11 votes, average: 3.55 out of 511 votes, average: 3.55 out of 511 votes, average: 3.55 out of 511 votes, average: 3.55 out of 511 votes, average: 3.55 out of 5 (11 votes, average: 3.55 out of 5)
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Published by trumbow on 16 Sep 2008

General category, One in a Million!

One in a Million

Growing up in the flat lands of Northwest Ohio was not always the most eventful place to enjoy your childhood.  Everywhere you looked was cornfields and bean fields, woods and fencerows, and ponds scattered about.  One pond unparticular always holds a spot in my heart; it was just a mile down the road, perfectly in the middle of my best friend Brian’s house and our house.  This is where he, my brother, and I would make our summers life long memories while we were pre teens.  We still talk to this day about the time my younger brother, Dustin, went home early because we were not catching any fish.  So Dustin took off on his bike and peddled back home.  He didn’t realize what a big mistake he had made, leaving his tackle box there at the pond with two kids as warped as Brian and I.  So when Brian and I started getting into catching some fish, they didn’t go back into the pond, oh no, we just so happened to put about a bakers dozen into my little brothers tackle before we left for the day.  This wouldn’t have been so bad if only it wasn’t ninety degrees out for the next couple days and we were swimming at Brian’s pond at his house.  Brian and I had forgotten all about the tackle box, till that one trip we met in the middle to go fishing again about a week later.  I still do not think my brother has gotten over that, and it’s been every bit of twelve years ago.  
    Well these summer fishing experiences were only one of the many things we loved to do in the summers we had off of school.  Being from the country, baseball was a must.  As we got into high school, my brother was kind of lacking the talent in the baseball category and did not participate like Brian and I did.  Well I was a die-hard baseball fan/player, I was the kid that would show up thirty minutes early to, leaving an hour or so after practice because the coaches would kick me out and say, “you’ve worked hard enough, go home and work on it tomorrow.”  Now with me being a little bit older than Brian, by a little over a year, I had drove Brian to and from practices.  And my hard work at baseball had been putting him to work on his baseball skills too.  Us staying after and hitting balls, playing catch and what not ultimately made the two of us some of the best players on our team, and on top of that the county.  Both of us were named all-league and all county, because of hard work and dedication.
    Now life is going like a speeding bullet and it wont stop for either of us, with my brother living far away and Brian being basically my brother, we had gone our separate ways for a while.  I had moved about an hour away from home, where Brian lived at the time, had no friends and was pretty much wrapped up in work.  Somewhere along the line I met a girl and the situation occurred where I had became a man.  She had my beautiful little girl, Ryleigh.  In my year or two of living away from Brian, I had made some friends, but when it boiled down to the greatest day in my life, the only one that showed up, Brian.  When my girlfriend went into labor Brian pretty much met me at the hospital and was by my side for roughly 6 hours, almost as excited as I was. This was by far the greatest day in my life and I got to share it with a friend that is always there.
    With Brian getting into work with a good company, he was doing his apprentice program about half way between his house and mine.  We decided that it would be possible to finally get our own place together, that we have talked about since junior high. We always thought it would be a riot to live together and figured now was as good as time as any.  We got a place above a small town bar.  And both of us being in the early twenties, yes there were a few times we walked out of the bar and stumbled upstairs.  One of the first nights we had partook into some beverages and started the very short trip home I had said to Brian when we got upstairs, “feels good to be home,” both of us just laughing as it was only about 20 steps from the bar. We both share the same love for the outdoors; we love everything about it.  Our saying is a day wasted outside is a day not wasted in our book.  When we moved in together he brought along all of his bow hunting gear.  I had bow hunted maybe a hand full of times, pretty much to just get out and be in the woods.  But when Brian got to talking, he convinced me to get into it like he was, which didn’t take much twisting of the arm.  And after I made my bow purchase I was hooked, between Brian and his dad, helping me out, I had everything I needed to bring down a deer.  In fact last season I went down south with Brian, his father, and his older cousin on a hunting extravaganza.  With his dad going down a day early to set up camp, he calls and says he has a buck down while Brian, his cousin and I were on our way.  His dad had said,” it was a marginal hit, we will track it in the morning when you guys get here.”  So we unpack that night and wake up in the morning to do some tracking, one of my first might I add.  We get to the “spot” and there is just a mess of blood everywhere, I am pretty sure a blind man could follow this blood trail.  Long be hold, about forty yards from his stand there was the buck, with boot prints in the mud right beside it.  Yeah that’s right his dad had shot this buck and didn’t want to drag it out alone.  Smart man, but he was done hunting for the rest of the trip.  Me being the new guy they wanted to put me on some deer and I got the “spot.”  I was shooting everyday missing everything but I had a blast.  I learned so much from that trip alone.  The one night all three of us, Brian, his cousin, and I all got into this valley.  About fifty or so yards apart, and next thing you know I get a buck coming straight to me.  Ten yards away I let one fly, miss right under him, he jumps and runs about five yards and stops broad side, I am knocking another arrow and he spots me.  He made the most terrifying look I have ever seen a deer do, it was like he wanted to jump up in the tree and beat the snot out of me.  But the darn thing gave me the second shot; fling, right over his back.  By now this deer is headed right towards Brian’s cousin, the buck has a bald spot on his back that his cousin sees and he heard me shoot, so he can not make a shot after seeing this, he was dying from laughter.  We had some great memories that I will never forget on that trip.
    Two guys running around together with a little girl, you get asked some strange questions, one time without missing a beat Brian says to somebody saying how cute Ryleigh is, “thanks we are adopting her.”  I have never laughed so hard in my life, not that there is anything wrong with that, just that he didn’t miss a beat in saying it.  So with Brian starting his new career and me working in construction and having a beautiful little girl around the apartment, I thought life was great.  Well it was great, until winter came and my work started dying slowly, I had to think of my options.  I could just wait the winter out and get back at it in the spring, which I knew it was in my best interest not to do this.  So I started talking to Brian about his program he was in.  He encouraged me to go to an orientation and at least take a look into it.  I had not known much about his field being a high voltage lineman before the orientation besides the fact they climb wood poles and that’s about it.  After orientation I got invited to a climbing school and from there I was in love with it.  Brian had pushed me just like I had pushed him in high school baseball.  And now I am in my first year of the apprentice program trying to better my self and have a great future for my daughter Ryleigh.

