Archive for the ‘ Hunt Preparations ’ Category

Sighting In

I was helping out at the Lincoln Ike’s Hunter Sight In day today and am amazed at how many people only shoot their deer rifles once a year and then are frustrated when they can’t make the shot.  Sighting in is important (even if the gun shot well last year) but so is shooting throughout the year to keep your edge. 

If you have not sighted in your rifle for the November 13 opener its not too late.  You owe it to the deer and the time you have invested in the hunt.  Here are a few tips:

1. Sight in from a bench for the most steady hold possible.  You want to see what the gun will do not how skilled you are.

2. Use sandbags or a good rifle/handgun rest.

3. A quick method for sighting in is to fire one round at the target center at 100 yards.  Now see where the bullet actually hit.  While holding the crosshairs on the bullseye, move use the scope turrets to move the crosshairs now over to the bullet hole.  Now fire another round at the bullseye.  You should be on!

4. Now fire a three shot group (always three shots…then make adjustments). 

5. After a three shot group, clean the bore prior to the next group.

6. When making scope adjustments, remember most scopes move the point of aim 1/4″ per click at 100 yards.

7. Once sighted in, take a few shots using the type of rest you will use in the field.  Your groups will open a bit but that is okay.  As long as you can keep all shots fired into a 9″ pie plate you are good to go.  If everything is working, you should expect groups no larger than 3″ from the bench at 100 yards.  Don’t forget the eye and ear protection!

You will be amazed at how good it feels to head to the deer woods with the confidence of a well sighted in rifle that you know how to shoot well!  That is a skill to be proud of!

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

Experts work with hunters to prep them for deer season at the Lincoln Ikes

Sighting in requires a good rest and sometimes a bit of coaching

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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

Do Deer Really Study The Moon?

Much has been said about deer movement in regards to the various phases of the moon and I will offer my limited observations on this.  Now some may say….”Jeff…how can you comment on the moon having never been to the moon before?”  These observations come from the physical phenomena of being able to look UP.  Looking up, I have been able to notice when the moon is fully visible and what my hunting conditions have been like the next day or so.  Very scientific. 

Some researchers, such as Charles Alzheimer, have powerful data suggesting the full moon triggers rutting activity in deer.  From his research, some have concluded that the first full moon after the autumn equinox, the hunters moon (Oct. 23, 2010), triggers rutting activity, while the second full moon after the autumn equinox hovers around the time rutting activity peaks (Nov. 21 for 2010).  We have long known that day length is a primary trigger for changes in testosterone in deer, stimulating rutting behavior.  What we are not as clear on is how the moon may impact these changes.  One could argue it makes sense because wildlife tune into such constants that are consistent for thousands of years.  Maybe there is something to these sci-fi theories? 

Before you completely discount moon phases on animal behavior, keep in mind many law enforcement and medical facilities have documented strange behavioral abnormalities during nights with full moons.  Are we influenced by the moon?  The maternity ward at some hospitals would suggest so!

My own experience has told me that on full moon nights, morning deer movement will be subdued but mid day activity will be higher.   This may be because deer take advantage of moon lit nights and feed longer, therefor are not as active in the 6am – 10am range?  It would make sense that deer who have not been active since say…4am would need to get up and move around by noon or so the next day.    Regardless, I subscribe to the theory of hunting when you can, regardless of what the lunar tables and telescopes suggest.  One constant is for sure…you can’t shoot a deer if your not out there!”  I wonder what impact Saturn has on deer?

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly

Phases of the moon - can they predict deer behavior?

Must be a full moon fight?

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

Introductions – Field Report/Archery Deer: From Sam

My First Buck - Taken in Mentor Program

Hi,
my name is Sam, I’m 15 and I have been in the mentor program for 2 years. With the season just underway I wanted to share a little about myself. I started shooting a bow in 2007. I bought my first bow (a Bear Odyssey ll) in 2006 when I had a broken arm. I couldn’t shoot it, or practice with it but I knew that I wanted to get into archery. Once I got the clearance from the doctor, I started going to JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) hosted by the Golden Arrow Archery Club and Mentor Kevin Markt. The guys taught me how to shoot correctly and accurately and have fun while doing it. I practiced shooting and got up to the minimum requirement (at that time) of 40 lbs to hunt  for the next year.

 September of 2008 was the first time hunting in the mentor program and it was awesome. That year I was able shoot 5 deer! I knew that this was going to be a good time. The mentors who taught me are amazing and I owe them so much, as well as the Nebraska Game and Parks mentor program who finds the land and gets it signed up for us to hunt and learn on with professional guidance.

By my second year (last year), I had learned and experienced more than I had ever expected to. Last year I was able to help other people and share my knowledge that the mentors had passed on to me. By now I was teaching other new hunters how to shoot, put up a tree stand and gut a deer. I love the mentor program. We all get along and have a lot of fun together. Even during the off-season we get together and shoot 3-D competitions and have competitive shoot-offs.

Mentees at 3-D Shoot

I can’t wait for this season to start, and get out in the woods to get some deer in the freezer! Good luck to all of ya this season!

Sam

Why Is It?…

…why is it that I find myself placing tree stands on September 15, opening day of Nebraska’s Archery Deer Season, when I promised myself I would have it done at least a week before season this year?…

…why is it that after a thorough search of the area the only tree I can find to hang my tree-stand in is a honey locust that is covered in thorns? – there is just too much deer sign to walk away!…

…why is it that despite my better judgement I begin to remove the thorns so I can begin to place my climbing sticks? – they seem to come off pretty easily

…why is it that, after 45 minutes, these dang thorns seems to be growing faster than I can cut them off?…

…why is it that, after 60 more minutes, I am now taking this thorn-removal process as a challenge to my deer hunting prowess?…

…why is it that, after 35 more minutes, I have the tree 98% cleared but I keep “finding” the remaining 2% with my fingers and arms?…

…why is it that, 2 1/2  hours later, when the task is accomplished and I am leaving the area I notice a beautiful silver maple 15 yards away in an even better spot?…

…why is it that I love this sport so dang much?…

hershy

Small Game Workshop Offers Something For All

Small Game Hunting Workshop - something for everyone

After the classroom portion, students honed their skills on the silhouette range - not a bad shooter!

This young man couldn't wait to get to the shooting! Another hunter is made!

 Hershy, Mike and I have been busy.  This workshop was the first small game hunting program we had done and I really liked the turnout.  Many of the participants were novice hunters just getting into squirrel and rabbit hunting.  Nothing really beats a morning in the squirrel woods with an accurate 22 rimfire.  Students learned about small game safety,  biology, hunting and calling strategies and much more.  They even learned about my hawk simulation trick that really seems to bring out squirrels!  They also learned about Streeter’s squeeze method for cleaning rabbits…it works!

I was really thrilled with the level of enthusiasm in this group.  small game hunting is how most of us cut our teeth on hunting and shooting and these good  folks were about to live some of the greatest memories I ever had.  Walking through the woods with that new (it was new to me) 22 rifle or 20 gauge shotgun looking for rabbits and squirrels.  Now a few new kids get to live the same glory!  Gotta love it!

Get Em’ Out There

Rawly