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Guy’s 2019 TOP Wyoming Elk Areas

Posted from: https://blog.eastmans.com/guys-2019-top-wyoming-elk-areas/

Wyoming’s elk herds continue to do very well, considering. With some predator problems and coming off of a few tough winters this year looks to be yet again a very solid year for Wyoming’s very plentiful elk herd. With plenty of hunt areas and hunt options to choose from, Wyoming continues to offer up the best hunt opportunity vs. hunt quality in the country in my opinion. The fact is, if you are not applying for elk in Wyoming, you are missing out.

With only a few days to decide on an elk application strategy here are a few areas you might want to keep in mind if you have yet to make the decision. The following are my top five choices with a few additional ideas mixed in.  

#5 – AREA 22 (Ferris, Max+) – The 5th best elk area in Wyoming in my opinion is Area 22.  With only 40 tags on quota, fairly easy terrain comprised of more than 80% public land this elk hunt is a very solid choice for the hunter that wants to take his time and not be bothered by the crowds. A bowhunt here during the entire month of September would probably be considered off the hook by most standards. Even if you don’t bow hunt, a lengthy three-week rifle season that begins on the 8th of October will offer up a very good opportunity at a nice 6-point bull. The Ferris elk unit is over population objective by nearly three times, while the bull to cow ratio is sky high with more than 60 bulls per 100 cows. The elk rut in this area is sure to be beyond dynamic. Over 70% of the hunters here will kill branch antlered bulls each year. If you are an older bowhunter looking for a great bowhunt in relatively easy country this hunt may be just the ticket. Maximum preference points will be required to have a chance at this hunt again for 2019. There are no tags available in the random draw for this elk hunt.

#4 – AREA 30 (Aspen Mountain, Max+) – With a seat at the top five table again this year, the Aspen Mountain elk area in southwestern Wyoming continues its track record as a very good elk hunt. Much like Area 22, the Aspen hunt is very limited (50 tags) with relatively easy country and plenty of public land (65%). The big bull potential here is a bit better than Area 22 which puts this area a slight notch above the Ferris hunt. Incredibly, nearly 90% of the hunters in this area will kill bulls each fall. The elk herd in this area is very stable with a population that is right at objective levels and a steady bull to cow ratio that is at a very healthy 38/100 level. In my humble opinion, the bowhunt in this area is as good as anything in the country right now. Given the very mild winter we are experiencing this year the elk in this area should begin to expand in both quantity and quality over the next few years. The herd bulls in this area will range from 320 -370. No random draw tags are available in the draw for this unit and max points is a requirement to draw here.

#3 – AREA 54 (Bald Ridge, 8-13 pts.) – The Bald Ridge elk area is a very familiar resident on this list. The Bald Ridge unit probably has some of the biggest bulls in the entire state of Wyoming roaming the deep and steep nooks and crannies of this elk area. The Type 1 hunt is the better of the two on the southern portion of the unit. There is a Type 9 bowhunt in this area that takes about 10 points to draw if you are a hardcore bowhunter. This area is full of deep country and lots of grizzly bears, but the big bull potential is very, very good here. The elk herd is right at objective and the bull to cow ratio is beyond juicy. This area has over 80 bulls per 100 cows which is almost unheard of. About 60% of the hunters here will kill bulls but this is mostly due to the rough and rugged country. The biggest bulls are very deep in this unit and a hunter that is very experienced and hardy will be the most successful on the biggest bulls here. With a two-month season, this hunt is not for the faint of heart, but the upside reward here can be tremendous. If I had one Wyoming elk area to choose from to kill a 350+ bull, this would be it.

#2 – AREA 124 (Powder Rim, Max+) – This elk hunt is an elk hunters dream come true in nearly every respect. A lengthy six-week rifle season preempted by a month-long bow season and only 50 other hunters to worry about this massive area just keeps getting better and better each year. Nearly 90% of the elk hunters here will kill branch antlered bulls this fall. This area is mostly comprised of big sage flats with sparse juniper and pinion ridges. The rutting action here can border on the insane and the big bull potential has improved dramatically over the past ten years. What used to be the extraordinary in this area is now the norm. A 350 to 380 bull is definitely possible in this Wyoming elk area. This is the type of hunt where a guy can take his time and really enjoy the hunt and soak in all that this area has to offer from the beginning of the rut in early September to the late season in late November. There is only one area in the entire state that edges this hunt out in my opinion and not by much!

#1 – AREA 100 (Steamboat, Max+) – The best elk hunt Wyoming has to offer this year should be the Steamboat hunt. Due to drastic habitat improvements from solid winter conditions and good summer rains this area has in my opinion peaked out to become the best over-all elk hunt in the Cowboy State. There should be some random tags available in the “special” draw for this year, otherwise max points will be needed to draw with any surety on this hunt. With 100 tags, a massive hunt area, and over 90% public land, a big bull will have a hard time getting away from a very good elk hunter in this unit. The area is massive and some serious scouting will be helpful to find a big bull here, but they do exist and they exist more plentiful than ever before here. The Steamboat hunt boasts the highest hunter success on branch antlered bulls in the West, with nearly every single hunter that draws this tag punching it on a branch-antlered bull. The bowhunt in here is as solid as they come on big open country desert bulls. Water, feed and cover are the keys to finding the biggest bulls in this area. A hunter in this unit will have to sort through a pile of 300 to 330 bulls to find the hidden gems that this area has to offer.

Guy’s Low Points WY Elk Options:

If you find yourself lacking in the points department, here are a few elk areas that don’t take max points but can still offer up a great elk hunt for those that can hunt hard and have some solid elk hunting experience under their belts.

