at her and asked, “Wanna try one shot?”
She answered, but did not need to. We ran out to the creek. She strapped on her release while I was driving. “Julianne, do you know what the saying is for snipers?”
“No, daddy.”
“One shot, one kill. They cannot afford to shoot twice because the second shot will give away their cover. We’ve only got time for one shot this morning, and there is no guarantee the fish will be here this afternoon.”
We walked down to the bank and spotted several fish. They were a little too far, so I motioned for her to follow me upstream a few yards. There we spotted one about ten feet out. I had Julianne pull back her bow. “Now?” she asked. I whispered to her to take the shot when she was ready. And ‘twang’, ‘splash’. She backed up a few feet.
“You got one!” She had not even noticed. We both grabbed the line, and pulled it up on the shore.
Her persistence had paid off, and now there is another kid hooked to the outdoors.

Bill Howard’s columns can be read at www.billhowardoutdoors.com

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Published by billhowardoutdoors on 04 Apr 2011

Through a Child’s Eyes

North Carolina offers youth days for hunting some species each season. It gives the youth a chance to go out and have an adult guide them through a hunt, allowing only the child to take a shot. April 2 is youth day for turkey. Bearing that in mind, I feel obligated to share a story a new friend, Chase Shepherd shared with me.

+ + + + +

I closed my eyes while my dad smeared camouflage face paint on my forehead. “Just hold still. We’re almost done,” he whispered. I was ready for the hunt to begin. I loaded my gun, strapped on the gun rest, and put on my hat. “Got everything?” Dad whispered.
“Yeah,” I replied, while I too, was in a whisper.
We started walking back to the area my dad picked to hunt. “Today’s the day you’re killin’ a turkey,” Dad whispered.
“I hope so” I whispered back.
My dad stopped about five minutes later and whispered, “Go sit at that tree, I’m gonna’ set up the decoys.”
“Okay,” I replied.
???? I did my best walking over, trying not to make any noise. I finally stopped at the tree and watched my dad set up the last decoy. It was still dark out so we had enough time to sit down and get comfortable.
Dad sat down first, and then I sat down in between his legs. He set his gun up against the tree and then instructed me to practice aiming on the decoys.
?? The sun just started to rise, and all I heard was gobbling. It was crazy! Then my dad started calling. He did some average hen calls, and that’s when he whispered, “Don’t move!” My mind started racing! Is this really going to happen? Is it a big one? Am I ready? I started to shake as I glanced over. It was a big tom, beard dragging the ground, walking back and forth. “Don’t move,” Dad whispered again.
Then the turkey heard a hen across the creek behind us, and never came in. I was devastated. When all of the sudden, “Here comes two more!” Dad whispered. It wasn’t over yet. My heart started pounding once again. The two turkeys were running to us! I gripped the cold metal of my gun. Then they jumped up, and started attacking our decoy, they were flying in the air, and hitting it with their spurs.
I pulled the trigger, but not hard enough. Since the gun didn’t fire I had to wait for another open shot.
Finally the time came. One of the turkeys stopped, and stared right at us. This time I squeezed the trigger, and the turkey dropped. My dad shot at the other turkey, but it was flying and he missed.
We stood up and started high-fiving and fist-bumping.
“You smoked him buddy!” Dad exclaimed.
Then we walked over to claim my trophy. When we got there we exchanged high-fives again. “You killing a turkey means more to me than me killing one,” Dad said.
When we got back to the truck, we started to take pictures. Some were with Dad’s cell phone and others with the digital camera.
That was the greatest day of my life. It was exciting, fun, and most of all…an adrenaline rush.

+ + + + +

I believe Chase gives us an inside look at how a child feels sharing the outdoors with his parent. It is a memory that will last long after his dad can no longer go out in the fields, yet it is also a memory he will surely share with his kids in the future. I am also sure if you asked Chase’s dad about that day, he too would agree it was one of the greatest days of his life as well.

Bill Howard is an avid bowhunter, hunter education and IBEP instructor, and outdoors columnist for the Yancey County News and Wilson Times (North Carolina). You can read his blogs and catch video on www.billhowardoutdoors.com.

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Published by Double s on 01 Apr 2011

REMINDER: No Selling. This is for Archery, Hunting Blogs & Articles only.

Selling is NOT allowed in the ArcheryTalk Articles and Blogs. For sale or trade items belong only in the ArcheryTalk Classifieds. Posts selling or trading will be deleted. This section is for Articles and Blogs related to Archery and Bow Hunting. Any post not related to Archery or Bow hunting will be considered Spam and trashed and the user deleted. Questions about Bows, Equipment, etc. need to go into the Archerytalk Forum under the correct section. Spammers will be automatically deleted.

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Published by woods2202 on 22 Mar 2011

Shoot Against Cancer

Cancer Fund of America, Inc. is a non-profit organization, and is having another 3D “Shoot Against Cancer” on April, 2nd 2011. Registration is from 9-10am and the entry fee is $20. I’m in charge of the event: Mike Reynolds, and can be reached also by e-mail [email protected]
There are events and several prizes to be won in each of three classes…Youth Class, Hunter Class, Pro Class.
The Event is INSIDE…which means you can plan on the shoot taking place for sure. This a shoot that will test your skills;however, each shot will differ depending on the archers class.
3D targets include Black Bear, Elk, Big Horn, Boar Pig, Cobra, 30 pt. Buck, Carp Fish, Skunk, Fox, Cougar, Raptor Dino., Turkey, and even more. Each target also has bonus spots on it…to shoot for extra prize boxes.
Address of Event: Cancer Fund of America, Inc.
2901 Breezewood Lane
Knoxville, TN. 37921
PH. 800-578-5284
Cell. 865-306-1233

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Published by tibor.max on 21 Mar 2011

Academic project about archery

Well, this semester in the Product Design graduation, me and my colleagues are desenvolving an academic project to re-design an archery accessorie (probably between an Arm-Guard, a Quiver or a FingerTab). In the method we are using we need to apply an open questionnaires to alot of people. So here it goes, if you guys would be kind enought to answer, thanks in advance.