    With Brian leading my way into the bow hunting world I am starting to pick up on things and trying to help out others.  My little cousin is a big fan of hunting, at twelve years old I am trying to get him into what I view the safest hunting we have around here, bow-hunting.  He has an old bow that shoots ok and some old sights, would love to see him with some new gear.  But all that is besides the fact that the kid is showing me some drive for something that I feel too.
     Now Brian has been there through everything, good or bad, got me into a lot of things, trouble being one of them every now and again.  But the thing about is, how many friends are out there like this?  He has showed me tons of things and I only hope I have shown him some things along the road.  And I am sure that he has been there through fifteen or so years of my life, he will be there until the end.  I view him as one in a million!

8 votes, average: 2.38 out of 58 votes, average: 2.38 out of 58 votes, average: 2.38 out of 58 votes, average: 2.38 out of 58 votes, average: 2.38 out of 5 (8 votes, average: 2.38 out of 5)
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Published by Scott M on 16 Sep 2008

The Final Countdown

Truth be told after the close of the 2007 PA firearms season I started counting down to the start of the 2008 season.  During the ’07 season I took a beautiful heavy 9 point, and that day I made up my mind it was time to take up archery hunting, up until then I’d been a gun only hunter.  Whether that was small game, turkey or whitetail deer.

From December until February I researched archery equipment.  Websites were a wonderful tool, but I found that there’s no substitute for personal experiences, so I talked to as many archery hunters as I could.  I eventually found my way to the local pro-shop, where I met with a knowledgable salesperson, and purchased a complete setup. 

After purchasing the setup I was immediately obsessed with target shooting.  Starting at 9 paces in my basement until the weather here in northwestern PA, broke and I could move the practice outside.  May and June found me honing my skills at 20 yards until my groups were tight enough to ruin 2 arrows.  That can get expensive really fast so after June I stopped shooting for groups and started practicing at 30 and 40 yards.  I aslo built a platform stand so that I could practice from an elevated position.

As the summer progressed family obligations caught up with me and my practice routine was limited to a dozen or so shots every other week.  I also found time for some stand maintenance, and early season scouting.

Now here we are 18 days and counting until Archery season opens in my part of Pennsylvania.  New scent control gear has been purchased and old favorites have been washed in baking soda, sprayed with scent control solution, and packed away until the morning of October 4th.  I’ve started to sort my gear and even pack some of it away in my day pack.  The new broadheads have been assembled and mounted on the arrows.  I’ve even taken a few shots to insure the broadhead didn’t change the flight of the arrow.

My nights are filled with dreams of my first archery harvest.  Whether that be a fat doe, or a legal buck, makes no difference to me.  I’ve invested countless hours and the thrill of that sunrise on October 4th, with all the promise it holds, will be the dividend I’ve waited to collect.

4 votes, average: 1.25 out of 54 votes, average: 1.25 out of 54 votes, average: 1.25 out of 54 votes, average: 1.25 out of 54 votes, average: 1.25 out of 5 (4 votes, average: 1.25 out of 5)
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Published by FISHERKING on 16 Sep 2008


I am a Grey/Bruce sportsman who last week, participated in the rifle hunt for white-tailed deer.  This has been an annual tradition for the small group with which I locally hunt.

I too have felt the general stigma associated with hunting on occasion and with more frequency leading up to and during ‘deer season’.  I believe the labelling and animosity shown towards hunters stems from two themes; first is the portrayal of both hunters and animal life in the media.  For many, their only examples of Sportsmen and wildlife are the visual images depicted by Disney and anti-hunting groups whose voices are often louder than that of the typical hunter who chooses anonymity over arguments justifying their activity.

I question the motives and hypocrisy of those who speak out against hunting and fishing groups from the comfort of their armchairs- the people who are content to do their ‘hunting’ from the convenience of their grocer’s freezer.  An environment where everything comes pre-packed in aesthetically pleasing cellophane packages.  I urge those who feel strongly for the environment and it’s creatures to get involved in a conservation group.  Take part in tree planting, stream rehabilitation or winter feeding programs and you will find that most sportsmen are as passionate about preserving our natural resources as they are about harvesting them. 

Secondly, there are a few hunters who choose not to follow the rules and regulations of the sport and show a lack of respect for both their quarry and the environment in which they live.  As housing and commercial development continues to creep into rural settings, there is less property that is open to hunt freely.  Common courtesy requires hunters to ask permission to hunt on others land and to treat it as if it was their own.  Over this past week I was surprised by the postings of ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘No Hunting’ in areas that had always been open in the past.  I can only speculate that a few ‘bad apples’ or new ownership had ruined it for the majority.  Whether the cause was littering, hunting too close to livestock and habitations or in general disrespecting landowners that caused this occurrence, it is certainly disturbing.  As hunters, we must act like ambassadors to the sport – both educating and respecting those who do not understand our pursuits, and sharing our harvest with others.

