Bow Hunting Maniac » 2007 » June

Huntin’ Antelope

What I love about antelope hunting is not only the challenge, but personally, I feel they are the most beautiful animal we have in the United States. So, when I do draw a tag here in Arizona, I know it will be a hunt that will put me to a test, but also know it will be very rewarding.
Last year, I drew another antelope tag, and started scouting every weekend. Even though, everything changes when the rut starts, I wanted to be in the hunting area as much as I could, not only to learn the area, but also for psychological reasons.
Doing this hunt with a bow makes it hard because, I would have to defeat their senses and, find a way to capitalize on a weakness.
When the hunt started, the rut was going but the smaller bucks were still in bachelor groups. The big bucks were keeping the smaller bucks away and, that told me decoying may work.
My friend, Mark, and I set up a decoy and hid in the trees about 20 yards away. I learned a valuable lesson here, as I faced the decoy away from me. The antelope, both bucks and does, came to investigate the decoy. But, they always came around to face the decoy head on, and didn’t offer a shot.
So, when no ‘lopes were around, I ran out, turned the decoy and ran back into the bushes. After about 20 minutes, we saw a doe being followed by 2 bucks heading our way. They were about 300 yards out but, it was easy to tell they were both good bucks, easily over 80″.
After a few minutes, the doe came over the rise and headed straight toward our decoy. She came within 10 yards of the decoy and then walked to our left. The 2 bucks got close to the decoy and stopped to investigate. I was shaking pretty bad now, but couldn’t shoot because of tree limbs in the way. The first buck caught up with the doe, and uhhh……….made baby antelope.
Well, since I wasn’t going to chance a shot on that buck, I focused on the last one. As it walked toward the other 2, I came to full draw and waited for it to clear the tree limbs as it walked to my left. Once I thought it had cleared, I leveled my 30 yard pin on his shoulder and released. All I saw, was antelope running everywhere and, had no idea what happened.
Then Mark pointed out the branch that I didn’t see…..the arrow hit the branch and deflected.
On the fifth day of hunting I got my antelope, the second with a bow. The day before, I found a fence crossing that a group of about 20 was using. I set up my Double Bull blind 33 yards from the crossing and right next to the fence.This would give a broadside shot when they approached the fence or after they crossed under.
That is one thing to remember, antelope always cross UNDER a fence, they don’t jump over.
The next morning, I was in the blind before first light and waited anxiously to see what was out there.
Well, no antelope around but, as hammered with tracks as the crossing was, I was confidant, it wouldn’t take long before they showed up. As I sat there, the sun came over the horizon and, started shining in a window I had open, to see antelope as they approached. I stood, closed the window and sat back down.
I was so surprised when I looked down the fence line……….a buck had already crossed the fence, and was standing broadside, peeing. I saw horns and decided he was big enough for me. I drew, anchored, settled the pin, and let it fly.
I heard the arrow hit, (no limbs in my way this time) and watched the buck run out of sight.
I was so excited, if anyone would have been with me, they would have thought I was surely nuts.
I found my arrow about 15 yards beyond where the buck was standing and, it was completely soaked in blood. A complete pass thru with a Snyper head. It didn’t take long to find my buck and, although he is not big by Arizona standards, he is still enough for me…….until I draw another tag.
The picture is of a guy I helped get his buck while on my hunt.
Keep ‘em sharp,


Have you ever noticed the difference in attitude toward hunting in small communities across the country?
I first noticed 2 years ago when I went to North Dakota on a deer hunt. We were bowhunting and were there for opening day of the gun season.
Two days before the gun season opened, it was being announced on all of the radio stations, “the season opener is this Friday at noon, all schools will be closed”. There also were signs in store windows announcing big buck contests.
Then when gun season opened, there was not one vehicle that I saw that didn’t have at least one person inside wearing hunter orange. People were parked along side of the roads, doing drives and in some places there were 3 or 4 trucks parked, as people were admiring bucks taken.
It really surprised me, because, growing up in Arizona, there is no announcement of hunting season, schools aren’t closed and boy, you better not let people see you with a dead animal. It is actually sad, that, as a tradition that has been handed down through the generations, we can only be proud of our accomplishments with fellow hunters.
I admire that there are still places that hold the hunting tradition high and make it a celebration.
Keep ‘em sharp,

What’s Your favorite?

