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Volume 1 , Issue 1

CONTENTS CAMP DESOLUTION MIRACLE CANINE CARE PREDATOR VS. PREDATOR WESTERN SPEED GOATS KNOW YOUR ETHICAL SHOOTING RANGE CHOOSING A RIFLE SCOPE FOR WHITETAIL HUNTING GOING WEST

PUBLISHER Brock RAY EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Don KIRK ART DIRECTOR Dennis JOHNSTON

ADVERTISING Electra Mundo GRUPPE CIRCULATION Anna JONES

Mundo Gruppe 202 1st Avenue East Oneonta, AL 35121 205-625-5473 Reproduction, in whole or part, retransmission, redirection or linked display is prohibited without written permission from the publisher

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I

felt a sharp pain shoot through my entire left leg. Grabbing my knee, I fell to the dirt and rolled around in what would have been a classic demonstration of the old stop, drop and roll technique. Rising to my feet I limped around without much trouble and after realizing I was ne, noticed my camera-man and guide doing barrel-rolls of their own. Theirs however were fueled by laughter. My horse had kicked me in the kneecap. For those of you who have been on a horseback hunt, you know the extra challenges horses can bring. Alex Bracewell, one of my past guides once said, “Horses add a capital ‘A’ to the word adventure.” But luckily for me Old Wally’s kick was just a glancing blow to my knee. It’s a good thing. I was going to need every minute and every bit of my legs for this 10day Stone Sheep hunt. Earlier that year, a good friend of mine, Steve Letcher from Arizona, called and said he had the perfect stone sheep hunt for me. A few phone calls to Allen Larsen of Indian River Ranches Guides and Out tters, and before I knew it, the hunt was planned. I arrived at camp in Northern British Columbia with my camera-man, Courtney Crane, my equipment, and a pocket full of big game tags. As long as I was here, I

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gured I’d go for Stone sheep, wolf, moose, and caribou. The camp consisted of a guide cabin, cook-house, and the hunter’s cabin, which could sleep up to four hunters at a time. There were also a few out buildings for storage. The camp was tucked into a nice little cove, quite high on a pristine mountain lake. Above the tack shed hung a large set of moose horns and the words, ‘Camp Desolution.’ As we explored the cabins we noticed the hunter bunk house was like a class yearbook with autographs from successful hunters decorating the walls. Man, did I want to be part of that class! On the rst day of the hunt, Courtney, our guide Greg Spenner, and myself were on top of the mountain glassing for sheep. From camp, we had battled 3,000 feet of vertical rock and two monster hail storms before we got into position for glassing. We quickly spotted a young band of rams right below us. That immediately got my blood pumping. The ‘Stache-Master’ (my nickname for Greg because of his giant mustache) was also big-eyed, and bushy-lipped with excitement. Although there were no ‘shooters’ in the bunch, this young group was a positive sign that sheep were out and about. A few minutes later,

Courtney spotted a great Mountain Caribou feeding below us next to a glacier lake. Greg sized him up and said he was a dandy. With the time closing in on 4:00 pm, we only had about four hours of light left. We gured it would take about two hours to get to him, and no doubt we would be walking out in the dark. I said, “Let’s do it!” We basically skied off the slippery steep rocks to get down to the bull. When we nally got to an outcropping of boulders, we had closed the distance to around 500 yards and noticed he was still bedded in the same spot we’d last seen him two hours earlier. I steadied my trusty Christensen Arms Custom ri e, and the 180 grain Hornady ew true. When we got to the bull, I was shocked at his size. Mountain Caribou are giant, and by far the largest species inside the caribou family. He was roughly the same size as a 3 year old elk. The next day and a half were spent packing him back to camp on our backs, since we were unable to get horses in to him. He was a great bull, and worth every bit of the hard work to get him.

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MIRACLE

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The author with his large mountain Caribou. The body size of these animals are comparable to a medium sized elk.

After enduring two nights of cramping legs and very little sleep, it was the morning of day three. We once again climbed the mountain above camp in search of sheep and after glassing through my Swarovski binoculars for several hours, thought I spotted movement several miles away. Stache Master threw up his spotting scope and con rmed that there was indeed movement going on and that a band of rams were the culprit. There turned out to be three possible shooters in the group but unfortunately, it was too late in the

day to go after them. As we rode back to camp we were anxiously making our plan of attack for the next day. Oh the thrill and excitement of the hunt. How does it get any better than this? I didn’t sleep much that night either. Day four found us not only climbing the rst mountains we spotted the sheep from, but a second set of mountains that rose over a thousand more feet. My legs were screaming for mercy when we nally got to the top of the second set of mountains. We were now right The tack shed adorned with shed horns at Camp Desolution.

