Bowhunting On The wild side!
State after state has liberalized its crossbow-hunting regulations in recent years, and Wisconsin could be the next domino to fall. Legislation pending in the Badger State would add crossbows for full inclusion in the state’s archery seasons. Assembly Bill 194 has already been approved in the state House, and an upcoming hearing in the Senate Natural Resources Committee could pave the way for final approval by the legislature.
The committee hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21, and crossbow supporters – the National Rifle Association among them – are urging like-minded sportsmen to attend the hearing and voice their support. The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action put out a statement on the proposal that says, in part:
“Experience in other states has shown that allowing the unqualified use of crossbows helps retain and recruit hunters. At a time when hunter numbers are declining, nothing is more important. Retention of older hunters with diminished physical capabilities is especially critical. If allowed to use crossbows, these hunters will remain in the field years longer than they otherwise would if restricted to vertical bows only. As a result, they would be more likely to recruit more family and friends into Wisconsin’s ranks of hunters. For youngsters who do not yet possess the physical strength to use a vertical bow, crossbows would allow them to go afield earlier and create more lifelong archery hunters.”In addition, experience in other states shows that archer success rates do not increase with the use of a crossbow as compared to a compound bow. The goal of all hunters should be to increase participation because greater hunter numbers in the future will bolster defenses against the political attacks initiated by anti-hunting extremists and ensure the continuation of Wisconsin’s hunting heritage.”
Of course, if you count yourself among those bowhunters who oppose the inclusion of crossbows in regular archery seasons, then you no doubt have a vastly different perspective on the Wisconsin legislation. If recent history is any indication, however, it is only a matter of time before the ranks of Badger State bowhunters include both those with vertical and horizontal rigs. Some of the “major” hunting states to give crossbows full inclusion in archery seasons in recent years include Indiana, Texas and Pennsylvania. Twenty years ago, only three states allowed crossbows during general archery seasons. As ofBOWHUNTING’s latest count, crossbows are now legal during all or parts of archery seasons in 27 states and 6 Canadian provinces.
If you are searching for an up-to-date list of North American crossbow-hunting regs.
Methods of hunting
In contrast to a rifle hunter, who may shoot effectively from ranges in excess of 200 yards (180 m); archers usually restrict shots to 2.3 yards (2.1 m) to 42 yards (38 m). The distance depends upon individual ability, the target animal, the bow strength, terrain, arrow and weather. The bow hunter may walk along the ground slowly, looking for game and stalking it carefully in the final approach. This type of slow, methodical stalking, is called "still hunting." Hunters often wear camouflage clothing and walk upwind (with the wind in their face) so that game ahead of them cannot smell them.
In "stand hunting," the hunter waits for game to come to him, usually near food, water, or known trails. Brush and other natural materials may be placed for cover, or a  "ground blind" that looks like a camouflage tent may be used. They usually "pop" up and can be set up from folded in under a minute. The hunter may wait on a wooden or metal stand elevated in a tree, from three to six meters.
Bowhunting for fish is called bowfishing. Bowfishing equipment usually adds a line attached to a spool or a reel as well as a specially designed, heavier arrow. Most bow-fishers do not use sights, but if they do have sights they are different from standard ones to allow for refraction.
USA and Canada
In the USA and Canada, as with other styles of hunting, bowhunting is regulated by individual provinces and states. Regulations often address issues such as which area to hunt in, what time of year, (season) and which sex and species of game may be taken. In many cases, a special archery season is set aside, to minimize interference from rifle hunters. While bowhunting can run into rifle hunting seasons, hunter orange is typically required to be worn during the cross over seasons. In addition, in an effort to maximize game recovery and shot lethality, there are often technical regulations, such as a minimum draw weight, minimum width of head, and lack of barbs.
In general most bow hunting for big game begins in late August or early September in northern states or Canadian Provinces, and slightly later in southern states.
Nations including Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Hungary, Finland, Bulgaria and Slovenia use bow and arrow hunting as a hunting tool in modern game management. Some European countries including Croatia, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Lithuania and the United Kingdom prohibit bowhunting. Bowhunting, like target archery, was revived in the UK during the Victorian era, but has been banned since 1965. Recently a law was passed in Estonia that would allow bowhunting of small game.
