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2011 Nebraska Archery Season Sees Big Changes

by Keith Southworth 3. August 2011 12:54
Keith Southworth

When the 2011Nebraska Archery season opens on September 15th there will be some significant new rules in effect.  The two most notable rule changes don’t come without controversy.

The most significant and controversial change will adopt the crossbow as a legal weapon for all sportsmen.  Before last season, crossbows were limited to handicap and disabled sportsmen that first had to obtain a letter from a doctor that documented the sportsmen’s need to use a crossbow. 

Crossbows are now legal for all archery seasons for all sportsmen in Nebraska

The Nebraska Traditional Archers (NTA) has taken a firm stance against crossbows. The following statement was taken from their website.  “The NTA does not consider the conventional crossbow nor the compound crossbow to be legitimate hunting bows and will not permit their use, or possession at any NTA event or gathering.  The NTA considers the use of any type of crossbow during any bowhunting season to be the most serious threat that the future of bowhunting has ever faced.  The NTA strongly encourages all sportsmen to boycott the products of companies engaged in the manufacture, distribution, sales or promotion of crossbows, and to express their dissatisfaction directly to these companies at every available opportunity.”

An effort last year by the Nebraska Bowhunters Association (NBA), Nebraska’s largest and most politically engaged bowhunting organization asked the Nebraska Wildlife Commissioners to table the vote but it fell on deaf ears.  The commission allowed the use of crossbows during rifle and muzzleloader seasons last year and now they have opened up the use of crossbows in 2011 by making it a legal weapon during the archery seasons for all big game in the state.

I asked long time NBA member and Vice Chairman Bryce Lambley what the NBA’s official stance on the inclusion of crossbows to the Nebraska archery season and he said, "The NBA has, since its inception, opposed the inclusion of crossbows in the regular archery season, and has urged stricter compliance with handicapped provisions.  Most of our members do not oppose crossbows as a hunting tool, they just don't feel they belong in the same general season as compound and traditional bows and arrows because the skills needed to shoot them are vastly different."

Bow hunters in Nebraska will now share the woods with crossbow hunters but rifle hunters will have to do the same with bowhunters now

The other big change will allow bowhunters to hunt along side of rifle hunters during the 2011 rifle season which opens on the second Saturday of November.  Hunter Orange will be required to be worn by bowhunters just as it is for the rifle hunters during the nine day season.  Many Nebraska bowhunters have been clamoring for this change for a long time.  The timing of Nebraska’s rifle season tends to coincides with the rut so sitting on the sidelines for nine straight days has often been a bone of contention for many a Nebraska bowhunter.

Nebraska has expanded their elk seasons due to rising populations

The state of Nebraska offers diverse opportunities for bowhunters with plentiful populations of turkey, whitetail deer, mule deer, and antelope.  There are even elk and bighorn sheep seasons but those seasons are limited to resident lottery draws except for one big horn sheep opportunity that is auctioned off.  Lottery and auction fees have helped Nebraska raised over $800,000 dollars for the bighorn sheep program.  This year’s auction set a record by going for $117,500 to a German business owner.  The previous record bid for a Nebraska sheep hunt was $87,500 in 1998.

Backyard Practice Pays off in Rare Robin Hood in 3-D Target

by Patrick Durkin 1. August 2011 08:44
Patrick Durkin


If not for the shock, maybe I should have raced downtown to buy a Powerball ticket after shooting my first Robin Hood during a recent lunch break.

That’s right: I drilled one arrow down the tube of another arrow already in the target's bull's-eye. In this case, the center-spot on one of my 3-D targets.

Then again, nothing else that day proved especially lucky or memorable, so maybe I was smart to keep my money and avoid the lottery.

After more than 40 years of shooting the bow and arrow, I finally scored a Robin Hood.

I've been shooting archery since age 10, which was 45 years ago. That’s when an uncle, Tom Faust of Cross Plains, Wis., showed his many nieces and nephews how to shoot bows and arrows during a family reunion. Five years later in 1971, I took $37 from my newspaper-route savings to buy a 43-pound Bear Grizzly left-hand recurve bow for bowhunting rabbits, squirrels and white-tailed deer.

I arrowed my first deer with that bow in 1973, but I never came close to splitting an arrow during practice. While shooting that bow, I discovered I was right-eye dominant, and couldn’t use sights to shoot it. I took care of that in July 1974 by buying a right-handed Allen compound bow with sights. I then shattered nocks occasionally, but the Robin Hood kept eluding me.

Many bows, arrows, sights and targets have come and gone since then, but I never scored archery's hole-in-one. I finally witnessed the feat when my daughter Leah nailed a Robin Hood before she was 15. Her spliced arrows stand by my office door, reminding me of her superior skills.

The Full Metal Jacket arrow drove 17.5 inches down the other arrow's shaft.

Even so, I never dwelled on it. In fact, when shooting into my basement target at 15 yards during winter practice sessions, I aim at different spots each shot to avoid shattering nocks and stripping feathers. I'm cheap that way.

I don't enjoy replacing nocks or fletching, even though I have plenty of both, as well as a Bitzenburger Fletchmaster for gluing feathers to shafts. Therefore, I cringed and cursed a bit when hearing the loud "Clank!" when my third arrow of the day hit the 3-D deer target 30 yards away.

That sound wasn't the ordinary swish and rattle of one arrow slapping and side-swiping another arrow already there. This was a collision, with debris from feathers and aluminum-wrapped carbon snapping and popping into the air. I paused and then put down my bow.

The second arrow drove the nock from the first arrow down the shaft ahead of it.

With my other practice arrows still sitting in the quiver, I walked to the target and inspected the damage. Yep. No doubt about it: My first Robin Hood. The Easton Full Metal Jacket arrow was buried 17.5 inches down the shaft of the other arrow, leaving their feathers 8.5 inches apart.

When I looked closely, I saw the second arrow had driven the nock from the first arrow down the shaft ahead of it. The fluorescent green nock glimmered through a crack in the swollen sidewall. I also noticed a feather missing from the first arrow. It rested four feet away, still attached to a shard of aluminum.

Most gratifying was that the first arrow struck exactly where I aimed in the target's kill zone. If it had hit farther back or in the shoulder blade of the foam-plastic deer, I'd be more embarrassed than happy.

The conjoined shafts deserved to stand beside Leah's twinned arrows. Although pleased, I knew better than to brag. I've met archers who have shot so many Robin Hoods they’ve lost count. Or at least they pause to count.

The fact is, I've always been an average archer, shooting well enough to kill deer reliably. But given that I practice year-round and seldom shoot less than 20 arrows per session, you'd think I would have split an arrow long before, even by fluke. And if I need another 40-plus years for a second Robin Hood, I hope it's trumped by more impressive deeds.

Such as? Well, I’d be more than pleased if Leah were still shooting archery. Or maybe I’ll have grandkids, and some of them will take up the sport. Maybe my Robin Hood will help inspire them.

Most likely, though, a split arrow can't turn such tricks. After all, when my Uncle Tom showed his nieces and nephews how to nock an arrow and aim down the shaft, I don't recall shooting all that well. I was happy just to hit the target with that old fiberglass recurve bow.

No, arrows in bull's-eyes didn't hook me on archery. It was something more powerful. It was my uncle’s encouragement. He had complimented my efforts to my parents, and his words had gotten back to me.

All these years later, my first Robin Hood reminds me to thank him for introducing me to this lifetime sport. It’s a gift I’ve never forgotten.






Table Mountain Outfitters - Top Notch Hunting Guides

by Dustin DeCroo 31. July 2011 16:11
Dustin DeCroo

The late summer of 2010 brought with it all the common anticipation of any upcoming hunting season, but with a few new opportunities.  One of these opportunities was to hunt with and film my friends Justin Zarr and Todd Graf of the Hunting Network.  It was a pronghorn hunt with Table Mountain Outfitters of Cheyenne, Wyoming.  It was during this hunt that I was fortunate enough to meet the owners of Table Mountain Outfitters, Scott and Angie Denny. 

Justin and I with his first antelope, taken at Table Mountain Outfitters in 2010.  Click here to watch the video of this hunt!

Fast forward to this Spring 2011.  Knowing I had a fair amount of experience not only hunting out West but also running a camera, Scott and Angie asked if I’d like to film some of their bear hunters at camp in Idaho. The only experience that either one of us had with the other was based on a few conversations at antelope camp eight months prior.  They were taking a chance with a camera man they didn’t know very well and I was committing almost a month of my life to film with people that I barely knew, in a place I had never been.  With that said, it turned out to be an incredible time and allowed me (an outsider) a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run a successful outfitting operation. 

When the general hunting population thinks of “bear hunting,” we typically render immediate images of sitting over an afternoon bait waiting for a bear to make its way to a bucket filled with goodies.  At Table Mountain Outfitters, you have the opportunity to sit at bait sites in the afternoons, but the morning hunts are filled with what can be fast paced, adrenaline filled hunts with hound dogs.  As a long time bird hunter, I have an extreme respect for any type of working dog, but I was still slightly hesitant about hunting bears with dogs. 

On the first morning, my uncertainty had evaporated.  There is no possible way I can explain to any reader how incredible and unique this hunt can be.  It really is something you have to experience for yourself to understand and appreciate.  From the hours of care and preparation that the guides put into 22 dogs before and after the hunt, to the sometimes super steep and long hikes in to a tree where the dogs say, “we’ve won,” to the determination of the dogs and the people involved.  All that work and that’s just for one aspect of one part of the hunt.  That doesn’t include the time spent preparing meals for a whole camp full of hungry hunters, setting bear baits, and maintaining an entire camp in the meantime. 

Here's a few of the bear dogs that Scott & Angie use to track down bears in the remote Idaho wilderness.

It was neat to be a “neutral” party with Table Mountain Outfitters, I wasn’t the hunter or the guide and was able to see both the client side and the business side of this industry.    I was able to form my own opinion about everything I encountered.  Somewhere around 15 hunters were in camp while was in Idaho, I interviewed several of these hunters during hunts and after hunts and to my knowledge there wasn’t a single hunter that didn’t leave with a feeling of success in regards to both; their hunt and their overall experience.

Hunter Mike White killed this beautiful black bear with his Mathews Z7. This was Mike's 7th hunt with Table Mountain Outfitters

Teri and her husband Steve traveled from Tampa, Florida to hunt bears with Scott and Angie.

After seeing all the pieces that must fit perfectly together for an operation like this to be successful, I am amazed at and have an incredible amount of respect for Scott and Angie and the team they’ve put together to make Table Mountain Outfitters atop the list for hunting outfitters.  If you’re in the market for a guided hunt of almost any species in the Western United States, give Table Mountain a shot at your business, I would bet you are not disappointed.   You can visit them online at

Scott & Angie Denny - owners of Table Mountain Outfitters.  These two work incredibly hard to make sure their hunters have the best chance of success on each and every hunt.  Their hard work is what has made them one of the most popular outfitters in the US today.



Bowhunters - Watch for Marijuana When Scouting Public Lands

by Patrick Durkin 8. July 2011 09:06
Patrick Durkin


If you’re scouting or exploring public lands for the upcoming archery season, keep your eyes open for unusual diggings, tree cuttings or ramshackle huts. You might just stumble onto an illegal marijuana farm.

That’s because Mexican-based drug cartels have been using our national forests and wildlife-management areas for large-scale marijuana gardens in recent years. These “grows” have been found from California to Ontario, Canada, and some of them are within half-miles of well-traveled roads.

These trees were cut down with handsaws to expose marijuana plants to sunlight. The small orange markers in the foreground are remnants of marijuana plants.

For example, law-enforcement agencies busted up an 8,000-plant “grow” in northeastern Wisconsin’s Navarino State Wildlife Area in 2009, and a 9,000-plant grow in 2008 farther north in the Nicolet National Forest.

In other cases, they choose remote areas accessible only by boat. In 2009, law-enforcement officers dismantled a 2,000-plant operation deep inside the swamps of Wisconsin’s fabled Buffalo County, in the Tiffany State Wildlife Area along the Mississippi River.

Officials estimate each marijuana plant, which can grow taller than 6 feet, is worth $1,000 or more on the street. If so, the combined Navarino, Nicolet and Tiffany seizures were worth $19 million.

When illegal workers are discovered at marijuana-growing sites, they usually drop what they’re doing and disappear into the woods without their belongings.

Randy Stark, chief warden for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said these marijuana operations are a national problem, with the growers using the Internet to find county, state and national public lands for their operations. To deter those responsible, agencies are working with other states and federal law-enforcement organizations, as well as the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

A recent BLM report said Mexican drug traffickers have expanded marijuana cultivation in the United States since 2004. As the U.S. government increased its efforts to stop smuggling and illegal immigration along the U.S./Mexico border, cartels found it easier to grow marijuana on our public lands than to smuggle large quantities across the border.

Between 2004 and 2008, the BLM alone seized 1.79 million marijuana plants on lands it administers, with seizures more than doubling from 220,000 plants in 2004 to 473,771 in 2008.

A Wisconsin DNR staffer involved in the Navarino cleanup and investigation said cartels plant marijuana strains designed for the North’s short growing season. In fact, Canadian officials have found marijuana operations in public forests of northwestern Ontario.

These logs were used to build a tarp-covered shelter at the main camp of a marijuana operation in Wisconsin’s Navarino Wildlife Area.

The staffer, who couldn’t reveal his identity for security reasons, said the cartels look for low-lying public lands far from homes and buildings, with good water sources for irrigating the plants. He said the groups are sophisticated, and probably study satellite images to find ideal growing sites. They usually key on stands of young aspen (poplar), which is also ideal habitat for deer, woodcock and ruffed grouse.

