BowAmerica The e-Magazine for Bowhunters
Emily Anderson Tony Catalde Bill Howard
A monthly online publication. Publisher/Editor BillHoward Contributing Editor
Mark Huelsing Will Jenkins Darren Johnson
BritneyStarr Art and Cover Design AlbertQuackenbush Advertising/Marketing BillHoward
Randy Mabe Dustin Newer
Scott Perrodin Albert Quackenbush Britney Starr
For distribution to your bowhunting group or organization, or for media kits contact:
BowAmerica is a Bill Howard Outdoors Publication. Any reproduction of copy or images without prior permission from BowAmerica or its contributors is strictly forbidden. ÂŠBowAmerica 2012
WOMEN IN BOWHUNTING
When the Green Grass Grows - 50 EmilyAnderson
7 – Long Road to the Slam 13 – Want to Get Your Slam On? 16 – Hunting Big Woods Gobblers MarkHuelsing
TRADITIONAL 20 – Talking Turkey: A Stickbow Hunter’s Perspective NickViau & DustinNewer
BOWFISHING 32 – Sucker Run! Bowfishing the Spawn BillHoward 42 – Innovation & Ingenuity TonyCatalde
REVIEW 35- Ghostmaker Custom Turkey Calls WillJenkins
On the Cover: Randy Mabe with Osceloa. Randy Mabe This page: Julianne Howard and Redhorse Sucker. Bill Howard
Review: True Shot Coach - 45 AlbertQuackenbush
BOWHUNTING LIFE A Bag of Tricks to Battle Ticks - 38 GretchenSteele
WILD KITCHEN Wild Turkey Pesto Hobo Dinner - 12 WildKitchen.net Turkey in Saffron Cream Sauce - 12 WildKitchen.net Camp Dogs Alligator Sauce Piquant - 28 PapaScott
HABITAT & GAME MANAGEMENT Habitat Management - 29 DarrenJohnson
I read a story in North Carolina Sportsman many years ago that changed my life. It was from a man who set out goals for his life and his passion, and accomplished them. He loved bowhunting, and enjoyed the outdoors even more. Once he discovered no one had ever taken the North Carolina grand slam (North Carolinaâ€˜s four big game animals consisting of black bear, whitetail deer, eastern wild turkey, and wild boar) he made it his mission to become the first. The story told of his trials and adventure in accomplishing this feat. I was so impressed with the accomplishment, and touched in the way he wanted to do it, I took up the bow for the first time. Archery and bowhunting then became engrained into my soul. A couple of years ago I won a quail hunt at a trophy show in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was with this gentleman. We scheduled a hunt for my oldest son and I and I was beside myself with excitement. To me, this was going to be the equivalent of meeting a rock star. His name; Randy Mabe. I spoke to Randy several times before the hunt, and I told him about how much his story meant to me. After meeting Randy in person, the story was just the beginning of his impression he had made. Randy is a genuine, down-to-earth outdoorsman who cares about all things outdoors. He and his wife Karen raise Verein Deutsch Drahthaar dogs. They are a tremendous breed that are excellent at all kinds of hunting. Randy will write an article for BowAmerica in a future issue about bowhunting using dogs that will change the way you think of hunting in general. In this issue, Randy writes about the grand slam of turkey by bow. Randy has the credentials, holding a world record with the National Wild Turkey Foundation. He was the first person from North Carolina to take the turkey grand slam by bow. And best of all, he loves sharing his knowledge. The picture of Randy and I links to a youtube video of an interview I did with Randy. There is also a link to a bowfishing video from last year. This video ties in to the sucker fish story in this issue as well. Of course, there are other great stories that cannot be missed by our great cast of writers, so like always, READ, SHARE, ENJOY! BA
Interview with Randy Mabe
Bowfishing for Suckers
For serious turkey hunters, the Grand Slam is the ultimate achievement in hunting. To score an American grand slam you‘ll have to shoot one turkey from each of the four major subspecies; Eastern, Osceola, Merriam‘s and Rio Grande. Most hunters who take up the challenge of achieving a ―Slam‖ do so with a 12 gauge shotgun. Taking the challenge with a bow and arrow is almost overwhelming. It isn‘t necessary to complete the Grand Slam in one year; it can be done in any time period. I completed my first slam with a shotgun in 2004, my final bird being a Merriam‘s I took in the rugged mountains of Montana. At the same time I was spending many hours each spring chasing Eastern gobblers with my bow across hardwood ridges here in N.C. After slinging a few ―bow gobblers‖ over my shoulder on home turf, I felt a challenge gnawing at my insides. ―Could I complete a Grand Slam with my bow?‖ Four years later and after a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions, my greatest hunting achievement ever was in the books. With my Eastern gobbler being taken in N.C., I set my course to go after Rio Grande turkeys next in Texas, then Merriam‘s in Nebraska and the last bird would be an Osceola, found only in southern Florida. In 2007, I traveled to an area just outside St. Angelo, Texas where I hunted private land for the Rio Grande turkey. Paying a trespass fee allowed me to hunt on my own for four days and I could take two turkeys. I arrived in late May, and the best of gobbling had cooled down while the
weather had heated up. With the birds not being very vocal, it required a lot of slow going, soft calling and much patience. Combined with the 85-90 degree weather, conditions for hunting were tough. That is unless you were hunting rattlesnakes. Before I saw the first Rio Grande turkey, I had encounters with two rattlesnakes. Both were sunning their long camouflaged bodies on ranch roads during the late morning hours. Seeing the infamous snakes made me look long and hard before placing my ―bottom side‖ against the small mesquite trees that dotted the Texas landscape. On the second day of hunting I arrowed a fine Texas longbeard that came to my calling during early morning. The bird never gobbled and gave me no warning that he was coming in to the sporadic yelps I made on my slate and diaphragm calls. Hunting from a ground blind, I made an 18 yard shot that anchored the gobbler and put me half way toward the slam. With two more days of hunting, I managed to score on another nice longbeard as well. And yes, there were more rattlesnake encounters along the way. During the four day hunt I came upon a total of 7 rattlesnakes. One encounter was just before sundown and that one really gave me the ―hebeegebbies‖. The first week of April in 2008 found me on board a jet bound for Omaha, Nebraska. Once landed, I hopped in a rental Toyota, Rav 4-wheel drive, and followed a map for 3 hours, driving to my final destination of Lynch, Nebraska. This is
Four years later
and after a wild
rollercoaster ride of emotions, my
achievement ever was in the books.
where I hoped to take a Merriam‘s turkey, the third bird of my slam. Hunting turkeys in the Northern states during ―spring weather‖ is nothing like hunting in N.C. The weather can kill you, literally. Along the road trip to Lynch I had to maintain a white knuckle grip on the steering wheel as high winds shook my small vehicle. Just before reaching my hunting grounds, I topped a long uphill grade and had a 70 mph encounter with a tumble weed as it blew across the road at warp speed. Blinding my vision and scaring the turkey droppings out of me, I pulled over and dislodged the 4 foot ball of dried stems from the grill of my Toyota. It was my first bump in the road on the way to taking a Merriam‘s turkey with a bow. The first two days of hunting I saw a couple of large flocks of turkeys that included many hens and several gobblers. But the cold weather (15 degree mornings) had the turkeys traveling in winter flocks and although the longbeards gobbled, they would not come to my calls. On the afternoon of the third day, I finally intercepted a flock on their way back to their roosting area and got a shot. My arrow sent the gobbler into a frenzy of somersaults. When he stopped performing acrobatics, the bird ran toward a group of cottonwood trees. I backed out and hiked back to my pickup, then decided to go talk with the landowner. He suggested I wait until morning to recover the bird so as to not disturb the roost site and ruin hunts for future hunters. It turned out to be a mistake. During the night a huge snowstorm blew in, dumping 13 inches of snow. It was treacherous going back to look for my bird the following morning, and disappointing knowing it was covered by the snow. After hours of looking I had to give up and make
my way back to the airport in Omaha. The snow continued to fall along with a hard driving wind, making my return drive a grueling 7 hours. In 2009 I decided to hunt the Osceola in Florida and try making it back to Nebraska for my Merriam‘s. I had always thought the Osceola would be the most difficult bird to get with my bow and the Merriam‘s the easiest. I was as wrong as I could be. Again I was going to be hunting on my own for 4 days on a private ranch in southern Florida. The first afternoon I drove and walked over the property and even saw a few turkeys. After placing a ground blind on the edge of a pasture I
backed out and went to check in at my sleeping quarters. On this hunt I spent my nighttime in the loft of a horse barn located at the ranch. It was a very small room with a cot, an AC unit and a small TV. Everything was fine until a family of owls came to roost just above the ceiling of my small room. All night the family of 3 owls ran back and forth along the ceiling, jumping around and making all sorts of noise. Sleep was hard to come by. My first morning out in the Sunshine State broke clear and bright with a group of gobblers sounding off about 200 yards east of my location. I called back and forth with the boys and my hopes were high until I saw them leave with a group of hens around 7:45 am. The beautiful spring morning turned quiet with no turkeys in sight, but I continued to call softly.
