0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

Published by archerchick on 10 Feb 2011

Let’s Make The English Longbow ~ By Pierre St. Arnaud

February 1972

Let’s Make The English Longbow ~By Pierre St. Arnaud
Don’t Pine For Yew; Lemonwood And A Colorful Vocabulary Are Just As Effective

YOU ARCHERS WHO are romantics at heart can have
both the traditional longbow and the pleasure of making
this graceful weapon.
The early longbow did not have dips from the grip to the
base limb, so the bow played in hand. lt bent in the middle.
suffered loss of cast and was not entirely pleasant to shoot.
The dips, an innovation attributed to one Buchanan. an
English bowyer, made the long bow a more efficient
weapon. They are utilized to this day in the modern
composite bows.

With no apology to the purist, our longbow will have
dips. Those of you who wish can make the early English
longbow by omitting the dips. To do so, simply taper in
straight lines from the four-inch grip section to the tip
dimensions as given in the diagram and proceed to tiller and
balance the bow according to the methods described.
The wood most popularly associated with the longbow is
yew. Good air-seasoned yew is not so readily come by as it
once was. Years ago, during the ’40s and ’50s, l had ready
access to all the yew l could use. With the advent of fiber-
glass and plastics in bowyery, I began to notice a paucity of
yew suppliers.

To make a yew bow requires considerable experience
and special treatment and technique. The sapwood must be
left intact to variable thicknesses in relation to the bow’s
erratic run of grain; pin knots and clusters must be swelled
or dutchmanned, but these are only a few of the considerations.

To make a good yew bow the bowyer must have, besides
adequate experience, an equally adequate vocabulary of
colorful words to help him over the rough spots. This magazine
will permit me to help you with the former in a future
article, but you’ll have to develop the latter yourself. lf you
must tackle yew in your first attempt at bowyery, yew
staves and billets can still be obtained from Earl L. Ullrich,
Box 862, Roseburg, Oregon.

We will use lemonwood (dagame) in making this bow.
Dagame is native to Cuba, Central and South America, and
Southern Mexico. This wood was also used by English
bowyers. It has a specific gravity of 0.80 and hefts at forty-
nine pounds per cubic foot. It has a light tan color, usually,
and has nothing to do with lemons. Lemonwood bow staves
can be obtained from the following sources: Craftsman
Wood Service Company, Department A-30, 2729 South
Mary, Chicago, Illinois 60608; Constantine, 2051-C East-
chester Road, Bronx, New York 10461.

Order a longbow stave six feet by one and one-eighth
inches. Now, unless you intend to go into mass production,
you will need only the few easily obtained and inexpensive
tools and materials I will describe: a block plane, preferably
low angle; a ten·inch or twelve-inch half-round cabinet file;
a six-inch rat tail file; a three by five-inch square cabinet
scraper; garnet paper, medium and fine; and a fifty-pound
spring scale.

Examine your stave. A perfectly straight stave is virtually
nonexistent, but this can be a blessing in disguise. Choose
for the back the concave side of the stave. This imparts a
natural reflex to your bow which improves its cast and
helps retard excessive set or string follow to which most
self—wooden bows are prone. Having established the back,
set your plane to a fine cut and plane the back smooth.
When this is done, sand the back using medium garnet
wrapped around a small, flat wooden block. No further
work will be done to the back until the final finishing stage.
To lay out your stave, draw a pencil line around the
middle, measuring from end to end. Draw a line one and a
half-inch above and another two and a half inches below
this middle line. This four-inch section is the grip and is
situated to permit the arrow to leave the bow one and a
half-inch above center for reasons of dynamic balance.
Measure outward four inches both ways from the grip section
and again scribe lines completely around the stave.

These areas encompass the dips and locate the base limbs.
You now have marks twelve inches apart, and it is at
these points that your actual side tapers begin. Measuring
from the edges of the stave at these twelve-inch lines,
establish a dot dead center on each line. Remember, all
these lines and dots are being done on the back of the stave.
Take a length of thread about a foot and a half longer than
the stave and attach weights to each end.

Lay your stave across your work bench, so the tips are
unrestricted. Lay the thread lengthwise along the stave, so
the weights hang free. Move the thread back and forth at
the ends of the stave until it bisects exactly the dots you
marked at the base limbs. Make dots under the thread a few
inches apart along each limb and at the tips. With a straight
edge, connect these dots from tip to tip. You’ve established
your datum line.

At one—inch from the ends draw lines across the stave.
Place dots a quarter-inch on each side of the datum line at
these points and you have established the half—inch nock
widths. Using the straight edge, scribe lines from the full
width at the base limbs to the half-inch width at the nocks.

Plane to the lines being careful not to remove the lines.
Be sure to leave the sides square (90 degrees.) to the back
as you plane. You are now ready to lay out the dips and
belly taper. Place the stave on its side. Refer to the working
drawing. At base limb, point A, place a dot seven—eighth of
an inch from the back. Half-way to the nock place another
dot 2l/32-inch from the back. Place another dot 7/16-inch
from the back at the nock. Connect these dots.

Go back to the base limb, point A. From the dot free
hand the dip to the top of the grip, D. The bottom of the
dip should be a gradual curve and become more pronounced
as it approaches the top of the grip. All of these
measurements and lines must be duplicated on the other
side of the stave. Plane and file down to the lines, and your
stave is now a roughed-out bow.

Refer to the cross section E in the diagram. Plane the
corners of the grip off until you have four corners. Plane
and file the dips and limbs into the same cross section.
Repeat this procedure until you have an eight-cornered
cross section. Your bow has now very nearly approximated
the cross sections shown as A and B. You will no longer
need the plane. Scrape and file the whole bow into the
round as in cross sections A and B.

Refer to the nock details and file the nocks using the rattail file.
Start at the sides and go into the wood about
one-eighth—inch. Diminish this cut into the belly as you
slant at the angle shown. Make a tiller as shown in the
drawing. The notch at the end should be wide and deep
enough to accept the bow grip. The string notches should
have the side edge sanded round so as not to cut the string
when tillering.

You will need two bowstrings, one strong string for tillering
and one for shooting. Both strings should be of a
length that when the bow is braced (strung) the string will
measure about eight inches from the back of the grip. With
the lower loop attached to the bottom nock the top loop
on the unbraced bow will be about four inches below the
top nock.

Place one tip of the unstrung bow on the floor. Grasp
the bow by the grip in your right hand with theleft hand
holding the uppermost limb. Exert pressure against the
lower tip causing the lower limb to bend a little. Examine
the curve the limb assumes while feeling the amount of
resistance to bending. Mark the obvious stiff spots with
pencil on the belly. Repeat this procedure with the other
limb. Scrape down the stiff spots and test again.

If both limbs bend evenly, one compared to the other,
brace the bow with your tillering string. Lay the·braced
bow on its back on your work bench and step back several
paces to examine the limb curvatures. Each limb should
begin a gradual curve from the base limb and curve evenly
to the tip and both limbs should balance one against the

When this stage is reached satisfactorily you are ready to
begin the actual tillering and balancing. Carefully pull the
string to a twelve-inch draw several times to break it in to
the new stresses. Place the bow grip into the tiller notch
and pull the string into the twelve-inch notch on the tiller.

Place the bow on its back on the bench with the tiller
uppermost. Examine the curvature and mark the stiff spots.
Remove the tiller and unbrace the bow. Scrape the stiff
spots down. Remember to maintain the rounded cross section
while reducing the bow. Again draw the bow several
times to twelve inches and replace in the tiller to the
twelve-inch notch.

If the bow bends evenly, remove from the tiller and
draw several times to a fourteen-inch draw. Repeat the fore-
going operations until you have tillered to full draw. A
word of caution: Once you have tillered to about twenty-
four inches, do not leave the bow in the tiller for more than
a few seconds each time. A wood bow because of its cellular
structure tires as it approaches maximum stress and can
fracture if left too long in the tiller while still in a condition
of imbalance.

When you have tillered to full draw you are ready to
check your bow to the bowstring. At the base limb of the
upper limb check the distance from the back of the bow to
the string. Repeat with the lower limb. If the bow is properly
tillered the distance to the string at the top limb should
exceed by one-eighth-inch to three-sixteenth-inch the dis-
tance at the lower limb. If there is a discrepancy, this can
be cured with further tillering.

The bow is now ready for weighing. Attach a large steel
screw hook to a stud in the garage. The hook should be
about six feet from the floor. Hang the spring scale on the
hook. Now bore a hole in the end of a yard stick and hang
the stick on the scale hook. Hook the bowstring at the
nocking point to the spring hook and, using both hands on
the bow grip, draw the bow to its twenty-eight·inch draw
and read the scale. lf the bow is too heavy, reduce by
tillering to the desired weight. This bow can be scaled or
proportioned down to shorter draws and lighter weights. To
do so, simply shorten the dips and working limbs and start
with a thinner and narrower base limb.

With the tillering completed you are ready to finish your
bow. Cut a flat piece of wood four inches by one and
one-eighth inches by three-eighths inches and glue this directly
back of the grip. When dry, shape into round for a
comfortable grip and smooth the ends into the bow proper,
File off the sharp edges from the back and starting with
medium and finishing with fine garnet paper, prepare the
bow for varnishing. Always sand with the grain, i.e., length-

After fine sanding there should be no tool~ or work
marks on the bow. Now, using a slightly wet cloth or
sponge rub just enough water on the bow to raise the grain.
When the wood is just damp enough to change color you
have it just right. Dry quickly by passing before a small
electric heater or over a stove burner. Do not subject the
bow to too much heat or you will check it. Steel wool the
raised whiskers off with 2/0 wool. If you do not whisker
the bow now. the grain will raise when you apply the
varnish and result in a poor finish.

Mix by volume one part quick dry spar varnish and one
part turpentine. Mix only enough for the sealer or first
coat. Brush this thinned coat into the bow and after twenty
minutes wipe with a clean dry cloth, every vestige of surface
varnish from the bow. Allow to dry for at least
twenty-four hours. Scuff the bow lightly with fine garnet to
give tooth to the finish coat. Apply the finish coat of
varnish full strength. Allow the coat to dry for a least
twenty-four hours.

The grip can be wrapped with leather layed in glue. An
attractive and rugged grip can be laid by whipping or
serving (just as you do with a bowstring) the grip with
heavy colored fish cord. The finished serving can then be
saturated with shellac. After the varnish has cured for a
week, apply a coat of good furniture wax and buff your
bow. <—<<
l. During the making of the bow and after it is finished, do
not expose it to direct heat. Heat causes hardwoods to
2. Never overdraw your bow or let anyone snap the string
without an arrow in the bow to absorb the recovery
· shock.
3. Always unbrace your bow before putting it away.
4. Almost all wood bows take a set, a permanent bend in
the direction of draw. Having taken a set the bow will
stabilize. Do not attempt to straighten it by forcing the
limbs to bend backward.

Archived By
All Rights Reserved

0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

Mule Deer Record ~ By Charlie Kroll



This Utah Buck Scores At The Top Of The New Velvet Antlers Category

ED’S NERVES were as taut as his bowstring. He had detected
movement in the heavy cover to the left of his perch. At first it
was only a large brown patch. Then it moved into an open lane on the
game trail and all Ed could think was, ” Oh my God!” He had seen a lot
of mule deer, but this was something special. It looked to be the size of a
Jersey bull, with a crown of antlers resembling a manzanita bush
balanced on its head.