Organised bow hunting began in New Zealand in 1945. The New Zealand government regulates bowhunting An annual 3 day field shoot tournament is held every Queens Birthday Weekend at various locations throughout New Zealand. Bowhunters must have permission to hunt on private land, and they cannot hunt in DOC lands, National parks,or any other reserves without a permit.Australia
Bowhunting is practised in Australia and is not specifically subject to regulation by law. Only non-native species are recognized as game by the Australian Bowhunters Association. However, native species may be killed during government authorized culls.
The states of Victoria and New South Wales both regulate bowhunting. In Victoria hunting is regulated through the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) In New South Wales this is done through the Department of Primary Industry. At the current time there are no specific hunting regulations in other states and territories.
On July 2013 the NSW Government disbanded the Game Council, and temporarily suspended licensed hunting in NSW State forests until now.
While both Victoria and New South Wales place licensing requirements on would-be bowhunters, the sport is self-regulated. The Australian Bowhunters Association and local clubs assess hunters through the Bowhunter Proficiency Certificate (BPC) which is designed to ensure that animals are killed according to humane principles.Opposition
A study conducted by the Oklahoma Fish and Wildlife Agencies found that approximately 50% of deer that were shot were never recovered, noting that this rate was similar to data from other studies. Some deer survived for up to 5–7 days before succumbing to their wounds. "71% to 82% of all shots taken" miss the target and "shot placement is, for all practical purposes, random".roe deer. (To become a licensed bowhunter in Denmark it is necessary to pass a very demanding proficiency test, including a test of accuracy in which five of six arrows must hit within the vital area of game targets ranging from roe deer to pheasant in size at unknown distances up to 25 meters. Only 2% of Danish bowhunters use traditional equipment.) For 1999-2004, these reports showed that 576 arrows were released at roe deer. 92.5% of these shots resulted in a dead roe deer being collected by the hunter, and 2.6% are documented as misses. In 5% of reports the deer was hit and wounded (as indicated by bodily fluids on the ground or on the arrow), but not recovered by the hunter. The European Bowhunters Association states that "this percentage compares favorably with other means of harvesting roe deer in Europe."
As anyone knows it takes all the right equipment to have a successful hunt in the outdoors of Bowhunting. To the right stand and Bow and tools to complete the job and to be succesfull.
I prefer the fun of camping as much as the hunt. But when the big one walks out and you have a perfect arrow placement on your shot you know the meaning of success. So what is the leading cause of success. It normally falls on the hunter to know the game he's after. The time and dedication spent in the woods.
And the equipment you can count on when the chance arrives. Are you gonna succeed staying in camp sleeping in no not at all. Bowhunting is a lonely sport
sure you can take a hunting buddy but chances are you will go your seperate ways to bag your deer. Now it all depends on how rustic you want to get, because you can book a hunt and see no people for a month. Remember don't get to complex here is a good rule of thumb is (Kiss) keep it simple stupid. So you can do the backcountry bowhunt where you want to travel light, or pack it all for the week of your life. To your success whatever it may be.
But let's face it work call's us all back and usually a week is tops. So everyone's hunt is different, i love it during rifle season the mix of great friends and good food. Howeverer like i said bowhunting is a lonely sport with sometime's many hour's on stand. You can see the importance of good equipment to close the deal when ole mossy horn steps into view, I tried to provide the best prices on this stuff so check it out compare prices and i hope to fill your need. And by the way Let's go hunting on the wild side. It sometimes is down to what gives you the most enjoyment a combination of camping and hunting going slow to fill your tag. Or we can push it hard and be pretty sure success is just around the corner you decide. But when you have all the item's to fit the bill it works out for the better. When you consider one's budget over another we all aren't able to sleep in something on wheels . To your success whatever it may be.
I have myself a great liking for the camping and getting close to nature. Throw in some bowhunting and i'm happy. I like to get away from towns but not to far because we are really not self sufficient after living in a town. But when i get away no cars, no lights,no people wow what fun you can have. One year aside from calling my Mom to say I saw a really big one and 3 does i was alone. The weather can change and scare the pants off you so you gotta like it in a tent if that is your method of bunking down for the night. When you decide to go this way of solitude you can put a face to all those bird sounds you've been hearing. And find out more about things first hand not in a book. Why does a Blue Jay sometimes make such a fuss, well he is telling everyone of a squirrells location. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. To your success whatever it may be.