He said the workers are usually illegal immigrants who are coerced to help. Typically, the operations begin in late May with work crews dropped off late at night with a camp boss, food, equipment and thousands of young marijuana plants growing inside small cups, like those used to start tomato plants.

From there, they haul their gear at least a half-mile into thick cover and set up a campsite beneath the woods’ canopy, taking care to avoid service roads, dikes and trails. Officials estimate the Navarino operation required 20 to 30 illegal workers, who lived in shelters built with plastic tarps stretched across log frameworks.

To make freshly cut trees difficult to spot from airplanes, marijuana growers rub mud on the stumps.

The crews live in such sites for four months, and can’t leave until the crop is harvested in fall. They’re resupplied periodically at night along drop-sites on isolated roads.

The workers use handsaws to quietly clear each growing site, cutting trees waist-high and then smearing stumps with mud to make them less visible from the air. They haul the felled trees to the clearings’ edge and stack them side by side like a palisades. They also dig deep holes for refrigerating perishables, as well as small canals and “silencer pits” to muffle the sounds of gasoline-powered generators and irrigation pumps.

The marijuana gardens aren’t far from the central camp, which sits like a hub between them. The hub is about the only area where workers leave trails. When approaching roads and other areas where anglers, hikers and picnickers might wander, the workers seldom follow the same path twice.

Why do they use public lands? Few people visit the interiors of large public lands during summer because they’re usually swarming with ticks, black flies, deer flies and mosquitoes. Therefore, it’s rare for visitors to spot such setups.

The Wisconsin DNR staffer said abandoned camps are littered with empty cans, jugs and bottles that once held beer, water, bug spray, hand-wash and deer repellant for the marijuana plants. (Whitetails heavily browse the leaves of untreated “pot” plants.) When cleaning the Navarino camp, workers also found bones from poached deer.

Workers dug this irrigation trench with hand tools to water their marijuana plants.

When hunters, hikers or other recreationists stumble onto such sites, the workers usually just drift into the woods, never to return. They’re long gone when authorities arrive.

Warden Stark warns hikers, hunters, campers, anglers and berry pickers to stay alert if spotting unusual activity on public lands this summer and fall. “Walk out the same way you walked in,” Stark said. “If possible, get the GPS coordinates, and contact someone in law-enforcement as soon as possible.”

Stark said workers at these sites usually avoid confrontations, but some carry weapons. In addition, marijuana operations are sometimes booby-trapped.

“We don’t want to scare people and make them think our public lands are unsafe, but we want everyone to be aware and stay alert,” Stark said. “We need their help to shut down these operations. The people doing this need to realize these are public lands and they’re not welcome here.”


Can Science Predict Wolf Attacks on Pets, Livestock?

by Patrick Durkin 8. July 2011 08:51
Patrick Durkin


When North Woods farmers consider whether to add land or livestock to their operation, or whether to plant deer-attracting crops, they might want to consult a new "risk map" to determine it they're increasing the risks for wolf predation.

This map was developed by researcher Adrian Treves at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The map and the research behind it was explained in the June issue of “BioScience,” a scientific journal.

In 2010, wolves were blamed for killing livestock on 47 farms in Wisconsin.

After analyzing 133 documented wolf attacks on livestock between 1999 and 2006, Treves concluded one-third of the area in a pack’s range is at risk. He also found about 10.5 percent of that area faces a “serious” risk from wolves.

He then used that analysis to predict with 88 percent accuracy where wolves would attack livestock from 2007 through 2009.

Wisconsin’s North Woods and central forests are home to at least 800 gray wolves. In 2010, wolves were blamed for killing livestock on 47 farms. Those attacks included 63 cattle killed (47 calves), five cattle injured, six sheep killed (four lambs), one goat injured, and six farm deer killed. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources believes 25 to 27 wolf packs -- 14 percent of the state’s 181 packs -- and two to four loners/dispersers made the attacks.

Since Wisconsin began paying people in 1985 for pets and livestock killed by wolves, it has paid out $1.08 million in compensation.

In Wisconsin, the DNR compensates people for pets and livestock killed by wolves, with payouts totaling nearly $204,000 in 2010. Since the program began in 1985, the Wisconsin DNR has paid out $1.08 million in compensation.

That sum includes $437,020 for lost, killed or injured calves and cattle; $402,120 for killed or injured bear-hunting hounds; $56,040 for killed or injured pets; and $188,000 for other livestock, including turkeys, chickens, deer, horses, donkeys and a llama, pig and goat.

Treves found attack sites typically feature more open habitats of mixed forest and pastures within range of a wolf pack, with wolves usually targeting livestock farther out in pastures, not near their forested edges.

By merging his attack analysis with satellite imagery that pinpoints habitat types, Treves developed a color-coded map to predict wolf attacks on Wisconsin livestock. The six colors assess each area’s risk from high to low. Not all color-coded areas currently hold wolf packs, but the map assesses their risk for livestock attacks should wolves move in.

The science behind the map could be applied to develop similar "risk maps" for other Great Lakes states with wolf populations.

Two timber wolves cross a farmer's field in northeastern Wisconsin in May 2011.

The risk map has at least two immediate applications. First, farmers will be able to call up the map on their computer, input an address, and zoom in to see the property’s potential for wolf predation. This could help them decide whether to buy certain lands or move livestock to specific pastures.

In addition, it could help them decide whether to plant food plots or crops highly attractive to deer. More deer might improve hunting for a farmer or property owner, but an influx of deer would likely attract wolves. Once there, the wolves might discover it’s easier to kill livestock than whitetails.

That leads to the map’s other use: Helping wildlife managers decide where to focus hunting pressure on wolves, assuming Wisconsin eventually obtains that responsibility from the federal government.

Adrian Wydeven, the Wisconsin DNR’s wolf biologist, said that won’t happen until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removes Great Lakes wolves from the Endangered Species List. But Treves’ risk map scientifically documents wolf behavior and demonstrates the DNR is prepared for control measures.

Treves said control efforts are less expensive and more successful when biologists can pinpoint high-risk areas for wolf-livestock predation.

“To date, people have been largely unable or unwilling to discriminate between individual culprits and non-culprits when addressing problems with wild animals,” Treves wrote in his “BioScience” article. “Risk maps point the way to more selective interventions in conflicts between wild animals and people.”

That means working with more landowners before wolves become a problem. Wydeven said techniques like “fladry” seldom work if wolves are already targeting a farm. Fladry means surrounding an area with a light rope a few feet above the ground, and hanging small flags at intervals. The flapping flags tend to keep wolves from crossing underneath.

Other proactive measures include keeping calves and sick or injured livestock in the barnyard for closer monitoring, and burying dead or butchered livestock rather than dumping them above ground where wolves might come scavenging. Once there, they might switch to live animals.

Preventive measures can’t guarantee a cure, of course, but the sooner they’re administered, the longer wolves and livestock stay apart.




Categories: Blog | Current News | Pro Staff

Instilling Fear Might Prevent Fatal Black Bear Attacks

by Patrick Durkin 8. July 2011 08:21
Patrick Durkin


Could Wisconsin’s large, active hunting culture might explain why the Badger State hasn’t reported one fatal attack by a black bear the past 110 years, even though it supports one of North America’s healthiest black-bear populations?

Granted, fatal black-bear attacks are rare on this continent, but let’s not pretend they’re always “our own darned fault.” Yes, we shouldn’t leave out food and garbage in bear country. And yes, prudent people wear little bells when hiking and camping.

A Calgary researcher documented 63 people killed by black bears in Canada and the United States from 1900 to 2009.

But with hundreds of thousands of black bears roaming the continent – some big, and all sprouting claws and teeth -- it’s inevitable a few will behave badly if they don’t fear people.

In fact, recent research by Professor Stephen Herrero at the University of Calgary documented 59 black-bear attacks that killed 63 people in Canada and the United States between 1900 and 2009. Of those, 54 (86 percent) occurred between 1960 and 2009.

Further, even though Canada and Alaska have only 1.75 times as many black bears as the lower 48 states, they had 3.5 times as many fatal attacks. Specifically, Canada and Alaska had 49.

The lower 48 had 14. Colorado led with three and Michigan had two. However, many states with more than 20,000 black bears had no fatalities, including Wisconsin, with 26,000 to 40,000 bruins; California, 31,000; Idaho, 22,500; Maine, 23,000; Montana, 20,000; and Oregon, 27,500.

Herrero and his coauthors speculate that black bears in Canada and Alaska have less contact with people because the human population is about 10 percent that of the lower 48’s. The increasein bear attacks since 1960 coincides with increases in human and black-bear populations, and increased recreational and commercial activity in bear country.

Forty-nine of the 54 fatal attacks (91 percent) since 1960 involved bears that “acted as a predator.”

Further, most Canadian black bears experience less hunting pressure and live in less productive habitats. Therefore, they endure periodic food stress, which might push some bears to view people as prey.

Herrero concluded 49 of the 54 fatal attacks (91 percent) since 1960 involved bears that “acted as a predator.” That is, they weren’t surprised by accident, they weren’t sows protecting cubs, and they weren’t protecting kills or trying to claim kills made by hunters.

Those reasons often incite fatal attacks by grizzlies and Alaskan brown bears, but rarely explain black-bear attacks, Herrero found. In studying the 36 killings considered predatory, he alsofound 33 (92 percent) involved male bears. Females with young are not the most dangerous black bears.

In predatory attacks, the bear was seen or it left signs indicating it was quietly following, stalking and searching for its victim. It then unleashed a full out attack, typically using its paws, claws, jaws and teeth. It might have also eaten part of its victim; and dragged, guarded and buried the body.

Blacks bears seldom attack after making defensive, threatening behaviors like short charges, ground swatting with one or both front paws, slow and deliberate approaches, clacking teeth, or huffing, snorting, gurgling and growling loudly. People usually dissuade them by yelling or banging something loudly.

Black bears that kill humans are usually males, and they usually weren’t surprised by their victims.

In most cases since 1960 (37 of 54, or 69 percent), the victim was alone. Another 12 cases (22 percent) involved two people. Larger groups likely make more noise and appear more intimidating. Just as importantly, companions often punched, kicked, gouged and struck the attacking bear until it broke off its attack.

And although black bears killed people of all ages and both sexes, Herrero wrote: “Our impression … is that young and older people may be more vulnerable to fatal attack because they may be perceived as less threatening and less able to resist serious attack.”

Although garbage and human food wasn’t associated with most fatalities, Herrero found it was present in 38 percent of them. This suggests food/garbage attracted bears, which become increasingly aggressive when seeking such foods.

This highlights an oversight in our mostly futile attempts at public education. We tell people not to fear wild animals, and we warn that wildlife can turn dangerous when fed.

What we don’t say is that, for their own good, wild animals must fear us. Maybe we trust people to make that connection, and figure out that hunting instills and maintains those fears.

Is it possible that’s asking too much of a society that's increasingly removed from nature?





Categories: Blog | Current News | Pro Staff

Summer Trophy Shots

by Daniel James Hendricks 24. June 2011 00:56
Daniel James Hendricks

The summer months are a great time slot to hone your photography skills with a bevy of occasions that afford the serious camera buff an opportunity to capture some great trophy shots.  One just needs to have their camera ready and then be observant enough to recognize a good photo op when he or she sees one.

Carrying your camera in your car could provide a photo like this one that will be captured rather than remembered as an occasion that you wished you had your camera.  

 With the advent of digital photography, any concern about cost and wasted shots should be permanently shelved, since they are no longer relevant.  One should never be accused of taking too few photos, however, that is still one of the greatest errors most shooters make.  You have the camera and should have a spare disk so use them!  Shoot everything and shoot often, keeping in mind that the more photos you take, the greater the chances of shooting a real winner.  As with so many other things in life, photography is a numbers game.

Watch for interesting character-study shots like the furrowed brows of this little fellow at a community art festival.  

A serious photographer should have his camera close at hand for that special shot wherever he or she goes.  But if you leave it at home hidden in a drawer and are presented with that classic “once in a lifetime shot”  all you will have is sad memories of what could have been.  Even if your camera is in your vehicle, you can make a mad dash to the car if an opportunity presents itself.  The best remedy, however is to purchase a camera case with a shoulder strap or belt loop and carry it with you at all times.  Definitely make sure that it is close at hand if you plan an outing of any kind, be it a reunion, a trip to the lake or a jaunt to a summer community event, which is almost a mandatory happening in most towns.  Even a road trip can provide countless photo opportunities that will dress up anyone’s photo morgue.

 Candid shots, often using a telephoto lens will allow you to catch people reacting without the pressure of knowing they are "in focus".

Family outings are great for humorous shots as it seems that someone is always clowning around and they provide one with a great opportunity for “people-photo” practice.  Try to capture as many candid shots as possible as shots of people doing what they do naturally always seems to make for better photos.  Even as common place as cameras are, there is something about pointing one at a person that just seems to drain the “natural” vitality from your subject.  Very few people will remain true to their form when being zeroed in by the lens.

Never go to a flea market or fair without your camera to record the colors, the sights and the vast array of poeple you will find there.

While at these social gatherings, don’t forget to look around for other subjects that may catch your eye.  Pets, landscapes, flowers, a grill full of food, and street scenes are just a few of the things that could possibly provide the sharp eye with a rewarding image caught in the right light, the right time or with the right activity taking place there.  And always look beyond the main area of activity.  Sometimes a great frame will present itself just around the corner of a building or as close as fifty yards from where the main center of activity is.  Don’t be afraid to wander away towards something that catches your attention, it may very well provide you with the shot of the day.