At 8:30 a.m. I spotted a red head bobbing behind some of the abundant Floridian vegetation that grew behind my blind. It wasn‘t long before I saw the long beard swinging on an outstanding Osceola turkey. The old tom strutted to my Primos B Mobile decoy and danced around it while I drew my Mathews Switchback XT to full draw. When the arrow struck the big bird, it rolled it like a bowling ball with the arrow protruding out the drumstick on the opposite side. I couldn‘t believe it; I had taken an Osceola on my first morning out! On top of it all, this turned out to be an awesome gobbler that later scored well enough to go in the books as the number 16 all time Osceola taken by a bow hunter. In late May of 2009 I returned to Nebraska hoping the turkeys and weather would be more generous to me. Again I found the Merriam‘s turkey to be one that loved travelling in large
flocks. Although very vocal, it was difficult getting a tom to come into bow range no matter how sweet my calls sounded. I chased gobblers over and around the rolling prairie, sat in ground blinds working every call in my vest and even sat on water holes during midday. Finally on the afternoon of the third day, I had several hens pass my blind within 10 yards and a good tom was in tow, following in the distance. Strutting with his wings dragging the ground, the Merriam‘s tom looked as big as a stew pot as he slowly worked his way across the dry prairie. As the flock of hens began to feed away from my location the gobbler stopped and strutted in small circles. I checked him with my range finder and it read 37 yards. I decided to draw my bow and take the shot. My arrow struck the bird low and sent him soaring straight upward several feet. But when the bird landed, it flopped a few times then came to a rest, hidden in some tall grass. I gave the Merriam‘s gobbler some time before approaching the birds‘ location. I was hoping and praying I would find him still in the tall grass. I almost walked past the gobbler before I saw him. His wings were tucked tight and he laid low against the ground within the tall brown grass. When I picked the gobbler up and swung him over my shoulder a wave of emotions came over me. I later found a high spot on the prairie to sit and spend time looking back over the long road that led to taking the Grand Slam with a bow. It was a road that allowed me many hours of hunting, covered miles of awesome country and included a lifetime of memories, including 7 rattlesnakes, 3 owls and a blizzard. If you love to hunt turkeys and want to accept an awesome challenge with the bow, there‘s nothing like doing a Grand Slam with bow in hand!
Note: After turning in the paper work to the National Wild Turkey Federation, they later notified me that I was the first bow hunter from North Carolina to complete a Grand Slam with the bow. It was “icing on the cake” for an already awesome experience. If you are interested in going for a Grand Slam the best place to start planning your hunt is found at www.nwtf.org, the website for the National Wild Turkey Foundation. As a member of this organization for many years, I can tell you they do an awesome amount of work for the wild turkey and those who hunt this awesome bird. Click ― Hunting “ to read about where each of the subspecies are found, tips and tactics for hunting, how to take care of your trophy, listen to recordings of real wild turkeys, look at hunting gear, see season dates in each state, research outfitters and look at many different turkey records. You can find a map on the website showing where the different subspecies are found which will help in planning your hunt. And for us bowhunters, the NWTF now recognizes bow hunter grand slams as a separate category. HUNTING FOR LIFE! BA
Wild Game Recipes presented by WildKitchen.net Wild Turkey Pesto Hobo Dinner Ingredients
2 wild turkey breasts 8 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/2" thick 2 cups frozen asparagus pieces or sugar snap peas 1/2 cup basil pesto 1/4 cup mayonnaise
Heat grill. Place 1 turkey breast half on 18x12" sheet of heavy duty foil. Divide tomatoes and asparagus over turkey. In small bowl, combine pesto with mayonnaise. Divide this mixture over food on each sheet. Fold foil over turkey and seal edges, using double fold method. Throw in the fire or cover and grill packets 6" from medium coals for 25-30 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink in center.
Turkey in Saffron Cream Sauce Ingredients
1/2 cup chicken broth 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads 1 cup heavy cream 1 to 2 cups shredded, cooked turkey meat
Over high heat, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan. Crush the saffron threads in your palm and crumble them into the broth. Gently boil the broth for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cream. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer sauce until reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the turkey meat and cook until heated through. Serve over buttered egg noodles, or on steamed basmati rice.
Recipes contributed by Jodi for WildKitchen.net.
After completing 3 Slams, here are a few tips and tactics I have learned along the way: The Eastern turkey inhabits the most territory within the US, covering approximately 1/3 of the eastern US. The Osceola is found only in the lower 2/3 of the peninsula of Florida. Some states such as Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, are home to both the Merriam‘s and the Rio Grande making it possible to take two subspecies on one hunt. When calling to the different subspecies, the tone and cadence of my calls worked the same for all 4 birds or as with all turkey hunts, sometimes didn‘t get a response at all. What is important to remember when hunting different subspecies is you‘ve got to learn the habits and patterns of that turkey. Also, confidence and persistence will kill more turkeys than any other tactic. I use a Double Bull blind in a lot of my turkey hunting and it works beautifully. They are well made, have no wind flap, easy to put up and take down and they last. Get caught in a springtime Florida thunderstorm with a flock of turkeys in a pasture 100 yards out, and a well made blind is a deal maker. I also use the Primos B Mobile (strutting Gobbler decoy) along with a hen decoy. Set the pair up at 10-15 yards and be prepared for some up close action. Gobblers are usually moving constantly when they come in, so I like my shots close, another reason for a good blind. A comfortable chair with a back support is a must for long hours inside the blind. But, if I have time, I leave the chair and go to my knees for the shot. I feel more ―anchored‖ for shooting my bow
from this position and it allows me to be more pivotal. Each subspecies of turkey has challenges unique to itself and here are a few: Merriam‘s can be found in large numbers but like to travel in large flocks and may not come to calls readily. Decoying and patterning flock movement is a must. Some states such as Nebraska offer archery only season prior to gun season. Hunting pressure is extremely light during this time and bird travel can be predictable with scouting. Shot opportunities can be abundant, just be prepared for cold windy days, or get lucky and enjoy beautiful weather and a hunt of a lifetime. Rio Grande turkeys live in big country with lots of ground to roam. After fly down they often disperse into the rolling country side. The Rio‘s gobble sounds like he‘s gobbling in a coffee can, making judging distance a problem. I‘ve hunted Texas and Kansas with equal success. In Kansas be prepared for frequent changes in the weather and even the possibilities of a tornado. Texas offers warmer and more stable temperatures, high numbers of birds and of course….wear your snake boots! Osceolas live in a unique part of the country. You may be hunting a pasture today, an oak hemlock hanging full of Spanish moss tomorrow, and the next day find yourself wading through a black water swamp thinking more about alligators than turkeys. When going to the Sunshine state,
be prepared to see alligators, wild hogs, swarms of mosquitoes and a diversity of landscape. Eastern turkeys are large birds and often sport the heaviest beards and long sharp spurs. They are found on hardwood ridges, pine forest and the rolling plains of the Midwest. Although considered a tough bird to call in, they have very
loud gobbles and are beautiful to see in full strut. The Eastern is my favorite turkey to hunt and they make a beautiful mount in the trophy room. Taking on the challenge of a Grand Slam with bow and arrow is an adventure filled with a roller coaster ride of emotions. Just the type of hunting bowhunters live for. BA
If you are going to get serious about taking gobblers with the bow, here is some equipment you seriously need to check out. A dependable, solid blind that won't flap in the wind such as the Primos DoubleBull. You will also need a realistic decoy set. I like the Spin and Strut gobbler decoy with its realistic look and movement and the portable, yet realistic Primos B Mobile with a real fan. A Feather Flex hen decoy finishes off the realistic look.