The doe peeled to my right and the buck turned left for just a second before realizing he’d messed up. He paused for only a few seconds in the middle of my shooting lane at 15 yards–just enough time for me to draw and aim quickly. He wheeled away to follow the doe just as I released. I hit him in the hindquarters but cut a femoral artery. It was a lucky hit, and he went down quickly. This is all to often the case in many hunts. Practice, practice,pratice and know you limitations.
Great Hunting Available in Texas.
by Mike Johnson
Hunting Texas whitetail deer is a popular outdoor sport that has been around for many years. Whether you have never gone deer hunting before, or it is something you have been doing for years, knowing the proper deer hunting techniques is key for a successful hunt. Deer are very smart animals and if you do not use the right techniques when hunting it could mean the difference of a successful hunt or leaving your hunting land empty handed.
Many people love the experience of whitetail deer hunting whether they're hunting for food or after that big buck running through the woods. If it is that big buck you're after it's going to prove to be a more challenging hunt than you may think. Those bucks aren't just big for just any reason, they've been around for years, and that's because they know the routine and use their own set of skills to stay alive. If you're looking to bag that big deer that's lurking in the woods, then you need to acquire the correct set of hunting techniques for a successful hunt.
There are many things that need to be learned to set up the perfect hunt. Vital knowledge such as wind factor, weather, scent, tracking, location, deer signs, calls, equipment and food plots are a few of the items to consider in order to become that successful hunter everyone would like to be. There are many hunting techniques a hunter needs to know that will give them the hunting experience that he or she desires. One of the most important ways to learn these techniques is to acquire the proper material for the ultimate hunt.
If you are looking for a great way to get some hunting under your belt, then I would recommend hunting Texas whitetail deer. They can be a challenge to hunt and prove to be a challenge for any type of hunter. They are excellent at using their main senses of sight, smell and hearing. This is mainly what makes hunting these animals quite the challenge. Attempting to go after a whitetail deer can be done successfully with the proper deer hunting techniques and experience.
There are some important points to consider along with these techniques. For one these deer are going to know when you're coming once they catch your scent, even if you can't see them. Once the deer catch your scent, whether in the air or through something such as the ground you walk on, then you can count on them going the opposite way and losing your chance for a good shot. This can also mean the difference of getting that big buck you may be after.
This is where knowing the right deer hunting techniques is important when trying to avoid scarring a whitetail deer with your scent. Knowing the proper way to cover your scent is what will make the difference of you having a successful hunt or not.
It is not always as simple as just getting things like spray to succeed in getting through the woods without the deer knowing you're looking for it. Using the same exact spray or wipe over and over can get deer used to that scent eliminator smell and get them feeling nervous and thinking that something isn't right in their area. This is why knowing the right deer hunting techniques is going to make all the difference.
Being as quiet as you can when walking to and from your stand is one example. You can also use their hearing to your advantage when using deer calls or antler rattling. Since their hearing is excellent they will be able to come right towards you, even if they are a mile away from you.
You need to be careful and make sure know what you're doing in order not be spotted. Deer are very alert and cautious animals that can scare easily. If they see sudden movement that they're not used to they will take off without warning. This is why it also helps to know the correct ways to choose your clothing, helping to hide yourself as much as possible from whitetail deer.
Here is a personal favorite of mine Rynoskin.
Enjoy comfortable, chemical free protection from biting insects with the Rynoskin Insect Protection Pant. This cool and breathable pant provides 99.9% protection against. RYNOSKIN is a unique ultra-lightweight nylon lyric breathable fabric chemical free provides a safe, comfortable insect barrier without the harmful side effects. Specifically designed to be worn underneath the clothing that offers 99.9% protection against biting insects. The suit protects its wearer from ticks, black flies, chiggers, sand flies, sand gnats (no –see-ums), buffalo gnats, ants and other harmful biting insects. Scientifically and Field-tested. When properly worn can reduce the risk of mosquito bites.
How to deer hunt what every hunter should know.
by Shawni Groezinger
Deer hunting is a complex sport that has been developed through centuries of practice. In ancient times, of course, any way to catch and kill a deer was the right way, so long as it fed and sustained the community. On the other hand, scaring potential game off, or firing a shot and missing, meant failure. While deer hunting has carried over to the modern world, the question of how to deer hunt has more answers now, as leisure hunters have developed many modern styles of coming home with a deer or two to boast.
