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September / October 2010


EDITORIAL Well here we are again. Another 2 months has come and gone and we are fast approaching the end of the year. So don’t forget you have one more issue left to get your stories in for a chance at our end of year major prizes. For me it has been a busy couple of months preparing and concluding in my Elk and bear hunt over in Colorado USA. I had an absolute blast over there and really have the bug now to get back there again to chase those big bugling bull elk. The country side and hospitality of the local hunters was outstanding. See further on in this issue for more details. Looking at the various forums it seems there are some pretty good adventures and animals being taken with the humble stick and string but I’m still finding it difficult to get submissions of hunting adventures. I’m not sure what needs to be done to encourage more readers to send in stories so I would like to invite any of you readers out there to email me at editor@stikbowhunter.com or phone me on 0401292311 with suggestions as to what would make writing for Stikbow Hunter more attractive. I am open to all suggestions and will try to accommodate them where possible. As you would have read in the last couple of editorials, the magazine will be going to a paid download next year which will be $20.00AUS (6 editions) per year. I asked that people contact me with their thoughts on this and have so far received some very positive feedback from not only here in Australia but from the USA, New Zealand and even South Africa. I would still like to hear from anyone else and encourage you to contact me via email at editor@stikbowhunter or via mobile 0401292311 So with summer approaching most will be winding down their hunting but I know I will be heading up into Sambar country to chase them when the doggers are not allowed to be in the hills. Could be hard going but could also be very rewarding. Time will tell.

Shoot straight and happy hunting,

Matt

Freelance Contributions - Email submissions to the Editor, editor@stikbowhunter.com. Submissions must be in word format and be accompanied by high quality Jpeg photos (usually 3000 pixels wide/high or larger are sufficient). Alternatively, send files on a CD or Flash drive to; Matt Curry, 6 Clarendon drive, Melton South, Victoria, Australia 3338. Include your postal address if you would like it returned.

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CONTENTS

Content.

Page. 8

Bowhunting Adventure: First Trad Goat

Luke Morgan

14

Bowhunting Adventure: Colorado Bound

30

Bowhunting Adventure: There is Just Something About Pigs

Matt Curry Tom Baxter

Regular Departments 3

Gear Review: Eberlestock X2 Back Pack

Matt Curry

24

Bow Review: Trad Tech Onyx and Recon ILF Risers

Pete Ward

Cover Photo: Luke Morgan Location: Mildura Photographer: Matt Curry

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We take a look at the 2010 Eberlestock X2 Day Pack Like many a bowhunter I am always looking for the ultimate in gear whether it be a new bow, better broadheads or a new backpack, to help maximize my time in the bush. Being a bit on the shorter side I have always struggled trying to find a decent day pack that would fit me well but also have all the qualities I needed. For me a good daypack must meet the following criteria. • • • • • • • •

Comfortable Breath well on my back Almost bullet proof construction. Multiple storage options Multiple well organized pockets Hydration compatible Water proof Able to handle heavy loads

With all the above in mind I have been through quite a lot of packs looking for the right one. Unfortunately all up to now have fallen short in one area

By Matt Curry or another. Some were just about right but too long for me. Others were almost there but too hot to wear while others just couldn’t comfortably handle the loads I wanted to carry with them. That was until I got my latest pack an Eberlestock X2. Searching the net and various forums this pack seemed to tick all the boxes so much to the wife’s horror I ordered yet another pack this time through Prarie Traditions in the US. Customer service was awesome and I had the pack on my door within 10 days.

About the Pack SPECS: Capacity: 1800 ci or 30 litres Empty weight: 2kg Material: 1000d nylon

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The 2010 Eberlestock X2 comes with a new tubular external frame which the pack itself straps to. It is a very handy method of attachment as it allows for some adjustment. Upon arrival I did the usual of opening every pocket, zip etc to have look at what the pack had to offer. There is the usual large main compartment with a draw string closure. A large top lid with two pockets completely closes the main compartment off. The larger of the two pockets is ideal for a good sized first aid kit as well as a few other items while the smaller pocket is lined for a mobile phone etc. There is also another external pocket further down on the main compartment which is ideal for smaller items. On the outside of the main compartment there is very handy heavy duty elastic strapping which can hold a rolled up jacket etc. Looking to the right and left of the main compartment there is two side bat wing pockets that run the length of the pack. Both are hydration compatible with hooks at the top to hold your hydration bladder in place. They fit

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a full 3 litre hydration bladder just nicely with an outlet at the top corner for your drinking hose. The two bat wing pockets strap together across the main compartment. These two pockets also have two external pouches that you can fit knives etc in. There is also a draw string mesh pocket on the outside bottom.

At the bottom of the pack there is a flap that acts as a meat shelf which the top compartment buckles down to, this closes off the whole pack making it a good sized day pack. To utilize the meat tray it was designed in a way that you would put the wide end of a leg on the tray, then run the leg up through the elastic straps. Next you would buckle the two bat wing pockets over the top then extend the top pocket straps out to buckle to the meat tray. The harness system on the Eberlestock X2 is very comfortable with all the usual adjustments that you will find on most high quality day packs. There is also a load lifter strap on each shoulder harness that is positioned in the right place to actually work as they were intended. The waist belt is nice and wide with good padding and a good solid buckle. There is a good sized pocket on each side of the waist belt that can easily fit a good sized GPS or camera. Up top is the usual chest strap. The whole harness system is held off your back by strong mesh webbing and is very effective in creating good airflow to keep your back cool. On average I carry about 8 - 9kg of gear including water for my daily hunting. This pack with the external frame carries the load as if the pack were

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empty. So far I have loaded the pack up to about 15kg and have not been disappointed in the way the pack rode. It remained very comfortable with no apparent sag or sway. The one thing that I found whilst over in Colorado recently was that once the pack was loaded up it became a bit noisy. The pack would continually squeak as you walked, loud enough that it would spook game if you were on the final approach in a stalk. A little investigation revealed that it was the straps that held the pack to the frame rubbing on the frame at the attachment points. To fix this problem I simply loosened the straps and wrapped the frame in electrical tape at the problem area. It was literally a 5 minute job that solved the problem. The pack is now completely silent.