 Keep your eyes peeled for subjects that are clowning around.  You never know what clicking your shutter at the right time can capture.

Community events are a natural for a camera.  It seems like each community has its own summertime celebration filled with special events, parades, good food and lots of people activity.  County Fairs, the State Fair, a carnival or sporting event are all excellent opportunities to hone your photographic skills.  Record the meetings with your friends and neighbors at these centers of activity by taking their pictures, which can later be used as a framed hostess gift or included in a personal Christmas card.  There is no one who does not openly or secretly appreciate a copy of their image doing whatever they do.  Again, if you are walking down the street during a community celebration, don’t forget to keep you eyes open for a planter filled with beautiful flowers, a unique angle shot of the geometric layout of a handsome brick wall or an interesting cloud formation that is framing an interesting skyline.

 If you go to see fireworks and you don't bring your camera, you're missing an  opportunity to learn more about your camera and collect some great shots.

Animal shots abound especially in the early morning and late afternoon if one takes a drive in the country.  Most shots can be taken from the car window, others require a stop and stalk procedure.  In the earlier part of the summer, it is easy to find areas where families of Canadian geese are tending their young affording some great shots for the naturalist photographer.  It is also common to see young deer that have yet to be taught the danger of human beings, as well as young animals of a multitude of species.  Spend a couple of hours camped out at a humming bird feeder.  You will be surprised what you will be able to capture.

 Keep you camera handy becuase you never know when you will be presented with an opportunity for a family photo like this one.

Over 90% of all living things are insects and with the macro capabilities of the latest cameras, this is one area that will provide some really great shots and bugs are everywhere.  This is one more area that provides countless photo ops if the photographer has not limited his vision to the big stuff.  Butterflies are some of the most obvious, but there are kinds of colorful, crawly-stuff that will provide interesting snapshots of a world most folks are oblivious to.  I don’t let bugs bug me, I shoot `em with my camera.

Moving slowly and using your zoom can produce shots like this one when you are ready with your camera and perhaps a monopod.

 There are far too many opportunities to list individually in a short article, but hopefully this short piece has given you some ideas and will serve as a reminder that every day is hunting season when you are carrying your camera.  And remember that there are no limits, no gut piles and the outstanding trophies that you shoot will adorn your walls and the walls of others for years to come. 

Remember to think small and look for the littlest of subjects.  Make learning to use the Marcro feature of your camera a priority.




Categories: Blog | Current News

The Maximum from The Axiom

by Daniel James Hendricks 13. June 2011 09:06
Daniel James Hendricks

With spring bear season right around the corner, Excalibur offered me their 2010 Axiom to field test against the mighty bruins of Manitoba.  I deduced that nothing should work better on a Canadian black bear than a Canadian crossbow so eagerly accepted their offer and shortly thereafter received the Axiom package directly from the Excalibur factory in Ontario.

Not only is the Excalibur Axiom a dependable, consistent and powerful crossbow, but it is real purty, too!

My first reaction when I opened the box was that the bow was “real purty”.  You see, the truth of the matter is that I am not really interested in the statistics of a crossbow like the fact that the Axiom has a draw weight of 175 lbs and an arrow speed of over 300 feet per second.  Or that it has a power stroke of 14.5”, an arrow length of 20”, a minimum arrow weight of 350 grains, a 3 lb trigger-pull or a mass weight of 6 lbs.  That is information for the technically minded, which is exactly why we have the cool and calculating brain of our European Correspondent, Geoffrey Toye on the HBM staff to masterfully and with great detail review our bows from the mechanical point of view. 


The Axiom possesses all of the classic lines that Excalibur has become so famous for.

The practical components of a crossbow are what flick my personal switch and during the assembly, the first thing that I really appreciated about the Axiom is that with its Advantage Timber camouflage skin and with the graceful lines of its traditional Excalibur contour, it is most pleasing to the eye.  That is the kind of high-tech thinking I conduct.  Once it was completely assembled, the Axiom and I did a bee-line for the backyard range with a hand full of arrows, a cocking rope, my trusty KneePod and a camp chair.  My first shot at ten yards hit the bulls-eye dead center, which is the exact kind of practicality my technical-less mind truly appreciates – a bow that comes out of the box and is almost perfectly sighted in on the very first shot. Now that is the kind of technology I can really sink my teeth into.

 The Axiom fires a 350 grain arrow at just over 300 feet per second.

Only a couple of minor adjustments were required to zero in at twenty and thirty yards, which is pretty much all I am interested in as I have never been a big fan of long shots with any kind of a bow.  Out to thirty yards I know that the Axiom (as well as all other Excalibur crossbows) is capable of dotting the “I” with every shot, when using a bench rest.  One must make sure to shoot at a different spot with each release or a target-shooting session will quickly turn as expensive as a hardcore junkie’s drug habit.  The only junk the single-spot archer will have to deal with when shooting an Axiom crossbow, however, will be the numerous arrows that will be trashed by its deadly consistency of its arrow flight. 

The Axiom is proudly made by Excalibur Crossbows in Ontario Canada.

The time I spent on the range established the benefits of Excalibur trigger, which according to many is finest in the industry. Three pounds isn’t much and it definitely will surprise you with its release when it is squeezed slowly providing even more fine-tuning to the degree of accuracy obtainable with this incredible little bow.  The Excalibur Multi-Plex scope that comes with each Axiom is 2.5 power, crystal clear and all that one needs when hunting with a crossbow.  The Axiom kit also includes an attachable quiver, four Firebolt arrows and field tips.

The 2.5 power Excalibur Multi-Plex scope provides all of the magnification necessary for the Axiom.

The Axiom is built to hold up under the most difficult conditions and remain virtually problem free.  Its rock-solid construction proved itself on the Canadian trip when the bow was blown off the hood of a pickup by high winds and landed upside down on the pavement.  A quick trip to the target range established the fact that the bow was still perfectly zeroed and that no limitations had been placed on the performance of the bow in any way.  There were a couple of cosmetic dings that would serve as friendly reminders of the experience as well as giving credence to the Axiom’s undeniable toughness.  In all likelihood, the only serious mechanical challenge that will shorten a hunt with this bow is a broken string and that is easily remedied by carrying a spare in your fanny pack or gearbox, which I always do.

The Excalibur trigger, according to many, is finest in the industry.

Another component of the Axiom that I really appreciate is its overall light weight.  By using a separate self-enclosed back quiver, I am able to pare even more weight off an already light bow making the load even more pleasant to bear and easier to hold steady when the moment of truth has arrived.  While in Canada, all of my hunting partners commented on how light the Axiom was compared to the bows that they carried.  In every situation, the lighter weight of the Axiom proved advantageous to me, broadening my appreciation for the bow and making it an absolute delight to carry in the field all day long.  

The Axiom safety must be engaged manually each time the bow is cocked.

Our trips into and out of the field were long, rough, dirty and wet.  They had record rainfalls this past spring and the water was deep and the mud was plentiful and sticky.  The Axioms sleek design was easy to access for cleaning making it simple to get at the critical areas for mud removal.  Never more have I appreciated the benefits of scope covers as on this hunt as well as the easy to clean surfaces and recesses of the Axiom.
The many hours spent with the Axiom on the range, traveling into and out of the bush and sitting on the stand gave me a great appreciation for the bow.  But, how did it perform in the killing department with the mighty Manitoba black bear you’re asking.   How would I know!  I didn’t even see one.  My five hunting partners all killed bears and I was the only one that had to hunt until the very last minute of the very last day without seeing a bear.  I am quite positive that word got out in the bush that Daniel Hendricks was there with a brand new Excalibur Axiom and that was all that was necessary for every bear in Manitoba to steer clear of the baits I alertly guarded.  Of course that is just a personal theory of mine; my hunting partners weren’t buying into it, actually I believe they were scoffing a bit.

When locked and loaded, the Axiom fits very comfortably on my lap making a long watch more pleasant.

From my humble point of view, the Axiom is a user-friendly bow that is easy to assemble, comfortable to use and tough as granite, while being very simple to maintain.  It is deadly accurate with consistent arrow flight and packs more wallop than necessary to kill any animal in North America.  It is light to tote, has a dynamite trigger and best of all it retails for around $650 for the whole kit and caboodle.  From a simple crossbow hunter’s point of view, one that likes things sweet and simple while still maintaining complete and trustworthy dependability, the Excalibur Axiom is a great start-up crossbow for the newbie or will make an excellent addition to anyone’s crossbow collection as a tough, dependable, hunting crossbow.  One can expect the maximum for the Axiom.

 Excalibur’s Firebolt Arrows are the perfect match for the Axiom.

















Coyote Control - Necessary Part of Deer Management

by Patrick Durkin 31. May 2011 11:14
Patrick Durkin


After listening all day to university researchers and agency biologists discuss problems caused by white-tailed deer overabundance in Eastern states, Professor Valerius Geist of Canada opened his evening address with a prediction: “Enjoy your problem while it lasts, because the coyote is coming. Once he’s here, you’ll miss your deer problems.”

That was February 1994 in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the annual Southeast Deer Study Group meeting. Seventeen years later, with new studies documenting unprecedented fawn losses to the Southeast’s growing coyote population, some biologists call Geist prophetic.

Coyotes have long been part of the whitetail's world in the Great Lakes area and other regions,

but they've expanded their range into the Southeast in recent years.

Some even think coyotes threaten Southeastern herds, and possibly deer hunting itself. “If the coyote is not yet a problem on your property, he will be in a few years,” said Mark Buxton, a wildlife manager with Southeastern Wildlife Habitat Services in Thomaston, Alabama, and Ehrhardt, South Carolina. “If you think you have a few coyotes, you actually have lots of coyotes.”

Buxton made his remarks in July 2010 at the Quality Deer Management Association’s annual convention in Louisville, Kentucky.

“We’ve long talked about food plots, timber-stand improvements and restoring native vegetation so deer can maximize their potential,” said Buxton, who has managed hunting properties for about 25 years. “The coyote is the next big part of that equation. As deer densities drop and coyote numbers rise, deer won’t be able to recruit enough fawns to overcome what coyotes kill.”

Wildlife researchers, however, aren’t so sure. They say the coyote is so new to Southeastern states that it generates more questions than answers. This gritty predator, which isn’t native to that region, didn’t appear there until the 1960s. In fact, South Carolina didn’t have coyotes until the 1980s. Later, from 1997 through 2006, the state’s deer herd declined 36 percent.

Because of coyote predation, biologists in the Southeast might have to prescribe smaller antlerless deer harvests by hunters.

Is that a coincidence? Answering such questions remains speculative, says Professor Karl Miller at the University of Georgia. “The Southeast has managed whitetails in the absence of predators for decades,” Miller said. “The coyote presents new considerations for everyone.”

Professor Stephen Ditchkoff at Auburn University in Alabama agrees. “We’re still early in that process,” he said. Ditchkoff and his graduate students see coyote problems at an Alabama site where they’re using GPS-equipped collars to study deer movements. When they started the study five years ago, they seldom lost a fawn to predation. But in 2008 they lost 17 of 50 fawns (34 percent) they collared, and in 2009 they lost more than half. They attribute most losses to coyotes.

In an Auburn study on fawn-survival research at a South Carolina military base, Ditchkoff said coyotes kill eight of nine fawns soon after they’re born, mostly between ages 2 to 6 weeks.

Miller has co-authored much of the Southeast’s recent research on coyotes. In one study in southwestern Georgia, the university compared fawn-to-doe ratios in two areas: an 11,000-acre area where trappers removed 23 coyotes and three bobcats, and a 7,000-acre area where no trapping was done. The trapped area had two fawns for every three does, and the untrapped area had two fawns for every 28 does.

Miller is also monitoring coyote studies by the U.S. Forest Service at South Carolina’s Savannah River Site. Researchers reported 75 percent of the site’s fawns die before they’re 6 weeks old, with coyotes likely responsible for 85 percent of the deaths.

Because such evidence suggests coyotes are crimping the fawn pipeline for Southeastern deer, Miller, Ditchkoff and other researchers are pushing for more research.

“We have to assess if and where we have coyote problems, and what’s the best way to address them,” Miller said. “But are coyotes going to affect the future of deer hunting? I don’t think so. Texas has had coyotes a long time, and so have parts of the Midwest, Louisiana and Mississippi. That being said, I suspect coyote densities are even higher in parts of the Southeast. We need more research so we can offer specific, well-informed management decisions. In some areas, managers might have to adjust antlerless harvests to account for coyotes. In other areas, intensive predator control might be necessary.”

Ditchkoff thinks coyotes have reached saturation levels in many parts of the Southeast, but that doesn’t mean deer hunting is imperiled. “I think this will eventually level out and stabilize,” he said. “Hunting will be part of the mix, but we have to figure out what the new model will be for deer management.”

Miller said another complication is that some coyote behaviors in the Southeast differ from those in other regions. For instance, unlike Western coyotes, Southeastern coyotes seldom form packs. They tend to be solitary or paired mates.

Does that affect how they hunt? Coyote-fawn predation has long been viewed as opportunistic and random; that is, fawns were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Buxton believes it’s not random on a 2,000-acre property he manages. From Spring 2009 through early summer 2010, he caught 34 of 63 coyotes (54 percent) during fawning months.

“That tells me coyotes are targeting fawns,” Buxton said. “When fawns start hitting the ground, it’s game-on for coyotes.”

