Archive for the ‘ General Outdoors ’ Category

Pre-hunt Prep – FIELD REPORT/ARCHERY DEER: From Sam

(…we wanted to see what our archers do “behind-the-scenes” to help prepare themselves for the hunt – successful deer hunting goes well beyond just going to the woods, especially for the bow hunter…so we asked Sam what he does to get himself ready – here is his reply…hershy)

I spend a lot of time preparing for a hunt. Most of the things I do for pre-hunt preparations focus around scent control. I wash my clothes in scent shield’s scentless laundry detergent. When they go in the dryer, I also put in an earth-scented dryer sheet. After everything is clean, I put all of my clothes in a scent controlled bin with scent killer and activated carbon. When we get to our hunting spot, I spray them down with earth scented scent-killer. But even more important than masking your scent, is playing by the wind. Playing the wind means simply being up wind of where the shot should happen. We set our tree stands up so that we have an opportunity to hunt up wind from the deer trails & crossings.

During the Rut, we use doe urine as an attractant for the bucks. We spray the scent on cotton balls that are placed on the trails. Hopefully the bucks smell it and come in looking for a doe in heat and give us the opportunity to get a good shot. Keep in mind, like anything else, they don’t ALWAYS work. But sometimes, they work like magic.

Another tactic that will also increase your chance of success is being as quiet as possible going to the stand and moving as little as possible so that you don’t spook the deer if they sneak up on you. I have had countless deer see me before I see them. Most people think that deer can’t see all that well, but they can see movement very well. Just simply moving your head can spook a deer from farther than 30 yards!

Also, I spend countless hours in the back yard or at local ranges practicing with different scenarios so that I am ready for any shot opportunity. No matter how much preparation you go through for a hunt, you aren’t ready to take a shot if you haven’t practiced and tuned your bow. Make sure your broad heads are sharp and screwed in to your arrows well. We add silencers to our bows to make them less noticeable to the deer’s ears.

Sam

Advertisements

Where You Been?

I would  like to say that ever since the hunting seasons opened,  Hershy and I have been in the field but that just wouldn’t be completely true.  Sure we have had a few outings to the field (most recent was a grouse hunt while out west) but most of our September – October to  date has been working.   One such effort was our new Family Outdoor Adventure Camp. 

This new program found us at Camp Kateri with around 45 participants for a weekend of kayaking, fishing, camping and shooting sports.  We hosted the program to get more families to take the outdoor plunge and become outdoor families.  We had a great time and I think the families learned a lot.  It is really rewarding to watch kids shoot their first gun, bow or catch their first fish.  Getting Mom and Dad to participate is definitely a step toward making good stewards of our natural  resources!  We are definitely planning to  host this one again. 

Are they enjoying the outdoors or what?

Water mayhem?

The families really enjoyed learning how to shoot clays and many were interested in doing this more oftern....as a family!

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

Girls hunt too!! Number 4 & 5! – FIELD REPORT/ARCHERY DEER: From Jessica

God is good!!!

Mentor Jeff, Me & Oct 2 Does

Saturday morning (Oct. 2) was another beautiful crisp morning. Jeff Micek (my mentor) had already harvested a doe about 15 minutes after light, which meant it was my turn now. Around 7:40am, I just so happened to glance over my right shoulder and saw a doe and her fawn standing there at 8 yards. Moving slower then ever, I reached up and grabbed my bow, and waited for her to turn away so I could draw my bow back. She kept walking and made it out to about 11 yards when I grunted at her to make her stop. As soon as I shot, she took off  like a bullet, but only made it about 70 yards before crashing. After field dressing my deer, it turned out to be a ‘CENTER’ punched heart shot! I suprised myself with that one! 

A Picture Any Deer Hunter Would Love

Courtnie & Me - Headed to HC

After a great hunt in the morning, it was all followed by a great night at my high school senior homecoming dance! That’s right…I dress up too!!

The following night (Sunday) I made it out hunting again with my mentor Neil, and made another great shot and harvested my 5th doe.  She passed Neil at about 27 yards and came close enough to lick the steps of my tree before walking out away from me at about 8 yards. She slowly turned broadside then stopped, looking the other way.  As soon as I shot, she jumped but then almost stopped like nothing happened. Then she took off running and made it about thirty yards before tipping over.  Less then 3 mins after she fell over, Neil had nice doe walk by him and he made a great double lung shot! Way to go Neil.

Mentor Neil, Me & Oct 3 Does

Jessica

First deer of 2010 – FIELD REPORT/ARCHERY DEER: From Sam

For the last 2 years, it has been my tradition of shooting a doe on the second hunt of the year. This year was no different. On Saturday September 25, we were in the stands by 6:15 a.m. and shooting time was 6:45. It was a cool and rainy morning, but yet the deer were some-what active.

 At 7:00, I saw a doe 7 yards away about to walk right in front of me. She walked to 11 yards, broadside; all I needed her to do was to turn away. Unfortunately, she didn’t and she cautiously walked back where she came from. Only 5 minutes later, I saw her again, but this time I saw her  when she was still in the cover where she couldn’t see me. So as slowly as possible I stood up and got ready for a shot. Once again she stopped exactly in the same spot she was before. She had her eyes on me once again. Then, she made her last mistake, she turned away just long enough for me to raise and draw my bow. She saw the movement but still didn’t move. I released my arrow and my bow’s limb bounced off a tree branch. Luckily I heard the CRACK of her shoulder and saw that my arrow had buried all the way down to the fletchings of my arrow.