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where we had seen the rams the night before. We moved in military-mode, slow and steady, watching every step. Before long, we found the sheep. Stache Master was in front of us and waved us forward to get into shooting position. The rams were slowly feeding at the top of the ridge above us. He gave me directions as to which ram he wanted me to take. I asked the uphill range and no one responded, silence, I asked again and the answer came, “No range nder but maybe 350 to 400 yards.” I steadied my cross hairs just a little above the point of the shoulder and squeezed the trigger. The ram dropped in his tracks. Day four of my hunt and I had a great caribou and a stone sheep down. The celebration began. High ves were raining down from Courtney and we were just about to do a knuckle smash when Greg yelled, “He is getting up!” I am sure I looked dazed and confused as I looked up to see my ram run over the hill. I didn’t anchor him. I had never lost an animal with my Christensen Arms


John harvested this great stone sheep ram on the last day of his hunt. It was his Camp Desolution “miracle.”

.300 Ultra Mag. This thing was automatic. See animal, pull trigger, watch animal fall. It was that easy. Well I watched it fall; it was the getting up part I had not seen before. This ri e had harvested elk, water buffalo and even a Brown bear so I thought a sheep would be no match for me and my trusty ri e. We hurried up to where the ram had gone down and there was plenty of blood. We tracked it for the rest of the day but to no avail. We couldn’t nd him and the blood trail had ran out. I felt sick. I had busted my tail and every one else’s for four days climbing the mountains of British Columbia but the ultimate prize alluded us. It was another late night and we arrived back to camp for a third time on this trip well

after midnight. I crawled into bed. The lantern was still ickering as it gasped for more fuel and I could see the autographed wall with the names of the fraternity I wanted to be a part of. At this point it was not looking good. The next three days consisted of riding horses, scaling mountains and looking for the wounded ram. Nothing. No sign of him. I was very frustrated and had replayed the shot over and over and even ranged it with my range nder only to nd out the ram was really only 250 yards away not 350. This explained why I shot high. I was sure I had hit in no man’s land between the shoulder and spine.

Lesson learned. Always carry your range nder with you. We were taking turns carrying a range nder to save weight and that day I guess every one forget their turn. It remained back with the horses. Day eight we came across a nice moose and at 400 yards away I made quick work of him. Luckily we got the horses up close which made life much easier than the whole caribou pack out for over seven miles. The last day of the hunt was upon us and we awoke to thick fog. We ate breakfast and even watched caribou run right through camp. Oh you’ve got to love the North Country, what an experience. The Stache Master took a sip of his coffee and asked, “Well what do you want to do today?” I knew the answer to this question. We had not worked our butts off to this point to sit the last day out. I said, “Let’s do it.” One thing I do know is you can’t kill them in camp. You gotta get yourself in the eld and good things are bound to eventually happen.


Getting Older

As your dog ages, the likelihood he will develop various changes in the function of his body systems increases. Some of these will be normal changes due to the aging process, others may be indicative of disease. To be more easily alerted to possible signs of disease early in the disease process: t Monitor food consumption: how much is being eaten? what type of food is being eaten (e.g.; does your dog leave the hard kibble and only eat the canned)?, any difing? t Monitor water consumption: drinking more or less than usual? t Monitor urination and defecation: color, amount, consistency and frequency of stool; color and amount of urine; any signs of pain while urinating or defecating? any urinating or defecating in the house? t Measure weight every 2 months: for small dogs use an infant or mail scale, or use

medium-size dogs, weigh yourself holding the dog, then weigh yourself and dogs, you may need to use your veterinarian’s scale. t Groom, check and clip nails, look for any lumps, bumps, or non-healing sores; any abnormal odors? any change in size of abdomen?, increased hair loss? t Monitor behavior: sleep patterns, obeying commands, tendency to be around people; any house soiling? easily startled?, anxious when left alone? with stairs? inability to exercise without tiring quickly?, bumping into things?, sudden collapses?, seizures?, any loss of balance?, any lameness or change in gait?


t Look for any changes in respiration: coughing? panting?, sneezing? t Provide home dental care: brush your dog’s teeth, regularly examine the inside of his mouth; any excessive drooling? any sores?, bad breath?, are the gums swollen, yellow, light pink, or purplish? t Monitor environmental temperature and the temperature at which your dog seems most comfortable. Behavior Changes Pain associated with arthritis Loss of sight or hearing Cognitive dysfunction Hypothyroidism Liver disease Kidney disease Weakness or exercise intolerance Anemia Obesity Diabetes mellitus Cancer Hypothyroidism Change in activity level Hypothyroidism Arthritis Pain Obesity Anemia

Weight gain Hypothyroidism Cushing’s disease Obesity Arthritis Weight loss Cancer Kidney disease Liver disease Gastrointestinal disease Decreased food consumption Oral or dental disease Diabetes mellitus

Abnormally colored mucous membranes (gums) Anemia Liver disease Coughing

Kidney disease Cancer

t Schedule regular appointments with your veterinarian. Some of the more common signs indicative of diseases are shown in the table below. Remember, just because your dog has a sign of a disease does not necessarily mean he has the disease. What it does mean, is that your dog should be examined by your veterinarian so a proper diagnosis can be made.

