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Posted from: https://blog.eastmans.com/call-wise-bulls/

hunting

As late summer light melts off the West faces, velvet bulls materialize from the shadows for a lazy evening of feeding. Bulls are on easy street, packing on the pounds and inches of antler. Bulls are most visible this time of year, as their tender velvet keeps them out of the thick cover. As the month of August wanes, velvet becomes itchy and bulls start rubbing. Mature bulls begin to get antsy and territorial leading to them splitting off solo for a short time before the rut starts. They’ll stay in summer mode for about 10 more days, which means out early in the evening to feed and down late in the morning to bed in heavy cover. The extra time they are on their feet is the Achilles heel for the bowhunter. This short window gives you the best chance over any other time of the season to kill a big bull. 

There’s a couple ways to do this and you’ll probably only get one chance. Depending on the state you’re hunting, the best time to kill a big bull using this method is from Aug 28th to about Sept 8th, give or take a couple days on either end of that. The tactics I’m going to discuss should apply for most of the West where you can find elk in open country or at tree line in the high country. The exceptions are much of New Mexico and Arizona’s elk habitat. 

For spot and stalk I like to hunt open country at tree line. As long as you have conducive stalking terrain you’ll be in good shape. Once you locate a big solo bull, congratulations – that was the hard part. Watch him for a day or two and learn his habits. Make notes when he comes out in the evening and goes to bed in the morning and plan accordingly. You might have to wait a couple days for him to be in a good spot or he might be very killable immediately. There’s no do-all equation for knowing this it comes with experience. Obviously, terrain and wind are important and even the savviest hunter may struggle to get a bull killed in the high country. 

For thick country like most of New Mexico and Arizona, with early season bulls you’re going to have to rely on bugling or sitting wallows. I have found that late August and early September produce the best wallowing activity, especially if it’s hot out. Setting trail cams will get you dialed on activity over wallows and can be effective helping punch your tag if that bull regularly makes visitations to the mud bath. 

Bugling up a bull early in the season may be the most effective time to get a giant charging in trying to kill you. Big bulls are very territorial early in the month (first week of Sept) and mimicking a herd of cows with a small bull in his zone will drive him nuts. How do I know if a bull is going to be callable early in the season? Well, the bull will tell you. If you find yourself within hearing distance of a screaming bull before Sept 6th or 7th and he doesn’t have cows he is very, very vulnerable to calling. If he’s not talking much, you shouldn’t either. If he gets going, hit him right back with bugles and even cut him off with a challenge bugle. I’ve had several encounters over the years where I’ve got within 100 yards from a bugling bull, thrown out a couple cow calls with a small bugle and he doesn’t waste any time crashing in ready to fight. Worst case, he comes in downwind and silent. As long as you’re ready for that you’ll be in good shape and don’t forget to clip your release, the less movement the better. This is my favorite tactic in thick country.   

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Hunt the Lead Cow

If you find yourself hunting a herd bull when he is with a harem, your odds of killing him go down drastically. Depending on the day, I have found that odds are he’ll be very difficult to call in. Or I’m just bad at calling. In general, the lead cow will dictate movement and activity of elk on any given day. This is where I change tactics and focus on the lead cow. She is going to dictate herd movement, lead the herd out to feed and to bed in the morning while choosing travel routes and feeding locations. There are a few exceptions to this but they’re pretty rare. This is where you need to be able to transition and get in the mindset of hunting the lead cow. If you continue hunting the herd bull you’ll find yourself a step behind the herd and end up chasing the herd for the duration of your hunt. Hunting the lead cow means thinking a step ahead of her either by intercepting the herd or spot and stalking while the herd is on their feet. You will find that the herd bull is easiest to kill while he is on his feet checking cows. I’ve stalked in to bedded herds and killed the herd bull a couple times but odds are mostly definitely not in your favor. 

 

Bull Travel Corridors

Hunting travel corridors takes us right back to keeping a step ahead of the bull you want to kill. A lot of places I hunt year-after-year in the West this teaches me not only the desired feeding and bedding areas of elk but the travel routes they are most likely to use to get to those locations. I love hunting around natural barriers and cliff edges which force animals through funnels or easily predictable locations. Saddles are other area in the mountains that are good places to pay attention to as well. Remember that deer, elk and just about anything travels the path of least resistance when not under stress. Use that to your advantage next time you’re hunting and take notes on movements and habits after each hunt. I find these notes very helpful for the next year and hunt the same spot. 

