May 9, 2008
For some reason there are a lot of people who can't close one eye when looking through a binocular. To compensate for this I've seen folks try all kinds of things, but most often they hold a hand over one objective lens of their binocular while trying to focus with the other hand. This doesn't work so well as you end up mashing the bino into your face.
A better way is to take a lens cap and cover up the objective lens of the side you don't want to look through. Don't spread this around, though, because it is lots of fun watching people struggle trying it the other way.
—John Snow [ Read Full Post ]
We got our hands on some more pictures of the amazing 270-inch Iowa buck, including a shot of what looks to be the buck's sheds from a previous year. Enjoy.
[ Read Full Post ]
Remember the trail camera photos and my upbeat enthusiasm for my upcoming bowhunt on an earlier blog? Well I tried to be the nice guy and I finished last … at least so far. How did I finish last? I arrived at our hunting property a day early and put up a couple stands to start the hunt. To insure I always had a place to hunt I made sure each stand was good for a morning or evening hunt.
My hunting partner, Tom, arrived late that evening so the next morning I told him to pick which stand he’d like to hunt. He and the others hunting the property had six stands up and ready to hunt, plus the two I had just set. He decided to sit one of the stands I had just placed and in my mind it was the better of the two. Knowing that it still takes a little luck to score I told him to go ahead and bid him good luck.
At mid-morning he was already on the way to my parked truck beaming like a school kid wearing a new pair of tennis shoes. “I shot the big one,” he exclaimed. “He’s a non-typical and has extra points. I don’t know how big he is, but he’s big!”
Tom thought he might have hit the buck a little far back and he slipped out without looking for blood or his arrow. I suggested we wait at least six to seven hours to insure the buck would be dead in case of a gut-shot scenario.
After a look around the property, a light lunch and a six-hour wait, we started tracking. We found his arrow immediately and the evidence showed we were right in waiting. Unfortunately there was little blood so to make sure we didn’t lose the buck, I sent Tom around the front of each block of cover I eased through looking for clues. At the end of the second parcel of property I stumbled on the buck and it appeared he had just expired.
Tom was as relieved as an amateur bull rider at the sound of the eight-second buzzer. The buck was a shooter with a 6x7 frame that grossed nearly 150-inches. To make the story even better, consider this. It was Tom’s first day in a stand this season and his first buck ever with a bow. Congratulations and next time, stay out of my stand!
In the waning hours of my hunt the winds shifted (literally) and I was able to take a good buck with my bow. A large front hit the prairies earlier this week and with it high winds and rain pelted the property we were hunting. Even so, the bucks were on the prowl with rutting on their mind. I grunted in a small buck and then a nice 5x5 appeared, but on the wrong trail. I sent him a message with my Hunter’s Specialties True Talker grunt call and the buck turned on a dime. He stopped to investigate some HS Estrus Plus scent I sprinkled on the ground, but was quartering to me. Finally, he turned broadside right under my stand and I let the arrow fly. It drove straight through his vitals and he tipped over in sight less than 80 yards from my stand. Get those calls and scents out. It’s time for action!—Mark Kayser [ Read Full Post ]
James Patch sent a short report and photo of his mid-month New Hampshire bow turkey taken during the Granite State archery-only season:
Had some success today in NH in way of a 12 lb hen. I will confess that two other arrows were launched earlier in the week without cutting a feather! These guys that sit in tent blinds to hunt birds with bows because "it's challenging" need to leave that blind at home if they want a challenge. Plunking your butt up against a tree and drawing your bow on a flock of birds is definitely challenging . . . and fun! I even left my cushion in the truck this morning so my butt was a little sore by 7:30 am when the birds finally showed. It all worked out though. [ Read Full Post ]
Look at those brow tines!
—John SnowRead Full Post ]
An odd question I know, but I had to ask. On the heels of our much-discussed post on gun owners and the Second Amendment, which is a call to unity for all firearms owners, I came across several comments in the far reaches of the Internet that question the NRA’s loyalty to the cause of gun rights.
Mostly, the arguments go something like this: Various people who are or were associated with the NRA hierarchy have made statements at some point that are either critical of certain kinds of guns or have revealed themselves to be hopelessly hunter-centric, as opposed to supporters of shooters in general. Therefore, the NRA is a hunter (or “Fudd” as some of these player-haters like to call it) organization that’s not worthy of support by true gun owners.
In particular, a lot of attention is given to some quotes by Charlton Heston from a 1997 interview where he said that, “AK-47's are inappropriate for private ownership, of course.” Heston was First Vice-President of the NRA at the time. [ Read Full Post ]
The weather forecast promised gale-force wind and strafing snow by noon, but we planned to be done hunting before the weather turned on us.