Best Less Than 4-Point Option – WY General: The general elk tag in Wyoming is actually better than many limited quota elk tags throughout the West. With plenty of areas to choose from, 50 in total, and some very favorable seasons the general tag is certainly nothing to be afraid of when it comes to Wyoming elk. The average success in the general areas varies drastically from a high of 47%, which rivals most limited areas in the West, to an overall average of about 17%. More than once have I heard from hunters that they have spent too much of their life fretting over the preference points game while they should have just hunted general season units all along in Wyoming. Once you get to know one of these areas well, not only can you become consistently successful, but you can also have a chance at a good 320-360 bull if you hunt hard and do your homework. Some of these areas actually open for rifle on the 10th of September, and 400” bulls have been killed in general units in Wyoming! Not many other states can say that.

Best 4-Point Option – Areas 25/27: This hunt is a bit off the radar but can be a very good elk hunt for those who just want to chase some good bulls in some pretty rough country. The Wind River Mountains are tough country but there are some nice bulls to be had here. This hunt has no outstanding features to speak of, but is very solid in nearly every regard of the measure. The trend here is on the upswing for sure, as nearly half of the hunters in in 2017 managed to kill branch-antlered bulls on this mostly public land hunt. With an elk herd that is at objective and a bull to cow ratio that hovers around a very solid 35/100 this hunt is as steady as they come in Wyoming.

Best 5-Point Option – Area 51: The big bull potential here is very high. This is a feast or famine type hunt, with 100 tags available and a very favorable season during the entire month of October. Plenty of grizzly bears and some deep rough and rugged country to hunt in this hunt is not for the faint of heart. Horses are nearly a must to get back into the big bull areas of the back end of this unit. But for those with the guts to push on, this elk hunt can produce bulls in the 360-390 class on occasion. Even if a monster bull is not a must for you, this area can produce some good bulls in the 300 to 330 class for many of the hunters who hunt hard here. Nearly half of the hunters here will kill bulls.

Best 6-Point Option – Area 117: The Black Hills elk hunt can be a bit of a puzzle for some, but once you figure it out, this hunt can produce some very solid results. There is big bull potential here and the country is fairly easy on the hunter. With 300 tags on quota, getting away from the crowds will be a must. This area lacks public land, but does tend to get a little checkered with private in some areas. With a 50% success rate on bulls and a solid bull to cow ratio, most of the elk hunters in this area tend to find a way to get it done. I would say a 300-320 bull is a good bull here, with the outside potential for something much bigger if the stars align right.

Best 7-Point Option- Area 23: The elk hunt in the Rattlesnake Mountains outside of Casper can be a very consistent elk   for those who know how to maneuver around private land holdings and hunt elk in broken juniper type country. This area does not tend to produce giant bulls, but there are plenty of elk in this area with good opportunity. A 330-class bull would be a real win here, with most bulls stretching the tape at around 300. With success rates at over 60% this area is a very reliable elk producer for the Cowboy State. With plenty of time, hard work and a good mapping software a nice bull elk in this unit is very likely with somewhat minimal physical effort.

For more details regarding these and all remaining Wyoming elk hunts make sure you check out the MRS section in the Jan/Feb issue of Eastmans’ Bowhunting Journal either in the print or digital edition found at www.eastmans.com.

The post Guy’s 2019 TOP Wyoming Elk Areas appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Posted from: https://blog.eastmans.com/guys-2019-top-wyoming-elk-areas/

Aspen Mountain

Wyoming’s elk herds continue to do very well, considering. With some predator problems and coming off of a few tough winters this year looks to be yet again a very solid year for Wyoming’s very plentiful elk herd. With plenty of hunt areas and hunt options to choose from, Wyoming continues to offer up the best hunt opportunity vs. hunt quality in the country in my opinion. The fact is, if you are not applying for elk in Wyoming, you are missing out.

With only a few days to decide on an elk application strategy here are a few areas you might want to keep in mind if you have yet to make the decision. The following are my top five choices with a few additional ideas mixed in.  

#5 – AREA 22 (Ferris, Max+) – The 5th best elk area in Wyoming in my opinion is Area 22.  With only 40 tags on quota, fairly easy terrain comprised of more than 80% public land this elk hunt is a very solid choice for the hunter that wants to take his time and not be bothered by the crowds. A bowhunt here during the entire month of September would probably be considered off the hook by most standards. Even if you don’t bow hunt, a lengthy three-week rifle season that begins on the 8th of October will offer up a very good opportunity at a nice 6-point bull. The Ferris elk unit is over population objective by nearly three times, while the bull to cow ratio is sky high with more than 60 bulls per 100 cows. The elk rut in this area is sure to be beyond dynamic. Over 70% of the hunters here will kill branch antlered bulls each year. If you are an older bowhunter looking for a great bowhunt in relatively easy country this hunt may be just the ticket. Maximum preference points will be required to have a chance at this hunt again for 2019. There are no tags available in the random draw for this elk hunt.

#4 – AREA 30 (Aspen Mountain, Max+) – With a seat at the top five table again this year, the Aspen Mountain elk area in southwestern Wyoming continues its track record as a very good elk hunt. Much like Area 22, the Aspen hunt is very limited (50 tags) with relatively easy country and plenty of public land (65%). The big bull potential here is a bit better than Area 22 which puts this area a slight notch above the Ferris hunt. Incredibly, nearly 90% of the hunters in this area will kill bulls each fall. The elk herd in this area is very stable with a population that is right at objective levels and a steady bull to cow ratio that is at a very healthy 38/100 level. In my humble opinion, the bowhunt in this area is as good as anything in the country right now. Given the very mild winter we are experiencing this year the elk in this area should begin to expand in both quantity and quality over the next few years. The herd bulls in this area will range from 320 -370. No random draw tags are available in the draw for this unit and max points is a requirement to draw here.

