It has been said that anyone who eats meat must be one of two things: a predator or a scavenger. Think about it: if you buy your meat at a grocery store, you are essentially no different than the typical rat or opossum, scavenging for food that someone else has killed. But, if you are a hunter, you are like the noble tiger, or mountain lion, searching out your own food, and being willing to strike the killing blow to feed yourself and your family.
This predator/prey relationship is no more clearly defined for us as hunters than when it comes to bow hunting. It takes great skill to be able to position yourself to take a wild game animal such as a deer. And, if you are searching for a trophy whitetail, the challenge is even more intensified. It takes skill, patience, and cunning to be able to get within bow shot of a deer. Then it takes even more skill, patience and cunning to be able to make a humane, killing shot. Rarely will a hunter “luck into” killing a nice deer with a bow. There are far too many things that can go wrong. Such mishaps may be compensated for if you are holding a rifle, but they cannot be minimized if you are hunting with archery equipment.
More often than not, things do not work out perfectly enough for a hunter to take a deer. So many things can cause a plan to not come together. The deer might not walk down the right trail to put it within that crucial 40 yard window. An overhanging branch might block the vital area, forcing you to pass up a shot at a monster buck. Equipment might fail (archery equipment has many more moving parts than a rifle, and therefore has much more that can fail).
But, there are also some great things about bow hunting that cannot be found in other types of hunting. For one thing, you have the opportunity to become a part of nature. You have to fit in, in every aspect, with your surroundings if you are going to be successful. You have to look like your surroundings, smell like your surroundings, and sound like your surroundings. Anything that tips off the wildlife to your presence will ruin your hunt. So many people overlook these basic necessities, and don’t understand why they never have an opportunity to take a deer.
To be able to take a deer with archery equipment, you will have to learn your quarry. You don’t just have to learn about deer, but about the specific deer you are trying to take. Where does he travel? Where does he eat? Where does he bed down? When does he move? Only by learning about his way of life will you learn when and where to ambush him. And of course, once you get him patterned, and set up your stand, he changes his routine and you have to start over again. Bow hunting is one of the greatest challenges of the hunting sports. If you have never tried it, give it a whirl. There is nothing like the peace of tree stand at sunrise, and nothing like the thrill of taking a nice deer with a bow.
I have also published this article on my Helium account. Feel free to go there to see some of my other writing!
More and more hunters are passing on small bucks in hopes of a trophy. What many newcomers to holding out are not prepared for, however, is to go through the season without taking ANY buck — but that’s what passing up smaller bucks often will mean.
If you decide you are going for a trophy, prepare yourself mentally for the strong possibility that you won’t be taking home a buck that day or even that season. Mature bucks are few and far between, and you just aren’t going to see one that often.
It’s difficult to resist the temptation to take that smaller buck in the last few minutes of daylight, but doing so ensures it will never grow up to be a mature buck, and there’s also the possibility that the real monster was just about to step out.
Brace yourself for the worst so you won’t spend the entire off season wishing you had taken the 6-pointer you passed up. Looking back with regret isn’t going to do you any good, and it won’t help you hold out next year. If you have a firm resolve before you head out, you’ll feel better about your decisions.
Also, if you’re worried about meat, take a fat doe at your first opportunity to take the pressure off.
You can get these tips straight from the Buckmaster’s Website!
I am happy to report that bow season has started here in WV. Unfortunately, it has started under extremely warm conditions. I was fortunate enough to be able to take off a few days to hunt on some family land in central WV for the first week of season. There was plenty of sign available, attesting to the deer numbers, but we were not seeing many deer. In fact, I only saw about a half dozen deer during the whole week from my stands!
I am not planning to get to hunt as much this year as in years past, since I am expecting the birth of my 3rd child in November, right in the middle of rifle season. I will, however, trade in one rifle season for a happy, healthy baby boy. Want to see a picture? Here you go! I know that may not be exciting for the rest of you, but hey, it’s my blog and my kid, so it’s exciting for me! I am sure that the pictures forthcoming will be more interesting to those that actually read this blog for its hunting content!
Back to bow season. The season started out pretty quickly. On the first day that I was in stand, a small spike horn buck came feeding through the woods. The woods of central WV are filled with acorns this year–plenty of feed for the deer, but it sure makes them hard to pattern! This small buck came to within about 25 yards of my stand, and then was startled by a dove exploding from the cover–a dove that neither the buck nor I saw. It made him jump about out of his skin, and I am not sure but that it had the same effect on me. I had debated on whether to shoot this deer or wait for a larger buck, but then decided that I need not question what the Lord was providing for me. Since I did not have long to hunt this year, I decided I would put this tender meat into the freezer! The shot was just slightly far back, but made a perfect perforation through the liver of the young buck. He walked off, up the hill, circled around, and then fell dead only about 4o yards from my tree stand.