So to sum it up I am very impressed with the Eberlestock X2. The fit and finish is first rate. The comfort level as good as I have owned and the overall performance is exactly what I need in a day pack. It makes a great day pack but also has enough capacity to easily cater for lightweight 2-3 day hikes. I think I have finally found the pack I will be staying with. You can check out the packs by following the below link. http://www.eberlestock.com/X2%20Pack.htm

I purchased my pack through Prairie Traditions in the US and was very happy with the level of customer service. http://www.prairietrad.com/page24.html

Recently on a local sambar outing we encountered snow (in the middle of October) that did not let up for the whole day we were there. The pack got absolutely soaking wet. Once I got home I pulled everything out to have a look if any water had got in. All the pockets were almost 100% dry. I say almost because there was a tiny little bit of seepage around a couple of the zips but that was about it. I was quite happy with this as the pack was probably as wet as you would get it unless you actually threw it in the river.

If you are after a great quality pack that has a lot of versatility then check out the Eberlestock X2. I don't think you will be disappointed

Happy hunting Matt.

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Luke Morgan takes us along for the ride for his first traditional bow shot goat.

It all started one morning at work when, over a chat at morning smoko, my mate Matt mentioned that while out shooting bunnies down at our local bunny spot, he spotted 3 goats, one of which, after a short stalk he managed to get a shot at, but fortunately for me missed. From then on “it was on.” We decided we would head down the following Friday after work and see if we could get a nice bit of goat meat for the table.

By Luke Morgan

Arriving at the hunting spot, we geared up and set off. The heat of the sun, pleasant at first, soon began to make me regret not having a more substantial supply of water as we hit our first obstacle, a trackless ascent up the rocky slope to gain the top of the cliff. Hopefully we would be able to spot the mob of goats with our bino’s and work out our plan of attack.

2:15pm. Knock off time and off we went. I had been suffering a bit of a crook gut most of the day but chose not to mention it to Matt to save myself being ridiculed and branded as “soft” and thought it would probably get better as time went by. As we left work the outside temp was about 33 degrees, a stark contrast to the cool 4 degrees inside the chiller room I work in. Having packed my hunting gear rather hastily the night before, I had forgotten to include my boots and my backpack, bringing only my bow and arrows, a pair of shorts, and my 3d leafy suit for camo. I had a 600ml bottle of water I refilled at work before I left. Luckily Matt had his 3litre water bladder in his backpack, which would come in handy before the day was over. The area the goats were in is a long and rocky gorge, a creek flows at the bottom then there is a small flood plain, now covered in box thorn and wheel cactus and a steep cliff comprising large boulders and more box thorn!

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Stopping at the top for a quick swig of my increasingly warm water, off we went again. The walking along the top is nice and easy, flat grassy plains boarded by farm land. Further along the box thorn is more established along the top but provides good cover for stalks. This way in give us a good opportunity to look down into the gorge and also have a few practice shots on the way to where the game had been seen previously, probably a good 30 minutes walk, maybe a bit more. As we rounded a bend and started heading across an open grassy area, 3 goats wandered up to the top via a trail connecting the creek with the platue like cliff top. Matt and I both hit the deck, having no cover at all any where near us. The goats were about 200 metres away, so out came the bino’s. We were both cursing the wind, blowing our scent straight to them. It wasn’t long before all 3 goats turned and looked right at us, then they were off, up along the top some where, lost to us in the box thorn thickets. Still cursing the wind, we decided it would be best to drop down into the gorge and try to work our way around and in front of them and get ourselves down wind to try again. As we hit the gully floor and proceeded along, Matt spotted them again. They had bedded down up the top, one of the goats standing sentry on top of a rocky outcrop. We headed for the nearest cover but were easily spotted from the goats high vantage point. Trying to sneak forward on hands and knees we quickly realized we would be unable to make any moves without the look out spotting us. So, after a quick discussion, we decided that we might be able to fool the goats if we walked away from them in plain sight, then double back along the bank of the creek, which would provide us lots of cover. Unfortunately, there was a little bit too much cover.

We soon found ourselves scrambling under branches and over logs perilously close to the water. While moving over one branch and under another at the same time, Matt suddenly let out a bit of a yelp, followed by several words too obscene to include in the story. He had stuck his hand on a cactus that had been hiding in the long grass and had several spines protruding from the palm of his hand. Stifling a laugh, I told Matt “watch out, there’s a cactus there!” then waited while he picked the barbs out whilst muttering some more obscenities. Moving on, we finally got to a position where we could leave the cover of the creek bank and move along at a more comfortable pace. The sun was really hammering us now, so I took the opportunity to drink the last of my water, which by now was so hot that it had next to no refreshing quality’s left. Knowing that it would be a while before we got back to where the goats had bedded down, we decided to try our luck on a few bunnies which popped up from time to time. It helped take our mind off the hard slog we’d had so far. Coming up to a nice shady area, we stopped for a rest by a big sprawling fig tree, it held good numbers of ripe figs, which Matt and I happily devoured. The energy boost it provided was just what was needed to complete the hunt, as it was time to head back up top and take another crack at the goats. This time with the wind in our faces and a rough idea where they were, our spirits were high. We moved along very slowly stopping to glass every few meters. There they were, two bedded down, one on lookout. The approach offered lots of good cover, with box thorn the main vegetation. The goats were about 80 metres away and oblivious to our presence. Matt decided to let me stalk in, while he got some footage on the video camera. I crouched down and positioned myself behind the first decent box thorn. Off I went, stalking slowly towards my quarry, 70,60,50… still unaware of my presence, the wind still in my face. I came to about 40 metres from the nanny that was on lookout. I was behind a large box thorn and couldn’t quite see the other two goats, so I decided to move around a bit to see if either of them were a bit closer to me. Everything was going great, until my boot kicked the bottom limb of my bow as I was taking a step, the bow was then bumped forward and hit the box thorn making a clicking sound and alert-