Respiratory disease Heartworm disease Cancer

Increased thirst and urination Cushing’s disease Pyometra (uterine infection) Diabetes mellitus Liver disease Kidney disease Vomiting Kidney disease Liver disease Gastrointestinal disease Cancer Diabetes mellitus Diarrhea Gastrointestinal disease Sudden changes in diet Kidney disease Liver disease Seizures Epilepsy Cancer Kidney disease Liver disease


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Predator Versus Predator


Natureยนs hunters are the ultimate winter quarry. by Don Kirk

rarely pits one predator against another predator. Predators are creatures that

thrive by instinctively seizing opportunities to prey on those animals that are usually equipped to defend themselves hearing, olfactory, and visual senses. Grabbing a critter for dinner that is well armed with slashing claws and razorsharp teeth is hardly most predatorยนs cup of tea.


This is not to say that Nature does not occasionally change the script in the drama of life. A case in point is Bill Bynum, who during the 1990s was my Editor-At-Large at Varmint Masters Magazine. What I would give to examine an accurate DNA reading of this fellow’s blood: If it didnšt show strong traces of coyote or wolf DNA, I would be astonished. If there was ever a

when I was a freelance writer and he was hunting eight days a week. At the time, Bynum had just begun peddling information on coyote hunting in the eastern United States, and I was peddling stories to any magazine capable of writing a check that would clear the bank. Like most eastern varmint hunters in those

on the realm of the varmint, it is Bynum.

much less hunt one.


went varmint hunting with Bill near his home in northwestern Tennessee, located a short distance from the Mississippi River. On that cold day in February, It was the beginning of a new type of hunting for me, as well as the beginning of a friendship that has grown closer over the passing years. Being in the woods with Bill Bynum is like no other varmint hunting experience any of us will ever know. He is so much at home in the woods, that he looks out

of place sitting in front of a television— something I wish could be said about me. Bynum grew up in western Tennessee between Kentucky Lake and Reelfoot Lake. Those even remotely familiar with the area know it is famous for three things: waterfowl, whitetail, and wild turkey. Bill’s interest in coyote hunting began when the varmints invaded his favorite whitetail hunting spots in the Mississippi River bottomlands. A doe that had been giving birth to a fawn was caught and downed by a pack of voracious yodies.


That sparked Billยนs interest in these wild canines, and that interest that ultimately led to the demise of hundreds of their kind at his hands. Calling Them In One of Billยนs favorite predator lures is to mimic the distress calls of a mortally injured cottontail. An expert varmint caller, Bill can orchestrate realistic whines, yips, yelps, and groans that would bring tears to the eyes of a lumberjack. On one of our hunting trips near his home, we were out looking to reduce

the number of yodies. We located at the head of a wooded hollow, where Bill began calling. The sun was shining brightly as we sat along the edge of a deep hollow. The forspaced, mature oaks, hickories, beech, and other hardwoods that were in the 80- to 100-year-old range. I sat and got comfortable against a massive, old white oak 50 feet in front of where Bill located to do his calling. An instant later Bill was blasting away, using a reliable, productive canine distress call.


Eight minutes into Bill’s woeful serenade, I spotted movement through the tangle of broom sage grass that carpeted the ground beneath the pines. Wind, which until than had been nonexistent, wisped over my shoulder. “Just great,” I thought as I felt the increasing wind tickle the back of my neck. Thanks to the wind, the movement I had spotted was all I saw of what could only have been a curious grey fox. Bill also spotted the animal and believed it was a small shy bobcat.