Stand hunting is the most popular form of deer hunting. Stand hunters use tree stands, which are elevated platforms attached to tree trunks. Some tree stands use boxes instead of platforms for more security. Tree stands give hunters better vantage points to make it easier for them to make the killing shot. There are many kinds of stands for hunting. There are even stands that resemble small houses on stilts, for more comfort and security for the hunter. People may even opt to buy accessories for their stands, such as bow holders, covers and umbrellas. Stand hunting is so popular that deer have actually gotten used to it throughout the years. Half a century ago, deer did not look out for potential predators above the eyeline. Today, deer look up to spot hunters who are looking for a kill.
Still hunting, on the other hand, may offer hunters more chances at a kill, because with still hunting, the hunter looks for deer instead of waiting for them to come into view. This method is also called stalking the prey. With still hunting, game hunters usually go to spots in a range where deer are likely to travel, perhaps following maps, hoof trails or other elements. Once a hunter spots an area he or she thinks a deer is likely to pass through, he waits there for a while and shoots game if he gets lucky or moves on if he does not. Still hunters have to exercise great care as hasty movement may give one's position away to deer and drive them away, defeating the purpose. Inexperienced hunters may also run into trouble if they are not careful in hunting deer using still hunting.
Dog hunting is an interesting way on how to deer hunt, and traces its origins back to the hunting-and-gathering days of humanity. Dog hunting is actually one of the ways dogs became domesticated and later on a very integral part of human life. Dog became man's best friend because he helped him hunt. In modern dog hunting, trained dogs chase down deer until they come into the line of sight of a hunter. This kind of hunting requires a well-trained dog that can follow directions easily, and of course who can spot prey well and chase it down to its master.
In learning how to hunt deer, it is crucial to learn these various kinds of hunting. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to the hunter to determine which one works best for the situation at hand.
Learning how to deer hunt is every American boys dream. Learning how to deer hunt is a favorite past time of many men.
The hunt the trip the solitude and the passion.
If you have bowhunting in your veins little else would compare to a day on the stand in a top area. Upon arriving at my favorite place i could tell it would be a
great year you just get that feeling. Pulling into my spot in the http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Applications/MOATLAS/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=4603
Daniel Boone Conservation area in central Missouri i had my work cut out for me. It was a task we all must complete setting up the camp. Mine consists of a Readhead tent pretty much along this design http://astore.amazon.com/huntingonthewildside.-20/detail/B006RTL9IU. After an evening of setting up camp and starting the fire my mind turns to the meal would it be chicken breast or hamburgers. I bring along a table for all the cooking utensils and plates and so on.
My only "complaint" about this tent is the vestibule that covers the front door could be larger. In other words, it'd be nice if there was more room inside the rain cover and outside of the tent (similar to a porch). Other than that, no issues. If the money is a concern for you, be sure to look around. I found a great deal on mine just by searching a little online.
Get the best you can afford it will pay for itself in the long run.
I have used a number of trail cameras over the past several years to help in my quest for filling those hard to acquire tags. As part of our 2011 hunting season here in New Mexico, we decided to do a series of reviews on a number of cameras in search of the perfect camera for our extreme hunting conditions here in New Mexico. Which camera can go from timberline during elk season to the lowest desert for our sheep hunts and function everywhere in between for lions, bears and deer? One thing is for sure, we learned a lot about a number of different cameras. More to come.
I bought the Moultrie for my son for Christmas. He set it up on his property and is thrilled at the hight quality photos of the local wildlife. It has a quick trip time, moon, day, date, temp are stamped on the bottom of each frame. Daytime color, nightime IR(black and white). Battery life is very good with moultrie cameras. I have two other Moultrie trail cams and they have worked flawlessly for about 4 years. My older cams have a slower trip time, but same quality images as the new ones. Set up is easy. It comes with two bungee cords for fixing it to a tree/post. An AV cord into a TV machine. from the camera allow viewing on a big screen. Also has external power supply port.
The best places to bowhunt for a trophy buck / Article by Mark Hicks.