#3 – AREA 54 (Bald Ridge, 8-13 pts.) – The Bald Ridge elk area is a very familiar resident on this list. The Bald Ridge unit probably has some of the biggest bulls in the entire state of Wyoming roaming the deep and steep nooks and crannies of this elk area. The Type 1 hunt is the better of the two on the southern portion of the unit. There is a Type 9 bowhunt in this area that takes about 10 points to draw if you are a hardcore bowhunter. This area is full of deep country and lots of grizzly bears, but the big bull potential is very, very good here. The elk herd is right at objective and the bull to cow ratio is beyond juicy. This area has over 80 bulls per 100 cows which is almost unheard of. About 60% of the hunters here will kill bulls but this is mostly due to the rough and rugged country. The biggest bulls are very deep in this unit and a hunter that is very experienced and hardy will be the most successful on the biggest bulls here. With a two-month season, this hunt is not for the faint of heart, but the upside reward here can be tremendous. If I had one Wyoming elk area to choose from to kill a 350+ bull, this would be it.

#2 – AREA 124 (Powder Rim, Max+) – This elk hunt is an elk hunters dream come true in nearly every respect. A lengthy six-week rifle season preempted by a month-long bow season and only 50 other hunters to worry about this massive area just keeps getting better and better each year. Nearly 90% of the elk hunters here will kill branch antlered bulls this fall. This area is mostly comprised of big sage flats with sparse juniper and pinion ridges. The rutting action here can border on the insane and the big bull potential has improved dramatically over the past ten years. What used to be the extraordinary in this area is now the norm. A 350 to 380 bull is definitely possible in this Wyoming elk area. This is the type of hunt where a guy can take his time and really enjoy the hunt and soak in all that this area has to offer from the beginning of the rut in early September to the late season in late November. There is only one area in the entire state that edges this hunt out in my opinion and not by much!

#1 – AREA 100 (Steamboat, Max+) – The best elk hunt Wyoming has to offer this year should be the Steamboat hunt. Due to drastic habitat improvements from solid winter conditions and good summer rains this area has in my opinion peaked out to become the best over-all elk hunt in the Cowboy State. There should be some random tags available in the “special” draw for this year, otherwise max points will be needed to draw with any surety on this hunt. With 100 tags, a massive hunt area, and over 90% public land, a big bull will have a hard time getting away from a very good elk hunter in this unit. The area is massive and some serious scouting will be helpful to find a big bull here, but they do exist and they exist more plentiful than ever before here. The Steamboat hunt boasts the highest hunter success on branch antlered bulls in the West, with nearly every single hunter that draws this tag punching it on a branch-antlered bull. The bowhunt in here is as solid as they come on big open country desert bulls. Water, feed and cover are the keys to finding the biggest bulls in this area. A hunter in this unit will have to sort through a pile of 300 to 330 bulls to find the hidden gems that this area has to offer.

Guy’s Low Points WY Elk Options:

If you find yourself lacking in the points department, here are a few elk areas that don’t take max points but can still offer up a great elk hunt for those that can hunt hard and have some solid elk hunting experience under their belts.

Best Less Than 4-Point Option – WY General: The general elk tag in Wyoming is actually better than many limited quota elk tags throughout the West. With plenty of areas to choose from, 50 in total, and some very favorable seasons the general tag is certainly nothing to be afraid of when it comes to Wyoming elk. The average success in the general areas varies drastically from a high of 47%, which rivals most limited areas in the West, to an overall average of about 17%. More than once have I heard from hunters that they have spent too much of their life fretting over the preference points game while they should have just hunted general season units all along in Wyoming. Once you get to know one of these areas well, not only can you become consistently successful, but you can also have a chance at a good 320-360 bull if you hunt hard and do your homework. Some of these areas actually open for rifle on the 10th of September, and 400” bulls have been killed in general units in Wyoming! Not many other states can say that.

Best 4-Point Option – Areas 25/27: This hunt is a bit off the radar but can be a very good elk hunt for those who just want to chase some good bulls in some pretty rough country. The Wind River Mountains are tough country but there are some nice bulls to be had here. This hunt has no outstanding features to speak of, but is very solid in nearly every regard of the measure. The trend here is on the upswing for sure, as nearly half of the hunters in in 2017 managed to kill branch-antlered bulls on this mostly public land hunt. With an elk herd that is at objective and a bull to cow ratio that hovers around a very solid 35/100 this hunt is as steady as they come in Wyoming.

Best 5-Point Option – Area 51: The big bull potential here is very high. This is a feast or famine type hunt, with 100 tags available and a very favorable season during the entire month of October. Plenty of grizzly bears and some deep rough and rugged country to hunt in this hunt is not for the faint of heart. Horses are nearly a must to get back into the big bull areas of the back end of this unit. But for those with the guts to push on, this elk hunt can produce bulls in the 360-390 class on occasion. Even if a monster bull is not a must for you, this area can produce some good bulls in the 300 to 330 class for many of the hunters who hunt hard here. Nearly half of the hunters here will kill bulls.

Best 6-Point Option – Area 117: The Black Hills elk hunt can be a bit of a puzzle for some, but once you figure it out, this hunt can produce some very solid results. There is big bull potential here and the country is fairly easy on the hunter. With 300 tags on quota, getting away from the crowds will be a must. This area lacks public land, but does tend to get a little checkered with private in some areas. With a 50% success rate on bulls and a solid bull to cow ratio, most of the elk hunters in this area tend to find a way to get it done. I would say a 300-320 bull is a good bull here, with the outside potential for something much bigger if the stars align right.

Best 7-Point Option- Area 23: The elk hunt in the Rattlesnake Mountains outside of Casper can be a very consistent elk   for those who know how to maneuver around private land holdings and hunt elk in broken juniper type country. This area does not tend to produce giant bulls, but there are plenty of elk in this area with good opportunity. A 330-class bull would be a real win here, with most bulls stretching the tape at around 300. With success rates at over 60% this area is a very reliable elk producer for the Cowboy State. With plenty of time, hard work and a good mapping software a nice bull elk in this unit is very likely with somewhat minimal physical effort.