Although I occasionally feel the pressure placed on hunters by those who do not understand the sport, instead of sinking into the shadows I choose to educate.  To tell anyone who will listen why I hunt.

The time spent with my father and brother and friends is what I cherish most.  The feeling of peace at first daylight on my stand, shattered unexpectedly, by the approach of a whitetail.  The thanks giving and happiness shared with others over a successful harvest.  And finally, recounting the memories of the best week of the year every time I reach into the freezer and pull out a brown package branded with a ‘V’. 

As a young hunter, I look forward to what future hunts hold.  The experiences that can never be replaced, only added to over many seasons.  My motives for hunting may change as I get older and more experienced.  However, my love of the sport and the animals I hunt will continue, and I look forward to experiencing the outdoors with my children like my father did with me. 

Please find attached a picture from last weeks hunt.  I was fortunate enough to harvest a nice buck and I am proud of it.  I have no problem with people knowing who I am and associating me with hunting, I hope others will not be afraid to do the same.




Jamie Fenton

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Published by ORrogue on 15 Sep 2008

“HOW not TO”

   Like most people I have a regular job, one that has tendencies to keep me form the more important things in life, mainly hunting and fishing. In a moment of clarity I had decided that being an outdoor writer could possibly be the greatest job on earth. Where else is a person being paid to wander field and stream, valley to ridge top, carrying the latest gear sent factory direct to your door.

Although outdoor writers I believe are a select fraternity and the entrance exam wouldn’t get me into the out house.

There is one little catch to my theory. In reading thousands of articles I have come to the realization that there are basically two types of articles. These are the “sucess stories” and the “how to” articles. Now this is a double edged sword since you either need to know “how to” to be sucessful or be sucessful before you can say “how to”. This is one of those which came first the chicken or the egg kind of things, or possibly a conspiracy to confuse those who might wish to join the outdoor writers fraternity.

In discussing my dilema with a close friend he sugested a sound piece of advice, “write about what you know”. I thought long and hard about my years afield and realized I am a wealth of knowledge on “how not to”. The following are some examples.

As with every young hunter, I couldn’t wait to get off dads coat tails and do things on my own. (After all I knew it all, what kid doesn’t.) I can still clearly remember that cool foggy morning stepping from the truck, everyone was gathered around to recieve their assignments, then it came to me.

Dad looked down and said”just over the top of that ridge right along the timber line is a large stump, there is a deer trail 20 wards below it. Go sit on that stump and a buck is bound to wander by.” Of course the stump would be there, the trail would be there and the buck would wander by exactly as described the only thing missing was me. As soon as dad was out of sight my own plans for bagging a buck came into play.

These plans usually entailed slogging through streams, climbing verticle rock bluffs and doing personal battle with the likes of devils club, stinnging nettles and patches of vine maple. By comparison escapeing from Alcatraz would be a picnic. On a personal note these pieces of Northwest flora did as much to color my use of the english language as any thing else, and for all intense and purposes I did discover “how not to”.

On one particularly frosty morning carrying a recurve bow and a back quiver full of arrows I discovered how not to cross a pristine trout stream using a natural bridge. For those of you that are not aware of what a natural bridge is. it basically consists of a tree large enough to hold a person that extends from point A to boint B.

There are only a few reasons for these bridges to exsist. They may have been blown over in a heavy wind,the bank may not have been able to hold it’s mass, or a beaver could have felled the tree. Now beavers in their enginering marvel at building dams are all but ineffectual in building propper bridges. They apparently have no thought process when it comes to span, strength or grade.

At this point in my outdoor education it had not occured to me that a certian ammount of deliberation should go into choosing an acceptable natural bridge.

The bridge that I chose this particular morning was more than sufficient to hold my weight but it was completely devoid of bark, stiitng at approxamately a 30 degree angle with a beautiful white coat of morning frost. Reflecting back, at this point any good “how to” person would recognize that this natural bridge was subject to a great many flaws and continued on in search  of a safer place to cross. I on the other hand was detirmined to cross at this particular point for reasons that now escape me.

I had made it about a third of the way across the log when my feet betrayed me and lost traction. At one point I was filled with the false hope that the friction from my hastily moving feet would sufficiently dry the log so as to continue the journey, or at least hold me in a hover long enough to come up with another plan. Neither of these would come to fruition.

I can still remember as my feet left the log, how the dark brown boots contrasted nicely with the blue morning sky. Centrifugal force is a funny thing, it is possible to swing a bucket of water in a 360 circle without spilling a drop. I apparently didn’t come off of the log with enough force to either keep the arrows in the quiver or carry me around enough to land feet first. Lucky for me there was only about a foot of water in the stream and the rocks did a descent job of breaking the fall. In retrospect of this event I still believe if the log would have been angled down towards the other bank instead of up my chances for sucess would have been greatly improved.

Although it was some what painful it was still an education in “how not to”.

I at one point in time try my hand at bow building. hours of patient struggle with every power tool in my possesion turned out what appeared to be a beautiful yew wood long bow, or as my wife would say “an exceptionally thin fence post”. Wives have little to no consideration for the asthetics of long bows, or the fragile male ego for that matter.