The bowman had to make a half-turn on his stand in order to get in line for a draw.
Fortunately, the buck was above him and did not see him move. Everything now
seemed to be happening in slow motion, as the animal turned nearly broadside just as
Ed completed his draw. With a flicker of light, the shaft sped over the twenty-five
yards between them. His knees suddenly felt weak and his eyes glazed over from a
sudden rush of blood to his head. “What happened?” he thought. “Where is he?”


Ed Burley had been trying for years to get a crack at a real trophy-size mule deer.
He had taken three on previous hunts, but they were just run-of-the-mill size. Good
bucks, but not what he really sought. Burley is from – appropriately enough Kildeer, Illinois
and is a dedicated andknowledgeable bowhunter. I know this to be true, as I’ve hunted with
Ed Burley in Colorado. He’s been at it for twenty-five years and, as of now, has taken fifty head of
big game. In 1989 he chose southwestern Utah and outfitter Rick Martin; both having a reputation for producing large bucks.


One of the basic means of insurance for a successful hunt is to do some pre-season
scouting of the chosen area. However, in many cases an eastern bowhunter like Burley,
journeying westward into new territory, does not have this opportunity. But
he did have three things going for him: First, he had previously hunted Utah in
June of that year on a successful bear chase and had not only the chance to get
the general lay of the land, but had encountered some respectable mulies.


Second, his guide, Rick Martin, knew the region quite well and, thus, served as
Burley’s pre-hunt information source. Third, they were hunting from a tent camp
on private ranchland, for which Martin had leased hunting rights. The ranch was east
of Cedar City near the Dixie National Forest Much of this southern Utah area still seems
part of some primeval time with creek and river fossils dating back to earth’s earliest
beginnings. Man has lived there for 10,000 years. The once high mountains and plateaus have
been whittled by eons of wind and rain until now they are worn down like an old
ram’s teeth. It is now mainly canyon country.


During the early bow season, the bucks still are in the velvet and tend to travel in
pairs or small groups. Later, when they’ve shed the antler velvet and shortening of
daylight hours triggers the onset of the rut, they become solitary and aggressive to-
ward other bucks. Originally, the mule deer, like the elk, was mainly a plains animal.
The westward migrations of white man forced them to seek refuge in the mountains
and today many hunters assume they were always high-country dwellers. They do,
however, inhabit just about any type of rough western terrain that offers sufficient
food, water and cover, from high mountain slopes down through lodgepole and quakie parks,
scrub oak and pinyon thickets, low sage-brush sidehills, brushy stream bottoms,
badland breaks, desert fringes and even ranch spreads.


The area Ed Burley was hunting consisted largely of lower slopes bordering a large
valley, where the cover was mostly scrub oak, sagebrush, rabbitbrush and similar shrub
vegetation. Regardless of terrain, mule deer are easier to locate when moving around and
feeding, which means mainly early morning and late afternoon to evening. If nights
are dark and moonless, the deer are inclined to bed early and do less night feeding,
which means they will be out and moving early the following morning.


Bedded deer, incidently, are normally extremely alert and usually are able to sneak
off before an approaching hunter sees them. They have a decided preference for habitat
open enough to pennit detection of an enemy’s approach, yet with patches of
cover into which they can quickly fade as danger nears. Their senses of sight, hearing
and smell are well developed and it is generally conceded that a mule deer’ s vision
is superior to that of other deer. At the same time, they do have one weak point, in
that they concentrate most attention on grounds at their level or below making a
sneak approach from above feasible.


Even within their normal summer range, the mulies do not restrict movement to a
confined area and may range three to four miles overnight However, it usually takes
some disturbance to make them vacate a favored area completely, except in rutting
season. The movements of bucks between bedding and feeding grounds also are more
reliable at times before and after the fall rut. At this time of the year, they are apt to more
closely follow feeding and bedding routines.


If hunting on the ground, the time-honored method for best results lies in
gaining an overview on some high eminence before daylight and using binoculars
to locate animals at lower levels, either feeding or climbing toward midday bed-
ding spots. Having located a desired buck, one has the option of keeping him located
until he beds, then attempting a stalk, or of figuring his general line of travel and, by
staying under cover, try to set up an ambush where he will pass within bow range.
By full light and even during the corresponding time on an overcast day, most of
the deer will have left the open feeding places and will be in timber or in the shade
of tall sage or other dense brush. The hunter must then change his tactics and slowly
work the thick cover.


There were six other hunters in camp other than Burley. As there was a lot of
open country and sparse cover, they all began by still—hunting. Plenty of deer were
in evidence, the bucks being in small groups of three to seven. But there had been little
rain and the ground cover was extremely dry. The heavy brush where the bucks
hung out was so noisy that even the slowest, most careful stalking was fruitless. It soon
became evident to Burley that such tactics were doomed to failure and after a day and
a half of frustrated attempts, he gave it up .


A less experienced hunter might have stubbornly stuck with this approach, but
Burley soon realized that the chances while sitting still in an ambush spot and hope-
fully having the game come to him was a far better plan. That second afternoon, he
started scouting for a spot for his portable tree stand. After some looking around and
checking the wind drift, he picked a location on the side of the valley he was hunting,
where he had seen some large-racked bucks moving through the intermittent
cover. By early evening he had his stand in place in a large oak, had cleared shooting
lanes of twigs and was quietly waiting for game. The only animals he saw that evening
were at some distance from him.


The following morning he saw six bucks, two of which were in the 160-point score
class and seven cow elk. None of the deer came close to his position.
That afternoon he moved his stand to the far side of the valley near a spot where
he had seen two large bucks. As evening approached, Burley’s every sense was alert
for sight or sound of the quarry. Knowing it is the first arrow that counts, he kept
warmed up by slowly drawing his Pro-Line bow at intervals, after first carefully
looking about to make sure no game was in sight Otherwise, he remained still and
kept his bow, with a Razorhead—tipped arrow nocked, in hand at all times.


He saw three good bucks across the valley where he had been originally, but decided to stay
put Then, bucks began to show up near him. First he saw a group of three, then a
bunch of seven. He was watching the latter when movement to the left caught his peripheral
vision. As the huge buck stepped into the opening and turned, he took the shot; immediately
losing sight of his quarry. Shaking his head to clear his vision, he was thrilled to catch
sight of the buck with the bright fletching of his arrow protruding from its mid—body,
about six inches back of the shoulder. The huge buck ran downhill with his head for-
ward and slightly lowered. swaying that big rack back and forth to avoid obstacles.
He seemed to just sail along at first, but before he was out of sight his legs began to
fail and Burley saw him stagger and slow his pace.


It was forty—five minutes until dark. Burley tried to wait patiently and remembered
afterwards that he had eaten an orange, although he could not recall whether
he had peeled it or not After fifteen minutes, he couldn’t stand it any longer and
started following the blood trail. Within eighty yards he found the buck and realized
immediately that he finally had his trophy—class mulie.


After a good look. he headed back to the pick—up spot where Charlie. one of Mar-
tin’s assistants, was waxing with the truck. Charlie saw the look on Burley`s face and
asked, “What did you shoot?”
“Oh, a small four—by—four.” Burley replied. But when they got to me deer and Charlie
saw what he had taken he went bananas, repeating over and over. “Are you kidding
me? Are you kidding me?”

They field dressed the buck, loaded him in the pick—up and headed for camp, where
the other hunters marveled over Burley’s good fortune. All of them had been still-hunting but
the following day all switched to elevated stands. Martin told Burley later that after
he had left, three of them also killed trophy bucks, although none were as large as his
“buster.’ As Burley told me. that buck represented a goal fulfilled, but the biggest trophy will
always exist in the memory of the quality of his adventure.

Archived By
All Rights Reserved

0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

Winter Feed Or Not To Winter Feed ~ By Charlie Kroll

Bow And Arrow
August 1981

Winter Feed Or Not To Winter Feed ~ By Charlie Kroll
While the Technique May Seem The Logical Answer To Protecting
Game During Severe Weather – It May Be The Worst Thing Man Can Do

IT HAPPENED on Arizona’s Kaibab Plateau in the 1920s;
sixty-thousand deer starved to death over a six-year period. It
happened in the Gunnison country of Colorado in 1942; five thousand
mule deer died of starvation during the winter. It happened in Michigan
in 1950; fifty-thousand whitetails died because there were too many
deer and too little food. It happened more recently; 1978~79, in North
Dakota where thousands of pronghorn antelope were lost through a
combination of severe storms and resulting lack of food.

Could such losses have been prevented? Under the circumstances,
probably not. For when we allow wildlife species to build to such high
levels that the available seasonal habitat cannot support them, nature
finally has to take a hand. She decrees severe winter to whittle wildlife
down to the point that they can continue to exist on the land, food and
cover available to them.

The question of whether winter feeding of deer and other wild game
is possible, feasible or advisable to prevent such losses frequently comes
up among-different groups. Interested parties include those concerned
with wildlife range and forest management, hunters, ranchers, and those
interested in conservation and wildlife in general. As a result of the wide
range of interest, coupled with a lack of precise information, a good deal
of misinformation is often accepted as factual.

The nutritional problems that confront animals
such as deer, elk and antelope during the winter are
similar to those faced by domestic species. Generally
speaking, winter browse lacks the nutritional value of
that available during the growing season. The variety
available is also greatly reduced. While variety may
not necessarily be required, a more varied diet is
usually more likely to supply needed nutrients than
will a limited diet. Coupled with this is the situation
where animals simply consume practically all edible
food in sight, particularly during heavy snowfalls and
in locations where they concentrate in protected
areas. In such situations outright starvation will take a
high toll of the population.

Information providing accurate reasons for winter
death losses is difficult to find. It is likely that most
losses occur after a relatively prolonged-period of
substandard nutrition coupled with added stresses
imposed by bitter cold, heavy snowfall that may
completely bury feed, the need to struggle through
deep drifts, etc. Animals under these conditions are
more susceptible to stresses and more likely to die.

It is natural for most people to equate game animals such as deer
l with. domestic livestock. When winter conditions make the pasturing
of stock a problem, ranchers use the technique of supplemental feeding from stored
domestic foods such as hay, grain or cottonseed cake, and most are able to
winter their cattle quite well.

lt would seem, logical, then, that similar techniques could be used
to carry more game animals on limited winter ranges or to carry
them through severe stretches of weather without a high mortality
irate, Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that simply.

The possibilities of feeding deer and other game animals during
emergency situations have been studied by a number of
states. Field observations indicate that emergency feeding has not
been successful. The likelihood is relatively poor that emergency
feeding can be successful for animals that are starving and severely
stressed. The reasons for this are partly due to the type of digestive
tract these animals have.

Deer, in common with other wild species such as elk, antelope,
moose and caribou, and domestic species such as cattle, sheep and
goats, are ruminant animals. ln ruminants, solid food that is swallowed
goes first to the rumen, a large organ which is inhabited by a
variety of bacteria and protozoa.