Keep It Loud According to Bill, many hunters use too little volume when attempting to call in yodies and bobcats. Intensely curious when not called too often, these predators are usually not frightened by loud calling. Unknown to me, Bill had known the bobcat was in the vicinity and had hoped it would be possible to entice this particular old tom from its daytime lair. In western Tennessee and Kentucky, bobcats are almost totally nocturnal, rarely hunting during the daylight hours. However, like any predator, the prospect of snatching an easy meal before the


Western Sp


peed Goats With The Bow by Matt Guedes


One of the most intriguing and interesting animals in the western United States is the pronghorn, often called antelope, pronghorn antelope, and even the prong buck. The funny thing about this species of animal is that it technically isn’t even an antelope. The pronghorn is commonly known for its speed.Although sources vary greatly on its actual speed, it is recorded that it can run at speeds up to 50 mph. Their speed is their main defense against predators where they live. They are

generally known as the fastest animal in North America and as the second fastest animal on the earth, behind the cheetah. However, they can sustain their full speed for a much longer duration than can the cheetah. The eyesight of the Pronghorn is also uncanny. They can see for very long distances, which makes them a great challenge to hunt with the bow. Pronghorns roam through a wide variety of terrain in the West and Midwest. They range from Southern Canada throughout the Western United States, south to


Texas and even into Minnesota. They

and even to some degree in wooded areas. Pronghorns eat a wide variety of vegetation, which allows them to adapt to a wide variety of habitat. They are able to live on very little water, which has also allowed them to extend their range into remote desert terrain.

The Pronghorn has an actual horn that is made up of a bone inner base section, covered with a hair-like sheath. Both male and female pronghorns have horns, andboth shed this sheath each year and grow a new one. The male Pronghorn and the female’s horn rarely has a prong.

Why is all this background information a necessity for the archery hunter? I believe the more you know about an animal, its habits, the terrain it lives in, and the way it interacts in its environment, the better chance you have to harvest that species. That is very true for this creature. Not So Easy With An Arrow To be able to harvest a pronghorn in Western states like Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming is a great opportunity. If you can shoot reliably to 400 yards and beyond, you will have plenty of occasions for harvest. There are growing numbers of pronghorns throughout much of their range, and you can often see hundreds of these animals a day. If you can draw a tag and get landowner permission, or hunt on public land, you will get an opportunity with a gun. When we move into the archery arena, it is not always so simple. In host states, you can more easily draw a tag for archery pronghorn hunting than for gun hunting. That is simply because there are more gun hunters than there are archery hunters. So if you put your time


they operate their systems of drawing tags, you can usually get an archery tag leftover tags for archery in several states. The general approach to hunting pronghorns with the bow has been to sit in a blind over water. That method gives the archer their best opportunity for harvest. I in harvest rates between someone who sits over a waterhole versus someone who spots and stalks but, from experience, I believe your odds at least triple with blind hunting. If you are hunting an area that has plentiful pronghorn and there is a water sourcethere, you will have an opportunity for a shot by sitting over or next to that water in a blind. If you increase the distance at which you are comfortable practice—your odds increase even more. I have found that if you are willing to get to a waterhole and set up a quality blind early in the morning (preferably before daylight), and if you are willing to sit in that blind for days, your opportunity to shoot a pronghorn goes through the roof. The patient and diligent hunter in this scenario has given himselfor herself

the absolute best chance to harvest a tough archery animal. If, before the season, you are willing to ask landowners for permission to hunt their property, who don’t like this species on their property and therefore are willing to let you hunt. Although utilizing this technique may give you some boring hours, it can also yield great rewards. The hunter who sits patiently enjoying the God-given surroundings will actually get a chance to see many things that he or she would otherwise not enjoy. Often one of those sights will be a mature pronghorn buck coming in to get a drink, and subsequently receiving a rightly placed arrow into its vital organs.


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The Ultimate Pronghorn Challenge The blind approach to hunting pronghorns is by far the most successful for the archery hunter. However, some of you reading this article may be bent like I am and want the ultimate challenge in hunting pronghorn. To chase these “speed goats” with a bow and arrow and no blind is very intense and very challenging. You have to use the terrain to even get a chance at a shot. Even when you do that well, it is still tough to get close enough due to the animal’s fantastic vision. I drew a tag last year in Colorado Unit 3/301, between Maybel and Craig. These two units have a lot of public ground and good numbers of pronghorns. These two units also produce some great trophy animals. I was very excited at the draw and, because of the numbers of animals in this area, I decided that I was going to only spot and stalk on this hunt. My friend Jody, who has a good knowledge of the area, was with me. This was going to be a three-day ultimate challenge hunt and I was willing to hunt all day in order to get the job

able to get a good buck on the ground after a few stalks. Maybe a bit of pride to make 10 stalks and I was able to make one shot,which I missed. It was a very physical day, with tons of walking, and the attempts, except for the one longdistance shot, really didn’t even get me that close. I was beginning to see that the task at hand mightbe a bit tougher than I realized. I woke up the second day and was ready to go and get that pronghorn on the ground. I wasn’t going to get discouraged, because I knew how far attitude can carry a person. So we good bucks once again. I got a shot opportunity on the third stalk and shot right under a nice buck. The rest of the stalks. We got back to the camper and, after two full days of stalking by walking, running, crawling, and every other possible means, I was exhausted. Tekoah, my 10-year-old son, was with me every step of the way and he was exhausted also. We got right to sleep,


Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts Kicker

I am a Sentry, Are You?

erve the right of outdoorsmen, so we can continue to enjoy our lifestyle for generations to come. I have been extremely eautiful land the country has to offer. This tradition was passed to me from my father in South Dakota, and to him by his father. I have now passed the outdoor tradition on to my kids. I don’t think there is anything I enjoy more than spending time with my family and friends outdoors.� The Sentry program helps USSA be the leading watchdog organizat and trapping rights. Sign up FREE at www.ussportsmen.org/BeASentry. 801 Kingsmill Parkway, Columbus, Ohio 43229 Phone- 614-888-4868 Fax- 614-888-0326 Website- www.ussportsmen.org Email- info@ussportsmen.org


hunt.

light. We were driving toward where we had found so many good bucks the day before.On the way we saw a tiny piece of BLM land that actually was fenced all the way around, and there were two dandy bucks inside. We pulled the car over and made a plan. I was able to use the vegetation on one side of the fence to stalk all the way up to the area where the two bucks were. I got within 90 yards, but now there was nothing left between me and the animals. They soon spotted me—don’t believe it if anyone tells you antelope don’t jump fences. One buck and, as it approached the fence, jumped like Renaldo Nehemiah jumping a hurdle in the Olympics. The other buck, however, started working along the fence away from fence. This was one of those times I was thankful for good fence builders. That buck worked like crazy around the

me and that particular buck. Jody and Tekoah worked the bottom of the area and were able to spot the animal. I could see them clearly, because of elevation. After about half-an-hour of positioning and repositioning and repositioning again, I was able to get prepared. The buck came right to me at about 14 yards, which allowed me to make a good shot. That buck was truly a trophy to me because it came on the 19th stalk, after 18 failed stalks, and with only a few hours of hunt time left. It was rewarding because we stuck with the plan and persevered. It was rewarding because the hunt. It was rewarding to share the experience with Jody and my son Tekoah. It was rewarding because we accomplished a spot-and-stalk harvest despite the keen eyes and sheer speed of the pronghorn. DIY Or Guided Hunt? There are many great areas in the west to hunt pronghorn. There is plentiful BLM land throughout most of the western states. If you do your homework, you point or even over-the-counter


opportunities. I would suggest looking into Wyoming and that state’s leftover tags, which get posted each year around July 1st. The Laramie area usually has leftover tags and I have found that the area has generous amounts of public ground. The residents there are also very friendly toward hunters and will frequently let them hunt on their lands for minimal trespass fees.

you will ever have. Make some time to put pronghorn onto your calendar and start applying for points in the states you want to hunt. If you are very serious about Western states’big game hunts, including pronghorn, I highly recommend becoming a member of the Huntin’ Fool. These guys do a superb job of laying out all the statistics and odds of drawing in the states out west. You can join by going to www.huntinfool.com.

If you are looking for a guided hunt, I can your applications. runs his operation out of Mesa, Colorado, hunts in Game Management Units 3 and 301. Joe has tags available and will provide an outstanding hunt on private ground for a very good price. You can choose either one-on-one or two-onone guided private land hunts in a unit that yields some large pronghorns. Joe also runs elk and deer hunts, along with some great rafting trips. You can contact

Hunting pronghorn with a bow is both challenging and rewarding. If you are willing to put your time in and work hard, it is one of the most fun hunts

Bio: Matt Guedes is a follower of Christ who loves all that is involved in hunting. Matt resides in Mesa, Colorado, with his wife and three children. He enjoys sharing his passion and experience from all of his outdoor adventures. Matt Ray’s World of Outdoors, Mathews Archery, Ripcord Rests, Tru-Fire Releases and Broadheads, Norway Products, Contact Matt at matt@mesaairnet.com or on Facebook (Matt Guedes) if you are interested in having him speak at your game dinner or outdoor event.


Know Your Ethica


The biggest problem facing the future of bowhunting in the South (as well as the rest of the country) is not whether or not there will there be a place to hunt in year 2100, or if there will be plenty of game. The chronic problem that has plagued archery hunting since its revival in the 1960s animals that are wounded and crippled —

continues to raise its ugly head today.

al Shooting Range by Brock Ray

*OUIF4PVUI UIFTQPSUPGBSDIFSZ hunting has never been more popular. While growth in bowhunting participation is not as fast as it was 10 years ago, ongoing recruitment of new faces in the sport continues at a pace UIBUFYDFFETUIFOBUJPOBMBWFSBHF*U

has never been easier for a newcomer to bowhunting to obtain reliable equipment and shooting instructions. When you are in a treestand and the opportunity to arrow an animal such as a whitetail buck presents itself, several UIJOHTJOøVFODFUIFPVUDPNF