Can hunters and wildlife managers boost fawn survival in areas with lots of coyotes? Buxton and other biologists, such as Dr. Grant Woods of Woods and Associates, encourage deer hunters to work with professional trappers to kill coyotes and learn trapping tactics. Woods has documented 16 percent fawn survival on his 1,500-acre property in southwestern Missouri. After attributing most of that loss to coyotes, he traps them every chance he gets.

“Shooting an occasional coyote from your deer stand won’t help,” Woods said. “You have to get after them and stay after them.”

Realize, though, that trapping and hunting will never eradicate them. “The more you shoot, the more they produce,” Buxton said. “Based on food supplies and the coyote population, they produce pups to fill the void. You’ll never solve this by playing around. You have to be serious about it.”




Operation Full Draw

by Marshall Kaiser 23. May 2011 08:25
Marshall Kaiser

Just recently Brian Taggart and his wife Mary of Whitewater, WI, put together some donations to be sent to the troops of the 40th Battalion from Ft. Leavenworth, KY.   Their mission was to restock a traditional archery range, from scratch, at Camp Cropper, Iraq.  They called upon members and Bowyers of the WTA (Wisconsin Traditional Archery) to help gather supplies. At one time there was an archery range at the camp, but it has been long gone.  They feel the equipment will be a big morale boost after a long days’ work.


The soldiers have been assigned to detention duties for a prison containing some of the top “bad guys”.  Their current responsibility is to keep an eye on 200 detainees.  They work 12 hour shifts 6 days a week.  The current schedule is to turn full responsibility over to the Iraqi forces in Feb 2012. The plan is that the 40th may be the last to serve in official detention responsibilities.

Over 15 bows, 140 arrows, targets, gloves, tabs, DVD’s, magazines and stringers have been sent.  Kevin and Sue Termaat of RER bows donated 5 new custom bows as well as several other WTA members have donated to the cause.  The materials were received on May 10, 2011.  Operation Full Draw was a huge success.  Many soldiers have never held a traditional bow yet alone shot one.  Working long hours being able to “unplug” and enjoy the traditional equipment will be a great way to pass the time.  Some of the soldiers use compounds but are very excited about getting back to their roots with the challenge of traditional archery.  Thanks to all who have served, are still serving and the loved ones left at home. Without their ultimate sacrifice we would not be able to enjoy this great sport of archery.





Gear Review- NAP Apache Arrow Rest, QuikFletch, and Bloodrunner Broadhead

by Steve Flores 17. May 2011 14:09
Steve Flores

The older I get, the less I like change; particularly when it comes to my bowhunting gear. It is an emotion that I try hard to reverse. Nevertheless, as a regular contributor to and Bow and Arrow Hunting magazine, I am often asked to try different products and offer an opinion. Sometimes, these products must replace an “old favorite” that I have grown accustomed to using and trust very much when it comes to filling tags. Such was the case with my latest gear review.

First on the list is the new Apache Arrow Rest from the fine folks at New Archery Products (NAP). On the surface this rest looks very similar to other drop-away rests on the market. However, when you consider the features found on the Apache, compared to the cost, what you have is anything but a comparable, run-of-the mill drop-away.

The NAP Apache Arrow Rest is big on features and low on cost.

As the NAP Apache was being installed on my Mathews eZ7, I honestly had mixed feelings….stemming mainly from the price of the unit. I know, I know, I shouldn’t feel that way and I hate to admit it. But hey, the arrow rest that it was replacing had been with me a long time and cost 3 times as much! Sorry, but I’m only human. Besides, I think readers deserve an honest review, and that was my thoughts. At any rate, in a matter of minutes the Apache was set up and I was headed to the range.

Built from precision-machined aluminum, the Apache is lightweight and will function flawlessly under tough hunting conditions. In addition, the tool-free adjustments, and laser-etched graduation marks offer precise in-the-field fine tuning.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that this arrow rest was deadly quiet, and launched my arrows as accurately as anything I had previously tested; my feelings of discontent were slowly starting to erode. Shot after shot, my arrow groups proved to be nock busting tight. Suddenly, change didn’t seem so bad after all. The confidence I thought I had lost was quickly being restored. Happy with the results I was seeing, I decided to move on to the next product on my list.

The Apache drop away provides total arrow containment. Complete with a 360 degree sound-dampening pad and a pre-installed felt silencer on the v-launcher. Combined, these features guarantee a smooth, whisper silent draw.

Once again, the next test item in question was poised to replace a favorite piece of equipment in my gear bag. Opening the package of QuikFletch arrow wraps and vanes I was again skeptical. But this time it had more to do with precision than anything else. You see, the control freak in me loves to build arrows. That way, I can wrap each one myself, and glue each vane on individually using the same fletching jig. This meticulous attention to detail increases the likelihood that all of the arrows in my quiver will perform the same no matter which one I reach for. The thought of applying an arrow wrap and vanes all at once, in a matter of seconds, left a huge doubt in my mind regarding the precision and accuracy of these things. But, in the name of good journalism, I decided to give them a shot, no pun intended.

The author was understandably skeptical given the simple nature of the NAP QuikFletch system.

It would have taken me longer to open up a tube of fletching glue than it took to make my first arrow, complete with a wrap and 3 vanes. Placing my arrow in a pot of boiling water, with the QuickFletch in place, the job was done in literally 10 seconds flat! The smile on my face could be seen from my treestand, miles away from my kitchen stove. There was only one thing on my mind now.
As a father of 3, time is something I have very little of. What I was holding in my hand was the mother of all time savers! Suddenly, I saw a vision of endless arrows, all perfectly fletched and ready for action. No longer would I be forced to build my arrows late at night, when the house was quiet and everyone was sound asleep.

 The QuikFletch system can literally create a finished arrow, complete with wrap and 3 vanes in a matter of seconds! Creating more time for additional bowhunting tasks.

However, the big question still remained. How accurate would my newly made QuikFlecth arrows be? After all, saving time becomes a moot point if a product becomes a liability in the field. So again, off to the range I went. It only took a round or two to see for myself that this product performed better than I ever dreamed it could. I had never shot tighter groups in my career; especially from a bow that I was still breaking in! Yet, there were my arrows, in the target butt, waded together like a tightly-nit sweater. I was literally amazed that something so simple could produce such great arrow flight. 

Not only is the NAP QuikFletch fast and simple, it is deadly accurate as well. With a combination of NAP’S patented microgrooves, kicker and super-tough material, the Quick-Spin vane provides a flatter trajectory than standard vanes and increases arrow spin by as much as 300%. This would explain the exceptional accuracy I was achieving.

Last on my list was the NAP Bloodrunner Broadhead. You would think by now my cynical attitude would have changed. But, I have shot enough broadheads in my day, each promising accurate flight, to realize I shouldn’t jump to conclusions just yet. Carefully screwing the razor-sharp broadhead to the end of my Gold Tip Pro Hunter shaft, I stepped back to a comfortable 30 yard distance and came to full draw.

 A lot of broadheads claim accurate arrow flight but don’t necessarily deliver. Would the NAP Bloodrunner prove to be different?

Not knowing what to expect, I slowly squeezed my release trigger until the bow jumped forward. The arrow impacted in nearly the same hole as my field points! Awesome, a broadhead that didn’t fly like a wounded duck! Deciding to launch another shot downrange, I eased back the little “e” and settled in for the shot. Upon impact I knew something had happened. Walking up to the target face I was astonished at what I found. I have shot several Robin Hood’s in my day, but never with broadheads. That was all I needed to know about the accuracy of this particular head. It was an expensive lesson, but the results would make for a great conversation piece.

 Thanks to the hybrid design of the Bloodrunner, you get a broadhead with a low, in-flight measurement of 1 inch; providing pin-point arrow flight. Upon impact, the broadheads piston motion opens up the blades to a devastating 1 ½ inches.

With three tough, scary sharp blades, the Bloodrunner can slice through soft tissue and organs with little effort while handling the toughest impacts with bone.

There is little doubt that the NAP combination I’ve recently discovered has just become my new favorite! I can’t argue with the results, regardless of my reluctance to change. If, like myself, you’ve been thinking that low cost, simple setup, easy application and uncomplicated design equals less accuracy, forgiveness, precision, or confidence….think again. NAP has a number of products that shatter that myth.  Check out their latest batch of goodies at You won’t be sorry you did.

Groundhog Grief

by Daniel James Hendricks 10. May 2011 11:33
Daniel James Hendricks

 This creature goes by the name of Woodchuck, Ground Hog, Whistle Pig or Land Beaver, just to name a few.

The Groundhog, Woodchuck or Land Beaver as it is called in some regions is a rather interesting creature.  However, it can be quite a nuisance and is very aggressive in defense of itself when living in close proximity to man and his animal friends.  Most folks try to rid themselves of the woodchuck when it moves in under a building or woodpile, which they are drawn to.
On our very first Spring-time visit to Palmquist’s, the Farm recently, I had an interesting run in with one of these creatures and was invited to remove it from the premises by our host, Jim Palmquist.  He even loaned me the most beautiful 10/22 to do the job.  The critter was living under the White Pine Lodge, which is where we happened to be residing on our stay.

Our Doxie Phoebee with her face in the Woodchuck hole looking for andventure.

I first discovered the beast when Phoebee, one of our miniature Dachshunds, was locked on point looking down into a hole under the back of the building.  I peered into the hole and discovered a big fat ground hog locked on point and looking out of the hole at Phoebee.  Now this particular ground hog happened to be at least the same size if not bigger than the dog and I suspected that a country ground hog was probably in better condition that a village dog with a bad back so I was not pleased about the Critter Standoff I had discovered.  When I called the dog, she refused to move a muscle as she was locked on to her quarry and ready for battle.  Picking the dog up proved to be the only way to break up the staring match and after that incident each time I let the dogs outside they tore to the back of the building to find the enemy.

This a photo of the "Lucky" woodchuck taken from the bathroom window of the White Pine Lodge

Jim filled me in about that particular ground hog and said that it was the luckiest pig he had ever seen.  They had tried getting rid of it, but things always turned out in favor of the woodchuck.  I offered to solve his problem if he would borrow me a .22 and we quickly struck a deal. 
It was our last night there so I had to make it happen in the morning or all would be lost.  A plan was made as I found the perfect windows that would allow me a bench rest shot from the cabin when the hog came out to graze on the new grass that covered the back yard of the lodge.

This shot is of Phoebee and Mojo in hot pursuit of the Whistle Pig.  Fortuanetly they never caught up with it.

At daylight I arose to discover the ground hog already busy stuffing his face with greenery.  I sat in the chair in front of the window, which I had positioned the night before and began to open it.  The noise that was generated by plastic sliding on plastic was deafening and it alerted the hog to the presence of something out of the normal.  I had to settle for a two inch crack in the window as the woodchuck was on full alert and making any more noise would send it running back to the safety of its den.
Easing the barrel of the gun to the window, I peered through the scope.  The upper portion of the window blocked the top one-third of the scope, but I could get the crosshairs on the pig to deliver the lead.  As the rodent relaxed and began to eat once again, I placed the crosshairs on the animal’s head, slipped off the safety, exhaled, inhaled, exhaled half and slowly squeezed the trigger.     

Shortly after daylight I got my chance to take out the woodchuck.

When the 10/22 barked, the woodchuck turned towards its den and barreled towards it at a in amazing rate of speed.  I quickly squeezed off another shot with the same lack of results. The pig was gone and I had missed it or that is the way it had seemed to me.  This is my 51st year of hunting big game and although a ground hog is not what some people would classify as big game, it is still an animal and is subject to the same behavior.  And based on that behavior, I was pretty sure that I had muffed my chance.
Jim had told me that he thought the rifle was pretty much on and I was feeling a little put out with myself for taking another man’s word and not checking it out myself, but that’s just one more lesson learned and I would have to swallow my failure, blaming only myself for not doing it right.  Making sure that I missed was the next step so I headed outside with the dogs to look for blood.   

A shot of the White Pine Lodge in the dawn's early light.

A close search and watching the dogs convinced me that it had been a good clean miss.  The window sill had provided a solid bench rest and the only problem was that I had not been able to open the window as far as I would have liked.  Perhaps I might get another chance before we leave so I headed for the window from the outside to open it another couple of inches.  It was then and there that I discovered yet another error in judgment.  The plastic frame, that seals the elements on the outside of the window, bore two small holes with edges that were stained black with brunt gun powder.  I had killed the window, twice!  It’s really very difficult to shoot accurately when you fire the bullet through thick plastic.  The woodchuck had dodged the bullet yet again, literally.
It was kind of embarrassing at the breakfast table, but I waited until the entire crew was gathered before telling them about my duel with the woodchuck and how in the end, the beast over came the enemy one more time.  Everyone had a hearty laugh at my expense, which I must admit I deserved.  It kind of irritating when the only person making you look bad is yourself, but after 62 years, I have become used to that feeling and barely have a problem living with the shame.       

The end result turned out especially good for the Ground Hog.

The bottom line is that Jim will be able to craft another one of his great oratories all about that lucky ground hog to entertain his guests with, their White Pine Lodge will have a new scar or two giving it an even more interesting history than it already has and I have another written tale to share with my readers.  As even the village idiot can easily see, everybody wins in the end, especially the woodchuck. 

This is the beautiful White Pine Lodge in the daylight.  This spacious facility easliy sleeps 20 people and is extremely homey in its Northwoods setting.


That's Life - A Hunter takes a Vacation

by Daniel James Hendricks 6. May 2011 02:43
Daniel James Hendricks


A bachelor group of Sika bucks looks on as we park our vehicle.  Only one antler of the orginal ten remains, but it is a beauty.