 

1. Sex

2. Age

3. For how long have you been in to Archery?

4. How did you meet archery?

5. You do it for hobbie, sport or hunting?

6.Which kind of protective gear do you wear?

7. Have you ever suffered any kind of injury while shooting?

8. Could it be prevented by wearing acessories?

9. Between the Quiver, Arm-Guard and Finger tab (or glove), do you have any difficulty with them? Anything you would change or improve?

10. Any observation, suggestion or info you would like to share?

 

Thanks for the help

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Published by archerchick on 21 Feb 2011

Big Country Big Elk ~By Mike Kroetsch


Bow and Arrow Hunting
June 1990

Big Country Big Elk By Mike Kroetsch?

This First-time Elk Hunter Must Be Prepared- Here Are Tips From A Pro

” I CAN’T BELIEVE how big they are!” Bill said. This was one
of the first statements he made following our initial introductions.
Not knowing exactly what he was referring to. I asked him to elaborate.
“Elk”, he explained, “I never realized they were so big.”Bill was a first-time
elk hunter on his first western, guided hunt. Like many others, Bill was
also an avid midwestern, whitetail bowhunter who had longed to hunt the
elusive wapiti.

?

Earlier in the year, Bill had booked a hunt with my father-in-law, Judd
Cooney, and myself for a September bowhunt. He had arrived a day early
and was practicing on our backyard bow range when my Labrador retriever just
happened to walk by with the foreleg of a big five-by-five bull we had taken
earlier in the week. Bill had never even seen a live elk in the wild; it was the size
of the hoof that amazed him! Elk are big. An average Rocky Mountain bull will be
three to five times larger than a good, average whitetail buck, depending on where
you live. Most mature bulls will be in the six hundred to eight hundred pound range,
which is a lot of critter, no matter how you weigh it.

?

Big animals need big country and that’s exactly where elk live. These are
the two main factors to keep in mind when preparing for a guided or unguided
western elk hunt. In talking to prospective and first-time elk hunters we get a lot
of the same questions pertaining to how to prepare for elk hunting and what to
expect when they arrive.

?

Some of the questions: What kind of shape do I need to begin? How heavy a bow
do I need? What will the weather be like? What kind of accessories will I need?
Entire books have been written to answer these questions and every guide and
elk hunting authority has his own opinions. I believe that most of these questions
and more can be addressed by keeping the concept of BIG in mind. Big animals;
big country.

?

In many ways elk are like whitetails. They live most of their lives in a pattern,
with the exception of a few weeks during the rut. Elk, like whitetails, are
ruminants which means they will move to feed and water, then to cover to chew
their cud and rest. Other than both being members of the deer family, this is
where most of the similarities end.

?

Unlike whitetails, the distance elk will travel to and from feeding and bedding
areas is often measured in miles, not yards. They take big steps when traveling
with a purpose. A hunter jogging cannot keep up with an elk walking
through the woods. With their long legs and high clearance, elk step over logs
and go easily through brush that a hunter must scramble over and fight to get
through.

?

Elk seem to enjoy rugged terrain. They prefer to bed in heavy timber and
on northern or eastern side hills so they are out of the sun and can look down at
approaching danger. Because of their large body mass, thick coats and poor
cooling systems, elk prefer cool, shaded areas in which to spend their days. Elk
will migrate to and from these areas morning and night to graze and feed in
meadows and open parks. These are all factors to consider when preparing for
an elk hunt.

?

Unless you know you’ll be hunting exclusively out of tree stands over
wallows or licks, get in the best physical shape possible. Jogging and riding
bicycles are great ways to get your cardiovascular system in shape, but you
don’t do either while hunting. To prepare physically for an elk hunt, put on
your hunting boots and shoulder your loaded hunting pack and get out and
walk. Find the steepest, most rugged terrain around and utilize it to walk up
and down. Train at least twenty minutes a day, a minimum of a month to six
weeks before your hunt; preferably longer. If you are paying someone to guide
you, don’t cheat yourself out of opportunities in more remote areas by being
out of shape, unable to keep up with your guide.


?

The archery equipment necessary to hunt elk doesn’t have to be big in terms
of speed or excessive draw weight, just big on simplicity and efficiency. Use as
heavy a bow as you can shoot consistently and accurately. Excessively high-
arrow speeds aren’t necessary, but momentum and kinetic energy are. I was
recently at an indoor bowhunter shoot here in elk country and was amazed at
the number of shooters who were “over-bowed.” At least seventy-five percent of
the shooters had to point their arrows at the sky to draw their bows. After fifteen
or twenty arrows they were played out and couldn’t shoot accurately.

?

Elk may be big, but they aren’t dumb and have excellent eyesight. Excessive movement
when drawing a bow and aiming will spook them almost every time. Don’t be
fooled into the notion that your compound has to be cranked up to it’s maximum
poundage or that you have to buy a new Neanderthal-limbed stick bow to
hunt elk.

?

Accuracy and shot placement, not poundage and arrow speed, are the keys
to downing an elk. Because a bull offers a large body mass to shoot at doesn’t
mean that a hunter can get away with less than pin-point accuracy. A poorly
placed shot leads to a wounded animal with an incredible amount of stamina
and endurance that can travel great distances before expiring. Often, even a
well hit elk will travel up to a hundred yards or more before leaving any kind of
blood trail. This is due to their thick hide and long hair, as well as the speed
with which they cover the distance.

?

