Bow Adventures Fall 2012
Preview of Huntography #deertour, 20 Questions with MeatEater's Steven Rinella, gear reviews, wild game recipes and more.
Contributors Ramon Bell Rob Freyer Bob Hooven Bill Howard Mark Huelsing Darren Johnson Randy Mabe Amanda MacDonald Jenny Nguyen ‘Papa’Scott Perrodin Albert Quackenbush Steven Rinella Ryan Shoemaker Gretchen Steele Nick Viau Bow Adventures The e-Magazine for Archery Enthusiasts A monthly online publication. Publisher/Editor BillHoward Cover Design AlbertQuackenbush Advertising/Marketing BillHoward Circulation BillHoward For free distribution to your bowhunting group or organization, contact BillHowardOutdoors@gmail.com for information and instructions. Any reproduction of copy or images without prior permission from Bow Adventures or its contributors is strictly forbidden. ©Bow Adventures2012 On Target with Bow Adventures Subject: #deertour 18 - Meet the Huntographers 22 – 30 Deer Year 35 – Stickbow Hunter’s Perspective Features 12 – Muley Mania Rob Freyer Nick Viau 40 – Summer Sausage Hogs in the Heat 43 – Rewards of Quality Wildlife Management Randy Mabe Bill Howard Bill Howard Columns 08 - 20 Questions 45 – Habitat Insight 53 – Mock Rubs Steven Rinella Darren Johnson Ramon Bell 48 – Colorado 5x5 69 – How to Effectively Pack for a Hunting Trip 79 – 100 Miles Bob Hooven 54 - Cookin’ with Camp Dog Pot Roasted Wood Ducks 62 – Project Game Cart Presented by Stowaway2 Cargo Systems Ryan Shoemaker Bill Howard Bill Howard Scott Perrodin Reviews 66 – Food For Hunters Venison Bourguignon 68 – Bowfishing Slam Coastal Bowfishing 73 – We Are Warriors Archery after Cancer 77 – Target Bow 101 Albert Quackenbush 06 – MeatEater by Steven Rinella 51 – Big Deer Hunters Doe Stick 55 – Rinehart Targets 58 – S4Gear Jackknife Mark Huelsing Gretchen Steele 71 – Alps Outdoorz Pursuit Backpack Albert Quackenbush Bill Howard Amanda MacDonald Cover: Huntography #Deertour2012 Inset: MeatEater by Steven Rinella This Page: Mark Huelsing of Huntogaphy #Deertour2012 He explains how one can become so consumed by the end game that shortcuts, or ethics, can be compromised. He then explains A few years ago after the opening day of how those same mistakes helped him mature dove season I taught my oldest son how to and appreciate nature. clean a bird. Cleaning animals is not my In one particular chapter, Rinella discusses favorite part of the hunt, but it is necessary if what many label as a hallmark of fishing. you are going to eat what you kill. It was Rinella always loved fishing and enjoyed messy, but we got all the dove cleaned, marinated them overnight, and that Sunday we showing others up at times. After being convinced a true angler can only reach the top had a feast. If I remember correctly, we had after fishing for bonefish in the flats off of about eight kids in the neighborhood over at Mexico, Rinella and his brother hiked and the house trying their first dove meat. hitched south of the border. Rinella explains Since then we have had a staple of wild how they survived off the land and water for game meat, ranging from buffalo to bear to much of the trip. At one point, Rinella has an deer to alligator. My son even cleaned and fried a squirrel he had taken a couple of years epiphany. Here they were, fishing on ago. Again, it was messy, the hide was ripped hallowed waters for prized game fish, and starving. The only meals were the ones they to pieces and the grease from him attempting to cook his own meat clogged the drain pipe in caught, and bonefish just did not make a great meal. How did his passion turn into something the kitchen, but I was proud of his effort. where he was hoping something edible would A few weeks ago I was forwarded a book grab the line rather than the targeted species titled “Meat Eater” by Steve Rinella. Rinella they trekked so far for? is the host of the television show of the same The book is enlightening and real. It offers name on the Sportsman Channel and was the a reason not to trophy hunt but rather a reason host of the show ‘The Wild Within’ on the to hunt for sustenance. With wit, insight, and Travel Channel. If Rinella is anything, he is great storytelling, Rinella makes contact with not an apologist. Rinella believes what you kill, you eat, and the reader in ways that even a non-hunter can understand. Bringing in his personal accounts what you eat, you kill. Part biography, part philosophy, part history, Rinella explains what of childhood and relating historical tales of early America makes Rinella the perfect a true outdoorsman is supposed to be. hunting partner or fishing buddy, even if he is Rinella began as a trapper in his youth, not there in person. And based on his thinking that a great life would consist of experiences and wisdom, I would bet he would living off the land. He studied and idolized such people as Davy Crockett. He delves into be the first to grab the skinning knife at the subject matter consisting of why frontiersmen camp so I could stand back and watch my least favorite part of the hunt. such as Crockett did what they did and how Meat Eater went on sale September 4 and they survived. can be found at most book sellers. BA Bill Howard 1- How long have you (been an archer or) bowhunted? SR- I grew up around archery. From as far back as I can remember I was shooting long bows, recurves, and compound bows. I started bowhunting for deer when I was eleven, though it took me a few years to kill one. 2- What/who started you in bowhunting? SR- My dad. He started bowhunting in the early 1950s and was very active with Pope and Young throughout his life. Also the Muskegon Bowmen, an organization near my home. He’d take my brothers and I to shoot in leagues and silhouette tournaments when we were really young. When I was five, he took us to have lunch with Fred Bear in Akron, Ohio. There was never a doubt that I’d be a hunter, and that I’d hunt with a bow. 3- What was the first game you harvested with a bow? SR- Squirrels, for starters. But I started killing deer in my teens with a bow. We ambush hunted from trees. 4- What was your most difficult hunt? SR- Dall sheep are tough, both mentally and physically, though I’ve never hunted them with a bow. My most difficult bow hunts have been every archery elk hunt I’ve taken. When you’re chasing elk on foot, so many little pieces have to fall in place that it sometimes seems impossible. But then you get that lucky break, and everything falls into place, and it’s heaven. 5- What was your favorite hunt? SR- Some of my favorite hunts happened when I first decided to hunt for all of my own meat. This was back in 1994, when I was in college in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I killed a doe and a buck with my bow that fall, and just devoured the animals within a couple months. Those experiences changed my life. 6- How long do you prepare for a hunt? SR- I get to do a lot of hunting; I’m chasing game almost 150 days a year. Between hunts, I spend more time recovering from a previous adventure than getting ready for the next. 7- How do you prepare for a hunt? SR- I make lists and pack very carefully. And if I have a few weeks between hunts, I’ll work out for an hour a day several times a week. And sometimes I run, though I get bad shin splints and have shied away from running lately. As long as we’re on that subject, I’ll say that poor physical fitness destroys more guys’ hunts than just about anything else. 8- What archery gear do you use? SR- I shoot Mathews bows, and use components made by Schaffer Archery. For bowfishing, which I’m a big fan of, I use a lot of Cajun Archery gear. My favorite apparel for archery hunting is the merino wool stuff by First Lite It is super quiet and resists odor. I’m also a big fan of Vortex binoculars. They’re a great company and have a lot of great guys working for them. 9- What is the one thing you have to have on every hunt? SR- A hunting license! Besides that, I use a lot of gear pretty religiously. To name a couple items off the top of my head, I always have a multi-tool and a Havalon knife and a pair of binoculars. . 10- What game do you wish to hunt but never have? SR- For some reason I really want to hunt a warthog in Africa. They look tasty, and I’d like to have one of those skulls for my book shelf. 11- What game do you want to hunt again? SR- Dall sheep, again and again. Those animals get under your skin. A ram can take a blow to the head about 40 times greater than what is required to fracture a human skull. In other words, they are some tough critters. And I feel most at home in the rugged alpine zones, where you’re faced with constant danger. 12- What is the one thing regarding bowhunting you could do without? SR- I can’t think of any complaints that are particular to bowhunting. When it comes to hunting in general, I’d be really happy if guys who hunt fenced enclosures would quit calling it “hunting.” It’s more of a combination between farming and hunting, so why not combine those words and call it “harming?” 13- Choose 3 people to take on a hunt with you, 1 living, 1 deceased, and 1 non-hunter. Who would they be and why? SR- 1) Living: Jim Harrison. He’s my favorite writer and an avid hunter. If it wasn’t for his novels, I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today. 2) Deceased: Daniel Boone. That man took a lot of hunting secrets to his grave, and I’d love to spend a year or so with him back in the mid-1700s. 3) Nonhunter: The president. I’d like for him to see and understand what responsible hunting is all about. I’d want him to understand the reverence that hunters have for the land and the animals. 14- Do you have any superstitions or rituals that must be followed for each hunt or preparation? SR- I like to eat a meal from my kills while in the field. At the risk of sounding overly spiritual, it’s my way of showing the animal that it will be honored and used properly. 15- Any other hobbies you'd like to share with us? SR- I’m an avid fisherman, whether it’s halibut at my cabin in Alaska or bluegills from my mom’s dock with my little boy standing between my legs. 16- What is your favorite thing about archery or bowhunting? SR- Getting really close to big animals. 17- What do you dislike the most about archery or bowhunting? SR- Bad hits. 18- Ever have a hair-raising incident or scary situation occur while hunting? SR- Yes, many. I used to worry a lot about grizzlies, as I hunt Montana and Alaska pretty heavily. But now I relish those run-ins, as I enjoy being near the bears. In my old age (I’m 38), I’ve come to realize that the real dangers in the outdoors are things like getting too cold or slipping in steep country. That’s what I’m paying attention to nowadays. 19- What is one bit of advice you would give to a new or young bowhunter? SR- Eat your kill. It fosters a level of respect that will help you become a better hunter. 20- What are your bowhunting goals for the next year? SR- I want to kill a deer with my bow on a buddy’s property in New Jersey. And then I want to drive that deer through the Holland Tunnel into Manhattan and cook it at a really fancy restaurant. Serve it to people who have no idea about hunting. That’s how we win the war. I call it venison diplomacy. BA One of my “dream bow hunts” has long been a spot and stalk mule deer hunt set upon the rugged landscape of one of our beautiful western states. So, this year when I was invited to go with two friends on a DIY hunt in eastern Wyoming, I jumped at the chance. After applying for the tag in March, I had to wait until June to find out the results of the draw. Although previous years had resulted in a 100% success rate for applicants, I was still anxious until the results appeared on line and I saw that I had drawn a tag. The hunt had been scheduled to begin on opening day, September 1, 2012 with everyone arriving in Wyoming two days prior. This would allow time to acquire supplies, set up camp and do some preseason scouting. A vacation was planned to allow for 12 days of hunting, giving us a great amount of time to take a nice mulie with the bow. My two hunting buddies had been on several mule deer hunts in this area, but it would be my first spot and stalk bowhunt for the gray ghost in this unit. Being confident of us all drawing tags, I had begun preparations for the hunt months in advance. Knowing I would be hunting each day alone, I reviewed operation of my Garmin gps, had my bow tuned up at the pro shop, inventoried my hunting gear and began reading everything I could find about spot and stalk mule deer hunting with a bow. I also watched any TV show or video I could find about mule deer hunting. Along with this I began a rigorous exercise routine and began practicing with my bow for hours each week, shooting out to 70 yards. I did all my practicing using practice broadheads that represented the actual broadheads I would use on the hunt. All was looking great, and then the phone call came. One of my hunting partners called and the conversation began with this sentence: “Hey Man, I’ve got bad news…we didn’t get a tag.” I couldn’t believe it! I asked what happened and he told me the Wyoming Department of Wildlife had decided to cut back on the number of mule deer tags because of the severe drought and wildfires that had hammered the eastern part of the state this year. He told me they had tried to get an antelope tag, but they also were sold out because of cut backs. After trying everything, my friends were unable to acquire any type of tag applicable to the unit we had planned to hunt. As we finished our conversation, reality set in and I knew I was faced with a question, “Do I go alone or stay at home?” When a planned hunt goes from 3 people down to a solo hunter, a lot of questions arise. Logistics, finances, the camaraderie and the work load all come into play when deciding on going alone. After a couple of days making phone calls, working out some details and weighing out decisions, I decided to make the hunt alone and go at it aggressively. I flew into Denver on August 30th, rented a 4x4 vehicle and drove 4 hours to Douglas, Wyoming. I spent the night there, purchased supplies for about 5 days and drove on to the ranch the following morning. After being shown the boundaries of my (huge) hunting area, I found a small area of cottonwood trees and set up camp. With a few hours of daylight left, I scouted the area with the use of my Zeiss 10 x 42 binoculars and saw a few mule deer does. Soon the sun was setting on the vast prairie and it was time to eat a little supper, get some rest and be ready for opening day. My first night in camp was a very restless one. The wind blew hard against the tent walls and coyotes howling under a full moon, sounded like they were within 50 yards of camp. My wind up alarm clock went off at 3:45 am, waking me from a light sleep. The first thing I put on was my Buckmaster headlamp and under the green glow cast inside the dark tent, I began dressing in my Mossy Oak camo. Next I reached for my Cabela’s snake boots and shook them upside down just in case any crawling creature had camped out inside of them. Yep, there’s rattlesnakes living around the small patches of sage that grows on the Wyoming prairie. And I didn’t care to encounter one inside or outside my hunting boots. And, don’t forget about the cactus that waits for the opportunity to stick you anywhere it can. I carried camouflaged knee pads inside my backpack and they were a life saver for making a stalk across the open plains. Eating a light breakfast while making the 20 minute drive to my parking spot, I reviewed my mental plan for the first days’ hunt. I was going to make about a 45 minute hike to a mound of land that rose up in the open prairie and spend time glassing the surrounding area for a buck worthy of a stalk. Sitting in the dark on top of the little mountain for about 30 minutes gave me time to position a cushion between my bottom side and the rocky hillside, set up my spotting scope and ready my binoculars for a possible long set. I had read stories about mule deer hunters spending hours glassing, looking for a buck to show. I was also aware that the 90 degree temperatures plaguing the Wyoming prairie was going to drive the mule deer to shady bedding areas before the sun had a chance to rise very high in the beautiful blue western sky. As the skies turned from dark to a light gray, my first sighting was a group of elk including one 5 x 6 bull and 8 cows feeding about 700 yards in front of me. On both sides of the mound I sat on were many antelope feeding amidst the scattered sage. I thought at any minute I would hear the thunderous hooves of a thousand buffalo come charging over the hills with a band of Indians shooting arrows from the back of wild ponies. That vision may have come from reading too many Louis Lamour books, but the landscape sure fit the bill for such a western painting. Thirty minutes after light I saw my first mule deer buck which joined the herd of elk as they fed over a small green bench. My spotting scope proved this buck to be smaller than what I wished to pursue so I continued to glass. Moving to the eastern side of the mound I glassed across a thousand yards of open prairie looking for movement. The rising sun made it difficult to see clearly and as I thought I saw a deer size figure out about 800 yards, I had to make sure with my spotting scope. Through the sun’s glare it was impossible to see details of the bucks rack, but one thing was obvious. The buck had an impressively high rack and I was ready to make my first attempt at stalking a Wyoming mule deer. The sun was feeling warmer on my skin as I began my slow stalk that took me in a wide arch to the left of the buck. My decision to go left was based on the fact that a deep canyon lye to my left and the rising temperature would encourage the buck to head that way looking for a cool bedding spot. Bent over and making myself as small as possible, I walked slowly, stopping occasionally to glass the buck’s movement while hoping to cut him off before he made it to the canyon’s shade. Luckily the