Lacorte, marketing manager for Nikon’s sport optics division, made it clear when we loaded into the pickup before sunrise that I had the first shot. That meant I got to ride shotgun, and take my pick of pronghorns. It also meant I had to open what seemed like dozens of ranch gates.
Every antelope we saw in the morning was wearing track shoes, running full-tilt at our approach, even at a distance of a half mile. One of the hundreds of pronghorns wore a handsome heart-shaped pair of horns, the tips of which almost touched. That was the antelope I wanted.
We put together a pair of great stalks, but both ended the same way, with flared white rumps of fleeing antelope tearing across the prairie. [ Read Full Post ]
Nikon’s Jon Lacorte has never killed a mule deer, but he’s hoping this
is his year. He’s having a legendary season. Lacorte killed a Cape
buffalo in Africa and last month arrowed a monster 156-inch Kentucky
He’s hoping to break his mule deer bugaboo here in southern Wyoming,
hunting with Table Mountain Outfitters out of Cheyenne. The ranch we’re
hunting is known for producing heavy, wide muleys – Remington’s Eddie
Stevenson killed a 35-1/2-inch-wide mule deer here last year – and Jon
is hoping to shoot a good, representative mule deer.
Of course, I’m also hoping for a good deer. I’ve spent the last three
weeks chasing mule deer and whitetails with my bow in my home state of
Montana and then invested two weeks in a British Columbia moose hunt,
but have yet to draw blood. Jon and I will be hunting together with
Angie Denny, the better half of Table Mountain’s ownership team. [ Read Full Post ]
You know what they say about dark clouds and silver linings.
A new report that looks at trends in hunting license sales concludes that during tough times and economic downturns, more sportsmen may actually purchase hunting licenses and spend more time in the fields and forests than during a normal season.
Could current economic hard times translate into good times for the hunting industry?
Though he points out that the impact is not the same in all 50 states, well-known outdoor data-cruncher Mark Damian Duda says that when the housing market is hard hit by economic woes, it often translates into more hunters afield. That’s because such a large percentage of hunters and sportsmen are employed in the building and construction trades.
Author and researcher Duda serves as the executive director of the Virginia-based Responsive Management, an internationally recognized public opinion and attitude survey research firm specializing in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues.
Duda told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in a recent interview that nearly one-quarter, or 22 percent, of all active American hunters are employed in the construction, carpentry, plumbing, electrical and craftsman trades. No other profession or group of professions produces as many hunters.
“There’s a very important statistical relationship between housing starts and license sales in states that saw an increase,” Duda said. “There’s something going on there.”
Simply put, a slow housing market provides potential hunters more time to spend in the woods hunting.
“Past surveys have shown that the number one reason people give for not hunting is lack of time, so if they’re not working, maybe they have that time,” Duda surmised. [ Read Full Post ]
For generations, Southern practitioners of “worm-grunting” or “worm-fiddling” have coaxed large fishing worms above ground by making vibrating sounds rubbing steel bars on wooden stakes that are driven into the earth.
Most never questioned why the system worked. They just were glad it did.
New research reveals that for decades, backwoods worm-grunters have actually been tricking the lowly earthworm into thinking it was being chased by its primary predator, and that’s why they appear above the ground--almost like magic.
After extensive research performed in northern Florida earlier this year, Vanderbilt University biological sciences professor Ken Catania concluded that the vibrations made by the “grunters” who rub steel bars over wood stakes actually mimic the sound produced by digging moles. In reaction, the worms quickly crawl from their burrows to escape their approaching natural predators.
Practiced historically and passed down among generations of worm-gatherers in the South, the custom is colloquially referred to as “grunting” because the of sound made by rubbing metal on wood, or “fiddling,” in reference to the physical motion that resembles pulling a bow over the strings of a violin.
Despite a lot of speculation, generations of worm grunters were never really certain exactly why the technique works—just that it brings the very large (and desirable) earthworm Dipocardia mississippiensis to the surface by the hundreds so they can be collected and used (or sold) as bait.
Biologist Catania, whose specialty is studying moles, first thought that the explanation behind the phenomenon was contained in a theory put forth by geneticist Charles Darwin, who once said, “If the ground is beaten or otherwise made to tremble, worms will believe that they are pursued by a mole and leave their burrows.” To investigate Darwin’s concept, Catania traveled to the Florida Panhandle this spring and enlisted the help of noted worm grunters Gary and Audrey Revell.
During his study, Catania actually recorded the vibrating sounds made by burrowing moles and compared them to the sounds produced by the worm grunters. Analyzing geophone recordings of the two types of sound, he found that the worm grunting vibrations were more uniform and concentrated near 80- hertz, whereas the moles produce a wider range of vibrations that peak at around 200-hertz.
“The moles are quite noisy,” Catania said. “Often you can hear the sounds of a mole digging in the wild from a few feet away,” he said.