Regardless with my new bow strung I decided to draw it for the first time. For future reference there are safer ways of doing this than standing on your back porch in a pair of shorts. And newbie bow builders if you own a hospital gown it may save precious time by putting it on before any accidents occur.(I own 3)  Psychotic emergency room nurses will also reduce any clothing to shreds unexceptable for even grease rags,they will even cut off socks if they thought an ingrown toenail lurked there.

Anyway my beautiful yew wood bow with a draw weight that I approximated near 80 pounds was about to be drawn for the first time. With eyes closed and teeth clenched I pulled on the bow string for all I was worth. At this point I can only assume that there was a catostrophic limb failure. I awoke surrounded by friends,(or at least doctors and nurses I had come to know well over the years) still holding the riser of my long bow. My clothes were in shreds but I was in a new hospital gown

Lucky for me, I do believe that the top limb gave away slightly sooner than the bottom limb rendering me unconcious. Its not all that bad, I can almost get both eyes to point forward at the same time now, and I do have a better seat in the church choir. (soprano section)

While the “How To” person can attain immediatepleasure and a certian ammount of smugness in accomplishing their tasks promptly and correctly the first time, they do miss an unavoidable number of life’s little nuances. Take reading a map for example, the “how to” person can tell exactly where you are regardless of your position and plot the most expedient way to your destination. While the “how not to” person throws caution to the wind and will take roads that turn to goat trails or possibly worse, discover seedy diners that require bill boards to announce their last fatality, or gas stations that haven’t had any for decades. Of course the last one only happens when you have never seen the gauge needle pointing that far towards the E before. All of these things will add a little demurrer to any road trip.

As I delve farther into the realms of “how not to”, I have come to the conclusion that my knowledge in this area is limitless, The world is so full of “how to” books that I might tap into an unseen and everlasting market of “how not to” books.

How Not TO…………Find Elk

                               Catch Fish

                               Survive the Wilderness

                                Fix the Car

                               Etc. Etc. Etc.

15 votes, average: 3.67 out of 515 votes, average: 3.67 out of 515 votes, average: 3.67 out of 515 votes, average: 3.67 out of 515 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5 (15 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
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Published by Ieatmeat on 15 Sep 2008

Archery Talk: 6 Steps to World Class

I was introduced to Archery Talk by a close friend over a year ago. In that time I have poured through countess threads and have tripled my knowledge regarding bow hunting techniques, tactics, gear and a plethora of other topics. I have viewed hundreds of photos, agreed and disagreed with hundreds of opinions, and sacrificed hours of work as a result. (It is a good thing it was my boss who introduced me to Archery Talk!)
I believe these forums to be one of the best in the hunting world. It allows archers (hunters) from many backgrounds to share their best practices, successes and failures with each other. Through all of my time spent lurking about in the AT forums (specifically the Bowhunting forum), I have observed several idiosyncrasies that, if modified, can bring Archery Talk to a “World Class” level. As with everything stated in AT, take it or leave it; which brings us to number 1:
1) It isn’t personnel! If something does become too personnel, that is what the Mods are for. These forum’s foundations are based ENITRELY on opinions. Don’t let someone’s opinion dictate a negative response. Many threads seem to start to spurn heated discussions. Usually ignoring said comments will squash the situation leaving more time and energy to “quality” threads. If you absolutely cannot hold back simply (and politely) state your opinion and agree to disagree.
2) Use the search function. I do not have many posts. There are two reasons for this: 1. There is almost always a user that shares the same opinion as myself and has posted it already. 2. I use the search function. I have had many questions regarding gear, scents, strategies, etc. Instead on jumping right into creating a new thread, I search the topic first. 9 times out of 10 there are several threads that address my question(s) that have already been posted. Not only does this save me from waiting for some answers, it cuts down on some of the “noise” in the forums. Do we really need to see another post of pictures of the color of our fletchings?
3) Enough with the broadhead complaints and comparisons! Refer to number 2! Until (If) we get a sub-category for broadheads can we cut down the broadhead bashing? (refer to number 4) The exception to this is where there have been a true comparison test (there have been a couple tests done through phone books, steel drums, etc)…with pictures!
4) Take responsibility! Even with the high quality of our equipment there is a lot of blame placed on it. While I do not discount that there are equipment failures, I would be willing to bet that most of the “failures” are operator errors or miscalculations. Even when our equipment does let us down, it is more likely an operator oversight or unpreparedness. I speak from experience. There have been several instances where I wanted to blame gear before I realized it could have been avoided with more practice (I speak of more than just target practice). Also, do not jump to the conclusion of failure when it may be simply something not fitting to your style of shooting, hunting, etc.
5) Prevent fodder for the anti-hunter groups. AT was designed for the sharing of knowledge within the archery community. If we continue to attack each other, this will only give fuel to the anti-hunting groups. Unfortunately we are a minority. We don’t need to hold hands and sing Kumbaya, however, we should avoid personal attacks at all costs.
6) Reply without the pictures. When replying to a post, don’t include the pictures from that post. We should remember what pictures the thread is about. Including the pictures in a reply only slows down our personal computers as well as the servers.
I will always enjoy reading many of the threads posted on Archery Talk. The above suggestions are merely that; suggestions to make AT better for everyone. If you disagree, that is great! That is what AT is for and what our country stands for. However, prior to responding, please refer to number 1.