high rack became more visible as the Wyoming gray ghost began a lazy walk in my direction. Within two hundred yards of the canyon, I began crawling on hands and knees glad to be wearing the knee pads as I picked my way through small clumps of cactus. Using my range finder I kept tabs on the distance between myself and the buck. At 90 yards my heart was beating fast as I imagined myself getting within bow range of this beautiful buck. But, as I made my next move to inch closer, the buck jerked his head erect and stared a hole through me. There was no cover to hide behind except the sage brush that stood about 10 inches high. I froze with my head looking down hoping my camouflage would pull me through this difficult situation and the wind would continue to hit me in the face. I waited for the buck to bring my first stalk to an abrupt end, but amazingly he went back to feeding after a long stare. I didn’t move but let him feed by me, hopefully forgetting about the object lying on the open ground a short distance to his left. As the buck moved away from me I began crawling again. The dry landscape crunched as my shaking right hand supported my body and I slid the bow forward with my left hand. After another short crawl, the buck raised his head and looked back at me again. I knew I had pushed it to the limit and would be lucky to ever draw my bow. When the buck turned and began walking away I quickly came to my knees, ranged the distance at 61 yards and drew my Mathews bow. The white wrap on the arrow shaft disappeared in the bucks’ left flank and the arrow exited the opposite side passing through the liver. The buck ran about 10 yards then walked 500 yards across the dry plains before disappearing into the dark canyon. I walked to the arrow and confirmed the hit then sat down to collect my thoughts. I decided to wait 45 minutes before looking for sign of the buck. It was 8:30 am when I made the shot. At 10:30 am I found the buck bedded against the opposite side of the winding canyon 250 yards north of where he entered it. Using my binoculars I spotted one side of the bucks’ rack before fully exposing my body. Now I had to back out and make a hike to the other side of the canyon and try for a shot straight down on the bedded buck. One hour later I was placing my boots as softly as possible on the rocky dry ledge overlooking the buck bedded 15 yards straight down. Drawing my bow and bending my body for the most acute downward shot I’ve ever taken, the arrow struck the deer behind the left shoulder and the buck exploded out of his bed and down the narrow canyon out of sight. Again I sat down and waited as the adrenalin drained from my body and fatigue sat in. I felt good about the shot, but waited another 30 minutes before moving in the bucks’ direction. One hundred and twentyfive yards down the canyon I found the beautiful velvet racked mule deer lying beneath one of only a few pine trees found growing in the rocky landscape. I could not believe this hunt had come together as it did. I thanked the Lord for my wonderful success and thought about my understanding wife as I sat there holding the bucks high rack. It had been only 52 hours since I left my home in North Carolina and one of the biggest decisions about making this hunt happen had been, “go alone….or stay at home.” BA Equipment used on this hunt: Mathews Z7 Extreme bow, Scott release, Montana Black Gold sights, QAD rest, V Force Victory arrows, Rage 2 bladed broadheads, Zeiss binoculars, Nikon’s Archers Choice range finder, Garmin gps, Primos backpack, Nikon spotting scope, Cabela’s Alaskan Guide tent, Cabela’s snake boots, Mossy Oak camo, Canon Power Shot sx 120 camera Willie Urish @outdoorfreaks I am an outdoor junkie who is enthralled with hunting and fishing. From an early age I joined my father on hunting and fishing trips around our home state of Illinois, and 13 short years ago our family purchased out own hunting property. We have since sold it and purchased a bigger piece, which luckily is where I currently call home. We have also added another family farm, in western Illinois. I make a living helping run a small manufacturing plant near Springfield, Illinois. I am in charge of sales, marketing and all media actions that the company does, and could not enjoy it more. It allows me the flexibility to take short trips throughout the year to scratch the itch of hunting and fishing. I am extremely excited to be apart of the Huntography family, and really appreciate the grassroots vibe that is stands for. Early November can't come soon enough, as I have thought about my Huntography hunt everyday since Rudy asked me way back this past Spring. It is such a joy to be apart of the Huntography folks, who exude the pragmatic part of hunting that is missing in today’s hunting world. Mark Huelsing @soleadventure When I was young my brother and I used to spend weekends "in the country" at my Grandparent's property. Their single-wide trailer, which sat in a 3 acre cut, was our home base of operations for adventures that included catching crawdads in the creek, shooting cans off the fence posts, and fishing for largemouth in the farm ponds. Just down the gravel road from my Grandpa’s property was Charlie’s house. I still remember the day that I – armed with my Grandpa’s .410 shotgun – crossed the electric fence that set the perimeter around Charlie’s cattle and crossed into a heavily timbered hollow. It was then, and there, that I became a hunter. Hunting was set by the wayside as I transitioned from childhood and in to my teen years, when I became more interested in playing sports and chasing girls than I was with pursuing wild game. But after high school I was drawn back to my roots…back to the woods. Several years ago I picked up my first bow and the casual hobby of hunting morphed into an intense passion for hunting animals with archery equipment. Now I like to say that, “I am just a regular guy with an irregular passion for bowhunting.” I love to share my passion for bowhunting with others through writing. I blog at SoleAdventure.com, have a weekly column at WiredToHunt.com, and also contribute to the Driftwood Outdoors and Bow Adventures magazines. Jessie Coe @bowhuntercoe I'm a country boy that loves hunting. I'm young and have a LOT to learn. I also love sharing passion for hunting. As I go through life learning all new kinds of stuff, I try and teach what I have learned to young teens like myself. I have been blessed by Yahweh in my efforts. He has put me in positions that most kids my age could only dream of. My father, mother, and my two oldest brothers moved down to West Virginia from Michigan in 1990 to pastor a small Baptist church here in Morgantown, where he still pastors today. My dad was the one that had first took me into the rugged hills of West Virginia. Looking back at the videos we have, I know where my passion for hunting came from. Justin Morrell @foggymtnmeander Hey everyone! I am Justin Morell and I am from West Virginia. I grew up in rural Preston County and currently use my family’s land there to hunt. I recently moved to Morgantown, WV, about 45 minutes from my hunting spot. I recently got married to the woman of my dreams and she only helps fuel my love for the outdoors daily. Even with the move most of my free time in the fall is spent in a tree stand in Preston County, WV. Actually, I can’t lie, most of my free time is spent in the woods of Preston County prepping, running trail cameras and scouting for the upcoming season. I’d love to tell you I have been hunting my whole life, but I haven’t. I grew up hunting with my grandfather and uncle but I “took a break” during those middle/high school years. Thanks to a few great friends I found my way back to the woods again after high school and since then I haven’t stopped. At the beginning of this journey, I started my blog, Foggy Mountain Meanderings, to help chronicle these adventures. Hunting, in recent years, has become more than a hobby, it has become an obsession. There is nothing like watching that first light peak through the forest and silhouette the frost covered mountains making the woods come alive. To me hunting isn’t just about the kill; it is about the whole experience. The first picture is a picture is with my first bow kill this past 2011 WV archery season. The second is a picture of the largest buck I have killed to date. Both were taken on Foggy Mountain. Blog: Foggy Mountain Meanderings - Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging West Virginia. http://www.foggymountainmeanderings.com/ Facebook: Foggy Mountain Meanderings http://www.facebook.com/FoggyMountainMeanderings Randy R. Mabe (336)908-0699 HuntRMabe@aol.com www.BroadheadKennels.com SPOTLIGHT: ROB FREYER @BIGBUCKPW A Year of Thirty I’ll Never Forget Hunting season for most of us is that time of year we’re always waiting for, and that time of year that gives us those memories that last a lifetime. Well the 2011-2012 hunting season certainly wasn’t short on those as it was the year I successfully harvested 30 whitetail deer. This was no small feat as I had to travel to several different states, log tons of hours in stand, be persistent, and stay motivated. At certain points of my journey I wasn’t sure I would make it, but the constant motivation from my family, friends, and social media was more than enough to help me accomplish my goal. My journey to thirty began in South Carolina at Buck Run Hunting Lodge as the season opens on August 15th down there. I have been going to Buck Run for the past three seasons, and this year will be my fourth. Pete and Sandra Simmons own and operate Buck Run, and have become good friends of mine, so traveling down to SC is more than just a hunt, it’s a time to reminisce with good friends, and more good times. Last year was no different than prior years, everything was great, and time was going by way to fast as usual, but on my final evening hunt there was some magic in the air. It was a full moon that Heading home from that trip was easy as I day so to better my odds, I got the guys to drop was riding high on adrenaline from a hunt of a me off in stand at noon, I am always one that lifetime if you ask me. I couldn’t be happier likes to play the odds. Now keep in mind it was 95 degrees when I got dropped off, and it didn’t cool off for a long time, but I was determined to get my buck. After about 6 long hrs, I finally started to see some deer move, a few does, then some bucks, but I was waiting for that velvet trophy I so desired. As I watched the corn field in front of me, I saw a buck stand up, then another, and another, and before I knew it I had about 20 bucks standing in front of me about 200 yards away. I cautiously hurried to pick out what I thought was the biggest one, placed my crosshairs and pulled the trigger. Deer scattered everywhere as I came down off the recoil, and I had no idea if I hit the deer or not. As I watched the deer empty the field, the last buck was moving a little slower than the others, and didn’t go in the same direction, could it be? YES, I had finally done it, I put a trophy velvet buck on the ground. than I was after harvesting a beautiful velvet 10 point. Already on the ride home I was putting together plans for my hunting at home, coming up with strategies, and deciding which deer I wanted to go after. Keep in mind that it was only August 18th and Maryland’s season didn’t open until September 15th so I had plenty of time to prepare. I already had two bucks on the hit list, and my goal was to have them figured out by opening day. It’s now September 15th, opening day in Maryland for the 2011 season, and I’m on my way to one of my hunting spots in Annapolis, MD. Not my ideal spot for big bucks, but I was on a mission to harvest a doe, and I wanted to scout for one of my big boys on a close property after the morning hunt. As it got day break I had 3 does feed into range, and I successfully harvested one of them completing my goal for the morning. I got the doe to the truck, and headed down the road to my other spot so I could check out what was going on. I carefully slipped down into the woods to check my camera as I had been monitoring the place regularly, and to my surprise the big 8 point I’d seen earlier in the year was still in the area. Mental note, I need an east wind to hunt that spot, and that’s not an easy wind to come by. As the next few days went by, I was also keeping track of another buck I had been watching all summer on another farm in Baltimore County, called The Big 7. He had been very visible all summer long, as I caught him movements on trail cameras, video, and even glassed him a few times. In between doing all this I managed to take a few more doe, and waited patiently for the right conditions to go after either of my hit list bucks. September 20th blew in on an east wind, and I almost fell apart as I knew I would finally get my chance to go after the big 8 point buck. Somehow I had to figure out how to make it through the work day without falling apart. I started the day with a scent free shower, some coffee, and lots of motivation because I had an appointment with the woods that afternoon. As the day progressed I kept an eye on the temperature as I was praying it didn’t warm up too much. I’m sure you know what I mean when I say the day couldn’t end quick enough, but it finally did as I found myself parked at my spot, changing clothes at my door. Yes, I had to do what I had to do, and that is to take a scent shower with a spray bottle. I gathered my gear up, and slowly headed down into the bottom where my camera had been capturing all the action, but this time it would be me. It was around 80 degrees that day, not too bad, but I still had to be careful to not get sweated up as I climbed the tree. I spent nearly a half an hour setting up, so not to make the warmth my enemy. As the temperatures started to fall, the deer began to move off the ridge from where they bed. First I had a few doe come by, then a spike, and a few smaller bucks but not what I was looking for. After watching the deer for around 20 minutes one of the small bucks threw his head up as he caught something on the ridge. I stared hard, and could see feet walking my way, and as they got closer I could see antler, BIG antler. Wow, it was him, and he was coming right for me. I grabbed my bow, positioned myself on stand, and waited for my moment. He slowly but surely made his way down the hill, but as older, wiser bucks do they never come all the way in. He got to the base of the hill in all his glory lifting his head to try and catch a scent that wasn’t right, but not on this day cause I had waited for the perfect wind, and no matter what he did nothing could save him now. As he fed around the other deer, I watched and waited for my shot, not only did I have to watch him I had to pay attention to the half dozen other deer that were around. This buck only fed for a few minutes, and began to make his retreat, so it was now or never. As he turned to walk away, I slowly came to full draw, lined the pin up on his side, and very softly bleated at him. He stopped quartering away and in that split second my pin found his last rib, and my finger pulled the trigger. My arrow plunged deep into his chest, and I knew it was over long before he could have even realized what had happened. I watched him make his way back up the ridge, but the mighty king expired about 60 yards away. What a hunt, all the scouting, checking cameras, waiting for ideal conditions, well it had all just paid off. So it was September 20th and I now had 4 deer down only 6 days into the season. In Maryland in my region you have to shoot 2 doe before you can purchase and harvest another buck, so that is exactly what I did. I belong to a management association in Maryland called Tri-County Deer Management Association and it is our job to manage the deer population for people that give us the opportunity to hunt. Being in the association provides me with lots of properties to hunt and lots and lots of opportunities to shoot more doe. So I was off, doing what I do best, harvesting deer, scouting for bucks, and harvesting more deer. My focus was of course the Big 7 point, one of my hit list bucks. In between all my doe slaying, I didn’t lose focus and I still kept checking my trail cameras trying to pin point this big guy. It all came down to an evening sit, actually it was just a quick hunt in the field as I was hung up after work. I was hunting from a tree in the middle of a horse pasture, so it was ok to arrive late. This would turn out to be one of my best last minute decisions I’ve ever made. As I was getting settled into my stand, I look across the field to the upper field, and there he was, the Big 7. He had come out of the woods right where I had a ladder stand placed along the field edge. Check mate, I knew where I would be hunting the next evening. The next morning as I awoke the first thing I did was check the wind direction to make sure I could hunt the Big 7, and yes it was perfect. As the work day drug on all I could do was picture how I hoped the hunt to go. Finally the day was over and I had a date with the woods. I arrived to my property with a light rain coming down, so I quickly got my gear together and hurried to stand as I was a bit worried the rain would make the deer move earlier. While setting up, and preparing for my sit I happen to notice movement in the woods, and to my disbelief it was the Big 7, he was up moving already, and I wasn’t even set up completely. I watched as he did his thing, and as he fed off, I quickly finished getting ready, pulled my bow up, and prepared myself mentally for what the night might have in store for me. I was hunting the edge of a field, so I grabbed my rangefinder to check some distances as judging distance in a field can be very deceiving. I distinctly remember scanning a clump of grass at 54 yards on the nose, and a few others that stuck out to me. I was ready and the wait was on, I was almost certain I would see the Big 7 again before the night was