Someone once wrote, “Life is what happens while you are making other plans.”  If we carefully analyze our lives, we will quickly see that no truer words were ever written.

Last week, Karen and I escaped the ho-hum routine of everyday life by checking into Palmquist’s The Farm for three days of relaxation, great food and even greater company.  I have been visiting The Farm for ten years now hunting their awesome deer herd with a crossbow and a camera.  Karen had heard countless stories and seen thousands of photos of all of the beautiful qualities that this unique get-away has to offer, but had never been there.  My deepening love for the place and the people necessitated bringing my wife there so she could experience firsthand what I have had to deal with over the last decade. 

The power of Mother Nature to reclaim what was once hers is fascinating.  Trees growing in an ancient trailer...amazing.

The Farm not only offers hunting for trophy whitetail bucks, but it is also a bed and breakfast, offering cross-country skiing, hay rides, bird hunting as well as hosting weddings and family reunions with the capability to house the whole gang in a rural setting that is right out of the Good Old Days.   It offers a glimpse of what life was in days gone by with down to earth hosts and a continuous flow of local residents that tell and retell tales of colorful characters that have passed through their lives over the four generations that The Farm has existed.

One of the activities I had planned was to get out into the woods to look for sheds and share some quality woods time with my Doxie, Moses Joseph or Mojo as I lovingly call him.  We headed out on Friday morning after having coffee with the local boys, anxious to hit the woods with daydreams of deep piles of sheds in the back of the vehicle on the return trip.  Mojo seemed to know that Daddy and he were off on an adventure as he lay on my lap shaking with excitement as I drove to our destination. 

This is my best friend and buddy, Moses Joseph Hendricks or Mojo as we are fond of calling him.  Mojo is a minature, piebald Dachshund.

When we reached the first gate, I slipped out of the vehicle and opened it up.  When I returned to the Jeep and lifted the handle, I was greeted to a locked door! Mojo’s excitement had him bouncing on my arm rest and in the process he had all doors to my running vehicle locked tight.  The motor was running with my cell phone in plain sight on the center console.  How lovely can it get!

Sensing that something was terribly wrong, Mojo came to the driver’s side window and frantically began clawing at the glass in an effort to create a way in for me.  I am constantly touched by the emotional ties that I have with this little creature and the fact that he realized we were seriously screwed here was just one more of those special moments. 

Rounding a corner, we caught a couple of whitetail bucks, sans their antlers, standing under one of my favorite photo blinds.

I considered my options and then began looking for the right sized rock which I quickly located.  There was a tall narrow safety glass window right behind the regular window on the rear doors…that became my target.  It was sturdy glass and the process of trying to smash it took multiple attempts, which only upset Mojo even further.  When at last it exploded into a million shards, I reached inside and opened the door.  When I climbed into the front of the vehicle, Mojo jumped into my lap covering my face with exuberant kisses, relieved to be safely back in Daddy’s arms, once again.

We headed through the gates and spent the rest of the morning tromping through the very wet and beautiful Northern Wisconsin woods collecting a total of three pieces of whitetail ivory before heading back to The Farm tired, wet and happy in spite of the window.  One of our local friends had invited Karen and me over for a lunch of fried pan fish and an opportunity to meet his wife. Before we pulled out of his yard we had the hole patched with pink Styrofoam and Duck tape and the broken glass pretty much removed via his shop vac.  The patch job didn’t look like much, but it was solidly done and withstood the five-hour trip home without so much as a single leak.  Thank you, Brother Hank. 

After the window incident, we were rewarded to an absolutely beautiful morning in the woods.  Wispy fog hung over the crystal clear pools of ice water, created by freshly melted snow.

The original plan was to take my best friend, Mojo out for a scenic walk in the woods and to maybe find some sheds.  I did not plan on getting locked out of the Jeep or having to smash a window out, but that’s life and life is what happens while you are making other plans. 

Mojo and I even found a few antlers to make the day even better than it already was.

The beauty that is found in the forest constantly amazes me.  Everywhere I look there are sights that give me reason to pause and admire.

These stones have not been rolling for they have gathered moss!

A minor set back, a beautiful forest, wild creatures, the devotion of a wonderful little dog and the Spring song of a Robin...That's Life!


3D Shooting-The Perfect Pre-Season Warm up

by Steve Flores 1. May 2011 09:50
Steve Flores

When the moment of truth arrives we all want to deliver. In an effort to assure the likelihood that this happens, we spend countless hours hammering away at a target in the corner of the lawn. And while that type of practice strengthens shooting muscles it does little to prepare us for the real thing. Still, it seems to be the universal method for pre-season practice. However, if you really want to prepare for bow season, then you’ve got to get off of the ground and do some practicing from a treestand. But, that isn’t always possible and maybe your next adventure has nothing to do with being perched above terra-firma. Then what? How do you prepare for your hunt without shooting at a “block” of foam? Simple….head to the 3D course.


Shooting at the 3D range is as close as you can get to the real thing.

The beauty of 3D shooting is that it mimics real-life scenarios so closely. With varying distances to your target, shooters must rely on range estimation skills in order to make an accurate, killing shot. And while most pay particular attention to final scores, for the bowhunter simply wanting to sharpen his/her skills, “killing shots” are more important than hitting a 12 ring. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t strive for perfection (you can never be too accurate), just don’t live or die by your final score unless your goal is to be a competitive 3D shooter.

If you want to improve your hunting skills, shoot with the same equipment you plan to take afield.

Don’t worry about any special equipment or tools needed in order to get the most out of your time spent on the range. Your current setup is really all you need to become a better bowhunter. In fact, I would rather shoot with the exact setup I plan to hunt with. That way, I can learn the strengths and weaknesses of my rig before I take it hunting and make any necessary adjustments.


Bringing along friends adds a sense of realism to an already realistic situation.

If you really want to make things as realistic as possible, bring some friends along. When shooting amongst your peers you will feel an added sense of pressure to do well. This additional pressure will feel similar to what you experience when the shot happens for real and will better prepare you as a bowhunter. After awhile, you will hopefully be able to handle and manage this pressure and ideally perform well in spite of it. 


They may be great at stopping arrows and helping you sight in your pins, but targets such as these will not condition you for the certain change in scenery when you finally draw down on a live game animal. Prepare your “minds eye” for the real thing by practicing on a realistic target.

One major downfall associated with traditional practice is that no matter how vivid the imagination, it’s difficult to picture your 3-D target in its natural environment as it stands conveniently on a fresh cut lawn; especially if that target is a mind-numbing block of foam.  Imagine the shock to the nervous system if after months of staring through the peep sight at a dull square mass, you’re suddenly resting your pin on the chest of a trophy bull elk, whitetail, or long beard.  Wet noodles come to mind.

 All of the emotional ingredients found in the “real thing” can often be found on the 3D range as well.

If you want to be successful in the field, you can’t afford to simply draw back and shoot with little thought of the situation at hand.  The 3-d course will condition you to consider, and ultimately, shoot through various distractions (limbs, foliage, abrupt changes in terrain, watchful eyes of bystanders) in order to make a clean kill.  The lessons learned are invaluable. 


 There is a better way to prepare for your next hunting adventure and it isn’t in your backyard.

Certainly you can spend your days shooting at a target in the back yard and “maybe” get the job done.  I know a few archers that do just that.  However, if you’re looking for a way to raise the bar and become more proficient at driving an arrow into the sweet spot of your next trophy, it’s time to get out of the backyard.




Bow Review-Mathews eZ7

by Steve Flores 1. May 2011 09:06
Steve Flores

While a good deal of attention is being placed on the flagship Z7 Extreme, and rightfully so, it would be a mistake to overlook the other bows in the Mathews stable, more specifically, the new eZ7.  Without question, this is the smoothest bow I have ever had the pleasure to shoot.  Not only that, it is also deadly accurate.

 The eZ7 cam may look similar to systems of the past, but when combined with today’s technology, it becomes an essential part of an entirely new killing machine.

At the heart of the eZ7’s buttery smooth draw cycle is the cam system. This system is similar to that used on the DXT series of bows from years passed. Anyone who ever shot those bows can attest to how pleasant they were to pull back. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is simply the “rehashing” of old technology. When you combine this cam system with the new Gridlock Riser, a slightly longer ATA than the original Z7, and the Reverse Assist Roller Guard, what you get is an amazingly quiet, super smooth bow that spits out arrows fast enough to kill anything that walks the planet. 

 Perfect balance best describes the Mathews little “e”.

And, while speed is a good thing, it doesn’t come free. Most often you must sacrifice drawing comfort and brace height. The trick when choosing a new bow is to find one that balances speed and accuracy. The Mathews eZ7 is a perfect example of discovering this balance point. With a 7” brace height and an IBO seed rating of 321, one could justifiably ask “what more could you want in a hunting bow?”

 Tight shooting situations prove no problem thanks to the effortless drawing motion of the eZ7.

Out of the box the eZ7 proved to be exactly what I expected. With very little time behind the string I opted to take it with me on a recent hunt in Kansas for wild turkey. Reaching full draw without being detected was easy because there was no need for excessive movement just to get the string back. This bow can be drawn without the common “point to the sky” movement I see from a lot of guys shooting aggressive speed bows. And, at my 70lb draw weight, which feels more like 60, it packed plenty of punch for long beards (or anything else standing downrange).

My new Gold Tip Pros held up exceptionally well to this 40-yard nock busting hit.

As I mentioned, the eZ7 is accurate. This point really hit home when I recently found myself busting nocks while sighting in a forty yard pin on a new sight I was testing. Results like that, this early into my pre-season warm up, really builds confidence.


 With plenty of options to choose from, you can customize your next Mathews with special colors schemes and weight options to suit your own style of shooting or hunting.

The addition of a second “Harmonic Stabilizer” adds weight to my rig which I like very much. While a good deal of bowhunters opt for a lightweight rig, I think heavier bows hold steadier at full draw and fight bow torque much better than featherweight setups but… each his own. 

Test drive this bow before making a final decision no matter what brand you may be considering.

Without a doubt, there are some amazing products coming out of Sparta, WI. But, take my advice and give each one a fair chance. If you do, I think you might just find a surprise or two…..I know I did. For me, the Mathews eZ7 is the ideal blend of speed, accuracy, and quiet shooting personified.




Wisconsin Buys CWD “Toxic Waste” Site

by Patrick Durkin 7. April 2011 09:24
Patrick Durkin


Wisconsin used $465,000 from its cherished Stewardship Fund in late March to buy an 80-acre farm in the middle of the state that will remain closed to the public indefinitely because it once housed North America’s worst case of c hronic wasting disease.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources bought the property, located west of Almond in Portage County, from Patricia Casey. Her boyfriend, Stan Hall, used nearly 70 acres of her land for his Buckhorn Flats deer farm, which was enclosed with an 8-foot high fence.

Wisconsin officials discovered CWD there in September 2002. Forty months of litigation ensued before Hall let the U.S. Department of Agriculture “depopulate” the large pens in January 2006. The shooters killed 76 deer, 60 of which carried CWD, a nearly 80 percent infection rate.


Wisconsin is home to more than 600 deer or elk ranches. (Patrick Durkin photo)

However, no one knows what happened to an additional 40 deer, supposedly trophy bucks, Hall said were there a few months before in summer 2005. All we know is that someone cut a hole in the high-fence, and Hall reported it before the shootings began. Neither locals nor DNR wardens ever reported an influx of fugitive bucks on neighboring lands in the months that followed.

In all, 82 Buckhorn Flats whitetails tested positive for CWD between 2002 and 2006, according to Donna Gilson, spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. She said the Hall farm remains the most CWD-infected property on the continent, and probably the world. Further, two other Wisconsin game farms that previously did business with Buckhorn Flats pro duced nine CWD cases.

Because game-farm deer are private property, Hall was paid for his “losses.” He received $135,976 ($6,386 from Wisconsin and $129,590 from the federal government) for the 76 deer the USDA shot, and four female deer that died during the 40-month legal standoff, Gilson said. All told, Casey and Hall received nearly $601,000 for sick deer and contaminated land no one else would want.

Although CWD spreads slowly in the wild, the prions thought to cause CWD remain infectious for years. Therefore, the Wisconsin DNR can’t allow public access to its new land, fearing contaminated dirt could leave on shoes and boots to be spread elsewhere. 

So why would the DNR, with Gov. Scott Walker’s approval, and pay about $94,000 more than the property’s appraised value for this toxic-waste site? And why would it make the purchase with funds usually reserved for protecting critical habitats for the public, especially after Gov. Walker froze most Stewardship spending in early February?

“Stan Hall had the state over a barrel,” said George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. Meyer said federal regulations only required Hall to maintain the property’s fence for five years after the USDA killed the deer. If the state hadn’t bought the property, Hall and Casey could have neglected or removed the fence, thereby exposing wild deer to infectious prions.

“This cost is a small price compared to the price we’d pay later if CWD spread,” Meyer said. “It’s unusual, but it’s wise.”

Wisconsin now owns the Buckhorn Flats game farm, but it won't be open to public hunting. (Patrick Durkin photo)

The costs don’t end there. The DNR must now maintain the fence, and it might build a second high-fence for an estimated $40,000 inside the perimeter for added insurance. Further, the agency will likely negotiate with neighbors to remove trees that could fall on the fence(s) and create openings.

Meanwhile, the state will regularly collect soil from the property for tests on laboratory mice to monitor prion contamination and infection.