These microorganisms pre-digest the food before it passes into the
lower alimentary tract where the usual gastric and intestinal digestion
takes place. ln ruminants the nature of the diet has
a large influence on the numbers and types of rumen microorganisms
present. ln normal circumstances, in free ranging animals, the diet from
day to day is relatively similar, although many species of plants may be
consumed. As the season changes and different plants appear, develop
and die, the diet of the animal changes. But the change is
gradual, taking place over a period of weeks or months.

If confined animals are suddenly forced to drastically change
their diet, it takes some period of time for the rumen microorganisms
to adapt to the change. This particularly
applies when the diet is changing from a low quality forage or
browse to one with large amounts of readily available
carbohydrates — sugars and starches — or highly soluble
proteins. Such dietary changes are apt to result in abnormal
rumen metabolism and acute indigestion.

In contrast, animals with simple stomachs; humans, birds,
etc., have a digestive system which is more adaptable to
sudden dietary changes and the unfavorable effects are
usually much less severe than in ruminants.
A second reason that emergency feeding might be less
than successful is related to food and taste preferences. Deer
and antelope are browsers, preferring a diet of leaves, twigs
and tender shoots from forbes, bushes and shrubs. Elk
combine browse and natural grasses for their preferred diet.

The organisms in these animals’ stomachs are geared to digest
this natural diet. These animals will usually accept offered
hay or other supplemental food only when their natural food
is unavailable or when they’re in bad shape. With such an
abrupt change in their normal diet, the organisms necessary
for digestion fail to function and the hay compacts. Without
the normal fermentation processes in operation, the
compacted material then begins to putrefy. When that
happens, ulcers form in the true stomach and small intestine.
Bacterial infections develop in the linings of the stomach and
intestinal tract, producing toxins that are absorbed by the
body. A generalized toxemia or poisoning results, causing
extensive damage to liver, kidneys and heart. lf the condition
prevails, the end result is death.

Stockmen face similar problems when they transfer sheep
from high summer ranges to feed lots. The period of
adjustment to the change in food is a delicate one and if it is
not handled properly many sheep will be lost.
A natural question then, is why not prepare deer and elk
for this diet by spreading hay for them prior to winter? It
sounds plausible, but in actuality the animals will either
ignore the offering or nibble a little and return to their
diets of natural foods. They plainly won’t take enough to
make the necessary transition to a straight hay diet.

The physical nature of the food offered also has a
pronounced effect on consumption. In studies carried out by
the Ruminant Nutrition Department of Oregon State
University on captive Columbian blacktail deer, they learned
that these animals show a marked preference for pelleted
grains as compared to grains given in rolled or whole form.
The black tails showed a high preference for pelleted soybean
meal, corn and wheat, but much less for barley and oats. They
refused beet pulp, linseed meal, cottonseed meal and peas, all
in pelleted form. As a whole, deer showed a pronounced
preference for sweets such as molasses and various sugars.
Bucks showed preferences for bitter and sour solutions,
whereas does did not. From this information it is obvious that
the right combinations of feed ingredients would be needed
to tempt deer to eat food that is totally foreign to them.
On one winter artificial feeding ground in Colorado, 5266
deer died during one winter, their stomachs full of hay.

Studies of this project showed the artificial feeding actually
accelerated the death rate, increasing it from twenty-five
percent to as high as forty-two percent. They were counted,
deer by deer, as the carcasses were heaped in long trenches for
burial by game department employees.

A third factor that argues against emergency feeding is the
difficult and costly task that would be involved in simply
getting needed food to animals while they are still in
condition to utilize it. This could be handled in areas where
deer yard up in herds, but would not be feasible at all where
deer or other game are scattered over a wide area of rough

Programs of supplemental feeding are not only financially
impractical, but might well result in further overuse of winter
ranges. Artificial feeding of wildlife is an extremely expensive
proposition and rarely a successful substitute for normal
winter forage.

In a slightly different situation and setting; that of the
South Dakota pheasant lands during a prolonged blizzard in
the early 1960s, another colossal artificial feeding attempt
was made. With the survival of an estimated nine million
pheasants threatened, some four hundred tons of surplus
shelled corn was distributed by trucks, planes and men on
snowshoes. No one knows for sure how much it really helped,
but when the statistics are balanced the whole operation
becomes slightly ridiculous. A pheasant needs about four
ounces of food a day. lf you distribute four hundred tons of
corn among nine million pheasants, it might feed a third of
them for one day.

Well, if you can’t stockpile wildlife by supplemental
feeding, what is the solution? l-low do you regulate wildlife to
avoid these situations, yet maintain them at a level sufficient
for people to utilize and enjoy? The answer is to follow the
proven principles of wildlife management. Provide the proper
complex of food, cover, and water on the land available. And,
as a specie’s habitat is shrunken by man’s industrial
encroachment, its numbers must be regulated to fit the
remaining available habitat. Each year, through regulated
hunting seasons, the natural increase must be pruned back to
a level the habitat complex can support through the winter, a
level that won’t do permanent and irrevocable damage to the
complex during times of severe stress. <—<<<

Archived By
All Rights Reserved

0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

Psychology Of Whitetail Breeding Scrapes ~ By Robert C. McGuire

Bow and Arrow
August 1981

Psychology Of Whitetail Breeding Scrapes

BOWHUNTERS WHO HAVE spent time in whitetail
country have probably noticed and made significance
of remnant indicators of deer rut or breeding activity.
Classification of scrapes by size and location can
sometimes make their interpretation quite difficult,
permitting misguided hunters to spend useless hours over
non—huntable scrapes. I prefer to look at them from a
psychological perspective, from the deer’s point of view.
As defined by Roger Rothhaar, border and boundary
scrapes are those that a buck might leave when he pauses
naturally before advancing into different terrain. Since these if
scrapes are normally left by bucks early in the rut season and
since the behavioral pattern of a buck certainly changes
during the peak of rut, they are generally not huntable.

Rather, they are indicators of a buck’s pre—peak rut
behavioral pattern. When such scrapes happen to appear at
logical border, it is easy for a veteran to identify them as
indicators of a buck’s past presence but not likely
reappearance. Many hunters fall prey to early rut scrapes that
have been revisited through behavioral happenstance, rather
than sexual desire. Deer motivators other than a singular
breeding obsession may help explain some of those
good—looking scrapes that appear in likely breeding terrain.
The process of pawing the ground is a minor part of the
elaborate scraping ritual. However, backtracking a dominant
buck in the snow from its urinated scrape can be enlightening
as you see evidence of the full scraping procedure.
Arriving at a woods line before dawn, [observe the trail of
an old buck that has already crossed a road and several open
fields under the cover of darkness. His normal hunger has
been replaced by the annual breeding obsession and he pauses
in the open field prior to entering the woods. His direct path
has not included the normal night feeding areas, but he finds
himself about to enter a highly traveled woods situated
between popular feeding and bedding areas. Looking around,
he gently arches his back, pulling his rear legs together as he
urinates on his tarsal glands. The normally mild odor of urine
is intensified through interaction with the glands. Human
observers passing by several hours later will be able to detect
the odor. Pausing briefly, he begins his slow walk through the
woods on a direct trail leading to his breeding area. Passing
the scrapes he left weeks earlier just inside the woods, he does
not stop to reopen them, nor does he forage along the way.
After traveling about three hundred yards, he hesitates at the
crest of a hill just long enough to briefly urinate on his tarsal
glands again. Resuming his deliberate, slow walk, he
continues for another hundred yards and without hesitation
crosses a second road. There he pauses again to urinate on his
glands before entering the thicket area.

A short distance later, surrounded by dense undergrowth,
he arrives at his freshly snow-covered scrape. After nuzzling,
licking and Chewing on the overhanging branches, he starts to
paw the snow, dragging underlying leaves and debris back to
expose a fresh surface directly beneath the limbs. Taking
several alternate strokes with his front feet, he leaves a
prominent footprint in the fresh dirt as he supports himself
for the last stroke across the scrape. Finally, almost as an
afterthought, he urinates as before in or alongside the scrape.
The nibbled overhanging limbs will be of primarv interest to
any deer that later encounters the scrape and may provide
interpretative significance to hunters who observe the
behavior of deer.
If a doe has deposited estrus sign, the buck may in fact
forget about scraping and, nose to the ground, take up her
trail at a fast walk, grunting as he goes. She is usually close by
and quickly located by the buck. Although they typicallv
separate after a brief union, if the doe is nearing estrus she will
be quite receptive and they may stay together a nay or two with
perhaps moving a mile or more away from their original
meeting place.
I once spent five successive hard-hunting days over a large
scrape that l believed to be a main breeding scrape. Most of
the ingredients were there: the topography, surrounding
dense undergrowth with a few open pockets, and proximity
to known doe patterns. lt even tit Gene Wensel’s description
of a hub scrape. with small, singular, not revisited, scrapes
within fifty yards in each of three directions from the main
scrape. Finally burned out in that high tree stand, I gave it up
until late in the season.

After rut was over, I checked backjust to see if the scrapes
had been reopened. To my surprise, they looked about the
same as I recalled them from my high perch. Although it was
certainly possible that the buck`s urge had dwindled, or
perhaps l had pressured him out of his main breeding
territory, I started noticing that buck more and more
frequently back in the same area. There had to be another
explanation. Reasoning as I might if I were a deer ambling
through the woods, l was suddenly aware that the location of
this large scrape was actually a decision point, with three
trails showing moderate use converging at a single point. A
buck walking any of those three trails might ponder his
direction on reaching the junction. Since the buck had
reappeared after the peak of rut. I considered that perhaps
this was a pause location rather than a hub scrape with the
associated peripheral scrapes. It is logical that as the rut
develops in intensity, the deer turns more of his conscious
effort toward scraping and other rut activity. Early in the rut.
a buck might paw the ground simply because he has paused at
a given location and the urge of breeding is starting to tingle
within him. Though he will continue to forage for food and is
basically in his pre-rut behavioral pattern, a buck can
incidentally scrape without conscious effort.

As the rut increases with intensity. a buck will turn to
conscious scraping. Scrapes made during this intermediate
stage are purposeful, rather than of convenience. The buck
stops whatever he is doing for the purpose of leaving his sign.
He may even go out of his way to select a spot under an
overhanging limb in order to rub his eye glands or nibble
branches over the scrape location. Though not generally
revisited, and not generally huntable. these scrapes may look
like an early breeding scrape. After a buck has been swept
into his peak rut behavioral pattern, he may actually change
his range so as to accommodate his preferred breeding areas.
Veteran hunters may notice the reoccurrence of these areas
coinciding with certain environmental or pressure factors,
including crop rotation. Revisiting such an area to make
additional scrapes or perhaps to enlarge existing ones, the
buck is now so obsessed with breeding that he makes a
pronounced conscious effort to scrape.

In this extreme of peak rut scraping behavior, a buck
willfully disrupts his normal activity and may even travel to
another separate area to scrape. In early rut activity, the buck
only scrapes unconsciously or subconsciously when his
normal pattern is disrupted for any other reason and there is
occasion to pause. It is all a question of degree. The closer he
is to peak of rut, the more he will go out of his way to scrape.
While I would not generally consider the early pause scrapes
as huntable, they are good indicators of where the buck is
likely to return after his peak rutting activity diminishes.