over. It wasn’t long before I saw my first deer, it was s few doe across the field in the thicket, then I had a few small bucks come out right under me and they began feeding in the field along with the doe. As I watched the deer in the field out popped the Big 7 from the wood line about 45yds away. Immediately my heart started pounding, and my hands started sweating, so I had to talk myself down, and focus on the task at hand. As I managed to get control of myself, the Big 7 bedded down in the field, what nerve, how could he do this now. Well I just stood there watching, locked and loaded and ready to go. A half hour later he finally got up and began to feed again, slowly moving out in the field, but as he moved my direction he was also getting farther at the same time. I watched and repositioned as I needed to, being as stealthy as I could so I didn’t get seen by him or the other deer in the field. I was surrounded, and now I had two small bucks within 5 yards under my stand. I was waiting for my moment, as daylight was fading fast, and as I watched him he ended up standing right on that clump of grass I ranged earlier. I glassed the field, and verified the other deer were not looking, so I slowly drew my bow back, took aim, and put my 50 yd pin right behind his shoulder. I took a deep breath, and as I exhaled I slowly pulled the trigger releasing the arrow at the old brute. Seconds after the shot, he dropped a little, turned and bolted out of there. I watched him run down the field and disappear into the woods, still unsure about the shot. The shot felt good, but at that moment, that’s all I could tell myself. I gathered my gear, climbed down, and hurried over to that clump of grass 54 yards away. After looking around that clump of grass for about 15-20 minutes and no blood, I began scanning the field as I tried to follow his path as he ran off. Still nothing, and now it was dark, so I got out my flashlight, and began zig sagging across the field as I headed back to my grass clump. BINGO, I got blood, yes I was so excited, but didn’t forget to carefully examine the blood. The blood was a nice bright red, with lots of bubbles, so this told me it was a vital hit, and the search was on. After approximately 125 yards of search through briars, and crawling through thickets, there he was, a true monarch. I had done it, it was September 30 and I had two of my hit list bucks down, and the Big 7 was my 7th deer of the season so far. As if things couldn’t get any better, I had three trophy quality bucks down, and four doe, but I now come to the most exciting part of my story. In just a few weeks I had Rudy with Huntography coming to film me, for the Season 2 of Deer Tour. From the moment I met Rudy until he asked me to be part of Deer Tour I felt humbled to know such an amazing individual, and to be part of something so special. My goal from this point on was to prepare for the arrival of Mr. Huntography, a guy I feel so blessed to be able to call my friend. I spent the next couple weeks checking cameras, scouting fields, and doing everything I could do to ensure Rudy and I had the best hunt possible. I did take a quick detour for Maryland’s early muzzleloader season and harvested another doe. So it’s now October 25th, I got juicy backstraps on the grill, and I’m anxiously waiting for Rudy’s arrival. This man Rudy, what a champ he is, going from state to state filming people non-stop, not getting any rest, yet he just kept going and going. I’ve yet to meet someone else so determined to make their dream a reality, but I can tell you this, if anyone can do, believe Rudy will make it happen. It got to be around 9:30pm, and Rudy finally showed up, as I was getting worried my man might be having problems. I ran outside to greet the man I had talked to so much via Twitter and over email but hadn’t yet met. Our meeting was like two old friends getting together after years, I felt like I had known him for years, and I did my best to make him as though he was home. After our greeting, and helping him unpack his gear and get everything in the house we sat down for dinner, and I went over the plan for the am hunt. The next morning came quick, but much quicker for Rudy, no the less, he got his gear together quickly, and we were off, cameras rolling. We made our way into the woods, got set up, and just waited for the sun to rise. We heard several deer move on through in the dark, so I myself was ready to explode as I was so excited to be filmed by Rudy, I couldn’t wait for daylight. As light broke, we could see deer feeding around, but nothing in range, until a piebald spike walked right in to 10 yards and just stood there and fed. I was torn as I knew Rudy wanted me to shoot, and I had never shot a piebald, but he was only a spike, and I just couldn’t do it after all the years of management I had put into my property. A little while later we had some doe fed on through but again, just couldn’t get a good shot so I decided to not let an arrow fly. An hour after all the deer movement ceased we headed out to grab some breakfast. After some much needed rest we headed back out for our evening hunt over my food plot. Not long after getting set up the deer begin to pour onto the field. We had deer everywhere, except where we could shoot them. The majority of the deer were making their way onto the field at the far end of the food plot, and then we had a very nice buck step out as well. We were so occupied watching those deer we didn’t notice the deer that had popped out 10 yards away right below us. I motioned to Rudy, he saw the deer and got into position. When I knew he was ready, I drew my bow, doubled checked with him, and released my arrow. The lighted nock immediately showed up the hit was good, and we watched the deer run off to only drop no more than 70 yards from where I shot her. I can’t even explain the feeling of accomplishment I had, to harvest a deer on Deer Tour with Rudy filming was just unprecedented. We got down, thanked god for such a great experience, and then went to recover the deer. I can’t thank Rudy enough for an experience I will never forget. Keep your eyes open for Huntography, this movement is going to change what you know about hunting, I can promise you that. Not long after Rudy left I was back on a tear whacking and stacking doe after doe until it was time to leave for my trip to Bone Yard Outfitters in IL. We headed out of town on November 10th hoping to catch the rut in full swing in the Midwest, definitely one of my dream hunts. I left the great state of Maryland with 12 deer under my belt, and not very happy that my first IL deer was going to be unlucky number 13. Hunting in IL was slow that week, as the temps were up a bit, and the majority of the deer movement was happening at night. I continued to hunt hard all night, and I even hunted a couple mid-days sits since the rut was on and you never know what’s going to happen. Finally toward the end of the week some cooler air moved in but I only had one day left. Unfortunately the cooler air didn’t help my cause, and I was unsuccessful on my last day in IL. Feeling pretty down, I was completely surprised as our outfitter graciously offered us one more day on him, as he felt bad the conditions were so bad. I was so pumped I could hardly sleep that night, even though I was up at 3am every morning that week, my adrenaline had me on fire. Getting up that next morning was easier than every other that week, as I was determined to get my buck. The morning hunt was slow, only seeing a few doe and some small bucks, it was up to me to make it happen on my second last evening hunt. I hurried through lunch as I wanted to get back on stand ASAP, I needed every advantage I could get. After being dropped off at my evening spot, I carefully examined the area, picked my spot and made my way to the tree I wanted. I carefully and quietly put my stand on the tree, and began my climb. I had to be as quiet as possible as I was in a funnel along a creek bottom between three bedding areas all leading to a corn field behind me. While setting up, I had just pulled my bow up, and was in the process of bringing my camera up I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. It was a doe making her way toward the creek, and oh yeah there was a buck behind her, and a pretty nice one at that. The doe hit the creek, and followed it away from me, and of course the buck followed. Not good, I immediately began grunting at him, which he didn’t like, but still wouldn’t come my way. I then began snort wheezing at him, followed by a sequence of grunts, it definitely caught his attention but still nothing, he did not want to leave his doe. This went on for 15 minutes, and being the last night I had nothing to lose so I kept getting louder and louder. Finally this buck couldn’t take it anymore, and turned my way, hair standing on his back, he marched toward me. It was one incredible site, just like something you’ve seen on TV. This buck had enough, and was making his way toward me looking for a fight. He made it down into the creek bed, and disappeared for a minute, so I grabbed my bow, and positioned myself for the shot. I stared down in the creek just waiting for him to appear, and all of a sudden I saw antlers coming up out of the creek. He was definitely coming, and as I watched him come out of the creek my knees started shaking. This buck walked up to within 10 yards, but he was quartering on to me, and I didn’t really have a shot. Luckily for me, he turned around to look for his doe, which gave me the perfect opportunity to pick my shot. I drew my bow, and placed my pin tightly right behind the shoulder, and fired. The arrow slammed into the buck, and he took off with half the arrow sticking out. My initial instinct wasn’t good, as I thought I hit the shoulder, and just as I was about to get sick he stopped about 50 yards away, and started looking around. Strange I thought, and just as I got really worried he started wobbling and then fell over. I was over joyed with emotion as I started fist bumping the air several times. What a feat, I couldn’t believe I had made it happen on my last chance second last night. When you get a second chance, stay positive, and you can always make the best of any situation. As far as I was concerned I was already having the best season possible, and there was really nothing I could do to make it any better. My passion for hunting had brought me to a point I had never been to before, so I just wanted to keep going and going. Some of my friends had mentioned earlier in the season about shooting 30 deer, and had I ever done it before. I hadn’t really thought about it till that moment in time. I manage five different properties, and there were a lot of deer around, so I made my mind up, that is what I was going to do, go for thirty. My quest was on, and I was hunting as much as I could, making the best out of every hunt, and having the time of my life. I still had a few shooter bucks on my mind, not to mention a tag left, but the possibility of seeing them that time of year was pretty low. I kept my focus on harvesting doe at every chance I had, and the numbers were really starting to add up. One particular hunt that comes to mind on my quest to thirty is a New Year’s Eve hunt because I promised a whole group of people fresh venison for the New Year’s Eve party. I had one particular spot that I had been watching a group of doe on the camera, and I hadn’t messed with them for weeks. I got up that morning, verified the weather was good, and I was off. I got in extra early to make sure not to spook anything, and yes it was time for a nap, after I tied in first of course. As the sun started cracking through the woods, I caught movement down in the bottom as some deer were heading my way. As they got closer I could tell it was a few large doe, so I grabbed my bow and got ready for battle. The doe eased their way my direction looking and sniffing all the way, as with most deer that time of year they were on full alert. I had the perfect wind so no worries there, it just took some time before these smart ole girls got into range. I waited and waited so they would calm down, and I would be able to get a good shot. Finally after what seemed hours I had my shot, so with all their heads down I drew my bow, picked out the biggest one, and released my arrow. The arrow disappeared into the deer and buried itself in the ground before she knew what hit her. She turned and ran the direction she came, and I heard her crash not far at all. As quick as that happened, I heard some other deer running my direction, and before I knew it they were standing right under me. I was dumbfounded at how this all came about, never the less I grabbed another arrow, and repeated what I had done just a few moments before. That deer ran up the other direction and out of site but this time I heard nothing even though I know I made a good shot. Wow, had this really happened, a double on New Year’s Eve, could this get any better. I gathered my gear, and got down to recover the first deer. As I followed the blood trail on the second I soon knew why I didn’t hear her crash, as I found her laying in my landowners front yard next to the driveway. To say the least that was an easy recovery. Now the work was ahead of me as I had to turn those deer into tenderloin for the grill. My hunt that morning, and the overwhelming gratitude for the venison at the party made it one of the best New Year’s I’ve ever had. It was now January, one month exactly left of the season, and I had 24 deer under my belt. I kept plugging away, and the deer kept falling, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29 all seemed to go down with no problem at all. So what always happens when you’re trying to accomplish a goal, you know it never comes easy, and it sure as heck didn’t come easy for me. All I needed was one deer, with almost two weeks left, and I just couldn’t get it done. My quest for thirty had brought me to the very last day of the season, and I was so nervous as I had come all this way and I truly wanted to accomplish my goal. The morning was slow that day, so I found myself in a last chance situation once again, but now I could really feel the pressure. I had the last evening planned with my buddy Tim, which was great as he was one of my biggest supporters during my quest. We enjoyed a good lunch together and then headed over the property to get ready for the last hunt of the 2011-2012 season. I put Tim in one of my best stands, but I went where I knew I had the best shot and it was the same place as my New Year’s Eve glory had taken place. Once set in our stands, we were so pumped we spent the next hour text messaging each other, anticipating the evenings action. Things got quiet, I hadn’t heard from Tim for a while, and nothing was going on my way either then all of a sudden my phone vibrated. DEER DOWN, DEER DOWN is what I saw when I checked my message. My man Tim had gotten it done, and I was so stoked for him, I almost forgot for a minute my dilemma. I gave Tim a quick call, and congratulated him on his deer, and told him to go ahead and get the deer out of the woods, that I’d just meet him at the truck. At this point I was starting to lose light but not my spirits; I hung tight hoping for the best. The next thing I knew I was looking at movement down through the woods, could it be, oh yeah it was deer moving my way. The sight of those deer was an instant charge in my system, I was up and boy was I ready. There were two doe heading my way, and this time there was nothing to decide, whoever presented the first shot was getting it. The lead doe made her way into the opening, and as soon as she wasn’t looking I quickly drew my bow back, legs trembling and all. As I placed my pin behind her shoulder, I thanked god for that moment, and then let my arrow fly. Perfect shot, broadside through both lungs, and she didn’t make it 50 yards and as I watched her go down I knew I my quest was over. I immediately called Tim, but I was so pumped I’m sure he could of heard me from the parking area phone or no phone. I was honored to share that moment with Tim cause nothing makes the outdoors any better than family, and friends. It’s been really hard to put into words all the feelings, emotions, and frustrations that I dealt with over the 5 months it took me to achieve my goal. It was a long hard road I traveled to put 30 deer on the ground, but the feeling of accomplishment I had was second to none. Shane Muller @smuller8 My name is Shane Muller, and ever since I can remember I have spent my life in the outdoors. I live in a small town called Elkton in Cecil County Maryland. My Dad and two grandfathers have hunted since they were young kids, and they have passed the tradition on to me. Ever since I was 4 my dad has let me join him in the woods. I have hunted a lot of animals from Pheasants to Ducks and Geese, to Turkeys and Deer. But without my dad getting me involved at such an early age I wouldn’t have had all those amazing opportunities. Up until this past year I was able to go out every weekend and hunt, but this past year was my first year in college. And being away from home made it challenging to get out. But I made it all work and spent a lot of wonderful time in the woods. I even harvested a nice buck this past season! I would say that my favorite part about hunting is not just killing an animal, but how relaxed and stress-free I feel in the woods. Also how relaxing it is to be in a tree stand to watch the sun rise on a crisp November morning. That is the real joy in hunting I believe, spending the day outdoors with friends and family. Nothing is better than that. I think that if someone has the opportunity to spend a day in the woods, you should take it. Even if you don’t see deer or kill anything, you still get the rush of being a part of something that has gone on for centuries and being a part of the outdoors. I love the outdoors, and I will continue to hunt until for the rest of my life. I would like to thank my dad, Jeff