For more details regarding these and all remaining Wyoming elk hunts make sure you check out the MRS section in the Jan/Feb issue of Eastmans’ Bowhunting Journal either in the print or digital edition found at www.eastmans.com.

The post Guy’s 2019 TOP Wyoming Elk Areas appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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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Hunting

N.F.C. – Maps & Scouting Lead To Success with Kevin Vanderploeg

Posted from: https://audio.simplecast.com/1ee470f6.mp3

On this episode, Dan talks with Kevin Vanderploeg of Michigan about his 2018 deer hunting season. Actually, the story really starts in 2017 where was able to harvest a 156 10 point buck on public land in Ohio.

During the summer months of 2018 he identified two shooter bucks in a 10 acre woodlot that made him focus on the area a little more. Knocking on doors to gain permission he picked up an additional 30 acres. During a scouting mission before the season started he found a buck bed and some old sign that got him excited for the upcoming archery season. The scouting paid off, he was able to harvest one of the shooters early in October.

Then, later in the month and in to November he took two out of state trips to hunt public ground. Using digital maps that showed terrain feature, he was able to find some really good tree stand locations that resulted in him sealing the deal.

I love talking to guys like Kevin who put in the time to locate the best possible locations and ultimately get the job done.

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

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Posted from: https://audio.simplecast.com/1ee470f6.mp3

On this episode, Dan talks with Kevin Vanderploeg of Michigan about his 2018 deer hunting season. Actually, the story really starts in 2017 where was able to harvest a 156 10 point buck on public land in Ohio.

During the summer months of 2018 he identified two shooter bucks in a 10 acre woodlot that made him focus on the area a little more. Knocking on doors to gain permission he picked up an additional 30 acres. During a scouting mission before the season started he found a buck bed and some old sign that got him excited for the upcoming archery season. The scouting paid off, he was able to harvest one of the shooters early in October.

Then, later in the month and in to November he took two out of state trips to hunt public ground. Using digital maps that showed terrain feature, he was able to find some really good tree stand locations that resulted in him sealing the deal.

I love talking to guys like Kevin who put in the time to locate the best possible locations and ultimately get the job done.

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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Hunting

Hunting the Easy Way? Part 2

Posted from: https://www.bowhunting.net/2019/04/hunting-the-easy-way-part-2/

Archery tradition of “Hunting the Hard Way” dying or is it already dead?

MARQSCOUT
Sponsored by: The Archery Hall of Fame

By: M.R. James

          IN MY LAST COLUMN I briefly examined the positive and negative effects that modern technology has had on the ancient sport of archery and 21st century bowhunters. For those of us with lots of gray in our whiskers, folks who began shooting arrows at targets and game animals in the 1950s and 1960s, can likely recall crafting or buying our first longbows and recurves. We mostly used tapered cedar or metal shafts with glue-on feather fletching and field points for shooting paper or hand-sharpened, store-bought, cut-on-contact broadheads for hunting deer and other woodland game.

            Back then, drawing an arrow the average 28 inches or so
before releasing it took a bit of doing with heavier-pulling hunting bows. For
example, if your bow’s draw weight was 60 or 65 pounds, it was no different
than using your index, middle, and ring fingers to lift that total weight slightly
more than two feet off the floor, hold it steady while aiming, and then
relaxing your fingers to make the shot. States established minimum draw weights
for hunting, typically in the 35 to 45-pound range, give or take a little, to
help achieve necessary penetration for quick, clean kills.

            Kinetic energy was something you’d find referenced in a
physics book. Compound bows and minimal draw weight let-offs were, until the
late 1960s and early ‘70s, known only to H. W. Allen and Tom Jennings and their
small group of followers. By the way, the let-off on my initial Jennings bow, the
one used to take my first compound-killed buck, was around 10 or 12%. In 1971,
when the very first copies of Bowhunter Magazine
rolled off the presses, only one compound bow ad could be found. But by the end
of that same decade, most of the major North American bow companies were
building, advertising, and selling fast, flat-shooting wheeled bows for hunters
and target shooters alike.

            Arguably, the compound bow had just changed archery and
bowhunting forever. Using wheeled bows with their cables and pulleys, made bows
shoot faster and bowhunting easier than using stickbows.

This wild, free-ranging British Columbia bison fell to well-placed arrows after I’d stalked within 40 yards before raising my Mathews compound bow The one-ton giant is one of several bison I’ve taken over my 60-year bowhunting career and proof that broadheads can quickly drop even the largest beasts found on the North American continent.

            THE LEGENDRY ARCHER/BOWHUNTER HOWARD HILL wrote Hunting the Hard Way in 1953, rightfully
noting in his book that using firearms was easier and more woodcraft and
stalking ability was necessary for archers to get close to wary game before
making the killing shot. He also said of bowhunting, “I know of no greater
measure of game conservation than using the bow as a weapon in hunting game.” That’s
because of its low overall impact on game populations. That was true in Hill’s
heyday and in the 1960s when I got serious about bowhunting (with only 3 or 4 of
every 100 bowhunters tagging a deer).

            Now, half a century later, bowhunting success shows decades of growth. Much of that improvement is because of the population explosion in North America’s whitetail deer herds, better bowhunting tackle, and more knowledgeable, experienced hunters. From an average success rate of 3 to 4% in the ‘60s, bowhunters in at least 10 states and provinces now enjoy 30 to 40% success putting venison in the family freezer. Only Nova Scotia’s 6%, Maine’s 10%, and California’s 11% fail to hit seasonal deer kill averages in the teens or better. (Note: All figures cited are from the 2018 Bowhunter Magazine Deer Forecast.)

I killed this young Michigan buck with one arrow from my Pearson recurve in the late 1960s. Since treestands were illegal in the state back then, I was still-hunting with the 25 yard shot presented itself. Gotta love what Howard Hill called “Hunting the hard way.”