Hunting rub lines, especially along ridges, is similarly more
I productive after peak tut when the buck returns to his normal
post-rut behavior. Buck activity is prompted by many
I complex factors, especially does in estrus. However, since an
unbred doe can come into season repeatedly, rut may be
I sustained or retriggered over a period of several months. I
have seen this in Ohio, though usually the older bucks are not
responsive to it.

Scrapes often delineate a buck’s territory, but should not
be construed as territorial sign—posts. Urinated scrapes
function as advertisements for does, rather than warnings to
other bucks. Happenstance will dictate early scrape locations,
often at the extremities of a buck’s normal pre-rut range.
However, if the scraping itself is incidental to a necessary
pause in the buck’s activity, then he normally will not urinate
at these locations, and such scrapes are superfluous to the
breeding effort. The only territorialism that exists in the deer
society is in the immediate presence of estrus sign.
Subordinate bucks, especially when accompanying a
dominant buck, will suddenly appear uneasy when they
approach a urinated scrape. Often, in the absence of a more
dominant buck, they may approach and cautiously reach out
to sniff the overhanging nibbled branches, being careful not
to step in the scrape itself.

Even if the scrape was originally established by a
dominant buck, unless the subordinate detects fresh
dominant sign he may reopen it; in essence, “taking it over.”
lf a hunter has not been detected by the deer, he may use the
deer’s behavior at the scrape as an odds indicator of seeing a
more dominant and perhaps larger buck. The more nervous
and covert his activity, the greater the odds that he is merely a
subordinate in the area. Although the dominant buck does
not always support the best antlers, trophy hunters should
hold off until they are certain they have observed number
one, before settling for a subordinate.

It is sometimes confusing when a hunter encounters
pawing activity beneath broken overhanging limbs at a food
source such as crab apples. lf it was obviously necessary for
the deer to have reached into the overhanging limbs to obtain
food not more accessible down lower, then examine the area
for other signs of excessive foraging. Torn up areas may not
reflect breeding or combat activity, especially where local
browse lines have been established. Normally during rut,
there remains a seasonal abundance of food.
lf rubs are abundant around scrapes, look closely for
combat sign. Excessive rubbing near scrapes is often an
indicator of early rut behavior although a dominant buck will
become aggressive toward a lesser buck in the area of a
urinated scrape. Plentiful rubs with no combat-sign are
normally indicative of a less huntable scrape.

There are no absolute rules of whitetail behavior, only
statistical odds of occurrence. One thing is certain, however.
Older dominant bucks become more predictable during
periods of intense rutting activity, whereas younger, lesser
bucks become less predictable! Whenever he is not
accompanied by a doe in estrus, a dominant buck will cater to
his breeding obsession on his own schedule and will maintain
supremacy over his urinated scrapes. Lesser bucks will
constantly solicit his leavin’s, and will scramble around in a
more random behavioral pattern so as to avoid encounters in
the presence of estrus sign.

Contrary to popular belief, bucks will run together at any
time during rut, except in the presence of a doe in estrus, or in
close proximity to urinated active scrapes. Just because two
large bucks are seen together in peaceful coexistence does not
mean rut has terminated! The real significance lies in their
level of mutual tolerance as you observe them near the
breeding area or in the presence of does. A friend of mine died
after having been gored by an eight-point whitetail buck he
was assigned to study for its “peculiar behavior” during the
fall rut. Though this was an exceptional case, many observers
have related incidents of extreme intolerance by whitetail
bucks in the area of active urinated scrapes.

If many bucks and does are present in a large breeding
area, a bowhunter on vigil can observe the complex hierarchy
in the local deer society. lf the “old man” is off with a hot
doe, number two buck will become dominant over the
scrapes for a short time, then number three buck, and so on.
If a lesser buck appears secure or spends time in close
proximity to the dominant buck’s urinated scrape, your odds
of seeing the large buck are greatly reduced for a day or
so. However, there is no better alternative way of
encountering the bigger buck during his random
honeymooning travels, so stick to your tree! You’ve got to be
out to be lucky and you must persevere in full confidence
that you have selected your best hunting opportunity, or else
you will let down for those few minutes you have spent
seasons preparing for. Remember, once you have alerted the
old boy to your tree stand, no breeding obsession can make
him forget you were there!

If a buck has urinated at a scrape, there is a high
probability he will return to it. However, since a buck may
develop scrapes at locations where he has detected estrus sign,
it is sometimes possible to delude a buck into developing a
major scrape to the hunter’s advantage. Just as a doe might
entice a buck to expand or initially open a scrape by her
estrus odor, a hunter might deposit the same droppings,
bloody snow, or estrus urine at a strategic huntable location.
Any of the commercially available estrus urine hunting scents
can be placed on the ground without scraping. Transplanting
ingredients from a legitimate scrape will serve to sweeten up
existing scrapes. If actual deer droppings are employed, be
sure they are not derived from the scrape of a dominant

I have used such techniques with some degree of success in
areas where I am permitted to bowhunt only the fringes of a
buck’s range. If I am certain that his breeding scrapes will be
r established on land for which I do not have hunting
permission, I often attempt to promote serious scraping in
my hunting area before he shifts into his peak rut behavior. It
is the ultimate gamble; if you leave your odor or in any way
pressure him, the buck will vacate the area. If impending rut
will draw him out of your area anyhow, then you have little
to lose. Whatever the stimulus, if the buck takes over or opens
a major urinated scrape, you can appraise its huntability
under the same criteria as any other scrape,
As you might expect, veteran deer are difficult to fool.
While I have succeeded in establishing revisited huntable
scrapes, the dominant bucks I sought invariably avoided me. I
have, however, passed up several opportunities to harvest
smaller bucks. For younger subordinate bucks, mock
scraping can be an effective hunting method. <—<<<

0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

Blacktail Deer Secrets ~ By Bruce Ulmer

Bow And Arrow
December 1990

Blacktail Deer Secrets ~By Bruce Ulmer

Oregon’s hidden Deer May Offer Bowhunters Excellent Opportunities!

Hunting Oregon is probably your best bet to get your name in the Pope & Young
Club record book by taking a trophy blacktail deer. As you look at the Third Edition’s
pages, you see that there are only 164 entries posted in the whole Columbian blacktail
deer section. Compared to the whitetail or mule deer typical buck entries of 3288 and 861,
respectively, the reader can assume that blacktail deer are extremely hard to hunt,
there are not many people hunting blacktail deer, there are not many blacktail deer
or there are not many record-book blacktail bucks anywhere.


Oregon had a 1988 estimated population of almost 500,000 blacktail
deer which live between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists do not have to manage
the deer intensely, as they fend for themselves pretty well without man’s help.
Game biologists do, however, keep track of buck to doe ratios, number of
fawns per one hundred does and some harvest data.


In November of 1989, while doing deer population surveys at night using
high powered spotlights, biologists found that some western Oregon big—game
management units had as high as sixty blacktail bucks per one hundred does.
with the average buck to doe ratio of about forty. Units bordering on or in the
Willamette Valley had the highest ratios for both bucks and number of fawns per
one hundred does. What does this mean for the archer? There are lots of bucks
and each year an average of forty·nine fawns are born for each one hundred
blacktail does, creating a bunch more bucks, all totalling up to 500,000 black-tail
deer to hunt. The potential for record bucks is apparent, since the deer
census comes after the rifle hunt is completed, indicating a terrific buck carry-


How come there aren’t more blacktail bucks taken by Oregon’s
20,000 estimated resident archers? One factor which keeps the record
book numbers low is the large number of Oregon archers who hunt for the more
visible mule deer which inhabit the dryer, less brushy area east of the Cascades.
Their archery season begins late August, lasting four weeks and few
archers have their mind on the common blacktail during this time. With mule
deer, bear, Roosevelt elk and Rocky Mountain elk to hunt, the blacktail is
often forgotten except for an occasional after—work expedition for a couple of
hours in the neighbor’s orchard, or at the nearest clear cut if you live in black-
tail country. Then after the general season is over, the thirty-day-plus rifle
season begins in most blacktail units. Archers often believe that all the good
bucks have been taken because of the rifle hunting pressure. As was noted previously,
with the high numbers of surviving bucks per one hundred does, this is a
long way from reality.


Biologists think that most blacktail deer live their lives within a square mile
or so of land rather than range about like their mule deer cousins. The bucks
will stray outside this boundary during the rut in search of receptive does, but
unless their habitat is significantly changed or altered, each deer will prob-
ably remain within this square mile all of its life. Since western Oregon`s
climate provides lots of moisture—laden air from the Pacific, vegetation grows
abundantly, providing food and plenty of concealing cover for the deer. This is
good for the deer, but not for the archer, unless a hunting strategy is developed.


Around November l0th, the late archery season begins. This season will
last three full weeks and provide the archer some of the best trophy blacktail
hunting there is. The bucks are in the rut. Their senses are dulled because of
this physical condition and the winds and rains have knocked the fall leaves to
the ground, offering better visibility. The past three years I have been collecting
data, talking to successful hunters and discovering for myself that almost any-
one — with Lady Luck’s helping hand -— can take a trophy blacktail buck that
will place in the record book.

My research has been conducted primarily from hunters near or around
Oregon who have hunted Oregon’s National Blacktail Hunt the past three
years and other successful local hunters. I have attended and hunted the National
Blacktail Hunt primarily to hear the speakers and to enjoy the bit of competition
the hunt provides. When you are out there hunting, thinking of that big
buck just over the next ridge that just might win you the prestigious bronze
trophy plus a lot of good eating, you try every new trick you can find. You certainly
listen to successful hunters a bit more carefully than you normally would.


The first year, the biggest buck was taken by Idaho writer and seminar
speaker Dwight Schuh. On Saturday following the seven—day hunt, displays
and seminars were going on, so I cornered Schuh with the purpose of having
him autograph his book. Since he was in a gracious mood, I asked him how he
had gotten his buck. He replied that he had put up a tree stand and had rattled
off and on for a couple of hours before a buck made its appearance. He had tried
rattling from the ground, but the deer kept spotting him, not permitting him a
shot. He said that he rattled from just one spot, due to bucks moving during
the rut, looking for that special doe. The tree stand gave him a slight advantage,
because of increased visibility and the deer wouldn’t spot his movements as


This was interesting in that tree stands are hardly used in Oregon at all.
Even though hunting with tree stands is considered an acceptable hunting method,
you can look high and low, but find only were brothers Bob and Bill Henson,
with friend Roy Roth. They have taken several fine record blacktail bucks over
the years, so I asked them to share their strategy with me. Bill Henson explained
that they would slip quietly into old growth timber which have lots of
mushrooms growing under the shady trees this time of year.


Does particularly like these tiny morsels and could be found hanging around these
areas. Bill felt that if there were does here, then the bucks couldn’t be far behind.
They then set up and rattled in the big timber rather than in brushy areas. He thinks
that deer feel more comfortable and secure, being able to see farther and
come in closer to find the source of combating horns. Their team took two nice
bucks that they rattled in after a few minutes of effort. Bill Henson said that most
bucks responded within the first five to seven minutes of rattling. He thought this was due mainly
to being in good areas with plenty of bucks.