Muller, Rudy from Huntography and Bow Adventures for providing opportunities like these. Facebook: Shane Muller, http://www.facebook.com/shane.muller.18 And search for Whitetail Chasers TV on facebook for my teams page! Blog: http://wtcoutdoorstv.blogspot.com/ Whitetail Chasers TV Will Jenkins I'm more than excited to be on yet another season of Huntography. I'm just a regular guy who start out blogging at TheWilltoHunt.com and was blessed to have Rudy come out last year and follow me around in the woods. I hunt some private land here in Central Virginia where I live with my wife and 2 kids (with a 3rd on the way!). This year I've also started hunting a few spots in Maryland. I was recently selected to be a @thewilltohunt Staff Blogger for PSE Archery which is a really exciting to be a part of. You can see my posts over there weekly. I'm also the Managing Editor for Virginia Huntography. As you can imagine I mostly bow hunt but do break out the gun every once in a while during gun season. I grew up gun hunting and only started bow hunting about 4 years ago. I've really come to enjoy hunting deer in the early season here in Virginia when they are nearly as pressured as they are during gun season which allows people to run deer dogs. My season has started great with a deer down in Maryland already and can't wait for the season to get rolling here in Virginia. In just over a month I'll be meeting up with Rudy and hunting with fellow Virginia Huntographer Zac Stovall in the western part of Virginia. It's ridiculous how excited I am to hunt out there. I've always wanted to hunt the mountains of Virginia and I finally get to do it and one film with some good friends. Zac Stovall @ekrawler Born and raised in the small town of Glade Spring, Virginia, I developed a passion for the outdoors at a very young age. My family owned a few farms and I there was nothing I loved more than riding my 4-wheeler down to the river to fish for whatever would bite, coon hunting until the sun came up and most importantly chasing whitetails in the Appalachian Mountains. When I turned 18, I made a decision to leave the mountains I grew up in and entered the Air Force. After a 6-year enlistment and no idea where my life would go, I heard the mountains calling my name and I decided to return to my homeland. As of now, I live in Blacksburg, VA where I am currently a student at Virginia Tech and will be graduating this December with a degree in journalism. Luckily when I moved to Blacksburg in 2010 I was able to rent a house in the heart of the New River Valley that has allowed me to reconnect with my hunting and fishing roots. Behind my house there is a tract of property that I am allowed to hunt and have seen some of the biggest bucks of my life. When I’m not in the woods or on the New River, I can be found exploring the outdoor possibilities in the southern Appalachian region through and documenting my adventures through blogging, photography and online videos. Blogger -> www.feeldtrips.com Adam Kujacznski @firstlightgear Adam “Opie” Kujacznski has been living as an outdoorsman since he was able to first wield a BB gun at the age of 8 years old. For the 20 years since then he has been living out his passion as a hunter and fisherman around the United States. From his die hard passion as a Whitetail and predator hunter in the midwest to his transient lifestyle as a fly fishing bum in the summers “Opie” is a quintessential outdoorsman. “The essence of being outdoors pursuing my passions is the relationships that i build along the way and the experiences I get to share with the people i care about” says Kujacznski. “The other aspect that i truly enjoy is participating in a sustainable lifestyle...living off the land, feeding my family and taking only what i need to survive from this great planet of ours. There is a responsibility to conserve the things you love when you are an outdoorsman and that adds a level of duty to all of us who calls ourselves outdoorsmen and women.? Adam is a seasoned Whitetail hunter and can be found throughout the fall up in his treestand with his bow chasing monster whitetail bucks. During the winter months he spends every spare minute preying on the predators of Michigan. He is also a committed steelheader and fly fisherman and can usually be found on the Pere Marquette river casting flies for Trout and Salmon. Gmail: firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.com YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/FirstLightGear Website: www.firstlightgear.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/firstlightgear SPOTLIGHT: NICK VIAU @NICK_VIAU Huntography: A Stickbow Hunter’s Perspective I stumbled upon the making of Huntography Season Two on Twitter last year without any prior knowledge as to what it was. I noticed that several of my closest Tweeps were using the #DeerTour hashtag frequently, so I began using it to be social. I assumed it was some kind of ongoing hunting conversation. When I realized it was a guy named Rudy (@huntography) traveling all over the country, filming non-professional fair chase hunters, I became addicted. I followed every moment of it from that point on. The concept seemed to spread beyond the documentary itself. I began sharing the progress of my hunts, and others began sharing theirs as well, regardless of being in the documentary or not. Ultimately, it didn’t matter, which is the beauty of the product. It is an ongoing, reality hunting movement, not just a documentary. I wanted in, and was initially thrilled when asked. Moments later, reality set in, and I wanted to back out of the whole thing entirely. That was months ago, and I’m still feeling twinges of anxiety as our scheduled November 16th date creeps closer. There are plenty of reasons to justify the anxiety. I’ve always been a little hesitant when it comes to sharing things about myself with other people. Hiding behind this keyboard is one thing, film is something else entirely. Huntography fans will be meeting me face-toface and vice versa. You are going to get all of me, bad or good. I do not act well enough to reflect anything otherwise. What scares me more than anything is my choice of gear. Not because of its lack of efficiency – hunters have been proving the opposite for centuries – but because of the community behind it. I am a traditional bowhunter, and to say we are underrepresented in today’s hunting media would be an understatement. Diehard fans clamber for a glimpse of a stick and stringer on their television screen. Should one of us find ourselves on an outdoor program, it sets the entire traditional community abuzz in a matter of minutes. I’ll have to contend with that, and hope I give them something positive to chatter about. Then there is the matter of preparation, or my lack of thus far. One would think I would be making plans, prepping gear, scouting, building blinds, and hanging stands; routine things everyone is doing this time of year. I have done very little in that regard aside from selecting my hunting bow, prepping my arrows, and shooting regularly. Life, in the form of a busy work schedule, my brother’s wedding, a family reunion, a busy two-yearold, a complicated pregnancy, and the recent birth of my second daughter has proven too much for me to balance with hunting. Others may be able to do it, and with busier schedules. I haven’t quite got it figured out yet. I guess I’ll need a few years of practice. Truth be told, I don’t obsess about the season as much as most. I got into this to shoot my bow, and get away from the hustle and bustle of modern society. I find my heart thumps a little bit harder, and I am more alert if the whereabouts of game is unknown. I hunt several different Michigan locations throughout the year, all of which are different scenarios entirely, so mystery is commonplace for me. I’ve come to embrace it. Scouting wouldn’t help me as far as Huntography is concerned anyway. I’m hunting with a friend on land that is unfamiliar to me, and during Michigan’s rifle season, so all bets are off. It is fixing to be a whole lot of fun regardless. I have no doubt the company I’ll be keeping will make sure of that. But let’s park my anxieties on the shelf before you get the wrong idea. I want you to understand how utterly ecstatic I am to be a part of this. Having a stickbow hunter on the tour is awesome. It is good for traditional bowhunting, and it is good for Huntography. In fact, the pairing of the two makes perfect sense, as they share a focus on the hunter and the pure hunting experience, rather than the kill itself. They are also both refreshingly minimalist in their design and approach. One of my favorite aspects of traditional bowhunting is the do it yourself element it celebrates. The absence of large camera crews and elaborate production gives Huntography the same vibe: a man grabbed his camera and set out to film hunters. I love that aspect of it, and hope it never changes. There is nothing wrong with professional hunters or their productions there is just plenty of them. I want Huntography to remain different. Could Rudy have found a more efficient stick flinger than yours truly? Absolutely, I know several who are better hunters with better hunting situations, but the point of the tour is to showcase the average hunter. I hit the bullseye in that regard. We have our share of accomplished bowmen writing books and making videos, but traditional bowhunting needs guys like me to show that it is possible to obtain traditional gear, become proficient with it, and have an adventure. If anything, I’m living proof of that. If I can accomplish one goal through Huntography, it is to show how enjoyable, fulfilling, and obtainable hunting with traditional bows can be. Given the opportunity, I may be able to demonstrate how lethal they are as well. I encourage you to tune in this November to see the results. Follow me (@Nick_Viau), Rudy (@huntography), Opie (@firstlightgear), and the rest of the Huntography family on Twitter or Facebook to share our experiences in real time. You’ll be a part of the conversation before you know it. You may even be a future huntographer. Facebook: www.facebook.com/lifeandlongbows Website/Blog: www.lifeandlongbows.com Where I hunt: Cheboygan, Michigan and Grand Rapids/Rockford Michigan (state land) Don Romig @iowabowguy A Pennsylvania native I began my hunting career in the Keystone State back in '83. Annual trips to the mountain counties for the rifle seasons quickly led to a desire for me to extend my deer hunting opportunities. I picked up a bow in '85 at age 15 and an addiction was born! In 2006 my employer offered me a career opportunity in the great state of Iowa. We moved out in July and never looked back. Shortly after relocating I purchased a small piece of whitetail heaven! Some heavily timbered ground with stream, pond, lots of cover and plenty of acorn factories. It even has a perfect interior location where I planted a foodplot. To date my wife and I are still adjusting to the laid back way of life here in Iowa. The many great hunting opportunities IA has to offer has made the transition well worth the adjustment in my book. My wife Dena and I currently live in Council Bluffs, IA. I bow hunt as often as possible for whitetails and usually take 2 weeks of vacation from work during the bow season to chase big bucks. Dena likes to chase turkeys and is considering taking up a shotgun for the first time during this years deer season. What I find most exhilerating about bowhunting is the chase leading up to the kill. I'm consumed with all of my preparation from late winter to early fall. When things finally come together on a crisp November morning time stands still! I live for those moments. BA Bill Howard Hogs are smart compared to other animals, they are observant, and when cornered, they fight. Just a few years ago I was trying to set up a dog hunt for wild boar in the mountains near the Tennessee state line. After talking to several hunting clubs, guides, and groups, most said they would not go after hogs on purpose. Finally, one person who lived in Tennessee but had a guide license in North Carolina agreed to take me. I asked him why so many people were skittish about sending their canines after a pig and what he responded with was enlightening. “The hogs can’t climb trees like bear. They turn and fight.” They are just too dangerous was how the response was parlayed to me. I asked him why he agreed and he told me that it pays well when taking someone out, and he was accustomed to providing care to his dogs. Care was later explained to me from a brief encounter his dogs had the year before. After striking a track, the dogs surrounded a 450 pound hog. The hog proceeded to gut each and every dog in the pack. The tusks tore through the flesh and left them the on the ground for dead. He quickly got back to his truck and grabbed a first aid kit. He then would push the insides back in and sew the bellies back up. The hog got away. I ended up not being able to make the hunt do to some circumstances with the gentleman’s personal life. But I still longed to experience a hog hunt. Last weekend I was invited to hunt a cypress swamp near South Carolina for feral hogs. I did not have much notice, but I did not need much either. This would be a hog hunt with the bow from stands. I wondered just how many I would see. I arrived at the camp site just after 5:30pm. Feeders were set up in multiple locations to go off at 7:00pm. This land is a deer hunting club once gun season comes in, and the owners wanted the hogs gone. According to my host, the hogs would eat all the corn and leave nothing for the deer. The night before I shot a few arrows to check my sight and make sure I was comfortable. I own a wild boar 3d archer target, so I visualized the ‘kill’ zone and started at 40 yards. I was told the average shot would run around 15 yards. After shooting 40 and feeling good, I moved up to 30 yards, then 20 yards. It was a good practice session and I felt good about the vital area. I also taped a small picture that showed where the vitals were on a hog to the lower limb of my bow. This was primarily to remind me that the vitals sit differently in a hog than a deer. My host shot several arrows while I changed to my camo. Then around 6:00pm we headed out. It was hot and muggy with the temps in the mid 90’s. I was worried about scent control as I knew pigs had a superior sense of smell. I was given a bag that had some hog attractant to lie at my feet in the stand to use as a cover scent. I was also told the main scent I had to worry about was my boots. I was wearing rubber boots, known to not carry odors. But for pigs, they can even pick those out. The feeder went off at 7:00 pm and I remained alert. After another 30 minutes, I noticed something to my left in the wood line. It was brown and pulsating. After studying it for a few seconds I could tell it was a hog. The pulsating was the hog taking deep sniffs of the ground where I had come into the stand. Three more followed him and they were overly cautious. As they approached the clearing where the feeder was they turned away. They continued around the clearing and I could finally see their full bodies about 25 yards away. A larger black boar was closest and leading the group. The brown one, slightly smaller, stayed to its left and would step forward in stride with the black one. I continued to study their movement. The way they were moving side by side, I would not have a clean shot if the arrow were to make a pass-thru. So, what if I made the shot where the passthru, if there was one, would hit both in the vitals. It could be done. The closer hog was slightly taller. I would need to aim at the top portion of the lungs on the black one, and then if the arrow passed through then it should hit the brown pig near the lower lungs and heart. The opportunity presented itself. I released the arrow with its fixed blade broadhead. I watched it fly as the fletching stopped short in the front hog. The whole group took off, much faster than you would expect from a robust round animal with short legs. I texted that one was down even though I was trying for the double shot. After sitting for another 30 minutes I headed down the stand and to where I shot the pig. I followed a nice blood trail for about 10 yards and then it split. Two different directions. Hmmm. I followed the one on the left first. Another 10 yards and I found the brown one on the ground, heart exploded. He was the back pig. I had hit both. I backtracked and followed the other trail. 