The research might not end there. With grants and financial support from hunting organizations, officials hope this could become a unique deer-research facility. By capturing deer, and collaring and monitoring them, researchers could test vaccines or see if prions infect the deer.

Mule deer that contracted CWD at a Colorado facility in 1977 were exposed only 2.2 years after the previous herd was removed and the grounds disinfected. It’s already been five years since Buckhorn Flats held deer. Would healthy deer get sick at Buckhorn Flats if turned loose there now?

Whatever happens next, hunters shouldn’t forget what they were told when Wisconsin discovered CWD in February 2002. That is, CWD is relevant to all Wisconsinites, and requires the combined efforts of the DNR, DATCP, University of Wisconsin, and Department of Health and Human Services.

Yet nine years later, although Buckhorn Flats was the DNR’s responsibility when this storm hit, and DATCP’s responsibility ever since, we’re now hijacking habitat money to cover the aftermath.





Study shows treestand accidents are the number one cause of serious hunting related injuries.

by Scott Abbott 5. April 2011 16:04
Scott Abbott

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study from The Ohio State University Medical Center proves that tree stands, not guns, are the Midwestern deer hunter’s most dangerous weapon.

Critical care and trauma researchers sought to debunk the stereotype that most hunting injuries are gunshot wounds, typically associated with alcohol or drug use, and are accidentally self-inflicted or caused by a fellow hunter. Specifically, they wanted to identify the causes of hunting-related injuries and to characterize trauma-associated injury patterns.

“Observations and experience from working in a Level 1 trauma center led us to the hypothesis that in our geographic region, falls, not firearms, are responsible for a significant proportion of hunting-related injuries,” says Dr. Charles Cook, a trauma surgeon at Ohio State’s Medical Center and also lead author of the study.

The study, published recently in the journal The American Surgeon, confirmed the hypothesis that falls from tree stands are the leading cause of hunting-related injuries in Ohio requiring Level 1 trauma center admission.

“Cold air, fatigue, darkness and early morning hours, combined with the fact that tree stands are very small and most of the hunters were not wearing safety harnesses, I believe, all contributed to their falls,” Cook says.

Over a period of 10 years, researchers in the division of critical care, trauma and burn at OSU Medical Center, analyzed trauma databases from two Level 1 trauma centers in central Ohio and identified 130 patients who suffered hunting-related injuries. Fifty percent of injuries resulted from falls and 92 percent of the falls were from tree stands, whereas 29 percent of the injuries were attributed to gunshot wounds. Fifty-eight percent of the gunshot wounds were self-inflicted and 42 percent of the patients were shot by another hunter. Alcohol was involved in only 2.3 percent of the cases and drug abuse accounted for 4.6 percent.

The level of severity for tree stand falls was quite high with 59 percent of the victims suffering fractures, 47 percent experienced lower extremity fractures (ankles, legs), fractures to upper extremities (shoulders, arms, wrists) accounted for 18 percent of the injuries, and 18 percent of fall victims sustained closed head injuries. Surgery was required for 81 percent of fall-related injuries and 8.2 percent of the victims suffered permanent neurological damage.

“The severity of these falls is not surprising considering that an ‘optimally’ placed tree stand is 10 to 30 feet in the air. A body falling from this height can reach speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour, and the impact often occurs on hard surfaces, logs, or parts of hunting equipment, which further compounds these injuries,” adds Cook.

According to Cook, hunter education regarding proper and safe use of tree stands is critical to decreasing the incidence of hunting-related injuries and keeping hunting safe and enjoyable for everyone. Cook and his colleagues are seeking opportunities to actively participate in hunter safety courses to help raise awareness injuries related to tree stand falls.

“We’ve been asking the patients we treat from hunting accidents if they were wearing a safety harness and the majority of them that have fallen, at least from a significant height, were not,” says Cook.

The researchers also note that this study is reflective of local geography and topography, as tree stand hunting is more common in the eastern, Midwestern and southern areas of the United States. Conversely, the use of trees stands to track prey is relatively rare in the western states due to vast plains, open fields and mountainous terrain.

Along with Cook, other Ohio State researchers who participated in the study were Drs. Andrew Crockett, Stanislaw Stawicki, Yalaunda Thomas, Amy Jarvis, Cecily Wang, Paul Berry, Melissa Whitmill, David Lindsey and Steven Steinberg.


Crossbows are the Right Choice for Some Bowhunters

by Patrick Durkin 24. March 2011 13:23
Patrick Durkin

Of the many fish, fowl and big-game mounts hanging in my home, the one most intriguing to friends and family is a wild boar my daughter Leah shot in Florida with a crossbow when she was 14.

Yep. A crossbow. And none of our guests cares. Rather than hear me talk about the differences between recurves, longbows, compounds and crossbows, they’d rather hear about a 175-pound wild pig, and how a teenage girl killed it with an arrow.

Unlike some bowhunters, our house-guests never sneer or ask how I could let my daughter hunt with a crossbow. They don’t call it Satan’s tool or a cross-gun. Nor do they claim it’s the No. 1 threat to “bowhunting as we know it.”

That last claim bothers me. How can crossbows pose a bigger threat to bowhunting than things like urban sprawl, shrinking access to hunting land, and declining hunter numbers? Most states are losing hunters every year, which makes hunters an increasingly declining minority in our communities and American society.

That’s why I see nothing wrong with states like Michigan, New York, Delaware, Nebraska, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, South Carolina and others allowing crossbows for at least part of their archery deer seasons.

Until 2002, the only states with that freedom were Ohio, Arkansas and Wyoming. As we look ahead to Fall 2011, nearly 30 states and provinces will allow crossbows for everyone during all or part of their regular big-game archery seasons; and others allow crossbows for older hunters, or during bear and turkey seasons.

I’d much rather see people hunting with crossbows than to watch hunting participation rates keep plunging. Still, I always encourage critics to tell me why they oppose crossbows, thinking maybe I’ve missed something in the discussion.

Unfortunately, the answers opponents keep giving are mostly faith-based accusations, not logical, factual criticisms. That made me think that maybe I wasn’t asking my questions the right way.

But then I came across the a 2005 study commissioned by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, which hired Cornell University to study attitudes about expanding crossbow hunting for deer and turkeys. Over the years, Cornell has led the way in studying hunters, hunting trends and hunting participation rates. I assume they know more about asking questions than I do.

So, Cornell’s researchers asked opponents why crossbows shouldn’t be allowed during the regular archery season. Here’s the top two reasons they heard:

-- “Crossbows are not bows,” 35 percent.

-- “I do not want crossbows in the woods with me,” 15 percent.

I don’t see many facts in either statement; just unsubstantiated opinion.

If crossbows are not bows, what are they? True, the crossbow’s bow is mounted on a rifle stock, but it still uses bow-limbs and bow-strings to shoot arrows. In fact, the federal government defines crossbows as archery equipment, subjecting them to the same federal excise taxes as other bows.

In addition, the flight paths of a crossbow’s arrow far more resembles those of other bows, not any firearm. At 50 yards, a crossbow-launched arrow drops an average of about 39 inches, while an arrow from a compound bow drops about 46 inches. In other words, depending on which make and model you shoot, trajectories overlap.

Meanwhile, a bullet from an in-line muzzleloader sighted in 3 inches high at 50 yards won’t drop below 24 inches until traveling about 300 yards. A modern shotgun slug sighted dead-on at 50 yards won’t drop below 11 inches until traveling about 125 yards. And a bullet from a .30-06 rifle sighted in 2 inches high at 100 yards won’t drop below 50 inches until traveling about 500 yards.

Do crossbows require less practice to attain proficiency? Yes. But is that bad? In a society with less time for recreation and fewer places to practice, many folks cite “less practice, greater proficiency” as a plus.

The biggest so-called threat from crossbows is that they increase participation in archery season. That’s not a bad thing, is it? In Wisconsin, for example, since allowing archers 65 and older to hunt with crossbows in 2003, the state has sold 74 percent more archery licenses to people in that age bracket. While that might sound really impressive, in real numbers that’s 9,851 in 2002 and 17,135 in 2007. They’re not overrunning the woods.

Further, as other states study new crossbow hunters, it’s increasingly clear that nearly a third of them have never before used archery equipment. And nearly half of the new archers are age 50 or older. Even better, once they start hunting with crossbows, they typically keep hunting longer than other people their age. Some of us think that’s a good thing. It’s recruitment and retention.

Personally, I’ve hunted with compound bows since 1975 and with recurves before that. I don’t foresee using a crossbow to hunt elk or deer anytime soon. They’re clumsy to carry and maneuver through brush, making them difficult to use anywhere except a blind or tree stand. Still, if I could use a crossbow in December when cold weather sometimes makes it difficult to draw a compound bow, I’d try it. It sounds fun.

What matters more than my fun and personal choices, however, is the importance of expanding hunting opportunities for everyone in this era when hunter numbers are declining and deer herds are stable or climbing. Remember, for 60 years we’ve justified hunting as the most effective means of managing the public’s deer herd. And we’ve offered bowhunting as a safe, quiet, effective way to reduce deer herds in urban and suburban areas.

I worry that if we abando n those responsibilities out of spite for crossbows, the public might conclude our interests are too emotional and self-serving to support or take seriously. In turn, bowhunting itself would lose credibility and relevance.

Now that would be a legitimate threat to bowhunting.



Bowhunting Predators: A Different "March Madness"

by Dustin DeCroo 14. March 2011 18:40
Dustin DeCroo

Many bowhunters amid their off-season are filling out their NCAA basketball brackets, but the month of March brings me a whole new “March Madness.”

The March Madness I’m referring to is bowhunting predators.  The coyote breeding season is the probably the most difficult time of year to call, fortunately, it is nearing completion for the majority of the continental United States and in some places has most likely been over for a couple of weeks.  No different than a whitetail buck post-rut, coyotes main objective has switched from mating to eating and it’s an excellent time for bowhunters to test their skills at fooling a Wiley into thinking they’re an easy meal.  

A mating pair of Coyotes in Southeastern Wyoming

I’ve always said that if I couldn’t bow hunt big game animals, I wouldn’t be “settling” to call predators because I love it.  Calling predators whom have better sight, hearing and sense of smell than a whitetail is a challenge with any weapon, let alone archery tackle.  The deck is stacked against any bowhunter when it comes to calling predators, but that very fact can provide one of the most rewarding hunts imaginable.

It’s possible that predator hunting is one of my favorite activities due to the general ease of finding places to hunt.  In my personal experiences, there are more ranchers and farmers that grant permission to call predators than any other type of hunting.  Most of us are deer hunters at heart, so let’s be honest, what better way is there to get your foot in the door with a landowner?  In the past few months I’ve met several ranchers that have offered me the privilege to hunt coyotes on their property and I feel fairly certain that there may be opportunities to hunt deer and antelope on their property this coming Fall, that is, if I do my job and show them that I am a responsible and respectful guest on their property.

The Keys to Success:

Be patient, be still, and call into the wind.  Calling into the wind (in my opinion) is by far the most important when we’re talking about bowhunting.  The ultimate goal is to get the animal into 40 yards, not 400. A coyote that is 300 yards from you, down wind, is killable with a rifle and probably won’t smell you before the bullet gets there, but inside of a 100 yards you most likely won’t see them or if you do it will be for a split second.  Next on the importance list, being still. We have to keep in mind that the predators we’re calling are looking for the source of the sound, and by finding that source is how they survive.  This is where a hands free or remote controlled caller like the FoxPro series can come in extremely handy by diverting the animal’s attention away from the shooter/caller.  Things that eliminate movement like having an arrow nocked and your bow already sitting vertical can be the difference between bow kills and busts. Finally, be patient.  Just like deer, coyotes and (especially) bobcats can be extremely cautious when their coming to find a free meal.  I’m not sure who it was, but someone has familiarized them with the phrase, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”  Be patient, on average I’ll spend 20 minutes at each stand location, and generally I’ll call for 30-45 seconds and then wait for a minute or two before calling again.  Hunters that call in late January and February spend more time because they’re howling instead of using an “animal in distress" call. 

A beautiful Texas Tom killed in 2007

The Calls:

When we think of “predator calls” most of us automatically think of a high-pitched screaming rabbit and whi le this is definitely the most popular sound, it’s far from the only one that will produce results.  The way I figure out which call I’m going to start with is to figure out what would be the primary food source in the area.  In areas with lots of hardwoods, a Woodpecker or Blue Jay in distress call can produce great results.  Where I hunt, there are no Blue Jays and a Jack Rabbit or a Cottontail are what I reach for first.  The one call that I feel every predator hunter should have on them at all times is a mouse squeaker, like that out of a dogs chew toy (or simply be able to lip squeak at any given time).

There are literally hundreds of predator calls on the market and fortunately most of them will probably work.  There are three basic styles of calls: open reed mouth call, closed reed mouth call and electronic calls.  The open reed calls are my personal favorite because they produce (to my ears) a very pure sound, they’re also very versatile in the pitches that you can create with the exposed and moveable reed. Closed reed calls are extremely simple to use... just blow. They don’t have the versatility of an open reed call.   Electronic calls have come a long way since Johnny Stewart came out with their electronic caller some 25 years ago, you don’t have to carry a cassette tape, a speaker, a tape player and a battery pack any longer.  There are several electronic calls on the market, but in my opinion the FoxPro Series is light years ahead of the others.  They can be operated manually or by long range remote control and they also have decoys that can be controlled by the same remote to give your quarry something to look at other than you.  It’s important to have multiple calls in your arsenal for different weather types, wind conditions, etc.