The National Blacktail Hunt, which has become my training ground for hunting blacktail
bucks, came a third time and, using what I had learned about trophy bucks, should have
seen my turn walking up to receive the bronze trophy. But here I was again, talking to successful
hunters who were attending the seminars and displays after a hard week
of hunting. I met Joe Lilly and Rick Logston of Sharpstick Accessories, a
new company in Washington. They were testing a successful deer call. Their
partner, Ken Swan, had a commitment back in Washington and couldn’t stay
for the festivities. Their team, which competed in the Manufacturers and
Dealers division, had taken three bucks, two that were certainly Pope & Young
Club material, while the third would probably make the minimum requirement
after the drying period.


This had happened while hunters were experiencing unusual weather conditions which
found the deer feeding all night and sleeping all day, with few bucks chasing the does.
The team members confided that they had used whitetail doe scent on the bot-
toms of their shoes, while walking into an area to call. Then they set up with
two people, the caller being upwind from the other hidden hunter, and used a
bleat call. The caller would work his magic with the call and within a short
time, the does would come in quickly with bucks following closely behind.


Joe Lilly tried this calling technique and waited until he spotted his buck
coming in to the call, Then he tickled his rattling horns and the buck come
straight on in. Logston, on the other hand, set up with partner Lilly much as
you would when bugling for elk. Lilly, who had already taken his deer, did the
calling and within fifteen minutes a four-by-four came out of the brush walking
straight for Logston, who had set up about fifty yards in front of Lilly.


Logston shot the deer when he stopped thirty yards away, broadside. Swan’s
buck was taken by laying down a scent trail about seventy yards in front of
Lilly, who was again doing the calling, and when a nice three-point responded
to the call, it hit the scent line and followed to where Swan was waiting. All three
bucks were taken in oak groves that showed lots of deer sign.

Author Dwight Schuh took another fine blacktail, winning first place in the
Individual division with his record book four-by-five buck. I didn’t have a chance
to talk to him this year, but his long-time hunting partner, Larry D. Jones, confided
that Schuh again rattled in his second record book blacktail, combining
rattling with a deer call. Jones missed a fine four-by-four using this method, but
didn`t have much time for hunting himself as he helped Schuh and Jim
Dougherty find their animals. Chuck Lynde. owner of Windy Lindy`s Archery in
Clackamas, Oregon,took the biggest buck of the 1989 hunt, a record book four-by-seven
blacktail with thick webbed antlers.


When I talked to Lynde later on the phone, I asked him how he had located such a
big buck. Lynde said “Well I wanted a big buck. so I decided to consult with world
blacktail record holder, George Shuttleff. George told me to find an area with lots
and lots of deer tracks and heavy trails, then look for tracks 2 1/2-inch to three-
inches long So I drove almost two days before I found an area that met the track


I used a lip balm tube for chapped lips to measure the tracks. I had found an area
that was about three-quarter miles square with lots of sign. Lynde and his hunting partner-wife,
Toni. walked about three-fourths of a mile frorn the toad to a bench clear-cut a few years previously.
They could see four hundred yards across the opening now grown with small firs and vine leaf maple
as well as assorted brush. There was a stand of old growth nearby
and the small trees had at least thirty rubs.


“ln the brush nearby, you could only see about thirty-five yards,” said Lynde.
Toni rattled near the open area and they watched a three-by-three come
from two hundred yards away up to twenty-five yards, before it winded Toni
and spooked. This was Toni’s first experience with rattling, but she rattled in
several other bucks later in the season from a well-placed tree stand. She felt at
least three of them would have met record book minimums.


Lynde`s big buck came in after he had alternated rattling and blowing a grunt
call. He waited for about thirty minutes and grunted again. Lynde was sitting on
the ground and spotted the buck at just fifteen yards coming in at a fast walk. At
eight yards, Lynde hoped that his face mask and camo were good enough. The
buck looked around a while, then started walking away. At thirteen yards the
buck`s head was behind a tree. As he drew his bow, the buck stopped and turned
to look. Lynde released his arrow and took a super trophy.


Rattling, calling, hunting from tree stands and hunting near old-growth timber
increases the chances of taking a trophy blacktail. After the National
Blacktail Hunt was over, there were still two weeks of season for me to test
successful techniques.


I rattled, called and tried a variety of their hunting strategies without major
success. The “good” weather and nighttime feeding was still a problem.
Then I located an area where there were lots of rubs. I had been told by local
blacktail expert Boyd Iverson, three-time seminar speaker at Oregon’s
National Blacktail Hunt and one who’s taken many Boone and Crockett Club
blacktails, that you should look for rubs where the tree is about three to six
inches wide. You can tell if it is a big buck doing the rubbing if you can see
the brow tine marks on the tree.


Generally, smaller bucks rub smaller trees. I checked the rubs and found there
were several big ones that had been rubbed in this manner as well as lots of
smaller ones. There was also one set of huge blacktail tracks in the old mud skid
roads that surrounded the area. Iverson also looks for areas similar to
what Chuck Lynde had described near where he took his buck; places at least
one-half mile from a road with a bench below a steep slope on which the black-
tail bed after feeding. Iverson looks for trails to ambush bucks while they are
heading to or from their bedding or feeding areas.

Iverson has found that blacktails usually use one trail to the feeding
or bedding area and a different trail on the return trip. Iverson is one of the few
hunters I have heard of who consistently uses a tree stand and he hunts during the
rifle season. Iverson’s reputation for locating big buck areas left me no doubt
that the area I had found would meet his requirements.


I set up overlooking a small meadow and rattled, but I had no luck, so I
decided to still-hunt and learn the area. After rattling and looking for several
hours, a white patch showing through the timber at sixty yards low to the
ground caught my eye. I look out my 9×20 pocket binoculars and was astonished
when I saw it was the muzzle of a huge buck bedded down in fern and
small fir. I had a chance to watch this buck for more than three minutes, with
his eyes on me the whole time. I am certain that it would have scored near the
top of the record book. It was a four-by-four with long brow tines, good width
and mass and much larger than the 140-point mule deer I had taken previously.


The buck got up and stretched one leg, then the other and walked off
toward a steep ridge covered by big Douglas fir. I tried to circle and ambush
him, but he pushed a huge three-point and a doe off in front of him and I never
saw him again.


The last day found me watching the rubs in a small meadow. After about an
hour, movement caught my eye. A large four-by-four was working my way, rubbing
the smaller trees and checking for scent. It was fascinating to watch him
stand on hind legs and rub his face on the branches. I have read that whitetail
bucks have a scent gland near their eyes and I believe this buck was rubbing his
scent gland in the same manner.


At about forty yards, he turned to go up the hill where he would quickly be in the
brush. I came to full draw and as he looked the other way I sent an arrow
just over his broadside back. I had pulled a novice trick by neglecting to
pick a spot. I found a high bank with several deer trails crossing below it The trails
were coming from one area of small timber, crossing a skid road. then moving up into
some old growth timber. I could see for twenty-five yards one way and thirty in


I took an old sock and tied it to my leg with heavy twine, doused it
liberally with estrous doe scent then walked up the packed mud road dragging
my scent sock behind. I walked up and back down this old road, hoping
that a buck crossing would hit the scent trail and follow it past me looking for a


I set up a small folding stool snuggling into the branches of a small fir for extra
camo cover and waited for some action. It came quickly in the form of a rain
shower. I was glad that my wool clothes were keeping me fairly dry as well as
warm. After two hours or so I heard a slight noise and there, following my
scent trail was a nice three-by-three with its head down. I figured it would
make the minimum ninety P&Y Club points and it was the last day. I came to
full draw and at twenty yards he slowed, offering me a quartering away shot.

As I released the arrow the buck turned away, but the shot looked good.
I waited twenty minutes, then went forward to check for blood. There
wasn`t any to be found. I was able to trail the deer for about 200 yards due to
the recent rain and soft soil, but I never did find any sign that I had hit the buck.
When I went back to where I had released, I noticed about a cup of hair
scattered along the ground and leaves.



I had looked past this spot going to where I had seen the deer, then backed up to
check where he was standing when I had shot. I fuzzily remembered the sound of
the arrow rattling off through the brush, which I had assumed had happened
after going through the deer. The arrow had obviously traveled along his side,
shaving off great quantities of hair, never penetrating the skin. I was
disappointed, but certainly glad that it was a clean shave!


As I went back to my folding stool, I looked down in the road and there for all
the world to see were the prints of a huge buck. He had come by during my
brief absence trailing the three-point. It had passed within fifteen yards and
broadside of my stand in the firs. A little more patience on my part and I would
have had an opportunity for a huge record book trophy blacktail. I went home sorry
that I had not connected, but was already looking forward to the next blacktail hunt.

January and February are good months to scout as the light colored rubs
stand out against darker backgrounds and the rains have turned many trails
muddy making tracks more visible. In my newly located trophy area I have
located several good places for tree stands, places to rattle and have found
plenty of tracks, trails and rubs which indicate a good population of bucks.

There are thousands of areas just like this on public land in Oregon. Thousands
of square miles of BLM and National Forest land are accessibile to hunt, as
well as hundreds of square miles of private timber company land, which is
generally open to hunting. Many farms and ranches also allow archers to hunt.
at no charge, if the hunter only asks.

Archived By
All Rights Reserved

0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

How To Fool A Buck’s Sense Of Smell ~ By Bob Grewell

Bow And Arrow
August 1981

How To Fool A Buck’s Sense Of Smell ~ By Bob Grewell
Here Is A Simple, Inexpensive Secret To Mask Human Odor On Your Way To Your Stand

I was tree standing downwind of a well used deer trail,
completely camouflaged. I had doused the dormant brush
at the base of the large oak tree with a liberal amount of
“essence-of-skunk.” It was late November, cold, with a
light breeze.

I’d spent the better part of four weeks determining one
particular buck’s habits and patterns. I’d finalized his
movements and was positive I had his activities nearly down
pat. Now all I had to do was nurse my patience while I sat
motionless within the oak’s array of limbs.

I rolled back the top portion of the off-brown colored glove
on my right hand, to glance at my watch; seven thirty-eight.
When I sluggishly raised my head to scan the brushy terrain in front
of me, I spotted him! A fair-sized eight-point buck, deliberately
moving toward my stand, coming in-crosswind, about eighty yards out.

He moved along at a somewhat cautious pace, with his now probing the ground.
At first I thought he was searching for a doe.
But after close observation, it was apparent he was
following the same path I’d used to approach my stand. He didn’t seem to
approve of the latent human scent I’d left on the ground.

He was trailing my course through the ankle-high dead grass, snorting
occasionally as if in defiance. When he was within forty yards of my stand, he
stopped, threw his head up and down, snort/whistled again, and stamped the
earth, trying to intimidate me into revealing myself. Then, he veered off to
my right and made a wide berth of the oak, stopping twice and glancing back
over his shoulder in my direction, before disappearing.

In all my preparations, I had omitted using the skunk scent on my
boots on the way to my stand, mainly because the foul odor would have been
absorbed by the leather. But if I had sprinkled the cover scent on my boots
or the lower legs of my coveralls, there was a ninety-percent chance he
wouldn’t have detected my human scent trail.