The setup was perfect. I was on a hillside, elevated just above a bench that was clearly a path of least resistance in this steep terrain. I snuggled into a V-shape of a huge tree that had blown down in a torrential storm a few months earlier. I had great visibility to my left, to my rear, and forward overlooking the bench. The only blind spot that I had was directly to my right, but the massive blow-down would force any gobblers approaching from that direction to swing down below and use the bench to cross the hillside in front of me. Or, so I thought. I settled in and let out a few soft yelps with my mouth call. Just minutes earlier I was over on an adjacent ridge, cruising the timber and calling from an elevated vantage point. My ear dialed into to a response far off to the north and I set out to get closer. I covered ground, moving towards the distant gobble, occasionally stopping to scan the area and let out a call that was my best attempt at sounding like a seductive hen. I was, as the ―hen‖, moving towards the gobbler, which contrary to common misconception is the way that gobbler and hen interactions happen often in nature. The tom sounded off again, and this time I could tell I was getting much closer to him. It was then that I decided to ―hang up‖, settle in above that hillside bench, and try to reel the charged male turkey into me. I didn‘t yelp any longer, but was now softly calling with some putts and clucks. This should send a calming signal to the old gobbler and let him drop his
guard and move in closer. The air went quiet, with no response to my subtle calling. I knew that the gobbler wasn‘t hung up, or he would be trying to call me in. He had to be coming in quiet and cautious, scanning the area to find this love sick hen that he kept hearing. The woods remained dead quiet for several minutes. Just then it hit me that I had forgotten to stake out my hen decoy, which would have helped draw this gobbler in. I kept scanning cautiously to my left and to the bench below me, knowing that this gobbler could appear in either of these places at any second. Suddenly I caught movement off to my right, and there he was, coming in and looking for love. How did he get around that massive blow-down? He couldn‘t have! This sneaky tom must have come right over the massive tree, which though laying on its side was still over three feet off the ground. I sat motionless and dumbfound as the big boy approached me. He was at 7 yards, then 5, and now at just 3 yards he stopped. He was staring in my direction, but unable to pick me out, he was looking right through me. It was one of those moments that I have only experienced in hunting situations – a massive spike in adrenaline, a curiosity and wonder at what the animal‘s next move will be, an excitement that is impossible to put into words, and an outright disappointment in myself for not being ready for anything and everything. Hunting turkey in the big woods isn‘t easy, but it is addicting. Anyone who has pursued
Suddenly the big tom let out a gobble right in my face. Here I was on the ground, back to a tree, and I am close enough to practically reach out and pluck this bird’s beard, but I can’t shoot him.
these animals in big tracts of timber has quickly come to realize why some folks call these birds, ―feathered ghosts‖. If my history of pursuing turkeys in the timber of the Missouri Ozarks has taught me anything it is that getting a big tom on the ground is no easy feat. Sure, turkey hunting can come easy to some folks. The guys that have the manicured fields, birds on a pattern, and comfortable blinds can find themselves back to the house with a bird in hand on opening morning before most have eaten breakfast. That isn‘t big woods turkey hunting. I am not saying that my way is ―better‖. In fact, most would agree that the opposite is true, and success rates would certainly reflect that opinion. The reason that I chase gobblers in the big woods is simple - it is the terrain that I have access to, and although it does handicap my success rate, it in no way discounts that amount of fun that I have chasing these feathered ghosts over ridges and down through hollows. I am not an expert at hunting these elusive birds, but my experience has taught me some simple lessons that have made me more effective at getting into range on big woods gobblers. Here are the three most important things I have learned… First, and most importantly, is ―start high‖. Being at an elevated vantage point will help visually locate birds, and especially help you hear them. The sounds of a gobble can travel quite a ways, but being above the terrain will certainly help you hear and key in on the direction of distant birds. Additionally it has been claimed, and my own experience confirms, that it is easier to call a bird up in elevation as opposed to calling him down a hill or ridge. Secondly, it is very important to be mobile. Many people hunt turkeys from a stationary location, such as a blind on a field edge. This makes a lot of sense if you know you are in a place where the birds are, but we don‘t
necessarily have that luxury when pursuing turkeys in large tracts of timber. We have to locate the birds and often move towards them until we are close enough to try and draw them in that last little bit of distance. When we talk about staying mobile it is important to consider everything we utilize for turkey hunting. Are your boots going to enable you to cover some serious ground? Is your decoy setup lightweight, packable, and easily deployed? Do you have optics to spot birds in the distance? Lastly, it is important to stay patient. Many states have limited hours that turkeys can be pursued during the season. For example, here in Missouri we are required by law to end our hunting at 1:00pm. Even though we have until one o‘clock, many hunters leave the woods by nine or ten in the morning. Once again, these are often the folks that hunt a stationary spot on a field. Hunting the timber is different. Yes, field activity is most prevalent in the early morning, but you can catch a gobbler at any time in the big woods. He may even be ―henned up‖, but if you get in his range in the woods you may be able to force him away to investigate your calls. Connecting with the old ―feathered ghost‖ in the big woods is no easy feat, but trust me, it is a thrill ride like no other! Get out there and get after it! BA
Photo by Klent Johnston
The very first thing I decided to hunt after getting proficient enough with a traditional bow was the North American turkey. I was still reluctant to deer hunt at that time, and thought turkeys would be an easier introduction to the world of hunting. After all, turkeys were big, fat, stupid birds that pranced around like buffoons and got mowed down in traffic, right? I could kill a turkey. I still haven‘t gone. It‘s been three seasons and I‘ve yet to hit the woods in search of birds. Why? Because turkeys are a tremendous challenge with any weapon, and turkey hunters are crazy. Bird hunters are nutty in general, but turkey hunters are some of the most hardcore hunters I‘ve encountered.
Their loopiness is derived from the folly and frustration of the pursuit. Mr. Jake and Mr. Tom are paranoid beings, with a hair trigger flight response that will drop your jaw by mid-draw. Should you deceive one, hitting it where it counts is similar to shooting a tennis ball within the depths of a down pillow. I don‘t know how many times I‘ve scored horribly on a 3D turkey target because I didn‘t know where the scoring rings were. So when I heard that BowAmerica was going to dedicate an issue to turkey hunting, I immediately figured myself a non-contributor, until I met Dustin Newer. Our meeting was completely random, I inquired about fletching with wild turkey feathers, and he sent me some. That was that, a friendship was struck. I soon learned that Dustin had a plethora of experiences to share: some successful, and some not so much. Spying the opportunity to learn a thing or two, I approached Dustin with the following interview. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. BowAmerica
NV: How long have you been turkey hunting with a stickbow? DN: Turkey hunting for me began in the fall of 2005; I was deer hunting from a tree stand and had about five hens walk by. What an opportunity. My first spring season was in 2008, this was when I made the decision to chase turkey solely with a stickbow. NV: That’s three years! What took you so long? DN: There was a job change and a move across the state during that time. Huntable turkey populations are a lot easier to find where I live now.
NV: How do you hunt them? (ground blinds, natural cover, etc?) I use both natural cover, and commercial ground blinds. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. I really love hunting natural cover with a ghillie suit. I am free to move around, change it up on the fly, and even set an ―ambush‖ should the situation call for it. Pop-ups really shine in open fields, or established areas where you have patterned your birds well have a good idea as to where they are going to be. However, there is nothing more exciting than being eyeball to eyeball with a big ol‘ gobbler only a few feet away with no barrier between you and him but God‘s fresh air! NV: I can imagine. Do you hunt on private land then?
DN: I hunt both public and private land. We are lucky in Western Oklahoma to have some of the best public turkey hunting in the country. Black Kettle National Grasslands is over 35,000 acres of old homesteads and farmland purchased during the Depression, and is a national hot spot for turkey hunters. It‘s critical to be mobile on public land as the birds will be here one day, and gone the next. Private land is great for being able to scout and pattern the birds. NV: I understand that turkeys are a tremendous challenge for a traditional bowhunter. What makes them harder than a whitetail to arrow? DN: Everything is trying to eat them! From the time they are born and every day of their lives afterwards a turkey is on the menu for virtually every predator and carnivore in the woods. This makes them extremely wary of movement, even
more so than most whitetails. I have also heard of turkey‘s seeing and dodging arrows in flight. A turkey‘s vision and hearing are the best there is in the animal kingdom. I have heard it said many times: if a turkey could smell as good as a whitetail we would never kill one, and I believe that! NV: That sounds encouraging. Where do I sign up? DN: It definitely isn‘t easy, but neither is shooting a longbow. NV: All kidding aside, if you began hunting in 2008, I would hope you’ve harvested at least one by now. Could you share the experience to make success seem a little more obtainable for us dreamers? DN: I have killed one turkey with a stickbow. NV: So it is possible! DN: To this day it is my greatest personal bow hunting Photo by Klent Johnston accomplish ment. I hunted hard for over a week straight and had some incredibly close encounters. I was determined to do it without a blind, and that made it so much sweeter! I had figured out the travel pattern they were using after they got off the
roost. I set up inside a shaded cedar tree with a hen decoy at 12 yards and a jake decoy at 18. I had heard the gobbler on the roost before daylight, and didn‘t do any calling until I heard him fly down. I had enough time to make a few soft yelps on my slate call when I heard him spitting and drumming just a few yards behind me. I had several cedar trees behind me, and fully expected him to come around to my right. That‘s when I noticed movement from my left! There he was, in FULL STRUT at my jake decoy. He was not happy about the intruder and totally ignored the hen decoy. He continued to strut around the jake, and finally turned broadside. I picked out a spot just above his legs and released. The morning sky was still gray, and I‘d fletched my arrows with a similar shade of goose feather, so I couldn‘t pick the flight of the arrow up right away. I heard it hit with a ―THWACK‖ – similar to a hand slapping a paper sack. The big tom reacted immediately by pecking and wrapping his neck around my jake decoy. I slowly drew another arrow and shot again. This time the tom jumped straight up in the air, tried to fly away, came back down, and slowly walked over another ridge. I could see my arrow lying on the ground next to the decoy. I
slowly crawled over to retrieve it, and found it matted with blood and feathers. I did my best to keep calm, trying to wait the standard 30 minutes, but couldn‘t. I got up and walked over to wear I watched the tom disappear, only to find him dead five feet from where I lost him. NV: Wow. That must have been a relief. DN: Oh yeah. It has to be one of the best feelings I have experienced hunting: seeing him and knowing I had done what I considered to be nearly impossible. I think my emotions got the best of me at that point. I just lay down beside him for a moment to try to soak it all in. To this day that tom, that hunt, is my greatest bowhunting achievement. NV: Okay, now I’m motivated, but before I get too carried away let’s talk misses. Do you have any funny stories to share?