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-ing the goats to my presence. Cursing, and realizing that I’d just blown a great opportunity to bag my first trad goat, I peered around the side of the bush, they hadn’t run off but were standing at about 35-40 metres away on the edge of the ridge ready to make good there get away. The black billy was presenting a perfect broadside shot, and weighing up the options in my mind, I decided that, at that distance (just outside my comfortable range) and being so alert to the danger, that taking the shot would probably at best end up with me loosing an arrow over the cliff, or at worst the billy jumping the string and ending up being poorly hit, resulting in a difficult follow up. Taking one last look, I stepped out from behind the cover and the goats bailed over the precipice. Shortly Matt joined me and I recounted what had occurred. Oh well, there’s all ways a next time. As we walked back to the cars I replayed the stalk in my mind, wondering if perhaps I should have dropped the string on that billy, but decided I was happy with the way it had ended, I hadn’t taken a shot that I was unsure about, just for the sake of it. And there would be more opportunities to come. Thoroughly exhausted, we arrived back at the cars, by this stage I had the beginnings of a bad headache from the lack of water coupled with the effects of walking around in full sun for four and a half hours after eight hours of work. I think “Knackered” would be the right term. Eager to make amends, we were already planning our next chance to have another go, as we headed for our respective homes.

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Round two, the following Friday, after suffering the sweltering conditions of the previous Friday, the promise/threat of rain was more than welcome. We headed off from work, this time parking at the top of the gorge, to save us the climb up. The walk in was the usual discussion of tactics, mixed with some target practice and lots of glassing.

at one but had no luck, loosing his arrow amongst the boulders and box thorn.

We were determined to spot them before they spotted us this time. The wind was swirling all over the place and we decided to stay up the top and glass down into the gorge until we found something. Peering over the edge every ten metres or so, we were surprised we had not spotted anything yet, they must be further down. So on we went. continuing to move slowly and glass every bit of ground we could, bows at the ready.

They took off out of there at top speed heading my way. Poised and ready to take what I expected to be a nice close shot, I waited… They had been coming my way, where were they! I left my position to check it out, Matt was walking back, the goats nowhere to be seen. Apparently they had hightailed it to the top and ran straight past, all unbeknown to me. Well, we’d chased them enough for one day, and the goats having gotten the better of us again, had disappeared, so we started back to the cars, swapping bows along the way, for a bit of stump shooting.

After moving to the edge to get a better view of the rocks, I looked back only to see the three goats standing about half way up the gorge, at the bottom of a sheer drop looking at us. We had walked right past them!! Matt and I both crouched down and quickly came up with a plan of attack. I was to continue on until out of sight of the goats, then pick my way amongst the boulders and drop about half way down the gorge and wait for an opportunity as they made their way in my direction. While I was doing this, Matt would back out of the area and try to get a shot from the other side, hopefully sending them my way in the confusion. I found a likely spot for a shot if they came past and settled in to wait…. About 20 minutes later I heard a whistle, waited some more, then another whistle came on the wind. I climbed back out of the gorge and headed to where I had last seen Matt. He was heading in my direction, indicating that the goats had gotten past him and bolted in the other direction. He had managed to get a shot

We decided there was time for one more go, so after locating the goats, I again set up in a position halfway down the gully, where I thought they would come and Matt moved to the opposite side.

They were certainly making me earn my first trad goat. Two unsuccessful attempts! Although, I had had a ball so far on both hunts. The fact that I hadn’t taken any game was neither here nor there. I just love wandering around with my longbow and my mates, and if it didn’t work out, there would always be next time. We decided to give the goats a rest for a while, we didn’t want to push them too hard, so in the interim, it was back to bunny bust’n and target practice in the back yard. A couple of weeks later, I got a text from Matt, saying the wind would be good tomorrow, if I was interested. “IF” I was interested… of course I was interested!! I packed all my gear, making sure to remember my backpack and waited for the following afternoon to roll around. 2:15pm and we were on the road again, I had

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forgotten my boots again! But wasn’t going to let that stop me. (Even though my work boots are about 2 sizes too big and not good for walking long distances in.) Today was the day, third time lucky. We headed back to where the goats should be, where we had seen them the hunt before but all we found were empty beds. Matt decided to drop over the edge and contour along, incase they were somewhere that we could not spot from above. I continued along the top glassing as I went. A couple of hundred metres further on I spied some movement in the bino’s, finally I had found them and the wind was in my face for a change. Having no idea of where Matt had gotten to, I dropped my backpack and began to stalk. I closed the gap as much as was possible with the available cover, but it ran out at about 50 metres out. There was an open area before some more cover about 15 metres away. On my hands and knees, I started crawling across the open grass towards the next bit of cover, which would give me the perfect shot. But the goats weren’t having a bar of that and over the edge they went. I quietly jogged up to where they had gone over, only to see them heading in the direction which I had last seen Matt. Thinking that they would run into him and possibly turn around and head back my way I took up a position in the rocks and waited. Back they came, stopping around 80 metres from me behind some box thorn. I waited and waited and waited. Not sure if Matt was having a stalk. I didn’t want to move toward them incase I blew it for him. So I waited some more. Eventually the goats moved away, I had no clues to Matt’s whereabouts, so I started to head back in the direction of the cars looking for him. I was just about to grab my mobile phone to find out where he was, when I saw the white nanny goat standing about 35 metres away looking in the opposite direction. I could hardly believe it! I had to look twice to make sure it was real.