            Such success has not gone unnoticed by game departments
and deer biologists, as well as critics of bowhunting’s lengthy seasons, which
often include the annual rut when bucks are most visible and vulnerable.
Combined with diseases like EHD or CWD, that can take a heavy toll on deer in
any given area, plus increased road kills and overharvesting does by issuing
too many antlerless licenses, complaints about deer sightings are becoming
increasingly commonplace.

            My adopted state of Indiana is a good example. Nearly
one-third of Hoosierland’s 75,000+ bowhunters fill their tags annually without
adversely impacting the herd. However, an overly long firearms season, including
an arbitrary antlerless late season that takes a heavy toll on pregnant does, has
transformed the state into counties with pockets of plenty and adjoining
counties, which formerly supported good numbers of whitetails, into areas with comparatively
few if any deer. Not surprisingly, this has caused growing numbers of unhappy Indiana
deer hunters to grow increasingly restless.

            Compounding the mounting unrest (no pun intended), is the
fact that in recent years certain high-powered rifles and crossbows have been
legalized for hunting Hoosier deer. Throw in the annual road kills and the crop-raiding
deer legally blown away and left to rot by farmers during summer months, plus fears
the Indiana herd is dwindling, may be true. Making killing deer easier is an
issue in Indiana and elsewhere. Calls for protecting does by reducing
antlerless permits and eliminating the late season are increasing.

I’ve frequently shared hunting camps with rifle hunters where wearing blaze orange was the law. Caribou, like this Quebec P&Y bull, are a favorite challenge. I stalked him as he fed across the rolling tundra and stopped him with one arrow at no more than 30 yards. Challenge faced, challenge met.
 

            I HAVE NO DOUBTS that the modern crossbow is already
having a major impact on bowhunting. When in 1976 neighboring Ohio legalized
the use of crossbows during archery seasons – and Arkansas followed suit – it
took only a few years for crossbow usage during deer season to exceed the use
of vertical bows. More recently, after Wisconsin okayed crossbow use in 2013,
the identical thing happened. In 2018, Badger State “bowhunters” registered
46,750 deer by shooting crossbows, while 40,055 tagged their deer with
compounds and traditional bows held and shot vertically.

                                                                      

Modern crossbows equipped with telescopic sights are gaining in popularity with more and more deer hunters. They’re easier to use, require minimal practice once zeroed in, and account for a higher number of deer kills than conventional bows in some states where they’re legal. Archery purists say they are not for hunters who want the challenge of “hunting the hard way” with conventional bowhunting tackle.

            The reason is obvious? Crossbows are easier to use.
They’re pre-cocked, frequently equipped with telescopic sights, and ready to
shoot with minimal movement when a deer appears. They are, in fact, the
antithesis of Hill’s “hunting the hard way.” The claim that compound bows are
simply vertical crossbows doesn’t hold water for any objective hunter.

            Based on my 60+ years in archery and big game hunting, I
can state unequivocally that I can hunt effectively with longbows and recurves
shot instinctively, but I’m a better shot at longer ranges using a compound bow
with sights. Likewise, I can shoot even better at longer ranges using a
crossbow with a telescopic sight and bipod than hand-holding either a stickbow
or compound. I suspect this is generally true with a majority of folks.

            The popularity of crossbows is not surprising, really.
This is the age of busy, results-oriented folks who often have multiple
interests and obligations with little spare time. The crossbow doesn’t require
the strength necessary to draw and hold conventional bows, making crossbows
appealing to youngsters and women. Once legally used only during archery
seasons by physically challenged bowhunters, today’s crossbows typically
account for the only area of growth of hunting license sales in some states.
Deer hunters like them because of the long archery season, increased odds of
tagging a deer, and the minimal amount of practice time required once the
weapon is sighted in.

            Based on the limited research I’ve conducted, it seems that increased crossbow license sales do not result in more hunters showing up in the woods and more revenue for Fish and Game Department coffers. The state of Wisconsin cites a trend that indicates many “new” crossbow shooters are in fact gun hunters who like the longer season and better weather, or they are former bowhunters wanting better odds to fill a deer tag than conventional bows and arrows offer.

Why bowhunt? “To face the challenge of doing something difficult in hopes of beating the odds and savoring the satisfaction of achieving a personal goal.”
 

            What’s my personal take on crossbows? They are a fine
weapon and deserve a season and record book of their own. Crossbow kills should
never be allowed in the Pope and Young bowhunting record book. Moreover, since
I love bowhunting for the challenge it offers, I would never hunt with a
crossbow during archery season any more than I would use a firearm, if legal. However,
I do frequently hunt with my compound or recurve during a firearms season – often
wearing the required blaze orange over my camo clothing – and I’ve been
successful tagging every big game animal from deer to moose and caribou and
mountain goats and muskoxen to black bears and cougars. Crossbow hunters easily
could enjoy similar success competing with gun hunters, if willing to accept
the challenge.

            I oppose the use of crossbows during archery seasons except by physically challenged hunters. Why? Because they distort numbers of actual bow kills and thereby threaten the future of “hunting the hard way.” That’s the way I’ve hunted for six decades and will continue to hunt for as long as I have the strength to draw a bow and release an arrow.

For Hunting the Easy Way? Part 1
For more please go to: Thoughts and Tips with M.R. James

                                                                       

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Catch us on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/freaknhunting
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Posted from: https://www.bowhunting.net/2019/04/hunting-the-easy-way-part-2/

Archery tradition of “Hunting the Hard Way” dying or is it already dead?

MARQSCOUT
Sponsored by: The Archery Hall of Fame

hunting
By: M.R. James

          IN MY LAST COLUMN I briefly examined the positive and negative effects that modern technology has had on the ancient sport of archery and 21st century bowhunters. For those of us with lots of gray in our whiskers, folks who began shooting arrows at targets and game animals in the 1950s and 1960s, can likely recall crafting or buying our first longbows and recurves. We mostly used tapered cedar or metal shafts with glue-on feather fletching and field points for shooting paper or hand-sharpened, store-bought, cut-on-contact broadheads for hunting deer and other woodland game.