10 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 510 votes, average: 2.60 out of 5 (10 votes, average: 2.60 out of 5)
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Published by Acts 10.13 on 13 Sep 2008

Most Unsuccessful Hunt of a Lifetime

The final day of deer hunting with my grandpa before his death was largely unsuccessful. 

Not unsuccessful because of a lack of deer-sightings or unsuccessful because of an off-target arrow that took flight.  Because to me success is not merely harvesting an animal.  Success is being able to fool your quarry.  To sneak into their woods, their home, their turf and to fool their eyes, ears and nose into believing that you’re just another piece of normality.

My last hunt with the man who passed his hunting heritage to my father and I was unsuccessful because I didn’t listen to him.  My beekeeping Grandpa put me into what I would ironically call his “honey hole.”  And he gave me very loud, very specific instructions when he and my dad dropped me off.  (Much like my father and my father’s father, I have little to no awareness of the volume of my voice.  Just ask my wife.) 

“Go into the woods until you hit an ‘ol fence layin’ ‘cross the ground.  Cross that fence and go about fifty yards up the side of that mountain.  To yer right is a big ‘ol rock.  Sit on it and don’t move until the deer come down the hill in front of ya on yer right.  They’ll give you a perfect qwarterin’ away shot before they head out to the field to feed at dark.”

The mean, old grump’s plan was simple enough and easy to follow.  But I ignored it.  Well, not all of it.  I did go into the woods and I did cross the fence and I did walk about 50 yards into the woods. But it was the sitting-on-the-rock part that I ignored.  I HATE sitting on the ground and I HATE even more sitting on the ground on top of a chilly rock in the middle of winter.  Because no matter how many icy hours you endure sitting on a rock in the middle of winter, it never seems to warms up.

So, what did I do?  I moved just a few yards to the left of the big, uncomfortable rock that my Grandpa told me to sit on and perched myself in front of an oak tree.  Okay, it was more than just a few yards.  It was more like fifteen or twenty.  Most would say that it was my young, naive pride that caused me to ignore my elder’s instructions.  They would be mostly correct.  The truth is I was carrying a brand new lock on seat that I was just dying to try out.  Like I said, I HATE sitting on the ground.

So, after twenty minutes or so of fidgeting with this brand new, fandangled lock on seat and surely scaring off every woodland creature for at least a county or so, I settled into my lock on seat for a night of doing things my way. 

Now, I should say that my Grandpa’s hunting style was very old fashioned and VERY solidified, at least in my mind.  In all my years of hunting with him, he never scouted.  Not once.  His philosophy was that he had hunted that property since God made it and by golly he had these deer figured out by now!  His schemes were tried and true.  So, had he known that I had ignored his instruction and set up in my own little sweet spot, he probably would have marched up into the woods and let me have it – curse words, chewing tobacco, spit and all.  Heck, I’m pretty sure that he would have left me and my noisy, unnecessary lock on seat at home were I not the only hunting grandchild of his that wasn’t locked up at the time. (My only hunting cousin was in the hokey for leaving the scene of an accident, driving under the influence, fleeing from a police officer, kicking a puppy and numerous other immoral acts that I dare not mention.)

I sat on my brand new lock on seat for about 10 minutes before I decided that it was the worst thing that had ever happened to a man’s hind quarters.  (I have since rid myself of it by means of a yard sale and a two-dollar wielding old man who probably hates sitting on the ground just as much as I do.)  But I endured.  I endured to prove to myself and my ritualistic old grandpa that although he thought my new lock on seat was a waste of metal and cushioning, change can sometimes be good.

And a fantastic change occurred after I had endured an hour or so on the lock on stand from Helena.  I began to hear the pitter patter of little hooves behind me up on the side of the hill.  And the great thing was that they were coming right at me.  I slowly placed my hands at the ready on my bow and waited for the deer to close the 40 yards or so between it and I.  But as an eternity of footsteps progressed closer and closer to me, I began to realize that something that initially brought me great excitement was now quickly causing worry to overcome my mind like hunger on an all-day rut hunt.  The fact was that the deer was coming right for me.  No really, RIGHT FOR ME.  As I sat there, as still as stone, I shot a glance as far left and as far behind me as my eyeballs alone would allow.  It was this glance that made me realize that in the midst of my lock-on-seat-excitement I neglected to notice the VERY prominent deer trail that sat a mere 3 or 4 yards to my right. 

I wish I could say that the wind was blowing directly across my chest and that the deer leisurely strolled right past me and offered the “qwarterin’” away shot that my Grandpa had talked about.  But the truth was the wind was kind of non-existent at that moment in time.  So, my scent, much like smoke when left alone, was kind of just bulging out and up around me.  I wish that I could say that I was decked out in Scent Lok or Scent Blocker and that the deer sniffed my right armpit and still strolled right on by.  But hey, I was a newlywed fresh out of college, which means that I wasn’t exactly a high roller.  I wish I could say that the particular deer in question was born without a sense of smell.  That away I could put an end to his years of suffering a few moments later.  But just when the footsteps sounded as if the next one would fall directly on top of my back, I heard that familiar noise deer make when they’ve called your bluff, “PHWOOOH, PHWOOOH,” which every experienced hunter translates to mean, “I know you’re there, you moron!”

