Archive for the ‘ Outdoor Skills ’ 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

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

October 1st – FIELD REPORT/ARCHERY DEER: From Sam

Tonight is October 1st and it wasn’t bad for deer hunting. We got in the stand at about 5:00 p.m. The first deer that I saw was a doe and a fawn about 95 yards to the south of me just across the creek. Right at 6:05, Kevin calls on the radio and says that there is a big buck on the other side of the creek moving east, away from me. I look up and the buck wasn’t there but there was a doe just on my side of the creek about 75 yards away and slowly moving west but after 15 minutes of grazing by the creek, she angled my way and I was ready with the camera on her and my bow ready. She moved very slowly until she was 20 yards away and then she started to run right to the base of my tree. At the moment that I was about to shoot, I noticed little bumps on HIS head, I had mistaken the large button-buck for a doe – I let him go.

At 6:20, just after I let the button-buck go, I look across the creek where the first doe was and saw a white tail flicker. I pulled my 10×42 binoculars up to look and I am staring at a monster 5×5 that would score around 130 inches. I was hoping that he would decide that the grass is greener on THIS side of the creek and come close enough for a good shot on video… He decided to do just the opposite and went back in to the woods not to be seen again for the night. I wasn’t too disappointed because there was still quite a bit of daylight left.

The other side of the creek must have been the hot spot because at 6:50 I look over there again and see 3 does and 2 little 4x4s. They walked east and out of sight, too. Daylight was fading. We were starting to wrap the night up and another fawn shows up out of no-where at 30 yards and starts to come my way, but daylight was fading fast now (he was too small for me to shoot anyway).

That night didn’t end too bad, we saw a shooter buck and several does, I had one only 5 yards and had a shot opportunity, but chose not to take it. Hopefully tomorrow night will be better.

Sam

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

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