What are some of your favorite times in the woods?
I think some of my favorites are when I have been fully camoed and see things that made me laugh.
While sitting on the ground, leaning against a tree, I had a squirrel come down the tree and jump on my shoulder. He wasn’t there but a split second, as he knew something was wrong and, jumped a kind of funny jump, half twisting in the air, and landed on the ground. He turned and looked at me, trying to figure out why that “limb” felt weird.
I have seen a calf elk trip and fall face first to the ground.
I have had javelina so close while I was sitting a waterhole that when they finally winded me and ran, they kicked dirt up, which landed on me.
I have had literally hundreds of quail, doves, and rabbits within 20 yards of me, and have no idea that I am there.
And, I actually saw a coyote chase a roadrunner, which reminded me of the cartoon, and I almost laughed out loud. This coyote never caught the roadrunner either.
But, my favorite has been to have one of my sons with me on a hunt, and see their expressions when they see something for the first time in the wilds. To see them take their first animal, and they can’t contain the excitement has been very special to me.
Now, I have 2 grandsons and I cant wait until they are old enough to start exploring the woods with me.


I wrote this last year and I feel it fits in for father’s Day.

Before my dad turned 80 on April 26th 2006, I decided I wanted to treat him to a camping/fishing trip on the White Mountain reservation like we did when I was a kid.
I remember every summer growing up, we would go 3 or 4 times to the White Mtns and fish places like Hawley Lake, Diamond Creek, Whiteriver, Big Lake, and Christmas Tree Lake. I grew to love that country, and for some unknown reason haven’t been back there for about 35 years.
Since that time, my dad gave me all of his fishing stuff, and had basically called it quits for hunting and fishing, because he doesnt want to leave my mom alone.

Well, I planned the trip, made the necessary reservations for 8 of us. My mom, dad, wife, 2 sons, daughter in law, grandson and a friend went for the past 3 days.

As we drove the dirt roads, which brought back memories of long ago, we saw a bull elk that would score right now about 320″, cow elk, and 4 different groups of turkeys. We fished, and even though the fishing wasn’t as good as I remember it, we had so much fun kicking back on the bank and enjoying all that God gave us.

Something that stuck out, and really made me think were, that I had to bait my dad’s hook because he has a tremble in his hands. But, it reminded me of when my dad always baited my hook, untangled my line, and got my hook out of the tree or bushes when I tried to cast.

Yesterday, as we were about to pack up for the trip home, my dad sat next to me, and as I looked at him, he had a tear in his eye. he said, ” I really apprec”, then he started crying. I hugged him and asked what was wrong, as I didnt realize what he was trying to say.
He said it, this time through the tears, “I really appreciate you doing this……………I hope you can come back once in a while after I am gone”.

Well, that brought tears to my eyes, and after a couple of minutes I walked outside to see the lake. But, instead of looking at the lake, I said a little prayer and thanked God for my dad and allowing us to share so much together.

I guess I am telling you this because I have taken things for granted and allowed everyday life to control me. When my dad told me that, I realized that he may not be around much longer, and that I need to cherish the times we have left.
So, if your dad is still alive, make every minute count that you possibly can.

What to get a father…..

That is a hard question……..what do you get a father that has everything?
Well, my family knows if it is related to bowhunting, elk, deer or, turkey I will drool over it. But, I have just about everything that I know of, so it makes it hard for them.
I feel sorry for them, but I am always surprised by what they get. I have gotten trail cams, night vision optics, bow accessories, and the list goes on, but I think the best of all is gift certificates.
I realize my family may have given up trying to find the one item that I don’t have but, it actually is nice because I get to go shopping for whatever I want with gift certificates.
Maybe it is my age, but it is actually getting hard for me to give my family suggestions but, I did see a Sony 60″ wide screen the other day that I was ready to take home. Boy, those hunting shows would look good on it.