Whether it’s called fiddling, grunting (or even snoring or charming), the technique is still used in certain parts of the southeastern U.S. today, though it probably reached its peak during the 1960’s in Florida’s Apalachicola National Forest. At that time, hundreds of commercial gatherers grunted for worms before the U.S. Forest Service began requiring permits for the previously unregulated practice out of concern that the industry was impacting the native worm population.
“This is a fascinating biology story and a fascinating sociology story,” said Catania, whose extensive study and findings were recently published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE. “The biology story is the question of why the worms behave as they do and the sociology story is the fact that hundreds of people once made their livelihood by collecting worms in this unique fashion.” [ Read Full Post ]
Father Tim Herald gave this account:
He took this 9-pointer at about 50 yards. We filmed his hunt and since the deer came in over an hour before dark, we got a great video hunt. He is on top of the world, and
I was pretty excited for the little guy myself.
I had to know about the gear he used (of course). The rifle is a .50-caliber T/C Endeavor that was loaded with 250-gr. shockwave bullets over a full charge of 777 powder.
“It knocks him for a loop,” Tim said. “But he doesn’t care.”
Looks to me like Will is following in dad’s footsteps.
Good job, Will!
—John Snow [ Read Full Post ]
Friday, October 17, 2008. Bowhunt: Strafford County, New Hampshire.
A month into the season, I found 21 archery-only turkeys on a field edge not long after fly-down (early-hatch, good-sized birds). Got within 10 steps (seriously!) after S-L-O-W-L-Y moving 100 yards in a half hour inside the dense post-rain woods. Had an okay arrowing opportunity, but some cover was in the way. Wanted a better shot. One bird putted, and a 42-eyed chain reaction followed. Put my Hoyt compound bow down where I could find it again, and rushed ’em, a tactic that relies on separating gregarious birds to call them back.
Set up. Waited. Called. A brood hen (one of a couple in the group) set up behind me. I repositioned in the woods, closer to the yapping hen, called in a young bird from the other way with kee-kees. Drew the bow (turkey at just five yards now!). It didn't step out from behind cover like I wished it would, but putted, hustled away. I called, got responses from other birds that worked in to me. They got together in a swampy creek bottom. Heard ’em regroup. Saw the flock gathered now, slowly moving away. Put my bow down again, and got a super break in that swamp, the wad of birds flying in all directions.
Waited 10, 15 minutes after the action. Called, one answered. Then another. Got ’em fired up, and this audio included gobbling, but one of the brood hens eventually beat me at that game as they often do, and yelped most of them in by the end of that wild session.
Had remembered seeing a young gobbler fly the other way on my second flock bust. Walked in that direction through the woods, called (kee-kee-runs). Got a response. Bird worked in to me, close, but hung up, clucking behind cover. Brood hen called agitatedly, across the fairly deep creek. Fall jake kept coming to me—coming hard, yelping and gobbling now as best he could do being a bird of the year, likely fired up by the rowdy calling. It appeared to my extreme right (reddish head, standing tall, just 25 steps or so. I'm ready to draw my bow when it goes behind a tree, and walks even closer to my setup). Thing is, it didn't like not seeing the turkey I'd been imitating, so it did an end around in front of me, toward the brood hen, putting now, hurrying.
Then it got REAL quiet. I'd misplaced my seat cushion during all the action, and returned to my setup spots until I found it. Minor success!—Steve Hickoff [ Read Full Post ]
When the rut finally cuts loose in Illinois things can get a little chaotic and out of control. This is when the big boys go on the prowl and start busting out of the thickets, woodlots, and cornfields. On the other hand, during the middle of October things can look a lot different in the fabled big buck state. Many hunters refer to this period as the “October Lull” and connecting with a monster buck at this point in the season can be extremely tough. You can really have problems if you throw in a full moon along with acres of thick standing corn. A lot of the deer will be active primarily at night during this phase of the moon and will often bed in the middle of the cornfields before daylight. These are the conditions I faced last week in Illinois and the action was slow.
However, a local hunter was able to stick a nice chocolate-racked 14-point with his bow a few days before I arrived. Harold Ancell tagged this 160-class giant from a field-edge stand during the late evening hours. The buck’s rack was thick and massive with several unique kicker points. Ancell utilized a textbook feeding-to-bedding pattern to set his stand and intercept this impressive buck. The “October Lull” can be challenging, but establishing a pre-rut pattern and staying in the woods can pay off with a super stud buck.
Congratulations Harold on an awesome pre-rut hunt and good luck with the rest of your season. As for me, I may have to call in sick about the second week of November and drive back up to Illinois. Right now my tag feels like it’s burning a hole in my pocket!—Travis Faulkner [ Read Full Post ]