on, nearly sending him backward over the edge, a hurried off balance shot whizzed past the goat and into the boulders, sending the arrow ricocheting into the air in several pieces. Regaining his footing he signaled to me to come down as he could see where the nanny had dropped. When I got to Matt's position, he congratulated me, and told me what had happened from his point of view, saying the goat looked well hit and hadn’t gone far before piling up amongst the rocks. We waited a little while, discussed the events that had led up to my first trad goat. I was absolutely stoked with the shot and happy to be going home with some meat for the fridge. As we made our way to where the goat lay, we spied the billy hanging about the nanny. We were still climbing down the cliff and a very steep downhill shot was offered. Matt moved to the edge of the ledge. The loose rocks gave way, nearly sending him over the edge for the second time. Luckily the goat some 25 metres below wasn’t spooked and Matt took a magnificent shot, taking the billy in the top of the shoulder and exiting out the bottom of the chest on the opposite side. Congratulations all-round. We were both wrapped with how things had gone. We went down to where my goat lay, took some pics and proceeded to harvest the meat. Matt’s billy had climbed back up amongst the boulders and laid down, where he was quickly finished of with a nice follow up shot. More photos and some more meat packed into my backpack. I had five legs of goat loaded up and an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment, as I had worked so hard to take my first major traditional archery kill.

I quietly closed the gap to around 25 metres and bought my bow to full draw. The nanny was standing broadside to me looking down into the gorge, I picked a spot and let fly. The arrow struck its mark and the goat took off down the gorge, taking the other goats with it. I ran to the edge of the cliff to see where they went. That’s when I saw Matt, further down in the gorge. My goat had bolted straight to him, taking him by surprise as it rounded the corner of the ledge he was standing

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The editor fulfils a dream and heads to the USA to chase Elk and Black bear. Saturday the 11th of September 2010 saw me fulfil a dream and arrive in Denver USA for 10 days of hunting Elk and Black Bear in the Colorado Rockies. I was over there after accepting a very generous offer from one of the nicest guys you are likely to meet, Will Nelson, better known to many on the bowhunting forums as “iamyourhuckleberry�. Will had extended an open invitation to us Aussies to come and spend some time with him and a bunch of other fellow bowhunters from around the world hunting in his backyard, the Colorado Rockies. With an offer like that how could I resist? We ended up with two Aussies, one Kiwi, three from the UK and fourteen guys from all over the USA in camp. I had been up since 3.30am the morning needing to be at Melbourne Airport by 4.00am for a 6.00am flight to Auckland then onto LA and finally

By Matt Curry

arriving in Denver a 4.00pm the following day. The flight over was very LONG but luckily there was a good selection of the latest movies to watch. Will met me at Denver airport, a quick stop to grab my bags and bow case and then we piled into his Hilux (or Tundra as they are known over there) for a trip out to Bass Pro in Denver to pick up my Elk tag. I had heard a lot about Bass Pro shops but was not prepared for the sheer size of the place. It was literally the size of a small shopping centre but two stories, including a fish tank the size of my lounge room with all manner of fish in it that were big enough to eat you. It even had an elevator to get to the next floor. The archery department alone was about the size of a 30sq house. Very impressive to say the least. There were full size body mounts of every animal from the area. Unfortunately we ran into a few dramas

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getting my tag to go through but after some really good customer service from the Bass Pro staff and long phone call to the Colorado Fish and Game all were sorted and we left with my credit card limit somewhat still intact. After picking up a few supplies we headed off for the two hour drive up to camp which was situated between a small town called Redcliff and another called Leadville. On the drive up we saw a number of mule deer including one really good buck on the hillsides as well as a big group of Elk on the fringe country. We rolled into camp just on dark where I was introduced to Scottie (NZ), Grant (AUS) Paul and Rex from the US. A few hours talking then off to bed for an early start to my first day in the mountains with bow in hand. To say I was excited was an understatement.

We decided to split up for the walk out and meet back at the truck. The climb out was where you really started to feel the effects of the altitude. Contouring along the side of the hill I came across my first Colorado game. It was a really cool looking Snow shoe hare that still had his grey coat but big white fluffy feet. I played cat and mouse with him for about half an hour but no shot presented. Climbing out further I found some really fresh Elk droppings and a fresh rub. Movement in front of me drew my attention which turned out to be a big Bull Elk heading my way at about 70 metres. I couldn’t see his head gear but the body colour and size meant he was certainly a bull. Unfortunately the wind was quartering from behind me resulting in the bull winding me and bolting. Still I was stoked; I had seen an Elk on the first day and had a ball. Back at the truck the others boys had also seen a couple of Mule deer. Day two Will was taking Scotty and Grant to another area for a few days to try for Mule deer that they had tags for leaving Rex and I in camp. Rex had some stuff to do so he dropped

Day one saw me heading up to about 10,500ft with Scottie and Paul. We dropped down into a swamp where I officially donated my first arrow to the Rockies while stump shooting. It was a beautiful area and we were seeing some good sign.

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me off first thing in the morning at around 11,000ft. We arranged for him to meet me back at the same spot around lunch time. I headed down hill again and came across a really nice looking open meadow that stretched for about 2km and was about 400m wide. Found some wallows and decided to sit just in the timber and give the Primos “Hoochie Mamma” cow call a try that I had bought at Bass Pro.

watch him for about 5 minutes or so.

After the spike bull headed back into the timber I hunted back up to about 12,000ft and turned back for the pickup point. Arriving a little earlier than anticipated I decided to head down the track back to camp or meet Rex on the way up. Along the way I had a bit of fun stalking the local squirrel population and also saw a couple of grouse but unfortunately couldn’t get close enough for a shot.