This has happened to nearly every bowhunter at least one time or another,
you can be sure, whether you were aware of it or not. We are so meticulous
in preparing ourselves, our equipment and our stand area that we too often
overlook one thing; the foreign, human odor we leave on the ground, grass and
brush as we make our way to our stand. What can you do to cover your
human scent trail, yet keep the masking scent from fouling your boots and
clothes? You can use ankle scent drags, two lengths of dark colored wire and a
dull-colored piece of ordinary cloth. So simple and inexpensive to make that I
sometimes think it’s cheating by solving such a common hurdle so easily.

The ankle drags are slipped over your feet and drawn around the ankles
with the piece of scent—absorbing cloth hooked on the trailing end of the wire.
The scent — skunk scent for instance —is applied to the cloth, and as you walk
through the weeds and brush it completely wipes out your scent behind
you. It adds no additional weight to contend with, it’s inexpensive to
prepare and once you make your drags, they’ll last indefinitely.
To make the ankle scent drags, one for each ankle, use a thirty-inch—long
piece of 22—gauge black annealed wire, which may be purchased at any
hardware store. If you can’t find the 22-gauge specifically, you’ll be safe
with any wire diameter from 18 to 22-gauge. Black annealed wire is used
because it won’t reflect available light with its dull finish and won’t rust as
easily as common steel or galvanized wire. The thin diameter is used because
it’s more flexible and isn’t visible to your intended game.

Using a four-penny nail, twist one end of the wire around the body of the
nail so you’ll be able to make a slipknot, or noose. Use a pair of pliers and twist
the excess tip of the wire so that it wraps tightly, leaving no protruding end
to snag on your clothes or brush. Then, remove the nail and slide the opposite
end of the wire through this one-eighth·inch diameter hole, making
somewhat of a snare or hangman’s noose.

Next, fold up a three-inch square piece of drab colored cloth, which will
be used as the scent pad on the dragging end of the wire. Punch the straight end
of the wire through the center of the folded cloth pad, pulling it completely
through the cloth. Bend the end of the wire back and wrap it tightly around the
main length of the wire, being sure to also twist the protruding end. The scent
pad will be secured and won’t be pulled off while walking.

Now, using a three-sixteenths—ounce crimp-style lead fishing sinker, move up
two inches on the main portion of the wire, away from the scent pad, and
attach this lead weight, crimping it tightly with a pair of pliers. This small
weight will not interfere with the drag’s main function and will aid in keeping
the scent pad closer to the ground when you’re raising your foot to take a step.
The scent pad needs to stay close to the ground because the scent on the pad
will rub off on the grass and brush, to invisibly dissipate upward.

These ankle drags serve another function. Upon reaching your stand,
loosen the wire noose, remove both drags and hang them in the brush at the
base of your tree stand. The wire is of fine diameter, the cloth scent pad is of
drab color, and the scent on the cloth will disguise your human odor at
ground level, when you’re in your stand. This way the pungent skunk
scent, or whatever type of scent you choose to use, never touches your

The actual cost of making your ankle scent drags is fifteen cents each,
or a total of thirty cents, plus a minimal amount of time. With these ankle scent
drags in your possession, you successfully mask your human scent
trail when moving to your stand site and obliterate your foreign odor at the tree
stand. <—<<

Archived By
All Rights Reserved

0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

The Buck And The 120-Pound Longbow~ By Richard Palmer

August 1981

The Buck And The 120 Pound Longbow ~ By Richard Palmer

DUSK WAS fast settling in, as I stood perched on a limb, fifteen
feet off the ground. My eyes strained the dim light looking for the movement
of big game. Suddenly, like a wrath from the mist, an approaching deer.

Moving farther out on the limb, I got in position to shoot. I could barely
see the spikes the deer carried. The buck drew closer and stopped broadside
about fifteen yards away. With a mighty surge of muscle, my shoulder
pulled back the 120-pound longbow. My string fingers touched the corner
of my mouth, releasing death and destruction, as the mighty longbow lunged forward.

I have been involved in archery since the age of 4, and have been an
avid bowhunter since the inception of legalized bowhunting in my home
state of New York and neighboring Pennsylvania. For fifteen years I competed
in archery tournaments, retiring when the era of gadgetry came into
being. I shoot a 120-pound longbow of my own design and manufacture. I
use this heavy bow for hunting, as well as in my practice sessions. I use heavy
three-eighths-inch shafts tipped with 160-grain two-blade broadheads when
hunting. This combination will penetrate even the heavy bones of a whitetail deer.

To date, close to thirty deer have bitten the dust.
Halloween dawned bright and sunny, the traditional day when witches and
goblins and wily critters roam. I’d been bowhunting steady for two weeks,
and hadn’t seen hide nor hair of a buck. There were plenty of does around, but
I was holding out for one of those horned critters.
My hunting territory for deer is located about fifteen minutes drive from
where I live in Elmira, New York. The land belongs to Mount Saviour Monastery, where live
a small group of brothers dedicated to a religious life of self-sufficiency. They allow public hunting
by permit only and charge a small nominal fee. Of the many areas in New
York state I’ve hunted, this has to be the most productive for deer. Over the
years I’ve bowhunted there, I’ve managed to garner eleven of the wily creatures.

The monastery property comprises over a thousand
acres of rolling cultivated fields and timbered off woods;
just the type of terrain in which the elusive whitetail flourish.
The deer sometimes are so thick that the monastery
will return part of the permit fee if a bowhunter takes a deer.
The reason is that the deer get into the cornfields,
reducing the corn production considerably. The brothers use
the field crop to make silage to feed their milk cows.
one of their few sources of income. So you can understand
their anguish, when they find thirty or forty deer in their
cornfields every evening. From talking to Brother Bruno,
who issues the permits, I understand that they sometimes
help in doing the driving for the gun hunters who come up later in the season.

When purchasing a permit to hunt on their property, a map
and instructions are issued. The detailed map shows
property boundaries and terrain features. Areas of no
hunting are written in, so there can be no error on the part of
the hunter, as to where he can and cannot hunt. Portable
tree stands are preferred, as they cultivate their woods for timber.

I managed to leave work early and get over to my brother, Ken’s, house, a
few minutes past four in the afternoon. He was there already, having just arrived
home from work himself. We left for the monastery a few minutes later,
full of expectation. It was a beautiful fall day, with the sun shining and the leaves in all their
varied colors; the kind of day that makes you want to be in the woods.
While enroute, we discussed what area we would be hunting that afternoon.

Upon arrival, we each headed for our own preselected spot. Ken headed for
an old logging road in an area the deer cross frequently, on their way to a
large lush green field. I headed for a large shaggy bark tree, located in a
small clearing. This tree has a deer run on each side and is used primarily late
in the afternoon. During the day, the deer bed down in a deep gorge nearby.
Toward evening, they head uphill using the runs in the area of my tree,
as they head toward their various feeding areas.

I already had seen does come by on the different afternoons I had sat in
this tree, but I had resisted the temptation to shoot one, waiting instead for
a buck. Over two weeks had gone by and I decided that this afternoon I
would take what came: buck or doe. It was peaceful sitting in this big
old tree, contemplating thoughts serene. Occasionally looking up at the
sky, I’d count the numerous vapor trails left by the big jets on their way
to strange places. I thought to myself, what a life this is, to be able to go out
on a fabulous day like this and commune with nature.

During my reverie, I would look around occasionally. Sometimes I
found even this too much effort, as the sun and warm day tended to make me
feel lazy. A day like this should be enjoyed to its fullest. Looking to my left,
I suddenly was awakened from my lethargy. Standing broadside about
fifteen yards away, was a large doe. Slowly I got up from my comfortable
resting position and carefully inched out on to a large limb. I had my bow
in hand, nocked with a 700-grain wooden arrow, tipped with a Hill broadhead.

Moving carefully into shooting position, I started my draw. The upper
limb of my longbow hit a branch that I hadn’t noticed, so I moved farther
out on the precarious limb. I looked down and noticed I was quite a way off
the ground. I really wasn’t aware of the height, though, concentrating only on
the deer. Starting my draw again, I caught something on the bottom limb this
time and, in trying to carefully extricate the situation, I made some noise
that caught the standing doe’s attention. She looked up casually at first
and as I got the lower limb free, I caught the upper limb on the loose dry
bark of the tree. Exasperated, I tore the upper limb free; anything to get
the shot, but this was too much for the doe. and with a bound, she was into
the safety of the pines.

I couldn’t believe it. After two weeks of continuous
hunting, a perfect opportunity presents itself and I
blow it. I was standing there on the tree stand, mumbling
to myself, when I noticed brown movement coming
down the same trail the doe had used. As the deer
drew closer, I could see horns.
Moving farther out on the limb, I knew what it’s like
to be a tightrope walker. The limb I stood on was only
about six inches in diameter and here I was shooting
a 120-pound longbow that’s heavy enough to down an
elephant and takes two average men and a boy to pull.
What if in pulling the heavy bow I lost my balance and fell?

These thoughts were running through my mind. as the deer approached.
The buck drew broadside to me and stopped only fifteen yards away, about
where the doe had stood. All thoughts of falling from the tree vanished from
my mind. replaced by a dream state, as I saw the buck standing there. Perched
on that limb high off the ground, suddenly cool and methodical, my only
feeling was one of intense concentration as I prepared to make my shot.
With a smooth yet powerful pull the heavy longbow came back and my
fingers released the shaft. The heavy three-eighths-inch arrow hit the buck
in back of the left shoulder just below the center line, completely penetrating
the deer. The buck bounded away into the safety of the pines, only about fifty
feet away.

I gathered my gear from the tree and climbed down. Walking over to where I
had hit the buck, I found my arrow lying on the ground. It was saturated
from end to end with blood. I knew I had made a liver hit, which is always
fatal. Having shot close to thirty deer over the years, many of them with this same
identical hit, I knew my deer would be only a short distance away. Here’s
where experience comes into the picture. Hitting the deer is the easy part; finding
them is another story. I learned long ago that if the shot is good, the
search should be short and easy. Score a poor hit and you’ll be on your hands
and knees all night long looking for blood.

In addition to big game hunting, I enjoy hunting squirrel and pheasant with
the longbow. I have managed to shoot these difficult game species using only
the bow and arrow. Using heavy blunts, I am able to knock pheasants out of
the air. In 1978 I competed in the World’s Flight Championships held at the salt
flats in Wendover, Utah. Shooting a 133- pound flight bow, I came in second in
the professional class with a shot of 890 yards, one foot, one inch. Again in
1979, using a heavier flight bow of 145 pounds, I managed to garner a second

I have been training to break the bow pull record and hope to make an attempt
sometime in 1981. My training includes pulling on heavy bows up to 220 pounds
in weight. This tied in with weight training, has made me, I believe, one of the
strongest archers in the world. I met my brother at the car, and told
him I had made a good hit on a buck, showing him the bloody arrow.
“I figure the buck will be lying some-where in the pines, not far from where
I hit him,” I said.

