Monday, September 30, 2013

Video: Archery Spine Shot on a Deer

Video of a deer hunt this weekend in which the result was a spine shot with the bow. The deer expired in 30 seconds after impact (edited on video to prevent graphic nature).

Friday, September 27, 2013

Early Success

Early success in hunting has a few different meanings. One way early success can be explained is a successful early part of the season in which the game pursued was taken in the beginning stages of the hunt. For instance, one who tags out on opening day has had early success.
Another way early success can be achieved is if the hunter is successful at an early age. A hunt in which a youth is able to take a nice buck while hunting with his dad fits this scenario.
Then there is one more. This is when both meanings overlap.
Here is a review on the Hawke Optics XB30 Crossbow Scope

On opening day of deer archery season Brayden Morris went out on a hunt with his dad Kevin. The weather was nice with cooler temperatures and a new moon. Kevin had set up a box blind stand overlooking a pine thicket and knew deer frequented the area. Sure enough, around 7:00am deer begin entering the opening in the thicket. It did not take long for nearly one dozen deer to fill the area. Brayden, only seven years old, was not new to hunting. He had hunted deer since he was four. His experience allowed him to remain patient and wait for the big buck that was sure to follow the others out.
And there he was. The largest deer Brayden would have an opportunity for. It did not wait. No, it headed straight in. The other deer cleared the way knowing this buck was in charge. Brayden had other plans though. Brayden set the sights of the Striker 380 crossbow upon the buck’s shoulder. He gently moved his fore finger to the trigger and lightly squeezed. Brayden hit his mark. There lay the biggest buck of Brayden’s early hunting career. A beautiful eight pointer measuring near 118 inches and weighing 150 pounds. Early success.
One week later, Brayden and his dad set up in the same stand once again. And just like before, the thicket filled with whitetail shortly after sun up.
And there he was. A larger buck than before. Again, a dominate buck made his way through the thicket to the ambush area. Unlike the one before, Brayden just could not get a clear shot. Three times over the next 20 minutes Brayden would set up for the shot only to have the wrong angle or another deer in the way. But Brayden’s experience, patience, and nerves of steel allowed him to wait for the right time.
My story on Brayden for the North Carolina Sportsman
The right time would come. Brayden once again set the sights of his crossbow upon the shoulder of the buck. Breathe. Exhale. Squeeze. Kevin and Brayden tracked the blood trail and came upon the downed creature. This one’s antlers were still covered in velvet. A mainframe nine with a kicker that rough measured 124 inches and weighed the same as the first, Brayden had just filled both of his antlered buck tags in the first week of the season. Each deer set Brayden’s personal best.
Brayden had achieved the full meaning of early success.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Technology and Hunting

The applications mentioned in the story are all from my Android based phone, so screen shots may vary for iPhone.

Technology has taken over our lives. Did you know even your most basic of automobiles can have over thirty different computers running everything from the engine to windows to tire pressures? Hunting is no exception. Just a few months ago a rifle and scope was developed in which you ‘marked’ the target and then you could squeeze the trigger at any time afterwards. The firearm will not fire until the marked target is within the sights and a direct hit will result. I see this as a great military advantage but one of the people being interviewed during the testing remarked he was going to use it to keep the coyote population down to protect his livestock.
With the advent of the smart phone, many outdoorsmen are taking advantage of the applications available. Apps range from mapping programs to weather programs and even programs such as the Pocket Ranger apps by Parks by Nature in which hunting and fishing seasons, locations, and regulations can be found at the push of a button.
While researching and browsing some of the apps, many of which I have on my own phone, I found there are apps that can assist with just about every phase of the hunt.
Scoutlook Weather
GPS Hunt
First, when planning a hunting trip for the next weekend it is imperative to know the coming weather. While there are many weather related apps, one I found that is highly reliable is from Weather Underground. With forecasts as much as a week in advance including hour by hour and sunset and sunrise times, you’ll know if it is the right time to go or not.
Just before the hunt you can use Scoutlook Weather. This app shows the map of the area and if you have already marked your stand or blind locations it shows a scent cone for wind carried scent.  This is essential for getting in the best location so as not to spook the game.
After a successful shot hunters go through what is often called ‘the second hunt’ in which the game has to be tracked. An app like GPS Hunt works great as it allows you to mark blood trails in case you have a long trail or are in heavy cover.
Of course, everyone has to have their bragging rights once the game is located. Cameras on cell phones now rival the digital cameras professional photographers used just a decade ago. And camera apps on the same cell phones can turn anyone into a photograph editor expert. Programs such as Instagram and Sketchguru not only enhance the photos but can turn them into works of art.