A well placed arrow still may not be enough to kill an elk if the broadhead
that tips it is inefficient in its cutting abilities, Broadhead selection has a lot to do
with the arrow shaft size and bow draw weight a hunter is using. No matter what
the equipment choices are, the broad-heads, arrows and bow should be well
matched and fine tuned before venturing afield after the wily wapiti. Generally,
the lighter a bow’s draw weight, the more tapered the head should be to
increase the penetration through an elk’s tough hide and thick muscle.

?

A tapered cutting blade will begin to slice the instant it makes contact with an animal.
It takes less force to cut through an elk’s hide than it does to punch a hole in it
with a bullet- or chisel-point broadhead. Stay away from flimsy or tricky heads. Tapered,
fixed-bladed heads like the Zwickeys and Bear Razorheads, or for heavier draw-weight
bows, replaceable two-blade Andersons and Thunderheads, offer good penetration and
excellent secondary cutting action. In an animal which is big enough to stop complete
penetration and often not allow an exit wound, secondary cutting causing
internal hemorrhage and blood loss can mean the difference between a lost
animal and a trophy on the wall.

?

When a complete shoot-through has not occurred — which is quiet often in
elk —- the role of the broadhead becomes even more important. A two-
bladed head will move and slice like a double-edged scalpel as the elk walks or
runs after being hit, because of the single cutting plane design of the head
and the leverage of the arrow shaft being moved by the elk’s muscles. A three or
four-blade head has two or three planes of cutting which opens large holes on
contact, but tends to hold the broadhead in place in the internal tissue. Since a
three or four-blade head moves around less internally, there is less secondary
cutting and thus less internal damage.

?

Whatever head style is used, it must be extremely durable and always rather
sharp. An elk hunter must be aware of how his broadheads, arrows and bow shoot
in all kinds of conditions from many angles and positions. Most elk country
isn’t flat. Rain and even snow can usually be expected during a hunt of
even a week or less. Shot lengths can vary from a bugled-in bull at ten yards to
grazing animals at forty-plus yards. If you’re not accurate and confident at longer
distances, don’t shoot! However, keep in mind that some areas, vegetation and
terrain may not be conducive to the fifteen- and twenty-yard shots many
bowhunters limit themselves to.

?

Fall weather in elk country is anything but predictable, so the type of
clothing needed is pretty difficult to pin down. If a hunter will pack for the
worst and hope for the best, he’ll usually have the right combination of clothing.
Temperatures can range from hot to freezing,often in a matter of hours, so the
layered method of dressing is most efficient. As the weather or a hunter’s own
body temperature fluctuates, he can take off or put on layers as needed. Polar or
arctic fleece garments are quiet and comfortable and will remain fairly warm even
when wet. If a hunt is planned for early in the season, I have found that a light
jacket or camo netting may be all that is needed.

?

A Gore-Tex or other waterproof rain suit is always nice to have along even if only the
pants are used to stay dry on those early morning hikes through the dewy wet underbrush
and tall grass. Upon reaching the area to be hunted, the noisy rain gear should be
taken off to facilitate a quiet stalk. Whatever clothing is used, it should be quiet and pliable.

?

The West is a big place with a great variety of vegetation and cover for the
habitat. Depending on where and when a hunt is to take place, the color and
type of camouflage that will be the most efficient at concealing a hunter will
vary. Grays and browns like the Trebark and Realtree patterns will
generally blend in just about anywhere from sagebrush to aspens. Dark green
and black tiger stripe works great if elk are to be pursued in the pines or dark
timber. Always camouflage your face and head to break up your human silhouette.
Face paints and creams work better than netting during long days afield and won’t
restrict peripheral vision or get tangled in the brush.

?

Accessories can play a big part in the success and enjoyment of any western
hunt. A day pack or fanny pack is almost essential. Use it as a “possibles”
bag for toting your extra gear. As a guide, my gear includes: fire starter, a
butane lighter and waterproof container of matches, a small first-aid kit, flares or
a signaling device. It also has an extra knife, compact sharpening stone, folding
saw, rope, two flashlights and extra batteries, with an extra candy bar or two.
That’s not all; there’s also a poncho ground cloth, game bags, compass and
topo maps, toilet paper, flagging tape and, of course, my lunch.

?

With these essentials and a little ingenuity, I’m confident I can meet just
about any situation that arises out in the woods. It may sound like a lot, but it all
neatly compacts together in my day pack. When I’m familiar with the area I
hunt or guide in, I don’t generally carry a canteen unless I’m hunting in a location
where I know there aren’t any fresh springs. If you are not sure of water
quality, treat, filter, or boil it before drinking. Giardialamblia and other contaminants
may be present in even the cleanest, clearest looking water.

?

One of the most often overlooked accessories by first-time elk hunters is a
set of quality optics. Good binoculars are essential for spotting game and planning
stalks. They are also a great help in identifying shapes and animals in dense
brush and timber. Aside from a hunter’s archery equipment, a good set of binoculars
will be one of the most expensive equipment purchases he should make.
Plan on using them often and buy the highest quality you can afford.

?

I feel absolutely inadequate without a set of Bausch & Lomb 7×24 Discoverer
compact binoculars around my neck while stalking or bugling for elk This past
season, I bugled in a nice five-by-five bull for a hunter who, because he didn’t use
his binoculars, turned and asked me how many tines the bull had. The bull saw
his movement or heard him speak and bolted before the hunter had a chance
to even think about shooting, If I’m hunting in open country where I’m spending
a greater amount of time glassing and can effectively anchor my position so I
have little binocular movement, I opt for a larger, heavier pair of binoculars like
Swarovski 7x42s or a good spotting scope. A larger set of binoculars will ease
eye strain by being easier to steady and they will also tend to be brighter, because
the larger glass elements pass more light.

?