Let‘s put it this way, I used to use a 3-arrow quiver, then I tried a six, now I use a combination of the two and carry nine! My most memorable miss was the first spring hunt in 2008. I had set up in a group of little cedars next to a canyon. The turkeys were crossing an open field, and bailing off into the canyon where I suspected the hens were nesting. There was a small rise in the middle of the field that I could not see over when I was seated. It limited my visibility to 25 yards. I‘d already had a jake cruise by without a shot, and hens within just feet of my setup. At around 8:30 a.m. the toms had all but gone silent, forcing me to abandon my calling and wait them out. I was half asleep when I noticed six turkeys coming right at me: five hens and a monster tom! The biggest tom I had ever seen. His beard was as big around as my forearm, and practically raked the ground. The hens were out front, and the tom was in
hot pursuit. I had to wait until they all passed behind the brush pile in front of me to conceal my draw. It was brutal. As the last head disappeared I drew my bow, and waited. There he was: in full strut glory, mere feet away. I‘d been at full draw for a couple of seconds (something I hadn‘t practiced at the time) and it was really throwing me off. I had this mental image of my feathers sticking out of his chest as he lay there flopping. Unfortunately, this would not be the case, as I jerked my shot slightly and slipped my arrow between his wing and breast. I had just enough time to draw a second, before he realized why the hens were leaving, and released just a few inches in front of him as he began to take flight. That experience, above all else, is what keeps me coming back for more. I can still see the color radiating off of his feathers, as he started to spin in front of me —close enough to see his eyelashes. I even kept two of his breast feathers as a momento of the experience. To me, that is what stickbow hunting is all about, getting so close you can smell their breath, and getting off a shot. NV: I couldn’t have said it better myself. How does a newbie like me begin traditional turkey hunting with a bow? What do I need to get started? DN: It‘s really simple; a place to hunt with a population of turkeys is always a plus. A few basic calls are all you really need to get started. A decoy is a big help when bowhunting to help position the bird but it‘s not a requirement. NV: What about bows? What kind do you find best for turkey hunting? DN: In my experience, a lighter bow is best. Something you can hold at full draw, and still concentrate on the spot you want to hit. Most
times, when you draw on a turkey, it is going to move, or you are going to have to wait for a clear shot. After my most memorable miss, I began practicing holding at full draw and then adjusting to the target, rather than the other way around. This is an absolute necessity when turkey hunting, especially from natural cover. A turkey‘s vision is 270 degrees, so you want to draw your bow when their head and eyes are obstructed from view. NV: Let’s talk about shot placement. Some people say a heart shot is best. Some people say to aim for the head. What are your thoughts? DN: If you look at a turkey, it seems 99% of the bird is non-vital. I absolutely stay away from the front half of the bird if I can. There is a tremendous amount of feathers, breast, and bone in the front half of a turkey to prevent a kill. The baseball sized heart/lung area doesn‘t leave any room for error. Contrarily, the area from the top of the legs to the bottom of the backbone in the rear ¼ is all vitals and gives you twice the kill zone. I always try to hit the speculum, or shiny feathers on the wing, which sits directly over the rear vitals when the turkey is at full strut, half strut, or still. Another benefit of this shot is the decreased chance of a fly away. Turkey‘s have to use their legs to get off the ground. If they are disabled, the bird cannot go far. If the turkey is facing away from you, any shot through the back or vent will more than likely anchor the bird. I try to avoid frontal shots if possible. However, if you are shooting a broadhead like the Magnus Bullhead or Gobbler Guillotine, then a frontal neck/head shot is a great option. NV: I’ve always been told that 3-blade heads are the best for turkey hunting. Other people claim that you should use a Guillotine. What do you recommend?
DN: The best broadhead for any situation is a sharp one. For me, a wide head such as a Magnus One with bleeders, or a Simmons Interceptor is preferable. Ultimately, turkeys are a hardy animal, and shot placement is key. NV: Aside from bow length, what are the disadvantages of hunting turkeys with a traditional bow? DN: The added movement prior to the shot for me is the biggest disadvantage a stickbow has. The lack of let-off is a close second. Most modern compounds have 85% let-off, so if your bow is set at 70# your really only holding 11#, allowing the archer to hold for much longer and limit movement. NV: Are there any advantages to using a stickbow?
NV: I understand you actually fletch your arrows with some of the birds you have killed. Do natural turkey feathers work as well as storebought feathers? DN: I am always bugging guys and gals I know during turkey season to save their wings. You‘d be amazed at how many just toss them out. There is something special about natural-barred, wild turkey feathers on the back of an arrow. Mojo aside, they are more durable and water resistant than store-bought feathers from farmraised birds, as well. NV: Point taken. When I eventually do hit the woods in search of birds, I’ll be sure to have a few arrows fletched with the genuine article for luck. Thank you for your time Dustin! I learned a lot and am certain others will as well. DN: No problem Nick. It was fun! BowAmerica
DN: I think so. You can acquire your target, and release an arrow in a fraction of the time it takes to find a correct pin in a peep sight, settle it on the target, and release. This is where the advantages of a pop-up blind really come into play. NV: Explain calls. What works the best for a traditional bowhunter from your experience? DN: I prefer friction-style calls until I get the birds in close, then I switch to a diaphragm type mouth call so my hands are freed up to draw my bow. There are 1,000s of different styles, brands, and combinations of turkey calls on the market today, but I‘m a minimalist and like to stick with the basic trio of box, slate, and diaphragm. I also carry a locator call when exploring a new area, and figure out where the birds are roosting.
With Dustin‘s encouragement, I was hoping to apply for my first tag during the 2012 season, but things didn‘t fall into place. I‘ve got the bow. I‘ve got the arrows. I‘ve got the calls, but I‘m lacking land and knowledge. Turkey hunting is going to require a commitment. I am willing to make that commitment, but will not do so until I feel I am prepared, which means making connections, doing the research, and finding a place to hunt. Fortunately, the hunting community is full of people like Dustin who are willing to help. For those of you who are interested in fletching with natural turkey feathers, stay tuned! I‘ll be dedicating an article to that in an upcoming issue. BA
Wild Game Recipes presented by Papa Scottâ€™s Camp Dog
Alligator Sauce Piquant Ingredients: -2 pounds of alligator legs w/ bones -1 medium chopped onion -1 chopped bell pepper -1 clove chopped garlic -4 oz. of tomato sauce -1 pound smoke sausage cut to one inch lengths -Cajun Seasoning to taste
How to cook: Browning the meat Season the meat with Cajun Seasoning; add a small amount of vegetable oil to a cast iron or aluminum pot. When hot, add the alligator meat and brown over medium heat until brown and some of the browning sticks to the bottom of the pot. Add a little water as needed to keep from burning. Stir often. SautĂŠ Vegetables -After the meat is browned, remove from the pot. -Add sausage and brown for about 20 minutes, (same process). -Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and sautĂŠ until onion is somewhat transparent. -Add tomato sauce and stir constantly for about 5 minutes. -Add meat back to pot and add enough water to cover meat, cook on med. heat until meat is tender. -Adjust the amount of gravy by adding more water if needed. -Serve over cooked white rice with sides of choice.
