Bow Hunting Maniac » whitetail deer hunting

OTC elk tags in Arizona

Well, the rush is on!!
We have over the counter elk tags in Arizona. Instead of waiting years to draw a highly coveted tag, you can now just buy one and go hunting. In fact, you can hunt almost any time that fits yer schedule.
There are hunts in January, May, and September. And, as a bonus, these tags are good for any elk meaning, you see one and you can shoot, no need to see if it is a bull.
But, why is our game and fish Department doing this?
Well, in looking into these areas that have these tags, they are not only close to towns, they are close to agriculture areas. These elk are in areas that are not traditionally “elk habitat”. Therefore, these elk are “undesirables” and are needed to be eliminated.
But, this will be like no elk hunt you have ever experienced……..most of them are living along river bottoms, where there is shade for bedding.
Easy enough you say, we will just go in there and find them, maybe hang a treestand and wait. But, there is a catch, (isn’t there always?)
There is a reason why the AZ game and Fish Dept. has made these tags available. These elk have not been taken during regular hunts and there are a couple of reasons why;
1) the stuff these elk live in is very hard to walk through, let alone have an opening for you to get a shot.
2) there are very few elk in these areas, one estimate is 30 elk at most. (thanks Dan)
But, the last I heard there have been over 1000 tags sold for these hunts.
So, before you decide to hunt elk in Az with one of these tags, ask the Game and Fish Department alot of questions.
Also, ask if the elk are on private property and, if there is reasonable access.

Keep ‘em sharp,

The Pink Arrow Project

Maybe I am in the dark but I just heard of this effort to defeat cancer from Mary Hale.
Mary is a representative for Ben Pearson Archery and, I met her in 2005 in Las Vegas at the archery tournament.
Mary brought Ben Pearson Archery to the Bowhunter Happening in 2006. There I got to know Mary for exactly who she is. She is the type of person that fits the phrase, “what you see is what you get”.
At that time, I learned of her fight and conquer of cancer and how she is making the most of her life.
Today, she explained The Pink Arrow Project to me and I told her to send me 1 dozen shafts. From what I see, alot of target archers have gotten on board, along with manufacturers. But, I feel we can go another step and include all of the bowhunters.
As I told her, I would be proud to put a pink arrow in my quiver.
Because Cancer knows no boundaries, I am sure that everyone that reads this knows at least 1 person that had to fight cancer.

This is the email that Mary sent me explaining the project;

This idea came about several months ago at an International Bowhunting Organization National Triple Crown in Erie, PA where for the first time my wife of 27 years came with me to help set the Victory booth. She is a nurse that has worked with cancer patients and thought a pink arrow would be a great idea.

Several people came by the booth and ask how they could get some and my wife told them Victory will offer them around October since October is breast cancer awareness month. I have received several hundred calls since then asking how they could help. Well it’s October and we are ready to launch this project.

I have talked to Brent Hail from the National Breast Cancer Organization and ask him how we can help and we decided to donate a large portion of our profits to this project. Anybody can help in this project even if you don’t shoot a bow. I am sure somebody you know would love to have a pink arrow in there quivers or to hang on the wall to show they supported the project!

I have assigned Mary Hale to lead the fight. Mary is known by most of the archery world as an ambassador in the archery industry. Mary is also a cancer survivor and was honored to lead the fight. She told me this completed her! Mary will be shooting again this year, shooting to destroy cancer.
You can contact her at 608-449-4306 E-mail sig-pink-arrow-1.doc

OK, here he is……….

I finally got a photo of my buck sent to me. I was dependent on friends to send me a photo and they finally got them to me.
The photo isn’t the best because it took 5 days to find the buck, but as you can see I was very happy that I finally got my hands on him.
From the conversations we have had, there are a lot bigger bucks than this roaming the area. It is hard to see in the photo but, this buck is unique in his points as, his G3 forks near the top.
I bought 5 tags in total, including doe tags, and came home with 4 deer. North Dakota is amazing in numbers of animals, not just deer, but also ducks, geese, pheasant, and grouse.