We stowed our hunting gear and got out the searching and deer cleaning
equipment. We usually take everything so we don’t have to bother coming
back for something we might need. This usually consists of lights, toilet
paper, a sharp knife, small saw, drag rope, a plastic bag (for heart and liver),
and a pencil and string for filling out and attaching the deer tag to the carcass.
By this time, dusk was well on its way, so we turned our lights on and returned
to my tree. I had marked the spot where I had found the arrow, with a piece of
toilet paper. So it was only a matter of minutes to line out the direction the deer
had headed. We then walked into the pines and started looking for
blood. Side by side, we moved forward slowly, scanning to the front and both
sides. I had just moved to my left, when my brother yelled out, “There he is up
ahead. Moving to where I could see, the spike buck was lying on the pine needles.
He appeared to be peacefully asleep, but I knew it was forever. He had traveled
only about a hundred feet before expiring.

I gutted out the deer, placing the heart and liver in the plastic bag I had brought.
With the small saw, I cut through the pelvic bone to better open up the lower
cavity and allow it to air out. After we had drained the carcass and I had cleaned
my hands and cutting equipment, we started dragging deer back into the car.

Driving home with a deer always gives me a certain feeling of elation
that only a successful hunt can <—<<<

Archived By
All Rights Reserved

1 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 5 (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

Published by travissalinas on 09 Feb 2011

big tri colored hog with a SABO Sight

big tricolored sow came out early, shot her 31 minutes before official sunrise

it has always seemed to me that the hog activity is greatest in the evenings, yet for some reason, i continue to rack up my bow kills on hogs in morning hunts. such was the case here. had about 10 does/yearlings around my setup eating hand corn when the feeder went off at exactly 7am. 30 seconds later here comes the pork brigade and away go the deer. i had originally drawn back on a smaller hog, but after 45 seconds of being at full draw and not being offered a shot, when the big tri colored mama gave me a glimpse of the goods, i couldn’t pass her up. 2 blade rage, hit a bit high as it was still pretty low light. but that SABO sight has worked wonders for me over the last 2 seasons, especially at low light. the pig was at 24 yards when i released. pig ran about 60 yards. Another good trail for Slice, as this one did not have much blood to follow. the 2 blade rage was brand new, and had both blades broken up, in addition to my arrow getting snapped in two. definately well worth it.

got back early enough to help with Quay, he got a kick out of the hog, but i tried to keep him well clear to avoid fleas and him smelling like a pig all day too.

0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

The Magic Bowhunt ~ By Jim Dougherty

Bow And Arrow
April 1974

The Magic bowhunt ~ By Jim Dougherty
The Shooting Of An Unidentified Record Trophy And The Making Of A Man

IT TAKES, I guess, a longish
time for the process of completely
growing up to run its course. One way
or another you’re at it for a long time.
With kids it seems a phenomenon that
takes an uncommon amount of years.
There’s always something you can’t do,
’cause you’re not old enough yet.
I imagine Kelly has felt this way for
quite a few years, but he seemed to
accept it with grace and went about
doing the things he was old enough to
do, biding his time. Not that he hasn’t
done a fair amount for a lad who, just
as bird and deer season came in this
Fall, wrapped himself around year
number 14. Anyhow, it was exactly
then that Kelly reached a growing-up
stage and got himself trundled out of
school, onto an airplane and off to
Texas for his first real big game hunt.
Looking at it from a parent’s point of
view, it was just as much a growing-up
situation as a matter of turns based on

As camps go it was my favorite
kind, set tight in a clump of sprawling
oaks that offered both shade and wind
protection, built neatly around a giant
center fireplace kept company by a
week’s supply of aged, fragrant wood,
tended constantly by a fine Mexican
lad named Chano. It bordered a deep
creek bed, gouged deeper by late summer
flood-stage rains, and at night
around the centerfire you could see
green eyes flicker and hear the clickty- clack o
f whitetail hooves on the rocks
as they slipped up the draw.

It was nice to be there, balanced on
your heels around the fire with a plate
of pepper—spiced pinto beans on your
knee, in the company of men who
would let a boy join right in. We were
all tuckered from the day’s activities.
Kelly and I had made a double connecting
flight that coordinated perfectly
in that all airlines were operating an
even hour-and-a-half late. The others
had spent the day attempting to waylay
the wily buck who, in spite of
impending rut, seemed to be pretty
much up to par in the mental
mechanics department — save one who
chose the wrong time and place to
run afoul of Brad Locker.

Locker’s encounter with the buck
was tonic for enthusiasm. Prior to the
sashay, Locker had never loosed an
arrow at a whitetail buck or any other
four-footed beast. He was acting as a
guide-transportation service, an
apprentice for a forthcoming stint as a 4
full-fledged leader of hunting clientele
on the Y.O. Ranch during the gun sea-
son. Locker was promptly and reasonably tagged “Rookie.”

The rookie had deposited others of
the band at spots they felt held the
key to personal success, and in the
pink turquoise, late Texas afternoon, .
he took a reconnaissance bump around
the landscape, checking out. gamey
little pockets for- present and future
operations. He was filling his memory
bank with the information that guides
need when he ran into the buck.

Locker’s first arrow caught the
buck cleanly, depositing him neatly on
the grass within a double handful of
paces y— a tidy piece of work for which
he was toasted soundly around the
snapping fire.
In the waning light, as Locker was
solidifying his step into the world of
bowhunting, Kelly and I were bouncing
furiously across the landscape with
Wally Chamness, seeking an appropriate
location to hunt at dawn.
lt was dark when we finished putting up stands.
I feared we were too
hasty in selecting a location, though
there was sufficient sign to indicate
good possibilities and enough visibility
to read the situation better at dawn,
when movement should be at its peak.

Texas has an uncommon amount of
deer. The Y.O. Ranch, which lays but
a short ride out of Mountain Home in
the Texas hill country, is stacked with
them. There’s a respectable smattering
of black buck, axis and fallow deer, a
goodly number of sikas, several types
of sheep, the biggest Spanish goats I
believe I’ve seen, and more turkeys
than the state of Texas probably consumes
on Thanksgiving. And that’s
only a partial list of the exotic game

It’s difficult to remember where
you are when a pass through a draw
kicks up a band of aristocratic gentle-
men turkeys or an onyx, and not even
in Africa did l get chased by a belligerent
ostrich. Looking up into mean,
steely eyes bracketing an armor piercing
beak has a tendency to put
things into new perspective, like the
worm’s point of view in the robin

The business at hand, though, was
hunting. The overcast morning had
brought a chill. The swirling clouds
held a hint of rain that passed as the
morning grew into day. The blinds
were not much better than such hasty
organization could provide, but the
morning’s observation gave hints to
patterns that could be exploited, and
by mid-day we set about the job of
turning this information into an action

Our concern was Kelly, and we
selected a spot at the center of a
wagon wheel pattern of deer activity,
placing his blind at the hub in a moss
and lichen-covered oak that provided
as comfortable a position as any tree is
likely to produce.

Youth most often is marked by
impatience. Time never passes quickly
enough when one is encumbered with
classes and books, minding younger
brothers or taking care of the yard.
Concentration and total attention are
traits that oftentimes, if not always,
you are convinced are not possessed
by any junior member of your house-
hold. Yet, give a kid a rod, reel and a
place to use it; put him in a blind over-
looking a carefully laid set of bobbing
decoys he helped get in shape, accompanied
by his own shotgun and dog,
and y0u get the total attention and
patience of a Cheyenne buffalo scout.
Kelly is the calmest of the brood
that Sue and I attempt to ride herd on.
Few things get him excited or uptight.
In reflection, l can only recall two
times when he appeared nervous.

Twice in 14 years ain’t too bad, but
maybe he’ll get human as he grows

There were five hours ’til dark
when we finished the blind, and the
calm one announced he would just as
soon stay there as do anything else.
Optimism once beat as strongly in my
breast, but that was so long ago it’s
hard to remember. Chamness and I decided
to bounce to the far end of the
Y.O., shortening our spines in order to
look over a new piece of land that
might contain a lonesome exotic.
That the vehicle made it to that
distant pasture is worthy of note,
testimony to the sturdiness of modern
machine, since neither of us could
stand full upright for days to come.

Somewhere in that desolate stretch of
ground, that the Schriener forebears
would have been well advised to leave
to the Comanches, we ran afoul of a
strange critter that observation convinced
us was a one-of-a-kind specimen
and therefore a world record, providing
it was real and didn’t eat us.

After a stalk of infinite skill, aided
by a substantial wind and enough
cover to hide the entire Rose Parade, I
knocked the beast colder than a peeled
egg, after placing a forty-five yarder
six inches over his back. However, one
is entitled to be nervous when collecting
an unidentified world record. In
case you are curious, it was later established
to be a cross between a Spanish
goat – notorious lovers — and a
Corsican ram.

In the pure black of an October
Texas night, we beat our way back to
camp with the feeble help of one head-
light. Ah camp, with its generous, life-
giving warmth snapping crisply from
the social fire. I announced that I had
destroyed an Unidentified Walking
Object, modestly tossing in that it was
also a world record since there was
only one. Then I noticed that the
sprawling oaks were festooned with

four antlered whitetail bucks, cooling
nicely in the gentle breeze. –
I uttered something truly keen,
“Did someone get a deer’?” Those who
had pointed out their possession with
pride, recounting bits of the drama as
they did. Simple arithmetic, the most I
could ever handle, proved that one
more buck than was being vigorously
claimed hung in the shadowed oaks.
Then Wally and I noted that everyone
was looking our way with varying degrees
of cat-that-ate-the-canary expressions
and that he who batted .500 and
learned to net his own bass had a large
smear of blood, presumably not his
own and therefore ceremonious, neatly
centered on his forehead and running
down the center of his nose. Of
my number two son I inquired, “Did
you get a buck“?” Always articulate, he
replied, “Sure.”

It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment,
properly done up to jazz the old man.
The show was put on by a bunch of
folks who were every bit as pleased as
the boy, who was enjoying one of his
finest and forever most-treasured
moments. The celebration was worthy
of the occasion, not only for him but
for the others who had taken their
first deer with a bow.

In the friendly light of the great
fire, while steaks sizzled merrily in
their seasoned juices, Kelly recounted
how the buck was the third that came
by his stand in what seemed a mass
migration of does and fawns. The first
he “just blew up on.” The second,
which came some time later, was
missed because he missed. The third, a
sleek four-point, came close after the
second and he “really concentrated?
The result was a stone—dead deer at his
feet and he, not sure in a positive way
what to do next, sat in his tree, the
deer there before him, until his ride
arrived in the purple shadows some
time later. He seemed surprised when I
told him my knees shook, too, and
that when they no longer shook, I
would give it up to those whose knees
properly did.

We left the Y.O. a couple of days
later, Kelly with his buck, I with mine.
It was a wonderful place and special
people. In the company of men, in
that friendly oak—covered camp, a boy
learned some and grew up some. It was
a magic time for a boy, the kind that
makes growing up worthwhile. <—<<<

0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

Published by archerchick on 09 Feb 2011

Capricious Caribou ~ By Jay Massey

Bow And Arrow
April 1974

Capricious Caribou ~By Jay Massey
An Alaskan Education On Stalking Whimsical Beasts

single animal, the small band of caribou bulls bolted for-
ward and sprinted across the rolling tundra for a quarter-
mile, only to pivot abruptly and trot back from whence
they came. leading this sea of antlers was an old, white-
necked fellow with a rack four feet high.
Watching their curious antics, Dick Hamilton and I
agreed they were displaying all the fickleness one comes to
associate with these magnificent, but seemingly stupid creatures.