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The Moon Phase

During my experience hunting elk, the moon phase and weather play a role in elk activity. Specifically, on clear, full moon nights, elk are going to be most active compared to cloudy dark nights, when elk are least active. The exception is during the peak of the rut. If cows are in estrus in the middle of the day, bulls will be breeding, no matter what the weather or moon phase is. Another factor that determines the duration of moonlit nights are the times that the moon rises and sets, so pay close attention to that as well when you are checking your sunrise/set tables because they change drastically each day. If the full moon rises early in the morning and sets early in the night, then it won’t matter; it’s going to be a dark night anyway. 

Moon phases are not caused by the shadow of the Earth falling on the moon. Instead, the moon orbits the Earth and is illuminated directly by the sun and how much it is illuminated depends on the position of the moon in its orbit. And finally, your position on earth determines what phase of the moon is visible to you. 

A new moon is my favorite time because nights are the darkest and animal activity during daylight hours is usually peaking. This year the new moon is September 1st so it will be easy to keep track of when I plan my elk hunts. Moonrise and moonset also play a role on how bright each night may be. 

Moonrise and set varies about an hour each day as the moon orbits around the earth. Here’s the good news. In 2016, the moon will be full September 16th with a rise at 6 a.m. and set at 7 p.m., so nights will be plenty dark around the full moon. The orientation of the moon calendar and rise and set calendars show that there will be no full nights of bright moon in the month of September, or even close to it for that matter. The nights that will be the brightest for the longest periods are right around the 11th and the 21st, with about a 2/3rd moon. So with that being said, the bright nights won’t be bright for very long in September 2016. Load your quiver and get after ’em!  

The post Call Wise Bulls appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Why Passing This 180-Inch Deer Was the Right Thing to Do

https://www.wideopenspaces.com/why-passing-this-180-inch-deer-was-the-right-thing-to-do/

Facebook: Don Higgins / Higgins Outdoors

Don Higgins passes a giant buck he named Smokey in 2016. You might think he’s insane, but not so fast.

It’s common knowledge in the deer hunting world: if you want to kill absolutely giant bucks, you’ll have to pass great bucks. And, as you’ve seen in another article of ours, Don Higgins recently tagged a buck he called Smokey during the 2017 Illinois archery season. Not just any buck, but the buck of a lifetime.

Many people don’t know the history Don has with this 200-plus Illinois giant. He passed this buck many times in 2016, and Smokey was no slouch. This deer was probably a 180-inch deer then, but Don knew the potential it had with another year of development.

Along with knowing its potential, Don had this buck dialed in. He knew its personality, its favorite bedding area and its favorite place to feed. Therefore, he was extremely confident he would be able to get another crack at him the next year.

Here’s a video of one of the hunts when Higgins passed Smokey. Would I be able to do it? Absolutely not at this point in my hunting career! But do I think he’s an idiot like most hunters screamed? Absolutely not! I admire the man for his discipline, as well as his knowledge and expertise in the woods. And if a hunter has the abilities to let a deer walk like that, more power to him.

Here is the video, check this out!

Passing Smokey

Posted by Don Higgins / Higgins Outdoors on Wednesday, August 16, 2017

As you can see, this is an incredible buck for any bowhunter. When Don posted this video on his social media pages, it was followed with mixed opinions. Some praised him and many said he was a fool because the deer was at full potential.

Don Higgins

But Don was able to silence the haters this year when he harvested Smokey just like he thought he would. A whopping 207 inches of Illinois bone later, Don had harvested his second 200-inch Illinois whitetail.

Well done, Don. I just can’t get over this video and also what Smokey turned into this hunting season.

NEXT: IS IT OK TO SHOOT A DOE WITH FAWNS?

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oembed rumble video here

The post Why Passing This 180-Inch Deer Was the Right Thing to Do appeared first on Wide Open Spaces.

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https://www.wideopenspaces.com/why-passing-this-180-inch-deer-was-the-right-thing-to-do/

Facebook: Don Higgins / Higgins Outdoors
deer hunting

Don Higgins passes a giant buck he named Smokey in 2016. You might think he’s insane, but not so fast.

It’s common knowledge in the deer hunting world: if you want to kill absolutely giant bucks, you’ll have to pass great bucks. And, as you’ve seen in another article of ours, Don Higgins recently tagged a buck he called Smokey during the 2017 Illinois archery season. Not just any buck, but the buck of a lifetime.

Many people don’t know the history Don has with this 200-plus Illinois giant. He passed this buck many times in 2016, and Smokey was no slouch. This deer was probably a 180-inch deer then, but Don knew the potential it had with another year of development.

Along with knowing its potential, Don had this buck dialed in. He knew its personality, its favorite bedding area and its favorite place to feed. Therefore, he was extremely confident he would be able to get another crack at him the next year.

Here’s a video of one of the hunts when Higgins passed Smokey. Would I be able to do it? Absolutely not at this point in my hunting career! But do I think he’s an idiot like most hunters screamed? Absolutely not! I admire the man for his discipline, as well as his knowledge and expertise in the woods. And if a hunter has the abilities to let a deer walk like that, more power to him.