I gave the cow call a few goes for about ten minutes when I detected movement across from the other side of the meadow. Throwing up my Vortex binos I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw an Elk trotting across the meadow straight for me. A closer looked revealed he only had two points and wouldn’t be legal to take. Bull Elk to be legal in Colorado have to have at least four points or 5 inch brow tines. I put my bow down and grabbed the camera. By this stage he was about 100 metres out but the wind was swirling and he picked up my scent. He turned to go back the way he came but a quick cow call had him stopping. With the wind back in my face he relaxed a little having a bit of a feed but not willing to come any closer. Still I got a few photos and was able to

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Cutting the corner through the timber I bumped a Mule deer doe and watched her bound off down the mountain side. Rex met me three quarters of the way down on his ATV, so I jumped on the back for a quick ride back to camp. We decided to head into Leadville for the afternoon and had a late lunch at a nice little Mexican place. After lunch Rex and I headed back up to the meadow for the afternoon but only saw two Mulies. Next time I’m there I am definitely putting in for a Mule deer tag. We got back to camp about 9.00pm, had a quick bite for tea and then headed to bed, exhausted but happy with the days efforts. Day three Rex and I headed across the other side of the Highway 24 up to the top of Mt Resolution which was 11,900ft. We spent most of the morning driving the back tracks just taking in the views. Saw a heap of different squirrels, a golden eagle, marmits and a really cool ermine which is part of the weasel family. I managed to get within 2 feet of the ermine and got some cool pictures.

We parked up and headed down the North side of the mountain splitting up about half way down. I didn’t see any animals but fresh sign was everywhere. Rex saw two more mule deer and also a cow Elk. We arrived back in camp to find Steve from Minnesota had arrived. Steve was another trad bowhunter. Steve had bought some Bear meat burgers with him that we happily tucked into for the evening meal. I had been keen to taste some bear meat and was not disappointed. It really had a nice flavour to it. Day four was a bit of a lazy day with the morning spent in camp relaxing. Steve and I headed up to the meadow again for the afternoon. We hunted the west side finding lots of good sign but no animals sighted. We had an enjoyable afternoon with a bit of stump shooting thrown in. We made it back to camp after dark and enjoyed some venison burgers for tea. Day five saw me heading out solo. I took Rex’s ATV up to about 12,000ft with my longbow strapped into the rifle holder on the front rack.

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I slowly dropped down about 2000ft to the valley floor, contouring along as I went. The area looked very positive with plenty of sign. I hunted hard all day without luck then faced the long 2000ft climb back out to the ATV. The climb out was a killer with the altitude really taking its toll. Taking my time I made it back to the ATV just after dark. The ride back down in the dark was a real blast. It was hard to believe that I was riding a 700cc ATV down a really cool rocky track in the dark up in the middle of the Rockie Mountains. It doesn’t get much better than that. Back at camp Tim and Daryl from Minnesota, Rob from Alaska and another Steve from the US had all arrived. It was a good night meeting and getting to know all these guys. They were all die hard bowhunters that just loved to be out in the mountains. Scotty, Will and Grant arrived back in camp with reports of multiple encounters with good mule deer. Scotty managed to arrow a real nice buck which was recovered very quickly. I might also mention that Scottie had only picked up a bow (compound) three weeks ago. Outstanding effort.

Day six, Steve (Minnesota) and I spent the morning scouting other areas for an afternoon hunt. We headed around the back of Redcliff then through and up the Tigwon rd to the trail head for the walk up to the Mt of the Holy Cross. We saw about 6 grouse on the way up. On the way down we saw a young Mule deer in the Aspens as well as a hen turkey.

For the afternoon we again headed over to Mt Resolution and hunted the North side down to the valley floor. Not a lot of action with only one mule

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deer seen. Driving back out just on dark we saw a good bull elk on the clear ground just above tree line. Back at camp Marty, Dave and Mark from the UK had arrived along with most of the other guys from the US. The camp was really getting big now. We had a good feed on buffalo for tea then hit the beds again. Day Seven saw a 4.30am start with 7 of us heading up to Mt Resolution again. Steve, Scotty and I were to drop right down to the valley floor then head left along the creek flats. Tim and Daryl were to head right with Will and Grant working about 1000ft above us. We didn’t see any animals but did hear a couple getting up around us. We did start to hear some bugling which would hopefully make life a little easier. Up until this day we hadn’t heard any elk bugling at all. The problem was that the temperatures during the days were around the mid to high 20’s (Celsius) which apparently the Elk don’t like. Back at camp the story was about the same with no Elk sightings. About 4.00pm that afternoon Steve and I headed back up above timberline at Mt Resolution. The plan was to sit in ambush till dark and hopefully get another elk coming over the top like the previous day. Unfortunately there was a small camp set up exactly where we wanted to be so we were forced to head further to the right. We found a good spot and set up to wait. I moved from my original spot after about 30 minutes as I only had one shooting lane. Just on dark we had a cow elk come in and prop at 18m from Steve but keeping timber between Steve and her. She ended up walking away never giving a Steve a shot. If I had stayed where I was originally I would have had a ten yard broadside shot but that’s hunting for you. Still a good result for the afternoon.

Day Eight. With Steve 2 and Rex in tow we headed up to Ptarmigan pass on the South side of Mt Resolution to hunt a big valley that ran all the way down to HWY 24. It had a really nice creek with beaver dams along the bottom of it. We all split up for the hunt. I took the left while Steve took the right with Rex and Steve2 going around the back. It was a pretty uneventful walk but I did see a nice Ptarmigan. I also managed to stalk in on a Beaver and get some good pictures and video. They are actually quite a large animal.

Got back up to the car on dark to be greeted by a rather aggressive dog. I didn’t know if he was a camp dog or a wild dog. He was growling and moving closer and was about two seconds away from getting an arrow when the owner turned up. A few choice words about leads etc and all was good. Back at camp Paul and a few of the boys had got right in amongst some good Elk, having bulls bugling around them but no shots. Day Nine. Steve and I took the long drive up No Name rd to a reported good Bear area. I was really keen to at least see a bear but also had a bear tag on hand if I was lucky enough to get a shot away. We hunted real hard with the going getting real tough. I was constantly hemmed in by impassable rocky outcrops and had to continually back track to get around them. It was a little frustrating but the scenery was well worth the effort alone. Back at camp Steve decided to break camp and head north for some bear hunting with people he knew. We said our goodbyes. It was really

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good to be able to meet and hunt with another fellow trad hunter from half way around the world.

hunt. The walk down was pretty treacherous being very steep and loose gravel. Once at the bottom we split up a bit and headed into the timber. We found plenty of good sign but could not locate any elk. Once we regrouped Dave said he had a cow come past him but couldn't get a shot.