with Darren Johnson Happy Spring everyone! As many of you have likewise experienced, this winter in central Indiana was one of the mildest and easiest in memory. We had less than ten inches of total snowfall and the temperatures were very moderate. While we had a lot of precipitation, it fell as rain instead of snow and ice. While this was kind of a bummer for a winter-loving person like me, it was great for the native wildlife. Many people think that brutal sub-zero temperatures are the primary driver for massive winterkills of wildlife but this is not true. Sure, a kill-off usually includes chilling cold, but the primary driver is lack of quality food. Usually, food sources are either covered in ice or buried in snow, making them unavailable or much harder
to find. Not only do the animals have to burn more calories to find the food, but if they canâ€˜t find enough, then they burn up their body fat and eventually donâ€˜t have enough resources to survive the winter. Given enough quality food, it is amazing how well our woodland creatures can survive the cold. This need for winter calories is one of the best justifications you can have to use food plots in your wildlife habitat management program. Even with a mild winter like the one we just had, these food plots will be very beneficial to the health of wildlife. This photo shows one of the food plots planted in spring of 2011. As ugly and dead as it looks now in late winter, it would be hard to imagine that this plot has any beneficial value to
wildlife, yet we see deer feeding in it on a regular basis. Yes, there are still lots of ―natural‖ food sources available to wildlife due to the mild winter, but wildlife species have an instinctual ability to find the highest quality food sources and consume these first. That is why we are still seeing deer in the plots regularly. Contrast this to previous winters when we didn‘t have food plots, and much of the native wildlife left our property to travel elsewhere where higher quality food sources were available. So, if you decide that food plots are part of your plan, and you have prepared your land accordingly, the next hurdle is to decide what to plant. You can go the ―natural‖ or native route, meaning that you will grow native high-quality food sources that probably already exist on your property but not in a high concentration. The values of concentrating these food sources is that you can create these food sources cheaply and the wildlife will naturally find these large concentrations and spend much of their time nearby. Once planted, there isn‘t a whole lot of effort necessary to maintain the plot. Contrast this concentration of native food sources with the same plants growing sporadically through fields and woods, which force the animals to travel extensively to consume large quantities. By region, here are some of the most popular native food sources for whitetail deer: Northeast: Brambles (wild berries), Grapes, Wild rose, Virginia Creeper Midwest: Brambles (wild berries), Grapes, Wild rose, Virginia Creeper, Ragweed, Trillium, Honeysuckle Southeast: Brambles (wild berries), Grapes, Wild rose, Ragweed, Honeysuckle, Strawberry bush
Canada: Brambles (wild berries), Wild rose, Trillium, Asters, Thistle, Chokeberry Also on the list for each region is poison ivy, but for obvious reasons I don‘t recommend incorporating it into your food plot plans. If you decide to go this native route, you can most likely walk your property and find these plants growing. With some sweat and a little tenderness, you can dig these up and transplant into your food plot area. Once you have sufficient quantities, you will notice an immediate increase in wildlife sightings around your plot. A native food plot has a lot of positives and will work great for you, but in the long run I don‘t find it to be the most efficient or productive plot you can have. I have found that without fail, deer and turkey love farm equipment. It may sound odd, but what I mean is that they prefer agricultural crops over most natural foods. In most cases, the nutritional content is higher and more concentrated so the animals will be healthier with access to these crops. I figured this out after multiple farmers told me stories about deer and turkey walking behind their combines eating corn and soybeans that had fallen to the ground during harvesting. I was a little suspicious until one day I had the opportunity to watch a small herd of deer doing just what the farmers had described. This was during the fall and the animals had many food options including acorns, which I had previously thought was their favorite. While I now realized the farmers stories were the truth, I didn‘t see the connection for wildlife habitat management because of the crop being harvested in the fall. That is, until a QDMA officer told me about specialized soybeans that are designed to produce fewer bean and in return, larger leaves. Since they aren‘t for agriculture production, they can be planted but don‘t get harvested in the fall, remaining standing throughout the winter.
BINGO! This was year-round superior nutrition at a low cost, plus the plants are short enough that you can clearly see the animals in the plot. Additionally, many of these varieties are ―Round Up ready,‖ meaning that they can be sprayed with a herbicide at any time throughout the growing season to eliminate any invasive weeds. From a crop perspective, I have seen corn, alfalfa and sunflowers also used as the primary food plot ingredient but I still prefer soybeans. With corn and sunflowers, I have found that due to their height and density, sometimes the deer will bed in the plots and don‘t have to travel to the food. This makes them virtually invisible to the wildlife watcher or hunter. With alfalfa, I have personally found the deer and turkey to be more skittish, possibly due to the lower height and therefore, greater visibility by predators.
Another benefit to planting any crop food plot is that you can change it up whenever you feel the need. We have experimented rotating corn, soybeans and commercial seed mixes but more and more, we come back to soybeans for their simplicity, hardiness, ease of planting and nutritional benefit to the animal. If you decide to utilize food plots on your property, the important thing to remember is that whatever you do, it won‘t work as well as you would like but it will still have a very beneficial impact to wildlife. Walk your land, lay out your plan, call your friends and family to help and go build a plot or two. It is a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones and help wildlife at the same time. Sounds like a win-win to me. BA
It is a sign of spring. Sure, the dogwoods and Bradford pears begin to bloom. The grass begins to grow. And certainly, it is just a matter of days, not weeks, before everything begins to collect a hazy yellow film from the pollinating pines and other plants. But to me, at least as of the last few years, the true sign of spring is when the sucker fish begin their spawn. In a manner not unlike the great salmon of Alaska, the sucker fish will make their way upstream to an ancient spot that many, many generations have congregated throughout the centuries. They flap on top of the water as they squirm over shallow runs, depositing their eggs and secretions along the way. Often, if you are lucky enough to time the event, it usually lasts only a week or so, you can catch dozens upon dozens rolling amongst each other in their annual dance. Of course, being one fond of the outdoors and bowfishing, this ignites the inner spirit within me. No longer must I brave the cold, the biting wind, and the other wintery elements nature has to offer. While I do enjoy it, the seasons remain in motion for a reason. They keep us from the having a passion that grows too monotonous to continue. The seasons pass so that we have something to look forward to as new challenges and adventures await. Yes, as the sucker fish work their way over distances, I envision myself as hunters of days passed. Much like the Native Americans hundreds of years ago must have done, I ready the draw on my
bow, though it is much more technologically advanced than the ones used then, and release an arrow toward the golden fish. My arrow contains a string and barbed point. Theirs were likely longer arrows without a tether. Many used sharpened sticks to gig the fish instead. The suckers provided nourishment and an easy catch during the spawn. The suckers do the same now as well. Last year my daughter was fortunate in taking a sucker fish as her first animal with the use of a bow. She did it on the last day we were able to attend the spawning affair. In the process, she held the North Carolina State bowfishing record for youth female. This year, she was anxious and willing, and we were able to get out the creekside once again. I also held the overall North Carolina bowfishing record at 5 pounds 14 ounces. On the first night, I was able to bring in a nice 6 pounder. Officially measured, it came up to 5.99 pounds. Since the weights are not measured in hundredths but rather ounces, it temporarily
breaks my old record by 2 ounces. After a busy day of birthday parties and dancing recitals, I was able to take Julianne back out. I would guide her, hoping it would not take the hundreds of shots it took the previous year before the hit was made. Using a LED Lenser headlamp, I searched the shallows and the running waters. She had taken a couple of shots, just missing each time. Then, about 10 yards away, there was a flurry of motion as several fish climbed, wallowed, and rubbed over each other. She pulled back the bow, and before I could finish the statement ‗shoot when you are ready‘, she released the biting arrow. Yes, she hit her mark and the arrow‘s barbed point held the fish tight. We were able to pull it to the shore moments later. Official weight: 6.01 pounds. Luckily for me, it gets rounded off to 6 pounds and 0 ounces. Now, at least for the time being, Julianne and I will share the state record. That is until someone else is able to find the ancient spawning runs and share an experience with the spirits of old. BA
I met Ed Jenkins (no relation) through a mutual friend as I was asking around because while I‘ve only used diaphragms in the past I wanted to get a nice slate call to try this spring. I was referred to the Ghost Maker Calls Facebook page and instantly I was ready to buy. Every call he posted looked immaculate. He had a wide variety of woods both exotic and domestic and makes both box and slate calls. To start off I called Ed and basically told him I had no idea what I was doing with a friction call and he took his time explaining the benefits of slate versus glass, ceramic and aluminum. This guy really knows his stuff! I decided on a simple slate call in Zebrawood. I‘ve always been
fascinated by wood work and was excited to say the least to see how the call would turn out. In a short couple of weeks I got a call from Ed saying the call was ready! He played it for me over the phone to make sure I was happy with the sound and he also gave me some pointers as to how to use the call to get clearer or raspier sound. Ed checks every call before it goes out to make sure it produces good sound. He doesn‘t turn the pot, slap it together and check it either. He gives it time to settle, plays it a little, lets it rest for a day or two and plays it again and so on to make sure that it consistently makes good sound as it seats together.