Elk hunting is an addictive sport. Once you’ve had a big bull come to your
bugle, watched a herd graze across a meadow and seemingly disappear into
the woods, or better yet, harvested a trophy, you’ll be hooked. Bill was one of
those hunters who got hooked after his first elk hunt Bill didn’t harvest an elk. He
stalked several, but couldn’t get a shot. His respect for the size of elk as well as their
elusiveness grew daily throughout his hunt Together, we glassed and hunted
many miles of country. One morning, we sighted eight different bulls, but
couldn’t get in a position for a shot on any one of them.

?

The next morning, Bill was nearly run over by a bull, but was stopped from shooting
by a large bunch of oak brush between him and the moving bull. The fifth morning
was another eventful one in which he managed to work his way into the middle of a
bedded herd. Bill was astonished when a large cow got up not fifteen feet from him.
He had stalked right past her while his attention was on the herd bull. The young bull
actually walked toward him and gave him a broadside shot at less
than twenty yards.

Once again Bill couldn’t shoot; the bull was only a three-by-three and, since our area has a
four-point minimum antler point restriction, he couldn’t release an arrow. That was all the elk experiences Bill could handle. He went home a satisfied hunter and maybe a bit relieved, too,
knowing not only that he could have taken that bull, but that he had gained an admiration and respect for the big animals and the big country in which elk live.

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Published by archerchick on 21 Feb 2011

High Country Elk~ By Jim Dougherty


Bow and Arrow Hunting
June 1990

High Country Elk ~ By Jim Dougherty
New Mexico Offers Ideal Elk Habitat – But the Bowhunter Must Do His Part!

IT WAS NOT should we push, but how hard’? We were mulling it over.
Actually I was leaving it up to Dirk Neal. The bull bawled again, blasting a
classic double-octave screech that banged at us through the timber, daring
us to come on. He had reached his limit, moved as near as he was going to; his
defiant screams were ebbing, farther away.

?

It had felt so good at the beginning. We had perfect wind, perfect terrain, the
right bull, or so it seemed then. I just knew he was coming. Now it was
falling apart; we were losing him. It was crunch time, the last day. Neal
motioned that we would push; no more waiting. Waiting wasn’t going to get the
elk. I had been thinking about it all year, thinking about another go at elk in a
remote spot on some faraway mountain; thinking about country I had never seen;
thinking, maybe, it would change my luck. I spent the summer dreaming
about yellow aspens turning golden, of clean alpine ridges above the deep, dark
timbered canyons, where, right then, while I was dreaming, a big bull was
putting the finishing touches on his antlers. We were together then, the bull
and I, last summer, getting ready for fall.

?

Though she admits to being facetious — she knows how important a good bull
is — my wife considers any elk a good elk, a perspective difficult to argue. Dis-
playing the practical side of her heritage — ancestors who tamed Utah and Idaho
when an elk equated to the urgent expediency of retarding hunger — she
claims antlers make poor soup. In her book, elk are the best big game for the
able. And, though she knows full well that collecting an elk at today’s excursion
prices is not a cost-saver, it is still a far better deal than most of my
escapades. So, when l strike out in search, she is inclined to add, ” get one”
is her “good luck” goodbye kiss.


?

This time there would be no options.

?

No fat cow would turn my head. No mediocre bull would do. It was an all-
out catch-a-good-bull or come-home- empty-handed effort. If the bottom of
the freezer glared, let it. I could always catch a whitetail or two to help us
through the winter.

?

None of us seriously considered record-breaking bulls as we spent the
day crossing Oklahoma and Texas to New Mexico. Sure, you can dabble in
dreams; we all have the right to hope. It was not up to me to dash cold water on
the hopes of my friend, George Bennett, or my son, Holt, on the eve of their first
elk bowhunt. Certainly, I agreed, a huge bull was possible, but as a practical matter,
based on some experience hunting and killing elk, I was not about to pass
up three-hundred inches in hopes something bigger was over the next ridge. I’ve
done that, not within the exact dimensions outlined, but the scenario was the
same. I will always regret it.

?

We were not in a position to play the passing game, a game that requires
plenty of time, good elk savvy, lots of elk and a generous sprinkling of luck.
We had six days to hunt elk; time enough for a great experience, time
enough to get lucky, not enough to be silly. I watched the country roll by,
hoping luck was on our side.

?

New Mexico has been good to me over the years. I collected my first lion
and bear there, as well as my first turkey. I hunted mule deer in some
prime spots in the late ’60s, when there were still lots of mule deer. I like New
Mexico, “The Land Of Enchantment.” My previous three elk hunts there had
produced two bulls. Statistically, I was ahead of the game. I would need some
more luck.


?

Dirk Neal is a full-blown professional. He guides and outfits for bear,
lion and elk primarily, with an excellent, well deserved reputation as a guy who
knows where some big mule deer hang out, too. I had a spontaneous, positive
reaction when we first spoke on the phone. It just felt right. Neal was real,
offering no pie-in-the-sky promises, just honest effort in what he felt was class
country with a respectable ratio of good bulls. He didn’t try to pound me with
pipe dream illusions of 3 50-plus point critters at the head of every canyon.
Good bulls would be in the three-hundred-inch range. There are some bigger,
quite a few are smaller. We try to let the smaller ones grow up,” he
stated.

?

Maybe we got along well at the onset, because I wasn’t hammering him about
monsters and he wasn’t telling me he had lots of them. There were nice bulls
there, that was enough. Our philosophical gears meshed smoothly and we made a
date for mid-September. Neal runs his elk operation on the Mundy Ranch outside
Chama in northern New Mexico. The elevation tops out around 11,000 thin-air feet,
pushing up from scrub oak low-country hills to timberline meadows and rimrock tops.

?