15 yards away in a briar thick lay the black one. Blood bubbled around the location where the top of the lungs would be located. I had taken a double with one arrow on my first hog hunt. We went on to hunt the remainder of the weekend. I easily saw pigs out number deer 5 to 1. The land was infested with them. And up to this point I had never seen a wild hog. But I have seen summer sausage. BA About fifteen years ago Brian took up bowhunting. He appreciated the technique and Brian was in the stand early that Monday it provided a way to hunt a longer season. Just afternoon. For the last hour, he watched as a six years ago his mindset changed. small buck and doe grazed in the field in front By providing for his own family, the deer of him. They were skittish, seeming to meat was not as much of a priority in his understand something was not quite right. hunting excursions. He became much more However, the wind was serious about to Brian’s favor and try bowhunting and his as they might, Brian’s chance to come scent would not be found closer to the game in their direction. he was pursuing. Then, in just a matter He also began of moments, the field managing his land was populated with and game to allow another four bucks and for a healthier, one more doe. Brian stronger, more sensed his target would mature herd. be showing himself soon. His After all, Brian had the management paid ‘big one’ on camera at off. consistent times since he The opening began scouting several weekend of bow months earlier. But the season in 2010, just story does not end here, three years after he nor begin here. began his plan, Brian first learned Brian connected on how to hunt deer when a mainframe 9 he was 8 or 9 years old. point whitetail His uncle, Jesse Lennon, ran a household of measuring 123 inches. Pope and Young record 13. Uncle Jesse taught Brian how to hunt. book takes entries at 125 inches and larger net Hunting was a necessity for the Bladen County score. Just a couple of inches kept Brian’s family as a means of survival. The deer meat efforts from making book. But all was not provided many meals for a family of that size. Bill Howard lost. In fact, everything was working out perfectly. Opening weekend of bow season in 2011, Brian was again in pursuit. Proper scouting and management techniques once again paid off. Brian connected on a 10 pointer. This one measured 138 inches, easily making it one of the bigger deer taken in North Carolina during the year by bow, and making Pope and Young record book. Now, here in 2012, Brian was waiting. Brian supplemented his herd with a mineral site throughout the year. In June, Brian began putting out corn to offer another food source and establish a routine for the deer that grazed on his land. His trail cameras showed a buck developing a huge crown. Brian recognized the deer. It was a nice 8 pointer the previous year. He passed on it when he took his record book buck. So Brian waited in his lock-on stand, five bucks and 2 doe were near him. He knew the big one should be showing up soon as he did each day on the camera photos. He anticipated a splendid opening day just a couple of days earlier, to the extent of having a friend there to film the hunt. Unfortunately, two different storms passed through the area late in the day. When lightning started flashing, the linesman for Piedmont Electric realized it was time to go. The buck would have to wait for another day, but he would not wait for long. This would be the day. The monster stepped out and moved to the corn. Brian drew his Mathews Z7 Extreme bow armed with a Rage 2 blade 100 grain mechanical broadhead at 5:12pm Monday, September 10th. Just twenty one yards separated Brian from the trophy he had watched for over two years. At over 300 feet per second, the twenty one yards was traversed quickly by the arrow as it hit its mark. Brian Rhew paid tribute to the 192 pound Orange County buck shortly afterwards. The mainframe 9 pointer with 3 sticker points measured 146 7/8 inches green (green means the score is not official yet as the rack is required to dry for 60 days before an official measurement can be taken). Now Brian had a once-a-lifetime trophy and a freezer full of venison. Uncle Jesse would have been proud. BA Darren Johnson When Life Hands You Lemons… As I drove down the gravel drive, the feelings of disgust became overwhelming. 2012 was supposed to be the year where all of our hard food plot work came to fruition. It was the sixth year of a long-term plan to create high quality deer and turkey populations on the 1,000 acre property that I help manage. Earlier in the spring, we had cleared land to create a new plot, one that was sure to help attract and retain our antlered and feathered friends. We meticulously mowed and sprayed our existing plots to get them weed-free and ready to plant. The seed mixes were carefully selected to maximize resources available to the wildlife. We even decided to subcontract our planting to a local farmer to ensure that it was done efficiently and on time. It was shaping up to be a great year. That was, until the wheels started to fall off… First, as you know, the weather has been absolutely obnoxious this year. A very warm winter with next to no snowfall created a dry spring that decided to turn cool with very little moisture. As May rolled around and warmed up, the dry spell continued. The farmer showed up with his equipment, took our seed and proceeded to plant away as we looked to the sky for rain. The dry spell in June intensified and temperatures skyrocketed. Soil moisture levels became so low that many seeds wouldn’t germinate in the soil. Those that did struggled to pull enough nutrients out of the ground to stay healthy. On top of this, I came to the conclusion that our local farmer failed to plant three of our food plots as he was hired to do. One of my partners strongly disagrees with this notion and we continue to butt heads about it today. Either way, the drought tolerant weeds took over the plots and the land is virtually useless to deer and turkey in its current state. Of the three remaining plots that were planted, one was a pure soybean plot that thanks to the drought, has a few beans and a lot of weeds. The bean plants are less than one foot tall and didn’t produce any bean pods due to the drought. With one bean plant every four to five square feet, the wildlife don’t find this plot worth their while and have abandoned it. We haven’t seen a deer or turkey there in months. The second planted plot is a sunflower plot designed to help the doves and other game birds. It is holding its own considering the record high temperatures and concrete-like soil. The birds and squirrels do visit there some but for the most part, it is a large weedy flowerbed. The third plot was supposed to be another soybean plot. I had high hopes for this new plot as it runs parallel to a deer travel corridor and I expected it to do great things to help retain any deer travelling through the area. Unfortunately, due to a communication error, the plot was planted in sunflowers rather than beans. The sunflowers have grown to be about 30 inches in height with virtually no seed heads. Additionally, they didn’t germinate well and we average one plant per four square feet of plot. Occasionally, the songbirds will visit the plot but that is about it. So that brings us back to the title of this month’s column and my current feeling of disgust. Sometimes the most well intentioned things just don’t go according to plan even though the hard work and commitment are there. When these dreaded times occur, and life throws you lemons, you just have to regroup and find a way to make lemonade. Even though we are now post-Labor Day, your less than stellar food plots don’t have to remain that way. There is still time to plant alternatives that will help you and the native wildlife later this fall and winter. Time is short but there still can be a Plan B if you choose. There are three plants that I consider head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to late-season food plots. They are widely available, easy to plant and provide great nutrition to our wildlife friends. My favorite late-season plant is turnips. They are fast-growing and very tough plants that are absolutely irresistible to deer. Deer will largely ignore them until just after the first heavy frost, when in response to the cool temperatures, a chemical reaction changes the taste and they become like candy to the deer. If you happen to be sitting in a deer stand overlooking turnips on the morning after the frost, you can see a season’s worth of deer in one sitting. Combine this with good pre-rut timing and it can be a magical day. Another favorite is cereal rye. Not to be confused with ryegrass, this plant is a coldtolerant grain that will continue to feed the deer from fall all the way through late-winter. If possible, be sure to apply fertilizer in October or November to ensure that you are giving the rye the nutrients it needs to thrive. It supply much-needed nutrients to many different types of wildlife. My final pick is radishes. While I don’t personally care for the taste of them, the deer love them. Chocked full of nutrition, they can help a herd thrive in tough winter conditions. Fast-growing, they are a very good late-season planting option. Like turnips, when the deer hit the radishes, they come in force. Nothing beats sitting in a stand overlooking a radish buffet as the rut blooms. If you find yourself in a situation like mine this year, don’t give up just yet. Where you can, mow down your unproductive plots, spray with a good herbicide like Roundup, and get the planter ready to go again with a late-season food plot seed. You will be turning life’s lemons into lemonade by helping the wildlife and your hunting opportunities at the same time. Good luck and happy planting. BA Bob Hooven The majestic mountain views surrounding the last few road miles to the cabin began to erase the memory of the 1900 grueling miles we had just driven. We stopped only for gas and an occasional sandwich. Now the anticipation of the hunt was almost a reality. Upon arrival at Dunton, Co., it didn’t take us long to unload our gear, change clothes, and mount the ATVs. We would go our separate ways to explore and listen for the bugle of the bull elk. This evening wouldn’t be spent on long hikes as we needed some time to adjust to the new 8,500 to 11,000 foot altitude. There were six of us on this hunt, traveling in two separate vehicles. We would be hunting in the San Juan National Forest unit 71. Our arrival date was Friday September 7th and departure was planned for Saturday September 15th. Saturday morning began our first, dawn till dark, day of hunting in the high country. We would try all of our skills and techniques to locate, sight, and get within bow range of a bull elk. Being in good physical shape can’t be over emphasized. Those seep mountains, low oxygen, and fallen trees would test me over and over again. During the next five days I tried everything I knew including bugling, cow calling, setting up ambushes at water holes and well used trails, to just hiking the mountain sides. The sixth day started, as usual, before daybreak. But it would be different because a bull elk would be heading my way. A 40 minute ATV ride to the top of a nearby mesa would put me within range of a bugling bull. As I descended the mountain to close the gap, the bull just kept getting farther away until he was out of hearing. Now, it was almost lunch time so I decided to hike back up to the ATV before eating. I was about half way back when I heard the sounds of sticks breaking above me. I immediately nocked an arrow. Seconds later a cow elk ran down through the timber, with her tongue hanging out, and stopped within ten yards of me. She slowly turned away and continued down the mountain. About the time it dawned on me that something was chasing her, I heard more limbs breaking above me. I came to full draw with no target in sight. I only had to wait a couple of seconds before this bull came running and lunging past. There was no time to think it over or size him up. The predator mentality was taking over my response. I triggered the release and the muzzy broad head thrust forward as the bull lunged toward me. As the arrow entered forward of the shoulder, I thought that I would never retrieve this big animal. To my surprise, the blood trial revealed a fatal wound that folded him up 150 yards farther down the mountain. What a day and what a hunt. Oh yes, now the real work would begin. However, I met another hunter that was camped at the trail head that was willing to help me quarter and pack out the 5x5. This hunt will surely qualify to check off one on my buck list. BA deodorant or antiperspirant scented with a mature doe in heat. Now, don’t get me wrong, DO NOT wear it as an antiperspirant! It is Deer hunting, specifically bowhunting for actual doe urine. deer, requires a lot of hard work and a fair The thing I like about what BDH has done amount of deception. By deception, I am referring to proper camouflage, grunts, bleats, with its Doe Stick is it allows for multiple and antler rattling, and of course, scent control. uses. Not multiple in numbers of times, which Without proper scent control, a bowhunter will of course you can, but multiple in the ways of using it. never get a deer First, you within range. can take the Big Deer Doe Stick and Hunters rub it on the (bigdeerhunters. base of a tree, com) offers a shrub or even variety of the ground. products to The waxy doe assist in scent urine lasts. control. Wood Second, you scented soaps can remove the and cover sprays top of the stick, can hide your take a hook or odor and help paperclip and get you in close. put through the hole at the base, tie it to a They also have a product that I was very monofilament line or small string and attach it interested in trying, the Doe Stick. As one to a limb. The scent will flow with the breeze. person put it on twitter one day when Based on just these first two uses, you can referencing BDH’s Doe Stick, “it’s doe see it would work much better than the one or pee…on a stick”. Think of it as a stick of Bill Howard few use sprays on the market. The sprays administer the scent, but as the liquid dries, the scent dissipates also. My favorite way to use the Doe Stick is this; rub it along the bottom of you hunting boot. Instead of using a drag, the scent sticks to your path and covers any scents you may have attached to the boot. Why is this my favorite way? Twice this fall I have had a deer (one doe and one young buck) come in from a direction I was not expecting. I watched as the deer approached the path I took to my stand. They both stopped suddenly at my path, smelling the earth below, then raising their heads high to try to catch any scents on the wind. Both turned, followed my path to the stand, and approached within 5 yards of my location. Now, the doe was likely seeking comfort of other deer. It was a little early for rut, so I believe the young buck was following the trail more as curiosity than raging hormones. But the fact is, the stick worked in covering my scent, and the deer followed the scent rather than continuing on their path or worse, scampering off letting out warning screams or blows. The Doe Stick and its big brother the Bid Daddy (made with mature buck urine and tarsal gland) can be purchased for $15 from BigDeerHunters.com. And for $15, they go a lot further than the $10 sprays out ther e that attempt to do the same thing. BA Ramon Bell I’m sure you’ve heard off mock scrapes and rubs. But, have you ever tried using them? I’ve used them on occasion, but until a couple years ago, never really made a conscious effort to remember to employ the use of them on a regular basis. Especially “Mock Rubs.” It’s really very simple, and all you need is a pocket knife or a small folding hand saw. I carry both with me in my fanny pack every time I go to my deer stand. Once you’ve chosen the tree or location of your stand, find a small sapling about one inch, or so, in diameter. I prefer small hardwood trees like ironwoods, oaks dogwoods or even a red cedar sapling. Small pines are OK too. I just don’t like using them. It should be located about 2025 yards upwind from your stand. Baiting for deer is legal in North Carolina. Sometime I use bait, and sometime I don’t. When I do use it, I carry a small cloth grocery bag with 6 to 8 pounds of shelled corn in with me each time I go hunting. I don’t pre-bait. I know hunters who pour out 50 pounds of corn at stand sites every 2 to 3 days. This is a big waste of corn, money and time. And, all they’re doing is feeding the does, squirrels, turkeys and other forest critters. By the time you get to the stand the next day, the deer have a full belly and they’re not hungry. Actually, I believe does will take over a heavily baited location and run the bucks away from it. You also lay down your human scent every time you traipse in and out of the woods going to bait your stand. A deer’s sense of smell is phenomenal. They will smell your tiny corn pile that you put out when you go to your stand to hunt. There’s no need to haul a 50 pound bag of corn into your stand a day or two before every time you plan to hunt it. Now, back to the subject of this article.. Mock Rubs! About 5 yards from you minicorn pile, but still upwind from your stand, scrape the bark from a small sapling. Scrape it down to bare wood. Start about knee-high and scrape the bark off up to about waist high. You know what fresh cut wood smells like! When you can easily smell the fresh sap seeping from the sapling you just scraped the bark from, you can stop. Immediately climb up in your stand and get ready for action. I’ve had deer come to this setup within minutes of getting up into my stand. Deer can smell that fresh running sap too, and I believe they interpret it to mean a buck has just created a new rub. For a doe in heat, she may think there’s an eager boy friend nearby. A buck may think there’s a rival buck nearby that has just invaded his territory and made a fresh rub. Either way, I am convinced that this works to attract deer, both does and bucks, to your stand site. Of course, it works best during the rutting season, from late October through early December. The best part is it costs nothing except a couple minutes of your time to prep the sapling and maybe a “buck’s” worth of shelled corn. If you go back to hunt this same stand on another day, simply scrape a little fresh bark from the same sapling again before getting back in your stand. BA Wild Game Recipes presented by Papa Scott’s Camp Dog Pot Roasted Wood Ducks Ingredients: • 2 or 3 cleaned wood ducks • 1 lb. smoked pork sausage cut into bite size pieces • vegetable oil, enough to cover the bottom of pot (I like to use cast iron black pots) • 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped • 1 bell pepper chopped • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (optional) • 1/2 cup of pure orange juice • Cajun Seasoning to taste I use (Camp Dog) original blend. • 8 oz. of golden cream of mushroom soup to thicken gravy. How to cook: Season ducks a couple of hours before and refrigerate until ready for use. Pour oil into pot and heat. Once oil is hot put ducks in and start the browning process. Brown the ducks slowly for about an hour or more if needed adding a couple of ice cubes as needed to keep from burning. It's ok if it sticks to the bottom a little, this will help make a nice brown gravy. Once you