Once you have the photos there is nothing like the instant gratification of pats on the back from hunting buddies and family. The aforementioned Instagram, and social sights such as Facebook and Twitter allow this with ease.
Deer Dummy
After all the poses are completed you still have to do something with the animal. For new hunters or those that have always gone straight to a processor that will clean the game for you there is Deer Dummy. This application gives the user a step by step instruction on field dressing your prized deer and getting it ready for processing. Deer Dummy also has a companion DVD and chart to assist in process.
Lastly, after the meat is in the freezer, you still have one more step; Enjoying true organic food. My wife has a habit of pulling up recipes on sights such as Pinterest and saving them for future use. The right recipe can make anything a gourmet meal. Heck, even the kids may try it as long as they don’t know what it is.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hunter's Remorse and Reward

I had a successful opening day of bow season. After changing stands a couple of times during the day I set up in the stand I had determined would be the best one for the evening hunt. The stand was a lock-on stand placed roughly 25 feet up the tree and only accessible by the climbing sticks attached to the trunk. The first limbs were just a few feet above my head allowing for a place to hang my bow and quiver along with the small pack I use when hunting from a stand.
Right at sunset, between five minutes prior to five minutes after I spotted the first deer I had seen all day. She exited the tree line of the swamp within a few feet of where I thought she would. She entered the natural clover opening and turned to her left. I noticed a slight limp in her stride. I had my bow in hand but did not risk notice of any movement until I could determine exactly where she was headed. She had a steady walk, somewhere between “I know exactly where I am going” to “I wonder where everybody is.” Since she was going from my left to right and I knew she would go by my stand I waited to draw when the tree I was in was between the two of us. Her pace was quick enough I did not have to hold the 70 pound pull of the Ben Pearson Stealth II but a few seconds before she was in a clear line of sight. I previously marked yardages with the rangefinder and decided if she did not slow down I would take the shot at the 20 yard mark while she moved.
As the thought was processed through my mind she hung a quick right, still passing by the stand. I made a small grunt and she paused, her front left foot still dangling in the air as she didn’t finish her step. I dropped the 10 yard pin from the Spot Hogg sight onto her middle right shoulder. Thwack.
Thirty minutes later I climbed down the stand and started the tracking. My two nephews helped in the process and it was not long before we found her some 50 yards in the swamp.
To say hunters have no heart or soul is a major misunderstanding. Upon finding her we noticed her left side was devoid of hair on about 25 percent of her body. While one nephew wondered if she may have had something like mange or some other disease, I recognized she had likely been hit by a car within the last couple of months. What she had was road rash. Her limp was also a result of the collision.
One thinks of the hard life she must have had. She was old enough where she had given birth before but there were no signs of fawns with her at this point. She was likely a 2 or 3 year old doe. And here I was the one that had ended her life.

I also understand as a hunter that in ending her life I have given her purpose. If she would not have survived the car collision she would have been left for flies and maggots and vultures. Instead she now provides food for a greater good. Instead of perishing from disease, starvation, or coyote attack because of her lack of mobility, she was laid down quickly and ethically.
Yes, we hunters do understand the cycle of life and death and predator and prey.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Deer Season is Here!

The time is here. Ever since January hunters have anticipated this day. Whether it followed a successful season in which the freezer was filled and the rewards of the chess game against the buck of a lifetime are now hanging from the wall or if the season ended in disappointment as the prey out gamed the predator and all that was gained was a few glimpses and encounters that ended with the buck walking away, the feelings are the same.
The spring and summer were spent planting food plots and preparing stand locations. Trail cameras were hung and moved and checked to find out who made it and who did not. Occasionally one is recognized from the year before. There is a sense of almost fatherly pride as the small fork horn from last season is now endowed with the body of a Kentucky Derby racehorse with a main frame eight in velvet towering above. Yes, there it is, a small kicker off the right G2 to make it that much more unique.
Your sweat, blood and tears (usually the tears are a result of the blood) have been poured into all the preparation needed to invite these habitual trespassers onto the land.
When not in the field, equipment was cleaned and tended. Countless hours of practice were spent in order to perfect the killing shot. Visualization of the deer’s approach and the location of the vitals were used to make the shot and calm the nerves. The sights were adjusted, and adjusted, and adjusted. Perfection became calling. Nothing else mattered.
And here it is. All of this time, all of this preparation for just the opportunity to make the shot. Perhaps the camera’s results showed the deer coming to the food plot at 4:00 am. That is fine. You are a hunter. You will get there early and wait. There is nothing wrong with a short nap from 20 feet in a tree. The sun’s cresting of the treetops makes a scenic alarm clock. The cool morning air soothes the lungs that have endured months of hard work, humid hot summer air. Your body not only welcomes the change from being indoors, it encompasses the outdoors.
As you wake you hear the crunching of corn kernels. A slight musk mixed with the scent of wet vegetation reminds you that you are in Heaven. You are conscious of your movements. Just as a chameleon blends in with its environment and only moves it eyes, you do the same. One wrong move will mean the end to these months of preparation. All the correct moves will mean months of true organic food.
You observe the way the prey are protecting themselves. One eats, one looks. They alternate. Every few seconds or so you spot the ears turning away from you toward the field. The one eating lifts his head and scans around. They do not realize you are there.
Your breath begins to quicken as you prepare to make your move. The left hand slowly edges toward the weapon. “Got to control myself,” you think. You breathe in deeply through your nose. You exhale slowly and quietly through pierced but open lips. Much better.
Your hand grips the handle. White knuckles. No, relax. Your right hand slowly draws back. You don’t even notice the 70 pounds at this point. It is purely off instinct and muscle memory. The grip hand is no longer holding, it is just there to keep the bow in place. The sight pin is focused through the small peep hole in the string. It settles just behind the shoulder of the deer.
This is your story. Get out there and finish it.