Keep ‘em sharp,

An answer…..

The following is an email conversation that I had with Brian Wakeling of the Az Game & Fish Department.
The conversation was about the proposed changes to the archery deer and archery elk seasons in Arizona.
You need to read this carefully, as it took me reading it 3 times (I’m a little slow to absorb) to actually realize what he was telling me. You will need to read the emails from bottom to top to understand his answers to my questions fully.
Brian wrote that the Game and Fish Department have not gotten the compliance for mandatory reporting of archery deer kills, so they didn’t use that data in their process of archery success. “What we have done is used our standard questionnaire data that we collect similarly among all weapon types.”
It is hard for me to understand how they arrive at a number to reduce hunts from survey cards that are voluntarily returned by hunters, which, were less than 50% the last time they wanted to permit the North Kaibab region.

Brian stated, “Over the last 4 years, we have sold about 23,000 archery deer tags annually over the counter. First choice applicant demand for general (86,000), muzzleloader (1,700), and juniors (2,700) was also factored in. Based on these numbers, archers should get about 20% of the harvest, although they are harvesting in excess of 30% of the animals in some units.”

The Game and Fish Department had 90,400 applicants apply for deer hunts plus about 23000 archery deer hunters and bowhunters “should” kill about 20% of the total deer killed. Boy, I know I am not good at math but, can anyone tell me how they came up with this figure?
I have a problem with 90,400 applicants, which all did not draw tags, factored into 23000 bowhunters in the field, and it was deducted that we would take 20% of the deer from this.

Brian also stated, “This 20% number we know is liberal because many people that purchase over the counter archery tags also apply for general season permits, although we don’t know precisely what the crossover is.”

The Game and Fish Department knows that we are multi-weapon hunters. I buy an archery tag every year, and also apply for general season and now have 7 bonus points for deer.
So, I am being counted twice into the formula, which is actually hurting bowhunters. I think this may be the root to the cause for them to try to permit archery deer hunters.
With their present system, they have an exact number of archery deer tags sold, but without researching and computerizing these tag holders, they cannot match them to people that apply for gun tags. So, if archery deer goes to the draw process, we can only possess one tag and, we will have to choose whether it be gun or archery.

I personally feel the Az Game and Fish Department is messing up a good thing with their calculations;
1) They are proposing major changes to the archery seasons with no factual information.
2) Because of this and other changes made in recent years, they are alienating bowhunters who have supported them continually through salary increases. donations for bowhunter education and to help catch poachers.
3) If this proposal goes through, the Game and Fish Department will lose over $100,000 yearly in revenue because hunters will have to apply for all deer hunts, which will elminate incoming funds from sales of archery over the counter tags.
4) This will affect all businesses in hunting areas; motels, gas stations, restaurants, etc, which is needed economy for our small towns.

I apologize for this being so long, but it needed to be said.
All hunters need to work together to defeat his proposal.
Keep ‘em sharp,

We are constantly striving for the fair and equitable allocation approach. When we changed the allocation to consider demand by gender for elk, we didn’t try to steal them from the archers. We had actually stolen them from the general season hunter for years before we looked at the allocation closely. We used the formula that we have used for a long time to try to be fair. “Fair” can be an elusive thing, but believe me we are not trying to get rid of or stick it to the archers.

The mandatory reporting for archery deer has not been effective to date. We are not getting very good compliance, and so we did not use that data to determine how the allocation should be divided. What we have done is used our standard questionnaire data that we collect similarly among all weapon types.

The way that archery deer hunts figure into the equation is through the same allocation formula we use for elk. Over the last 4 years, we have sold about 23,000 archery deer tags annually over the counter. First choice applicant demand for general (86,000), muzzleloader (1,700), and juniors (2,700) was also factored in. Based on these numbers, archers should get about 20% of the harvest, although they are harvesting in excess of 30% of the animals in some units. This 20% number we know is liberal because many people that purchase over the counter archery tags also apply for general season permits, although we don’t know precisely what the crossover is. We are not proposing to permit all archery, or even all archery units that exceed 20% of the harvest. In units like Unit 20A that have January, August-September, and December season, we would only reduce seasons to January and August-September. In units like Unit 1 that only has an August-September hunt, we would initiate a permitted system that would allow for the harvest of 20% of the projected take in any given year. In units like Unit 4A, because archers do not take >20% of the total harvest, we would not implement any change to current structure.