keep ‘em sharp,

Back from ND

Well, I got back from North Dakota Wednesday morning at 4 a.m. after a 23 hour drive.
Before I go into details of the hunt, I would like to say this was a very rewarding trip as, I have always wanted to hunt Whitetail deer and this far exceeded my expectations. I saw plenty of deer, pheasants, coons, grouse. Even, while in stand, I had thousands of geese fly over me.
Actually, this was my 3rd trip to North Dakota but I have never been able to “seal the deal” on a good buck. This was the first year we went this early in the season and, it was quite warm with one day hitting 83 degrees.
North Dakota has a very generous archery deer season with it starting Labor day weekend and running through December. You are allowed 1 any deer tag and can buy as many doe tags as you want.
The first night I sat a stand in a grove of Cottonwood trees. About 45 minutes before dark, a doe and fawn came through. Then, as shooting light faded, I saw 6 deer working their way through the trees but, they were still out of bow range. By the time they got to me, it was too dark to shoot, but I could see there was a good buck in the group.
Craig, the guide we hunted with, drove in with his truck so I wouldn’t educate the deer by scaring them when I got out of the stand.
The next evening I decided to sit in a ground blind next to a slough (sp) in an alfalfa field. I got in the blind at 5:30 p.m., set up the video camera, got my bow ready and sat down to wait.
I didn’t have to wait too long. About 6 o’clock, I saw my first doe and forkhorn. I started noticing most of the deer came from a soybean field that was on the other side of the alfalfa, about 100 yards in front of me.
I saw 2 bucks come through together, both probably in the 115″ range. I videoed and decided to pass on them as I wanted something bigger and, felt as early as it was, there was a good chance seeing a bigger buck.
As it grew dark, I saw a nice buck that had a rack that was high and had good mass, probably a 140″ buck. This was the one I wanted…….he turned his head away from me, I drew, anchored, and shot.
I heard the arrow hit solid bone and, because I was shooting a Luminok, which glows orange when the arrow is shot, I saw the arrow come out of the buck as he ran.
I watched which way he ran as far as I could and knew he would be laying in the alfalfa field. The other deer spooked when he ran but, only went about about 30 yards before stopping to see what the commotion was.
Craig, and my friend Mark, met me about 1/2 hour later and we started to track the deer. We had marginal blood which bothered me and, we followed it for about 150 yards, and lost all sign of where the buck went.
Because we were afraid of spooking the buck if he wasn’t dead, we gave up on the tracking until the next morning.
When we returned, we were able to find more sign but, it soon quit.
We worked the soybean field back and forth looking for anything that would resemble a deer or fresh sign of this buck. But, with the plants being as 2 1/2 feet tall, it was hard to see far.
After a few hours, we finally gave up finding this buck, and I thought there may be a slight chance he lived.
Well, as the week wore on, I continued to hunt and ended up taking 3 does.
The last night of our hunt, as I was getting ready for the evening hunt, Craig called and asked what my buck’s rack was like. I told him, ” it was tall and had good mass”.
Craig said he may have found him and he would come pick up Mark and I.
As we approached the soybean field, we could see it had been combined, so it was now about 2″ tall. Craig stopped near a patch about 20′ long and 4′ wide that was uncut. As we walked out, I could see a dark figure with an antler sticking up………WE FOUND MY BUCK!!!!
The combine operator saw the deer and raised the machine up and over the deer, which left the soybean plants tall and was easy to see there had to be something laying there.
The buck traveled close to 350 yards after the shot and circled around so where we lost sign, we were looking in the wrong direction. We found the arrow had entered directly in front of the left shoulder and exited about 10″ behind the opposite shoulder. It appeared to be a good shot, but must have been a little too high to get both lungs.
The buck is a 6×4 and has main beams that sweep to the front and come to within 6 inches of touching at the points.
I was so glad to find him, as soon as I get the pictures I will post them.
If anyone wants a quality hunt for whitetail, let me know, and I can get you in touch with Craig.
Keep ‘em sharp,

Off to ND

Well, I leave for North Dakota tomorrow morning for my deer hunt.
My friend, Mark, and I have made this an annual hunt, and we always drive it. It is a long dreary drive, but last year we made it in 22 1/2 hours, non stop.
It is a welcome sight when we arrive, as Craig always has everything set up and ready to go when we get there.
North Dakota has plenty of deer as, you are allowed 1 buck and all of the does you care to hunt.
The archery season is also one of the best. It opens the first weekend of September and goes through December of each year.
This looks like it is going to be a fantastic year for bucks. Craig took his last week, a 6X6 that gross scores right at 150″.
The weather is cooling down there, so the deer are coming out and feeding, getting ready for winter.
I made a mistake when I bought my tags online, so I have 1 buck tag and 4 doe tags to fill, so there is going to be a whole lot of shooting goin’ on.
Wish me luck and keep ‘em sharp,