There are elk scattered throughout, as well as a ridiculous number of black
bear, a medium summer range population of mule deer and a bunch of lions,
based on sightings and sign. His base camp is a fine two-story log
lodge with plenty of room to kick back. Hot and cold running water, along with
an excellent cook, are complemented by a wood-stove hot-tub fueled by thick
slabs of pitch-rich pine. He keeps his hunters in controllable minimums, well
fed, properly outfitted with guides who know the country intimately, equipment
that doesn’t break down and a dedication to showing everyone an honest good
time based on the up-and-at-’em-before- the-crack, stay-out-’til-after-dark regimen.
Neal doesn’t believe in the free lunch. It’s a work-your-butt-off deal. If you get an
easy one, that’s okay, but he really likes it the old-fashioned way: when you
earn it. He’s not a big guy, this Dirk Neal, but he’s tough, extremely competent
and ethical. He shoes horses, fixes flats, coordinates the guides and works
with the cook, personally detailing the myriad necessities of an involved operation.
He always is the first up and the last to bed. In another world, he`d be a
helluva executive.

?

“This,” he told me, “is what I have always wanted to do.” It was tough doing; mid-September
hot weather with a full moon. The herd bulls had done their thing. With their ladies
gathered up, they pushed them into the deep cool canyons for the day, staying ahead of
challengers, real or otherwise. They didn’t want to fight, they wanted to play house. At first light,
everyone could get a bull or two to talk – a little bit.

?

The Mundy Ranch is 30,000 acres of sprawling broken country that got jerked
up and down a million or so years ago when the middle of the planet wanted to
get on top for awhile. From the top to the bottom of her ridges and canyons.
she`s as big a 30,000 acres as you can find anywhere. It is superb elk habitat
with plenty of elk.

?

Our tactics were simple: Chase ’em. try to get close before they got too deep.
before they shut up. It wasn’t working so well. We saw elk almost every morning;
sometimes, before daylight, from the pickups as we fumbled along fighting to
keep our heads from denting the roof or the cab. We’d see them in the
headlights, cream-colored ghosts, their rump patches bobbing like bouncing
balls crossing the dusty roads, heading down to the cool, safe canyons. We saw
them through our binoculars far below us, in the deep pockets as we tried to
catch up. They were there, we were here, different places at the same time,
too far apart It is typical steep mountain elk hunting.

?

There were, of course, the “almosts.” If we had just gone to the right instead
of the left. If I hadjust been ten feet farther up the trail with an arrow nocked,
lf, if, if…The story of a bowhunter’s life afield breaks down so concisely to
that simple little word. Dry, hard-to-hunt, noisy terrain effectively reduces what
slim advantage a two legged predator has with elk. Taking it to them in the deep
canyons was an alluring, but impractical tactic. We tried it, some of us; it just didn’t work.

?

Spooked elk often go to another state, three states away. We tried stands along
major trails, established some blinds at waterholes. They produced a few elk,
cows and calves and a scrubby non- shooter bull or two. There was also a
chance of a lifetime for one hunter and guide to watch a cougar contemplate filling
its elk tag and a bear sighting here and there.

?

Elk hunting with a bow is usually rather tough work. I have been on an
easy elk hunt once or twice, hunts where the gentler country made it seem easier,
I suppose. When conditions are rough and the country seems tougher, you
really have only two options. You can keep pushing, or you can quit. We
pushed hard in the mornings before the clean cool of night washed away in the
rising thermals. Midday was spent in horizontal contemplation, some practice
shooting and the constant re-honing of broadheads.

?

?

Chavez Creek, near camp, was ankle-deep low at the end of a brutal summer.
yet amazingly full of gorgeous brook trout colored up for fall spawning. They
were mixed with a hearty abundance of native rainbows, deep green-backed
speckled beauties that took any fly or spinner tossed in their directions, if you
were clever enough not to spook them on the approach. It was comfortable
diversion, with palatable rewards, I like trout, minutes old, fresh from clean-
running water. George Bennett and Holt are excellent fishermen; I can catch one
on occasion and the cook handled the rest.

?

We all had bulls and areas picked out now. Each hunter sat in hunkered, quiet
conversations with his guide, speaking in serious tones, thinking, planning, wondering
what to do, how to do it. Everyone prayed for a weather break: for rain
to dampen the woods, for cold weather to stimulate activity, for anything to break
the ninety-degree days and popcorn woods; something that would keep the bulls
on top long enough to get to them.

?

We got a little break on the fifth day. Low clouds swept the higher ridges with
damp fog, thick enough for make-believe rain. It wasn’t much, but it was enough.
Bennett, Neal and I were together, easing through aspen groves suddenly silent
in the damp. It was a different world now, thick cool air, quiet footing. A bull
answered Neal’s challenge. A bull we realized was coming, coming hard.
What a morning! What a fine big bull! He came close, straight below us in a
thicket of pines. We could see him, some of him, raking his antlers, grunting, all
mud-splattered and stinky. We couldn’t shoot; there was no opening.

?

He was so close. He tired of waiting for the challenger, finally crossing an open-
ing at forty yards. He stopped and I looked, as the arrow flashed from my
bow. It was beautiful, all over, perfect, until the last millisecond when the whisper-
ing shaft touched the ever-present intervening twig to nose dive below his chest.
I’ll be honest. I wanted to scream, to kick a tree, to hit something It was tough trying
to be cool. I just didn’t want to believe it It has happened too
many times.

?

There is nothing to do about it I was not about to quit. Now, here it was, the last day.
It was still damp, no fog, but cool. It was clear with a positive breeze to work through.
We struck the bull on the first call. The bull helped. He bawled, giving us direction and
distance, as best distance can be determined in timber and draws.

?

At the base of a tiny open finger ridge bordered on each slope by heavy timber,
we split up, Bennett to the left, me to the right. I slipped forward, surging to an
adrenalin rush, arrow nocked, ready, blessing the damp, quiet footing. Neal’s guttural
bawl ripped the stillness, punctuated by raking a ball bat sized branch along a scrubby pine.