are satisfied that the ducks have browned enough remove from pot and add sausage, brown them up then add onions and bell pepper and get them browned up nice and slow while stirring. Once this has browned up nicely cut the ducks in 1/2 (poultry scissors work well) then add back to the pot. Pour in orange juice and 2 cups of water and cover. Cook in oven at 375 on top of stove for about 1 1/2 hours or until ducks are tender. Check often and add water as needed. Add golden cream of mushroom soup about 15 minutes before cooking time expires. Serve over white rice along with sides of choice. Enjoy! The “great deal” that I got on my first archery target quickly turned into buyer’s remorse. I set out to learn from that mistake “Buy once, cry once.” Have you ever heard that saying? The idea and I began to do a lot of research, hoping to find a target that would last. My research lead behind the phrase is that buying quality gear me to Rinehart, and though the price stung a may hurt you once, because of the cost, but it’ll be the last time you ‘cry’ about it. On the little bit, I went ahead and made the purchase. Looking back now, years later, I would tell other hand, if you buy a cheap product and it you that it is one of the smartest purchases I doesn’t perform as you anticipated, or it breaks, fails, or simply doesn’t last, then you’ll have made out of all the bowhunting gear I’ve find yourself with a real problem to cry about. purchased. One of the key features that make a I’m a cheapskate at heart, but over time I Rinehart so great is the self-healing foam have come to see the wisdom in spending on material they use in their targets. This material quality from the start. I still like to get a deal stopping arrows exceptionally well and it heals whenever I can, but sometimes you just have itself when you remove the arrow. Arrow to pony up and make a smart investment in a product that will last. I’ve learned this lesson removal can be a little stiff when the target is the hard way – by making a lot of purchasing brand new, but not so bad that you’ll need an arrow puller or arrow lubricant. And, after just mistakes. a few dozen shots you’ll find that the target When I started bowhunting I wrongly has been broken in, and arrow removal assumed that any old target would suffice. becomes effortless. After all, there is nothing special about a In addition to handling field point tipped target. It is just a chunk of material that needs arrows, Rinehart’s self-healing foam stands up to stop an arrow. Right? to both fixed-blade and mechanical I failed to account for the fact that arrows impact the target with an immense amount of broadheads. Broadheads cut into the foam nicely, and can be removed with a clean cut as energy. When an arrow is launched from a 70lb compound bow it flies fast and hits hard. well. Eventually these broadhead impacts will begin to cause some wear, but I’m truly These same arrows penetrate, and often pass through, the flesh and skeletal structures of big impressed with how many shots my Rinehart 18-1 has taken from broadheads. I don’t know game. Why in the world would I think that “any old target” would stop dozens, hundreds, an exact number, but I can conservatively say that it has been well over 1,000. or even thousands of arrows? Mark Huelsing Let’s take a quick look at the three Rinehart targets that I use regularly… The Rinehart 18-1 The first Rinehart that I purchased was the “18-1” target. I’ve owned this target for around 3 years now, and though it may look like it’s been beat to hell (and it has!), it is still stopping arrows. I’ve got my money’s worth out of this target…and then some! The 18-1 is my favorite “do it all” target. The 18-1 gets its name from the fact that the 1 target has 18 sides to shoot at. Measuring in at 15”x15”, the 18-1 is big enough to be a suitable target for practicing from a wide range of distances, yet small enough to lug around without breaking your back. It’s a great target for backyard shooting or for throwing in your vehicle and taking to hunting camp. Rinehart offers a one year guarantee on the 18-1; if you can shoot out all 18 sides within a year, then your authorized Rinehart dealer will replace it. Good luck shooting one out in a year though! The Rinehart Woodland Buck The Woodland Buck is Rinehart’s 3D target for the budget-minded shopper. Have you ever taken the time to read reviews of 3D deer targets that don’t cost an arm and a leg? Honestly, it’s discouraging. I searched high and low, looking for a quality 3D target that wouldn’t set me back more than $150 or so. In the end I decided to purchase the Woodland Buck and I’m glad I did. The Woodland Buck features a replaceable shooting core that locks into the deer body. One side of the core is contoured like the exterior of a whitetail deer, but the other side features the contour of the whitetail’s inner organs, which is especially helpful for understanding shot placement. The core is made of Rinehart’s self-healing foam and will handle field point and broadheads, from both broadside and 45° shot angles. The rest of the target body is made up of Rinehart’s Solid FX foam. This material doesn’t heal as well as the self-healing core, but it will still stand up to errant shots that miss the vitals. The Solid FX foam is used to keep the cost down, but also to lighten the target so that it is easy to maneuver. One thing that I was hesitant about when I was looking at the Woodland Buck was its size. The target is meant to simulate a 100lb whitetail deer, and though it is smaller than many other 3D deer targets, I am actually glad I didn’t get anything bigger. I like to move my target around, and even transport it in my vehicle, so the smaller size and easy to remove upper body are perfect for me. And while the overall body size isn’t too large, the insert is plenty big. I regularly practice with this target from long distances and I have no problem keeping my arrows inside the self-healing core. If you are looking for a 3D target that will last, but you don’t want to spend a fortune, my opinion is that the Rinehart Woodland Buck is the best deal out there. The RhinoBlock XL My newest Rinehart is the RhinoBlock XL. This target is a tank! The RhinoBlock features 6 shooting sides, 4 of which have a variety of high-visibility target zones, while the other 2 sides feature a textured 3D deer mid-section. The RhinoBlock XL – and its slightly smaller cousin, the RhinoBlock – are both made out of Rinehart’s legendary self-healing foam. even with dedicated broadhead use, but it is always nice to know that you can refurbish your target for a fraction of the cost of a new one. I have no doubts that I’ll be shooting this RhinoBlock for years to come. The downside to the RhinoBlock targets is that they aren’t as light or portable as the 18-1. However, if you are looking for a target that you won’t be constantly lugging around or traveling with, then I think that the RhinoBlock is the smartest investment that you can make. If you are tired of targets that won’t last, or are difficult to use, then you really need to take a look at Rinehart targets. Remember that the cheapest product isn’t always the best deal, and sometimes getting the best value means spending a little bit more. I’ve definitely found that to be the case with archery targets. Buy once, cry once. BA In addition to the varied target faces and generous size, my favorite feature of the RhinoBlock models is the replaceable core. It will take quite some time to shoot the core out, Albert Quackenbush Whether it is to film for you to show your friends or to try to get it noticed by someone, getting a hunt on video seems to be the biggest craze. I have tried filming my hunts using different video, but some of the cameras are bulky and expensive for most of the budget conscious hunters I know. This is where I think S4Gear came up with a solution that fits almost every compound bow hunter I know. Most of us have a Smartphone and S4Gear jumped on that. They came up with a bow mount for your Smartphone called the JackKnife and I've been testing it out over the past couple months with good results. My first impressions of the JackKnife were very good. The product looked very easy to use. Right out of the box I was impressed with how small it was, but I was cautious when I saw all of the knobs and moving parts. There is no sheen to the mount as it is black plastic and it is also very lightweight. Any bowhunter will tell you that having lightweight gear is a must, especially when it’s mounted to your bow. It installs very easily to a sight mount or the side of a compound bow with one of two sets of provided screws. You can actually relax the tension on the knob and move the JackKnife frame away from the mounting bolt holes to allow easier and faster installation. It only took me about a minute to get it installed. The product features shown on the S4Gear website explain it rather well. Universal Design fits all bows with AMO standard sight mount, right or left handed -- even with quiver & sight installed. Highly Adjustable cradle mount fits virtually any Smart Phone with or without protective case. Compact Design folds flush against the riser when not in use and still fits in most bow cases. Quick Detach to easily remove your phone for storage. Oversize Knobs for easy adjustments even when wearing gloves. Protective Foam Lining holds your phone securely in place while guarding against shock and vibration. After you get the JackKnife mounted to your bow it’s time to fit it to your camera phone. Again, this was very easy by using the knobs to open the grip and sliding the phone in. The orange you see is soft foam that holds your phone in place. You lock that down and then it’s on to the back of the Jackknife for fine tuning. One of the features I really liked was the ball joint knob on the back that allows you to position the camera at virtually any angle exactly where you want it. I tried it many ways and it was great! You can position it horizontal or vertical. I did it both ways to see if there was any difference in video quality, noise, or difficulty in getting it set up how I wanted it. I found no differences and was rather pleased at how easy it was to set up. I have been testing the mount with an iPhone inside a Lifeproof case. (I also tried my old Android and the JackKnife adjusted down to that, too.) The mount does indeed hold the iPhone, case and all, firmly and it is easily adjustable on the fly. You can rotate left/right with the larger knobs very easily, even with gloves on your hands. With the ability to view and share their footage filmed right from their bow, its social media live in the woods! View your shot placement before you track your animal. Use your Smartphone as a training device. Sight mounting bracket placement records video from the "hunter's eyes". Use in addition to other cameras to incorporate split screens in final video pieces. This is good for short yardage shots only. I can’t fault the JackKnife because these are limitations of the phone itself, but I don’t want anyone feeling mislead. Videoing from under 30 yards is acceptable, but after that most camera phones don't capture good video beyond that. I tried a few shots out at 6o yards and you couldn't see the shot, or the impact of the hit. Once I moved in closer to 30 yards it got better. It was even better at 20 yards. I normally practice between 40-60 yards and move out to 80 as well. I could not video from my phone well at those distances. I attempted to, but it was a waste of time as you couldn’t view the target well enough. Here I was set up at 100 yards. The one thing I did notice, which I have found with many camera mounts for your bow, is that you can see some degree of vibration in the video while filming. If you want to video your hunt it is something you will have to make peace with because it happens often. Something very cool to try that isn’t actually videoing your hunt is to Skype with someone while hunting. The person you are chatting with can view whatever you are shooting at, or if you reverse the camera they can view your reaction while you are hunting. I understand you want it to be quiet and the person on the other end would have to be quiet, but it’s an interesting idea. My dad and I have discussed it and we are going to try it at some point for fun. Have any of you tried it? What were your results? The cost of the JackKnife is $44.99 retail. In my opinion that is very high. The entire camera mount is plastic and while it has moving parts that certainly have to be put together at the factory, I think this should retail more toward the $25.00 range. I think more bowhunters would consider something like this if the price were lower. BA Albert Quackenbush Road Closed. Those were the signs my hunting partners and I encountered on our first scouting trips of 2012. A quick phone call to the Forest Service and we found out we could hike them or utilize a mountain bike to travel on them. They were only closed to motorized vehicle traffic. ‘Necessity breeds invention.’ ~ Author unknown At one of the trailheads, we encountered a Road Closed sign, so we opened the map and saw that the spot we were looking to get to was a good three hour hike in. After discussing the ride home we had devised a plan to get to it, we packed up and headed home. It was the spot easier, faster and it was going to be middle of the day, well over 90 degrees and our water supply was getting low. No, we were fun doing it. Our plan seemed simple. We would not dejected or giving up. On the contrary, on mountain bike in. Plenty of hunters do it, so why not us? One of our goals was to do it for as little expense as possible. We also decided that we wanted a tow cart to cart our backpacks in and carry out any wild game we killed. Now we just had to get some ideas on paper and figure out how we would do it. The first task was simple; Find a Mountain Bike. Each of us figured on going to local garage sales and getting online to see if we could find some inexpensive mountain bikes. The very next week at archery practice, Brett said he had some good news. Brett came through and got me a bike at no expense! It turns out his neighbor was looking to get rid of two he had sitting in his garage. Instead of tossing them in the trash can he saved them at his cabin and Brett would pick them up later. Score for the home team! Secondly, and most importantly, we started looking at cart options. We would try to only use our resources, ingenuity and crafty skills to find parts to build our game cart. I drew up some ideas for using a utility cart and shared the idea with Brett. He even thought it was a good idea at first. We drew up plans, made notes as to what should be on the cart, what shouldn't, how much it should weigh, etc. After letting that simmer in my brain, I felt that a utility cart would not be exactly what we would need. The more I thought about it the more I saw my wallet getting lighter. We would need to weld some metal to the frame, buy a swivel kit to attach the cart to the bike, and figure out how we wanted to reinforce the sides. Seeing as our main goal was to not have to spend lots of money on material to build I felt I needed to expand my search area. That was when I thought about using a wagon frame. A quick post to Facebook and one of my friends Erich Giardina responded that he had a metal wagon that he had used for hauling tires around his shop and it might be perfect for me. He sent over some pictures and a price of $40. It looked perfect and the price was right. I was sold! Arrangements were made for us to meet and instead, Erich and his friend, Mike Kimler, surprised me by delivering the wagon to my house. It was a welcome surprise and it was great to get to chat with both he and Mike! Once I saw the wagon I knew it was going to be a great start to our project. Erich had a few surprises in store for me. First off, I mentioned how we were going to buy a swivel kit to attach to a bike. He proceeded to show me where the handle comes apart and can attach to a swivel connection. That will work perfect when attaching it to a bike! The second surprise was that the sides all come off in sections. They are held together with Cotter pins, so you can customize it for each trip. I was stoked! Then, Erich pulled the biggest surprise of all as he donated the wagon! Yes, you read that right, he gave it to me for nothing so that I'd have a cart to pull out any animal deep in the forest. What an awesome gesture and boy am I thankful to he and Mike for bringing it down. They not only saved me a trip to pick it up, but he saved overhead expense. I am going to be sure to share some game meat with those two for all they have done. Erich is part owner of Erich Giardina / Mike Kimler Motorcade International. They have whatever anyone might need for car /truck/suv/and side by side off road vehicles. Wheels, tires, off road gear, etc. They can ship to any state and offer specials to Hawaii including freight. Great company and great people for anyone interested! Before we got too deep into the project, Brett and I gave the wagon a good once over. The wagon measures 4’ x 2’ x 1’ deep and the only thing that needs to be fixed is mending some peeled away metal mesh on one of the panels. An easy fix if you ask me. A rubber mallet and some effort helped me pop out the panels. Now we had to figure out the hard parts. How would we connect it to a bicycle? Would we take the front wheels off to reduce friction? Would we leave them on for better traction? It was time to start doing the hard work! The hinged walls of the wagon are fantastic. You can drop down all four sides at once if you’d like. Once you drop down all four sides, you can remove the plastic liner at the bottom. I weighed the pros and cons of leaving this in and I believe I’ll be leaving it in to catch any fluids and loose items that may drop in. A major challenge and decision was to decide if we wanted to leave all four lowclearance tires on the wagon. We originally decided to remove the front two tires the build in the next issue. Until then, enjoy completely and replace the rear tires with the rest of the Fall 2012 issue of Bow BMX bike tires, but there was already 14” of Adventures! BA clearance with the current tires. The one advantage to thinner wheels would be less friction and enable us to move faster. The other idea would be to go with solid tires and eliminate the possibility of a flat. Erich mentioned this to us and it’s a great idea. What I haven’t decided on is will we do it with the tires on there now or will we switch to BMX tires and buy solid tires for those? Brett and I will put our heads together and decide in the next couple of weeks how to get the brunt of the work done and hopefully put it to good use. You can read up on Part Two of Venison Bourguignon By Food for Hunters Or "Venison Burgundy" in English. As many of you may know, Beef Bourguignon is a very popular dish, not only in France but here in the U.S. Believe it or not, this recipe belonged to the French peasantry, only to be slowly adapted - 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of venison roast, cleaned into "haute cuisine" or "high cuisine" later on. and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes We slowly stewed chunks of venison in - 6 strips of bacon, chopped burgundy and brandy, along with lots of - kosher salt and freshly ground black bacon, veggies and then flavored with a pepper, to taste "bouquet garni" of fresh herbs. What resulted - 2 medium carrots, diced was a deeply flavorful dish perfect on top of - 2 medium onions, diced homemade mashed potatoes. This is a great - 1 bay leaf meal for those romantic candlelight dinners on - 2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed the back porch. - 6 sprigs of fresh thyme - 2 sprigs of fresh parsley, plus more for garnish - 1 (4-inch) piece of celery stalk - 3 tbs. of all-purpose flour - 1 tbs. of tomato paste - 1/2 cup of brandy - 2 cups of burgundy, or other dry red wine - 1 (14.5 ounce) can of beef stock - 2 tbs. of unsalted butter - 8 ounces of button mushrooms, cut however you like - cooking twine Servings: 4 Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 2 hours Ingredients: 1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Over mediumhigh heat, brown bacon in a Dutch oven. 5. Once carrots and onions are cooked, return the venison, bacon and all its juices back into the pot. Add flour and stir for a few minutes to coat evenly. Stir in tomato paste. Transfer bacon bits to a plate, but leave the drippings in the pot. 2. Dab venison with paper towels to dry. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over venison cubes. Fry in bacon grease until lightly browned on all sides. (Fry in one-layer batches.) Transfer venison to the plate with the bacon. 3. Add diced carrots and onion to the Dutch oven. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until softened and slightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir occasionally. 4. Meanwhile, make a "bouquet garni." Tuck garlic inside the celery stalk. Nestle the bay leaf, thyme and parsley on top of the garlic and tie securely with cooking twine. 6. Then add brandy. Scrape the bottom of the pot. Let it reduce by half, about 3-5 minutes. Stir often. Next, add wine. Let it reduce in half again, about 10 minutes. Stir often. 7. Once wine has reduced, add beef stock and the "bouquet garni" to the pot. Give it another quick stir. Cover and cook in a 325° oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. 8. Meanwhile, melt unsalted butter in a pan. Cook mushrooms over medium heat until soft and the liquids evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix mushrooms into the Venison Bourguignon after it comes out of the oven. Combine well. Discard "bouquet garni." Click on the pic to go to video! lockable boxes for ammo, guns and archery gear. Finally, depending on the size of your vehicle, you may benefit from having a roofbrought to you by StowAway2.com, providing mounted or hitch-mounted cargo carrier to the highest quality hitch mounted cargo contain all of your camping gear. carriers and racks on the market. In the day pack, include: Hunting requires a significant amount of Lighter and waterproof fire starting kit, gear, and there’s always the chance you will including matches bag a kill that will take up space in or on your Flashlight with extra batteries vehicle. Packing for a hunting trip, therefore, Knife for cleaning game quickly becomes both an art and science for Camera/smartphone many seasoned sportsmen. Binoculars Ultimately, practice is the best way to Compass, maps and/or GPS system determine what you absolutely need on a Water bottle hunting trip. The more hunting experience you Meat bags, dressing gloves person have, the better you will become at Hunting license packing efficiently. Still, reviewing the guidelines below can help you refine your own This pack should also include outdoor approach to packing for a hunting expedition. survival necessities such as a small first aid kit, toilet paper in a baggie, a space blanket, lip How to Pack for Your Next Hunting balm, sunscreen, insect repellant and energy Trip bars or trail mix. How to Efficiently Pack for a Hunting Trip First, a general packing tip: We recommend creating a packing checklist. This preliminary step guarantees that you will have everything you need once you reach the wild. As you pack, go through your list and check off each item. Next, group items according to where they will be packed. Experienced hunters recommend a day pack for on-the-hunt items; a duffle bag for clothes and small consumables; coolers for food and game; and In the duffle or rolling bag, place your clothes for the trip. Some avid hunters recommend scent-eliminating systems such as Scentnote, which make it much more difficult for animals to smell you coming. Don’t forget to pack your hunter orange gear in this bag to ensure you remain visible to other hunters. As you select what clothing to bring, favor fabrics such as wool and fleece, which will keep you warm even when wet. In the coolers, pack food for your journey. Don’t forget to bring an extra cooler or two for game. You could also consider a hitchmounted cargo carrier than can double as a cooler for your game (note: you’ll want to shop for these, not all can act as coolers). Double-check that you have everything you’ll need for cleaning your kills, including hunting knives, zip-close plastic bags and a sharpening stone. Hunting aficionados recommend bringing a portable generator and a vacuumpacking system, but this is excessive for beginning hunters who may not bag a kill on their first few trips. carrier is akin to adding an extra trunk to your vehicle. Both will provide plenty of extra room. However, each storage solution poses its own advantages and drawbacks. Rooftop cargo carriers are helpful, but they decrease gas mileage through drag, and gear isn’t easy to access when it’s on top of your car or SUV. (Most truck beds do not provide a large enough mounting surface for rooftop carriers.) A hitch-mounted cargo carrier’s rear placement does not decrease gas mileage, and its rectangular shape makes it easier to pack bulky items. There are also models that feature In the lockable boxes, pack your swingaway frames to still provide access to the ammunition, weapons and other hunting rear of your vehicle. And, some can even accessories such as a bipod or shooting stick. double as coolers for your fresh game. Think through what could go wrong in the Regardless of whether you choose a rooftop wild, and pack accordingly. For instance, what or hitch-mounted cargo carrier, take a few will you do if your bow string snaps? Better moments after your trip to reflect on what pack an extra one just in case, as well as pliers worked and what failed as far as hunting and a bow stringer. storage was concerned. With a little awareness, For a multi-day excursion, your list will you can continually improve your own also include camping gear. It’s not easy to find approach to packing for a hunting trip. Just enough space for everything a memorable think: The better you get at packing, the more hunting trip requires. Rooftop cargo carriers quickly you can get out in the backcountry! are a popular solution for this common BA dilemma, or you can opt for a hitch-mounted cargo carrier. Rooftop Cargo Carriers vs. HitchMounted Cargo Carriers Using a rooftop or hitch-mounted cargo nicely through the top of the pack and has clips to hold it in place down one of the shoulder straps. The pocket is pare enough to hold a change of clothes or layers . I placed Bill Howard my knives, heat pads, main flashlight, food packs, and other supplies in the compartment I am a sucker for testing three items; with no problems. flashlights, knives, and backpacks. As for The outside utility pocket stores my other backpacks, I look for packs that can be used survival equipment and quick use items. The for more than just hiking and camping. They pockets offer plenty of space to separate need to be multifunctional. I very seldom different things. I have my Lifestraw water ‘just’ hike and camp. Hiking and camping is filtration straw in one pocket, have the CRKT usually a byproduct of hunting and fishing. Eat-n-Tool and a Fox40 whistle attached to the Because I mostly bowhunt, I need a pack inner hook, and it also has a large sleeve for that allows the carrying of a bow. Many packs maps and such. are firearm accessible, but a bow requires a The waste strap has two pockets, one on different configuration in order to hold the each side, that can be used for a cell phone, wide footprint of the limbs of a bow. small rangefinder or binoculars, or even packs I have been using a Alps Outdoorz Pursuit of nabs. Think of them as small gadget pack for the last 6 months. It has proved to be compartments that you can access quickly more than adequate, tough, comfortable, and without having to remove your pack. At the has the ability to cover each of my needs. base of the waste straps where they connect to When I first received the pack, I looked at the pack, there are two net style pockets, one at the different pockets, the zipper opening s that each base, that are also useful for something allow access, and the utility compartments in like a larger rangefinder. order to ‘design’ my layout of equipment. I A compression strap/sleeve is placed on the adjusted the straps for fit and comfort. The main face of the pack. This is what holds the chest strap is slid up and down on runners built bow or firearm. Nicely I would like to add. into the shoulder straps for quick adjustment. Several magnets sewn into the bottom of the Then I pulled out the gear I would need for a pack pull loose revealing the butt sleeve that three day backcountry hunt. holds the bottom of the bow or stock of the That is when it became fun! firearm. A strap around the top of the sleeve The main pocket of the pack has a can be loosened or tightened for a secure fit on hydration bladder sleeve. The suction tube fits the weapon. The compression sleeve fits over the top of the bow or firearm holding it in place and tight to the pack. To the side of the pack there is a quick connect strap that can be used to hold the string of the bow to further prevent unwanted movement. Straps are located on each side of the pack, one to hold the bow strings, the other to use how you wish. I chose to see how it would work with my tent. The easily held the tent snug without being in the way. The weight distributed well for comfort also. At the very bottom of the pack is another zippered compartment. A hunter orange rain cover is released which is large enough to cover the top portion of the pack and anything attached to it. Overall, the Alps Outdoorz Pursuit pack is an easily configured, comfortable pack that can be utilized by the hunter, both bow and firearm, and the hiker/camper. The pack is well constructed, able to withstand the abuse given by the outdoors enthusiast. Padding on the waste strap and back of the pack, along with quick adjustment straps supply the comfort needed for long trails even with excess weight in the pack. BA PREFACE: This isn’t meant to be a how too guide for returning to archery after mastectomy; because the mastectomy experience is intensely individual with individual and unique challenges. This is merely my experience and from that I hope that others can learn, find some help, and most of know that it is possible to return to archery after a mastectomy. Breast cancer and all that it entailed were nothing new to me. The youngest of three sisters, I had already been helping my two older sisters fight the dreaded disease for several years. I can’t even say I was surprised when I heard the words BRCA1 positive (the breast cancer gene) and bilateral mastectomy when they flew across the doctors desk at me. Deep in my heart I knew it was coming. As odd it may sound when I met with the surgeons about all the options one of my first questions was, “So, will I still be able to use my bow after this? Will I still be able to use my shot gun?” I’m sure they thought I was raving lunatic, but luckily I had a pair of the best surgeons in the country filleting me and they understood how important my outdoor lifestyle - my life outdoors - was to me and considered that a priority when selecting the type of surgery and reconstruction I would have. Fast forward from all slicing, dicing and remanufacturing of my bust line. It was a long process, I was restless, and more than ready to return to rebuilding my upper body strength, retraining muscles, and rerouting nerve signals. I started physical therapy as soon as receiving the green light from the doctors and made sure the therapist understood that one of my goals was to be ready to be in the tree stand by fall. Thankfully once again fate was on my side and the therapist understood clearly that I would work harder towards that goal than any he had so it was huge part of the plan. We began with simple stretching and strengthening exercises, and slowly progressed to using resistance bands. Looking back I wish I known about the product Bowtrainer back then. Instead we made a jerry-rigged version of our own using resistance bands and my bathroom door. That’s when I hit the wall – no matter what I tried, because of the extent of my surgery and reconstruction, the physical motion of drawing back was uncomfortable, it just plain felt weird. To be completely honest, it felt like the implant on my right side was migrating somewhere under my arm and hanging out around my elbow. And being honest once again, I gave up. I decided that returning to archery just wasn’t going be something I could do. I would try periodically, feel like a wimpy weakling with an implant roaming around loose, and walk away frustrated and sad. I tried talking to various archery shops, archery manufactures, and that was difficult. As men they simply didn’t get it, and as men; talking about breasts and mastectomies and implants for God’s sake made them incredibly uncomfortable. Eyes would glaze over, they would fidget, and with a decidedly deer in the headlights look flee to the safety of a sudden urgent phone call or bow emergency in the repair department. Then it happened……. One late summer afternoon when all the fellas were dialing in bows, practicing, getting ramped up for the right around the corner opening of archery deer season, while I stood there snapping photos, kicking dirt, and in general pouting, complaining and feeling left out ; my friend Scott Huschle of DownRiver Outdoors said “ G – have you talked to Karen Butler from Shoot Like a Girl? I bet she could help. “ WHAAAAT???? There are women in the archery world that could help me figure this out? How did I not know this? Had I been living on some other planet? Huschle generously gave me all of Ms. Butler’s contact information and I raced home to fire off an email. Suffice it to say that may have rank among one of the most important e mails I have ever sent in my life. Ms. Butler was quick to reply with many great ideas as well as much compassion and understanding. Something I had not experienced from the many archery resources I previously explored. As luck would have it, Butler would be in my area soon, at the huge annual Hunting and Fishing Days event held in our area. I couldn’t wait to meet her in person, try some bows that she suggested and see what we could come up with. I found a woman archer to talk to about the situation, not just a woman archer but one of the best and one who has made it her mission to introduce and support women in archery. That hot September Saturday that Karen Butler spent a great deal of time and effort working with me gave me a renewed hope that I could indeed return archery. She also helped me to realize that while I could return archery I might not be able to return to what it was before, but where there was a will there was a way, a bow, and an archery activity. My biggest issues came with trying to use a compound. It simply didn’t work for me. No matter how hard I tried to rebuild the strength, to retrain the muscles, pulling it to break over cam and then holding it just wasn’t in the cards. But between Ms. Butler and my friend Christine Appleberg , of Illinois Bowfishers, I learned that I could indeed use a recurve, I could use a long bow, and holy smokes, I could fling arrows like madwoman using one of the Genesis 0% let off bows. Yet being able to pull the required 40 pounds to hunt eluded me. Not only was a I dealing with issues from the mastectomies, I had been diagnosed with MS and that further hampered my upper body strength. It was standing by a spillway sticking gar that I had an epiphany of sorts; maybe I’ll never be able archery hunt for large game again. Maybe I will with lots of hard work, exercise and sheer will, but until then I can certainly target shoot and bowfish . I accepted that and realized any archery is better than no archery! Here are few tips for women returning to archery after mastectomy. First and foremost discuss