As with all the deer that I bring home, my children were very excited. They wanted to see the deer, but this year was different in that they wanted to know everything about it, especially my son. He was full of questions pertaining to the hunt, as well as the anatomy of the deer. In fact, he insisted that I take him back to the gut pile for the purpose of exploring it to identify all the parts therein. He could even remember most of them by the time my parents joined us in camp that evening. What can I say? Hunting is a great field lesson when you are homeschooling your children. Even my daughter, following the example of my son, jumped in to look the deer over carefully. She even picked up its head so that she could look in its mouth and check out its teeth!
Overall, it was a good week, save for the unseasonably hot weather. I am hoping to get out for a couple of more days in a week or so. I think I have a good stand site picked out, so maybe if the weather breaks a bit, I will be able to spot a few more deer, and get another shot. We love to have that venison in the freezer! We have already had the tenderloins of this buck marinated and grilled–and they were delicious!
Let me leave you with one more picture of my children examining the deer! I may come back and add a few more of these later on.
Check out this video!
This is the time of year when many hunters hesitate to take a deer for the freezer because of the temperature. Indian Summer days can cause deer to spoil quickly, but there are things you can do to help keep your deer in great eating condition.
First, getting the hide off the meat is ideal because it holds in the heat. If you have a portable gambrel and some rope, get that hide off ASAP. When that’s not an option, putting some ice in the body cavity can save the day. Take a cooler that will hold two bags of ice and buy a few when you stop for coffee.
If you don’t take a deer you’re only out $2. It’s great piece of mind when you’re debating whether or not to take that doe for the freezer.
This is great advice! When it is so warm in hunting season, it makes it hard to bag a deer, but it is really hard to keep that meat fresh! It seems like early bow season has been a warm season for several years now. I know I have used ice in the body cavity to keep many a deer from spoiling. Forget the myth that a deer has to hang for days or else it will taste “gamey”. Butcher a deer as soon as possible when the weather is too warm, else the meat will start to spoil, and then will certainly be ruined by a “strong taste”!
You can get these tips straight from the Buckmaster’s Website
You always have to be careful when shooting…but this is amazing!
With so many great scent, grunt and rattle products out there, it’s tough to figure out the right mix. How much scent is too much, and how much rattling or grunting, or rattling AND grunting is enough?
The problem is that the answer could be different on any given day – it’s up to the deer.
With that in mind, though, it’s safe to say that more hunters make mistakes by overdoing it than the reverse. Choose your setups like you’re not going to have any scent products and like you won’t be doing any grunting or rattling.
Once you have a setup that should produce your deer, then use any scent elimination products (Tink’s makes a good one), and go easy on the attractants, cover-ups, grunting and rattling. Subtlety is the safer approach, especially at first.
Remember, there is no sure-fire guide. It all depends on what the deer want on a given day.
The Buckmaster Tip of the week is available from Buckmaster’s Website
A severe case of Epizootic Hermorrhagic Disease (EHD) has hit several counties within West Virginia and several other surrounding states lately. This disease is quite destructive to the deer herd, since it kills any animal that contracts the disease. This disease is a naturally occurring disease in deer, and also in some livestock (including sheep and cattle). However, some years have an “outbreak” of the disease, which affects animal numbers significantly.
This disease is spread by the bite of gnats, and therefore is particularly destructive near water sources. Areas that are near rivers, ponds or lakes have had particularly high incident of EHD outbreaks. The disease is fairly fast acting, killing a deer within 5-10 days of the first sign of symptoms. Symptoms include loss of appetite, loss of fear of humans, growing progressively weaker, excessively salavating, and becoming unconscious. Some deer die withing 36 hours of exhibiting symptoms.
Experts are quick to point out that this disease is not in any way related to Cronic Wasting Disease (CWD). There is no need to worry about the virus being passed from deer to humans, or to other animals. It is only passed through the bite of gnats. Cattle do not contract the disease from deer, but rather both deer and cattle in the same area are bitten by infected gnats.
The good news is that the virus is usually curtailed at the first frost. Generally, the gnats that are infected by the virus are killed by the frost, and therefore are not a threat to bite deer and livestock. Fortunately, that first frost comes typically before any hunting seasons open, so there will be no scares about contracting the disease from the deer (though it seems that humans cannot be infected from infected deer meat).
Counties in WV that have been affected include: Hancock, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia and Wayne counties. Other states to report infections include: Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.