            Back then, drawing an arrow the average 28 inches or so
before releasing it took a bit of doing with heavier-pulling hunting bows. For
example, if your bow’s draw weight was 60 or 65 pounds, it was no different
than using your index, middle, and ring fingers to lift that total weight slightly
more than two feet off the floor, hold it steady while aiming, and then
relaxing your fingers to make the shot. States established minimum draw weights
for hunting, typically in the 35 to 45-pound range, give or take a little, to
help achieve necessary penetration for quick, clean kills.

            Kinetic energy was something you’d find referenced in a
physics book. Compound bows and minimal draw weight let-offs were, until the
late 1960s and early ‘70s, known only to H. W. Allen and Tom Jennings and their
small group of followers. By the way, the let-off on my initial Jennings bow, the
one used to take my first compound-killed buck, was around 10 or 12%. In 1971,
when the very first copies of Bowhunter Magazine
rolled off the presses, only one compound bow ad could be found. But by the end
of that same decade, most of the major North American bow companies were
building, advertising, and selling fast, flat-shooting wheeled bows for hunters
and target shooters alike.

            Arguably, the compound bow had just changed archery and
bowhunting forever. Using wheeled bows with their cables and pulleys, made bows
shoot faster and bowhunting easier than using stickbows.

hunting articles
This wild, free-ranging British Columbia bison fell to well-placed arrows after I’d stalked within 40 yards before raising my Mathews compound bow The one-ton giant is one of several bison I’ve taken over my 60-year bowhunting career and proof that broadheads can quickly drop even the largest beasts found on the North American continent.

            THE LEGENDRY ARCHER/BOWHUNTER HOWARD HILL wrote Hunting the Hard Way in 1953, rightfully
noting in his book that using firearms was easier and more woodcraft and
stalking ability was necessary for archers to get close to wary game before
making the killing shot. He also said of bowhunting, “I know of no greater
measure of game conservation than using the bow as a weapon in hunting game.” That’s
because of its low overall impact on game populations. That was true in Hill’s
heyday and in the 1960s when I got serious about bowhunting (with only 3 or 4 of
every 100 bowhunters tagging a deer).

            Now, half a century later, bowhunting success shows decades of growth. Much of that improvement is because of the population explosion in North America’s whitetail deer herds, better bowhunting tackle, and more knowledgeable, experienced hunters. From an average success rate of 3 to 4% in the ‘60s, bowhunters in at least 10 states and provinces now enjoy 30 to 40% success putting venison in the family freezer. Only Nova Scotia’s 6%, Maine’s 10%, and California’s 11% fail to hit seasonal deer kill averages in the teens or better. (Note: All figures cited are from the 2018 Bowhunter Magazine Deer Forecast.)

hunting website
I killed this young Michigan buck with one arrow from my Pearson recurve in the late 1960s. Since treestands were illegal in the state back then, I was still-hunting with the 25 yard shot presented itself. Gotta love what Howard Hill called “Hunting the hard way.”

            Such success has not gone unnoticed by game departments
and deer biologists, as well as critics of bowhunting’s lengthy seasons, which
often include the annual rut when bucks are most visible and vulnerable.
Combined with diseases like EHD or CWD, that can take a heavy toll on deer in
any given area, plus increased road kills and overharvesting does by issuing
too many antlerless licenses, complaints about deer sightings are becoming
increasingly commonplace.

            My adopted state of Indiana is a good example. Nearly
one-third of Hoosierland’s 75,000+ bowhunters fill their tags annually without
adversely impacting the herd. However, an overly long firearms season, including
an arbitrary antlerless late season that takes a heavy toll on pregnant does, has
transformed the state into counties with pockets of plenty and adjoining
counties, which formerly supported good numbers of whitetails, into areas with comparatively
few if any deer. Not surprisingly, this has caused growing numbers of unhappy Indiana
deer hunters to grow increasingly restless.

            Compounding the mounting unrest (no pun intended), is the
fact that in recent years certain high-powered rifles and crossbows have been
legalized for hunting Hoosier deer. Throw in the annual road kills and the crop-raiding
deer legally blown away and left to rot by farmers during summer months, plus fears
the Indiana herd is dwindling, may be true. Making killing deer easier is an
issue in Indiana and elsewhere. Calls for protecting does by reducing
antlerless permits and eliminating the late season are increasing.

metal shafts
I’ve frequently shared hunting camps with rifle hunters where wearing blaze orange was the law. Caribou, like this Quebec P&Y bull, are a favorite challenge. I stalked him as he fed across the rolling tundra and stopped him with one arrow at no more than 30 yards. Challenge faced, challenge met.
 

            I HAVE NO DOUBTS that the modern crossbow is already
having a major impact on bowhunting. When in 1976 neighboring Ohio legalized
the use of crossbows during archery seasons – and Arkansas followed suit – it
took only a few years for crossbow usage during deer season to exceed the use
of vertical bows. More recently, after Wisconsin okayed crossbow use in 2013,
the identical thing happened. In 2018, Badger State “bowhunters” registered
46,750 deer by shooting crossbows, while 40,055 tagged their deer with
compounds and traditional bows held and shot vertically.

                                                                      

Ohio
Modern crossbows equipped with telescopic sights are gaining in popularity with more and more deer hunters. They’re easier to use, require minimal practice once zeroed in, and account for a higher number of deer kills than conventional bows in some states where they’re legal. Archery purists say they are not for hunters who want the challenge of “hunting the hard way” with conventional bowhunting tackle.

            The reason is obvious? Crossbows are easier to use.
They’re pre-cocked, frequently equipped with telescopic sights, and ready to
shoot with minimal movement when a deer appears. They are, in fact, the
antithesis of Hill’s “hunting the hard way.” The claim that compound bows are
simply vertical crossbows doesn’t hold water for any objective hunter.

