How many mistakes have you made while hunting? I have made so many that I sometimes wonder how I ever manage to bag anything. One of those in particular happened many years ago and I still get a chuckle...
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Do tree stands and range finders seem like a strange combination? Maybe not, both are needed and sometimes essential when bowhunting. Let’s begin with tree stands. If you ever plan to actually shoot...
Do tree stands and range finders seem like a strange combination? Maybe not, both are needed and sometimes essential when bowhunting. Let’s begin with tree stands. If you ever plan to actually shoot a deer with a bow you will certainly need to be up as high as possible in a tree stand. Probably 90% of all bow hunters are deer hunters first and foremost and maybe as time passes you will have the opportunity and resources to expand your horizons. So let’s take a short look at what is required for other species. Cariboo hunting, most often will be done from the ground. I have never heard of anyone hunting cariboo from a tree stand. The Baron Ground Cariboo found in northern British Columbia, Yukon or Alaska are going to be found in sparse cover and usually on the move. Also the same scenerio applies to the Woodland cariboo you are going to encounter along the East Coast. Elk sometimes can be hunted from a tree stand, maybe over a mineral lick, but this again is rare. Moose, almost never, the one exception might be in areas where black spruce fill the forest. These woods are often so thick you are not able to walk through it. Here you will be hunting waterways, old roads, beaver ponds or large wet swamps. Here the moose may have trails into or out of these areas and maybe you could find a tree suitable for a stand, but personally, I would not carry a stand into these places. It would be too heavy and noisy. You would do better to slip in quietly and get down wind of the trail where you have the opportunity to move if necessary. Moose found in New York ,,Vermont, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Alaska New Foundland, North Dakota, South Dakota will all be wanderers. They have tons of good brush all around them, they do not need to go to one specific spot to dine. You have to be able to sneak along quietly always using the wind in your favor. Cover ground until you find fresh sign then slow down, listen for the sound of branches snapping, when moose feed they make lots of noise. Be most attentive to the strange noises you make, a zipper grip tapping your binoculars, an aluminum arrow tapping the metal riser, brush scratching a pant leg. These are the strange noises a moose will detect instantly from distances you won't believe. A moose can turn one ear one direction while turning the other another direction to listen to two different noises.
Most of these situations I have described did not require a tree stand but they all will require a range finder. Most ranging devices today are small compact and accurate and I believe one of the first things a bow hunter should buy is a range finder. I hunted moose before range finders were available and I missed many good chances because I did not judge the distance correctly. First, back then the bows were slow so if you misjudged the yardage by 10 yards, you could shoot clean over a moose. Second, I was always on the move, trying to sneak around, either to locate the big boy or get close for a shot. Often to be caught off guard by a moose standing quietly at 20 yards watching this noisy fool trying to act like a squirrel. I would have to make a quick guess at the distance while getting an arrow out of the quiver and all the other good stuff that happens when you are caught off guard. Because of the excitement I almost always over judged the yardage, used the wrong pin and watched as the moose ran off chuckling to himself. Since I bought my first laser rangefinder I have never missed an animal that I fired at after first ranging it. You don't always have the time to range an animal and some get away but at least you are not spending your next 24 hours tracking a wounded moose through some of the dirtiest bush imaginable. Believe me, I've been there done that. I have been shooting a Mathews bow since 1997, it is fast and flat shooting. Had I been using this bow back in the eighties when I was completely missing animals I would have been wounding them instead. Not a good picture.
Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed many wonderful peaceful hours deer hunting from a tree stand, but I enjoy even better knowing that when I get that one chance at a nice animal that I now have the confidence to do it right because my range finder has already given me the exact distance. So tie yourself in, get comfortable and let your range finder guide you to success.
I was in the basement just looking over my hunting equipment and I started thinking back to 1981 the year I started bow hunting, and I wonder how many of you can recall the equipment we used back then....