I began to worry as the rain started to come down hard – off and on. Later my mentor, Kevin, called me on my radio and said that there was a doe and 2 fawns headed my way. I saw them to the north-west of me and running my way along the creek. I pulled my bow back again and grunted at her to stop. She stopped and I guessed the yardage at 30 (we only take shots 20 yards or less). So I let my bow down as she and her fawns trotted away. I got my rangefinder out and found out that she was only 20 yards – but I did the right thing by not taking the shot.

We got out of the stand early at about 9:45 to look for my doe. It was so rainy that day that there was no blood trail and that made me a little nervous. Kevin was the last one to see her just as she jumped across the field road. When we got down and went to the spot where we saw her last, we looked across and saw her white belly only 20 yards away – only 12 yards away from the property line!

When we got to her I noticed that my arrow had punched through both of the shoulders and she had only gone 90 yards (deer can run that far in a matter of seconds).  I picked her head up and she was a big doe. Since the weather wasn’t the best, a lot of hunters would have just stayed home, but we go whenever we can as long as it’s still safe.

I got to go out that afternoon as well, but our luck wasn’t quite as great. It was an amazing afternoon weather-wise, but the deer just didn’t seem to be moving quite as well as I thought they would. I only saw 2 fawns and 2 does and none of which were within 35 yards of me. No one got anything, but one member of our team got really close to a buck, but the shot just didn’t present itself.  I had a lot of fun on this hunt, and it’s only the start to a really long season, so hopefully, a lot more deer will be taken by our mentor program. 

Mentor Kevin & Me

Sam

3rd Doe Success! – FIELD REPORT/ARCHERY DEER: From Jessica

Another beautiful weekend in the woods and it all came to an end with Success! Sunday evening started out ‘VERY’ slow with no deer in sight. Around 6:40pm, I finally spotted a doe and fawn to the east of me, heading my way. After grazing and taking her time, she finally made it in to about 12 yards, slightly quartering away, with no clue I was there. I pulled back, squeezed the trigger, and let-r-rip!! The doe made it no more than 50 yards before crashing 20 yards from Deb, who was my hunting mentor/partner! It was a great double lung shot, with a slice in the heart. After getting down, field dressing my deer, and hauling it back to the truck, we met up with the guys to hear about their hunt! Kent (Deb’s husband) also had a great evening with the harvest of a big mature doe.

It looks like it’s going to be another beautiful weekend so I hope you all can get out and make memories of your own! Good Luck!!

Jessica

Whatchagot-Grouse

Those Beautiful Hills

…the prairie grouse (sharp-tailed grouse & prairie chickens) that inhabit the short-grass areas of the sandhills have several defenses against the human hunter…one is their good eyesight that allows them to see danger coming from afar – another is their mottled browns & off-white feathers that allow them to become dang-near invisible to the shotgun carrying predator as they make their living in the clump grasses…as if these two adaptations weren’t enough these sandhill birds have a very sinister desire to “off” us hunters by living in vast expanses of very un-flat terrain that is covered in sandburs & prickly pear…you may think my statement is a little extreme but that would just prove that you have never chased these feathered-boogers across miles of short-grassed, sand dunes only to see a family flock of sharpies jump 20 yards beyond your gun’s reach and appear to land ‘just over the hill‘ – which spurs you to walk several more hills of sand so that your trusty pointer can lock up hard on 1 ornate box turtle and exactly zero grouse…

…to celebrate opening weekend of the Prairie Grouse season I headed towards Valentine chasing the promise of grouse and good weather with my former College Adviser and two other grouse-nuts…we set-up base camp at Big Alkali Wildlife Area and had lots of fun telling stories and reliving past hunts…we ate some wonderful food and did our best to stay warm on the chilly, wet mornings of our hunt…though, the grouse were scarce and the shots few we had an amazing time – and surprisingly saw very few other hunters, even on the public access areas…we did manage to put enough sharpies in the game-pouch for a decent meal and plenty of memories to help start the season and perhaps provide some fodder for campfires yet to come…

Success

…Dr. Jim Pease, my former college prof, was in charge of cooking the grouse and I wanted to watch his technique so that I could add another recipe to my file – prairie grouse are sometimes given a bad name as table-fare, but I think this is mainly due to the fact that even ice cream wouldn’t be as popular if you had to walk several miles over rough terrain to secure it…so I watched Jim work his magic on the skinned-out birds as he readied them for the pot…he started  by placing garden-fresh tomatoes and peppers around the grouse as they lay in the cast-iron dutch oven…he then sprinkled onion flakes, garlic salt and several other spices on them…just as the dutch oven was being placed over the fire I asked Jim what he called his grouse recipe – his reply was “Whatchagot Grousecause you take whatcha-got in camp and put it in the pot with the grouse”…worked for me! – it was delicious…

Whatchagot Grouse

hershy

2nd Doe! – FIELD REPORT/ARCHERY DEER: From Jessica

Doe #2

“Another one bites the dust…” It’s my new theme song!!

This past Sunday evening I was blessed with another mature doe. My treestand was set up about five feet from the creek that runs through the property, which is only a 20 yards shot to the other side. The evening started off slow till about 6:30, when I had a small spike buck come within 15 yards. Around 7:15pm, I spotted a doe way back in the trees headed my way, so immediately I stood up and got ready. It took her about ten minutes to work her way up to me, where she stood grazing for over fifteen minutes. The whole time she was facing me, so I wasn’t given the opportunity for a shot. It took a lot of patience, but it paid off when she finally walked closer (about 18 yards), and turned broadside. When she looked away, I drew my bow back, picked ‘a spot’ on her side to aim for, and slowly pulled the trigger on my release… The doe didn’t even know what hit her. She ran about fifteen yards before crashing! What a night!!!

Jessica

Mentor Jeff Micek & Me