it with your physician to insure that you are ready and that there are no medical reasons why you should not begin working towards the goal of sticking that arrow in the bulls eye. Ask your physician for a referral to physical therapy that can help you develop a plan to strengthen and rebuild the muscles, nerve pathways, and endurance needed. Start small. Picking up your regular hunting bow and giving it a pull is likely to not be successful initially, and can increase your sense of frustration. Try one of the Genesis bows used in the NASP or a light draw weight recurve initially. Baby steps. Baby steps. Each small victory will help to increase your confidence. Reach out to other women archers, such as Karen Butler and Shoot Like A Girl. As your strength and resolve grows try out every bow that crosses your path. Be the most annoying and time consuming customer that archery dealer has ever seen. There IS one out there that will work for you! Accept any limitations as they come along. Can’t pull enough to hunt game, but can pull 15 or 20 pounds? Find a bowfishing organization, learn to bowfish. I promise you the first time you see your arrow dance and that carp or gar flop and fight, you will be renewed and know that indeed archery is still possible. Allow yourself time – the journey for me from the first arrow out of my nephews recurve to standing on the platform of a bowfishing rig flinging arrow after arrow at invasive carp was a several year adventure. Most of all love yourself, celebrate every day, and in the words of one my best outdoor mentors Deb West of Brownwaterdogs “ YOU CAN DO IT!” Remember – the fierce Amazon warrior women cut off a breast in order to make them better archers and stronger warriors. We are warriors too! BA Amanda MacDonald When you are new to the sport of archery, or want to try a different type of bow it can be somewhat daunting. There is already some great technical information out there, but I want to begin with the things that may seem like common sense, but are rarely mentioned for some reason. Buying a target bow is like buying a pair of shoes, it needs to fit your purpose. This is not a multi-tasker. Heels for a wedding won’t work for everyday work boots. If you plan to be shooting lots and lots of arrows, you need to be comfortable and be able to use your body properly to avoid overuse injuries. The best advice I ever received was to try a bunch of different makes and brands of bows and find out what felt right for me. You might have to drive a bit to find a shop that can help you, but it’s worth it in the end. A good target shop can help fit you if you are new to the sport and make sure you have what you need. If you have no idea where to start, look up the clubs that do well at the state level and find out where they go. If you have the chance to visit one of the big national tournaments, the big manufacturers are there with inventory that you can compare and handle. Avoid the bigbox sports stores, as they don’t carry target equipment. There are plenty of good, lightly-used bows for sale online - don’t buy someone else’s mistake unless you know exactly what fits. Shoot it before you buy it whenever possible. You may have your heart set on a particular bow to find out that you hate the grip and it’s noisy when you get it home. You will be surprised at how different brands feel in your hand. The wall may be too aggressive for you or too mushy. What NOT to worry about. Don’t let an overenthusiastic clerk try and talk you into something that shoots faster than anything else in the shop. Chances are you will be using this bow at a stationary target at 20 yards. That target's not going to drop under your arrow and boogie out of there before you can nock another arrow. If you get the hard sell approach, walk out and go somewhere else. Any of the higher-end target bows out there have enough speed to get the job done well. Most bow manufacturers now make good quality target bows and they have really big marketing budgets. Don’t get swayed by which manufacturer has the most shooters in the final, or who has the sexiest ads, or what the shooter in the next lane has. Get what fits YOU. Guys, I know most of you will ignore this anyway, but ladies pay attention. Draw weight. I take some teasing with my “toy” 30 lb compound bow from the new guy in the next lane. It usually stops when I out shoot them. You only need enough to get the arrow in the target without shaking 60 times and to not be tired after 70 arrows. Yes, lots of people shoot their hunting bow, or a hunting bow set up for targets. Unless you shoot on a very regular basis, 3-4 X a week, or are in good shape, a 60lb bow is not much fun to use for targets. I’m actually getting a lighter set up for my recurve this fall because I am anticipating less time in my schedule for regular practice. If you are a small adult or female, it can be a challenge to find something that has a low enough draw weight to pull comfortably and a short enough draw length. Fit is key. Youth bows can be a good place to start if you are brand new, as they are less expensive, very adjustable, and can be upgraded when your skills outgrow it next season. My nephew is hunting with my original bow. I do not recommend using your husband’s or boyfriend’s hand-me-down bow when he upgrades. It will be an exercise in frustration for both of you. If you are really unsure of where to start, check out what the pro ladies are shooting and select someone close to your size. Most manufacturers are getting on board making hunting bows that are female-friendly, but you have fewer options to pick from in the target compound bow group if you are very petite. You may need to go up a bit in draw weight, but try not to compromise length, as it will not work as nicely in the long run. Recurve archers of all sizes have it a bit easier as bows are modular; from the length (short, medium, long) and power of the limbs (you can go up by 2 lb increments) to the riser height (22” to 28”) depending on how much weight you need to shoot (18 m vs. 90 m) to get the arrow to the target with enough power behind it. You might decide you need a shorter riser with a medium limb to get enough power behind your arrow to hit 70 or 90m. Many very competitive archers have two set ups, one for indoor and one for outdoor. Why are target bows longer than hunting bows and why is this important? The obvious first answer is that today’s hunting bows are designed to be lighter and shorter making them easier to shoot while hanging out of a tree stand. Longer and somewhat heavier translates to smaller, slower wiggling when you are aiming, aiming, aiming. A longer axel-to-axel measurement when combined with a long stabilizer and V-bars all work to slow down your natural movement and give you smaller groups. Another variable you'll hear about is the distance between the bow grip and the string at rest, AKA the brace-height. The brace-height determines the angle of the string from the cam to your anchor point as well as how much energy you can store in the bow at full draw. While it's true that a larger brace-height can make a bow more forgiving, it isn't nearly as important as finding a bow that fits your draw length and pulling power well. Bow cams come in many forms and all do the same job - store energy. Your draw length will likely determine which cam you'll need so again, try lots of different bows to see how each feels during the draw, let-off and hold phase of your shot. Lastly, be sure you buy your new awesome target bow from a shop that can set it up properly for you. A great fitting, high-tech bow won't hit the broad side of a barn if it isn't set up and tuned correctly (so even online shoppers will need a good local bow shop). Target archery is a brilliant sport and having a tool that erases all variables but one (YOU) makes it much more enjoyable. Happy shooting! BA could do. Before this the furthest I had ever run was 50 miles and after that I felt decent at Ryan Shoemaker "Wars are not won best. Thinking back I could have probably went another 10 or 15…but another 50? I’m by evacuations." not so sure. So using 0% logic I bucked the ~Winston Churchill odds and registered. The elk hunt this fall was Over the course of 100 miles I repeated the going to be a doozy with destinations over 9 quote a thousand times. miles in and elevations over 12,000 feet. I To me it meant sticking figured a little extra prep wouldn’t hurt, plus it would be good to see what I was made of. with it no matter how Preparing for the race I broke it down into 3 bad it got. To date I major sections….first 50+miles to Happy Days have finished every ultra I've entered and I (64.1), Happy Days to Covered Bridge (85.5), wasn't about to let that go. I made a and Covered Bridge to the finish (101.1). I was commitment to myself and I was prepared to pretty comfortable with myself up until Happy "win the war." Running a 100 miles was the Days but after that I really wasn’t quite sure hardest thing I have ever done in my life, what to expect. Using my best guest estimate I period. planned to be at Happy Days at 6:51pm (race A runner once said “If you have a clock 13hrs,51mins) and the finish at 5am weakness, a 100 miler will find it” and now (24hrs). speaking from experience I can say I have I had 5 drop bags that I planned to access never heard anything more truthful. Below is during the race which would help me resupply my story.... with essential items. Wilderness Athlete gels, Hammer nutrition perpetuem, socks, Badlands Reactor, headlamp, etc. My lone shoe change was scheduled to take place at mile 54. My pacer Dave and I were scheduled to meet at the Happy Days aid station near mile 64 (for those unaware a pacer is a runner that can run a portion of the race with you). Not all runners have pacers but I was lucky enough to find one, and Dave was worth his weight in gold (Dave, I know you’ll read this and I can’t thank you enough for helping me!!). The set up….. A quick rundown of events looked like The Burning River 100 was something that this…start the day at 2am, leave the house at when I signed up I really wasn’t even sure I 2:45, bus ride to the start 3:45, race start at 5am. By my pace schedule I was planned to wrap up by 5am the next day. A far cry from the 28hrs, 51mins, and 42secs it took me. The first 50+ to Happy Days…. “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” – Steve Prefontaine miles into a 4.2 mile section my stomach decided it had had enough, and I went from feeling good and being positive, to complete misery and just trying to survive. I just kept putting one foot in front of another trying to get to the next aid station. Finally arriving at Pine Lane I sat down to pull things together. I was now in my first real battle with pain and losing some major time along the way. Knowing all I had to do was get to the next aid station (Happy Days) I forced myself to get up and move on. Looking at my watch I was running over an hour late and I knew Jor and Dave would be worried. Walking away I asked an aid station volunteer to text Jor to let her know I was ok and on my way. It wasn’t until about a mile When I saw this quote at mile 40 it literally into the next section I realized I gave the worker my cell number not Jor’s. gave me chills. Someone at the Ottawa Point In route to Happy Days it went from worse Aid Station (AS) had made the sign and to impossible. First, I continued to linger on slapped it to a tree. It was the last thing you saw before disappearing again into the woods. the thought that my family and Dave would be worried, so I was worried. And second, dealing To this point I had been going since 2am (up for 12 hrs and running for 9 of them) and I with my stomach was just consuming me. I could barely run and now had fallen into the still felt strong. Hammering down the trail I repeated the quote….”don’t sacrifice the gift, dreadful cycle of run/walk/run and there was nothing I could at the moment to escape it. I don’t sacrifice the gift”…. In my plans I was right where I needed to be. The first 35+ miles didn’t have mental or physical strength to break through it. I tried to battle on. had rolled on smoothly and I was now on my On the forever journey to Happy Days I way to the Snowville aid station scheduled to was finally caught by Tammy who was pacing arrive around 3:27pm. I had knocked out a touch over 40 miles and had a little more than Simon from Germany. As they rolled by I forced myself to get in behind them and run. It 60 left to go. was everything I had. Nearing the aid station I Rolling on the miles I chipped away at it. Snowville…Boston #1…Boston #2 and it was caught a glimpse of someone running down on my way from Boston #2 to Pine Lane (one the trail at us. It was Dave. God bless him, knowing I was in trouble he left to find me. As stop before arriving at Happy Days to meet we ran together we caught up and took Dave) where things started to fall apart. 3 inventory before finally arriving at HD. Happy Days (64.1) to Covered Bridge (84.4)…. Before coming out of the woods to Happy Days Dave got me up to speed. He said my family was there and were worried, but ok. He told me that he was talking with Jori and asked her “no matter how bad he looks, don’t let him quit”. I laughed as I could only imagine what Jori was thinking. Arriving at Happy Days I walked up, sat down, and Dave started to bring me food. I knew I needed to eat but to be honest it was the last thing I wanted to do. I hit my drop bag, ate some potatoes, and drank some ginger ale before walking over to see Jor and my brotherin-law Brad. We didn’t stay long. Knowing I had to get out of there I said my good byes and grabbed my headlamp. I had now been at it for over 15 hours and it was starting to get dark. Walking out of that aid station I can honestly say I had no earthly idea how I was going to make it to the next one, let alone cover the 35 miles left in the race. At this point I felt sick and exhausted and trying to figure out how I was going to make the last 35 miles just made me feel even more sick and exhausted. I felt like a walking zombie. As we hit the trail head we flipped on the headlamps. Plodding down the trail dodging rocks and boulders I asked Dave if he would lead. This section was 6.8 miles long and I didn’t even feel like I could think anymore. We pushed on….turn after turn, hill after hill, downhill after downhill until finally arriving at the next aid station (Pine Hollow). I walked up, sat down, Dave got me food, and we left. The whole stop wasn’t 5 minutes. We were back at it into the 3.3 mile loop that would bring us right back to Pine Hollow at mile 74.2. When we left Pine Hollow I was really struggling keeping things together. Physically my stomach was still upset and mentally the remaining 35 miles almost seemed too much to even get my hands around. As we plodded down the trail I just stared at the 10 foot circle created by my headlamp. What the heck I was doing out here? Why on earth did I think that I could do this? Like 98% of the other normal people in this world I should be at home in my nice cushy bed. I had now been running for over 20 hours and the majority of every thought bouncing around in my head was negative. I was about as down and out as I have ever been. We finally emerged from the dark timber to an open meadow full of glow sticks lining the trail back to Pine Hollow for our second stop. Walking up I heard the familiar voices of Jori, Brad, and Darb. Looking back, this was a point and time that things really turned around for me. I walked up and sat down. Dave started bringing me squares of hot grilled cheese sandwich. Hammering away at the food I told them that over the course of the last 15 miles, suffering through my stomach issues, I realized this was the most stupid, idiotic, ridiculous thing I have ever done. At this point even I myself couldn’t believe I was doing it. We all joked and laughed before getting up to go. 74.2 miles done, 26.9 miles to go. Covered Bridge (85.5) to Finish (101.1…or 103.1 “unofficially”) As we moved over the next sections (Covered Bridge #1, Covered Bridge #2, O’Neil Woods, Merriman) things became more and more weird…..towards the end I had been up for over 30 hours and it was really starting to catch up to me. I was tired, beat, and something was going on with my left ankle because it was starting to swell. Every time I would sit down at an aid station it would get harder and harder to get moving again. These sections were all pretty uneventful with the exception of taking two wrong turns at Covered Bridge #1 which in the end cost us 2 miles and 40 minutes. After 27 hours of being at it we finally reached the last aid station around 8:30am, 95.4 miles down, 4.8 miles to go. I used an aid station volunteers phone to call Jori and let her know I was heading towards the finish. Leaving the final aid station I could hardly believe it was all coming to an end. As Dave and I walked we talked about the many low points, high points, wrong turns, and the insanity that running 100 miles is all about. Many of the moments over the course of the last 4.8 miles seemed surreal. As we neared the finish I could see Owen and Jori. I could hear them yelling and see the smile on their faces. I will never forget looking at Jori as I heard everyone start to clap. I walked over, grabbed Owen, and asked Jori to walk with me. Whether they know it or not they were with me every step of the way. The two of them are the most important things in my life and I wanted them to share in this moment with me as I crossed the finish line. Official finish time 28hrs, 51mins, and 42secs. I had done it. I finished my first 100 miler. Next up in 5 weeks is the whole reason I do what I do…..elk hunting the mountains of Colorado with Pops and I can’t be more excited! After this 100 miler I’m ready and so is Pops. He’s been working hard and I couldn’t be more proud of him. All that work is going to pay off when he puts an arrow through his first elk! Stay tuned, stories from the elk trail coming soon. BA