In just a few days I had the call in my hands and as you can see by the pictures it did not disappoint in the area aesthetics. I love the way the cut of zebrawood is light on one side and dark on the other. The striker looks great too and you can‘t see it in the images but the way the zebrawood shines in sunlight is amazing, it really gives a depth to the wood grain. However, as pretty as the call is it sounds even better. Within minutes of picking up the call up I was making nice consistent yelps and clucks that sounded awesome. I really can‘t get over both the craftsmanship as well as the sound quality of this call. If I don‘t kill a turkey this season it definitely won‘t be because of the call. I‘m really looking forward to taking this call with me this spring and hope to follow this
review with some trophy pictures of a fine gobbler alongside my Ghost Maker Call. I was just as impressed with Ed‘s service as I am the call itself and can‘t wait to order another one! I really enjoy supporting the people who are making things they love and that I have control over, not just a call put together on an assembly line and hopefully you do too. At around $50 per call depending on wood selection and shipping it really isn‘t that much different than the factory made calls in retail stores. If you‘d like to see more of Ed‘s work, check out his website at GhostMakerCalls.com or check out the Facebook Page. *Note: This was not a paid or solicited review, I purchased the call on my own and reviewed it without request* BA
Nothing can wreck a great morning in the spring turkey woods faster than a tick infestation. Ticks and spring turkey hunting unfortunately go hand in hand in many parts of the country. The enjoyment of the suns‘ early morning rays that light up the green forest floor will evaporate as quickly as the low lying morning fog when one feels that first tickle of a tick marching around on their skin. The tick that most commonly carries a tick borne illness such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is the black legged tick, Ixodes scapularis, or commonly called the deer tick or seed tick. There are three stages in a tick‘s life, the larva, nymph, and the adult. The majority of tick borne illnesses are transmitted from the bite of a tick in the nymphal stage. When the tick is in the nymphal stage it is often the size of a pin head. Because they are so small in this stage, being able to feel them crawling on you is often difficult and also ticks in the nymphal stage are usually more active in
temperatures cooler than when the adult tick are most active. This means that at cooler temperatures, when you are most likely to be turkey hunting in the spring, your odds of getting the small nymphal stage tick is probably at its highest; versus during hot midsummer months. The adult tick is most active during the warmer temperatures in the spring and through fall. The adult stage in the tick‘s life makes them much easier to spot and feel crawling on you, which makes it easier to remove them before they become attached and start spreading those nasty tick borne illnesses. Contrary to popular belief, ticks don‘t leap from above, jump, or fly. They do however grab hold of you as you walk by or brush up against thick grass, brushy areas, or leaves. Most ticks start their journey on the lower extremities and work their way up until they reach a spot where they can‘t crawl anymore such as your head or a tight location such as waist bands, sock cuffs, or under arms.
As a survivor of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever; I‘ve evolved into a one woman anti-tick tactical team. Let‘s have a look at what‘s in my anti-tick bag of tricks: Prevent them from attaching in the first place: Leave no skin exposed. Tuck pants legs into the tops of socks, and further into boots. If you‘re in an area that is particularly tick infested, don‘t be shy, go ahead and wrap a length of duct tape around the area where your pant legs are tucked into socks. Tuck your shirt sleeves into the tops of your gloves, again don‘t be afraid to wrap a length of camo tape around the seal. Cover your head effectively with a cap and a face mask if need be. Lace a flea and tick collar into the laces of your boots. (Don‘t however make the mistake of wearing a flea/tick collar like a wrist or ankle bracelet; they can be terribly irritating to bare skin). Many ―old timers‖ swear that a light dusting of sulphur powder can also be helpful. The most common type of sulphur powder used for this is the type that is used for dusting gardens. While DEET is certainly handy in the spring turkey woods for those pesky biting mosquitoes, black flies, and gnats, it‘s not particularly effective for repelling ticks. The best tick repellant on the market, in my opinion, is
Permethrin. Permethrin is actually not a repellant but an insecticide. When a tick comes in contact with Permethrin it is killed a short time later. Most sprays or Permethrin treatments on the market are for clothing only. Permethrin based products remain effective for several weeks even after several gentle washings in plain cold water. Permethrin is virtually nontoxic to humans. Permethrin is not designed to be used on skin however, because it will not bond to skin like it does to fabric and is also deactivated when it comes into contact with skin. Many people can also experience an allergic type skin reaction to Permethrin, resulting in itching, blisters, and sometimes hives. Tests show that Permethrin is a 100% effective on ticks versus DEET being only 85% to 89% affective. Permethrin is always my repellant of choice when hitting the woods in the spring. There are many types of Permethrin based products to use, some are in aerosol cans, some in pump based spray bottles, others are designed to mix with water and soak clothing, sleeping bags, etc. My personal favorite is manufactured by Sawyer. I find it to work well and last a sufficient
amount of time even with repeated washing and easy to use. When laundering the Permethrin treated clothes, hand rinse in cold water unless they are particularly filthy. Detergents and agitation are what remove the Permethrin quicker. I use the military grade soak mix initially then touch up my ―woods clothes‖ with the pump spray as needed. Most treatments are good for about 6-8 washings. A quick internet search will provide a plethora of Permethrin products at various price points. Another product on the market for tick repellant is specialized clothing designed to repel ticks. One of the most popular is a brand of clothing called ElimiTick, designed by Game Hide. Gamehide‘s ElimiTick clothing stops ticks, chiggers, and other pesky insects. Insect Shield technology is a revolutionary process that bonds the repellent (a man made version of a natural repellent found in chrysanthemum flowers) to fabric fibers. The repellant lasts the life of the garment, is odorless and retains complete effectiveness through 70 washings and has earned EPA‘s safest rating. Wearing ElimiTick clothing can help protect against deer ticks without the inconvenience and odors of sprays. The ElimiTick line features the ElimiTick Five Pocket pant in Tan and the ElimiTick Long Sleeve Tech shirt in Loden and Brown. As well as lightweight accessories, the ElimiTick Facemask and ElimiTick Glove. For even stronger insect repellant and resistant clothing; consider a set of RYNOSKINS. RYNOSKIN was specifically designed to be worn underneath the clothing. This unique concept provides the wearer with comfort, breathability, stealth movement, and eliminates snags against brush. This armor will stretch to accommodate all different body sizes. Unlike all of the over-garment type of insect protection suits that are hot, noisy, and snag against the brush; RYNOSKIN is ultra-lightweight (9 oz) body-
forming, cool, and comfortable. This body suit is so comfortable that the wearer will forget that he's wearing it. RYNOSKIN has impenetrable fabric and snug fitting elastic cuffs that provide complete protection from not only ticks, but also sand fleas/flies (biting midges), no-see-ums/black files, chiggers, ants, gnats, and other biting insects. Lastly, as soon as you are out of the field, swap your hunting/woods/field clothes out for fresh garments. Give the clothes a good shake and dump them in a sealable large plastic bag or a tote. No sense in carting ticks that might be on your clothes into your vehicle, or worse yet into the house. Once back at home give them another good shake and inspection and hang on the clothesline to air. Hanging out air can also help to limit the number of times that clothes must be laundered. While changing clothes it‘s important to run a quick check for any that may have found their way on to your person, and promptly remove them. While not designed to repel ticks, I wouldn‘t dream of entering the mosquito, black fly, and gnat laden spring woods without a Thermacell. ThermaCELL® mosquito repellent lanterns and appliances are powered by a single butane cartridge. Butane provides the cordless, portable heat that activates the patented devices. The heat generated by the butane cartridge is directed to a metal grill that is part of the design of the lantern or appliance. A small mat which is saturated with repellent, sits on top of the metal grill. Heat vaporizes the repellent, allowing it to rise into the air. The repellent is allethrin, a copy of a repellent that naturally occurs in chrysanthemum flowers. It repels up to 98% of mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-ums, and will not harm humans or pets. Within minutes after turning on the lantern or appliance, the repellent creates a 15 x 15 foot