            Based on my 60+ years in archery and big game hunting, I
can state unequivocally that I can hunt effectively with longbows and recurves
shot instinctively, but I’m a better shot at longer ranges using a compound bow
with sights. Likewise, I can shoot even better at longer ranges using a
crossbow with a telescopic sight and bipod than hand-holding either a stickbow
or compound. I suspect this is generally true with a majority of folks.

            The popularity of crossbows is not surprising, really.
This is the age of busy, results-oriented folks who often have multiple
interests and obligations with little spare time. The crossbow doesn’t require
the strength necessary to draw and hold conventional bows, making crossbows
appealing to youngsters and women. Once legally used only during archery
seasons by physically challenged bowhunters, today’s crossbows typically
account for the only area of growth of hunting license sales in some states.
Deer hunters like them because of the long archery season, increased odds of
tagging a deer, and the minimal amount of practice time required once the
weapon is sighted in.

            Based on the limited research I’ve conducted, it seems that increased crossbow license sales do not result in more hunters showing up in the woods and more revenue for Fish and Game Department coffers. The state of Wisconsin cites a trend that indicates many “new” crossbow shooters are in fact gun hunters who like the longer season and better weather, or they are former bowhunters wanting better odds to fill a deer tag than conventional bows and arrows offer.

Tom Jennings
Why bowhunt? “To face the challenge of doing something difficult in hopes of beating the odds and savoring the satisfaction of achieving a personal goal.”
 

            What’s my personal take on crossbows? They are a fine
weapon and deserve a season and record book of their own. Crossbow kills should
never be allowed in the Pope and Young bowhunting record book. Moreover, since
I love bowhunting for the challenge it offers, I would never hunt with a
crossbow during archery season any more than I would use a firearm, if legal. However,
I do frequently hunt with my compound or recurve during a firearms season – often
wearing the required blaze orange over my camo clothing – and I’ve been
successful tagging every big game animal from deer to moose and caribou and
mountain goats and muskoxen to black bears and cougars. Crossbow hunters easily
could enjoy similar success competing with gun hunters, if willing to accept
the challenge.

            I oppose the use of crossbows during archery seasons except by physically challenged hunters. Why? Because they distort numbers of actual bow kills and thereby threaten the future of “hunting the hard way.” That’s the way I’ve hunted for six decades and will continue to hunt for as long as I have the strength to draw a bow and release an arrow.

For Hunting the Easy Way? Part 1
For more please go to: Thoughts and Tips with M.R. James

                                                                       

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/

Continue Reading

Hunting

Time To Talk (Wild) Turkey

Posted from: https://www.bowhunting.net/2019/04/time-to-talk-wild-turkey/

By Erik Barber from Bowhunting360.com.

In the Spring, April and May bring warmer weather, chirping birds, green grass and, of course, gobbling wild turkeys. Most states offer a spring turkey-hunting season that provides ample opportunities to get into the woods during beautiful weather to bowhunt wild turkey gobblers.

Before getting started, check your state and local regulations regarding season dates, approved bowhunting equipment, and license and tag requirements.

Why Hunt Wild Turkeys?

Wild Turkeys offer some of the most action-packed bowhunting opportunities you’ll ever know. If turkeys are nearby, you’ll hear a tom gobbling to attract springtime mates. This heart-pounding call will make your bowhunt memorable by itself. Meanwhile, spring’s pleasant weather, blooming flowers, budding leaves and chirping birds will keep you enthralled as you wait in your blind for that gobbling tom.

A gobbling tom in full strut is arguably one of nature’s most beautiful sights. A strutting gobbler drops its wings so the tips drag the ground, and puffs out its breast while locking its tail feathers into a full upright position to form a magnificent fan. Photo Credit: John Hafner

What do you need to know?

Whether you’re a seasoned bowhunter or are just getting started bowhunting, turkey season can quickly become your favorite spring pastime. Hunters can shoot only adult males, called “toms,” and juvenile males, called “jakes,” during spring hunting seasons.

The wild turkey’s breeding season runs through April and May, and causes males to strut and gobble repeatedly to attract females, called “hens.” A gobbling tom in full strut is arguably one of nature’s most beautiful sights. A strutting gobbler drops its wings so the tips drag the ground, and puffs out its breast while locking its tail feathers into a full upright position to form a magnificent fan.

A box call is a type of friction call. Hunters slide its lid against the top of the box to make turkey sounds that attract adult males, called “toms,” and juvenile males, called “jakes.” Photo Credit: John Hafner

Turkey Calls

Because male turkeys are vocal and aggressive during the breeding season, they’ll often respond to calling. Turkey calls come in many models, including diaphragm calls, which are mouth-blown calls that require much practice but are deadly because they can be used hands-free.

Another popular model is friction calls, which include slate calls and box calls. Friction calls are user-friendly. You make the sound yourself using a wooden peg, called a “striker,” to stroke the call’s slate or similar surface. With a box call, you slide its lid against the top of the box to make turkey sounds. In most cases, calls mimic a hen yelp, which is the sound female turkeys make while searching for a tom. However, some seasoned turkey hunters use a gobble call to provoke an aggressive response from toms. That call can lure in a gobbler that won’t respond to hen yelps.

Decoys can sometimes help bring gobblers into bow range. For example, jake (juvenile male) and tom (adult male) decoys can coax in aggressive gobblers that want to drive competitors from their turf. Photo Credit: John Hafner

Turkey Decoys

When calling to turkeys, you’re urging them to search for the source of the sound. Decoys can sometimes help bring gobblers into bow range. Decoys are available in several options. The most common are hen decoys, which are what gobbling toms desire. In addition, jake and tom decoys can coax in aggressive gobblers that want to drive competitors from their turf. Experiment with different decoy setups to find one that matches the turkey’s mood. Passive toms tend to be attracted to a lone hen decoy, while aggressive toms often rush in to a hen and jake/tom combination.