I turned my head to watch the deer’s white, pointy tail bounce through the woods back up the hill and out of my life forever.  I sat there dejected for another ten or fifteen minutes before I heard the familiar pitter patter of hooves again, following down that familiar path, right up to my familiar tree.  This time I turned my head away from the trail, to the left, in hopes that if it couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see it that maybe it wouldn’t smell me.  (See no evil, smell no evil right?)  As I sat, waiting on the deer to close the distance to my tree I realized that I was staring directly at a big rock twenty yards or so away that I should have been sitting on.  And in that moment, as the deer began yelling at me yet again and again, “I know you’re there, you moron!  I know you’re there, you moron!”  My grandpa might as well have appeared magically on top of the rock and said, “You should have sat here, you moron!  You should have thrown that lock on in the fireplace, you moron!”

Four or five months after that hunt, my dad began to notice that when my grandpa walked across the yard after he pulled up to his house that he stumbled around a bit.  Over time the stumbling got worse and worse until one day he stumbled and lost his glasses.  Where he had lost them he didn’t know because his memory was fading as well.  The breaking point was when grandpa was squirrel hunting that next Fall on that same piece of property, he fell down pretty hard and had to hobble out of the woods in the dark without his flashlight or his hunter’s orange vest while using his rifle as a crutch.  Good thing he had hunted that property since God created it.

A few doctor’s visits later and we learned that he had a spiderous, cancerous brain tumor that was causing a lot of swelling and pressure in his head, hence the loss of balance and memory.  After an all-day surgery and some chemo, the cancer seemed to subside.  But only 3 or 4 months after his final dose of chemo, I began to notice that he was asking me if I had seen the surgical scar on his head three or four times per visit.  Others began to notice the familiar memory loss again.  And a little while later the loss of balance returned.  The cancer was back.

The stubborn, old codger decided that he would not have surgery or do chemo again and that he would live out the rest of his days as best he could, as happy as he could.  He was bed ridden within a month or so and required constant care and attention shortly after that. 

The hardest part about his final weeks for me was the diapers.  And I have a master’s degree in diapers thanks to my two little girls.  But there was something about seeing such a strong man, such an able man, refined to sucking water from a straw and eating blended mush twenty-four-seven and then in turn wetting and soiling himself time and time again.  It was as if every time I removed his diaper and changed him I wiped away another little piece of his dignity and pride.

The last hours I spent with him were typical for he and I because they revolved around the one thing that united us all my life – the woods.  I went to care for him one Saturday to give my dad and his sisters a break.  We watched a few deer videos.  Then he napped while I shot my bow in his front yard.  Then we watched a few more deer videos.  The entire day he said not one word.  But as I took out our last deer video, only ten minutes or so before my dad showed up to relieve me, he looked at me with his usual grin of orneriness and said, “You wanna go huntin’?”  I smiled and said, “Grandpa, we can’t go huntin’.  It’s July.”  And I thought to myself that even if I did break the law to give my dying, bedridden Grandpa his last hunt, that we would become the hunted as we were eaten alive by mosquitoes. 

Those were the last words I ever heard him say.  Over the next few days, his breathing became labored to the point where he was taking one breath about every 45 seconds or so.  Grandpa passed as peacefully as one can when they’re gasping for a single breath each minute.  And as sure as the sun, the typical funeral-time turmoil reared its ugly head as my family fought over funeral arrangements and the handling of his simple estate.  If he were a fly on the wall for a few weeks following his death, I’m sure he would have had some fly-size chewing tobacco to spit at a few of my family members as he gave ‘em what for. 

Grandpa was a simple man.  He had thousands and thousands in his bank account when he passed but yet chose to drive a nearly antique pick-up truck that he bought used and lived in a handed down house that was so old the electrical wiring was run outside of the stud walls.  His life revolved around two simple loves – his love for his family and his love for the outdoors. 

And on the last chance for me to ever soak up some of his love for the outdoors and some of his whitetail wisdom concerning a patch of property that my Father and I still hunt, he told me to sit on the stinkin’ rock.  And I didn’t listen.

13 votes, average: 3.15 out of 513 votes, average: 3.15 out of 513 votes, average: 3.15 out of 513 votes, average: 3.15 out of 513 votes, average: 3.15 out of 5 (13 votes, average: 3.15 out of 5)
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Published by theGhost on 13 Sep 2008

You know… Right?

There are times in my life where I feel the need to perch in a tree, feel the wind on my face, and watch the world pass me by. I dont say anything, and if I did who would hear me? I just sit in the tree and unwind, eyes scanning the shadows for a flicker of white, ears listening for the soft crunch of leaves. I love the early morning strategy sessions with friends, and the anxiety of which stand to hunt. I love walking in the moonlight with a best friend, to a place where the trail splits, the quiet “good lucks” and “shoot straights” as we head to our stands. I love taking a new hunter out, and putting him in my best stand, knowing that he could be a few hours from one of the best feelings in this world. I love seeing a missed text on my phone near primetime- that usually means something good!!I love meeting up with other friends that hunt for lunch during the week and comparing notes, sharing photos and high fives over successful hunts, and sharing each other’s heartaches over the monster that slipped away. I love a lot of things about hunting, some of them can be described in words, but some of them cant… you know what I’m talking about? Right? Good luck everyone, and shoot straight…Ghost

15 votes, average: 3.53 out of 515 votes, average: 3.53 out of 515 votes, average: 3.53 out of 515 votes, average: 3.53 out of 515 votes, average: 3.53 out of 5 (15 votes, average: 3.53 out of 5)
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Published by djohns13 on 12 Sep 2008