We decided to make our way back up top knowing the walk out would be very tough. We probably had to climb out about 1500 feet that was basically straight up. We took our time and eventually made it to the top. Funnily enough we found fresh tracks from a decent bull over the top of our tracks from the walk in. That’s irony for you. Day Ten: Scottie and the boys had seen a few Elk the day before in an area that needed a bit of a walk to get to so it was decided that a bunch of us would hunt this area. Dave, Mark, Scottie, Matt, Tony (Texas), Justin, Grant and I all headed up to the timberline to walk over the top to a valley that the boys had seen the elk in. Once we made it to the top we glassed the valley floor seeing at least one bull. We decided to drop down and have a

Later that afternoon Dave, Mark and I headed halfway up No Name rd to about 10,600ft. We then split about 50 metres or so apart and contoured up the side to the timberline. I was just enjoying my time taking in the surroundings when cresting a small rise I came onto 3 Mule deer. I good buck, a doe and fawn. I tried to manoeuvre around to get some photos but the ever swirling

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wind gave the mulies over ideas. It wasn’t long after that I heard some cow calls coming from behind and above me. There seemed to be more than one cow. Knowing Dave and Mark were above me I couldn’t decide whether or not it was the two boys calling or actual elk. I decided to have a look anyway and began a stalk. I was getting closer and the calls were sounding real good when I spied Mark sitting on a log with Dave about 30 metres away. It was a good stalk I reckon and had the heart rate up a bit. As it was getting late we headed back down to the truck and back to camp. Had a good night chatting to the boys. I knew the next day I had to start packing as I had an early flight out the following day. Rob and Marty arrived back in camp with reports they had seen a good bear and that Will had made a shot on a Monster mulie buck. It had got late so they were heading back the following morning to track the animal. We had a bit of rain come in and the temps really started to drop. We even had snow up on the tops. Day eleven: I spent the day just lazing in camp and getting all my gear packed. Matt (Utah) was heading out early the next morning for his long trip home. He had to head past Denver airport so I thought I would grab a ride with him to save anyone else having to make the 2 hour plus trip both ways. Later that day Scottie, Grant, Matt (Utah) and Justin rolled back into camp looking completely worn out. Glancing at the back of the truck I noticed the tips of antlers sticking out. They had been hunting an area way in the backblocks around the hidden lakes. They had walked right in with Justin setting up to do some calling. They had a real big bull come in but not close enough for a shot. Then a smaller 4 x 5 bull came into 15m. All 4 boys were at full draw (compounds) with the bull giving Grant a good stare down. He turned and walked passed Justin who put an arrow straight into his chest. He didn’t make it far. The boys then had the massive job of boning out the animals and carrying out all the meat which they did in one go. A huge effort.

That night I said my goodbyes to all the boys and wished them luck for the remainder of their hunt. They still had a few days left in camp so I was hopeful that they would have some luck. With the weather finally changing signs were looking good for the 4 days left of the season. Day 12: I was up early and on the road with Matt by 6.00am. My flight out of Denver wasn’t until 4.00pm that day but I thought I would just kill time reading a book or two and looking for gifts for the kids. Thanking Matt for the ride I bid him a safe trip and settled in for the long wait and ensuing long flights back home. The flights all went well and many hours later I was greeted at Melbourne airport by my wife and two kids. I was exhausted but glad to be home.

I really need to say a huge thank you to Will for everything he did to make this dream come true for me. His generosity and willingness to go the extra mile just made it all that much easier. I would also like to express a sincere thank you to every bowhunter in camp. The camaraderie, generosity and just general good nature of everyone of you made the trip just that much better. I can’t wait to hunt with you blokes again in the near future.

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Stikbow Hunter eMagazine is extremely happy to announce that thanks to some very generous sponsors we will be running an end of year BEST STORIES competition along with a photo competition to be held every issue. Bi Monthly Photo and Writing Competition: Send in your photos and stories to be in the running for some great prizes. A top secret panel of readers will decide which photo and story they liked best for each issue. The winning photo and story will be awarded some great prizes kindly donated by John McDonald at A.M.S.O 128 archery supplies and Darren Amos form Trash Boys DVD’s All entries to be sent via email to editor@stikbowhunter.com or via mail to: Stikbow Hunter Editor 6 Clarendon drive Melton South, Victoria, Australia, 3338

End Of Year Writing Competition:: The writing competition will be judged after the last issue of Stikbow Hunter has been released for the year. The winners will be decided via a voting system that we will be setting up on the Stikbow hunter web site. We have three great prizes to be awarded to the top three stories. These prizes were very generously donated by Mark Harvey of TradBits archery, Russell Barber of Kanga Custom Bows in the USA and Ben Mayer. The prizes include a TradBits Rising pig 3D target, a Caldwell Camp knife valued at about $400 and a Custom made Kanga bows Take down Long Bow. All entries to be sent via email in a word doc. with separate photos to editor@stikbowhunter.com or alternatively on disc or flash drive to: Stikbow Hunter Editor 6 Clarendon drive, Melton South, Victoria, Australia 3338

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Pete Ward takes a look at the new Trad Tech Recon and Onyx Risers The first Riser I received in this series was the Onyx. It arrived with a set of Black Max glass and carbon wood limbs to try. The first impression of the riser was good. It feels very good to handle, and it looks good to, The Phenolic riser with Zebra wood accents is a good match with the all black limbs. There are enough wood accents that the wood veneer Pinnacle limb also looks good on it. Better yet they all shoot good on it. The Carbon Black Max limbs have brown phenolic overlays at the tips and limb buts that some might say look better.