The best places to bowhunt for deer are the areas where people with firearms don't tread. In these locations the bucks grow old even as they boldly pursue does through open woodlots and fields. That's why we stuck to areas that are open only to bowhunters when we put this list together. You might be surprised at how many of these areas there are, even in your backyard.
The archery world-record typical whitetail was tagged in 2001 by Wayne Zaft in Alberta's Wildlife Management Unit 248. The buck grossed 222 Boone and Crockett points and netted 208 6/8. Unit 248 covers 4,190 square kilometers (about 1,618 square miles) around Edmonton. In order to reduce the whitetail population, muzzleloaders are allowed there during a late primitive-weapons season. Other than that one hunt, only bows are legal in this unit.
Most of the hunting takes place on private land, as there is very little public ground in Unit 248. The unit encircles Edmonton, a bustling industrial city. Nonresidents are required to hunt with a guide in Alberta, so be sure your guide has the rights to prime deer-hunting areas.
Gently rolling hills descend to the Saskatchewan River, which runs through the middle of Unit 248. The land outside the city is mainly agricultural, but there is a good mix of wooded areas as well.
WMU 212, another bow-only area, covers 3,603 square kilometers (or 1,391 square miles) around the city of Calgary. Though it does harbor whitetails, the habitat is more conducive to mule deer. In this unit, which lies in a rugged portion of the Canadian Rocky Mountains near Banff National Park, bowhunters hunt for trophy mule deer and elk. The Bow River, a premier flyfishing stream for trophy rainbows and browns, courses through Calgary.
Arkansas set aside 31 Wildlife Management Areas for bowhunters. They provide more than 62,000 acres of quality whitetail hunting. Some WMAs allow two-day firearm youth hunts in early November for a limited number of permit holders. Other than these hunts, deer in these areas can only be hunted with a bow. Go to the state's Web site to see a comprehensive list of such hot spots.
There are too many great areas to highlight, so we'll just introduce you to one. The 4,884-acre Rick Evans Grandview Prairie WMA is a multi-use area. The state's Web site says it is "managed for the protection, enhancement and restoration of the blackland prairie habitat found there." But though it's nice to know that Grandview Prairie represents the largest contiguous tract of blackland prairie in public ownership, it is even nicer to know that some huge whitetails, including a non-typical buck that scored 199 7/8, have been harvested there by bowhunters.
Unfortunately, the state gives out only 40 tags for this unit. Bowhunters who draw are required to shoot a doe before they are eligible to take a buck. But you can't just shoot any buck: Only whitetails with at least four points on one antler can be harvested. Though this WMA is mainly comprised of open prairie, it does have a network of wooded ravines that connect stands of mature hardwoods.
More than 41,000 acres of deer hunting are open only to bowhunters on 27 of Georgia's WMAs. These areas range from a few hundred acres to the 22,000-acre Rich Mountain WMA in northwestern Georgia. The Cartecay section of this WMA (about 5,062 acres) is reserved for archers only. It gives up quality bucks because it is off-limits to ATVs and has remote areas.
The Cartecay River, which offers good fishing for rainbow trout, borders the bow-only section and provides canoe access to remote hunting areas. Rich Mountain is part of the southern Appalachians and supports mainly hardwoods with some pines. Wildlife openings have been planted with food sources, such as clover and rye grass.
Other archery-only areas for deer hunting include the Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge, the Fort Gordon bow-only area and the Standing Boy Creek Tract.
When a blast of frigid winter weather drives mule deer down from the mountains overlooking Boise, they retreat to their winter range on the Boise Front (Unit 39-3). This bowhunting-only area covers most of Ada County.
Every year 125 individuals receive permits on a draw basis to hunt the Boise Front, which is known for producing mule deer with trophy racks. Only 10 percent of the permits go to nonresidents. This spot-and-stalk hunting opportunity takes place from mid-November to mid-December.
About a dozen WMAs give preference to bowhunters in Kentucky. The largest of these, 10,598-acre Grayson Lake, allows a few two-day youth gun hunts spread out through the fall, beginning in mid-October. The success rate for the youth hunts is typically about 40 percent. Other than these hunts, only bowhunting is allowed for whitetails.
Most of the steep hills around Grayson Lake are covered with mature hardwoods and stands of pine. There is a good mix of open woods and thickets. Whitetails depend heavily on the mast crop in this area, especially white oak acorns.