Manage Your Emotions Emotions are another factor. When the day comes that an approaching whitetail does not make my heart pound hard, I will give up bowhunting. That is why I practice practice to shooting hunting broadheads. shooting my bow so much. Archery is a sport of repetition. We shoot, and shoot, and Despite considerable information shoot, so that when it comes time to take an instructing archers how to paper tune broadheads, and the many archery shops animal’s life, we are mechanically sound. With that will do it for a nominal fee, a shocking experience,managing your emotions becomes easier, but for novice and intermediate-level number of bowhunters accept the fact bowhunters, it is a component of the sport that must be addressed. First, your equipment must be in top operating condition and properly tuned. You would beamazed to know how many bowhunters have trouble switching from


There is nothing more important to ethical bowhunting than for archers to know their shooting limits. It is one thing to stand back 30 to 40 yards punching the “10 ring� on a 3-D target eight or nine times out of 10, and another to hit a moving, living animal at those same ranges. Generally speaking, for nearly all intermediatelevel bowhunters, anything over a 20yard shot is not recommended. Novices need to limit their shots to half that distance. Granted, a novice or a somewhat experienced bowhunter may have all of slice a broadhead through the lungs of a buck at 40 yards but, in reality, he has yet to prove this is an ethical shot. An

ethical shot occurs when you release an arrow at an animal and you are certain that arrow will humanely kill it. Keep The Odds In Mind The farther an before striking an animal,the greater the odds something might occur that will diminish your chance for a clean kill. Since a considerable portion of Southern bowhunting occurs where there is dense understory,the odds of an unseen substantially increase the farther the arrow has to go to make its way to the target. Also, the greater the distance,the greater the odds that you will misjudge the distance between you and the animal.


practicing in your backyard. But when an eight-point buck is ambling about in heavy cover 30 or 40 yards from your treestand, your heart is pumping like a steam engine in your throat, and your arms are operating remarkably independent of your brain. Suddenly, it isn’t so easy anymore. It is my belief that any archer reading this column places being an ethical bowhunter before the act of killing an animal. If this were not true, you would

Being an experienced bowhunter, I know about these problems from having made these two key mistakes more than once. Sure, every archer knows an arrow needs a clear path to accomplish its job. Also, 90% of the country’s bowhunters, he needs to have the right pin on the kill zone. Easy, right? Yes—when you are

to take a buck out of season. However, it is easy to compromise one’s ethics when you are in a treestand and want to arrow an animal so badly that you push beyond your abilities as a bowhunter. If you closely restrict your bowhunting shots to within your known killing range, you increase your chances for success and decrease your chances of making a regrettable mistake.


Pre-planning your shots is one of the best ways to ensure you do not make the mistake of shooting too far. One thing I have found that works very well when placing a novice bowhunter in the circumference of the treestand at the range of 10 to 15 yards, taking into account the height of the treestand,

putting strips of bright orange surveyor tape, or even toilet paper, at that range

around the tree. Insofar as there is little drop between 10 to 20 yards, this is a safe approach for most beginning and intermediate bowhunters. Naturally, every bowhunter who ascends a treestand does so in anticipation of arrowing a whitetail buck. However,restrain from pushing your shots beyond your established range. This ensures you will be shooting at your very best,and as ethically as possible.


for Whitetail Hunting by E.W. Moultrie, II

asked at least once at every deer hunting seminar, and sporting goods store

operators hear it as often as the refrains of well-known Christmas carols. The most truthful answer to this seemingly straight-forward question is, “well, it just depends… “


understand that the objective lens is the big one at the business end of a strongly recommend against buying a sothat would be a waste of money and time. How can you spot these suspect tag. Any scope that sells new for less than $130 or so should get your attention, but not for the money its low purchase price range might save you. I simply shudder sell for $33-$75. Even the proverbial redheaded stepchild deserves better on a

An estimated 90 percent of the

9x with a 40mm objective lens. This is plenty big for the vast majority of whitetail hunters. If money is not an issue and you are of the opinion that bigger makes you a better hunter, then a 50mm objective lens is available. Such large objective lenses helpto provide

is that it gives you a couple of extra minutes of use at dawn and dusk. I am it is not a necessity with the vast majority of whitetail hunters. The Best Manufacturers? Everyone wants to know which optics

about 3 times at the low end of adjustment, up to 9 times at the high end. Though these scopes are highly versatile, many ignore the easy-to-use exotic lens tubes. But I am of the opinion that, for most whitetail hunters, this

you stick your nose in the refrigerator, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the There are plenty of them to choose from and, like cars or cameras, in most cases you get when you pay for in terms of


performance.The real question is do you need a Cadillac or a Chevrolet? And, as in the world of automobiles, the up-and-coming brands you might not have heard of, such as Sightron, Vortex, and Alpine.