Review supplied by Pete Ward off his web site “PETE WARD� www.peteward.com

All of the limbs I have are ILF mediums, making this a 58" recurve that draws and shoots like a bow costing a lot more. The first set of limbs I tried was the Black Max Wood glass. I am very impressed at how well they shoot, considering they retail for $130 US. They are easy to like, and draw smooth, shoot quiet, without vibrations. I prefer a brace height of 8 " to 8 1/2" on these risers with both the carbon and glass limbs.

The mostly Phenolic riser is solid, and the grip positions my hand in a very repeatable place every time. I am able to shoot the Onyx accurately like I have been shooting it for years. Tuning is a

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breeze with the ILF adjustable features. I set up the risers to be stack free to just past my 27" draw length. This is 2 turns out from the bottom setting on the limb bolts, which is also the most they should be turned in. For longer draws you will want to back the bolt out a turn for each inch over 27"to a max of 5 turns from bottom. With longer than a 29" draw you will be better off with a long limb, making a 60"bow. Those with a short draw of 27" or less will be best suited to the short limbs making a 56" bow. ILF limbs come in different lengths for different draw lengths. Short limbs, long draws and limb bolts tightened down are a recipe for disaster. The principle for ILF limb adjustments is to make the bow smooth to your draw, and easy to tune, not to make more draw weight like the compounds. If you want more weight do yourself a favour and order heavy limbs.

Recon / Onyx I would not recommend short limbs for more than a 27" draw, and medium limbs for more than a 29" draw. This is with the limb bolts backed off to the minimum weight setting. Properly set up for your draw weight with a correct set of limbs for your draw length you will find the ILF bows are

For those not familiar with ILF, it is a system that allows us to use any make ILF limb on any make ILF riser. The limbs slip in and out without the need to use wrenches. It is a good Idea to check each set of limbs for proper tuning when we change them. The Recon and Onyx are nearly identical, with the amount of wood accent being the only difference. Both share the exact same dimensions. Both are fully ILF compatible and have lateral limb adjustment capability should you ever have a limb that is not perfectly straight. We should not have to use this feature, as the risers are set up for straight limbs when we receive them.

The 15" risers make for a good short bow that can use an economical limb one day or a top of the line Olympic limb the next. I can switch to the BF extreme Olympic quality limb from the Titan in a matter of a minute when the weather gets cold and I want a riser that is not so cold to handle, and still use the high end BF Extreme limbs or I just want a shorter bow. I can also switch to the Trad Tech ILF longbow limbs just as easy. The Pinnacle limbs look good with the clear glass and wood veneers, as well as the black Master Carbon longbow limbs. With the longbow limbs the Onyx and Recon become a 60" longbow.

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The Recon and the Black Onyx are a reasonable cost riser that is well designed and easy to set up and shoot with a variety of limbs. The finish on the Onyx is good, but not perfect. For a perfect finish we pay a lot more. The mostly Phenolic riser should be nearly bullet proof and last a lifetime. I see no reason not to think the Black Max limbs when properly set up for your draw length will last you a long time. I am currently shooting the Black Max Carbon wood limbs, only because I have them. I think the Wood glass limbs for a hundred dollars less are every bit capable of doing all that I want in a hunting bow. They are a great shooting bargain that you should seriously consider. The charts below will show what I am trying to get across. Both sets of limbs were shot with the same string, 10 strands of DF97, padded loops and beaver silencers. I also installed some yarn to cushion the string slap recurves all have. Pat, my wife , confirmed the exact draw length and coached each shot. All shots were taken at a static draw length, with a well-worn cordovan tab. The bow was braced at 8� for the Carbon wood limbs. I switched to the glass limbs without making any adjustments and the brace height gained 1/8". The tiller remained the same.

Black Max Wood Glass limbs {10 strand padded DF97 string}

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Black Max Carbon Wood limbs {10 strand DF97 padded string}

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From the charts opposite it seems like the Glass limbs are performing equal to the more expensive Carbon limbs. The main difference between these limbs is in Torsional stiffness. Most average shooters will not notice the difference that this stiffness with the carbon limb gives us in accuracy. At 20 to 30 yards I can't tell the difference. Both sets of limbs shoot the same for me. I have a 27" draw length and I have set the bow up accordingly to give me 2 pounds per inch thru my draw. For a longer draw length all we do is back off the limb bolts 1 turn each for each inch up to 30". After that I would recommend a set of long limbs. If you have a short draw of 27" or less you might prefer the Short limbs. There is no need to have your limbs going from 2 to 3 pounds or more when we can take advantage of the ILF adjustments and experience 2# per inch thru our draw. It makes the bow so much nicer to shoot this way. If you want more draw weight order a set of heavier limbs rather than cranking in the limb bolts and shooting a stacking bow. Yes going from 2 to 3 pounds is stacking on these limbs. I adjust my ILF bows to make the jump just past my draw length.

Since I started this review the Recon riser has arrived and I will make a few quick comments about it. For all practical purposes the Recon is the same riser as the Black Onyx, but with some more Zebra wood, and some overlays. The Black Onyx has thicker phenolic, and thinner wood overlays. The Recon shoots exactly the same as the Black Onyx, and all the comments above for the Black Onyx will apply to the Recon. I switched limbs back and forth and cannot see any difference in how each shoots. The only difference is the Onyx has a wider phenolic body and the Recon shows more wood, and has Overlays. To be truthful, I am not sure which riser I prefer at this time. I do know that both are hunting risers, and in all probability I will put a set of short limbs on the Black Onyx for hunting in the blinds, only because this riser has more black showing. It most likely makes no difference at all.