?

“Press I whispered, “press him, press him. Oh, wow!” He was here. making no effort to
be subtle. He came to the pressure as huge black and tan glimpses passed through
openings in the timber. I had impressions of ivory-tipped antlers. I had no idea what
he would score and I didn’t care. There were six clean points to a side, I could see that and it
was enough. A bull elk coming in above you, forty degrees uphill and thirty
yards with a head full of antlers, looks every bit big enough He stopped, his
sides heaving with deep grunts as I stepped around a tree. I had the Hoyt
Pro Force Extreme at full draw, shooting him before I knew I was really going
to do it

I thought for awhile, sitting by the bull and the next day, while Bennett and Holt
were out running a bear with Neal, that maybe now I would hunt elk only
occasionally. I would not be so caught up in wanting a big one. It was not that
this one was really so big; he was just big enough for me. I know better, though.
I’ll have to go again. Holt still needs his chance and I want to be there when he
gets it. George Bennett wants to go back. My other sons will want to hunt elk. My
grandsons, if they are lucky, will want the chance. You can only push or quit. I
know I really won’t quit.

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Published by archerchick on 21 Feb 2011

Roosevelt Madness~ By Tim O’Kelly


Bow and Arrow Hunting
June 1990

ROOSEVELT MADNESS ~ BY TIM O’KELLEY
Rough Country, Heavy Growth Mark Elk Country In The Pacific Northwest

IT WAS SEPTEMBER and the
temperature was in the eighties. I had hunted for nine days without seeing an elk. I
was discouraged, because all the time I had put into pre—season scouting had not
proved to be helpful in locating elk this time of year.

I walked up a small drainage I had hunted in past years. I had purposely picked
this area to hunt on hot days. It was 4:40 p.m. and already shadows from the steep
ridge were cast over the creek bottom. I walked under the canopy of alders
where the temperature was a good fifteen degrees cooler. I was heading back to a
spot where I had bugled in a bull some years earlier I wanted to check a wallow.
As I approached the seep I could see the grass had not been destroyed and the pit
dug out from any usage so far this year. I headed back to my truck and decided to go
up the road about two miles to hunt a couple of similar drainages.

After the short drive. I got out and followed an old logging road until it ended.
Elk had extended a trail from the road ending. It paralleled a small creek that trickled
down the hill. As I slowly walked along the trail, beads of sweat dripped from my face.

The trail was noisy and slippery with dry leaves covering it.
I had just about convinced myself this was futile, because of the dry conditions. I
approached another small seep and checked it for fresh tracks. It looked encouraging,
there were fresh tracks skirting the edge. It looked like only a couple of animals had
passed through.

I decided to bugle once and if nothing answered, I would call it a day. I broke the
silence in the drainage with a less than enthusiastic bugle. The echo had not even
quieted before a response came from across the small canyon. This was the first bull I
had heard this season.

The Tioga unit in Oregon was my location. I looked at my watch; it was 6:30 p.m.
I had plenty of time to make a good hunt without being rushed by darkness.
I looked over the drainage and decided the bull sounded as if he were on a little
finger ridge beside a tiny creek. I quickly dropped into the creek and closed to what l
thought was about eighty yards from where I estimated the bull should be. I picked a
spot in some alders that had good shooting lanes on either side of me. The wind was
blowing directly from the bull to me.

I let out a bugle and followed immediately with a sequence of grunts. The bull bugled
back instantly. The feeling that comes from hearing one of these royal animals bugle is
one of excitement and awe. I could hear the bull raking a tree. Then I could hear
him move, side—hiding above and heading for the other side of the ridge. I still couldn’t
see him. I was quiet for about ten minutes, with the exception of mock—rubbing a small
alder, then I bugled again. He answered immediately.

I knew now that he was trying to get below me to get my scent so I moved to
keep him above me. I had only gone about forty yards when I heard limbs breaking
ahead of me. Before I had a chance to get ready, white tips were swinging above the
brush in my direction.

In an instant, I was nine yards away from a nice bull that was staring directly at
me. I had my bow arm straight out with my fingers on the nock of the arrow. If the bull
decided to stay on his current course, he would momentarily have his vision block-
ed as he walked behind a large fir, allowing me enough time to draw and shoot when
he reappeared on the other side. He lowered his head and paused as if he was going to
do just that, but it was his survival instincts that told him to go back the way he had just
come.

In an instant, he had vanished back up the hill. My heart sank and the close en-
counter was just a memory. I bugled in the direction he had left. Almost instantly he
was back, this time twenty yards above me. I could not shoot, because the brush was
too thick and the only visible part of his body was his huge dark neck and rack. I
watched in fascination as he destroyed three saplings. I kept looking for a spot
from which I might be able to take a shot. The guttural sounds he made were most
impressive; he was whining, growling and sniffling. I thought he was so distracted
that I could crawl maybe ten feet and be a position to shoot. Everytime I made the
slightest noise his head would jerk up and he would glare in my direction, yet he was
convinced there was another bull and that I just happened to be between them.

I watched the sheer power of this magnificent animal as he positioned a four—
inch sapling between his brow and bay tine. In one even, effortless motion, he
turned his head and snapped it. I broke a small limb as I impatiently
tried to crawl and once again his head shot up and he glared in my direction. This time
he again disappeared up the hill.

For the second time I had been within easy bow range and had not even had a
chance to draw my bow. I bugled again, but this time there was no response. I could
hear him break an occasional limb as he continued up the hill. I started after him at
a fast pace.

About ten minutes had passed when I came to a spot the bull had raked. He had
churned the ground so thoroughly it looked as if it had been plowed. A big urine
impression was added for finalization of his territory.

