LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015
Written by Bowhunting.com contributor Brandon Butler.
Walking through a blooming spring woods with a bow in hand searching for wild morel mushrooms brings a sense of closure to winter. And this past winter, having been as long and hard as any in recent memory, is one I’m particularly glad to see go. My longbow has been pulled off the elk feet rack where it spent the last few months collecting dust and is strung. My mesh mushroom bag is riding shotgun in the truck. Let the stump shooting mushroom hunts begin!
Stump shooting provides a ton of benefits that can improve your shooting, your hunting success, and overall health.
What It Is?
Stump shooting is nothing more than walking through the woods and firing arrows at anything that catches your fancy. Stumps, rotten logs, clumps of grass and lone leaves tangled in the grasp of multi-flora rose are all prime targets. Not only is it just plain fun to shoot arrows, it is a skill building exercise. The hand-eye coordination that comes from repetitive, year-round shooting becomes quite valuable when a buck walks into range during bow season.
There is no need for fancy, expsenive gear when it comes to shooting stumps, leaves and logs.In fact, most of the equipment can be bought second-hand.
What Do You Need?
You can stump shoot with any bow, including a high-tech compound, but I prefer using a traditional bow with a reduced draw weight. I typical use arrows I don’t mind losing or breaking. Stump shooting is a great excuse to break out those old aluminum sticks from the 90s and give them new life. I’ll occasionally find old arrows at garage sales or even bunches of them for sale on Craigslist. The best part is I can pick them up for next to nothing. With such minimal financial investment you can fire shots into some wild places….without worry of finding the arrow. I use blunt tips on my arrows, which keep them from sticking into whatever you shoot or burying under a pile of leaves. However, field tipped arrows will work fine.
Stump shooting is also a great way to introduce kids to archery without the anxiety of shooting at spots or defined targets.
Scout And Shoot
Stump shooting mushroom hunting has other advantages, too. Any time you can get out and walk your hunting property in the spring, you’re going to learn something new to apply to your plan for the coming deer season. You’ll find trails you didn’t know existed, old rubs, scrapes and bedding areas. You can learn where deer are crossing creeks and fences. And there are still plenty of shed antlers to be picked up. There’s a good chance a rodent or two will have gotten to them first, but the sheds will still offer clues as to which bucks you may be able to hang a tag on come fall.
Tasty mushrooms are also one of the benifits to my spring tradition.
Food For Thought
On a side note, Morel mushrooms remain a mystery to me. I hear that you’re to look around ash and elm trees, in apple orchards, on northeast facing slopes and all kinds of other supposed to be hot spots. I seem to just stumble upon them in the unlikeliest of places. Last spring, I found morels growing in my backyard near the edge of our pond. If I hadn’t looked down, I’d have run them over with the lawn tractor. The point is, to be successful at finding mushrooms laying down boot leather is the best thing you can do. And if you’re walking for miles outdoors, why not fling a few arrows?
Stump shooting and mushroom hunting also go hand in hand with turkey season. If you have the privilege of being in a turkey camp with other archers, breaking out the bows and flinging arrows at natural objects is always a great time. So dust off your bow, load up a quiver with old arrows and shoot.
See you down the trail…