Crit R Calls are my favorite open reed predator calls



A Circe closed reed predator call is adjustable to create Cottontail, Jack Rabbit and mouse squeak sounds

The FoxPro Series of electronic calls give you the versatility to have hundreds of sounds at your finger tips

The Setup:

Calling coyotes is different in every terrain type but they’re all coyotes looking for the same thing and if you follow the three “rules” previously discussed, you’re well on your way to being more successful.  My recent move from Oklahoma to Wyoming has changed the way I hunt, 180 degrees.  In places like central Oklahoma with thick cover, my favorite method is to back off of the thicket as far as possible while still keeping the “edge” within shooting distance.  Coyotes and bobcats alike, prefer the security of the thick cover and are often times more likely to come investigate my distress sound.  In Wyoming, that strategy is useless... the sage brush flats provide no such cover.  Now I look for hard edges, a rocky out-cropping, a sharp ditch bank or an edge of sage brush that opens into a grass flat.  These coyotes are used to being in the open and seeing, well... everything, so hiding myself is the main goal.  It is no different than hunting deer, you have to learn your individual properties.

Whether you’re a seasoned predator caller or looking for a new “March Madness,” calling predators is something every bowhunter should try. 



Oklahoma’s McAlester Bucks Wow Deer Researchers

by Patrick Durkin 26. February 2011 09:01
Patrick Durkin

Every February since 1991 I’ve flown to cities from Maryland to Texas and Arkansas to Florida to attend the annual Southeast Deer Study Group meeting. That’s where white-tailed deer biologists from universities and wildlife agencies gather to hear -- and sometimes debate -- the latest research on whitetails and whitetail management.

The two-day conference features 32 research presentations by university students and professors, as well as researchers from government agencies, private corporations and nongovernment organizations.

Trust me, the speakers won’t be insulted when I say their 20-minute talks would drive most deer hunters from the room. And those who don’t flee are probably asleep in their seats. It’s rare for their talks to include topics like rattling, calling, decoying or scent-based tactics for whitetails.

Joking aside, I respect and appreciate the researchers’ work. Their presentations simply aren’t made for TV or scripted for entertainment. All 32 talks discuss hardcore scientific research, and they’re seldom juicy or colorful. Even so, almost every bit of this research is relevant to deer hunting. That’s because these biologists study deer nutrition, habitat preferences, travel patterns, predator impacts, disease prevalence and breeding habits, to name a few.

That’s why I haven’t missed a meeting the past 20 years. As an outdoor writer, I’m always looking for scientific insights that my readers will find useful, and this is a target-rich environment. This is where many of the nation’s top deer researchers and managers meet, and most are good at translating their science for laymen like me.

The meetings rotate between 16 states in the Southeast, which allows the host state to show off its home-grown assets to the 400-plus attendees. This year’s meeting was held February 20-22 in Oklahoma City at the downtown Sheraton. As attendees entered the hotel’s conference center last week, they often stopped to admire an impressive display of bow-killed bucks from the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant.

When looking for familiar faces in the crowd, I usually saw Bill Starry, McAlester’s longtime natural resources manager. Starry has held that position 30 years, so he knows nearly every inch of McAlester’s 45,000 acres. He also manages the base’s unique bowhunting program that’s restricted to traditional archery equipment.

Yep. That means no compound bows. It also means no binoculars, no cameras, no rangefinders, no GPS units and no two-way radios, to name a few of the hunt’s forbidden items. Despite such restrictions, Starry said this primitive bowhunt remains extremely popular. In 2010, more than 22 ,000 bowhunters applied for one of its coveted 1,600 permits. Of those drawing a tag, roughly 13 percent each year kill a buck or antlerless deer.

Bowhunting is allowed on 40,000 (89 percent) of McAlester’s 45,000 acres, but the base is broken up into four hunting areas that accommodate 85 to 90 bowhunters each. The bowhunters can put their tree stand anywhere they want on the 10,000 acres they’re assigned. Starry works with them to make this a quality hunt, but they can’t roam the base at will. After all, much of the munitions being used in Afghanistan and Iraq originate from McAlester.

“There’s more tons of TNT stored there than just about anywhere else in the world,” Starry said. “The most difficult part of the hunt is meeting all the military’s security concerns. It’s a tough job, but we can conduct this hunt safely so the Army can still do its military missions.”

Starry said McAlester’s bowhunters achieve annual harvests of 225 to 250 deer, with a buck-to-doe harvest ratio of nearly 1-1. Of the approximately 120 bucks bowhunters kill each fall, about 11 to 13 qualify for the Pope and Young Club’s record book. In fact, during the past five years, 63 of McAlester’s bucks have achieved P&Y status. Of those, 40 gross-scored more than 140 inches, and 17 gross-scored 150 or better, with some approaching 200. 

“Our program proves there’s a lot of bowhunters looking for a challenging, high-quality hunt,” Starry said. “They know their odds of drawing a tag are low, but they keep applying. They also know their odds of getting one McAlester’s big bucks are also low, but everyone wants a crack at them.”

Starry said the archery hunts’ 1-1 harvest ratio has kept the herd stable for several years. Although bowhunters account for most of McAlester’s annual deer harvest, the base also holds a “Wounded Warriors” hunt each hunt for war veterans, as well as a youth-only shotgun hunt for antlerless deer.

To learn more about the McAlester bowhunts and see photos of its legendary bucks, please look them up on the web.

Bill Starry, second photo below, has been the natural resources manager at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma for 30 years. The other photos, courtesy of the MAAP web site, show some of the impressive bucks arrowed during recent traditional bowhunts at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma.





Campbell Outdoor Video School: Learn To Self-Film Your Bowhunts

by Bow Staff 24. February 2011 08:38
Bow Staff

Would you like to learn how to film like the pros? Get tip and tricks to break into the industry? Learn from the best outdoor videographers in the industry? If you would like to start your outdoor filming career today attend the 2011 Campbell Cameras Outdoor Videography School.

The Campbell Outdoor Challenge has teamed up with several leaders in the outdoor video industry to bring to you one of the most informative and hands on training courses for outdoor videographers ever!


No experience? No camera equipment? NO PROBLEM!

The Campbell Outdoor Challenge has teamed up with several leaders in the outdoor video industry to bring to you one of the most informative and hands on training courses for outdoor videographers ever!


Learn everything from starting your own outdoor television show to how to obtain sponsorships to in depth outdoor video techniques. This video school will supply you with the tools and knowledge youneed to be successful in this remarkable outdoor industry!

When: April 13-15, 2011

            May 18-20, 2011

Where: Carmi, IL

Our Price: $1295.00/Person*

*Includes Lodging and Meals

Visit Campbell Cameras website to learn more about the Campbell Cameras Outdoor Video School!

ALL Forms of Hunting With ALL Weapons

by Daniel James Hendricks 16. February 2011 04:17
Daniel James Hendricks

Every year during the month of February since 1995, I head for Texas to hunt wild things on the Rio Bonito Ranch.  A lot of Yankees I talk too poo-poo the Lone Star State and its hunting by making statements like “I ain’t going to Texas to hunt them tame animals that someone ties to a tree.  I hunt wild animals up here in the north woods like a real man.”

I will not share with you what I think when I hear this kind of brilliance falling out of someone’s mouth.  I will tell you only that I immediately know that those particular people have never set foot in Texas as they obviously have no idea what they are so expertly expounding upon.

The Rio Bonito Ranch (which I have been told means “Beautiful River, but  believe from personal experience to mean “Rock Pile”) is 26 square miles of rugged, rocky wasteland densely covered with oak and cedar trees, along with a vast assortment of plants and bushes all with a highly developed system of thorns and stickers. The Rio is not a high-fence ranch, but instead draws the animals into its loving embrace by providing thick cover, a rugged landscape, and sustainable amounts of water and food for them to comfortably exist.

The Rio is teaming with plentiful herds of Sika, Axis, Fallow and whitetail deer.  It has the largest herd of free-ranging Aoudads in North America and copious flocks of Rio Grand turkeys.  All this plus an endless population of wild hogs that come in all sizes and colors (I really like the green ones) which pop everywhere at any time inhabit the hunter’s paradise called the Rio Bonito Ranch.

The end result is that hunting the Rio is an adventure that you will not soon forget; furthermore, it’s a hunter’s destination that demands the presence of a camera to capture all of the unique and wonderful sights and scenes that will be new to the first time hunters at the ranch.  Even those of us that are seasoned veterans of Rio Bonito action, would not be caught without our cameras for fear of missing the many  new Kodak (or Sony) moments, that happen on every visit there.

The 2011 visit to the Rio Bonito was unlike any other we have ever experienced there due to the unique weather we experienced.  Freezing temperatures, gusty winds and even snow drove the bowhunters away from the open tripod stands into the welcomed protection of the shooting blinds.  That meant hanging up our bows and borrowing rifles to use, but we improvised and overcame the rigors of the weather and got the job done.  Even in the shooting shacks, we were unable to keep our feet from freezing, but we put up with the discomfort to complete our mission of pursing the wild things of the Rio.

For ACF Member, Randy Archer a lifelong bowhunter, it was the very first time he had ever hunted with a rifle, but he adapted like a pro.  I hadn’t hunted with a rifle since my Mom and Dad sold the farm back in 1991.  It had been a full 20 years since I had fired a gun and at first, I felt a little apprehensive about doing so.  But then I took comfort from the mission statement of the ACF about being dedicated to the promotion and preservation of ALL forms of hunting with ALL weapons and relaxed.  By the time the hunt was over, I had taken four animals with the rifle and one with the bow; and not only had an outstanding hunt, but I am also looking forward to my next rifle hunt when the circumstances dictate.

And now, I realized the full impact of my words when I sincerely tell people that it doesn’t matter what you hunt with just as long as you hunt.  Even I can fall victim to tunnel vision and this was a wonderful wake up call to keep my mind open and not think that the only option I have is the crossbow.  There a lot of options out there besides the bow…don’t be afraid to give them a try.  You are going to like what you experience I suspect.  
Watch for more posts on our Rio Bonito hunt in the next couple of weeks.


CWD Found in Maryland Whitetail!

by Bow Staff 13. February 2011 02:16
Bow Staff

Just weeks after the state of Minnesota announced its first confirmed case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a wild deer, the state of Maryland just confirmed the same within its own borders. Is this madness ever going to stop!

On February 10th, 2011, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received the laboratory confirmation from a wild deer that was taken by a hunter in November of 2010. The deer was taken in the Green Ridge State Forest, Alleghany County, Maryland.

Paul Peditto, Director of Maryland’s DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service recently addressed the situation stating, "Our team of wildlife professionals has been preparing for this result for some time so we are well-informed and ready to limit the impact of this event. We have sampled intensively for this disease and see this as an unfortunate but somewhat inevitable outcome. The good news is that our preparation and planning ensure a sound scientific foundation for our response to this single positive test result. With the continued cooperation of hunters, farmers, deer processors and landowners who have supported our monitoring effort, we will manage this deer disease consistent with the best available science and with minimal impact on our deer population and the people who enjoy these great animals."

While it is still unclear at this time what response the Maryland DNR will have to combat this disease, Peditto would conclude, "Maryland will continue to work closely with the wildlife professionals in our adjacent states to share information and coordinate response efforts. However, our primary goal is to ensure the public is fully-informed and knows what we know when we know it. We want to be certain that every interested Marylander understands this disease and recognizes that there is no risk to people, pets or domestic livestock. As in every other state with CWD, we will respond appropriately while ultimately learning to live with this disease with little impact to our wildlife or citizens."

The state of Maryland has been testing its wild whitetail deer population since 1999, in which nearly 6,800 animals have been tested. In 2010, following the recent positive CWD cases in nearby West Virginia and Virginia, sampling efforts concentrated on the Alleghany and western Washington County areas.

Bowhunting.Com would like to hear from its many followers from the great state of Maryland. Does this confirmed case of CWD within your state alarm you? What efforts would you like to see your DNR take to combat this disease? As always, please leave your comments below. Thank you!


Tink's NEW Scrape Bomb and Scrape Dripper.

by Bow Staff 11. February 2011 13:25
Bow Staff

Mock Scrape enthusiasts may just want to take a closer look at what the good people at Tinks have recently developed and released. Think of it as a more economical way to draw those BIG bucks to your stand.

Keep your scrape fresh and active with Tink's battery-free Scrape Bomb™ Scrape Dripper. The Scrape Bomb works with the changes in temperature and barometric pressure, which cause it to drip only during the daylight hours. This scheduling conditions bucks to visit the scrape during the day making them easier to pattern and eventually harvest.

The Scrape Bomb lasts four to five days dropping just the right amount of buck lure so none goes to waste making it economical as well as effective. Use the Scrape Dripper over natural or mock scrapes to condition deer to frequently return to your stand location.

The Scrape Dripper is available in a Power Scrape combo or a two pack, so you can set up a number of mock scrapes at one time. To see our full line-up of Tink's products just click here!

Categories: Current News

Don't Miss "The Wild Within" on the Travel Channel

by Patrick Durkin 9. February 2011 14:57
Patrick Durkin

Except for NFL games, I seldom arrange my schedule to watch television.

For the next few months, however, I’ll tune in at 8 p.m. EST on Sundays when Steven Rinella’s “The Wild Within” appears on the Travel Channel (

The first few episodes have proved as smart and fascinating as Rinella’s books, “The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine,” and “American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon.”