and low end lines of these optics. For example, Bushnell has a longstanding reputation as a maker of However, their high-end scopes are on par with the best German-made

– these are what you see and use for aiming. The most common is a crosshair. I am of the opinion that you cannot beat the tried-and-true crosshair, with lines that are thicker toward the outer ends and thinner in the center.

of spooking a big buck, which could happen if that animal were to catch other hand, if you enjoy the cosmetics then a more polished gun would look better with a gloss scope on it.

those made by Leupold or Nikon. You get good bang for the buck in terms of cost versus performance. If money is not an issue, then Swarovski , Kayle, Zeiss, and Schmidt and Benderscopes will delight you, although they will set you back three to eight times the cost of a

How Do You Focus? The next item of importance is choosing between using a crosshair or reticle

Shop around, ask questions, and compare prices, as the latter can vary considerably when you buy from a local shop, a big box store, or on the internet. without busting your budget. But mostimportantly, buy a scope that you can trust to perform when you need it, where you need it.


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Going West


Photo by John Williams


The allure of hunting the West is one that calls out loudly to many hunters who live in the rest of the country. As a native of Pennsylvania, now living for the past six years in Colorado, I too had that desire. The call was incredibly strong, but the lack of knowledge, fear of the unknown, perceived costs, and just general misconceptions kept me from venturing west on a hunt for many years. Those years are forever lost and I want to help you to never have to lose one more years in your pursuit of western game.

What To Hunt about hunting the west is what species to hunt. There are many choices and I would suggest starting with the animals that you have the greatest passion about and then moving on to all the others out there. The most common animals hunted by out of state hunters are the Mule Deer and the Elk. After those two species many consider hunting Moose, Rocky Mountain Sheep, American Mountain Goat, Antelope, Bear, Mountain Lion, and Desert Sheep. The Mule Deer is an incredible species of deer that often captivates the Northeastern Whitetail hunter. The Mule Deer is a larger bodied animal with antlers that on average are larger

than the Whitetail. This majestic deer is named “Mule� deer because of the large size of their ears. They cover the majority of the west and are a great quarry to pursue. The Rocky Mountain Elk is a species that so many of the hunters from Pennsylvania and the surrounding states dream of hunting. Many never come west to do so because they are misinformed or uniformed about just how real the potential can be for them. Elk are such large animals with large antlers and for those of us who grew up hunting whitetail, they simply captivate us. To see and hear a bull Elk in person the west forever worth it. The rest of the species in the west are also excellent animals to hunt and they vary in areas and cost. They don’t get as much attention as the Mule Deer and Elk, but deserve consideration in your future preparation and study, but an avid your area.

Where To Hunt Once you have decided what species you are going to hunt then it is time to choose a state. Most western states


have a draw system through which you can obtain a tag to hunt your chosen animal. Some states have a pure draw system in which everyone is put into the pool and the hunters are chosen by random selection. New Mexico is such a state. Other states like Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada have a preference point or bonus point system in place that gives you a better chance to draw with the more points that you have to of money in each state to apply for tags and to apply for preference points. In my home state of Colorado there are areas that you can hunt Elk with no points

by buying an over the counter Elk tag and in certain areas you can have a 90% or better chance to draw a Mule Deer tag. If you don’t draw this tag you can also look at buying a landownertag, which enables you to hunt a Mule Deer in spite of not drawing. You buy the landowner tag and then go to a license agent and purchase your tag as a result of having the landowner tag. These tags vary in cost based upon species and location.

Preparation For A Western Hunt Once you have decided on what species you will hunt and what state you will hunt in, then it is time to get ready for your hunt. There are a few choices that you can


make in order to make your hunt far more things you can do is study the animal you will hunt. Get online, watch video, read, and then do so again. The more informed you are about the animal you will hunt, the better prepared you will be. Another huge factor in success is to learn the geography of the area you will hunt. You can order maps online at great sites like www.huntdata.com for Colorado or www.huntinggpsmaps.com. You can get paper maps and downloads for you GPS which will help you to understand the terrain you will be hunting. The West is full of big country and it is important

that you knowyour exact location so you don’t get lost. come out to the Rocky Mountains is a lack of preparation to deal with altitude. You need to be prepared if you are coming from under 500’ altitude and going to 8000’ to 10,000’. The better shape that you can get into prior to the sickness is a reality and by being in shape prior to coming to a mountainous region you lesson your chance of getting ill. By being in shape you will be able to handle the altitude with much more ease. Altitude sickness is serious and


your preparation will protect you from falling victim to a miserable time. Hydration prior to your hunt will help you avoid altitude sickness.Start

tremendously. Drink more water than you think is necessary. Altitude Sickness can include extreme headache, nausea, and exhaustion. Extreme cases can result in pulmonary and cerebral edema which could be life threatening. Drinking water before you head west will help decrease your chances of getting Altitude Sickness. You also need to prepare like you would for any other hunt. You need to practice with your weapon. You need to learn how to use all your equipment. You need to do whatever it takes to be prepared to make the most of your hunt of a lifetime.