The Hunter’s Gene

“You’re going to do what?” my wife asked with an angry look on her face. “Are you kidding me? There is an ice storm warning for our area today, and you think it is a good idea to climb up in a tree stand and deer hunt?”
“Sure do baby, you know me, I’ll be safe,” I shot back.
“Yes I do know you and that’s what scares me. You’re unbelievable sometimes.”
That is the way my 5:00 a.m. conversation went with my wife as I was headed out the door to go to my favorite tree last November. There was an ice storm bearing down on Indiana and I knew it could be a bad one. But the way I saw it, the storm wouldn’t rev up until about noon and there was a good chance the deer movement would be heavy before the storm started. I wanted to put one more deer in the freezer before the holidays. The day was cold with a stiff wind that seemed to penetrate every bone in my body. By 9:00 a.m. I was knocking ice off of my bow and nocked arrow. By ten I was wondering if my climber would grip the tree trunk on the way down so I decided to give it up and climb down. As it turns out, the deer were smarter than me that day and were already bedded down in preparation for the storm.
In retrospect, was it a bad hunting day? Absolutely not! My hunting partner and I both enjoyed ourselves tremendously. We didn’t bag any game, although he got very close before the bedded deer spooked and ran away. Other than his runaways, I didn’t even see another four-legged mammal that day. Most people would have detested that time in the cold but I loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat. Why? My wife would say it is because I am just not right, but I say it is because I was born with the Hunter’s gene.
Anyone one who is a hardcore hunter knows exactly what I mean when I talk about the Hunter’s gene. Anyone who isn’t generally doesn’t have a clue what I am talking about. It isn’t because of their intelligence, it’s because they weren’t born with the gene like we were. The Hunter’s gene is what drives us to do supposedly crazy things like sitting out in an ice storm, or crawling on our hands and knees through a mosquito infested swamp, or pursuing carnivores much larger and tougher than we are with just a bow and arrow. But it doesn’t stop there. The Hunter’s gene also ensures that we keep our families well-fed, well-protected and warm through those ice storms. It is what propels us to defend our families, our nation and other nations during times of trouble. It is what allows us to personally and quietly sacrifice so that others have what they need. And yes, it is what enables us to willingly go out into the depths of nature with nothing but stick and string and go to battle with the best eyes, ears and noses that exist. And even on those times where the battle doesn’t end with a kill, we are still grateful for having been able to participate, and can’t wait to do it again.
Having said all that, I realize I didn’t need to say it at all. Without a word, you already understood.

15 votes, average: 3.80 out of 515 votes, average: 3.80 out of 515 votes, average: 3.80 out of 515 votes, average: 3.80 out of 515 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5 (15 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5)
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Published by Montalaar on 12 Sep 2008

Create your individual arrows!

There are dozens of possibilities to fletch an arrow. You can select the manufacturer of your choice, the color, the size and the form. Dozens of combinations are possible. But is it not always the same? The archery next to you uses nearly the same fletching. Do you want to create your own arrows? You should read further.

What do we want to do?

This Tutorial will guide you to the making of your personal and individual arrow. I will cover two spots in this article. First we will do some cresting which means that we will add some color to our arrow. After that we will fletch our arrow with some individual spliced feathers. After we finished both parts we have an arrow that is absolutely personal.

We require:

  • a set of arrows you want to work with
  • loads of feathers in at least two colors of your choice
  • some fletching cement and a fletching rig
  • a knife or scissors, tape measure
  • a pen, paint and tape
  • patience

Before we start.

It is important that your arrows are already in the right length and have also the nock installed. Most fletching rigs need the nock to proved the perfect fit in the rig. You can also glue the point or broadhead into the shaft before installing the nock besides easton recommends to glue the point in before adding the nock.

This tutorial contains work with sharp objects and in the case of cresting also the use of paint which can contain thinner. A new arrowshaft or a new feather can be bought easily, a cut finger or thinner in the eyes is more of a problem. Be careful at all time and rather work slow and accurate.

Step one – Cresting.

The first thing we will do is some cresting that means we will add some color to the arrow shaft. Painting of wodden arrows has been common for decades as it is easy to do before adding the finish to the whole arrow but it is certainly possible with aluminium or carbon shafts, too. Very popular are also arrow wraps as they are easy to use and very durable but if you want to create your own arrow you should do your own cresting as it is truly unique.

How to do that? I will tell you.

At first we need to do some brainstorming. Which colors do we want to use and which patterns we want to draw. I chose someting easy for this tutorial. The arrow shaft will get a wide silver ring with some smaller rings dividing it. Now we need to choose the colors. As i mentioned i will use some silver paint and black or blue paint for the smaller rings. You can use everything as long as it can be applied in very thin layers and dries in a short time. If you just want to do some rings a white permanent marker will also work. I will use spray paint because it is easy to apply and dries very fast. Before starting so aplly the paint we have to mask the rest of the shaft that should not be painted in the color we use.

After masking the arrow we can add the paint to it. It can take some time to find out how it should be apllied but always bear in mind that the paint has to be as thin as possible. If you use spray paint you can aplly two or more layers to get a perfect result. Is everything colored we have to let it dry. In the meantime we can paint the next arrow.

After painting everything in the same way we can jump over to the next step. It was not too challenging until yet, was it?

Step two – Splicing.

Let us raise the grade of difficulty a bit. The next steps will need loads of patience so better be prepared. Splicing means cutting down the feathers you got to fletch your arrow with. With the parts we will get some new feathers of differenct colors and fletch your arrows with them. Splicing feathers and fletching your arrow with them will make your arrow unique!