I was in the basement just looking over my hunting equipment and I started thinking back to 1981 the year I started bow hunting, and I wonder how many of you can recall the equipment we used back then. I was born and raised on a dairy farm. I made many a bow out of young saplings and arrows from not so straight tree branches. This set up didn't shoot well but we had fun and worried the cats around the farm. Back then we never had an archery season. Most people didn't know what archery was. As I got older and started to work I again showed an interest in bows and arrows. I was reading a few articles about compound bows and decided to try this sport once again. I lived 50 miles from a bi city, and soon I found a used Jennings compound for sale with arrows. I knew nothing about proper fit or what shape the bushings were like. But the bow appeared in good shape and I could get it to full draw. It came with 4 fiberglass arrows that were in fair shape so I started practicing. About eight months later the Fish and Game Department announced that there would be an archery only moose hunt, and it was to be held in the county where I lived and grew up. The moose population had been growing in our area and now they were scaring those living in the cottage country. I started reading everything I could find on archery and moose. I found some 2016 Easton Gamegetters and some 150 gr. Satellite broad heads and now the practicing was getting serious. I can't recall the model of Jennings but , I know it was one of the lower end units. However it shot well and I finally found a store that checked the draw weight at 55 lbs. I mounted a rubber rest and a three pin sight and used a 3 fingered glove. A quickie quiver to hold the arrows and I was all set. I knew of a good area from previous deer hunts and the long awaited day was growing near.
When my mother found out what I had in mind she said, and I can still remember the words.( Don't be so foolish, you will get yourself killed. You poke one of those moose with those little sticks and they'll get mad and run over you. You make sure to get up in a tree before shooting at one of those moose).
Opening morning finally arrived and long before day break I was in the woods, dressed in a WWII army surplus camo suit with burnt cork all over my face and I was raring to go. Through the dim light I could make out 6 moose crossing a power line heading in my general direction so I took off to get ahead of them. When they entered the woods I was 60 yards behind but I could tell one was a cow, one small bull and one big racked bull. I don't know where the others went. I was peaking over the top of a hill at them so I gave a small bull grunt to get them stopped. They stopped and stared towards me so I grunted again. the bigger bull poked the cow with his antler, she headed off into the brush with him right behind. After a minute or two the smaller bull turned and started up the hill toward me. I thought of my mother and backed up against a big maple tree and when his head appeared over the top I estimate the distance to be 25 yards. Just then I heard a loud crashing off to my right. There was the big boy, coming down a long slope heading straight towards me, his head was down and swinging from side to side and he snorted with every step. He was coming to kick my butt, and so would my mother if she found out I wasn't up the tree. I started to turn to get into position and at approximately 20 yards he swung behind a spruce tree and stopped, peering out past it at me. I was on my knees and I slowly started to slide sideways to get an open shot at his vitals. I had about 1 foot left to slide when my knee snapped a branch. He turned behind the spruce hiding all the vitals. The young bull was still standing on the side of the hill also staring a this strange creature with the pointed stick. At that same moment he turned sideways getting ready to run. I figured one small bull is better than no bull, and he was in a great position for a shot so I swung the bow in his direction, aimed just behind the front leg and let her fly. The arrow struck perfectly and he took off down the hill and up the other side. the big boy turned and ran up the hill he had just came down and managed to keep that spruce directly between us the whole way. The bull I had wounded ran part way up the other side, stopped, stood for a few seconds and dropped. I couldn't believe it. My legs were weak and my heart was pounding so I leaned against the big maple for a few minutes before going to inspect my trophy. I got a cousin who was cutting wood nearby to come with his big tree farmer and winch the moose out of the woods for me. He hooked his long cable onto the moose right where it dropped and pulled it right to my pickup. Some of his crew helped me load it . I was out of the bush before lunch and when I pulled into the game check-in station I was informed that I was registering the first Moose ever taken in the county, and I did it all with one of those pointed sticks and a clothes line bow.
That was the beginning of many wonderful archery hunts and I am still slinging those pointed sticks today.
I'm a hunter, and a fisherman. It’s what I like to do, it’s who I am. And like many outdoorsmen, I believe it's important to have the right equipment for the job. And so, last year I picked up Ruger...
I'm a hunter, and a fisherman. It’s what I like to do, it’s who I am. And like many outdoorsmen, I believe it's important to have the right equipment for the job. And so, last year I picked up Ruger 10/22 Carbine at a gun swap. It seemed well suited to light duty use for smaller birds, gophers, possums, and other little critters. I took the little devil on a Moose hunt and shot 6 nice partridge without a miss. Seemingly, an ideal gun to carry on your quad for this type of hunt.
But yesterday I went to dispatch a few groundhogs that are causing havoc to neighbor's garden. Mister hog stuck his head up at around 60 to 70 yards and I could not keep the crosshairs on him because of the trigger pull. According to my fishing scale the pull is just shy of 3lbs. which I suppose is average for a most rifles. However, this little gun is short and light and a 3 lb. pull is too much. I don't want to spend a lot of dough getting a gunsmith to work on this so instead I reached out to the manufacturer and my fellow hunters for advice since, afterall ,my neighbors garden is depending on me fixing this issue. I'll explore the options, so check back soon to see how this issue gets addressed.
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