Dream Hunt

If you were invited to hunt anywhere in the world at no cost, where would that be?
Would it be a rifle hunt for elephant or, a bow hunt for a monster elk?
I have, since I was small, wanted to bowhunt Polar Bear. To me, that would be the ultimate hunt.
Whenever I see videos of Polar Bear hunts, I am amazed and fixed on the TV screen. I try to catch everything involved. I have learned how smart bears are to not only survive, but to flourish under such harsh conditions.
These bear astonish me by their size and, at the same time seem to be somewhat graceful in their everyday lives.
So, what would your ultimate hunting experience be?

Sheep Scouting Trip 2

On my second trip to Cataract Canyon, I was able to talk to the rancher who lives at the mouth of the canyon.
He told me that he hasn’t seen any sheep but told me of a trail that goes into the canyon from the east side. He continued to say that there were sheep in the northern part of the canyon, but it had been some time since he was up there.
After picking his brain for as much information as I could get, I headed north along the west side of the canyon. The road tends to run about 3-5 miles away from the canyon, with small 2 track roads every so often, that lead to the edge.
I took one of these roads and as it led me toward the canyon, it got into some great looking deer country. The road followed pretty close to the canyon as I went south.
I stopped several times and glassed. On 1 stop, I heard something and thought it was the wind blowing through the canyon. As I came over the rise and was just feet away from the canyon wall, I looked across and saw a waterfall, which was created by a small rainstorm. As I watched through my binos, I saw the water plunging about 300 feet, hitting a rock outcropping, creating a mist. It is always amazing to me what nature has created and continues to create before our eyes.
Well, back to glassing for sheep. As I looked along the edges below me, I saw an oval shape that was completely out of the ordinary for the area surrounding it. It was far enough away that I couldn’t make out any detail and, it didn’t move at all. But, there is not another round or oval shaped boulder in the area. After, checking and rechecking the sheep rock, I continued down the canyon to glass more area.
I spent the rest of the day, looking this country over and, didn’t see anything else that resembled a sheep. I learned more of the country and roads.
As I drove home, I wondered how the heck I was going to hunt this,

Sheep Scouting- Trip 1

I apologize for taking so long to write on my blog. It has been a busy time.
I have made 3 scouting trips for sheep so far and, I will split those into 3 different blogs.
Before I started scouting, I made several phone calls to friends, acquaintances, and several Wildlife Managers with the AZ Game and Fish Dept.
I looked at my computer map program, ordered maps from Wide World of Maps, and were even given some by the Game and Fish Department.
All together, I must have had over 6 hours on the phone before I drove into my hunt unit the first time.
So, you have an idea of what the topography is like for the area the sheep are in, the surrounding areas are wide open antelope country. There are a few elk, but not many. Trees are very few and, the tallest one is about 5 feet tall.
Right smack dab in the middle of this country is Cataract canyon. This is where the sheep live. I did not get the concept of the size of this canyon until I stood on the edge. My jaw about hit the dirt, I mean, I might as well be hunting the Grand Canyon. As I stood there and looked the 1/2 mile across and 1500 feet deep, I was overwhelmed. It is one thing to shoot a sheep and, it is another to be able to recover it from here. Alot of the area has 1000 feet dropoffs to add to this dilemma.
The huntable, if you can call it that, part of the canyon is about 20 miles long. The canyon has an indian reservation on the north and part of the eastern side, so that also limits the area that I can hunt.
The western side is owned by indians but is legal to hunt, however they do not allow ATVs. This will hamper travel as we glass along the edges, looking into the canyon.
I spent most of the 1st trip studying maps and learning the roads.
I spent a while glassing and saw several sheep trails.
The trip was pretty uneventful, except for my eye opening view of the terrain.
I saw 1 antelope buck, which ran across the road in front of me as I was driving.
No sheep sighted on this trip.