To sum up my feelings on the Onyx / Recon I think they a very nice to shoot bow. It is quiet, and has good performance. The Black Max limbs, either Carbon or Glass draw very smooth and those Glass, Black Max limbs are a steal of a deal. I am very impressed at how well the Glass limbs shoot, and I am also very pleased with how nice the Carbon limbs are to shoot. I have been hunting with the Onyx with both sets of limbs, and feel that either one is just fine. Without looking, I can't tell which one I am shooting. There are others that could tell, but I am not able to. This is a good mid range riser that shoots like it has a higher price tag. It is not a flawless riser, however it takes a close look to find faults in the finish. If it had another coat of finish you would be hard pressed to find any flaws. This is a good Riser and the Black max limbs compliment it very well. As a blind hunting bow the mostly black riser and the Black Max limbs make it almost invisible. The short 58" length makes it easy to shoot in the pop up blinds .A set of short limbs would make it a 56" bow that is even better for those of us with short draws, {27" or less} that like to shoot a short bow in tight places like Pop-Up blinds.

Thanks for reading, Pete Ward

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Tom Baxter heads out chasing something he loves....... Pigs ....I thought, as a boar screamed and roared ahead of me on the fern covered flat. It had been raining ever since leaving the car and though bodily damp, my spirits were high with the valley floor freshly churned over by a pig or pigs. The long walk in and steep climb down now seemed much more worthwhile now with the sound of fighting going on less than a hundred metres ahead of me. Creeping in slowly I spied the first black back amongst the waving ferns. No less than eight pigs were working into the soft soil but it was the larger

By Tom Baxter boar drifting around a sow that drew my immediate interest. Two smaller boars were trying to strut their stuff too but the bigger boar would have none of it and was chasing them off whenever they got too close. Moving into thirty metres was easy enough but the smaller pigs kept me from getting any closer. I stood behind a large gum with the light breeze in my face, arrow nocked and soaked up a bit more water from the constant rain, trying to find an avenue to get closer.

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Watching the black, dominant boar do his thing was awesome. A smaller boar thought he would stand his ground to a head on charge and the big fella hooked him up under the chin and flipped him head over arse onto his back in a wriggling, squealing heap. A fantastic sight and a true testimony to this boars strength. I had been on them for ten minutes or so when that terrible thing happened. Steam rising from my body started drifting towards the mob and before I knew it the flat was vacant of pigs. This was the first hunt in my week off and a disappointing end to the stalk and it set the precedent for the next three outings, with rain making it less than comfortable and the wind wrecking other stalks on a frustratingly regular basis.

bedded down by now with the warming sun covering the valley floor. Pushing on slowly I came across multiple piles of dung that suggested a bedding area. With sparse tea tree among the tall gums it was a perfect pig camp and when I noticed a pile of sticks at the base of one gum had been pushed up to form a small wall I felt sure that it was the old bed of a long departed pig.

If hunting was like fishing where the old line of "you can't catch fish and be comfortable" was true, then this next day out was unlikely to produce, unless the pig gods had finally decided to smile a little. With a crisp start it was a clear blue sky day with nary a breath of wind. After crossing a couple of small creeks that held a little water after rain I was again working my way up the valley looking for a pig or two. Following along a faint pad with the breeze in my face for a good hour with no real sign I was beginning to get the feeling that it was too nice a day and it was likely everything will be

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high. As the boar stepped into the clearing I had to quickly focus on the shot, drawing back and anchoring with one of Black Widow's finest I picked a spot and released, hearing the solid thump as the fletches disappeared into the boars shoulder area. The boar turned and bolted back the way he had come with a bright red shaft only hanging in the by the feathers, dislodging as he moved through a narrow gap between two trees before he disappeared into an adjacent gully.

Being that it was on a bit of a rise I couldn't see into it properly but it was still a major surprise when two black ears poked up from behind it. A mere ten metres away the sleeping boar had heard something of my approach but not enough to really put the wind up him. He had been sleeping facing away so did not see me in the first instance. I stood deathly still as he rose with dust falling off him before he paused and then sauntered off, quickly I managed to whip out and nock an arrow as he went behind the gum. He looked to be a youngish boar with a little bit of size and a colour mixture of black and ginger, with his short tail and small lip curl suggesting that he was no monster hooked boar but in any event certainly worth following. He moved off to my right a little and then paused listening. Taking several more steps the boar again stopped to listen. Each time he walked he was doing something of a right hand u-turn that brought him back towards me. He crested a rise and walked up onto a small rock fall about twenty metres out at my shoulder level but a large fallen tree trunk gave only a view of the boar's hams. I began to sense that a shot could soon present itself. The boar was facing toward a pad that should bring him walking past me broadside into a clearing at a little over twenty metres, if he took it. There was nothing I could do at this stage but wait and hope. Taking several more steps he was onto the pad but still obscured by timber, I was now very confident that the next time he moved off would be into the clear shooting lane. With bow arm now raised and finger on the string the excitement level was

A little high and back I thought as I ran through the memory of the shot and hit I had just witnessed. I paused only momentarily before heading up to collect the intact arrow. It was coated in good blood and I was fairly confident of a good hit. I started tracking his marks where he ran into the gully and after eighty odd metres and only three small drops of blood I was becoming concerned. I kept on the marks and then found a relieving sign, a fifty cent coin sized splatter of bubbly blood which suggested a good lung hit. More blood started to show on the ground and then I sighted the boar on the other side of the gully passed out where he had rolled back down the hill into a fallen log with all four legs in the air. Close inspection revealed the hit was indeed a good double lung shot and a resulted in classic one arrow kill. He was a solid little pig with sharp, thin tusks, broken teeth and a ragged ear and I was a happy bowhunter. The selftimer button on the little Olympus copped a workout before the jaw was removed and strapped to my pack for the walk out. A fitting end for this finally lucky but mountain weary hunter.

The aurthor used a: 56� PCH Black Widow Recurve 54#@28 Carbon Express Heritage 250’s & 125gr Magnus heads. September / October 2010 2010 Page 32


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• • •

GEAR REVIEWS MORE BOWHUNTING ADVENTURES PLUS MUCH MORE.

September / October 2010

Sept_Oct 2010 Stikbow Hunter Magazine  

An eMagazine dedicated to Traditional Bowhunting in Australia and abroad.

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