A Travel Channel promotion says Rinella, 36, travels the world to explore diverse cultures that help explain the instinctual hunter/gatherer within us who’s waiting to come out. It continues:

“Steven uses his pioneer spirit, resourceful mentality and outdoor skills to explore the subcultures that cherish and maintain their hunting, fishing and gathering traditions. Steven stays true to the tradition of sustenance hunting. Nothing he harvests goes to waste, and he only pursues abundant species that are managed to protect their ecological sustainability.”

If you’ve read Rinella’s books or magazine articles, you know he didn’t write that last sentence. He doesn’t use euphemisms like “harvest” when discussing hunting, fishing and trapping. As he often says: “My rules are simple: If you eat it, kill it. And if you kill it, eat it.”

The show’s first episode opened in Rinella’s Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment, where the Michigan native keeps a chest-freezer in his bedroom closet. He then flies to a cabin he co-owns in southeastern Alaska to fill that freezer by catching crabs and shrimp, and shooting a goose and black-tailed deer.

He does so with respect, intelligence and edgy wit, and without apology or weasel words. Unlike most hunting shows, Rinella doesn’t shy from showing the deer’s blood, its raw liver and loins, its bullet-shattered heart, or the incision exposing its abdominal and chest cavities. Where most hunting-show hosts focus on antlers, Rinella celebrates the meat, proudly displaying choice cuts as prime trophies.

And when he and his brother must track and finish off a buck, Rinella frankly explains that not every animal collapses dead when shot. His blunt honesty hits home. Wildlife isn’t livestock, after all, and it doesn’t live and die in controlled stockyards and slaughterhouses.

Why pretend otherwise? Hunters lose credibility when we act as if every fish or animal we kill goes out like a euthanized pet. Besides, predation is inexact and some wounding loss is inevitable, whether inflicted by wolves, eagles, weasels or robins. Only humans, however, have a conscience that demands we strive to make death fast, painless and certain.

Rinella makes meat-gathering understandable – even cool and relevant – through his self-confident love and explanations for hunting. He’s not the first communicator to share that reverence, of course. Recall “A Sand County Almanac,” in which Aldo Leopold writes about shooting a black duck after freezing in wait along an ice- and snow-covered lake:

“I cannot remember the shot; I remember only my unspeakable delight when my first duck hit the snowy ice with a thud and lay there, belly up, red legs kicking.”

Like Leopold, Rinella realizes most people accept hunting when they know hunters are guided by rules and regulations, and that we value the meat it provides. In Rinella’s home, all meat comes from fish, animals and birds he kills.

He explains these are nature’s truly organic, free-range, low-fat meats. During a TV interview with Warren Etheredge on “The Warren Report,” Rinella recalls pitching a fit when his wife, Katie Finch, brought home turkey sausage from a farmer’s market. He was livid when confronting her, saying: “What? You bring another man’s meat into my home?”

Equally important, Rinella doesn’t pretend he’s a throwback to earlier times. “The Wild Within” portrays hunting and fishing to be as legitimate in modern U.S. culture as they are in the cultures of other countries. To help make that point in each hour-long episode, Rinella visits Texas, Hawaii, Montana, California, Guyana, Scotland and Canada in the show’s first season.

Rinella believes hunting is more than just outdoor recreation or wildlife management. It’s part of our species’ identity. Only in recent times have so many people claimed otherwise.

“The Wild Within” celebrates hunting and its significance, something I never thought I’d see on television. Put it on your schedule.


BB2 Deer Supplement Now Available in Smaller Bag!

by Bow Staff 9. February 2011 08:24
Bow Staff

Popular Nutritional supplement now available in convenient 6 lb bag

Grand Island, NE – Big and J Industries LLC, the leading manufacturer of superior protein based nutritional supplements introduces its popular BB2 supplement and attractant in a convenient 6 lb bag.  The smaller package is ideal for creating an irresistible hot spot for whitetails and for bringing into the field with you (check local game regulations before using).  Make no mistakes; this powerful attractant has been used by industry leading professionals for years with amazing results, now it’s available to you in an easy to use 6lb bag.

BB2 is a revolutionary nutritional deer supplement and powerful attractant that performs well year round.  The protein based nutritional supplement has been painstakingly formulated to provide optimum growth, strength and health characteristics for the entire whitetail herd.  The unique formulation produces an intense, natural occurring aroma that wild animals find irresistible.  No artificial attractants or flavors are added or needed.  In addition, BB2 incorporates several vital minerals scientifically proven to stimulate antler production, as well as additional nutrients that assist the doe population during lactation.  The versatile product can be used in feeders or direct ground applications, and comes in 40 lb bags, 20 lb bags, and the new 6 lb bag.  Once you discover the power of the brown bag, your deer season will never be the same!

MSRP:  BB2 40 lb bag $29.99, BB2 20 lb bag $16.99, BB2 6lb bag  $10.99


Big and J Industries is the premier supplier of superior nutritional deer supplements and powerful attractants.  Founded by two avid hunters, Big and J produces specially formulated deer supplements and attractants designed to meet the highest quality standards and produce the largest, healthiest bucks and whitetail deer herds.  True stewards of the land, Big and J believes that a healthy clean environment produces stronger more vigorous game.  Product is purposely packaged in biodegradable paper bags, and use only recycled paper stock, not to mention the made/grown in the USA seal of approval. 

Categories: Current News

Day 6 PlotWatcher Pro- NEW for 2011!

by Bow Staff 3. February 2011 01:58
Bow Staff

2011 Day 6 PlotWatcher Pro

The original Day 6 PlotWatcher time-lapse video camera was a game changer no doubt, but the new PlotWatcher Pro hits it out of the park. With four times the battery life and a 2.5" LCD for on-board camera set-up, video aiming and camera status messages, the PlotWatcher Pro will put you that much closer to getting that trophy buck you so desire.

The PlotWatcher Pro is not a traditional trail camera. In fact, traditional trail cameras with time-lapse features pail in comparison to the PlotWatcher Pro. There are three very important design criteria for a time-lapse camera -- long battery life, the ability to support tens or hundreds of thousands of images and good picture quality in low light conditions without a flash. This is because some of the most important scenery for a timelapse camera is happening right at dawn or dusk, out of reach of a flash.
Traditional trail cameras are optimized for large megapixel counts, continuous motion detection and energy-efficient flashes. The design choices to make a good quality trail camera are simply not the same design choices to make a high quality time-lapse camera such as the PlotWatcher Pro.

Like the original PlotWatcher, the PlotWatcher Pro uses time-lapse video technology to record high-definition images taking a picture every 5 or 10 seconds and saving these individual pictures as an HD video. So whether the animal is 30 feet away or 330 feet away, you'll see them on the video. Essentially, the PlotWatcher Pro records what you would have seen if you'd been scouting that same spot for all of that time.

In addition, the PlotWacher Pro accepts add-on zoom lenses, features temperature and moon-phase info on each image, uses an SD card storage, is security cable ready and saves video files in ½ of the memory space. It also features defined time-of-day for video start and stop.

The GameFinder video player software, free with the PlotWatcher Pro, gives you the ability to watch an entire 12-hour day's worth of video in just a few minutes.

To learn more about this new PlotWatcher Pro take a look for them on the web.


Categories: Current News

NEW Sitka Gear Merino Wool Line. Comfort Re-Introduced.

by Bow Staff 29. January 2011 16:21
Bow Staff

Sitka Gear’s Merino Line Excels in Comfort
The Key to Comfort and Odor Resistance Begins With the Merino Line

NAPA, CA. Sitka Gear, has introduced its latest line of high performance gear for the serious hunter, its Merino line.  The benefits of Merino Wool have long been appreciated and used in high performance athletic wear and used in activities such as, running, hiking, skiing and cycling. 

Since this material is naturally odor resistant, it is an ideal fit for hunting.  Merino is also excellent at regulating body temperature, especially worn directly against the skin.  The wool provides some warmth, without overheating the wearer and also wicks moisture making it comfortable against the skin.

The Merino line will have the following features:

● Wicks moisture away from skin
● High heat to weight ratio
● Naturally odor resistant
● 100% Merino Wool
● Available in GORE® OPTIFADE® Concealment Open Country, Forest pattern, and Charcoal
● Available in sizes small to 3XL for Open Country or Forest and medium to 2XL for Charcoal
Items in the Merino line will include the Core Zip T, Core Bottom, Beanie and Liner Glove.

Suggested Retail Prices
● Core Zip T:  $119 (Charcoal) $129 (Open Country or Forest)
● Core Bottom:  $119 (Charcoal)
● Beanie:  $29
● Liner Glove:  $35 (medium to XL)

Sitka Gear’s top-quality products feature the most scientifically advanced visual concealment pattern ever to hit the market – GORE® OPTIFADE® Concealment, the first-ever concealment based on the science of animal vision.  The unique micro-pattern considers the way a deer or other ungulate perceives color, the ratio of positive to negative space and other visual elements to create an effect that allows the hunter to blend with the animal’s perception of the environment.  The macro-pattern breaks up the symmetry of the human body so that if a hunter is detected, the animal will not be able to identify the hunter as a predator.

About Sitka Gear, Inc.
Sitka Gear is the leading manufacturer of high-performance hunting apparel that utilizes cutting-edge technology to keep hunters warm, dry and comfortable in any condition.


Categories: Current News

NEW Carbon Express LineJammerPRO & X-Jammer 27 Arrows.

by Bow Staff 27. January 2011 06:02
Bow Staff


Carbon Express Adds Line Jammer Pro® & X-Jammer 27 TM Pro
to the successful line of Target Arrows!

Flushing, Michigan – Carbon Express, a leader in arrow technology and innovation, introduces the newest addition to their line of target arrows, the Line Jammer ® Pro and the X-Jammer 27TM Pro.  Carbon Express designed The Jammer Pro Series to be unsurpassed by any competitor putting their products in a class of their own.

“The Line Jammer® Pro & X-Jammer 27TM Pro are both great additions to the Carbon Express® family. These arrows are engineered to be tough and durable while featuring the largest diameter shaft allowed in sanctioned tournaments. Carbon Express is dedicated to producing the best target arrows on the market,” noted Mike Snyder, the company’s Marketing Manager.

The Line Jammer® Pro,  which offers the best-spined and weight shaft in its class, gets even better with the addition of Carbon Express’® exclusive Diamond Weave Technology. Diamond Weave Technology features unparalleled spine consistency, along with a combination of the BuffTuff® carbon finish, making this arrow strong, durable and silent. Also, the BullDog™ nock collars feature unrelenting strength and durability for nock end impacts. Finally, the arrow features a straightness of +/- .0025”, weight tolerance of +/- 1.0 grains, and a spine selection tolerance of +/- .002”.  Suggested Retail: $164.95

The X-Jammer 27TM Pro is engineered to be the ultimate 20 yard spot target arrow. With a 27/64 diameter, the X- Jammer 27 Pro is the largest diameter target arrow in the Carbon Express® line, while featuring the maximum diameter allowed in most sanctioned events. Accompanied by Diamond Weave technology & BullDog™ nock collars, the X-Jammer 27TM Pro offers the complete package for archery enthusiast. The arrow’s specifications are as follows:  straightness of +/- .0025 max, a weight tolerance of +/- 1.0 grains, and a spine selection tolerance of +/- .002”.  Suggested Retail $164.95

About Carbon Express®
Carbon Express®, an Eastman Outdoors Inc. brand, is the leading manufacturer of high performance carbon hunting and target arrows and arrow components for hunters and target shooters.


Categories: Current News

NEW Gorilla Silverback Stealth HX Climber.

by Bow Staff 27. January 2011 02:44
Bow Staff

The New Silverback Stealth HX Climber, Gorilla’s Lightest Climbing Treestand.

FLUSHING, Michigan – Gorilla Inc. a leading manufacturer of performance treestands and accessories announces the introduction of the new Silverback Stealth HX Climber. This aluminum constructed treestand features patented Gorilla Grip™ pivoting arms that can scale any tree 8”- 22” in diameter. Gorilla continues to redefine innovation with the addition of the Stealth HX Climber to its award winning line of treestands.
Weighing in at just over 20 pounds, the ultra-light aluminum Silverback Stealth
HX is Gorilla’s lightest climbing treestand. Features include patented Gorilla Grip™ pivoting arms that form to trees 8" to 22" in diameter, matched with high-density foam climbing bars and arms to provide safety and versatility. The XPE zero-G™ dual-density seat and backrest offer all-day comfort, and the fully adjustable padded backpack straps make transportation a breeze.

The new Stealth Silverback HX Climber incorporates design features that distinguish Gorilla® craftsmanship.  Features such as:

• An oversized, lightweight aluminum HX construction platform
• Traxion™ slip resistant coating
• Gorilla Grip™ pivoting arms – perfect for any tree ranging from 8” to 22” in diameter
• XPE Zero-G™ dual density foam seat for all day comfort
• XT-6™ red nylon bushings and washers for silent operation.
• High Density Foam (HDF) padded climbing bar and upper bars
• Stirrup climbing straps
• Mossy Oak® Treestand® camo
• Fully adjustable padded backpack straps

Silverback Stealth HX Climber Suggested Retail:  $249.99

About Gorilla Inc.
Gorilla Inc. is an award-winning manufacturer of high performance treestands and accessories for hunters who demand comfort, strength and stealth.  For more information on the Silverback Stealth HX Climber, check them out on the web.


Categories: Current News

About the Authors

The staff is made up of "Average Joe" bowhunters from around the country who are serious about one thing - BOWHUNTING.  Keep up to date with them as they work year-round at persuing their passion and bring you the most up-to-date information on bowhunting gear and archery equipment.

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