Equipment For A Western Hunt Of course you need all of your normal hunting equipment that you would take into the woods on any given hunt no matter where you are hunting. In addition to your normal gear there are some pieces

of equipment that are more necessary for a Western Hunt than what you would need in the woods of Pennsylvania. A GPS is a must piece of equipment. I suggest a good Garmin GPS that allows you to download current maps showing you private/public land, ownership of each piece of property, Game Management Units, and much more. huntinggpsmaps.com.A GPS will also keep you safe since you are in a foreign set of woods and in some incredible large tracts of land. You can track your car. Remember that you have to know how to use your GPS for it to be helpful. Another great device to have would be a personal location device like SPOT. These new devices allow you to send out at all. If you are back in the woods 8 miles, a simple blown out knee or broken ankle can become life threatening. These types of personal location devices can be absolute lifesavers. I suggest always having a shooting stick with you if you are hunting with a gun.


shooting at extended distances. I suggest that you set up your gun to be dead on at 200 yards and that you know where you are at 100 yards and every range out to 500 yards. By practicing you will become a better shot and you will be more likely to make a good shot even when your adrenaline is rushing. A good backpack with a water bladder is a must. Because of the mileage you may have to hunt and because of the altitude and lack of humidity you may be hunting in, you will need a backpack that enables you to take everything you need with you and the water that will help you keep from getting Altitude Sickness. When you accompany drinking a lot of

Photo by John Williams

models. Some of you will like a monopod, a bipod, and others, a tripod. I am not so concerned about which one you have, but rather just that you have one. A hunt out here is not like a hunt in Promised Land Camp Area in which you can only see 100 yards in the hardwoods. You will be in places where you can see 5, 10, 15, or even more miles. You will also increase your chances of a harvest if you have a

yourself in a good position. Because of the lack of humidity you often won’t even realize how much you are sweating. Drink regularly whether you are thirsty or not. There is much more great equipment However, one last piece of equipment that I would highly suggest would be a


better position. a bad scenario in the Rocky Mountains. band-aids for your blister to blot clotting powder in case of a more serious injury will bring you safety in many situations. Again you need to know what you have and how to use it in order to be in a

DIY On A Shoestring Budget One of the most common reasons that Easterners don’t believe that they can hunt the west is because they think they will have to spend 5-10 thousand dollars to do so. The truth of the matter is that with proper preparation and by studying the animals, the states, the options, and


everything else mentioned in this article that you could hunt the West on a very reasonable budget. that there are excessive amounts of public land to hunt out here in the West. you live and public land in the West is the amount of land and the amount of hunters. The last time I hunted public land in Pennsylvania 6 years ago I had climbed into a tree stand in the dark and by the time it was light I could see 6 guys in orange within bow range. In Colorado I have hunted entire days covering 5 or more miles all on public land without seeing another person. The combination of the amount of acres available to public use and the number of hunters in comparison leads to great hunts. You can go on a Do It Yourself Mule Deer or Elk hunt in Colorado and many other Western States with a very reasonable budget. You can study the animal you will hunt, study the geography and public land in the zone you will hunt in, buy your over the counter tag, camp or stay in an inexpensive hotel, eat simple food, and in an inexpensive manner

have a very good opportunity to harvest an animal of your dreams. If you plan on going west to experience your hunt of lifetime, know that you can indeed do so. You don’t have to be an expert hunter and you don’t have to be wealthy. You simply need to do your homework and plan ahead. You can implement the suggestions in this article and you can experience the West and all the great pleasure that come with hunting in such a beautiful part of our country. Remember it is not IF you can Go West To Hunt but whether you WILL Go West To Hunt. Matt Guedes is a follower of Christ who has been blessed to hunt all over the world that resides in Colorado with his hunter for Mathews Archery, Ripcord Rests, TruFire Releases and Broadheads, Brock Ray’s World of Outdoors, and also Norway Industries. He is also sponsored with product from Wilderness Athlete, Spot Hogg, Keen Footwear, BloodSport Arrows, and Pelican Cases and Lights. You can book Matt for your Game Dinner or contact him with any questions or comments at matt@mesaairnet.com


S HO P + HU NT + SH ARE : P Rテ的SHUNT IN G .CO M

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