Because no ATVs are allowed, the easiest way to access the more remote hunting areas is by boat. Motor into a quiet cove, beach your boat and hunt places far away from the nearest road.
Nearly 18,000 acres of bow-only deer hunting is available on 11 Maryland WMAs. Though most are small tracts, you can find room to roam on the 9,200-acre Liberty Watershed and the 7,380-acre Prettyboy Watershed. These areas, which envelop Liberty and Prettyboy reservoirs, may be hunted by anyone who obtains a free permit. You can also fish for bass and panfish in the reservoirs.
Prettyboy in northern Maryland is steep and rugged. Liberty, farther south and west of Baltimore, has more gently sloping terrain. The land around the watersheds consists of homes and agricultural areas.
Missouri has at least 97 bow-only areas for deer that total more than 103,000 acres. Some tracts cover less than 100 acres, but others offer thousands of acres of bowhunting opportunities, such as the 13,732-acre Four Rivers Conservation Area, the 8,633-acre Schell-Osage Conservation Area, the 4,089-acre Drury-Mincy Conservation Area and the 7,044-acre Reform Conservation Area. Many of these tracts produce huge bucks.
In the center of the Reform area is a nuclear power plant run by American Union Electric, which leases its property to the state. This land has been open only to bowhunters for roughly 20 years, which is one reason it grows bucks that sport heavy antlers.
Seven public areas in Texas contain 54,497 acres that allow deer hunting only with archery equipment. The largest of these is the 25,000-acre Newton County Public Hunting, located in Unit 122 in eastern Texas. This timberland is leased from a private timber company that manages it for pine trees.
As part of a streamside management program, the timber company voluntarily leaves a 50-yard buffer of hardwoods along streams. Big bucks use these buffers as travel corridors.
Unit 122 lies within a region of Texas known for growing big bucks. Prior to the bow-only regulation (implemented two years ago), heavy firearms hunting reduced the deer population to a very low density. Now that only bows are allowed, the population is growing slowly. The low density, combined with light hunting pressure and good forage, is allowing bucks to grow whopper racks.
For more than 20 years, a block of four counties along West Virginia's southwestern border--Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming--have been limited to archery-only for whitetail hunting. These counties now yield excellent trophy whitetail hunting. For example, during the 2002 season, of the 65 trophy bucks (scores of at least 126 typical or 155 non-typical B&C) taken in the state's 55 counties, 37 came from the four archery-only counties.
Several large public-hunting areas lie within the four counties, including the 17,000-acre RD Bailey WMA, the 7,810-acre Panther State Forest, the 18,000-acre Tug Fork WMA and the 13,000-acre Laurel Lake WMA. ATVs aren't allowed in these WMAs. These counties also have large timber and mining company land holdings that are open to public hunting.
Trophy Potential: 10*
Where to Stay: Both Edmonton and Calgary offer a full range of accommodations within 30 minutes of prime hunting areas. Edmonton (780-426-4620; www.edmontonchamber.com); Calgary (403-750-0400; www.calgarychamber.com).
License fees: $38.75 for a resident deer license, $132.48 for Canadian nonresidents and $203.68 for nonresident aliens.
Contact: Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (780-427-9327; www3.gov.ab.ca/srd/fw/hunting).
Trophy Potential: 8
Where to Stay: Millwood Lake State Park has a variety of camping facilities (870-898-2800;www.arkansasstateparks.com). Several motels are available 16 miles away in Hope.
License fees: A resident hunting license is $35.50; nonresidents pay $225.
Contact: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (800-364-4263; www.agfc.com).
Trophy Potential: 6
Where to Stay: You can set up primitive camps in the Rich Mountain WMA. Motels are available in nearby Ellijay (706-635-7400; www.gilmerchamber.com).
License fees: Resident deer hunters pay $9; nonresidents pay $118.
Contact: Georgia Department of Natural Resources (770-918-6400; www.georgiawildlife.com).
Trophy Potential: 8
Where to Stay: Boise, the largest city in Idaho, offers a wide range of motels and hotels to fit any budget (800-635-5240; www.boise.org).
License fees: Resident fees are $29; nonresidents pay $363.
Contact: Idaho Fish and Game (208-465-8465; http://fishandgame.idaho.gov).