(225 square-feet) mosquito-free zone, the size of an average deck, patio, or campsite. All ThermaCELL mosquito repellent products use the same refills, which contain both repellent mats and butane cartridges. Sometimes despite all of our best efforts we arrive home, hop in the shower to scrub off any and all buggies and find one of the little terrorists attached. No need to panic, however the best practice is to remove as quickly as possible because the sooner that tick is off, the fewer the chances of contracting a tick borne illness. In the case of Lyme disease, rarely does transmission occur until after the tick has been attached for at least 24 hours. While there are many, many, old wives tails and folk medicine myths about removing ticks there really is only one correct way. Please keep in mind any remedies such as Vaseline, hot matches, nail polish remover; etc- could actually make things worse. Anything that might cause 'shock' to the tick could result in the tick purging (that's the same as vomiting) the contents of its body into your bloodstream, infecting you with any number of diseases. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends this method for tick removal: 1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. 2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal. 3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
If you prefer a handier or more hands off method to trick removal, two great products are the Tick Nipper and the Tick Key. Both work very easily; the Tick Nipper is larger and easier to handle and grip for many people than the Tick Key, however the Tick Key is ideal for hanging on key chain, a backpack, or turkey vest, clipping to a dogs collar, and easily fits in very small space, taking up less room in a pack. Lastly a few things to watch for should you experience a tick bite. It is not unusual for tick bites to become red, slightly swollen, and itchy; much like mosquito bite. The real trouble surfaces if you see a bulls eye like rash developing around the bite, or begin to experience a fever, headache, flu like symptoms within a few days to a week or so following a tick bite. I cannot stress enough - If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick. Be very proactive and assertive with your physician and do not be afraid to request blood testing for a variety of tick borne illnesses. Many physicians are not particularly knowledgeable about tick bites, or the prevalence of tick borne illnesses. Do not be satisfied with your physician‘s explanation that ―We don‘t see tick borne illnesses in this area.‖ Most tick borne illnesses can be managed simply with oral antibiotics if diagnosed and treatment is started within the few days of onset. A delayed diagnosis presents a host of issues, may require larger doses or intravenous antibiotics, and often have a much poorer prognosis. So tuck, tape, spray, soak, seek, and destroy this turkey season in the spring woods and save yourself lots of trouble from those terrorizing ticks! BA
Self-guided, self-taught, self-reliant and maybe even a little self centered are all things that I would use to describe my self-proclaimed obsession. It is interesting the lengths that one will go to fulfill ones desire to pull a fish on deck. I‘ve said in the past that I have an addiction to shooting carp and that statement is still as true as ever, but every time I walk the banks or paddle though my local waters I gain more respect for the fresh water ghosts. Nimble, for their size they are able to be somewhere and then gone in an instant. Intelligent, they say trout have an IQ of 2 and a carp has the IQ of 4, double that of a trout. Hearty, in the place where I frequent there is runoff from heavily pesticide laden field and daily tidal fluctuations where from the Pacific Ocean. If they can last in there they can last almost anywhere.
I am addicted to bowhunting in all of its forms, Traditional is a new form I am exploring, my Matthews Compound is always there when I need meat, and my bowfishing rig is the tried and true standby. Whatever the form I love it and if it is an activity that requires a bow to harvest game I am in. One thing I that sets bowfishing apart from other forms is non-need to upgrade and seek faster, newer and lighter equipment and bows. In fact it is more often than not old equipments and bows are used for pursuing carp, gar, rays, shark and even gators. For me it lures me into the lore of bowfishing, simple, basic and honestly drives me to get creative with my rigging. Queue the A-Team music. I started with a Matthews MQ1 a neighbor let me use for about a year. I removed the rest, sight and stabilizer. I did not want to purchase any bowfishing specific equipment on the rig except for an arrow and slide. I came up with a few guides, one was a simple 1‖ I-bolt that fit perfectly thought the machining of the bow. I moved from that to an enclosed ¼‖ aluminum cover with 5/8‖ nylon rollers. That one was the hot ticket, worked perfectly. Simple easy and embodied the
essence of bowfishing, make do with what you have, but make it effective. Add an Igloo cup holder mounted where the stabilizer was for a line spool and I was set. I used some extra spectra line I had on one of my old spearguns and I had the making of a $15 rig set up. Not too bad if you ask me. My next endeavor came when I started working with Diablo Paddlesports, now had a mobile platform that allowed me to bowfish over the water instead of next to it on the banks. But now I had a problem, on a boat, losing a neighbors bow into the depths is less than idea. So, strike up the A-Team music again and enter the PVC Bow. A ½ inch pvc irrigation pipe ripped down the middle to allow it to fit into a ¾ inch pvc irrigation pipe and the bow was ready for paint and a string. I did a similar spool and line as I did for my Matthews and I had a portable and hard hitting carp killer. Death From Above or DFA is what I christened her with. Ended up with about a #50ish bow that cost me a whopping $15 bucks and the best part is that it floats, I know that from experience too. That is the beauty of bowfishing though. It is not frowned upon to have hand-me-down or homemade gear, don‘t get me wrong a new AMS, Oneida or Instinct Bow would be nice too, but what I have works and if I am pulling in big fish I am happy enough. Bowfishing to me is more about passion, dedication and good day in the sun as opposed to the latest and greatest of which I am guilty of too. So go out invent, inspire and have a good time with once much loved gear that is rotting away in your attic. Take a walk along a river or cruise a lake, you will thank me. BA
Learning how to properly grip a bow has been a topic of conversation in the archery world for a very long time. It's one of the biggest reasons archers ruin a shot. Aside from jitters, I'd be willing to bet that bow torque is one of the top reasons they miss the target or botch a shot on a wild animal. Three years ago I came to find that I was holding my bow incorrectly and torqueing it with each shot. I had a different bow then, but nonetheless, I knew what I was doing. We have developed what we believe to be simple but revolutionary new device called the True Shot Coach that will help archers of any level be more accurate. The True Shot Coach will teach new archers how to properly grip their bow, while helping even the most advanced level archers eliminate human induced riser torque caused by grip variance. By eliminating this riser torque, down range left and right groups are significantly tighter. The tool can be used as a training aid, or it can be used full time when competing or hunting. We have spent a lot of R& D time with the device which has shown incredible results with a variety of archers across the country. Several archers have already won National level tournaments while using the prototype!
The True Shot Coach from Don't Choke Archery takes the guess work out of holding your bow properly. When I first spoke with DCAâ€˜s owner Randy Peck, I was impressed with how much he really wants archers to succeed. Randy is a bowhunter and inventor from Texas who is very relaxed and focused on his product. We discussed the benefits of the True Shot Coach, how many of the top target archers are using one, and he offered to send me a sample. By using the website, I calculated that I would need a size large TSC. Within days a few different size samples arrived at my door. My first impressions were that the True Shot Coach is a simple, yet very effective tool. It slid on my fingers very easily, slid off very easily, and was comfortable. Itâ€˜s lightweight and comfortable to wear. To test it fully, my hunting
partner Michael and I hit the archery range the following day. I brought the large and extra-large to the range. The instructions on the packaging (and website) are quite simple. I have listed them below. True Shot Coach Instructions: 1. Place the True Shot coach on your bow hand with the pointy end towards your palm 2. Place the bow grip on the pad of your thumb with your fingers in the 10 o’clock position. 2 o’clock for a left handed archer 3. Draw your bow while maintaining this position 4. Relax your fingers onto the True Shot Coach To start our testing, Michael and I shot two rounds of five arrows without the True Shot Coach on our hands. The two rounds showed that while we shot decent, our arrow groups were not as tight as we would have liked. Once we placed the TSC on, we noticed an immediate improvement in our arrow groups. Mentally I didn‘t have to stress about whether or not my grip was correct. We then shot three rounds of five at different ranges. Respectively, our arrows were within three inches of one another on each round. We started at 20 yards and moved out to 60 yards. Both of us were impressed at how such a simple product could affect our shooting. While the instructions say to be at a 10 o‘clock position, I found that my grip was slightly different than what the photo on the website shows. I could not comfortably hold the TSC against the handle without pain in my wrist.