I let out a bugle right on the spot. Immediately limbs cracked about fifty yards
above me. I could see the bull again and he was rakin yet another tree. I could see an
opening that would take me to thirty—five yards below him. I moved swiftly up and
peeked around a stump. The bull was still raking the same tree. If I could get him to
move slightly, I could get a clear shot. I knelt down and bugled, grunted and
started raking a tree. I tried to mock every vocal noise the bull made and started
kicking limbs and the ground.

Movement caught my eye off to my right at about twenty yards. It was a bull,
but not the big one. The small bull seemed more curious than anything else. He was
headed directly down the hill and would surely pick up my scent in a few moments.
I was sure something had to happen quickly or it all would be over. I peeked
back up the hill just in time to see the big bull move into an opening. I came to full
draw as the bull glared in my direction. My arm trembled uncontrollably as the arrow
disappeared in the direction of the bull standing almost broadside to me.

He bounded up the hill, then stopped and stared at me from behind some thick
brush, just as he had done all evening. The small bull came back up the hill in a hurry
as if he thought he was missing out on something. When he saw the big bull, he
was satisfied and started to feed in a little opening just twenty yards away. While I
was trying to figure out where and if I had even hit the big bull, three cows started to
slowly make there way in the direction of the big bull, feeding as they went.

I played the shot back in my mind. Everything seemed good except for the
noise the arrow made when it impacted whatever it hit. I couldn`t move with all the
elk there now and I didn’t have any kind of a shot at the big bull still standing behind
heavy brush. All I could do was watch and hope the arrow had hit the bull. If it had,
the last thing I wanted to do was scare the animal, especially if the hit was marginal.
About fifteen minutes passed and the bodies of the elk started to turn into silhouettes as
darkness fell.

Suddenly a loud crash came from the direction I had last seen the big bull standing,
The small bull walked hurriedly up the hill and disappeared in the same thicket
where I had last seen the big bull. He reappeared on the other side and leisurely met
up with the cows and started to feed away from me.

I slowly moved up the hill to where I thought I had last seen the big bull. He
wasn’t there. I was getting panicky as I pulled out my Mini—Mag flashlight to look
for any sign of blood. I moved up the hill some twenty yards and found the big, tawny
body on the ground. As I neared the fallen monarch, a hint of remorse passed through me,
but the dedication, hard work and excitement more
than made up for it. <—<<<

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Published by archerchick on 21 Feb 2011

Barebow Basics – By Gary Vater


Bow and Arrow Hunting
June 1990


Barebow Basics ~By Gary Vater

Shooting Without Sights Takes More Practice, But Accuracy Can Be Amazing!

WITH THE STEALTH of a predator, the bowhunter
eased down the sage-covered ridge. Each step
was calculated and cautious. An earlier stalk had ended with an
alerted animal bursting from its bed, leaving the archer alone
to watch the trail of dust in the distance. The wounded antelope
retreated to the safety of this open hillside and bedded down a second
time. Now the animal was lying near a large clump of
sage, allowing an undetected approach from above.
Though well within bow range, the hunter
was faced with a new problem. The same
bush which aided his stalk was blocking
any chance for a shot. As the bowhunter
crept forward, the buck exploded out of its
bed. With an arrow ready on the string, the
archer stood and swung the bow into action
at the fleeing animal. Even with the shot
changing every second, the arrow found
its mark and put the animal down for
good.

While most people would chalk this up
as a lucky shot, others will perhaps recall
making a similar shot themselves. Many
of these believers will fall into the category
of “instinctive” shooters.
That shot was made with no concern of
range estimation nor of what sight pin to
use. In a situation like that, the opportunity
will only present itself for a few
seconds before the animal is gone. The
arrow is brought into motion as simply as
tossing a ball, with nothing more than
practiced hand/ eye coordination.

Think of the snowballs thrown when
you were younger. There was never any
calculation as to how to make the throw.
You just did it. After a couple of snowfalls,
you’ll have to admit, you became pretty
accurate. And I’ll bet most of you can
remember connecting on a few neighbor
kids who were streaking for safety. There
is no reason to feel you can’t shoot instinctively.
Learning to shoot an arrow instinctively
takes time. Being a learned ability, it`s no
different than any other developed reaction
involving hand/ eye coordination. You
need repetition to engrave it in your mind.
Once you’ve got it, it’ll always be there. It
can’t be bent, broken, or rattled out of
place.

Sound interesting? It can be a simple
process; just point and touch the anchor,
I’m not saying instinctive shooting is a
can`t-miss alternative. Believe me, I know
that And I’m sure not trying to sound like
an authority on shooting the bow. So many
people in this sport never have been exposed
to the many variables of shooting a bow,
I’d just like to help open some eyes to a
shooting style different than what most
people are taught today. I have some suggestions
which may make the transition in
styles a little easier.

Before you snap an arrow on the string,
you may want to take a look at the arrow-
rest system on your bow. It will help to
shoot off the arrow shelf, if you can. The
idea is to get the shaft lying almost on top
of your hand. Have you ever marveled at
the accuracy some people have on moving
game or objects tossed into the air? Odds
are, these people have the arrow as close
to their bow hand as possible. The flight of
the arrow becomes an extension of their
fingers.

Two basic bow tuning notes should be
mentioned: To shoot off the shelf you’ve
got to use feather fletching. Plastic vanes
aren ’t forgiving enough when passing over
the stiff rest. You’ll also find the nock set
usually has to be placed higher above
square when shooting off the shelf
When the equipment is ready, it’s time
to adjust the archer. Keep in mind that
there really is no single right way to shoot a
bow. As long as the arrow goes where you
want it, it doesn’t matter how your form
looks when compared to everyone else.
I’m just presenting ideas that many others
have found useful. Experiment with some
or all of them. Find what works best for
you and develop your skills from there.
Because we may be building from the
ground up, let’s begin with the foundation;
the stance. Try this: When pointing out
something specific to another person, there
is a tendency to lower your head to get
your eyes on the same level as your finger.
Flexing your knees while leaning forward
a little brings you even more in line. This
same stance works well with instinctive
arrow shooting.