In this tutorial i will use red and black feathers in 4 inch length. The red colored feather shall be the front part of the fletching and the black one the rest. As we want to fletch every arrow the exact same way we need to work with accuracy so take your time to get everything right. We need a tape measure to get always the same length of the pieces we cut off. I chose 1.8 inches for my red feather so i markerd my tape measure to find always the same position.

Now we have to slice every feather at 1.8 inches from the front. As we need both colors we have to cut off the red feathers but also the black ones. We will keep the red front part and the black rear part for our arrow. To cut the quill get a sharp knife or a scissors.

It is important to cut only the quill and nothing more. We want to keep the original form of the feather to put them together in the end.

Use your knife (or scissors) to make a small cut at the point you want to slice the quill in two parts. Then take the feather, retain it with one hand and cut the quill in two parts. Try to keep the intersection as small as possible and do not damage the feathers. After our little feather surgery we can remove the part we do not need and keep the other one. Now we can use some sandpaper to even the sction.

Proceed the same way with all the feathers you will need for fletching.

After slicing and sandpapering everything we have to find paires of parts to get a new feather. As not every feather has the same structure than the others we will need to find paires that will stick together on the shaft without having gaps between them. As you can see on the picture i chose two parts that seemed to be okay and put them together. The natural velcro of the feathers will keep them together.

At this point we will need the fletching rig and the fletching cement. Our prepared feathers will be glued onto the arrow at the same time so put the two parts together, aplly the fletching cement and fletch the arrow as you do it everytime.

After letting the feather dry out we can take the arrow out of the fletching rig and take a look over it. If we worked with patience and precision we will see no gaps between the quills and feathers. If you will notice a difference in the height of the feathers you should take a scissors and remove the spare feathers. Better take a smaller scissors as the larger one will cut too much out of the feather so that you will get no staisfying form

Step Three – finishing

If you have enough time and feathers you can do more unique things. You can use as many differenct colors and feathers as you wish to as long as you can glue it together whilfe flechting the arrow. You can also use a scissors and cut your own form into the feathers like a wave or something else. There are nearly no limits as long as you leave some feathers to ensure proper arrow flight.

I should also say something about the weight.

The used paint will add some grains to your arrow. As long as you use very thin layers you do not need to care about that.

I hope this tutorial will inspire you to do your own cresting, splicing and fletching. Good luck. 😉

15 votes, average: 3.33 out of 515 votes, average: 3.33 out of 515 votes, average: 3.33 out of 515 votes, average: 3.33 out of 515 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5 (15 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5)
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Published by djohns13 on 11 Sep 2008

To Shoot or Not to Shoot?

Does, that is. The question is about as old as the philosophy of quality deer management itself. It might just be the most debated topic in deer hunting and management but to this day a “one size fits all” answer eludes us. What works great for one property might be woefully wrong for another. For those who haven’t made up their minds where they stand on the issue, read my theories below and see how you think they would apply to your situation. I don’t believe that my answer is 100% correct for everyone and every property, but I think it will work well for the vast majority.
The basic question is whether or not to purposefully maximize the doe harvest on your hunting grounds, and if so, do you concentrate on younger does, mature “matriarch” does, or both. The most straight-forward answer to the first question is yes; by all means maximize the harvest of does, unless your current deer population is well below the carrying capacity of the land. If this is the case, let them walk for a year or so until you see the population reaching the limits of the land, and then employ a heavy doe harvest strategy. The answer to the second question is to take both mature and young does for the reasons described below.
For those of you who have plenty of, or even too many deer for your land, here are four strong reasons why you should focus on doe harvest:
1. Does with fawns will chase their young buck offspring out of their home range to prevent the possibility of inbreeding and genetic problems. If you want the young bucks born on your property to end up on someone else’s property, leave the mama does alone. They will see to it that almost every young buck leaves in a hurry. If you want those bucks to stay and grow big, harvest their mothers and your property will become their home range. Even better would be if your neighbors don’t take any does so that you get to keep your bucks and get their runaway bucks as well.
2. The land only has so much carrying capacity for deer. Taking mature does off of the property allows more of this capacity per mature deer. As a result, almost immediately after reducing the mature doe population, birth rates rise from singles/twins to twins/triplets with the occasional quad birth. The more births you have, the more bucks that are born, period.
3. It is critical in my opinion that you harvest not just old or young does, but a combination of both. It is common for young, middle aged and very mature does to come into estrus at slightly different times. This is due to a variety of factors but the result is that by having a good mix of young, middle aged and mature does on the property, the aggregate doe population is in estrus for a longer period of time. Whether you prefer to call it a longer rut, or multiple rut periods, it all equals great buck hunting. Some have said that taking a matriarch doe causes upheaval in the herd and can even force the herd to change their patterns and/or leave the area. Others will say that without the matriarch, the chance of predation on the younger deer increases. I have seen neither of these situations. In my opinion, with or without a matriarch, the deer population is drawn to the areas with the best availability to water, food and shelter with the least predation risk.
4. Finally, with less does, bucks naturally move more to find the does in estrus. This usually means greater scrape activity, more responsiveness to decoys, rattling and grunting, etc. The greater the buck movement the greater chance they will come into bow range for you, period.
Above are what I believe to be four strong reasons to commit to a heavy doe harvest and in the meantime, increase your chances of seeing the buck of a lifetime. Good luck and good hunting.

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