I had to have it more toward my hand than the bow. The only issue we had with the True Shot Coach was that after shooting 30 arrows, our grip hands were rather sore where the pointed ends were digging into our palms. For the last two rounds we took the TSC off and our arrows hit inconsistently. We figured that to be partly due to not having the TSC on and fatigue. The photo to the left is an example of the pointed portion digging in. This is a slight exaggeration to show the result. I spoke with Randy regarding our results and he mentioned that he had heard about this before. His suggestion was to slightly bend the point out away from our palms. His suggestion worked perfectly! Randy was more than willing to go over any questions I had and we spent some time over a few phone calls getting to know one another and discussing his product. He is passionate about the True Shot Coach, and it shows. I did remove the MADE IN U.S.A. tag on my TSC because it was bright white and sticks out. I would hate to be hunting and have an animal spot that, especially turkey. After shooting for a while, or hunting in the heat, I found my TSC needed a slight washing due to perspiration build up. I gave it a quick hand wash with some unscented soap and that did the trick. For target archers and bowhunters alike, this is a great tool that when used properly will keep your shooting consistent and drive up your confidence level. It‘s great to know these are
made in the U.S.A. and are reasonably priced at $16.95 each. You have to figure that it pays for itself when you stop losing arrows and are bringing down the animals you are shooting at
and not eating tag soup. They are also making a different model with adjustable finger sizes that should be available soon. I am looking forward to utilizing the TSC while hunting this year. BA
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My hunting journey began shortly after I got married. That fall as opening season for deer was drawing near, my sweet husband asked if it was okay if he went hunting over the weekend. I quickly responded with, "Sure! As long as I can come with." Ever since then, we have been enjoying our passion for the outdoors / hunting / fishing, and all that comes with that... together as a husband and wife team. I enjoy sharing our stories of the times spent in the woods. They can be quite interesting at times. As a female hunter, I've learned a few lessons of how to keep up with the guys in camp. Because when you are hunting, it is not about looking good and smelling pretty for those elk. Instead you learn to not be seen or smelt at all. I also write the blog Scent Free Lip Gloss.
I am a California born country boy that grew up with a gun in one hand and a fishing pole in the other. I have been able to turn my passions of bowhunting and fishing into my day job where I am the Southwest Sale rep for Elite Outdoor Sport. Western big game is my passion, but I am not opposed to bow fishing for carp either.
Bill is a hunter education (IHEA) and bowhunter education (IBEP) instructor, lifetime member of North Carolina Bowhunters Association, associate member of Pope and Young, and official measurer for both. He writes the blog BillHowardOutdoors and is publisher of this magazine.
Mark Huelsing is a regular guy with an irregular passion for bowhunting and
the outdoors. In addition to writing for BowAmerica, Mark runs the bowhunting blog Sole Adventure, and is also a contributor to several other outdoor outlets such as Filson Life and Bowcast. Connect with Mark at SoleAdventure.com, or say hello on twitter @SoleAdventure.
Will Jenkins runs TheWilltoHunt.com Hunting Blog where he recently started the â€˜Harnesses for Huntersâ€™ Program. He also writes for Maryland Whitetail Magazine.
Darren Johnson is the author of Taking a Walk on the Wild Side, a blog born out of his personal love of nature and his desire to help youth and adults improve their lives through higher self-esteem, good decision making and strengthening family bonds by building a relationship with nature. He lives in central Indiana and spends as much time as possible in nature activities such as hiking, photography, archery, hunting, fishing, food plot and habitat development, as well as other conservation projects.
Outdoorsman, Entrepreneur, Blogger, Electronics Technician and Owner of Papa Scott's Cajun Products, my twitter name is Cajun_Seasoning. Hi, I'm Papa Scott, I enjoy cooking for family and friends around an open fire. I'm looking forward to sharing my recipes with you!
Al writes the bow-hunting blog site SoCalBowhunter. He is a graphic designer, photographer, life member of the North American Hunting Club, and a pro staffer and primary gear reviewer for DIYBowhunter.com.
Britney Starr is a native of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. She is currently part owner, client services representative, and social media manager of Starr & Bodill African Safaris. Britney enjoys working side by side with her father and licensed Professional Hunter, Dwaine Starr, to provide their clients a worry-free safari. She also writes gear reviews for The Women's Outdoor News, an online resource for news, reviews, and stories about women in the outdoors.
Wild Woman, Medicine Mama, Dancin Arrow Diva - Proud member of the The Outdoor Sisterhood...just spending my days walking the woods and waters, the forests and the fields...Gretchen writes the blog Walking with the Wild Woman.
Nick Viau authors the traditional archery blog longbowblogger.com and is a frequent contributor to the stickandstring.com website and publication. He is also a member of the Michigan Traditional Bowhunters (MTB) and Michigan Longbow Association (MLA).
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It feels like Spring is lurking just around the corner here in Colorado. I have been encouraging it to quit hiding in the shadows and come out and play. Unfortunately I have no influence over the weather, and have been forced to buckle up and endure the roller coaster ride. Seventy degree temperatures in the immediate forecast are followed with a threat of snow the
very next day. It is a whiplash weather pattern. I currently have flip flops and boots next to my front door. And within near proximity to my shoe mismatch display, are arrows and turkey calls. This is my sanity. The promise that Spring is truly almost here, marked by Turkey season‘s opening day. Since I started hunting Merriams in the mountains, Spring fever has taken on a whole new meaning. Honestly, when I first purchased a spring turkey tag a couple of years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. There is something that rattles your core when you hear the gobble of a tom echo through a ravine below you. I‘ve had several close encounters but have not yet arrowed a bird. Chasing birds with incredible eyesight is not an easy task! As a beginner turkey hunter, I still have a lot to learn. I think if I learned to sit still it would help, because chasing turkeys across the mountains is fun, but tiring. One of my most memorable turkey hunts to date occurred last year. Let‘s just say we ended up with a whole lot more meat than we expected. Here‘s how the story unfolded.... 4:30 Saturday morning rolled around and the normal hunting ritual began. Camouflage was
donned. Every pocket in my pants and hunting
time had beckoned the four legged creatures (who
jacket were filled with the necessities for the day:
so rudely awakened MY morning nap) to their
turkey call, hunting license, tissue, chapstick, salt
beds. As we chatted, the thought crossed our
& pepper sunflower seeds, etc. Since the
minds... what if there was something wrong with
destination we were headed for was a good 45
that bedded elk by the fence line. Both Al and my
minutes away, I snuggled in the back seat and
husband admitted that the thought had crossed
closed my eyelids while my husband and Big Al
their minds several times after initially seeing
chatted away and consumed large amounts of
him. It is a bit strange that a bull elk would be
coffee and Mt. Dew. My dreams of turkeys were
bedded at that time of day and in that spot. And
rudely interrupted several times by loud
as we rounded the corner, there he was!
announcements of "ELK!" followed by my body
Immediately, we knew something definitely
being lurched forward due to abrupt stops of the
was wrong. We rolled the truck to a stop about
truck. Apparently the lure of fresh green foliage
100 yards from the bull. He didn't budge. He sat
in the drainage ditches were an appealing
there staring at us and from the look on his face it
alternative to the winter diet the elk had been
was apparent that he had the desire to get out of
surviving on. The buffet was open, wildlife was
dodge, but didn't have the means to do so. He was
lining up, and you had better pay attention to the
injured badly. His breakfast was either rudely
reflective glare of eye balls flashing back the
interrupted that morning by a passing vehicle or a
message "cafe open for business - get out of the
poor attempt at crossing the fence line. Either
way." Driving mountain highways in the wee
way, he wasn't going to survive. Both back legs
morning hours of spring quickly becomes a game
were completely mangled preventing him from
moving from his bed. I could hardly stand it.
As we rounded one corner, I vaguely heard
Not wanting to leave him, but knowing we
my husband comment, "Huh. Look at that bull
needed permission from DOW before putting him
lying by the fence. That's a nice bull." Back to la-
down, we reluctantly drove on to find cell phone
la land I went. This time I think I may have
reception. A few miles down the road we were
dreamt about elk.
able to get in touch with the State Patrol who
After an unsuccessful turkey hunt, we decided
connected us with a DOW officer. Permission
to move to an area that was less windy and a little
was granted to put the bull down. I've never been
lower in elevation. This meant driving back up
so thankful to put down an animal! By the aid of
the mountain range past the morning "buffet
Troy's .40, this 5x5 bull was quickly put out of
lines." By this time, breakfast was over and nap
his misery. We proceeded to gut him and load
him in the truck. I felt so blessed that day. An elk was put out of his suffering and my freezer was filled once again with healthy meat thanks to our road kill issued tag. So, as you head out this spring to hunt turkeys, keep an eye out for the four legged
critters munching on the fresh green grass growing along the sides of the road. If the unfortunate happens and a collision occurs, be prepared. Know who to call in your state. Most of the times, a road kill tag can be issued which prevents the meat from going to waste. But be prepared for some strange looks if you end up gutting an elk or deer on the side of the road! BA
Look who graces our May Cover! Melissa Bachman joins us for an interview by Will Jenkins. Also, we feature 20 things every bowhunter needs, but doesnâ€˜t have-all for less than $20. Late season tactics for the wiley Toms by Jason Baggett to help punch that tag before the season is over is sure to please and be informative. Of course, we will continue to have great reviews, stories, and recipes. See you next month!
Published on Apr 5, 2012
The e-Magazine for Bowhunters! It is turkey season and BowAmerica talks about the Grand Slam, how to hunt the hardwoods, and even has an int...