Since depth perception is more accurate
with a clear field of view, you may want to
cant or tilt the bow to open up the sight
window. By doing this, all that’s seen is the
target area, with nothing between to break
your concentration. By the way, if you
think about it, even a bow equipped with a
sight can be shot canted, as long as the
angle remains the same for each shot. One
of the reasons people started holding bows
vertically was to prevent interference with
the person next to them on the shooting
line. If you have to take this into consideration
when shooting at an animal, it’s
time to find a new place to hunt.

The string fingers and anchor point may
need refinement. Try using a middle finger
in the corner of the mouth anchor, if your
prefer a split finger hold on the nock. Others
will find placing all three fingers under the
nock to their liking. Either choice may
accomplish what you are after: to get the
arrow as near the eye as possible. We’re
getting everything in line with our plane
of sight.

The most solid form still needs to be
driven by concentration. Your mind tells
the bow arm where to move as the arrow is
drawn. By the time the anchor point has
been reached, the aiming process has been
completed. If the concentration has been
broken, the results will show it.

When I shoot, all of which I am consciously
aware is two fingers; one index
finger gets pushed toward the intended
target, while the other touches the anchor
point. While I’m drawing, I imagine my
finger touching the exact spot I want to hit.
This simplified thought process eliminates
any second guessing about the shot. More
often than not, second guessing has a negative
effect on the shot. Once developed,
trust your instincts. Doubting or guessing
is where many flinches originate. The mind
is unsure if the arrow should be sent on its
way, while the fingers are saying it’s time.
This point—and-shoot style could be of
particular interest to any archer suffering
from that dreaded disease, target panic.
This mental collapse of the shooting technique
has ruined many an archer. Some
say it develops through a fear of missing.
Those affected can’t really tell you when it
struck; they only know the ability to aim
and hold on target is gone. In an attempt to
overcome it, some have tried hypnosis,
release aids, clickers or switching from
right- to left—handed shooting. Others have
just plain quit the sport in frustration.
I caught a nasty case of it myself about
ten years ago and fought an uphill battle to
conquer it for a long time. Finally I decided
it would be better to develop what I had
left, instead of fighting it. Learning con-
trolled snap shooting was the answer for
me. Since target panic won’t let you hold
the arrow once the anchor is touched, pre-
aiming as the arrow is drawn eliminates
the need to hold. If the aiming is completed
as the anchor is touched, there’s no need to
hold any longer.

Other than just putting in your time in
front of the target butt, here are a couple of
ideas to break the monotony and to develop
your skills more quickly.
One method suggests learning to shoot
in the dark. In a safe, dark area, place a

small flashlight on the ground so it shines
on the target. Even though you’ll be shooting
from only eight to ten yards, make sure
you’ve got a large safe backstop. It is too
dark to use the arrow for sighting, so hand/
eye coordination will have to put the arrow
where it belongs. This way, you’ll be shooting
by feel rather than by sight. With nothing
but the target to concentrate on, the act
of drawing and releasing will become a
natural motion, allowing the archer to place
his total attention on the spot to be hit.

Possibly the most enjoyable way to
develop your instinctive eye is through
stump shooting using Judo or other blunt
points. The Judo points eliminate any concern
about losing arrows, so a wider variety
of shots will be taken. These varied shots
will sharpen your skills faster than taking
the same shot repeatedly. It also will get
you out into the fields and forests, simulating
actual hunting conditions.

Shooting instinctively doesn’t guarantee
you won’t miss your next animal. There
are no guarantees in hunting or shooting as
there are no short— cuts. Both require a substantial
investment of time and practice to
become proficient. If the technique you’re
using now isn’t working, what have you
got to lose by trying something different?
Sure, your friend with the bow sight will
out—shoot you on the target range. But take
him along roving through the woods, where
the ranges are unknown and he must shoot
from an awkward position. I think the pros
and cons of the different styles will balance
out and you’ll both realize there is more
than one way to shoot a bow. <—<<

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Published by RightWing on 19 Feb 2011

The Witching Hour On Ashburn’s Creek…..

Big Tennessee Gar....

The Late May sun set low in the Western sky as he approached the half-submerged willow trees. Ripples appeared as he drifted ever closer, he scanned the water for any movement, ready to gently stow the push -pole at moment’s notice. The sounds of trashing fish filled evening air as the spawning carp danced their age-old waltz that has become such a welcome rite of spring.

Our friend’s eyes soon become drawn to a brown, shapely figure that slowly became visible in the shallow what that lay before him. He reached for his bow that lay ready at his side, as his fingers applied pressure to the bowstring he soon found himself at full draw. This is the point where the logical mind subsides to that of raw, instinctive reactions and reflexes that can only be gained from repetitive shooting, achieved from similar outings throughout years past. Things happen quickly, and details become lost in the fleeting seconds, as the fish descends to deeper water and the archer releases the arrow; An arrow set aflite on a skewed course predetermined by our archer using calculated leads that could only be learned from past experiences.

For a moment time stood still, and our fisherman held his breath, uncertain of what had taken place, only when he heard the tale-tell sounds of line stripping quickly from his reel did his mind find ease. The sportsman grasp the line to slow the fish’s frantic run, he then began the task of bring his prize to the boat. Emotions filled his thoughts as he brought the large Mirror carp into his craft and admired it’s natural beauty and girth.

The sun was now sinking fast into the hills, the night sounds soon surrounded him with the familiar eerie tones. Some would think at this point, that his day’s event would soon be over, however upon the flip of a switch his generator fired up and the nightscape became aglow with light. This is bowfishing and the night is still young……….

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