Pop-up blinds help conceal bowhunters’ movements and, for that reason, are ideal for bowhunting turkeys, which have keen eyesight and can detect the slightest movements. Photo Credit: John Hafner

Hunting Blinds

Turkeys have keen eyesight, and detect the slightest movements. Pop-up blinds are useful for bowhunting turkeys. Bows require lots of motion when pulling them to full draw and settling on your target. A blind’s added concealment can make a big difference.

Turkeys have a relatively small vital zone, roughly the size of your fist, so it’s important to get the tom within a safe shooting range – about 30 yards, depending on the bowhunter – before shooting. Whenever possible, use a blind to conceal your moves, and a decoy to hold the tom’s attention while it approaches. Most pop-up blinds are portable, and easily set up and taken down. Those features let bowhunters move to different locations with little effort.

Turkeys offer some of the most action-packed bowhunting opportunities you’ll ever know. They’re one of the most difficult animals to hunt with a bow, and the breast, legs, wings and thighs taste delicious when cooked properly. Get out there and bring home the (turkey) bacon! Photo Credit: John Hafner

To start your turkey hunting adventure, check your state wildlife agency’s website for laws and season dates. Then visit your local archery shop to get the gear you need to take on this challenge.

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

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Posted from: https://www.bowhunting.net/2019/04/time-to-talk-wild-turkey/

By Erik Barber from Bowhunting360.com.

In the Spring, April and May bring warmer weather, chirping birds, green grass and, of course, gobbling wild turkeys. Most states offer a spring turkey-hunting season that provides ample opportunities to get into the woods during beautiful weather to bowhunt wild turkey gobblers.

Before getting started, check your state and local regulations regarding season dates, approved bowhunting equipment, and license and tag requirements.

Why Hunt Wild Turkeys?

Wild Turkeys offer some of the most action-packed bowhunting opportunities you’ll ever know. If turkeys are nearby, you’ll hear a tom gobbling to attract springtime mates. This heart-pounding call will make your bowhunt memorable by itself. Meanwhile, spring’s pleasant weather, blooming flowers, budding leaves and chirping birds will keep you enthralled as you wait in your blind for that gobbling tom.

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A gobbling tom in full strut is arguably one of nature’s most beautiful sights. A strutting gobbler drops its wings so the tips drag the ground, and puffs out its breast while locking its tail feathers into a full upright position to form a magnificent fan. Photo Credit: John Hafner

What do you need to know?

Whether you’re a seasoned bowhunter or are just getting started bowhunting, turkey season can quickly become your favorite spring pastime. Hunters can shoot only adult males, called “toms,” and juvenile males, called “jakes,” during spring hunting seasons.

The wild turkey’s breeding season runs through April and May, and causes males to strut and gobble repeatedly to attract females, called “hens.” A gobbling tom in full strut is arguably one of nature’s most beautiful sights. A strutting gobbler drops its wings so the tips drag the ground, and puffs out its breast while locking its tail feathers into a full upright position to form a magnificent fan.

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A box call is a type of friction call. Hunters slide its lid against the top of the box to make turkey sounds that attract adult males, called “toms,” and juvenile males, called “jakes.” Photo Credit: John Hafner

Turkey Calls

Because male turkeys are vocal and aggressive during the breeding season, they’ll often respond to calling. Turkey calls come in many models, including diaphragm calls, which are mouth-blown calls that require much practice but are deadly because they can be used hands-free.

Another popular model is friction calls, which include slate calls and box calls. Friction calls are user-friendly. You make the sound yourself using a wooden peg, called a “striker,” to stroke the call’s slate or similar surface. With a box call, you slide its lid against the top of the box to make turkey sounds. In most cases, calls mimic a hen yelp, which is the sound female turkeys make while searching for a tom. However, some seasoned turkey hunters use a gobble call to provoke an aggressive response from toms. That call can lure in a gobbler that won’t respond to hen yelps.

hunting

Decoys can sometimes help bring gobblers into bow range. For example, jake (juvenile male) and tom (adult male) decoys can coax in aggressive gobblers that want to drive competitors from their turf. Photo Credit: John Hafner

Turkey Decoys

When calling to turkeys, you’re urging them to search for the source of the sound. Decoys can sometimes help bring gobblers into bow range. Decoys are available in several options. The most common are hen decoys, which are what gobbling toms desire. In addition, jake and tom decoys can coax in aggressive gobblers that want to drive competitors from their turf. Experiment with different decoy setups to find one that matches the turkey’s mood. Passive toms tend to be attracted to a lone hen decoy, while aggressive toms often rush in to a hen and jake/tom combination.

hunting articles

Pop-up blinds help conceal bowhunters’ movements and, for that reason, are ideal for bowhunting turkeys, which have keen eyesight and can detect the slightest movements. Photo Credit: John Hafner

Hunting Blinds

Turkeys have keen eyesight, and detect the slightest movements. Pop-up blinds are useful for bowhunting turkeys. Bows require lots of motion when pulling them to full draw and settling on your target. A blind’s added concealment can make a big difference.

Turkeys have a relatively small vital zone, roughly the size of your fist, so it’s important to get the tom within a safe shooting range – about 30 yards, depending on the bowhunter – before shooting. Whenever possible, use a blind to conceal your moves, and a decoy to hold the tom’s attention while it approaches. Most pop-up blinds are portable, and easily set up and taken down. Those features let bowhunters move to different locations with little effort.

hunting website

Turkeys offer some of the most action-packed bowhunting opportunities you’ll ever know. They’re one of the most difficult animals to hunt with a bow, and the breast, legs, wings and thighs taste delicious when cooked properly. Get out there and bring home the (turkey) bacon! Photo Credit: John Hafner

To start your turkey hunting adventure, check your state wildlife agency’s website for laws and season dates. Then visit your local archery shop to get the gear you need to take on this challenge.

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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