Trophy Potential: 6
Where to Stay: Camping is available at Grayson Lake State Park (606-474-9727; www.state.ky.us). Several motels are located to the north in Grayson (606-474-4401; www.graysonchamber.org) or farther west in Morehead (www.moreheadrowan.com).
License fees: Residents pay $40 to bowhunt deer; nonresidents pay $140.
Contact: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife (800-858-1549; www.kfwr.state.ky.us).
Trophy Potential: 4
Where to Stay: No camping is allowed on the Liberty or Prettyboy watersheds. Both areas lie within 30 miles of Baltimore, where you can find whatever type of accommodations you like (301-725-4000; www.baltwashchamber.org).
License fees: Resident bowhunters pay $30.50; nonresidents $130 (or a reciprocal fee) plus a $25 bow stamp.
Contact: Maryland Department of Natural Resources (410-260-8559; www.dnr.state.md.us).
Trophy Potential: 9
Where to Stay: No camping is allowed on the Reform Conservation Area. You'll find motels 15 miles away in Fulton, Missouri (73-592-3111; http://fulton.missouri.org).
License fees: Resident archery deer permits cost $19; nonresidents pay $120.
Contact: Missouri Department of Conservation (573-882-9909; www.mdc.state.mo.us).
Trophy Potential: 6
Where to Stay: All of these public hunting units have primitive camping sites, which in some cases are merely clearings in the woods. Motels are available in nearby Jasper, about 30 minutes from Hunting Unit 122.
License fees: Residents pay $30 to bowhunt deer; $307 for nonresidents.
Contact: Texas Parks & Wildlife (800-792-1112; www.tpwd.state.tx.us).
Trophy Potential: 8
Where to Stay: Camping is available at Panther State Forest and the RD Bailey WMA. The town of Logan has motels that are right in the heart of some of the state's best big-buck country (304-752-1324; www.chamber.logan.wv.us).
License fees: Resident deer hunting fees are $25; nonresidents pay $125.
Contact: West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (304-558-2771; www.wvdnr.gov).
*On a scale of 1 to 10; 10 being excellent.
A Bow Hunter's Guide to trailing Hit Game.
THE TWO KEY FACTORS to recovering every arrow-shot deer are patience and practiced blood-trailing skills. Generally speaking, the more patient you are, the longer you wait before taking up the trail, and the more persistent you are, even to the point of getting down on your hands and knees and studying sign, the more successful you will be.
During my 25 years of hunting exclusively with a bow, I have shot about 250 deer. Notice, I said shot. In my early years of bowhunting, I failed to recover some animals because I began tracking too soon after the shot and had no blood-trailing knowledge. However, I did learn a lot about the recovery of animals during those first few years and have continued learning for a quarter century, and now I virtually never lose a deer.
All blood trails are different, of course, but general principles apply to the recovery of all game animals. From the experience I've gained in recovering my own animals and from helping other hunters trail and recover many deer, I have developed "A Bowhunter's Guide to Blood-Trailing Deer," a concise, easy-to-read reference chart you can carry in the woods with you. If you apply the principles in the chart on the next two pages, you won't be hanging your head at the end of a blood trail. You will be celebrating.
General Tracking Comments
Use all of your senses. At the moment you shoot, watch and listen carefully to gather all clues. While tracking, look, listen, smell, and feel. Do not wander aimlessly, looking for the deer. Stick with the blood trail. The pointed edges of blood drops point in the direction of the deer's travel.
In addition to looking for blood, look for tracks, broken limbs, and disturbed leaves and soil. Imbed the size, shape, and stride length of a wounded animal's tracks in your mind so you recognize those distinct tracks immediately. Also, look for concentrations of insects and spiders. Ants, flies, daddy longlegs, and other little creatures rapidly find and feed on the blood and stomach contents along a blood trail. They will find sign you would otherwise never see.
If you must wait several hours to track a deer--as with a paunch hit--look and listen for buzzards,ravens, crows, and jays that may have found your deer before you do. Listen for coyotes that sometimes call others when they find a ready-to-eat deer. Look for a large mound of leaves and dirt where predators or scavengers may have fed on and buried your deer. As you're tracking, listen for the crashing sounds of a jumped deer, and listen for the sounds of labored breathing or struggling movements.