Here is the video, check this out!

Passing Smokey

Posted by Don Higgins / Higgins Outdoors on Wednesday, August 16, 2017

As you can see, this is an incredible buck for any bowhunter. When Don posted this video on his social media pages, it was followed with mixed opinions. Some praised him and many said he was a fool because the deer was at full potential.

Don Higgins

But Don was able to silence the haters this year when he harvested Smokey just like he thought he would. A whopping 207 inches of Illinois bone later, Don had harvested his second 200-inch Illinois whitetail.

Well done, Don. I just can’t get over this video and also what Smokey turned into this hunting season.

NEXT: IS IT OK TO SHOOT A DOE WITH FAWNS?

WATCH

oembed rumble video here

The post Why Passing This 180-Inch Deer Was the Right Thing to Do appeared first on Wide Open Spaces.

Follow us on Twitter @freaknhunting
Follow us on Instagram @freaknhunting

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Hunting

Ruger Announces New Custom Shop 10/22 Rifle with Skeletonized Green Mountain Laminate Stock

Posted from: http://huntinginsider.com/ruger-announces-new-custom-shop-10-22-rifle-with-skeletonized-green-mountain-laminate-stock/

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR) is proud to introduce a new 10/22® Competition Rifle to the Ruger® Custom Shop line of firearms. This new variation boasts a skeletonized green mountain laminate stock and a stainless steel bull barrel. The 16-1/8″ stainless steel bull barrel features black Cerakote® accents and is fluted to reduce […]

The post Ruger Announces New Custom Shop 10/22 Rifle with Skeletonized Green Mountain Laminate Stock appeared first on HuntingInsider.

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Posted from: http://huntinginsider.com/ruger-announces-new-custom-shop-10-22-rifle-with-skeletonized-green-mountain-laminate-stock/

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR) is proud to introduce a new 10/22® Competition Rifle to the Ruger® Custom Shop line of firearms. This new variation boasts a skeletonized green mountain laminate stock and a stainless steel bull barrel. The 16-1/8″ stainless steel bull barrel features black Cerakote® accents and is fluted to reduce […]

The post Ruger Announces New Custom Shop 10/22 Rifle with Skeletonized Green Mountain Laminate Stock appeared first on HuntingInsider.

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Land & Legacy – Determining the Success of Your Season

Posted from: https://sportsmensnation.com/podcasters/land-and-legacy

Here is your pre-season pep rally! We take time this week to discuss how you should gauge the success of your season. Yes, big bucks are fun and play a role in our season, but there is much more weighing in on the success of a long hunting season. The outdoors is a medium or a way for you to draw closer to creation. Don’t overlook the opportunities this season to understand the importance of being silent and listening!

In addition, to determining the success of a season, we also discuss why you need to record your hunting observations. Each hunting season is an opportunity to learn more about what deer want to be doing on your property. These patterns or lack of patterns you are observing are strong indicators of the habitat work that needs to be completed on the property. We walk you through how to interpret these signs on your property. We will teach you to be intentional this hunting season and take a note pad to the stand with you. Learn more about your property and yourself more than ever this fall.

We hope this season is filled with encounters, not only with target deer, but with the Creator himself. Enjoy.Learn.Share! #ForLoveoftheLand

Follow FreaknHunting on Instagram @ http://instagram.com/freaknhunting
Catch us on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/freaknhunting
For the hat trick, we’re on Facebook @ https://facebook.com/FreaknHunting/

Published

on

Posted from: https://sportsmensnation.com/podcasters/land-and-legacy

Here is your pre-season pep rally! We take time this week to discuss how you should gauge the success of your season. Yes, big bucks are fun and play a role in our season, but there is much more weighing in on the success of a long hunting season. The outdoors is a medium or a way for you to draw closer to creation. Don’t overlook the opportunities this season to understand the importance of being silent and listening!

In addition, to determining the success of a season, we also discuss why you need to record your hunting observations. Each hunting season is an opportunity to learn more about what deer want to be doing on your property. These patterns or lack of patterns you are observing are strong indicators of the habitat work that needs to be completed on the property. We walk you through how to interpret these signs on your property. We will teach you to be intentional this hunting season and take a note pad to the stand with you. Learn more about your property and yourself more than ever this fall.

We hope this season is filled with encounters, not only with target deer, but with the Creator himself. Enjoy.Learn.Share! #ForLoveoftheLand

Follow FreaknHunting on Instagram @ http://instagram.com/freaknhunting
Catch us on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/freaknhunting
For the hat trick, we’re on Facebook @ https://facebook.com/FreaknHunting/

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