That’s where we made our first mistake. The caribou
may be many things, but he isn’t stupid. After numerous
long and exhausting stalks, we were beginning to get the
picture; What appears to be the caribou’s weakness is
actually his greatest strength.

That strength is his utter and total unpredictability. One
moment a band of caribou will move along at a fast walk,
grazing on reindeer lichens. Then, suddenly spooked by a
raven flying overhead or even by their own movements,
they suddenly will bolt forward and run for half a mile.
Just when you’re about to predict where they’re headed,
they inexplicably veer off and trot away in the opposite

The caribou is moving constantly. The trouble is, he
seldom moves in any direction you want.
Hamilton, my frequent hunting partner, and I were beginning
to get an insight into the ways of the barren ground
caribou on this week-long hunting trip in the high, rolling
Mulchatna River country of Alaska. For several days we’d
been trying to get within good bow range, but the caribou
were refusing to cooperate.

There was nothing wrong with the country we were
hunting. The mountainous country between Stony River
and Lake Clark is a caribou hunter?s dream during late
August and September. Flying over the area by float plane
several days ago, we’d seen scattered bands of caribou on
nearly every range of hills.

This country lay to the west of the Alaska Range, 175
miles from Anchorage. It is typical summer caribou habitat
— open, sweeping ridges and rolling hills, thinly clad in
black spruce and carpeted with a lush growth of caribou
lichens and blueberries. There are also good numbers of
black and brown bear and occasional concentrations of
moose along the river bottoms and in the willow draws of
the higher country.

This was the summer home of the Mulchatna caribou
herd which, during the recent years, has produced some of
the finest trophy caribou in the north country.
To reach the area, Hamilton and I flew out of Anchorage
with Charlie Allen, an Alaskan air charter operator, bush
pilot, trapper and guide for over twenty years. Our plans
were to land on Turquoise Lake, float down the Mulchatna
River in a twelve-foot Avon raft, and have Allen pick us up
a week later downstream.

However, after flying a stretch of the Mulchatna which
flows through a treacherous gorge on its way through the
Bonanza Hills and seeing what looked to be one helluva
ride, we decided on an alternate plan.
Therefore, we had Allen drop us off on Whitefish Lake,
a body of` water five miles long by two miles wide. Circling
the lake going in, we saw numerous cow moose in the low,
swampy hills two miles from the lake. Swooping low over a
ridge northeast of the lake, we spotted several black bear
and a large, lone brown bear not far away.

As the drone of Allen’s float plane faded in the distance,
we set up camp and spent the next hour picking blueberries
on the knolls nearby. Then, armed with our fishing tackle,
we walked several hundred yards to the mouth of the
Hoholitna River, which flows out of the lake. The
Hoholitna upheld its reputation as a prime grayling stream,
giving up several eighteen-inch fish.

The menu that night called for grayling sauteed and fried
to a golden brown in blackberry brandy, topped off with a
big bowl of blueberries and cream. Relaxed and contented,
we finally snuffed out the campfire and turned in.
We were up early the next morning, splitting up to
quickly scout as much country on the south side of the lake
as possible. This four-hour scouting expedition revealed
only one bull caribou and several cow moose in the vicinity
of the lake.

However, setting up a spotting scope to focus on some
low hills three miles from the lake, I immediately located
several caribou silhouetted on the skyline. In late August,
the flies, mosquitos and no—see-ums are almost unbearable
in the lower, swampy country. We were correct in guessing
that most game would be at the higher elevations where
wind helped keep the insects away.

Our course was obvious. If we were to hunt caribou,
we’d have to pack up and go where the caribou were,
We dismantled our comfortable lakeside camp and
motored the raft to the far end of the lake. Loading our
packs with enough gear and food to last four days, we
began a painful overland trek across swampy spruce logs
amidst hordes of flies and mosquitos. lt was easy to see
why all the caribou were on the higher, wind-swept

We arrived at a bench approximately five hundred feet
above the lake in the early afternoon. About the same time,
a rainstorm blew in from the northwest, and we hurriedly
established a spike camp. By the time we finished, the
clouds broke. the sun came shining through, and on a hill
half a mile from camp stood a lone bull caribou. It was a
beautiful sight and held great promise for the next day.
We were up early the next morning, heading out to the
south across the open, rolling hills. This was typical caribou
country, which means there is little cover for good stalking.
The Mulchatna caribou herd normally doesn’t begin grouping
for the annual autumn migration until September, and
we were confident we would find small bands of caribou
scattered throughout this range of hills. Our plans were to
range far and wide over this country, not concentrating on
any one area.

After traversing a mile and a halfof this high tundra, we
spotted two nice bull caribou bedded down about a thou-
sand yards distant.
“l’ve seen easier stalking conditions,” moaned Hamliton.
There appeared to be no vegetation within several hundred
yards of the bulls, except for the knee-high willow which
grew along a shallow watercourse two hundred yards west
of where the caribou were bedded.

For lack of a better alternative, we split up. Hamilton
crawled along the watercourse, while I circled wide, hoping
to find an approach from the east.
Circling to the east, l spotted a shallow gully which
appeared to run within about eighty yards of the bulls,
which were now facing in my direction. Caribou are near-
sighted, however, and by moving slowly, I was able to crawl
unnoticed across one hundred yards of tundra. Out of sight
in the gully, l quickly made up for lost time and soon was
poking my head cautiously out of the ravine to locate the

The larger bull was about severity five yards away, now
on his feet, feeding with his back to me. Easing up further,
I looked for the smaller one. but he was nowhere around. I
headed out of the gully. nocking a shaft to the string of the
homemade take-down bow. I had designed and built the
bow that Summer, and it was now about to be put to its
first and ultimate test.

It’s amazing how well camouflaged an animal can be
even when on the Hat Alaskan tundra! Suddenly, off to my
right, the smaller bull — which to now had been bedded
behind a small bush — jumped to his feet. Facing me, he
flicked his head forward several times. In caribou language,
this means, “Halt! Who goes there?”

Not knowing the secret password. I stood there like a
redhanded thief while the now-frightened sentinel wheeled
like an old cow pony and. taking the larger bull with him,
disappeared over the hill.
Feeling not too bright. I half-heartedly followed them,
thinking we might make another stalk. However, after going
about two hundred yards. [ arrived at the crest of a hill
overlooking the Mulchatna River. Down the hill looking up
directly at me was one of the largest Alaskan Yukon moose
I’d ever seen.

I quietly backpedaled out of sight, motioned to
Hamilton and advised him of the situation. The moose
wasn’t spooked and was in an ideal situation for stalking.
What worried us were the implications of shooting this
l200·pound critter six miles from the lake. Both Hamilton
and I hold the philosophy that if we can’t pack out an
animal, we don’t shoot it. Because of this, I’ve had to pass
up good bulls for two years standing. ~
“Oh, for the joy of having a pack horse!”
I cried, wringing my hands in despair.

It was an agonizing decision, but we decided to shoot
this moose with a camera. If we shot him with the bow, our
hunt would be over, as it would require several days to pack
out the meat. We’d then have no chance for one of those
magnificent bull caribou.

With Hamilton behind me with the camera, I carefully
sneaked up to where the bull moose was lying next to a
patch of alders. I closed to within thirty-five feet before the
bull heard me and stood up, staring for a moment in disbelief,
then wheeled and tore off down the ridge as if the
devil were after him. Hamilton and I were practically rolling
on the ground with laughter.

A month later, during the rut, we’d never risk a stunt
like that, for fear of being ground up into people-burger.
During the next two days, Hamilton and I pulled off
numerous stalks on caribou bulls, but each time something
went wrong. The caribou moved so much that, by the time
we got to where they’d been, they’d already departed for
places unknown. We agreed that getting a bull out in this
open, rolling terrain would probably involve more luck than
skill. When caribou feed, they move along at a pace faster a
man can walk, and a stalk has to be planned accordingly.

Another consideration we took into account was that
any shots we took were going to be long ones, perhaps up
to sixty·five or seventy yards. This is twice as far as I
normally like to shoot, but we’d have to take what came
along in this open country. Another problem is that caribou
tend to jump at the string, much like a whitetail deer. A
caribou can cover that first twenty or thirty feet about as
fast as any animal I’ve seen and to attempt a shot while a
caribou is looking at or quartering to you is senseless.
Three of our four days in the high country were gone,
and so was most of our food. If we failed to connect soon,
we’d have to head back to the lake three miles away to get
more food.

Rationing our food that night, we decided to hunt the
high country one more day.
The next morning we split up, each of us making a
couple of unsuccessful stalks on moving bands of caribou.
Hamilton was holding out for one of the big busters, but I
was beginning to lower my sights somewhat. Late in he
afternoon, I spotted three bulls high on the skyline. My
approach led me directly to a cow caribou which, after
winding me, took off up the mountain, alerting the bulls.

I continued up the ridge and on reaching the summit
looked down into the valley below. Two somewhat smaller
bulls were feeding away from me, so I worked along the
ridge, thinking there probably were more animals around.
My guess was correct. After going another three hundred
yards, I saw two young bulls top the ridge only sixty yards
in front. I crouched down, letting them pass unaware. I
looked down the ridge and saw another medium-size bull
coming up behind the two smaller ones.

I was crouched down in the open. and when the bull
topped the rise he immediately saw me. Instead of bolting
forward, he kept walking, but was looking directly at me.
This made a good, clean-killing shot almost impossible.
Satisfied that I was only a rock. he turned his head. At
that moment, I released.

The arrow sped out and through the caribou with the
sound of ripping canvas. I began counting…”one, two,
three, four …. ” The bull bolted forward. spun around twice,
and when I had reached twenty-three. he went down.
The four-blade Black Copperhead shot from the seventy-
three-pound bow had done a devastating job, entering
squarely in the lungs on the right side and exiting through
part of the shoulder on the opposite side.

He wasn’t a world record. Nevertheless. he was a respectable
bull, earned the hard way and put down quickly and
efficiently. I couldn’t have been happier.

That night, after packing the entire boned-out animal for
three miles, Hamilton and I eased our tired bodies into our
sleeping bags, after first dining on tender. succulent caribou
steaks. In Alaska, many cheechakos. newcomers, entertain
the notion that caribou meat has no food value.

Apparently these people have neither eaten caribou meat,
nor have heard of inland Eskimos who have subsisted
entirely on caribou for a thousand years. In my opinion, a
good caribou steak is hard to beat.

The bag limit on caribou in this part of Alaska is three
animals, but after hunting without success for one more day,
Hamilton and I decided to call it quits. We packed our gear
and the caribou meat down to the where the drone of
Allen’s Cessna 185 awakened us early the next morning.

Flying back to Anchorage. we realized we were leaving
one of the most beautiful parts of Alaska and some of the
most fantastic trophy caribou country either of us had ever
Seen. <—<<

Archived By
All Rights Reserved

Bad Behavior has blocked 472 access attempts in the last 7 days.