Smell your arrow to determine if it has passed through the stomach or intestines, and smell for stomach contents on the ground to assist in determining a gut-shot deer's direction of travel. Many deer, particularly during the rut, have a strong musky smell, and a well-trained human nose can detect this smell for many yards on a steady, mild breeze. Occasionally, feel the blood while tracking to determine if clotting has begun. Also, the thickness of blood can indicate where the deer was hit. Use a dog where legal to assist in finding the deer.
Above all, be persistent. Dogged determination may be your most valuable tool in recovering any arrow-shot animal.
The author hails from Northport, Alabama. SHOT LOCATION SOUND OF HIT DEER REACTION * LUNGS Thump sound like a Mad dash "death run" wooden bat lightly with the body low to the hitting a green tree, ground and little occasionally with slight concern for obstacles. gurgling sound. Occasionally, deer kick up back legs at moment of impact. Tail is tucked when running. * HEART Thump sound like a Mad dash "death run" wooden bat lightly with the body low to the hitting a green tree, ground and little occasionally with slight concern for obstacles. gushing sound. Often, deer kick up back legs at moment of impact. Tail is tucked when running. * LIVER Thump sound like a Deer trots off a short wooden bat lightly distance, then walks hitting a green tree. away slowly, stopping occasionally, sometimes with back hunched and sometimes twitching tail. * PAUNCH (stomach) Hollow thump sound like Trots off with hunched a wooden bat hitting a back and then slows to a dry, hollow log. steady, slow pace. Sometimes rapidly twitches tail. * HAUNCH Slight thud, sometimes Deer runs off at a (hindquarter and with a ripping sound as medium speed with no neck) skin and flesh cut. unusual movements. * SPINE Muffled cracking sound. Typically falls immediately and is partially paralyzed, trying to escape using front legs. * HEAD Loud cracking sound like Falls immediately but breaking a handful of often will regain dry sticks. consciousness and run. * LEG Loud cracking sound like Quickly runs off, breaking a dry stick. limping on wounded leg. SHOT LOCATION ARROW APPEARANCE BLOOD TRAIL WAITING TIME (unless you see deer fall) * LUNGS Bright pinkish-red Little blood 1 hour blood with small for 30-40 bubbles from yards, then broadhead to abundant bright fletching. Coarse pinkish-red brown hair with blood with black tips may be bubbles. on the arrow. However, some deer may bleed internally and leave little blood on the trail. Travel distance typically less than 150 yards. * HEART Bright pinkish-red Little blood 1 hour blood from for 30-40 broadhead to yards, then fletching. Long abundant bright brown to gray hair pinkish-red with may be on the blood. Travel arrow. distance typically less than 150 yards. * LIVER Thick, dark-red Thick, dark-red 4 hours blood. Medium blood may not length be overly brownish-gray hair abundant. May may be on the travel less arrow. than 200 yards if not pushed and may head toward a water source. * PAUNCH (stomach) Brown watery Small amounts 12 hours appearance with of watery blood little blood. Arrow with brown smells of stomach stomach contents. With high contents. hit, medium-length, Distinctive brownish-gray hair smell of on arrow. With stomach mid-level hit, contents. Deer lighter brown hair may travel a on arrow. With low few hundred hit, white hair on yards before arrow. bedding and may travel toward a nearby water source. * HAUNCH Red, watery blood Muscle wound For muscle (hindquarter and unless artery is leaves a wound, follow neck) cut, then abundant moderate amount almost bright-red blood. of red, watery immediately Pieces of meat may blood. Blood to keep blood be on arrow passing gets jelly-like pumping. For through muscle or if clotting severed flesh. Fat or begins. After artery, wait tallow may also be clotting 1 hour. on arrow passing begins, blood through rump or trail may back. Recovery disappear and unlikely unless recovery will broadhead severs be difficult. artery or other Severed artery major blood leaves abundant vessel. amounts of bright-red blood, often in a spray pattern. Deer will travel less than 125 yards if an artery is severed. * SPINE Penetration None None. Shoot minimal. Arrow follow-up usually remains in shot deer. immediately. * HEAD Very little blood. Minimal red None. Shoot blood in drops follow-up if deer manages shot to run off. immediately. * LEG Very little red Small amounts Follow blood. of bright-red immediately. blood in Recovery will drops. be difficult and probably unlikely.
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