I would encourage you to take the time to discuss this with us at a meeting where we can fully explain the proposals. I know they are not simple and they take some discussion to understand. They may not be perfect and there may be ways that we can improve them. These are working drafts and will not be finalized until the Commission acts in August. Feel free to call me at 602-789-3385. I am on the road a lot right now, but I’ll gladly speak with you at a mutually convenient time.

We really do appreciate the time you take to share your thoughts with us.


From: garth goodrich []
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 3:11 PM
To: Brian Wakeling; TERRY HENRY; chris agnew; Dan Beraldo; jeff r boyersmith; shane estep; bud hoffman; david king; Dick King; Stewart Kohnke ; mark mccullough; troy munig; mel nichols; mark perkins; mitch rawlinson; jay strangis; kevin van walleghan; stuart wright; rick younker
Subject: RE: Fwd: RE: Wildlife News

You say the department wants to increase hunting opportunity for all hunters, so how do the archery deer hunts that are proposed fit into this?
That proposal is so one sided, I dont blame people to think G&F is anti-bowhunting.
Also, the department needs to have accurate numbers of animals killed by general hunters before they should try to make drastic changes to the bowhunters.
The bowhunters of this state have been long supporters of the Game and Fish, but every year, we have to put up a new fight.
Last year, we lost almost 1400 cow elk tags “for hunter retention”……..when do we get those back?

Garth Goodrich

Brian Wakeling wrote:

The Department’s proposal is not to eliminate September archery elk hunts. We are looking for ways to increase hunting opportunity for all hunters, not just general season hunters. We want more hunters and want to limit barriers the agency places in their way. We do not plan to hold an archery hunt in the midst of a general season hunt. We have extended archery bear hunts in most of the state throughout the summer months and we do have archers that kill bears during these hunts, but we have very few hunter that harvest bears during any spring hunt, general or archery.

I appreciate the dialogue and hope you are sending your comments our way so that we may consider them throughout this process. Again, let me invite you to the public meetings so that we can discuss the proposals in an interactive fashion and we can be clear on our intentions.

Thank you.


Arizona bowhunters are under attack

Once again, Arizona bowhunters are being attacked for their hunting seasons. But the scrutiny isn’t coming from anti hunters, it is from the Az Game and Fish Department.
The game and fish department is recommending shortening and even elimination of archery deer hunting seasons depending on bowhunters’ success. If any unit reports a 20% success, the department will recommend closing, shortening, and/or require permits through the draw process for that particular unit.
The following is directly from their website,
There are public meetings starting this week, which can be found on the website, and also, there is an email address, where they are accepting comments.

Arizona Game and Fish Department
Hunt Guidelines for Fall 2008 through Spring 2010
C. Archery hunt opportunity in a unit will be offered according to the table below. Archery deer harvest will be managed not to exceed 20% of the overall harvest in a unit. When archery deer harvest meets or exceeds 20% of overall harvest, the Wildlife Manager will recommend reductions in archery hunt opportunity according to the following prescriptions, to include permitting harvest. Permitted harvest once prescribed will be managed to meet demand by weapon type.
Current Archery Hunt Structure in Unit
Overall Harvest
Management Action
August-September and December-January
20% or greater
Eliminate December Opportunity
August-September and January
20% or greater
Eliminate last 2-weeks of January
August-September and first 2 weeks of January
20% or greater
Eliminate January Opportunity
August-September Only
20% or greater
Archery-only Permit
December-January Only
20% or greater
Eliminate December Opportunity
January Only
20% or greater
Archery-only Permit in December
No Archery Deer Hunt
Archery-only Permit in August-September